All posts by Mark

Football has always been my passion, a passion fueled by my late Grandfather whose love for the game was impossible not to share. I grew up with stories of Duncan Edwards and the Busby Babes, who my Granddad had seen first hand, and it was there my interest in the greatest football story ever told began. From the tragedy of the Busby Babes to the resurrection through Best, Law and Charlton. Then back in to obscurity for a quarter of a century until a certain Sir Alex Ferguson rolled in to town. Once you learn the history of the club it's hard not to fall in love with it. And for that I'll always be grateful to my Pops.

Manchester United Season Review Awards – Vote Now!

Manchester United Season Review Awards 2014/15

Manchester United Season Review Awards

We want YOU! The United Stand is THE Manchester United channel that’s all about the fans, so what better way to have a season review show than to have one totally based around your opinion?

That’s right! Our United season review and awards show will be 100% about YOU! No so called expert journalists casting their vote on a club they hardly watch, no ex players demanding a fee to give their opinion to the fans who’ve paid their wages for years. We’re doing it the right way. We’re giving a voice to the only people who matter in football, the true owners of the game, the fans.

Below you’ll find a number of different polls you can cast your vote in. From best performance of the year to the most improved player, from flop of the season to best goal of the season – you can even vote for your United Stand Pundit of the year! We’ve got every category covered and the main thing is your vote will influence who ends up winning the most important awards in Manchester United’s season.

We’ll also being giving away some great prizes LIVE on air. Including two tickets to the Manchester United vs Bayern Munich Legends game at Old Trafford, a signed Paul Scholes photo and much more.

The fact is no other season review matters as much as this one. Why? Because they’re voted for by the people who matter the most – YOU the fans.

So cast your votes below and join us LIVE at 9pm GMT on Sunday 31st May – click here for the link to link to the show – for the only Manchester United Awards show that matters.


Manchester United Goal of the Season

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Performance of the Season?

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Signing of the Season

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Worst Performance of the Season

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Outfield Player of the Season

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Let Down Of the season (Slippy G Award)

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Most Improved Player of the Season

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Young Player of the Season

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Worst Signing of the Season

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Fan Favorite of the Season

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Rate LVG's first season in charge

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United Stand Panelist of the Year

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Manchester United Transfer News |Mark’s Blog Week 1

Manchester United Transfer News

Manchester United Transfer News Will Save Us

Manchester United transfer news will keep us United fans happy this summer. That’s what I keep telling myself as the season draws to an ominous close anyway.

A long and daunting prospect as it hurtles towards you like a herd of obese upper class cricket fans every May, the close season fills me with dread. You convince yourself you can do it, that Wimbledon and athletics really aren’t that bad if you give them a chance. But deep down we know we’re kidding ourselves. We’re football addicts and the close season is a dark and difficult time for Manchester United fans.

Accustomed to the “no value in the market” strategy adopted by Sir Alex to protect the Glazers over the years and having to watch our noisy neighbours and Chelsea acquire talent like the milky bar kid acquires fillings, it’s painful viewing through our red tinted glasses. On top of that we don’t even have the small comfort of an international tournament to shorten the suffering. United finish the season on Sunday, leaving us with more or less three months before the next game that matters. Three months!!!

But there’s hope! There’s real one hundred per cent hope. Memphis Depay may well be our most important signing of the summer but he’s barely scratched the surface of what is a very deep rooted problem at Old Trafford right now – don’t worry there’s no Fellaini/tree joke coming. United need new players and plenty of them.

Conservative estimations say another three or four new signings will be queuing up with a smile and a United Scarf for a photo with LVG this June/July. But would it really be a surprise if we acquired five or six? A new goalkeeper, right back, centre back and holding midfielder gets us to four and we haven’t even considered the attacking aspect of the side. I think we’ll end up with another five news faces but even if we take four as a minimum then the next few weeks promise to be exciting ones for us United fans. And I for one cannot wait. You can make YOUR prediction on our poll below.

We’ll probably be linked with every player from Joey Barton to Lionel Messi but who cares? This could be the most interesting summer we’ve had at United in decades. So don’t be deactivating your twitter account for the summer, it’s going to be a busy one.

