As usual at this time of year, critics and fans are falling over each other to write off Man United’s chances of winning anything this season. In fact it’s impossible not to discuss the matter with anyone without the words ‘You’re just not the same team without Ronaldo‘ waltzing into the conversation.

Well no, we’re not. And I for one am more than happy about that. We now have 11 players contributing to team performance. We have Wayne Rooney, a big game player recently reborn and with something to prove. We have wingers and wingbacks now that we’ve dropped the drab 4-3-3 formation that was stifling our game. Admittedly the jury is still out on Nani and Valencia, but we’ve already seen flashes of what they’re capable of, and not just as extras in the video for ‘Thriller’. (more…)

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My mother tells a funny story about a linguistic mix-up.

A couple she knows were going skiing with some friends and taking their daughter along with her boyfriend. The day before they left, the daughter broke up with the unfortunate chap, but since the holiday had been paid for in its entirety, he came along anyway. Having never skied before, and being on holiday with his now-ex-girlfriend and her parents, he was understandably looking glum while nursing a pint in the bar one evening when one of the family friends came over and commiserated, saying how miserable it must be for him. “Oh well,” he replied, “déjà vu…” (more…)

Meanwhile there have been worrying developments in the Premier League close season.

The fragile truce between Manchester United and Chelsea enshrined in the 2005 “Mikel Accords”, whereby Chelsea were limited to an equivalent of 3 Ballacks to every 5 of United Rooneys, looks to have crumbled, leading to a headlong arms race.

Like a demented Wilkinson Sword and Gillette adding more and more pointless extra blades, Chelsea and United have been acquiring offensive weapons with reckless abandon. Word has reached this reporter that United plan to play 10 strikers next term, with Christiano Ronaldo as a rush goalie. (more…)