After losing their title on goal difference to their fiercest rivals, Manchester United are looking to bounce back this coming season. Desperate to regain what they believe to be their rightful place at the mountain top of English football, United fans are hoping for more success after having nothing new and shiny to place in the already abundant trophy cabinet.
Stretty News is one of the fastest growing Manchester United blogs anywhere in the world. In a Conversation With Dale O’ Donnell we dissect all things Red Devils. From the Glazers to Sir Alex Ferguson, the rivalry with Manchester City, Wayne Rooney, Kagawa and beyond, we cover the latest news that is happening at Old Trafford.
Dale is a leading voice for a new generation of Manchester United fans and he holds no punches when giving his opinion. Check out Dale’s work at www.strettynews.com and follow him on Twitter @StrettyNews.
Football, soccer, call it what you want. It’s just like being down the pub with your mates.
The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee this year and 60 years of magnificent reign over England. This last season, Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated 25 years of reign at Manchester United and has clearly been the King of English football with his unprecedented success! The game has never quite seen anything like him and his legacy is solidified in football eternity.
Joining me on A Conversation With is Will Tidey, Editor and Lead Writer for the Bleacher Report, and author of “Life With Sir Alex.” With the recent 20 year anniversary of the Premier League and Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominance and milestone in the game, seems appropriate to have a conversation about the great man, with the man who wrote about him!
From the struggle chapters in the 80′s to the Manchester United revolution in the 90′s, we talk about it all. If you love nostalgia, you’ll enjoy this conversation. Grab a pint and enjoy.
If you are a Manchester United fan, it feels more like the nightmare before Christmas than a holly, jolly holiday.
When it comes to English football, Manchester United have long been the epicenter of success over the last 20 years. And like Margaret Thatcher many moons ago, United have ruled with an iron fist for so long, it’s almost strange to think how life would be if their prolific reign came to a dramatic end.
Success in sports is cyclical and following Manchester United’s shocking exit from the Champions League at the hands of Swiss side FC Basel, coupled with the 6-1 thrashing at Old Trafford courtesy of “noisy neighbours” Manchester City, you could argue the football tide is turning. Is this going to be a season where United win nothing?
When the season started, nobody expected Manchester United to fail so miserably in the Champions League. They had one of the easiest groups of any big team in Europe and their failure to qualify for the last 16 was as shocking as seeing Mike Tyson hit the canvas in Tokyo back in February of 1990. Tyson was so good, you never thought he could lose. And Manchester United have been so good for so long, a defeat to FC Basel wasn’t something the fans or media were expecting.
Mentally, I don’t believe they have yet recovered from that horrific 6-1 loss to their biggest rivals. There is no doubt Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the best managers ever. He will go down in history as a managerial pioneer of the modern game. From tactics, to mind games and handling the media, he has provided a master class for all to enjoy. But, his overall demeanour of late has not been the same and I truly believe the epic loss to Manchester City felt like a death to him and he might well still be in his grieving period.
To hear Sir Alex Ferguson apologise to fans following their loss to Crystal Palace at home in the Carling Cup was shocking. Yes they fielded a weaker team, but they still had the likes of Park Ji-Sung, Antonio Valencia, Darron Gibson and five other international players on the pitch. Regardless who plays, United look a shadow of the team we’ve seen in recent years. And let’s be honest, some of Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent team selections, especially in the Champions League have been questionable.
Granted it takes United a while to heat up their season and they are where they usually would be around this time of year. The difference however is that they are playing so much worse than they normally would at this stage. There is very little creativity in midfield and their inability to replace Paul Scholes following his retirement is clearly evident on the pitch. Yes Tom Cleverley is a wonderful young player, but how did he become so integral to their midfield after only just starting in the first team this season? Hernandez hasn’t yet captured the dizzy heights he reached last season and Rooney’s incredible start has come to a grinding halt.
Even with Nemanja Vidic in defense and the emergence of hugely talented players like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, United still appear extremely vulnerable at the back. Rio Ferdinand is an aging defender who has lost his pace and the overall inconsistency of not playing the same group of players together more often has definitely hurt them. They also have issues with David de Gea in goal. He cost a lot of money when he came from Atletico Madrid and he continues to make expensive mistakes that should not come with an almost 19 million pound price tag.
You can never write off Manchester United, but it’s hard not to flirt with the idea this season. They are just not good enough and their history and pedigree shouldn’t be a reason to diffuse the critics opinions about the current state of the club. There’s no doubt one should beware of the wounded animal, but right now, Manchester United can barely compete with Newcastle, let alone Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
The mighty have definitely fallen and we have yet to see Sir Alex Ferguson overcome too much adversity in his illustrious career with the greatest of the Manchester clubs. He’s rattled by City and for the first time in a long time, his magic wand has eluded him in European competition too.