And we’ll be there to comment on it with you every step of the way. Click for our The United Stand YouTube Channel where we’ll have LIVE fan reactions videos to all United’s signings. And follow us at @UnitedStandMUFC for up the minute transfer rumors and news through the summer transfer window

The summer just got interesting.

By Mark Goldbridge

How Many Players will United sign this summer (Including Depay)?

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The Resurrection of Manchester United

Manchester United on their way back to the topThe resurrection of Manchester United as kings of England is gathering momentum. Fans can call that premature, arrogant, short sighted whatever but the fact remains, United securing Champions League football next season is right up there with John Terry slipping on his in Moscow.

We should have no doubts, United were vulnerable this season. Destroyed mentally & physically by Moyes, depleted by the loss of leaders on the pitch such as Vidic, Rio, Evra & Giggs, and facing huge financial ramifications if they missed out on the Champions League for another season, United were there for the taking like a wounded animal surrounded by a pack of lions. Fortunately, the lions were toothless and the wounded animal was packing an AK47. We battled back and found our way out of a desperate situation and now we’re ready to strike back.

Speaking from a position of comfort where we now know fourth place is secure, I’ll happy admit our rivals could and should have done more. And when I say rivals, it gives me great satisfaction to say Liverpool. Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal have done their bit. They’ve put themselves in positions to finish above United. They’ve pushed us to the cliff edge so to speak. It’s Liverpool who’ve let the side down. All they needed to do was finish the job and push us in to the abyss. Instead they jumped off themselves – come on, you know you enjoyed that one.

Never again will Manchester United be allowed to fall so hard as they did under Moyes. Yes we’ve been lucky at times this season and the football has been bad more often than it’s been good – this summer’s season review DVD would be better off remarketed as a beer mat for all the use it will get. But that shouldn’t detract from the sheer will and determination Van Gaal and his side have shown to secure that Champions League place.  Over the course of a season you end up where you deserve and Manchester United are where they are because Liverpool didn’t have the fight or ability to finish us off. Let’s not forget it was United who went to Anfield and gave them the most comprehensive footballing lesson they’ve had in decades. For any Liverpool fan stating United don’t deserve top four I refer them to that particular game and all six points we’ve taken from you this season.

So what for United now? Big improvements are required, there’s no denying that. We can laugh at Liverpool and we should enjoy doing so but no Manchester United fan should be naïve enough to think we’ll get away with playing like this next season. Major renovations are still required to the playing squad, at least five new players are required with the same amount going out of the Old Trafford exit door. Van Gaal must also ensure that the scintillating football we saw from the Spurs home game through to Chelsea away becomes the norm next season and not a blip surrounded by mediocrity. And most importantly we must find a solution to the injury crisis we’ve seen time and time again this season and last. If we don’t, it will continue to undermine any serious title challenge we want to maintain.

Manchester United are still very much in transition and the rebuilding work needs to continue. Securing Champions League football makes that task far easier and should be applauded because another season away from Europe’s elite competition would have seriously undermined Van Gaal’s project and allowed teams such as Chelsea, Arsenal, City, and even Liverpool, the chance to bring in targets we couldn’t.

Now, with champions league football secured fans can fasten their seatbelts for a  summer of transfer activity on the scale we’ve never seen before. Like a lottery winner walking in to Harrod’s, we’ve got money to spend and nothing is off limits. Thanks Brendan and Slippy G. Without your assistance this season we might have had to wait to the last game of the season to secure what we have now.

By Mark Goldbridge

Happy Birthday David Beckham

David Beckham Happy BirthdayHappy Birthday David Beckham

When I’m asked about David Beckham there’s two words that instantly come to mind, respect and legend. Two words I don’t throw about very often, especially when dealing with the modern day footballer but having been fortunate enough to witness the whole of Beckham’s career, there’s no escaping the fact that he deserves our respect and he is a without doubt a United legend.

There will be many Manchester United fans who because of age won’t have witnessed much if any of Beck’s United career, so when I say what I’m about to say you may well recoil in horror. But, and I say this with one hundred per cent honesty, if I had to pick between Beckham and Rooney I’d go for Becks every time. Rooney is loved for his desire and work rate but he’s a mere amateur when it comes to what Beckham offered.

