Category Archives: The Goldbridge Blog

Manchester Derby – Manchester Will be Red

Mark Goldbridge

Manchester Derby – Manchester is Red

Forget form, forget philosophy, forget the trauma of Schweinsteiger being subbed for Fellaini. It’s the Manchester Derby! And whatever we think about the performance against CSKA Moscow we need to park it and move on. Because whether we’d won six nil or been trounced by the same score, it has no impact on what’s about to happen on Sunday. There’s no greater leveller in football than a derby.

So City can gloat about a last minute winner against a Spanish side with a transfer budget equivalent to what City spend on their club encrested toilet roll – we’ll have to take their word for it that it actually happened anyway, considering only one man and his dog attended the game. On Sunday the winner will come down to who wants it most. And when it comes to history, passion and desire there’s only ever going to be one winner.

Yes the Rooney debate rumbles on. It’s not one I intend to waste much time on, other than to say this. I back Rooney and think he still has much to offer at Manchester United. However, when other players are being dropped for below par performances it sends out the wrong message to the players and fans that Rooney is able to play consistently poor and continue to be the first name on the team sheet.

But like I say, the Manchester Derby is another matter, a one off, a game where villains can become heroes and history can be made. What price Rooney pulling out a worldy and winning us the game? Although you’d probably get a safer bet on Clattenburg pulling out a red card and sending him off.

No, if there’s one man I’d be looking to inspire us on Sunday it’s the boy who won’t be tamed. The boy who ridicules a certain news outlet every time he pulls on a United shirt and rams their “What a waste of money” headline firmly where the sun doesn’t shine. Anthony Martial. Whether it’s thirty eight million or sixty he’s hands down the signing of the season and is without doubt our most important player. In fact, the Glazers need to dip their hands in to their very substanstial pockets and reward whoever scouted Martial with a private lapdance and all the extra’s from Taylor Swift – or Ricky Martin, whatever rocks their boat. The boy is top class and on Sunday I’m sure he’ll deliver.

And I for one can’t wait. This is what football is all about. Taking on your rivals , going toe to toe and delivering that knockout blow that will put us top of the league.

Manchester expects. Because Manchester IS Red!

By Mark Goldbridge

Vote United Stand – Goldbridge Blog

Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United Fans – Vote United Stand!

Like recovering from a serious dose of the two bob bits – look it up if you’re not familiar with cockney slang – it’s always a relief when the international break is finally over. Real football is well and truly back on the menu!

Everton away will be a tough prospect. We all know Manchester United were tactically naive and professionally embarrassed a couple of weeks ago against Arsenal and we also can’t escape the fact the performance levels across the pitch will need to improve dramatically if we want to go to Goodison Park and win. Everton and their fans will be up for this game like Anderson at an all you can eat buffet and if United start like they did at The Emirates they’ll be devoured and spat out before the half an hour mark again.

I don’t see that happening though. Van Gaal will know this month is a season defining month and with City ripe for the taking next week – with the loss of Aguero, Toure and Silva – he knows United can’t afford another morale sapping defeat this weekend. Most United fans want a win but to be honest, a draw isn’t a bad result in this fixture. In fact, the only reason we’re all now craving a win is because of the silly points we dropped at Arsenal. So I’ll say it again, like I did before the Arsenal game, let’s play deep in the first twenty minutes, keep the midfield close to the defence, and not mess about with the ball at the back so Everton can press. Do that for the first twenty minutes and let Everton tire themselves out and we can get something from the game

Now to the important bit. The yearly Football Blogging Awards are taking place at Gary Neville’s Hotel Football in November and we need YOUR support. The United Stand has been nominated in the best New category and for those of you who follow The United Stand you’ll know we truly are YOUR channel and 100% about the fans. We believe that football is the fans game and their voice must be heard.

Thanks to all of YOU getting involved we’ve gone from nothing to one of the biggest United Twitter accounts and Manchester United Youtube Channels out there in the space of eight months and we want that to continue so that YOUR voice gets louder and louder. Plus how good would it be if The United Stand won at the Football Blogging Awards at the Theatre of Dreams? We’re the only United finalist in the category so to win it at Hotel Football, right next to Old Trafford would be truly amazing.

