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Opinion

Manchester United – A club living in fear

5 months ago
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I did not think I would ever want to write an article about another club.

I do of course mention other clubs in passing from time to time but this is different, today I feel compelled to write about our one time rivals….

Yes, it’s those reds from Salford, namely Manchester United.

Ok, its fair to say off the pitch we have not always got on with them. Back in the mid 70s when their ‘red army’ was causing mayhem across the country they turned up in numbers in Newcastle and spent most of the day getting the proverbial kicked out of them both inside and outside the ground, older fans on here will remember this and some no doubt will smile at the memory. Tony O’Neill, the author of the excellent Red Army General, dedicates a full chapter in his book to this and unlike Cass Pennant from West Ham, who it turns out can’t tell fact from fiction, O’Neill is openly honest about the happenings of the day!

There have been many incidents off the pitch over the years including another huge exchange outside SJP at an FA Cup Tie in 1990 (ish) and again on Wembley way prior to the 1996 Charity Shield and the 1999 FA Cup, it’s fact they don’t particularly like us and fans like me detest them, seeing the Glory Hunting Gateshead Reds coach arriving at Old Trafford back in the mid 80s only fuelled my particular feelings toward them.

Of course. it is not just at fan level, Alex Ferguson and his cheating ways psyched out Kevin Keegan in the title run in of 195/96, as our 12 point lead was reeled in. Culminating in the infamous but emotionally passion filled rant from KK, we saw it we heard it and we felt it, and god bless KK for showing his feelings.

The media of course all love Man Utd, referring to them over and over again as simply United, however, up until 1902 they were quite simply Newton Heath and did not become United until that year, a full ten years after the City of Newcastle amalgamated its two clubs to become Newcastle United. So again, it might be me being picky, but it boils my urine hearing people refer to them as United, and if I hear any Newcastle fan calling them that they are given a short sharp history lesson!

Of course, the horrific tragedy of 1958 should not ever be forgotten, some fabulous footballers lost their lives in an incident that should be remembered with respect forever.

In their history in the decades before we moved into the 1960s, it is a fact that Manchester United were not even the biggest club in Greater Manchester or Lancashire.

However, the Busby Babes followed and the culmination was a team full of flair players who won the European Cup in 1968.

Ok enough about them and their history, why are they a club living in fear?

Two word answer, Jessie Lingard.

Only two clubs wanted him, West Ham United and Newcastle UNITED.

After his very successful loan spell with the Hammers I thought it was nailed on he would go there, either on a permanent deal or another loan, but it would seem Man Utd see West Ham as a top four rival (how the mighty have fallen) so refused to do business with them.

We move on to us and Newcastle United have a player who is very keen to come, a player who needs first team football to have any chance of making future England squads and it seemed the obvious fit. Man Utd however decide to offer him to us on ludicrous loan terms, this is a player who will leave for nothing in a few months and they decide they want about £16 million for about 17 games (injury permitting), this has to be the most astonishing ask in football history.

To that end, our owners rightly decided not to be held to ransom and looked elsewhere and when disappointment followed with Hugo Ekitike, they reportedly went back to Man Utd and were seemingly prepared to meet the price being asked……done deal! However, Man Utd then decided a deal could not be done with NUFC and the obvious became apparent.

Like the rest of the Premier League, they are desperate for us to go down, they know that if we survive, then next season after another transfer window we will become not just rivals but we could potentially leave them behind, no wonder they are scared. I can honestly see us passing them and both North London clubs within twelve months, this is the most famous club in the world with debts estimated at over £600 million (and a leaky roof at the Stretford End), the price of success has firmly bitten them (and others) on the backside.

Barcelona with their crumbling Nou Camp got rid of Messi and replaced him with Mag misfit Luuk De Jong…there is a pattern developing. Spurs with their beautiful shiny new stadium owing a cool £1billion, isn’t this all delicious?

There is of course a serious side. Jesse Lingard is now stuck in limbo, he may get a few games as awful off the pitch stuff is now haunting the Red Devils, but in essence, his chances of coming in from the cold at Old Trafford are limited. Then as I have said before, if we survive, fringe players from Man Utd and indeed fringe players of other clubs, will not be of interest to us next season.

My only fear is we will obviously attract the glory hunter type of fan as time progresses, yes we want to be the biggest brand in world football, but I don’t want to see tourists on match day with ridiculous half and half scarves.

Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham…….clubs living in fear, while the other three will also be glancing over their shoulder in either 12 or 24 months time, relegation would be disappointing but would only set us back 12 months, this juggernaut is slowly turning….the European Superleague was their “get out of jail” free card…but it failed and now that we can see the finances of these clubs it makes things even more delicious.

Ok, enough about them, what about down the road?

Well after the six in a row from last Saturday they duly sacked their manager, this despite being third in the table, their owner (who is he?) decided enough was enough. Now lets be honest, they need to get out of Division 3 (old school) this season and it is very much in the balance, maybe 88 year old all round good guy Jermaine Defoe can help them with this, only time will tell. What I do know though is as the NUFC juggernaut picks up speed, they will find it hard to attract fans from the so called middle grounds and beyond.

Mixed areas like Washington, South Shields etc as time passes will see more kids drift north, it’s odd but there are red and white pockets in Northumberland and these too will slowly turn black and white as time progresses. The SAFC heartlands of south East Durham too will see more fans drift toward following success, make no mistake this will happen, it’s a fact that success attracts the masses and with the ambitious owners and finance we have, it’s only a matter of time.

Further away, Derby County and their plight is sad for the fans, but it has to be pointed out the mismanagement goes back to the selling of the Baseball Ground. It solved their then financial mess and they built a cheaper flat pack elsewhere, other clubs have done this including Stoke, Middlesbrough and Bolton, but in the case of Bolton the same mistake was repeated and it’s only now they are coming out of their latest financial mess. Derby County sadly have had a succession of poor owners and it’s sad to say it but Mike Ashley is the perfect fit for them right now.

Ok, enough from me, except to say rumour has it next season the our owners are planning to issue free Ray-Ban sunglasses with all season tickets, to pinch a cliche from ‘Timbuk 3’ (google it), the future so bright I have to wear shades!

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