As a footballer Beckham doesn’t receive the credit he deserves from many observers. He genuinely was the best crosser of the ball United & England have ever seen and nobody in world football could deliver a fifty yard pass with the precision and back spin he could – funnily enough something Rooney has also modeled his game on in recent years. Bringing it back to work rate though, he was unparalleled. Neither Beckham or Gary Neville were graced with the greatest pace but their stamina and understanding made them the best right side combination in world football for five years. And who could forget England versus Greece at Old Trafford in 2002 – the game David Beckham single handedly took England to the World Cup in Japan. Again, not many United fans will have seen that game but in my lifetime it’s the one game that stands out where one player really did drive the whole team. It was an immense performance where Beckham was everywhere. His late free kick winning the game and sending us through.

So happy 40th Birthday Becks. To me and many United fans you’ll always have a special place in our hearts. Castigated wrongly and literally hung out to dry by the nation after his sending off in the 1998 World Cup, it was the United faithful who quite rightly stood by one of their own and watched him prove the world wrong the next season when Becks played a huge role in that historic treble winning side.

And when the end came because Sir Alex couldn’t deal with the limelight football’s number one icon brought to his old school approach to football, there was no tantrum from Beckham. He kept his council and held his tongue, where others would have blown a fuse at being thrown out of the club he’s always loved.

So big respect to our Legend, Sir David Beckham.

By Mark Goldbridge

Time to Stand Up

Time to stand up Manchester UnitedSo it’s a Monday morning after a United defeat. Thinking how poorly we played and how the Everton game panned out very different to how we imagined it? Yep, me too.

However, I’m sure we would all be feeling a hell of a lot worse if our great rivals over in Merseyside had won. If Liverpool had indeed beaten West Brom, as well as their game in hand against Hull, they would have only been two points behind us with four games to play. That would have well and truly been squeaky bum time for all of us! Thankfully they didn’t win and Hull look in better shape after their win over Palace at the weekend.

Having said all that, my thoughts turn once again back to the game. Van Gaal’s comments after the game were very frank and honest: “I had already the feeling and my colleagues Ryan Giggs and Albert Stuivenberg had the feeling because the warm up was not so good as usual.” I don’t know about you, but that’s worrying to me. Sure, Liverpool didn’t win and things are looking positive in terms of us securing that all important top 4 place, but United sides of the past have been ruthless and had the conviction to smell blood and do the job. This side faltered pretty woefully. The complacency was obvious. That cannot happen at this level.

I watched the game back last night and can honestly say that we were well beaten. In every department. Many will argue we had plenty of possession but it goes back to the old saying “It’s not how much of the ball you have, it’s what you do with it that counts”. The game was fairly similar to the Chelsea one but the reality is that Everton were better than Chelsea and we were far, far worse.

Questions will be asked about the current crop. They’ve all been in pretty good form but the last two games felt like they’ve hit a bit of a wall. Perhaps some freshness in the side will do us good, or an injection of pace in Di Maria. He obviously hasn’t been in great form himself, but when he’s hardly playing and lacking confidence, you can’t expect miracles. Carrick’s absence is a huge blow for us. It’s not a coincidence that in the last two games where we’ve been poor and he hasn’t played. However, it’s pretty damning that we have to rely on a 34 year old.

Looking ahead to West Brom, a response is required. It’s time to stand up and be counted. A mentality this club has been superb at and needs to again. We still have that cushion over the chasing pack but we need to do our own job. Let’s hope the lads raise their game and get those all-important 3 points in the next game.

by Ben Smith @bensmith130

Manchester United Transfer News – Pogba Won’t Return

Paul Pogba to Manchester United?Manchester United have the money to compete with PSG, Man City and Real Madrid if they want to. Now repeat that back and let it sink in, because it’s true and it sounds nice doesn’t it? After last August’s transfer escapades we find ourselves in this exciting period where we just don’t know who will come in next – who can forget that last minute Falcao signing, even if it hasn’t worked out liked we’d all hoped. On top of the financial muscle to match anyone we also have a great history and support and a manager who has us playing some of the best football in Europe right now. It’s a fact. No player out there is unobtainable. So who do you want to see come in?