The only fly in the ointment is the favourite is a Liverpool channel with over one hundred thousand followers on twitter. So we are up against it. But if everyone reading this votes below and spreads the word we can do it. The last thing we all want is Liverpool winning at Old Trafford!

The United Stand is YOUR channel. It has been from day one and it will continue to be that. If we win then the award will be YOUR award and we’ll make that clear when we accept it. That football should be about the fans and this is just the beginning

So please vote for YOU! Vote for The United Stand! And do all YOU can to spread the word and send the right message, that it’s YOUR voice that needs to be heard!

To vote just click on the following links

The easiest way if you have a Twitter account is to click here and tweet YOUR Vote

YOU can also vote through the website by clicking here and voting The United Stand in The Best New Football Blog category

We’re nothing without YOU so thanks for YOUR support. Let’s aim for the stars and we might just hit the moon

By Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United Fans are what count – The Goldbridge Blog

Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United Fans – Are YOU a real fan?

The international break is here! Like a severe case of piles, it’s not something I’ll be sitting down and enjoying this week but fair play to those who do. I’ll admit there was a time when young Goldbridge would be sat there in his full England kit excited at the prospect of staying up on a Wednesday night to watch Sportsnight with Des Lynam but that fire died out years ago.

International football used to be the pinnacle but for many like me it’s down there like a piece of chewing gum on your shoe – annoying and won’t completely go away no matter how hard you try to get rid of it – a bit like Robbie Savage. I do enjoy the summer tournaments because it’s a break from the monotony of no football but during the proper season it’s disruptive and mediocre – like Robbie Savage.

Enough of the moaning though. Because away from the international scene it’s not been a bad break so far. Yes United were comprehensively beaten by Arsenal and having to listen to their gloating fans for the last few days has been challenging. But there’s two big positives to take from that result. One, LVG totally messed up with his tactics and I can’t see him making the same mistake again this season. And two, Arsenal have got as much chance of winning the league as Michael Owen & Phil Neville have of becoming the next big standup comedy sensation.

Arsenal fans really do take the biscuit when it comes to shallowness and hypocrisy don’t they? Before the United game they were all #WengerOUT with their banners and flags at the ready. Then twenty minutes in to the game United fans are all confused why a crowd that was three nil up was so quiet? The truth being all the Arsenal fans had popped out to redo their banners. Because by the second half they were all #WengerIN again. I’m not even joking, they’re in and out more times than a cuckoo clock on red bull.

Which in contrast brings me on to the best fans in the world – Manchester United fans. LIVE on Thursday night at 9pm we’ll be hosting what promises to be quite a lively debate on The United Stand YouTube Channel. In a way it seems odd that fans of the same club could potentially be falling out in such a heated debate but it’s something we’ve all witnessed. An elitist assumption from match going fans that they are more important/better fans than the rest of us. Total nonsense but one that needs discussing and understanding. Why do some fans feel the need to be like Arsenal fans? Why be petty, arrogant and dismissive of fellow fans? Or are they right?

All I’ll say is join the debate LIVE & have YOUR say on the LIVE comment box of the video or on twitter. We’ll be LIVE from 9pm and we want YOUR opinion no matter which side you stand.

For me, I do believe there are fans of the club who know more about it’s history and what it stands for but that’s not defined by who goes to games or lives in Manchester.

See you on the debate. It’s going to be interesting.

By Mark Goldbridge

The Goldbridge Blog – Wayne Rooney The Elephant in the Room

Wayne Rooney the Elephant in the room

Top of the league and right back in the mix in Europe! It’s not been a bad week for Manchester United fans has it? However, we wouldn’t be United fans if we didn’t find something to moan about so let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way.

And when I say elephant in the room I mean Wayne Rooney – no it’s not a reference to Rooney being overweight – although his first touch does resemble that of a rubber ball hitting an elephant’s backside at the moment. No, for those unaware of the saying “Elephant in the room” it is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. Manchester United’s elephant in the room is Wayne Rooney and quite frankly his performances aren’t good enough.

