Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lack of quality costing champions dearly, as 'clear-out' talk surfaces...

United travelled to St Andrews last night and dominated one of only two Premier League games that managed to beat the big freeze. Despite the difficult conditions it was decent playing surface as the champions went on to enjoy the lion’s share of first-half possession. But despite controlling the game United could not make the vital breakthrough. Wayne Rooney was guilty of failing to beat Joe Hart when put clean through on goal midway through the opening period, in fairness it was a good save by Joe Hart.

While Birmingham appeared to be happy to soak up United's almost constant pressure, unlike the Blues defence, when the champions back-four was eventually called into action they failed the test miserably as they somehow managed to concede what was a sloppy goal scored by Cameron Jerome just before half-time following a poor attempted clearance by Jonny Evans.

Going into the interval there was a feeling of injustice, but in all honesty it was all so very predictable given that United haven't been able to defend for toffee when they've been without 'want-away' Nemanja Vidic at the heart of the defence.

The champions eventually got what they deserved when they equalised in the second half, but it when it arrived it was an own goal scored by Scott Dann. The equaliser came about after yet more good work by Atonio Valencia, who was by some distance United's star man on the night. Valencia has been playing consistently well of late and he is one of the few who came out with any credit following last weekend's humiliating FA Cup defeat at the hands of Leeds United.

Darren Fletcher was harshly sent-off for his second yellow card of the night; referee Mark Clattenburg clearly made a big mistake when booking the Scot for the second time...

Overall, United were once again hugely disappointing in all departments; the back four looks about a solid as a bowl of rice pudding, the midfield was guilty of failing to prise open Birmingham's well organised defence and Fergie started with just Rooney up top and that didn't work either. In fact, apart from dominating the possession, it wasn't a good performance at all. United have a record of coming on strong in the second half of the season, but there was precious little to suggest that is going to happen based on last night's showing at St Andrews.

It came as no great surprise to learn that according to today's sports papers Fergie is planning a summer clear-out. If we are to believe what we read then Berbatov, Nani, Anderson, Vidic and Tosic will soon be on their way. Many fans will no doubt concur with selling Berbatov, Nani and Tosic.

You also wonder whether or not Ferguson will stick with Welbeck and Gibson who've both been given plenty of chances, but have failed to really grasp the opportunity of a lifetime to make an impact in the famous red shirt. With the exception of Tosic, the player's mentioned have all had time to impress. In the case of Berbatov and Nani, both have failed.

Berbatov has been described as Ferguson's 'biggest transfer flop', but that's debatable because Veron cost as much and he was just as bad. When you consider the club shelled out £60m cash to acquire the pair of them and in the case of Berbatov are likely to receive less than half the £30m then it really does look like bad business.

Up and until this juncture Ferguson has had the luxury of being able to get it very wrong when splashing out vast sums when buying players who turned out to be bad buys; but you wonder how the manager will cope within what are claimed to be limited financial constraints.

The manager has a great record where winning domestic silverware is concerned and his overall record of buying is still very good; but he doesn't balance the transfer books like Arsene Wenger. United fans don't care much about transfer deficits, it's trophies in the cabinet that count, which is fair enough, but with little or no money to spend and with increased pressure from the likes of Man City and Chelsea for big name players the United manager is up against it.

Ferguson may well soon reflect it is time to call it a day and hand over to a younger manager - after all he has nothing to prove. Likewise, the cash strapped Glazer family should sell up and get out because they could never really afford to buy the club in the first instance without putting the future of United in danger when borrowing on a dangerous scale.

The current United squad is going nowhere fast and needs major surgery in all departments and with Ferguson in charge it is going to cost a lot of cash, money the club doesn't have at this moment in time.

United fans can expect a very bumpy ride from now until the end of the season and you do wonder where it will all end.


  1. James,

    Let's assume the Glazer's will sell Utd. Do you think the club would be able to find an oil rick sheikh because of it's high profile? I think that only Rooney, Vidic, and Evra would qualify as Utd quality. Fletcher has looked better, but he wouldn't have made it on previous Utd squads.

  2. "United fans can expect a very bumpy ride from now until the end of the season and you do wonder where it will all end"

    Mate, try the next few seasons, a large majority of United fans are not going to know how to deal with it if anything drastic happens.

  3. Evgenii,

    I agree with your comments about Fletcher and the other players.

    The Glazers are desperately hoping somone will bail them out, be it an oligarch or an Arab rich sheikh, but I honestly do not see it happening. United are apparently valued at £1.5 billion, but who on earth is going to pay that when there's so few would be bidders?

    The Glazers' shouldn't have got involved, they couldn't afford and I hope they lose everything - the problem being they will probably wreck United into the bargain.

  4. FBHOTW,

    There's a lot of 'new fans' following United who've known nothing but success. So you're right and if there's a serious downturn which is most definitely on the cards, it will have far reaching consequences and many of these JCLs will disappear IMO.

  5. I personally wouldn't want any Arab or oil based money buying United out, that's a ticking clock in its own basis.

    But the questions are who ? And would the Glazers sell !?

  6. The Glazers' are actively looking for buyers according some tabloid reports.

    They'd sell to anyone IMO.

    Personally, I don't care who owns the club as long as they don't put the club's future in doubt.


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