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The Dark Side



Hello to all friends and foes in the Red Rantiverse.  Yes I’m back and I must say that returning to Red Rants is as much a shock to me as it is to you.  When I left some moths ago, I was determined to stay away for good as it had become quite clear to me that many of you had grown tired of my rants and the truth.  A few months have passed and to be honest I never really missed the place.  Insults and abuse tend to do that but still, RedRants has always been and still is a part of my DNA.  I feel that I am one of the people who helped define this blog and who instilled to it a specific personality and voice unlike other United sites on the blogosphere.  Still, it was not my intention to return but a funny thing happened on my way to the forum.  Ian dropped me another line asking for my presence.  After much consideration and trepidation, I return with a weekly column.

On a few occasions over the past few months Ian contacted me to let me know that there were some of you who sincerely missed my miserable presence and malodorous personality on the blog and to those let me say thanks for the support.  As for the others who either cannot stomach my views or who just hate my guts, well all I can say is tough break, life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to deal with them.

Now why have I returned after I swore I was gone for good?  Again credit must go to Ian as he was quite aggressive and seductive in his attempts to convince me to return.  He heard many of your cries and he also realized that now that the blog is shaping up much in the manner he wished for from the beginning, one thing was missing, “The Dark Side”.  Basically he feels that the blog needs some hard-core material a view from the other side of the tracks.

Yes I know am negative and highly controversial as well as overly critical most of the time, but above all, I see things as they are and I cannot be mistaken for somebody who has no foresight.  Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson have not failed to live up to all my expectations.  The recent embarrassment against Liverpool this past Saturday is a good example of what I speak of.  Finally, after three years of screaming and crying bloody murder, it appears that many of you naysayers (I won’t mention names) and anti-Grognard advocates have finally come around to my way of thinking and are starting to see, feel, experience and smell the rot which is emanating from within the one time hallowed confines of Old Trafford.

The truth hurts and reality often hits us like a runaway train but the fact is that Manchester United is indeed in a desperate struggle for survival.  No, not when it comes to it’s position in the standings, well not yet anyway.  The struggle is from within, it’s financial and it threatens to destroy the rich heritage and history of success and the dynasty that has been carved out by such legends as Sir Matt Busby and of course Fergie himself.   That is why Fergie’s actions over the past few years are even more distressing, regretful and unforgivable.  The club no longer can take pride in showing up every game with a predetermined attitude to win and to succeed.  No longer can hubris, hard work and passion carry us to victory after victory.  Today much of our talent has been stripped away, gotten old or underachieved.  Today the club suffers from an affliction that is new and unique to United fans who have followed the club during it’s almost twenty year dominance in the Premiership  Now we must prepare ourselves for mediocrity and even worse, the lack of commitment from the ownership and manager to better the side and help ensure our success for the future.

Blasphemy, treason, bloody murder lies lies lies you say.  Once again Grognard has returned with his fork tongue and his spewing of anti-Fergie sentiment you say.  Well…………………yes that’s true, but wait, now I am no longer alone in my views.  Recent history seems to have done to many of you what my predictions, words of wisdom and foresight had failed to do.  Recent history and actions, or should I say inactions of Fergie have yet again proven the old Grognard right.

Grognard is a wise old Sith Lord who is powerful with the Force and it’s time many of you just surrendered to the fact that despite the fact I am long winded,  arrogant, egotistical and self righteous, what I am most of all is an astute student of the game and right more often than not.  In fact I am quite often dead on the money right.  For example, I remember saying well before I left that we could all forget about Fergie dabbling in the transfer market come January and to not discount the possible return of Paul Scholes.  True I said it in a tongue n cheek manner but I did so because I would not put it past the old man to do exactly that.  Then I wake a few weeks ago to see us play and notice Scholes dressed as a sub.  All my heart and mind could muster for a response at the time was two words, “fucking typical”.

So I have returned if for no other reason than I truly believe this blog and the online world of Mancunia needs a voice from the wilderness that will call it like it is or at least point out the corruption, lies, deceit and those flaws and errors that plague this club that many die hard loyalists are unwilling to admit or unable to contemplate.  I mean really, how many times must Patrice Evra screw up defensively before you all see what I have been seeing for years now?  Ask Dirk Kuyt what it’s like to attack the goal against Evra marking?  I’m tired of that bastard playing for my beloved Reds.

Yes, I am your reality check, your dose of smelling salts, your slap in the face or just plainly your wake up call and your call to action.  Many on the blog have accused me of disloyalty and a lack of appreciation and respect for the club, the manager.  Many are blind and are nothing more than see nothing, hear nothing, smell nothings fan loyalists.  The feeling that I have shown no respect to Sir Alex and disregard all the years and great service he has turned in for this great football club is understandable but not completely true.  Not true at all.  I used to love Sir Alex and greatly respected him.  But I am not a wallflower and I am not a blind loyalist.  Above all, I was born with something greater than a pea for a brain and I was given the power and ability to formulate independent thought and in no way do I fall prey to the demands and delusions of the mob.