If it was down to me it would be Clyne/Coleman, Varane, Strootman, Pogba, Depay and Lacazette. All are achievable and in their differing ways required but in reality I’d be surprised to see us bring in another six players unless we can offload a similar amount – Evans, Rafael, Cleverley, Nani, Powell, Hernandez maybe?

Another player I think we’d be in for if they’re available is Bale or Ronaldo. It’s a big if but in this new era at United one of those two is exactly the sort of statement I believe United are looking to make this summer. We spent big last summer to get top four. We’ll spend big this summer to win the lot.

So which of the above players are likely to come off? Depay and Clyne are done deals and I’d expect them to be signed early on in the summer. Both will bring much needed youth and talent in their positions and both are from clubs and backgrounds that will fit in with the new possession based way of playing LVG demands at United. Varane is unlikely, he’s playing for Madrid and there’s no indication that they want to sell or he wants to move. I expect Hummels will be the player we end up with, there are a few concerns that Klopp could sign him for his new club and if he ends up at City then I’d expect Hummels to follow him there but if it’s Liverpool Hummels isn’t going to want to miss out on Champions League football at his age.

Strootman is interesting, he’s exactly the sort of box to box midfielder we need but the knee problems are a big red flag. Out with a cruciate injury for nine months Strootman was only back playing seven games when another knee injury finished his season. If there’s a better option out there then we should be going all out for them but Van Gaal has a soft spot for Strootman like Sir Alex had for Van Nistelrooy after his knee injury at PSV. And look how that panned out.

Which leaves us with Pogba, Lacazette and Bale/Ronaldo. Lacazette probably won’t happen, he’s all set to sign a new deal with Lyon and there hasn’t been much interest from United. The reason I’d welcome him to Old Trafford is because he’s two footed, quick and a lethal finisher. If he could transfer those abilities to our league then we’d have a forward on our hands we haven’t seen at United since the days of Andy Cole or Bebe. United with a quick lethal finisher would be unstoppable.

Now for Paul Pogba. Pogba to Manchester United should happen but I fear it won’t. Stick Pogba in the Fellaini position and he would take us from a top four side to champions instantly. He has the physicality and aerial threat United fans adore Fellaini for but more importantly Pogba can pass the ball off both feet, run with the ball at speed and finish from distance. He’s the perfect upgrade on Fellaini’s limitations and exactly what United need in that position but I can’t see it happening for one reason. Manchester United won’t want to embarrass themselves by signing a sixty million player they let go for free a couple of years ago.

And it was embarrassing.  We all worship Sir Alex but the Pogba thing was regrettable. The past is the past though and if it’s pride holding us back we should shove that aside and pay the money because Pogba at United would be sensational and I truly believe he has it in him to be World Class.

As for Bale or Ronaldo. If they were available I firmly believe United would go all out to get them. No question. Whether they are available I doubt. Bale I suspect will want to do at least another year in Madrid before coming back and Ronaldo is the best player in the world living the lifestyle in a sunny climate. Having said that, there’s a big part of me that just can’t see Ronaldo and Bale being in the same Madrid team next year….

Now it’s over to YOU! Comment below and give us your thoughts.

Is Wayne Rooney World Class?

Wayne Rooney World Class?Wayne Rooney announcing Fellaini as world class is like Robbie Savage being crowned the winner of mastermind. Unbelievable and frankly it’s never going to happen . What Rooney actually said is, Fellaini is performing really well, he offers the team something different, and he’s probably the best in the world right now at bringing the ball down on his chest. All very true. But just because Stevie G is the best in the world at slipping over at crucial moments in a season, that doesn’t make him world class.

So now we know our captain hasn’t lost his marbles and isn’t about to declare Jonny Evans as the next Bobby Moore, we can move on to the more volatile subject of what is World Class? Two words any follower of the beautiful game will know well but can you to define it?

If social media carnage is your thing you could just run a poll entitled “Is Wayne Rooney World Class?” and watch the fireworks go off. United fans will quite rightly back him, rivals fans in the main won’t, and football fans worldwide would probably be split. Proving the point straight away that “World Class” is a personal test and everyone will have differing views on what the term actually means.

