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Morgan Schneiderlin not the solution Manchester United

Morgan Schneiderlin Manchester United

Why Morgan Schneiderlin is not the solution at Manchester United

With Arsenal winning the FA Cup final the English football season has run it’s course. All of England’s footballing giants will have to sit back in envy as Juventus take on Barcelona in the Champions League final. This of course includes Manchester United. In my own opinion Louis Van Gaal achieved the bare minimum this season to avoid criticism. He achieved what he was hired for by reaching the top four while at the same time having to deal with a near cruel amount of injuries. On the other hand it has to be mentioned that the football was painful to watch at times. On top of this the short cup runs made the season a frustrating one for the Stretford End.

So often in football the solution to a problem is to throw money at it. Manchester United as a fan base and management brag the Red Devils are the biggest club in the world. To do this the club needs to be winning titles at both home and abroad. So where will those hard earned pounds be going this summer. In the last few days reports suggest that much of it will be spent on the Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, who is valued between £20 and £25 million pounds. The first question is, is he worth that much? The second, is he the quality Manchester United need to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea and Europe’s biggest clubs?

In a one line answer I would say yes but it depends how you look at it. Morgan Schneiderlin is easily worth this kind of money and we all know Manchester United have the money for a player who had a near 90 per cent pass rate in the Premier League. In January speaking on Sky Sports, Gary Neville said: ‘I think he (Schneiderlin) could play at any of the top clubs in the league, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal – he’s showed his quality this season. This was after Southampton beat Manchester United 0-1 at Old Trafford, with Dusan Tadic netting the winner. The French international has proved himself to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. I do believe he could slot into the Carrick role perfectly. Statistics are not everything but in a season where Daly Blind has come into criticism for not passing the ball forward enough in the absence of Michael Carrick. Manchester United fans will be delighted to hear 76 per cent of his passes were forward moving.

Going back to that Gary Neville quote I would like to emphasize three words “in the league” The Premier League is the best league in the world and has the most quality as a whole. But recent seasons would suggest at the very top England’s team are not of the same quality as the rest of Europe. So is buying players from your own league which is weaker than Spain, Germany and arguably Italy, going to help you catch up? This is where my point seems a little contradictory but bare with me here till the end. The French national team is not blessed with many top class centre midfielders, yet Morgan has only played nine times for his country at senior level. I would argue with anybody to say he is in the top 5 defensive midfielders in the premier league. Like Carrick he is the modern ball playing holding midfielder. So if Louis Van Gaal decided to move for the man who started his career at RC Strasbourg I would welcome him with restrained optimism. He is not the player that will turn United into champions at home or abroad but what he will do is give depth to a squad that is crying out for it. However, if he is the only midfielder the club sign in the summer I would fear United would be left wanting in Europe as soon as the knockout stages began.

I do believe he would fit into the category of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini. They will be brilliant against the bottom 15 or 16 sides domestically but against the top teams they will look average. If Schneiderlin is to be a success at United, I strongly believe the club will also need to sign a centre midfielder with plenty of European experience. For example a Bastian Schweinsteiger or İlkay Gündoğan. At 33 it is unrealistic to expect Michael Carrick to play Chelsea on a Saturday and Real Madrid on the Tuesday when we get to the business end of the season. The club needs the highest of quality if it wishes to compete at home and abroad.
He picked up both the Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year awards at Southampton’s end of season awards in 2013. Despite this, if Morgan is going to get his wish of playing in a successful Champions league team he may have to accept that we will not be first choice at first. After a couple of years playing with Michael Carrick at United and Paul Pobga for France £25 million may look like a bargain in a couple of years times. That is of course if he continues to improve at the rate he has at Southampton.

So I’d welcome Morgan to United. He has the potential to become a valuable asset to the squad. United need something else as well though. Get to work Mr Woodward.

