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At Least Tottenham’s Manager Has Sense

Since Dimitar Berbatov’s move to United went through, Tottenham Hotspur fans haven’t been his biggest fans.

Whilst Robbie Keane promised the club he was staying just a month before he signed a contract with Liverpool, Berbatov had made his intentions very clear. He wanted to play for Manchester United and he wanted to play Champions League football. Yet the Spurs’ fans hate our striker for wanting to return to European football before the end of his career.

Seems as though their manager has some sense though, with Harry Redknapp today admitting he doesn’t blame Berbatov for leaving Spurs for United.

“Berbatov is a very clever footballer, a great talent,” said Redknapp. “He wanted to play Champions League football for Manchester United. And I don’t blame him for that. Once the wheels were in motion, the move was always going to happen. It was inevitable. And when that happens all you can do is try to get as much money as you can for him.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Biggie says:

    Just how long before he sulks again… was it £30.75m well spent or was it £20m overspent… as all the Spurs fans are laughing.

    Why wasn’t he bought when available at £10.75m 2 years ago?

  2. spursforlife says:

    I really hope spurs beat united, just to make you think how arrogant you are for just a minute. Just because a club is in the champions league doesnt make you a better club, just more successful. There is always a more successful team as united fans should know with Ronaldo wanting to move to Madrid, which i am sure he will.

  3. gettingthereslowly says:

    he just seem to loose intrest in the team and not give his all thats what grinds.Carrick did it the right way by playing right up to his departure giving 100% ,so he won’t get any stick.Its a two way thing.

  4. King Eric says:

    Cant understand why Spurs fans are so bitter and pissed off about it. He made his intentions clear that he wanted to join us unlike as you mention Scott, Robbie Keane.

    Think Spurs fans will have to watch what they say tho in view of the Police investigations into the Campbell incident.

    Will have to wait and see if Berba can handle the pressure tomorrow, which I am sure he will. Not a bad side Spurs but our record against them is good. It should make for a free flowing open game with United winning 2-0.

  5. CB says:

    If he was your player you would have been upset. He basically refused to play for us during the last 2 games. He wanted out of Spurs (shame but hey ho) But to declare that he was not in the (right frame of mind) stinks.. We were struggling and we needed him.. You can say what you want but at what ever level that is disgusting. He was being paid a big salary and he showed no commitment. IF he had given 100% but still wanted to leave, then so be it.
    It won’t be long before you see him for what he really is ( a gifted player, with very little backbone).
    He was however, a delight to watch

  6. Tom F says:

    Just as the neutrals generally hate the best, Spurs fans cannot help to be bitter about losing their best player.

    Blaming others just makes it easier for them and they cannot really moan about Keane leaving because he cost more than twice of what he is worth, where as Berba is worth every penny.

    Let’s just hope he’s match fit for the trip to White Hart Lane and hopefully he can score against them after being booed!

  7. Scott the Red says:

    CB – He told you he wanted to leave in 2007. Do you not think he gave you his best during the 2007-2008 season when he scored all those goals for you?

    Biggie – We hadn’t sold Ruud yet so couldn’t buy Berbatov when you did for £10 mill.

  8. kierantheyid says:

    I think what the man did for us was fantastic,but he wanted to move and so it happened,all i can say is i hope he wont start bearing fruit tomorrow,and for the first time in ages i truly believe Tottenham hotspur will win the game,but i also hope berba gets a good enough reception,he deserves that at least.

  9. Red-Manc says:

    spursforlife, yeh we are more sucessfull but people seem to forget all the history we have not just winning things but disasters aswell the whole United > england republik of mancunia,being relagated but still having the docs army follow United no matter what and all the legends we’ve had over the years (Best,Law,Robson,Cantona etc) even if you take away all are success we’d still be a bigger and better club than spurs.

    MUFC Hated and Adorded but never Ignored ;)

    hope we beat the spurs to shut the bitter twats up, he left to play champions league football and be involved in a title race, he didnt leave for money or he would of gone to city, GET OVER IT you ABU bastards.

  10. dancingbarber says:

    He was just so disrespectful to the club and the fans in the way he went about looking for a move. He is a great talent and lovely to watch, but I don’t actually rate him as a goalscorer. Lets count at the end of the season !

  11. Essexian76 says:

    Its ain’t what you do its the way that you do it!, thats whats irritated Spurs fans more than anything else. We have a player virtually holding the club to ransom, and a rival manager condoning that action, if fact encouraging it and you wonder why fans other than those of Utd have no time for your team?. We knew he wanted out, fair play and Keane the hypocrite did the same thing but was never going to be as big a loss to us than Berbatov would ever be, so its a three way factor. When Ronaldo pulls the same stroke next term by going to a bigger club than you, see how you react then?. I hope he gets everything he deserves for his attitude toward a team and its supporters who did nothing to warant such a reaction from the player.

