Friday, January 25, 2008

Has the sun baked Ferguson's head?

United have been sunning themselves away from the dreadful Manchester wet weather over in sunny Saudi Arabia on a money grabbing mini winter break. The Reds went down losing the 3-2 to Al Hilal, however, the match was of little significance given that the game amounted to a PR exercise. No doubting the players and manager have enjoyed this break from their regular training regime with the added bonus of a few rounds of golf.

Meanwhile, rejuvenated Spurs, fresh from devouring rivals Arsenal in the Carling Cup semi-final are apparently looking forward to running United off the park in the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford this Sunday. Only after this game will the fans be able to judge the impact of the somewhat controversial sojourn to the sun. IF the unthinkable happened and Spurs dumped the Reds out of the FA Cup, the 'cool £1m' they made from their holiday jaunt will seem like small beer given what they Reds could have netted from a few more lucrative home games in the Cup.

While in Saudi Fergie has been talking to the press at length. First off he waded into Liverpool's American owners in support of Rafa Benitez, who has in turn been reportedly seeking help from the League Managers Association, regarding the turmoil which surrounds the comedy that is the Anfield ownership saga. No doubting in a bid to in part stir it up, Fergie entered the debate and says that it must be a concern for Liverpool if Rafa quits with so many Spanish players on their books, this is true. Where would the Scousers be without Torres this season? Mid-table, I'd say.

However, while the Scousers have a fair few Spaniards on their books, the Red Devils have a Portuguese enclave. The recent addition of Angolan striker Manucho takes the number of Portuguese speaking stars at United to four. You can also add the two young Brazilian defenders who are expected to sign. So it would be a reasonable question to ask, what would happen if Carlos Queiroz left United?

Many United fans also have grave concerns about the Glazer family and their debt laden regime. While matters on the pitch appear to be fine just now, the verdict of anyone with a grain of financial sense realises that the Glazers' have little alternative but to sell United on and soon - either that or perhaps try to refloat the club on the stock-market, but that seems unlikely, given the debt situation.

Cash strapped United fans are suffering at the sharp end of huge increases as the Glazer family ramp up prices. No word from our illustrious leader on this nearer to home and thorny issue. So in short, if you live in a glass-house do not throw stones.

Then today we are hearing that Fergie has spoken out again, this time about two undoubted all-time United greats, Giggs and Scholes. Of the latter, he says that the Ginger Prince's return gives him the confidence that the Reds can go on to win the league. Dangerous talk indeed. True enough, Scholes is a genius on his day, but with the arrival of players like Tevez, Anderson and Hargreaves, who will make way for Scholes?

As for Ryan Giggs, following the arrival of Nani, he has had to fight for his place arguably more than at any other time since Lee Sharpe was at the club. Many United fans have long thought that Giggs lacked competition for his place in the side and it's great to see that he can still do it. After coming on as a sub at Reading apparently he made 45 second-half sprints - that's more than the likes of Berbatov puts in a game.

On the wider point of winning the title, and following the departure of Mourinho, Fergie may well be tempted to tinker with his starting eleven, we have seen some evidence of this already this season. With Scholes set to return, it is to be hoped that Fergie continues to pick his team on merit rather than have his thoughts clouded by misty-eyed views on what Scholes has achieved for United. Let us also hope Scholes rises to the challenges set by Tevez, Anderson, Hargreaves and Carrick.

Given the amount of talking Fergie has been doing this week, one could be forgiven for thinking that the sun has baked his head, he has even been quoted saying that he couldn't ever see Scholes and Giggs retiring and to cap it all he also says that he knows that Capello will make sure that Beckham becomes an England centurion.

Even if Fergie is being somewhat whimsical on the future of Scholes and Giggs many United fans would love to agree with his sentiments, no matter how unrealistic. On Beckham attaining his 100 England caps, the question has to be asked, has Fergie undertaken a crash course in mind-reading in Saudi? More likely it sounds like the manager is suffering from the effects of a mild case of sun-stroke, let us hope that by the time Sunday comes around Fergie has recovered and that he stops talking like a sentimental father figure and reverts to a ranting touchline maniac.


  1. Saudi Arabia. Not Dubai.

  2. Hey SMARTY! It's Riyadh the capital of KSA not Dubai wich is located at the UAE! Take a lesson at Geoghraphy!


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