When I feel insulted, feel ripped off, I seethe in anger and when I’m injured I bleed and feel pain and so the action and or inactions of our esteemed manager over the past few seasons and especially during the entire ownership tenure of the Glazer family has been nothing short of shameful and reprehensible in my not so humble opinion.  There I said it.  I have gone from loving and respecting the man to absolutely despising him and every disgusting lying word that he mumbles out of that gum chewing mouth of his.  Every time I see him I see Michael Gambon playing a villain in many of his movies.  For me the resemblance is striking.  I am long past forgiveness and giving it up for the man because of all he has done.  I presently reside in the “What have you done for us lately?” club.  I no longer care about the fact that he manages to perform parlour tricks with a useless line up, inadequate depth and no midfield while somehow managing to keep us in contention for the league every year.  For me it’s about so much more, it’s about him outliving his usefulness and about betraying our trust in him.  About him supporting Glazer’s over the fans and about turning United into the cheapest bunch of misers in the Premiership despite the fact this club reports itself as the richest club in the world.  What a colossal load of BS.

Now to all of you who are feeling angered and enraged by my harsh words let me apologize for antagonizing you.  I’m sorry but please understand, this is how I feel.  What is different from you and I is we see things differently and our criteria for judgement is also very different.  Keep in mind that I am not born and raised in Manchester and I never inherited the love and passion for the club that many of you from Salford and other areas South West of the Wastelands have.  I am just a long distance but long time fan of the club who I chose to follow and support from afar back in 1976, simply because I liked the way they played the game.  Passion, pace and positive play embodied United’s style of football even if the talent wasn’t always there nor the results.  For me winning was important but playing United football was everything.  Even through the down periods of the early 70’s and mid 80’s the club never betrayed it’s mantra and always put entertainment and passion at the top of their to do list.  Above all the club represented itself as a top team and showed it by being ambitious in it’s pursuit of players in the transfer market and never ever settled for mediocrity and a lack of commitment to reach for the top.  After watching them collapse again at Liverpool and watching them play with very little passion, pride and discipline over this season, it has become clear as day, that something is very very wrong at Old Trafford.

As I write this article we are only a few days from the close of the January transfer window.  Rooney, Nani, Jones, Vidic, Carrick and many others are hurt and struggling with form and yet Fergie shows no panic and no inclination to buy players to not only improve our club, but to fill the void that is evident from our distressing lack of quality depth.  Along with the fun factor, we can count the Champions League as a memory this season as well as both domestic cups.  All we can shoot for now is the league and an embarrassing run in a European competition that should be considered way beneath us.  Can I honestly say that we have all the tools and ability to keep challenging Manchester City for that title?  I don’t think so.  Mediocrity, a lack of ambition and an alarming lack of spending for players have left Fergie and this club handcuffed and their collective backsides exposed to the elements.

The United that aggressively bought Bryan Robson, that bought Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo and set records signing the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, Juan Sebastian Veron, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and others has become a joke in that arena.  The check book has been closed and now we have to scrounge for spare change or sell players or free money from retiring players in order to afford players like Ashley Young, Phil Jones or a blind as a bat Spanish goalkeeper.  Where has our purchasing might gone?  Where is our arrogance and allure and our mojo?  Now more often than not, players who are even wrongfully linked to our club often come out and are quoted over a lack of interest in joining us.  All one has to do is look at many on the Manchester City roster who were linked with us but who chose to ignore any interest and signed instead with the potential usurpers to our throne.  Toure, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri all chose City over us.  Why?  Money, yes, they are mercenaries but then few footballers today are not.  They chose City because the allure of Old Trafford is not what it used to be.  Oh they all respect the history, the manager and many of our players but what they see above all else is diminishing return and a slow but assured fall from grace brought on by selfish greedy owners who are not acting in the best interest of our club, bottom line, and those who refuse to acknowledge this fact are suffering from a massive case of denial and naiveté.

Many doubt what I am saying but when I see world class players hemming and hawing about signing with us and either choosing Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City to go to, it brings a feeling of disappointment and disenchantment that makes me angry and when that happens I point the finger at the owners but I also point it straight at Fergie as well.

In his own way Fergie has had a lot to do with turning many players off from a potential transfer to Old Trafford.  How has he done this many may ask?  Simple, the negative, boring and uninspiring football we often play, especially in Europe would surely not seduce many flamboyant and attack oriented stars into plying their trade for United.  Our cheap wage policy is just not competitive among the elite teams in European football and his willingness to support the cheap penny pinching ways of the owners and not demand serious money to coerce players into playing for us has severely damaged this club’s ability to compete for the top silverware.  Tactically we are too old school and our coaches come from an bygone era.  Modern world-class players have little interest in playing Mike Phelan football, believe me.

Where is Manchester United headed?  Well that is a wait and see scenario for all of us to contemplate.  What I will be doing however, is reporting on the situation and trying to interpret what is really going on and why.  I do not profess to know it all or to always be right but I do feel like I am generally more astute than the average bear and Fergie and his minions cannot fool an old goat like myself with cheap parlour tricks and words.  Not with a club that continues to show large cracks in the foundation, which make it seem that the end is closer than a new beginning.  Things must change.

A regime change at the very top is vital for our club’s future.  The Glazer’s must go.  Be forced out if it comes to that.  No longer can we United fans sit back, watch our club lose it’s standing in world football, it’s hubris, pride, it’s mojo and above all, it’s soul while Malcolm and his boys continue to extort millions from the club’s coffers.  It’s not just about results on the pitch, it’s about a lot more.  So I am back, simply because somebody has to call it as it is and not be afraid to step on toes and sacred cows.  This club needs wholesale changes up top and several changes on the pitch for it to regain it’s position as a top three world football power.  Right now Fergie has neglectfully allowed the club to slowly disintegrate and fall from it’s perch simply because we no longer seem to have the same commitment for excellence that clubs like Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern have.  Settling for the plain girl is what we are all about these days.  Has it really come to this?


Jan 29, 2012