  12. King Eric says:

    dancingbarber: It matters not pal as United have never relied on an out and out goalscorer. More of a team “thing” with every position on pitch contributing the goals.

    Kierantheyid: Good to see your not all so bitter. Good post. At least honest.

  13. SpursLIFE says:

    Bigger better teams?!! People you are all just supporting a team!! It has no reflection on your successes or failures in life, it has to do with where you were brought up!! Unless you are the Man Utd fan that lives in London. Thats a bit shallow!!
    Spurs are a great team (My Team) but it doesn’t make me better than a Man Utd fan.
    Most importantly you gotta stick by your team through good and bad if you do that then u are a true supporter!!

  14. sanj says:

    spursforlife- how do you measure which clubs are the best? the ones that have one the most silverware (also known as being successful). based on that logic, we have more silverware, we are more successful, we are better than spurs.

    and if ronaldo goes to madrid (which you are “sure” of with all your spurs wisdom- i bet you were sure your pathetic club would lose its two best strikers because of that c*nt levy), united will be fine. everyone wondered who would score all our goals when ruud went to madrid and look what happened. we have won consecutive premier league titles and are champions of europe- with cristiano picking up pretty much every single individual accolade in the process. no single player is bigger than united. i wish i could say the same for spurs.

  15. spursfan says:

    Some of you football fans are rediculous. Red-manc why do you need to be such an ass? I understand you’ve had disasters and you guys are a great club. But to call us “bitter twats” because of how we MIGHT treat berba when he returns. He hasn’t even played against Tottenham yet so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Also, I loved berba for a time at spurs but if i were at WHL tomorrow i’d give him hell. Berba is a great footballer but the way he treated spurs at the end of his time there was disgraceful. Let’s not forget tottenham is also a prideful and ambitious club, and we were the club who he made his name with in the premier league. While he was here for most of the time everyone sang his name proudly. But when things went bad, he had no desire or fight in him. I’m actually glad we’re rid of him and his antics. We are not bitter because he left, other players have left and still get great ovations at WHL, it is the way in which he left that gives us problems.

  16. EastStandManc says:

    Good to see some rational Spurs fans after that first muppet. I can understand their disappointment with Berba’s excuse, especially given the position they were in at the time, but Berba has thanked them since for their support during his time there.

    As such, I’d hope that the level-headed loyal Spurs fans leave out the booing and that the others follow suit.

    BTW, good point about Keane, Scott.

  17. oldun says:

    Having followed football fo nearly six decades I have seen many players leave for other clubs. The fans have changed in that players who have left for other clubs have been treated in different ways. Pat jennings went to Arsenal but was only applauded and never booed on his rtuern. Pat was a big man in all senses, always gave his best and never cheated the fans. He was repected not only as a player but as a man. Berbatov is a magnificient footballer but is a very flawed individual. He is disliked because he was never a team player and whilst skilled he was disrepectful to teamates as well as to the club. In short he treated the fans with no respect and honour. It is no wonder that the fans will not respect him. By all means boo him to show that he has fallen in the esteem. It’s a fan’s right as a paying spectator to express their view and displeasure as long as it’s within the realms of decency. Some fans go too far but players have some responsibility towards fans. Berbatov is talented and I hope he proves his worth to United fans but I fear that he will always be driven by his own ego rather than teamspirit.

  18. LA Spur says:

    Think that Berbatov is a great player with the best touch, however when the going gets tough he won’t be there for United. I’m sure that all those united fans (The real ones) remember Jamie Carragher’s tackle on Berbs when united lost to the pool. After carra let him know he was there Berba didn’t want to know! I personally think that he is less Cantona and more Sheringham (with more pace), but he’s not in the same class as Ronaldo.

  19. SNOWYID says:

    ok keane was a loyal servant to spurs for alot of years, no true spurs fan can deny him the chance to play for his boyhood club, even after what he said as he didnt know the bin dippers were gonna make a bid for him, the man was a total pro for us right up to the day he left us, i for one wish him all the best.

    as for berbasulk, the guy is in my book one of the top 5 strikers in the world, the things he can do with a ball make good players look bad, but unlike keane who remained a pro berbs dindt and that why so many spurs fans have a problem with the guy.

    lol lets just hope spurs get the 3 points saturday we need them more than you and i hear ya got alot of first team player missing or suspended lol

  20. ped says:

    sir alex won’t put up with his sulking antics in a couple of years time when he want’s to join madrid or barca.
    only wish we could’ve done a player plus cash deal with carrick
    good luck man u on sat but i want the spurs to do you 3 – 1

  21. JimB says:

    I wonder whether the Man Utd fans on this board would be quite so sanguine about a player leaving for another club (after a long pursuit by that club) if the player in question was Cristiano Ronaldo and if the club in question was Real Madrid?

