I have spent my life as a football fan, bathing in a river of negativity… Self imposed, I might add. Every match that I attend, I put myself through an excruciating ritual of superstitious nonsense, purely so United will not lose. What doesn’t help is I have convinced myself over this thirty year period of being a Red, that it makes a difference. Maybe I have mental health issues? Or maybe I am just a typical football supporter? Either way, being negative is one of the true joys of the common fan. We are obsessive and compulsive until the end.
Without slowly trawling through, and listing all the events that have occurred since the manager left the hottest of hotseats, many Manchester United fans are in a strange state of flux. As I said, negativity is part of the fun for many fans.
However, this is something different. This new form of negativity has nothing to do with fun, or jesting, or the usual…banter (yes, the world’s worst word). This has its roots deeper in a strange world: A world of defeatism. A world of self loathing. This attitude is a ‘new’ one for the common United fan. Hated, adored, but never ignored – but it has never been: hating ourselves, and ignoring the facts, which seems to be the favourite cocktail of the day, on the sunny platforms of Twitter and its contemporaries.
The one decidedly scratched record we hear at the moment is how United’s summer has been such a huge mess. David Moyes, now into week six of his reign as the boss, has had a stinker. Actually no, it is Ed Woodward’s fault. No… it is Malcolm Glazer’s fault. Oh hell! It is Nani and Anderson’s fault! Yeah let us blame them this week.
During this incredible summer of failure we have seen United gift wrap Thiago to the best team in the world. We have flirted with Cesc Fabregas over the bar, only to find out he does this with all the girls. And we have Wayne Rooney, our boy wonder, who is one step away from torching his United legacy, all so he can be nearer his hair specialist in West London. Stick on top of this a United pre-season World Tour, where it seems that results suddenly matter to fans, the ‘will Nani stay or go’, and the strange criticism that Moyes ‘wanted his own back room staff’ – like Mike Phelan was the Golden Child in an Eddie Murphy movie, and it all adds up to a very interesting episode of Coronation Street, minus a tram crash.
There is nothing wrong with fans feeling the strain in this brand New World Order of ours. However, even the most sensible of Reds are starting to spout a strange symphony of warbling drivel. Now it appears that ‘our squad is not good enough’ – ah that old chestnut! Most of this is on the premise that United have forgotten that midfield is ‘a real thing’ and tend to go out and buy for virtually every other position first. Need a central destroyer? Go out and buy full back cover for Evra…and so on. However, the transfer policy of the club has led us to build a very useful squad, one which walked the league championship last season, and one which nearly toppled a bunch of Galacticos had it not been for a debatable red card. This squad is NOT poor. It is a squad that won the title by ten points. We are not laden with star players, but we are brimming with quality. Even when you consider the hundred million quid that City have spent, they have not surpassed us in any shape or form. I see no Cavani standard signing to fear. They have addressed issues in their problem addled squad, but nothing that blows the mind.
Chelsea of course now has Mourinho. Again, to some Reds this means the title has already gone before a kick of a ball has occurred. Idiots. That is the only word I can find for these fans. Conceding a league to make themselves feel better, somehow.
There is no doubt that this season will be testing. But for even a cynic like me, who does the same negative foxtrot as every other fan, there is so much to be positive about. Change is a good thing and should be embraced, because nothing lasts forever. Moyes got this job because the man we have trusted for a generation thought it was the correct decision. He has eleven years experience in the Premier League and his football knowledge is vast. Phil Neville thinks he was born for this job, so I think it unwise for judgement to be cast any time soon. But according to journalists and many others, last night’s testimonial game was a sign of things to come – yes, a testimonial.
This next year is going to be about the press trying to destabilise our club. If they can get Moyes the sack, then even better. I really hope United fans do not add paper to this smouldering fire, but from first looks it appears they will. They are lining up like bullets in a gun. We have already seen The Daily Mail‘s Neil Ashton give his assessment of the Rooney saga. Poor old Wayne, being messed around by the club, not giving him the cuddles he needs, scared for his England future, and blah blah blah. This is how the next twelve months minimum will pan out. Of course, some will say this is nothing new, but your atypical ABU agenda. However, in the past we would stand up to it as supporters, chest puffed out, abiding by the tradition that our siege mentality would see us through. There certainly feels like a sea change is occurring in relation to this fact, and that worries me more than any transfer deal we might have left incomplete. If Rooney goes to Chelsea, then the pack of cards is going to collapse for our fanbase. As much as I do not understand why fans think like this, it will happen due to the recent changes at the club. The press are the vampires, to the United fans nape of the neck. An amazing amount of blood is being drained with every passing day.
My one overriding point on all of this is the following: Being a Manchester United fan is not just about success. It is about advocating and celebrating the way we attain success. When you see the clear magnificence that reside in the feet of Januzaj, Lingard, Zaha and Powell, how can you not feel hope? How can you not feel excited about being a part of this next chapter in our history? So we did not sign Thiago or Fabregas, but Ferguson has left the club in exceptional shape on the playing side, and in a beautiful twist remains at the club in a strong advisory capacity. Fergie is not a ghost. He is very much a part of the new United. Any fears that we have as a fanbase are currently unfounded. We should revel on what we could achieve, rather than believe the doom that the press perpetuate. There is a scenario where it could go all wrong, and the Moyes is hung from the rafter of the Stretford End, but that is not today’s reality. Today, we have one of the best back fours our club has ever had. We have a young goalkeeper who might become the best in the world. We have the genius of Robin Van Persie, the homegrown talent of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley. We have the Pirlo of English football in our midfield, and in Phil Jones have a talent that Sir Alex says “could be the greatest in our clubs history”. And we have not even added a signing to that yet, with the window weeks from closing. Are things that bad? I think you know the answer…
Keep it United, and carry on. Do not make David Moyes task harder than it already is with your paranoia. You support the greatest club in the world. Revel in that fact, and enjoy the ride.
The RoM 2019-20 Season Preview is available for just £6. It includes an EXCLUSIVE interview with Rafael Da Silva, a Q&A with the country's top journalists, articles by brilliant United writers, and so much more. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.