To me it means the player has consistently proved themselves on the world stage – World Cup, Champions League, nominated for Ballon d’Or. They also need to be the best in the world in their given position, or at the least in the top three – think Messi and Ronaldo. And finally, they need to be someone that in twenty years we’ll all look back on say, they were World Class.

Anything beyond the above limitations is dangerous and falls in to the sensationalist trap set by the media – which is all about taking money out of your pocket. Money is already polluting our game and hyping it up to ridiculous levels – The Premier League is the number one brand in world football but it’s far from the number one product. And because of this drive to make money the media brainwashes us in to creating any legacy it wants. So instead of a select few being World Class we have twenty or thirty players who are given the tag.

Faced with such a barrage of publicity and advertising fans believe the hype and the true World Class players of the past are diluted as they are compared with the pretenders of today. The true tragedy being that in twenty years time children will be told about World Class talents of today such as Rooney, Aguero, Sanchez, Beckham and Frank Lampard! Talents that will be inaccurately afforded the same status as the likes of Maradonna, Cruyff & Bobby Charlton. It’s appalling.

To hammer this point home, name twenty players from the last fifty years who are world class – most of you should be able to get in to double figures but it’s not easy. Now name twenty players who fans and the media describe as world class today. Easy isn’t it? The reason behind this is money and marketing at its cynical best. The sponsors want your money and they hype the game up to unrealistic levels so that many fans believe they’re witnessing true greats. When the fact is there’s only two in the modern era, Ronaldo and Messi.

Rooney, Suerez, Pogba, Aguero, Benzema, Lahm, Pirlo, Bale, Toure etc are all top class players and some of them are still young enough to maybe, just maybe, move in to that World Class bracket. But World class now? Don’t make me laugh. There’s always been players of that calibre in football.  Take 1990 as an example. Gullit, Van Basten, Voller, Gascoigne, Brehme, Baggio, Rijkaard, Stoichkov, were all top class players who were comparable or better than everyone we have today bar Messi and Ronaldo. But there’s only player I’d class as World Class from that era and that’s Lothar Matthaus.

That’s how it should be. One or two World Class talents who endure through the years from a certain era.

As for fans saying any player in the Premier League is World Class. I’d strongly advise they look at the facts. The Premier League is a phenomenal product, the best in the world. We all love it and look forward to watching United play in it every week. Globally it brings in billions of pounds. But quality wise it’s poor and the last couple of years in Europe have shown that. Spanish, Italian and French teams have dealt with our best teams comfortably and even sides from Turkey and Portugal haven’t had too many problems. Right now being a top player in the Premier League doesn’t mean that much. So to say a player performing well in it is World Class involves way too much guess work in my opinion.

So let’s open the debate! There should be plenty out there and as always we’ll listen and reply.

What does World Class mean to you? Because if it means Wayne Rooney or Marouane Fellaini you really need to ask yourself why.

The Manchester Derby – Nothing to Fear

Manchester Derby
Manchester Derby Preview

The Manchester Derby? I’ve got to be honest, it just doesn’t mean as much to me as Liverpool. Not even close. City can spend the money, buy as many trophies as they like and bring in the best mercenary football talent money can buy. But you can’t buy history. Yes it’s a local Derby and it’s nice to beat them but when the points are ours and the dust settles what does it matter? There’s only so much joy you can take from kicking a soulless empty cardboard box.

And that’s what Man City are to me. You can commission the best artist in the world to paint the box, you can wrap it in the finest gold plated ribbon, but it’s still an empty cardboard box inside. That’s not a cheap dig at the Emptihad being an attractive box with no fans inside either – although it does work quite well. I’m talking about the club in general. Before the money ripped the soul out of the club Manchester City actually had an identity, they had a heartbeat. Now they’re a club who were picked at random by a billionaire owner, with a ground they’ll never fill and a set of players who, whilst very good, have absolutely no affinity or care for the club. They’re mercenaries and when push comes to shove, Manchester City have no soul.