    I think we all know the answer. I think we all know that, had Ronaldo left for Real Madrid last summer, he would forever have received the most viciously abusive of receptions whenever he returned to play at Old Trafford for Real. You only need to have read any Utd message earlier last summer to know that to be true.

    So enough of the hypocrisy, eh, fellas? Berbatov: great player for Spurs but his attitude always stank – especially so during his last few months at the club.

  22. Jake says:

    Keane leaving them? It’s like John O’Shea up and leaving….disappointed maybe….well, not even disappointed. I think the point about Berbatov is they’re a bit gutted they signed a player, he was world-class for them and then he left…pretty hard to take and so anger is the only available reaction…just imagine ronaldo doing the same for us this summer and actually leaving…i’ll jeer him till i die

  23. EastStandManc says:

    I don’t think I’d care much if Ronaldo left to go to Madrid.

    Sure, I’d be keeping an eye out for the first couple of months, but after that he’d disappear into the periphery, just like Becks, Ruud and Judas did.


  24. Scott the Red says:

    JimB – if you read the comments left my a lot of United fans on this blog, they’re quite eager for Ronaldo to leave. When he does eventually go to Real Madrid, he wont be treated badly. It certainly won’t be abusive. He’s been honest since day one about what he wants, and when he does get to play for Real Madrid, I for one will not be abusive.

    Berbatov told your club a year ago that he wanted to leave. He stayed though and scored 23 goals for you.

    Being so angry towards him shows that you’re not the big club you’d like to think yourselves as.

  25. trashtalk united says:

    win or lose its united we choose

  26. Gary says:

    Is there any chance we can get our money back and leave him at White Heart Lane today?

    He has been awful so far, one nice little flick against Hull, and another against West Ham, I’m getting bored of hearing about his “Nice Touch” his effort is pathetic and he hasnt stood out once in a United game. If Tevez goes and we are left with Berbatov for what would have been the same price, that will be a disaster!

  27. olusanjo says:

    gary, i am dissappointed in you. how can you come out here to say berba has been awful. spurs are tryiong to portray themselves as a big club but they are not. berba wanted to leave bayer leverkussen and spurs came along. it is just like robinho wanting to leave real franco, man city came along and he joined the ship. citeh might hold on to him because they have the financial muscle but if not, they will loose him. and by the way, berba was truthful enough to say “he is not in teh right state of mind to play”. what if he did not say that and got to teh field of play and scores two own goals in a single game. will you be happy about that? think about it. you can do whatever you like to him. you will make your useless noise and he will go about his business quietly and as you know, he is a silencer

  28. Gary says:

    olusanjo, I cant help it if my comments dissapoint you.

    Are you telling me you have been impressed with Berbatov so far!? His performances have been average to say the least! When someone gets payed a fortune a week, and is apperently playing for the club of his dreams, well I expect alot more effort, there is no excuse for the way he prances around the pitch. I was more excited seeing a 20 minute cameo from Danny Welbeck, than I have been with Berbatov’s enitre 4 months at United. Tevez has been very harshly treated, he brings far more to our side than Berbatov, hes someone the fans have a bond with, you cant help but love him, Berbatov meanwhile doesnt even bother to celebrate the few goals he has scored against poor opposition!

    Fergie has made expensive mistakes before, i.e Veron! Berbatov looks like adding himself to that list unless he pulls his finger out his arse sharpish!

    He needs to be dropped and made to fight for his place in the side!

  29. Gary says:

    I think any United fan can admit we payed way over the odds for Berbatov. I mean hes turning 28 soon, has acheived very little in his career so far, and there was hardly a massive amount of clubs chasing for his signature.

    We payed what was it for Teddy Sheringham? 3.5 million pounds, that was a steal. Teddy was a fantastic player and extremely under rated! Berbatov isnt good enough to clean Teddy’s boots, let alone Eric Cantonas! The comparisons to Cantona from people, where somewhat insulting!

  30. JimB says:

    Scott the Red – I’m sorry but I don’t believe you. Or rather, I don’t believe that you are representative of the majority of Man Utd fans on this issue. I read and saw and heard plenty of comments by Utd fans about Ronaldo last summer and the feeling towards him was of universal hatred. Sure, many fans might have wanted to see the back of him – but that is very far indeed from saying that Ronaldo would have gone with their best wishes. You might like to think that Ronaldo would have received a good or neutral reception at Old Trafford if he had returned with Real Madrid but you’re in lala land, I’m afraid.

