Back in 2005, highly rated journalist Martin Samuel compared the situation at Manchester United with the fall of the Roman Empire. He wrote at length explaining why United’s best days were behind them and like with Liverpool following the 1980’s, it was United’s turn to step aside.
“A team in transition or a club in decline? Brick by brick, the fall of the United empire gathers pace.” was the title of his article.
With United sitting one point clear with a game in hand at the top of the table, current Champions of England, Europe and the World, Arsenal fuckwit, Piers Morgan, wants to follow Samuel in making a twat out of himself.
Stepping away from his usual classic writing, like “When I heard Chris Moyles was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I choked on my latte” and “‘Simon, don’t bother me when I’m talking to Jay-Z about Beyonce’s bum…‘”, Morgan has today giving a damning report on Manchester United, claiming it’s all over and Liverpool will win the title.
History tells us that when any empire reaches that point of virtual global supremacy, equally total ignominious collapse usually lies never far away. So it seems with United. Thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool, then stuffed 2-0 by Fulham, they now find themselves engulfed in self-doubt, bitter recrimination, civil unrest and that decaying stench that follows the gloriously intoxicating aura of invincibility.
What the fuck has he been smoking? Decaying stench? Self-doubt? Clearly Morgan didn’t watch our star-man’s Man of the Match performance against Slovakia yesterday. How much was Rooney doubting himself as he outshone every English player in a match where he scored two goals? How about Jonny Evans, who scored his first goal for Northern Ireland. Fact is, had Paul Scholes not been sent off with 18 minutes played last weekend, chances are we wouldn’t have lost. He was rightly red-carded though and we did lose. That doesn’t suddenly leave every other player in our squad consumed with feelings of decay and doubt!
For United, though, the parallels with the Fall of Rome are a more obvious analogy. In a nutshell, the demise began with too much money and arrogance, leading to a breakdown in the phenomenal discipline that had made the Romans omnipotent. Overpaid, and overfed, the star soldiers grew lazy and took their eyes off the ball. This led to stupid mistakes, a loss of their all-important fear factor and, as a consequence, increased levels of confidence in their enemies. Sound familiar, Fergie?
Ferguson is a reader of Morgan’s column and whilst this is clearly a desperate WUM attempt, something even a lot of BBC 606ers would be ashamed of, I can’t imagine our manager seething over this. We’ve lost two games on the bounce, it’s shit, but it’s not as shit as it is for all the other teams, who find themselves at least one point behind us, having played a game more, despite us losing twice in a row.
I’m not entirely sure why Morgan thinks we’ve got any more money or arrogance now than we have had in the past. Surely after 1999 the same criticisms could be levelled at us, but we went on to win the Premiership for a further two consecutive years. Where’s the logic in suddenly thinking we’re any more arrogant now than we have been in years gone by? The word arrogance puts a negative spin on the self-belief our players have had for the best part of two decades, but why shouldn’t they be self-confident? And when has this confidence ever lead to our demise in the past? It certainly wasn’t self-confidence which cost us the title between 2004-2006!
To all those United fans who will mock me when they read this, let me remind you that on their shirts, your players still have the letters of their sponsors, AIG. Which is ironic really, because at the time that deal was struck, AIG were the Roman Empire of global insurance – a supremely successful, seemingly unbeatable entity at the top of their game. Today, within just a few months, they have become a disastrous laughing stock, brought to their knees by greed and laziness. They were a bunch of Berbatovs – very expensive but averse to due diligence.
Firstly, since when has the sponsor of a shirt mattered a blind bit of difference to the fans? Were Arsenal fans disgraced when their shirts and stadium was named after Chelsea’s sponsor, Piers?
Secondly, Berbatov is United’s second highest scorer, after Cristiano Ronaldo, and only one player in the Premiership has more assists to his name. If you don’t ‘get’ Berbatov, then you don’t ‘get’ football.
Blips in football are nothing new but to blip at this particular time of the season, in this alarming way, just when your most ferocious rivals hit the form of their lives, may not just be ‘squeaky-bum’ time for United and Sir Alex. It might be Time, period.
Who’s alarmed? In their last eight matches, United have won six and lost two, making us the form team. In those two games we’ve conceded two penalties and had three men sent off. They weren’t your run-of-the-mill Manchester United matches and show the extreme situations needed for United to stumble. Had we lost two on the bounce playing with eleven men on the park and were just generally dreadful, then there would be more reason to be alarmed. As it is, despite our opposition having a man advantage, we saw more of the ball than both Liverpool and Fulham and against the latter were denied by outstanding goalkeeping. It happens, there’s no point sitting and moping about it, and there’s certainly no need to panic about it either. As an Arsenal fan, surely Piers knows all about dominating possession but finishing the game with fuck all. Isn’t that why they’re scraping a Champions League spot rather than challenging for the title?
Of course this country want United to fall flat on their faces, it is something which unites all football fans in England, but to write a whole article about the decline of Manchester United, based on the fact they’ve lost two games in a row, reeks of desperation. Maybe Piers should focus on his Get Wenger Out campaigns instead of writing nonsense about the team at the top of the table.