Vincent Kompany can talk the talk, saying the Derby has come at the right time for them to respond. He’s hardly going to sit down and tell the truth is he? “ Yeah Geoff, we’re a total embarrassment at the moment and the thought of going to the best team in the league right now in the most hostile of atmosphere’s doesn’t fill us with confidence. In fact, I’m thinking of feigning a groin strain on Sunday morning to get myself out of it”

City are on the ropes and they’ll continue to be knocked back down every time they think they’re on the road to success because their business plan is based on a too much too soon attitude. Chelsea – another club built on money – addressed the issue from the start by implementing a spine to the side that was willing to put their bodies on the line for the club – Terry, Lampard, Drogba. Arsenal also had it with Adams, Viera, Bergkamp and Henry. And United, well United didn’t have a spine, they had a whole body. City on the other hand have Hart and Kompany at a push. It’s not enough to build an empire. Yes they’ll win the odd title and cup by sacking their manager and spending massive amounts of money each summer but they’ll never build a dynasty until they bring in players who love the club. And to be blunt, what’s to love about an expensive cardboard box?

So with Sunday’s Derby on the horizon I can only see one winner – Manchester United. With the Old Trafford Faithful behind them United will get at City from the first minute. City will wobble because they don’t have the mentality to go toe to toe with a passionate and confident United and if we get an early goal I really do think we can win this game by three or four goals. The key is to not allow City to settle early on, they have good ball players like Toure, Silva and Nasri who given time will happily dictate the play. With the form we’re in though I fully expect a quick pressing game coupled with a noisy confident home crowd to put pay to that and once United slip in to their game City will see what happens when you build a club on youth and passion.

Three points in the Derby and we can leave City and Liverpool playing for scraps and fourth place. Come on United!

Which is the BIGGER game to YOU?

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Van Persie – Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Robin Van Persie
When you make a video at the start of the season backing Robin Van Persie, there’s nowhere to hide when it all comes crashing down – for those of you who take pleasure in my misfortune I’ll save you the time searching for the video – the links here if you want a laugh.

So with that very public record of my Van Persie stance there isn’t much room for me to move in this article, even if I wanted to. We pride ourselves on being consistent on The United Stand – anyone doubting that refer to my thoughts on Fellaini – and as much I accept Robin has been very disappointing again this season, I still believe he has it in him to be a major asset for United.

So what’s the future for RVP? Is his time at United coming to an end or is there one last curtain call in the Theatre of Dreams?

Recent straw polls suggest most Manchester United fans have run out of patience and want Van Persie to move on in the summer, with the likes of Cavani or Benzema preferred options. The polls are far from cut and dry though. There’s still strong support for the man who single handedly won Sir Alex his and United’s last title two years ago – while a certain Mr Rooney underperformed and sulked his way through the campaign. And let’s not forget Van Persie scored the World cup’s best goal only last summer. So why shouldn’t he have the support of the Old Trafford faithful? He’s surely done more than enough in his short tenure at the club to earn at least one more drink in the last chance saloon? If this season’s taught us one thing it’s this, if Fellaini can do it anyone can.

Yes, there’s been an alarming drop off in his United form over the last eighteen months – albeit, last season he had the universally accepted excuse of Moyes. This season he’s been playing under his self-confessed football Dad in LVG though and yet we’ve still seen the worst performances from RVP in a decade. When searching for reasons why the common excuse is age and injury have caught up with him but I’m not entirely convinced. There’s no denying that time catches up with all players but let’s consider the bigger picture for a moment. We’re all currently revelling in the sexy football United have played in the last three games but don’t forget the previous twenty eight. The football was dire, we weren’t creating anything and it’s no surprise that all of our forwards were struggling for form. In come Mata, Herrera and Carrick, the possession and pressing game clicks in to place, and from creating hardly anything we’re dominating sides from start to finish. Give Van Persie a couple of run outs in this side, or Falcao for that matter, and I guarantee you’d see a very different RVP to the one that’s struggled this season. Few forwards perform well without service and Van Persie has always been a striker who relies on quality.

Stick him in the Chelsea side with his old pal Fabregas to pick out his runs and he’d still score twenty goals a season. Give him a run in this United side with Herrera and Mata behind him and I’m convinced he’ll do the same. Yes, he’s had a bad season, there’s no escaping that fact. But he’s played all of that season in a poor side starved of service. Within this new exciting United setup he still has a lot to offer.

Whether he has anything to offer beyond the summer is the big question. Over to you.