I have finally become a REAL Manchester United fan.
And while I let those words sink in, I’ll state for the record right now that everyone, with the possible exception of Gareth Bale, has gotten WAAAAAAAYYYY over their skis on Gareth Bale. After Tottenham’s swell little 3-1 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League this past week, Gareth Bale has been portrayed as the Second Coming of the Christiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi David Beckham Wayne Rooney Christ that every gaffer with an owner who has two or six fistfuls of cash to burn will trip over their erect, throbbing dicks to get their sweaty palms on during the January transfer window. A lad whom they can’t wait to snatch away from good ol’ Harry Rednapp. The only alacritous note regarding Gareth Bale this week has been the realization that he is WELSH, and thus not available to the obsequious Fabio Capello to trot out against the gackin’ Frenchies at Wembley in a fortnight or six….tickets for said Tilt of Despond are being given away for 5 bloody quid.
So let’s pack it in here for a moment. If any of you watched, as I did, yesterday’s tilt at Reebok Stadium between the (Michael) Bolton Wanderer’s ((who’s logo always seems to remind me of a sperm for some reason)) and Bale’s Tottenham Hotspur lads, you will have seen that young Gareth Bale is quintessentially human as Kevin Davies and his Trotters pretty much boat-raced the Hotspurs out of Reebok Stadium by a score of 4-2. Sure, the Spurs got a couple of garbage time goals near the end of regulation….and yes, Roman Pavlyuchenko’s goal at the 87 minute mark was a thing of beauty, a real cracker off his left foot that blasted past goalie Jussi Jääskeläinen in into the far corner of the net before he, or anyone else knew what hit them. It was a sweet thing….the ball had eyes. But it was a ray of false hope, of course….a spectacular goal, but to no avail. 2 minutes into stoppage time, Davies and Petrov broke through the futile Spurs defense, again, and Petrov sealed the deal for good.
Anyway, where was I? What the hell did I just say?? Ah..yes….something about Manchester United. That. Well…about that….
Friday, November 5th, was Guy Fawkes Day, and in Edenbridge, Kent, the locals gathered around and burned a huge effigy of Wayne “Shrek” Rooney. But the real celebrations, and they were Far Better than burning Wayne Rooney in effigy, occurred at Spotland Stadium in Rochdale. It was miraculous bit of Giant Killing. A stunning bit of football. An upset of historic proportions. A stunning FA Cup defeat for Rochdale. And a stunning and incredible last minute win for Football Club United of Manchester. The REAL Manchester United.
To give you an idea of how huge this upset is, consider this. Rochdale plays in League 1…2 steps down from the Premier League. They are currently in 13th place there, confortably mid-table. FC United of Manchester plays in the Evostik Northern Premier League Premier Division. This is 4 steps further down from League 1. FC United is in 17th place there…the lower end of the lower mid-table teams…now they’ve only played 12 matches and some of the other teams in the league have played as many as 17. But FC United has not been tearing the world up. Until Friday, Nov 5th at Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, FC United’s win would have been a stunner if Rochdale played in Blue Square North…a stunning upset akin to, say Applachian State’s win over Michigan a few years ago. But what made it FAR more remarkable is the vast divide between the two teams. It was more on the level of a Division III team beating a mid ranked Division I team. And I’m not talking UW-Whitewater, the reigning Division III champ beating the likes of, say #23 Texas A&M. I’m talking more of a team like UW-Platteville beating Texas A&M 22-21 in the final seconds.
But there’s a LOT more to like about FC United of Manchester than this remarkable piece of giant killing. The club, very much like our Green Bay Packers, and like AFC Wimbledon, and Cork City Foras Co-op , is owned by the fans and the local community, for the fans and the local community. It was formed in 2005 by disgruntled Manchester United fans in protest of Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of Man U, fans who were sick of the big money, superstar bullshit that flies about with great regularity at the top levels of football….the recent Wayne Rooney Saga another fine example of THAT. It brings football back to where it should be…at the grassroots level. The club plays their home matches at the Bury FC’s home pitch, Gigg Lane. They are working on plans for a home pitch in Manchester at Newton Heath. It’s not just a pitch, but a full service community center and training grounds that everyone who’s a member will be able to use. Membership, by the way is £12/yr. Sign me up.
John Henry seems hell-bent on turning Liverpool into the Boston Red Sox of the Premier League. And I’m sure he was talking to Fernando Torres when he recently said that any player that was not happy at Liverpool could kindly leave, no questions asked, at the January transfer window. I wish that Torres hadn’t taken the new boss’s words so much to heart. But he did, and Kuyt and and Carragher and Gerrard and Co pretty much boat-raced Chelsea out of Anfield as a brace by Torres put the Kop’s up 2-0 at halftime. Torres’s second goal was a thing of beauty, as he bent one around Alex and John Terry and just curved it sharply left into the goal. I wish he could have waited another week to wake up and remember that he’s freakin’ Fernando Torres. But oh well….he got what he deserved. And my Chelsea Blues got what THEY deserved.
As for the second half…Ancelloti subbed in Drogba for Saloman Kalou, and Chelsea picked up the pace and if not for a couple of exceptional saves by Pepe Reina, Chelsea might drawn even. They played with more energy and verve in the 2nd half and except for the scoreboard, they absolutely dominated Pool. They poured on the heat in closing minutes, but it was not to be. Torres and his mates got a well-deserved win and the Blues, still top of the table by 2 points, go back to London with a well-deserved loss.
I think Ancelotti has to remind the lads that while the match has 90 minutes, you are under no obligation to use all of them to get the win. They need to start coming out of the gate with their asses on fire a bit more than they have lately and not rely on the 2nd half and the final quarter to get their magic done. Had Chelsea played the whole match like they did in the 2nd half, it would have been Pool going down in flames that no tears would be able to drown. But you got to admit, when Torres is good, he’s pretty goddamn fucking good. Can’t take that away from him. He did well today.
And with that, I’m off to the races. Texas Motor Speedway. I’m counting on Matt Kenseth to cowboy up.