It probably won’t be too long before Manchester United are back to their usual best. But for now, it’s the turn of their fans to suffer in a football nightmare and just before Christmas too…
The ultimate climax is upon us. The season is reaching its crescendo. We are all about to burst. This is one of the most exciting finishes to a season in recent years. Who will win the Premier League? Who will win the Champions League? Heck who will win the World Cup?
We are all waiting. And in the midst of our anticipation comes another question. Which player has made his team tick the most in the Premier League? Which player has been the sensation of the season? Who deserves to win Player of the Year?
Can anyone eclipse the season Wayne Rooney has had? If Manchester United don’t win the league, is Rooney’s season a failure? Do his 30 odd goals count for nothing? Can we call him the best if United don’t win it all?
With all his injuries, is it fair that Cesc Fabregas is in the frame for Player of the Year? Has he really made a difference to Arsenal’s season? Has he truly been the best player?
Carlos Tevez has scored a bundle of goals for Manchester City. Has the Argentine hit man done enough to be considered the best in 2010? If Manchester City don’t qualify for the Champions League, can we really put Tevez on the best player pedastal?
Didier Drogba has been superb for Chelsea over the years. But has he really lit it up this season? The Blues could easily walk away with the title, but has Drogba done enough to win the big player prize?
Which players do you think have been totally ignored for Player of the Year? Did Gareth Bale deserve a shot? Should Vermaelen have been considered? Why is Lampard ignored year-after-year?
Have your say…
John Terry was very quick to goad his rivals following a famous victory for Chelsea over Manchester United at the weekend. The England captain was feeling pretty confident after the Blues win and so he sent a cocky “catch us if you can” taunt to his favourite Premier League foes.
Don’t you think it’s a bit early to be riling up the likes of Arsenal and even Manchester United, despite the fact you did just beat the latter? Let’s not forget how well Aston Villa are doing too and how Manchester City and Tottenham are still sniffing around like they want to steal something. I mean you are only 5 points clear at the top, Arsenal do have a game in hand and it’s only November! Settle down now Mr.Chelsea.
The fact people get so excited about the league being won in November is laughable. There is so much more football to be played and anything can happen. Just ask Liverpool if they thought their season would end up like it has over the last few weeks. Teams can suffer major injury setbacks and as we’ve already seen this season, unpredictable results are more than possible.
I admire the purpose behind John Terry’s message. I hear the spirit and gamesmanship in his voice. But as players, managers, chief executives and fans have learned over the years, don’t get ahead of the next game. Don’t start disrespecting your opponents too much. And don’t think about the victory parade when there is still everything to play for. There’s no doubt Chelsea are the team to beat. But we have a long and arduous season still ahead.
Ancelotti certainly has Chelsea moving in the right direction and with their transfer ban being lifted just last week, they now have the ability to strengthen their team in January, which a few weeks and months ago was looking highly unlikely. A potentially stronger Chelsea after the painful Christmas fixture list is definitely a scary prospect for the rest of the league. But let’s rewind very quickly to just a few weeks ago when Chelsea had lost 3-1 to Wigan and everyone was asking “what’s wrong with Chelsea?” It’s a funny old game is football, so don’t go popping the champagne cork just yet…
Here it is. The picture Manchester United fans didn’t want to see. Former United heroes Mark Hughes and Carlos Tevez proudly show-off the blue shirt of Manchester City to celebrate Tevez joining the team. If I were a United fan I’d be gutted. It would feel like someone just stabbed me in the heart. Of all the teams in all the land, did Tevez have to join City! What a dagger!
Carlos Tevez will be a superstar at Manchester City. He will be the main man. He will get everything he wanted at United and more. And Tevez wants to prove Sir Alex Ferguson wrong. Signing for City is a calculated move. It’s also a move about money of course, but why not twist the knife while you’re trying to make your point. Will Sir Alex regret this one?
United have now lost two world class players in Ronaldo and Tevez. They have signed Michael Owen from Newcastle, Antonio Valencia from Wigan and Gabrielle Obertan, a relative unknown from Bordeaux. Now these are not the superstar names United fans were expecting to see swing through the Theater of Dreams doors this summer. But if Sir Alex pulls this off, it will be the shrewdest bit of business he’s done in a while. The man has done it before with his 1990′s so-called team of kids (Giggs, Neville, Beckham) and he can certainly do it again.