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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Real Madrid is no Family

Real Madrid is no family

Real Madrid is no Family

Family isn’t always where you’re from

I see every football club as a family. Some are bigger than others while others have more money. In every family you have those who never get a mention while others always seem to be the centre of attention. At any football club the players are the ones we hear the most about. Manchester United is no different. Every family has that member that stands out for their reckless and incompetent behaviour as everybody else looks on and wonders “how am I related to this moron.” At Manchester the title goes to Jonny Evans. Every family has a member that is extremely talented but wastes it one way or another. That award currently goes to Adnan Januzaj. Finally every family has that member who lets his success get to his head and leaves, as they think the grass is greener elsewhere. Sadly this concept may apply to Manchester United’s player of the season David De Ge.

I can hear it now “how wonderful is it that David is returning home to Madrid” I hate to break it to you Real Madrid fans David is already home. Home is a place where you will always be welcomed. This cannot be said for the Santiago Bernabéu where “fans” boo their heroes or next victims whichever way you like to look at it when their form drops. Cristiano Ronaldo has 225 goals in 200 games for the club and yet he is booed. Garth Bale who almost beat Barcelona on his own as Real Madrid lifted the Copa del Rey and played a massive role in helping Real Madrid to become the first side to win 10 European cups last season is also jeered. In my own view the worst of all is the situation Iker Casillas finds himself in. The club captain has spent his entire career in the Spanish capital. He made his champions league debut for the club in the year 2000 going on to lift many trophies of the club. Many of these as captain. Iker was made captain in 2010 after the departures of Raul and Guti. To say the goalkeeper is a club legend is an understatement, yet is also booed. It has to be said this is not the entire Madrid crowd. Last weekend as I watched Real batter Getafe 7-3 there was a battle of wills in the crowd. Half of them whistled, while the other half responded with awkward clapping every time he touched the ball. Madrid fans will argue he is not the keeper he was and I would agree, but sometimes there was little a goalkeeper can do. Especially in the case of Getafe’s first goal. The Madrid defence was slow to get out to Sergio Escudero as he shot from the edge of the box. With such defending it is little wonder why Real Madrid are conceding so many goals.

So why are the Madrid fans booing the goalkeeper and not the defenders that are almost giving up chances at will? I won’t pretend to be an expert on Spanish football because I’m not, but what I do know is about the galactico’s way of thinking that infects this year’s Champions League semi- finalists. Both the president Florentino Perez and the fans expect one galactico to arrive and one to leave every year. So what exactly is a galactico? My understanding of it is that it is a player that will sell shirts because they are a well renowned named. You could be arguably your national team’s best player in the case of David Beckham and Michael Owen, a former Barcelona player in the case of Luis Figo and the Brazilian Ronaldo. More recently winning the Ballon d’Or seems to signal a move to Real Madrid in the case of Ronaldo and Kaka. The latest trend in the best player in the Premier League in May somehow always seems to find himself at either Madrid or Barcelona. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale just to name a couple.

This summer will be no different. The domestic season is over only a few days and already both Eden Hazard and David De Gea are tipped to join the Spanish giants. Sadly from a Manchester United perspective the De Gea deal looks a lot more likely to happen. Real Madrid are hungry for a new galactico and let’s face it they don’t care who they hurt to get it. Sadly this is nothing new, Real Madrid is a club that lacks compassion or at least all the time Mr Perez is around. Real Madrid was not always this way and I do think that’s important to say. I have heard many stories of how the club offered some of their players to Manchester United after the Munich air disaster. This respect for others has being lost through the years. Instead now players, other clubs and managers alike are treated with little to no respect. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are well known for tapping up players not only in public but the private eye. Who remembers how the Barcelona players put a Barcelona shirt on Cesc Fàbregas in front of thousands of people as the club tried to sign him from Arsenal in 2010?