    Frankly, this whole conceit that somehow Utd fans are a different breed to fans of other clubs is preposterous in the extreme. You no more like anyone disrespecting your club than fans of other clubs like anyone to disrespect their clubs. If that wasn’t the case, then the only conclusion that anyone could draw would be that Utd just aren’t as passionate about their club as fans of other clubs are about theirs.

    So which is it to be, fellas? You want to be seen as lacking in genuine passion in your club? Or you accept the reality that you are no better and no less human than fans of any other club?

  31. Scott the Red says:

    JimB – Which is it to be? We’re not small-time bitter fans. The abuse Berbatov will receive today will be out of this world. Spurs fans are bloody obsessed by Dimitar Berbatov. You’ve been getting giddy all week in anticipation for this.

    I’m not a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and I haven’t sung his song this season. I’ve received criticism off reds on here because of my negative attitude towards Ronaldo. When he does finally leave for Real and if he ever returns with them, he won’t receive deafening boos and whistles. I won’t be on my feet cheering him upon his return (like some reds would) but I certainly wouldn’t BOO him.

    Berbatov has been honest with your club about what he wanted. He stayed for another year, scoring a shit load of goals for you, and again repeated his desire. He’s reaching the peak of his career and the Champions of England and Europe want to sign him. What do you expect from him? You think he should have stayed at Spurs?

    I can’t recall any former United players who have returned to Old Trafford playing for a different team receiving the kindof abuse we can expect Berbatov to get today.

    Is it because we’re lacking passion? No. We’re just not bitter and twisted like supporters of some clubs.

  32. Haakon says:

    He held Spurs to ransom? You got 30 mill quid + Campell on loan for a 28 old year old player. You’re a bunch of wankers. Stop whining. And we won’t count his goals. Only his thropies.

  33. JimB says:

    Scott the Red – I repeat, you are living in Lala land if you truly believe that Ronaldo would not have received an abusive reception, whenever he returned to play at Old Trafford, if he had left for Madrid this summer. And you are equally deluded if you think that Utd fans are uniquely blessed with a generosity of spirit that welcomes back any former player, regardless of the manner of his leaving. Frankly, you are only making yourself appear risibly self regarding. The truth of the matter is that Utd fans are just fortunate that, because Utd is at the very top of the food chain, players that leave usually only do so when they are no longer wanted by the club. Consequently, it is very rare that Utd fans have cause to give former players the bird. Ronaldo would have been the exception to that rule.

    As to Berbatov, Spurs fans aren’t obsessed by him, as you claim. Obviously, though, the possibility that he will play this evening has been the focus of media attention this week. And obviously, because of the disrespectful manner in which he left the club (refusing to play; undermining team spirit at the training ground etc), he will get a poor reception. Personally, I won’t boo him. But I won’t applaud him either.

    As to your claim that Berbatov did Spurs a favour and behaved admirably by staying for one more year – that is simply preposterous. He had signed a six year contract only twelve months previously! And we’re supposed to get down on our knees in gratitude because he condescended to fulfill more than one sixth of that contract? Hahahahaha!

  34. Gary says:

    JimB, I have admiration for Spurs fans, your loyal, you more than often create a good atmosphere, and you have a great away support. What I have noticed tho is you seem to boo every x player who returns to your club, even those that dont deserve it. I can understand why the majority of your fans will boo Berbatov today, but why did you feel the need to boo Robbie Keane, or boo Teddy Sheringham when he returned to White Hart lane on the first day of the season with Man United in the 97/98 season?

    If Ronaldo had gone to Real Madrid, I wouldnt have booed him on his return, altho I wouldnt have applauded him either, I feel totally betrayed by him like most United fans, we turned him into a marter after the world cup when the country turned on him, and I loved him from the moment he made his debut against Bolton. I explain how loved he was at Old Trafford, I just dont feel the same about him now after this summers antics, and its a crying shame.

    Every former United player gets a good reception on his return to Old Trafford. Apart from Paul Ince, and Gabriel Heinze if he ever returns, for good reasons tho!

  35. Gary says:

    I do agree tho that Scott is having a laugh when he claims Spurs fans should be grateful that Berbatov stayed for one extra year, if that had been a United player in our situation I would have blown my top!