So be patient United fans. Let the new season start before you start throwing the same daggers Tevez did.
Why is everyone turning down the chance to sign for Manchester United? Why don’t players want to play at the Theater of Dreams? What is wrong with everyone people?
Benzema admitted today he chose Real Madrid over Manchester United. Ronaldo didn’t want to stay a second longer in the North of England. And Franck Ribery is hellbent on joining Real Madrid over United too. I get it, and I just don’t get it all at the same time. The last time I looked, Manchester United were the team with the stable manager and the countless Premier League titles, F.A. Cup and Champions League wins over the last few years.
If I were a player wanting to win things, United would be a better choice over Real Madrid right now wouldn’t it? But it seems the lure of Real Madrid and their place in football history is too much for players to overlook. Manchester United have just as much history. But wearing the famous white for one of the world’s greatest teams seems to be the soup de jour. Or is it because they are throwing money at players and they all see an opportunity to beef up their pensions while they can? Surely they don’t want to make history and be part of a football revolution do they? I’ll give Ronaldo a pass on this one. He earned his move and gave a lot to United.
But given the choice, would you play for Sir Alex Ferguson or Manuel Pellegrini? Pellegrini doesn’t have the pedigree of Ferguson. Granted neither did Pep Guardiola and he was amazing as Barcelona manager winning the treble in his first season. But how often does that happen? Not very. Real Madrid are obviously building another Galacticos team and they are desperate to emulate what their biggest rivals did last season. It’s hard to win the treble and it’s not a guarantee these superstars are going to gel and be unbelievably good together.
David Beckham and other Real Madrid players of the past have all said that the revolving door of managers at the Bernabeu hurt their own form and this obviously affected the overall success of the team. No player likes to have a couple of managers a month taking charge. Beckham has said many times the stability at Manchester United and knowing who the manager was and what was expected helped him and every other player evolve and progress as professionals. Perhaps it will be different with Pellegrini. Let’s see what happens when the new season starts.
Manchester United have been turned down a lot this summer. Does this mean the power is shifting to La Liga? Is this where most players want to be now? If I were one of the best players in the world today seeking a transfer, I’d sign for Manchester United in a heartbeat. It’s called the Theater of Dreams for a reason you know! Who would you sign for?
Do you remember how shocking it was when you realized Bruce Willis’ character in the Sixth Sense was actually one of those dead people the kid kept saying he was seeing? Well shoot the shrink people! We’re not even halfway through the summer transfer season and we already have a shock-of-a-transfer story that could rival the shocking twist of the Sixth Sense.
Michael Owen has been signed by Manchester United. Let me just writepeat that…Michael Owen has been signed by Manchester United. Who wasn’t shocked beyond belief when they heard the news? I was shell-shocked. Anyone who says they saw this coming is a complete and utter liar.
For the last 2 seasons Owen has been hovering around St.James’ Park like a ghost. He was deflated. There was no life left in him. He had become like a dull, dark cloud. Very much like Bruce Willis’ character in the Sixth Sense. And now Newcastle were relegated, who was interested in buying this one time phenom?
Hull City, Stoke City and some other mediocre City named sides were apparently interested! But were these the only teams impressed by Michael Owen’s famous past? Not quite. Just as Owen’s reps were preparing another mail out of that now infamous 34 page soccer sales brochure, he received a surprise phone call from Sir Alex Ferguson inviting him out for a spot of lunch. By the time they were done with their pudding, Owen was offered a contract at Manchester United. It was easy for the ex-Liverpool hero to accept. Perhaps there’s even a part of him that wants to prove Liverpool made a mistake letting him go to Real Madrid all those years ago.
Sir Alex Ferguson likes to gamble and the media is painting this as a huge one. But we all know most transfers are huge gambles. This one could end up being a great gamble. This transfer could be the shrewdest bit of business this summer. For one, Owen will be playing with world class players again. No disrespect to Newcastle, but Manchester United is a different breed of football club. There are players that can inspire Owen to be better and at United, he will be a star name among other superstar names.
You could compare Michael Owen’s forthcoming adventure to that of David Beckham’s recent experience. Beckham was playing for the LA Galaxy and then he found himself going to AC Milan on loan and all of a sudden he’s in the form of his life playing in Serie A, the UEFA Cup and also playing a part in England’s World Cup campaign. With the medical facilities at United and the talent that will surround Owen, he could find himself achieving the same. And how satisfying would it be for him to pull that England shirt on again and prove his doubters wrong?