At Real Madrid we also see this disrespect for others. Take last summer for example. It was never confirmed but there has been a lot of suggestions that the reason Angel Di Maria was sold was because he was “too ugly to play for Real Madrid”. Like I said it was never confirmed but I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest way if it was true. In the last few days Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by the club despite winning four trophies in two seasons. He had to deal with losing one of his best players in Di Maria for whatever reason but also he had to deal with losing the man that makes Madrid tick in Luca Modric for much of the season. For anybody who doesn’t know Modric to Real Madrid is what Michael Carrick is to Manchester United. You will be treated with little respect at Real Madrid as soon as your performances drop in the slightest, no matter how many trophies you win, how many goals you score or even if you are the club captain.

Which brings me back to Iker Casillas, he has given his entire career to the 32 times Spanish champions. Yet in the last few weeks if not months he has been booed and whistled at by his own fans. He is not just a Real Madrid legend he is a living legend of the national team. He has played 162 games for the national side winning two Euro Cups and a World Cup in the country’s most dominant period. On top of all that he is from Madrid and has never played for another club. Especially not their neighbours Atlético Madrid. There is simply no justifiable reason for the treatment he is receiving.

So why would David De Gea go there? You wonder if this is how the club treats a club legend how on earth will they treat a player who has played for their arch rivals and has proved nothing in comparison to Spain’s most capped player. Like Ronaldo before him, De Gea has the chance to stay at a club where he will always be loved and will become a club legend. I know in 15 years’ time when the dust of Ronaldo’s career is well and settled it will be his time at Old Trafford that will be looked back on the most. Like De Gea Old Trafford was where the boy became a man. Where raw talent became superstardom. Where hero’s were made not bought with money just for the sake of buying them.

I respect that may seem a little contradictory from a United’s fan at the moment with all the money spent. Despite all that look at the amount of youth the club gives a chance to compared to their Spanish counterparts. Dani Carvajal, Jese and Casillas are the only youth products in the first team. Casillas came through over 15 years ago. Jese can’t get a game and Carvajal was only resigned after a successful period in Germany. Even now he looks set to be replaced by the Brazilian Danilo who was recently signed for over 31 million euros. In the last 12 months players such as Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson and Andreas Pereira have all made their debuts. A far contrast indeed.

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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Thomas Müller – Everything you need to know

Thomas Muller - Everything you need to know

Thomas Müller – Everything you need to know

He is “impervious to pressure”, those were the words of World Cup winning Germany manager Joachim Löw as Germany prepared for their semi- final against Brazil last summer. It was along side Löw that Thomas Müller won Germany’s forth world cup. Not that that accomplishment was ever in doubt in this young man’s mind. Last July Henry Winter wrote a piece to show this exactly. “When Thomas Müller was invited by Germany’s kit designers to help create a new shirt, he picked up a felt-tip pen and approached the mannequin draped with the classic white top clean of all usual markings. Müller first drew in the three stars that signalled the number of World Cups won by Germany.Müller also inked a “?” in the place where the fourth would go. In Müller’s mind.” This signals a born winner in my eyes.

Born in Weilheimbut Müller  joined Bayern München at the age of 10, in the year 2000. In 2009 when Louis Van Gaal was appointed manager Müller’s career took off. He soon became a first team regular along with the likes of Philip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Along with these players Müller has become an integral part of the team for both club and country. He has scored an impressive 136 goals for club and 27 goals in a mere 63 games for Germany.

A fact Manchester United fans might also like to know is that Müller scored his first UEFA Champions League goal as Bayern beat  Manchester City 3–1 at the City of Manchester Stadium on 2 October 2013.

Müller is a born leader

In my eyes Thomas Müller is a player with a combination of work ethic, talent, goal scoring prowess and an ability to show up in big games that few can match. He is a born leader, and maybe just the help Wayne Rooney needs on the pitch. I feel sorry for Rooney at times. He appears to be the only leader in the side. In recent seasons United have had Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra Scholes, Neville and Van Der Saar. Now it just seems to be Rooney. I believe it’s incredibly unfair to have Rooney as the only obvious leader.  Yes Carrick and Van Persie fit in, but both have failed to play consistently all season. For all these reasons in my eyes anything under £40 million would have to be seen as a bargain for Müller.