For those who watched it live we launched our new player ratings idea last night – CLICK HERE to watch – and I scored Rooney a five out of ten. Six is average and I, like the majority of United fans, felt Rooney’s performance was below par. Some said five was generous and a three or four at best was more fitting of his abysmal display – one fan even scored him a minus six but I suspect they didn’t quite grasp the concept and were therefore most likely a bitter scouser. But maybe five was a bit generous? Personally I couldn’t comprehend going below a five for a man who is being paid three hundred thousand pounds a week to captain the club we love though but maybe I’m still in Egypt getting wet? Stuck in De-Nile.

The big question is can Rooney get back to what some of us still believe he can be? I’ve backed him all season, saying he’ll prove the doubters wrong, he’ll get 20 goals plus and we’ll see the Rooney of three years ago. Reading that sentence back I now realise how foolish I look – in fact if I’m not careful nonsense like that will get me headhunted by Mirror Sport. Three years is a long time and maybe Rooney is on the decline? I’m not quite ready to accept that yet but one thing I’ve always said is name a game Rooney has been our stand out player under Van Gaal. The fact we can’t name one in over sixty games is abysmal. And for those who want to use his hat trick against European minnows this season as an example I’d say two things. One, he wasn’t the standout player. Two, any forward would have taken those three chances.

I suppose when I re-evaluate where I stand on Rooney – and those of us who have backed him do need to remove our heads fromour backsides and do that because he has been very poor this season – I know he’s nowhere near the Rooney we’re meant to be paying for. We’re paying for a top of the range Ferrari and we’re getting a 06 plate Ford Fiesta with one hundred thousand miles on the clock.

Will Van Gaal drop him? No chance. The media love Rooney and whilst I’m certain LVG is astute enough to realise the fans are running out of patience he’ll keep picking Rooney to avoid the media storm he’d get for dropping him. Which in fairness I kind of agree with. Drop Rooney and the media will descend on Van Gaal and United and create havoc with days of Rooney nonsense. Why would LVG want that when his side are top of the league and the squad is clearly happy and working together. The old adage, why fix something that’s not broken comes to mind. Then again, another one of, when the horse is on its last legs put it out of its misery, does too.

So what’s the solution? The reality is he’ll keep playing and we’ll keep hoping he’ll click in to form. Although there is one roll of the dice I’ve been saying United should roll for the last twelve months. Relieve Rooney of the captaincy. He may be an inspiration to the younger players and give good team talks in the changing room but let’s not insult fans intelligence and say he’s anywhere near what we expect on the pitch. The cold harsh truth is he couldn’t lead an army of ants to a picnic when it comes to the most important part of being a captain and my theory is that it actually holds him back. Going back to the “name one standout game Rooney has had under LVG” it’s worth noting that every game he’s played for Van Gaal has been as captain. What if that’s the problem?

What if the captaincy is given to someone else and Rooney is told to focus on his game or face being dropped. What if we then get back the tenacious, focussed Rooney? It’s a big what if but I believe it’s the solution to the problem.

And believe me it’s a problem I want us to solve sooner rather than later. Because talking about Rooney every week is like analysing an episode of Eastenders – depressing, repetitive, with a predictably bad finish.

By Mark Goldbridge

The Goldbridge Blog – Manchester United Title Contenders?

Manchester United Title Contenders?

Another week and another fantastic three points for Manchester United. Southampton away was never going to be an easy game and whilst a couple of Jonny Evan’s style – I’ll come back to him later – mishaps in their defence gifted us a couple of goals we shouldn’t underestimate United’s role in the victory. The excellent 45 pass move that led to the third goal, the recovery from a physically and mentally sapping defeat to PSV just a few days earlier, and the fact that like every other side in the Premier League – when Manchester United come to town it’s that clubs cup final. Teams suddenly start playing like they’ll all be executed by firing squad at the final whistle if they don’t win but that’s the price you pay for being the biggest club in the world.

So a great three points last weekend and with the win against Liverpool, and Sunderland to come this weekend, we should be looking at a very strong return of nine points from our last three games. Add in to that the Pereira inspired three nil win against Ipswich last night and things are definitely looking up for United. Just think, if we’d taken the two points we dropped at home to Newcastle we’d be top! Not to mention the three points Romero literally threw away at Swansea.