  36. JimB says:

    Gary – I’m glad to find at least one reasonable Utd fan on this board! I can assure you, though, that any player who leaves Spurs in the right manner (or at least, without controversy) is welcomed back warmly. Already this season, Steed Malbranque, Andy Reid, Dean Marney and Paul Robinson have received warm welcomes at the Lane. Malbranque was welcomed with shouts of “Steeeeed” whenever he got the ball or whenever he neared any section of the crowd. Robbo probably received one of the warmest receptions that any player has ever received anywhere when returning to play against his former club. Spurs fans also gave Jermain Defoe a magnificent reception at Fratton Park – even after he scored the penalty that sealed Pompey’s win. Going further back, Pat Jennings always received a fantastic reception at White Hart Lane even though he was playing for Arsenal.

  37. JimB says:

    As to why Spurs fans booed Robbie Keane – the truth is that he got a mixed reception from the crowd. A sizeable minority did boo him, true. But the majority (including me) gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted. Those that booed did so because Keane had said, on the official Spurs website, that he had no intention of leaving and that he wanted to stay at the club for the remainder of his career. Then, only a few days later, he put in a transfer request.

    As to Sheringham, like Keane, he also got a mixed reception when returning to the Lane. I think those who booed him were upset by a number of things that he said about Spurs after he joined Utd. If he had only kept quiet, he would have been warmly welcomed back.

  38. Gary says:

    That it true, I did notice you gave Defoe a good reception, I alos noticed before he took that penalty that you were chanting “Your Spurs, and you know you are” which made me laugh.

    Well I’m just hoping for a good game today, usually is between United and Spurs. Obviously I’m hoping for a United 3 points, but I have have always liked Spurs, good footballing side, and good support.

    I live in Luton, but I’m a season ticket holder for United, so growing up most me mates were Spurs or Arsenal fans, so growing up I always hated Arsenal with a passion and had a soft spot for Spurs.

    That 5-3 game at White Hart Lane was just a classic if your a United fan. I ended up sitting in the Spurs end, and I was only 15 at the time, my mates dad is a tout and got us tickets in the Spurs end in the camera stand, we missed Dean Richards 1st goal because for some bloody reason we needed to sign up for Spurs memberships before the game, for a few years later Spurs were still sending me stough through my door!

  39. Scott the Red says:

    JimB – Was I in LaLa land when David Beckham, who fucked off for Real Madrid, was met with rapturous applause when he returned a couple of years ago?

    Feel free to name me the players United fans have booed on their return to Old Trafford.

    Do you care to show me where I said you should be GRATEFUL for him staying an extra year? Gary, show me.

    I’m merely pointing out that despite not wanting to play for Spurs, he still scored a shit load of goals for you. People talk about him being mardy and not getting the job done, but he did. He didn’t hand in a transfer request and cause a fuss in 2007, he stayed and was your top scorer.

  40. suhayl says:


    Fuckin shit players that leave clubs never get booed…because they were shit and surplus to requirements.

    Berba went to a bigger better club in every fuckin way…just fuckin deal and live with it.

    Spurs favourite line ‘ we think we are a big club and have a divine right to think so’

    Well the last 40 years shows youve been a bag of wank. THATS A FACT

  41. Gary says:

    I didnt actually read your post Scott, I onyl read what JimB said, and if you didnt say that then I take it back.

    What a poor porformance from United, what did I say! All i was hoping for was an entertaining game! I have lost count of the number of boring games we have been involved in this season. No urgency to United’s play, even tho we knew the scousers had fucked up again.

    I’m begining to wonder whether the hunger is there this season with some of our players. Vidic and Ferdinand were fantastic again as usuall, Rafael did well again, O Shea his usuall self = shit, Fletcher quiet today, Carrick steady, Park decent performance, Ronaldo extrememly quiet, Tevez not his usuall self, Berbatov his usuall self i.e absolutely nothing!

    What is with United on setanta? When ever we play on that fucking shit channel the game is mind numingly boring!

    2 points dropped

  42. King Eric says:

    Gary: I know what you are saying, we are fucking jinxed with Setanta. Not the result I wanted with us flying out to Japan now for 11 days or whatever, especially with scousers getting held (again) at home. Come on ‘ammers!

  43. JimB says:

    Scott – Beckham was effectively shown the door by Ferguson. He didn’t mope around for a year and a half, directing his agent to slag off Man Utd at every opportunity in order to engineer a move away from Old Trafford. He didn’t upset team morale by behaving like a spoilt brat around the training ground. He didn’t refuse to play games for Utd when they desperately needed him.

    So how about you give me a proper analogy? Because it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that there is a world – nay, a universe – of difference between the manner in which Berbatov left Tottenham and the manner in which Beckham left Man Utd.


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