And for those United fans who think this sensational signing is pie in the sky I offer this. Thomas was involved in two recent spats at Bayern. The first directly with manager Pep Guardiola against Barcelona  at the Camp Nou. Müller reaction came after he was substituted. A similar reaction occurred as he was substituted against Barcelona again in the return fixture. People often see this as a negative but personally I love to see it in a player. The player is desperate to stay on the pitch and win. What’s the problem? It shows fight and a genuine feeling for the cause. So with this in mind could things change in the summer?

Müller also recently made his admiration for Louis Van Gaal clear  when he said “Louis Van Gaal and I have a relationship that goes beyond which is normal between a player and coach.”

It was reported this week in the Metro that he would cost up to 45 million pounds. Considering Thomas Müller would be the perfect upgrade to 28 million pounds Fellaini, the question is. Why are so many United fans against the deal?

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

Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Memphis Depay signs for United

Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Yesterday both Manchester United and the player confirmed that Memphis Depay will become a Manchester United player this summer subject to a medical.  The fee for the young Dutch winger is believed to be about £25 million.  It will be the player’s first move and the early signs would suggest many United fans will hope that remains the case for many years to come.

He made his official debut on the 21st of September 2011. So he has been around the first team for just under four years. In that time he has become the main man at PSV as they marched to their first title since 2008. Coming in from the left hand side he managed an impressive 21 goals in 28 games.

Of course the Dutch league is not as high of standard as the English Premier League but when you considered combined Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Rademal Falcao only have 26 goals between them you cannot help but get excited about the clubs latest addition.

So what kind of player is Depay? From what I have seen of him in the Dutch league, I must say I am very impressed. Like Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and Manchester United winger Ashley Young he is a winger who plays on the wing of his weaker foot. This means cutting inside and shooting from distance is a large part of his game. Thankfully I am very glad to say he is able to shoot with great effect from distance.  A quality United have lacked since the departures of Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo. Like Ronaldo in his younger days he does sometimes overdo it on the wing with tricks and flicks trying to go down his left hand side, but I do feel this will come with time.

The player he reminds me of the most is Robben. The Ronaldo reference comes in terms of his confidence levels. This is something I believe all great teams need. Would Manchester United have achieved what they achieved without the cockiness that both Ronaldo and Eric Cantona processed? I remember listening to sky sports during the week and they talked about how when the main players at clubs press the opposition it makes the rest of the team raise their standards. This was in reference to Alexis Sanchez and Luis Suarez. I believe this applies to confidence too. If you have a player in a side that always has belief it will have a positive effect on his teammates.   I can say with great belief, Depay will not shy away from taking players on, even if he has a few bad games.

Depay is quick, direct, he has pace to burn and has more tricks than Dynamo. Not to mention his amazing goal scoring record from free kicks this season. Five goals directly from free kicks is impressive no matter where you go.

My only concern can be summed up in three words. Angel Di Maria. Like Depay, Di Maria has pace, he is direct and is decent from dead ball situations. But both Di Maria & Depay’s greatest strength is their ability to beat the defender. So why doesn’t Di Maria run at defenders the same way he did last season for Real Madrid? The answer is simple, Louis Van Gaal is near obsessed with possession. So why will Depay fair any different in this system?

Another potential worry is often when players come from abroad they struggle to adapt to a new culture, league and in this case system. Depay has had a somewhat free role at PSV in recent months. That will not be the case at United. So for me the worry is not whether Depay will adapt to the Premier league but whether Louis Van Gaal will play to his strengths?

Maybe it will be different for Depay as we know for sure that he is an LVG signing, which is not the case with both Falcao and Di Maria. If Depay is allowed to blossom like Robben then we have a real star on our hands. If he is suppressed in a system that doesn’t suit him like Di Maria then his future may not be so bright?

I guess it is something only time will tell.

By Diarmuid Gillingham

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