Like Anderson at an all you can eat buffet, we shouldn’t be greedy though. I love the way Van Gaal has cleared the dead wood from the squad and focussed on youth and the future but to start expecting a title challenge is a bit premature. United are a work in progress and whilst we’re definitely on the right road there will be potholes along the way. Our October fixture list and defensive issues being two potential bumps we need to avoid.

I mentioned Jonny Evans at the start and it’s ironic that some United fans are now unhappy we sold him. Calamity Jones – please note I use this term not because he’s a bad defender but because he’s accident prone – Rojo and McNair are currently suffering with injuries. I’m fully aware that Jones is nearly back to full fitness but give him a couple of weeks and he’ll trip over a paperclip and be out for six months with the flu. Which leaves us with Smalling and Blind. It’s far from ideal and many said at the start of the summer that a centre back was a priority if only because of all the injury problems we’ve suffered in that position over the last few years. We didn’t sign anyone and now our whole season depends on the fitness of Smalling and Blind.

Would I want Evans back though? No. I’d rather paint a number five on the back of a back of cement and stick that beside Chris Smalling than bring Evans back. But I do agree we’ve taken a huge risk leaving ourselves light in a position we’ve always had injury problems with.

On a positive note the attack seems to have solved it’s problems just at the moment the defence is starting to crumble. Martial looks deadlier than a fox in a chicken coup, Memphis is gradually finding his feet and Pereira, finally, has been given the chance to show he’s ready to be part of the first team setup. Yes, Fellaini is a concern and Rooney is still consistently stuck between average and inept. But who cares? The young boys are ready. They’re banging on the first team door and Van Gaal cannot ignore them.

So let’s enjoy this ride as long as it lasts. If we can get through October within a couple of points of the leaders and our defence in tact then who knows what we can achieve this season? January offers us the opportunity to buy a defender and Memphis, Martial and Pereira are climbing the mountain when it comes to their career – ie they’re only going to get better. If they feel like pushing Fellaini down it on their way up that might help too….

I’ll be back with my weekly blog next week. In the meantime don’t forget to take a look at our NEW Fancam idea and get involved in have YOUR say

By Mark Goldbridge

Goldbridge Blog (2) – Manchester United Rule the World

Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United Rule

Manchester United – Not arrogant just better. We all know the tagline but this last week just demonstrates again how when it comes to our great club no truer words are spoken. In fact, fetch the shampoo because when it comes to popularity United are head and shoulders above any of our so called rivals.

Yes that popularity isn’t exclusively positive, like the rubber neckers who slow down to look at car crashes there are plenty of bitter you know what’s out there who revel in United doing badly. So bitter I’m convinced the first score they look for is United’s before they see how their mighty Liverpool have done. Either way, it demonstrates Manchester United’s mass appeal & like the odds on Arsenal winning the title this season, it’s only going to get bigger.

Since last week’s blog we’ve had De Gea signing a new contract dominating the national press – Hart, Courtois, Cech and Mignolet would be lucky to get half that publicity even if they danced through Trafalger square naked singing ring a ring a roses. We had the Martial winner against Liverpool that went viral in minutes and captured the imagination of the footballing community worldwide – Benteke scored a fairly decent goal in the same game and had about as much interest as wet paint drying. Then this week we’ve had the PSV loss & the horrific Luke Shaw injury causing mass debate all week – despite City losing and potentially losing their captain through injury and Arsenal losing and having their main striker sent off. The fact is United dwarf everyone when it comes to being the only story that matters.

So like a Labrador watching crufts what United story will the nation be drooling over this weekend? Normally I’d be more nervous than a cat’s tail in a room of full of rocking chairs – cats and dogs in one paragraph hey – at the prospect of an away trip to Southampton and I’m sure the #LVGOUT knives will be sharpened and ready for a Sunday night carve up. However, I’ve had a good feeling about this game all week and really fancy us to go and get three big points. Big points not only because Southampton are a very good side and any win there should be seen as a positive, but also because it would be a statement of what I and many other United fans believe we can be under LVG.