Sometimes people grab their second chance and they savor it like a fine wine. Others throw it away like an empty beer can. Michael Owen was dead at Newcastle. You could see it. You could feel it. He will not let this chance pass him by. He is a very ambitious man who wants to show the world he still has it. Do you guys think he will find his world class form again? Can he stay injury free? Has Sir Alex Ferguson taken too much of a gamble and will he be saying “I see Michael Owen” for the rest of his life…?
The new Chelski are starting to dig deep in their pockets of infinity. Manchester City have splashed 18 million pounds on Roque Santa Cruz. The ex-Blackburn striker put pen to paper for his old boss Mark Hughes and so the long arse chase for his signature ends. Thank God.
I like Roque Santa Cruz. He is a good player. He has lots of quality and strength. He is a solid signing for Manchester City.
I also thought he would be a good fit for Arsenal if Adebayor left. But City is his chosen destination and that has a lot to do with wanting to play for Mark Hughes again. He scored 23 goals in his debut season for Blackburn and the Paraguay international certainly has the confidence to bounce back from his knee injury nightmare of last season. Perhaps after that injury I would have paid more around the 10-12 million pound mark. But clubs know City have the money to spend and City are willing to pay the asking price. Do you think Santa Cruz is worth the money?
Mark Hughes has been given the chance to start a revolution at Manchester City. They say Tevez is on the way but we’ll believe that when we see him pictured in the blue shirt at the press conference. Wow wouldn’t that be a dagger to United fans hearts? Mark Hughes, a hero of the past at United now manager of Manchester City. And Carlos Tevez, their Argentine Prince potentially leaving the Theater of Dreams to play for across the street for the Blue side of Manchester. Why don’t you just twist the knife on your way out Carlos!
City have Robinho too remember. And with the signing of Santa Cruz and maybe Tevez, do you think they can challenge for the Premier League next season? Will Mark Hughes still have a job by Christmas?
Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s best football player is finally off to Real Madrid for a staggering world record fee of 80 million pounds. This deal dwarfs what Madrid just paid for Kaka and proves the club are willing to invest whatever it takes to recapture their glory years and challenge Barcelona for honors again.
As a fan of the Premier League I’m gutted. I never thought I would feel so gutted about a player leaving Manchester United as I don’t even support the buggers! I just like to watch the best players play in the best league in the world. Now the two best players in the world (Ronaldo and Messi) are playing in La Liga.
Does this mean the power is shifting away from the Premier League? Is this a sign and should the Premier League be worried? Forget about the diving and the moaning for just a second and think of Manchester United’s Saturday afternoon clashes with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, but there’s no Ronaldo. It feels as bad as the day Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona. And let’s face it, Arsenal have still not recovered or won anything since he left. United have seen great players come and go over the years, but this one might be tough to replace.
Everyone is crying about how much Real Madrid have paid for Ronaldo and there’s no doubt those tears are somewhat justified. However, players like Ronaldo, Kaka, Messi and even Beckham are more than just players. They are a brand in themselves. A corporation. A business. And if a business performs well year after year, the value goes up and sometimes another company will come in and make an offer to buy that business for way more than what it was worth to begin with. Was MySpace really worth over $500? Was Facebook worth almost a billion dollars? Probably not, but huge corporations came in and paid the money because in the long-term, the payback from the initial investment is worth so much greater. When you negotiate your contract with a potential employer, you try to get the best deal for you right? Expense account, bonuses, travel, company car and other incentives. It’s all relative as far as I’m concerned.
Ronaldo will payback Madrid in potentially his first season. He will sell shirts, season tickets and merchandise beyond Real Madrid’s dreams. When Beckham went to Real Madrid, their shirt sales went through the roof. Wherever Beckham has gone shirt sales have gone through the roof. And the profile and publicity these top tier players garner for their team is priceless. Yes the wages are crazy. Yes they get paid ridiculous amounts of money and yes it’s tough to justify in today’s economy. But they too have worked hard for their worth. To buy the best you have to be willing to pay top dollar. And if Ronaldo is the world’s best, then surely he is worth the money Real Madrid are investing right?
Everyone is acting as though teams pay over 80 million pounds for a player everyday. But they don’t. Ronaldo is a special player. These special players don’t come around that often and when they do, teams are willing to pay whatever it takes for their services. I say good luck to the boy. Why not? He’s earned it. He’s worked hard. He gives everything on the pitch. Yes he bitches and moans and cries. But his talent makes you forget about that stuff. And like him or not, you cannot deny his talent. He came from a very humble upbringing in Portugal and his family had nothing. His God given talent has blessed him with riches beyond his dreams. The winker wins again and who wouldn’t want to be in his position…