De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Carrick, Schneiderling, Mata, Memphis, Rooney, Martial. That’s a starting eleven to set the heartbeat racing with anticipation and excitement. Playing to its potential it’s also a starting eleven that should be beating anyone in the Premier League. If Van Gaal goes with this lineup, or one very close to it, and they approach the game in the right way then three points is the minimum we should be leaving St Mary’s with on Sunday evening. That’s why I’m going with a two one win for United.

All in all it’s been a week of extreme highs and lows. De Gea staying and Martial sinking Liverpool with that wonder strike. Followed by the devastating loss of Luke Shaw for the season and a disappointing loss to PSV. That’s the life of a Manchester United fan. The highs are higher than any other team can dream of and the lows take you down to the depths of despair.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. Would you?

By Mark Goldbridge

Mark Goldbridge Blog – Time to deliver Van Gaal

Mark Goldbridge

The Goldbridge Blog – LVG under pressure?

I release you Manchester United fans, the international break is over and we can all come out of hiding!

For two weeks Twitter dries up like a puddle in a heat wave, we find ourselves convincing ourselves that international football is interesting and we even consider having a bet on league two fixtures! It truly is painful.

But it’s over! Real football is back and what better way to celebrate that fact than a home game at the Theatre of dreams against the Scousers. Both sides locked on 7 points with what could be described as an average start to the season at best – although we haven’t been thrashed at home by West Ham yet – this is a must win game. Admittedly saying Liverpool at home is a must win game is a bit like saying is Brendan Rodgers addicted to toothpaste and tanning lotion but United have to get maximum points on Saturday evening. Anything less and it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it’s a bad start to the season.

Will we win? I think so? As they say, confidence comes before a fall and it’s a pretty long fall if we slip up – I knew I’d get a dig in at Slippy G somewhere. Should we win? Definitely. We’re at home, we have the better team, the better manager and we’re playing a side who I’m sure will be more focussed on not getting beat than playing attacking football. So much depends on LVG’s philosophy going in to the game though. Philosophy is a word Van Gaal loves and it’s one that can mask all manner of truths. Such as why let RVP & Di Maria go and not secure replacements and why 18 months down the line are we still struggling to play exciting football?

Against Liverpool on Saturday I have another word beginning with P and it’s the only one we need. Passion. Forget the philosophy nonsense, forget the over analysing of the game and let the players loose. In every other sense of the word, other than location, Manchester United v Liverpool is a Derby. In a Derby game anything can happen. So to approach it in a methodical, rigid and tactical manner is to miss the point about what the Premier League is all about and what the United fans want to see. We are Manchester United, we’re at home, we’ve got the better players. Let’s get at them from the off and go for it!

Will it happen? I doubt it. I think Van Gaal will do what Van Gaal does and focus on possession away from the final third, play Mata on the wing and probably make the ridiculous but typically stubborn decision of playing Romero over De Gea. Will it prevent us winning the game? Even with the usual frustrations about team selection and tactics I still think we have enough about us to win. It probably won’t be pretty and we’ll no doubt dominate possession and win one nil thanks to a scuffed Memphis shot that hits the linesman and deflects off Jordan Henderson’s backside in to the net. But against Liverpool a win is a win and although I’m fed up saying that under LVG’s tenure and crave some entertainment in our victories, Saturday is one of those games where we really do have to win by any means.

And if we lose or draw? I can’t contemplate it. It’s the big unknown. I back Van Gaal, he’s done an amazing job clearing out the deadwood this summer and the first eleven we have is, if he gets them playing the way we want, good enough to beat anyone. But Liverpool is a must win game. If we don’t win will I suddenly join those who are already saying Van Gaal out? No. But I won’t be happy.

Fortunately none of us will experience that though. I’m going with three nil to United, three home clean sheets in a row & hat trick for goal king Rooney!

I’ll be back with my weekly blog next Thursday. The New Mark Goldbridge YouTube Channel is also now up and running and you can subscribe free and watch my first LIVE United fan Q & A by clicking here

By Mark Goldbridge