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Manchester United

The Season Football Came Home To Manchester

“For the first time since the late 1960s, Manchester emerged as the capital of English football in 2011/12, as 19-times champions United were confronted by local rivals City in a local skirmish which spilled over into a battle for the Barclays Premier League title.”

This year’s Season review had a lot to live up to. The previous DVD offering for the 2010/11 season had been roundly criticised in many quarters, especially when reflecting on  a record breaking 19th League winning season. So the Manchester United Merchandise Team needed a suitable reply! I believe they have done…..

The packaging is not garish. The production feels slick and is suitably polished. As a review DVD it very much does what it says on the tin. It provides the viewer with all the goals of the season, interspersed with Factoids and Stats to please the hardiest of United Fans. It’s easy to navigate and the regular sound-bites and snippets of interviews from Sir Alex and the players keep the viewer entertained and interested beyond the football. There are regular superficial player focuses, especially on the new faces as well as popular players like Wayne Rooney. Obviously the return of Paul Scholes offers a pleasant boost and could of been given a bigger segment for such a legend. The racial incident that engulfed our captain Patrice Evra and the subsequent distasteful club and fan response from Liverpool is wholly over looked, with only the Suarez non-shake incident left in as a brief nod to the whole shameful incident.

The Game commentaries are left in their original format which provides good atmosphere and sound quality to add to the excellent production.

The DVD did however miss a trick when not offering a focus on Antonio Valencia, many people’s player of the season, including his own Team mates. Whilst the player focuses’ themselves are, in general, all too brief and superficial as previously indicated. Neither was opportunities taken for a Goal of the season, Save of the season etc…. All of which may have provided the beleaguered Man United fan with much needed relief when having to sell a DVD that is ultimately tinged with a failure.  There was enough great individual and team Goals scored that could of added a positive feel to the ending.

The interviews are a great touch, providing an insight whilst not necessarily providing too much new material unknown the most United-holics.

All in all its a solid return to form with a 7/10 from me for production quality and Sound quality. The interviews are brief but supplement the action well, and the features allow the DVD to be surprisingly re-watchable. When you’re reviewing a season that ends in losing out to the City, to make a DVD review that still remains watchable is a compliment to the production team as well as the Football team.

Glory… Glory… Man United…

INDEPTH REVIEW

The home page offers the viewer four options;

  1. 1.      >Play<
  2. 2.      >Fixture List<
  3. 3.      >Extras<
  4. 4.      >HoH Subtitles On/Off<

>Play<

It starts with Sir Alex’s Fergusons acceptance of the newest rivalry and subsequent pledge to meet it with the same commitment as the previous financial challenge of Chelsea.

The DVD reflects on the departures and reviewing the new signings of David De Gea, Jones and Ashley Young which included highlights accompanied by sound bites from Sir Alex, Ryan Giggs and the players themselves.

It justifiably observed what we all thought was the last of Paul Scholes in a Manchester United shirt. As the irreplaceable midfielder began his coaching career with the United reserve team. His packed out preseason testimonial saw the soon to be iconic Genius mural, as the player himself signed off with a typical long range strike to score a wonderful testimonial goal to mark a fitting end to arguably the most complete Midfielder of the Premier League era.

AUGUST;

As expected the DVD will view the matches in Monthly blocks, starting with the charity shield bonanza between the contesting Manchester clubs. Setting the tone for the season and the DVD, the game saw Mancini’s City taking an early lead but never able to fully extinguish United’s challenge. Our will to compete driving the team to push them till the very end. This game was notable in providing one of the goals of the season; Luis Nani’s equalising goal in full glory, although unfortunately missing Ray Wilkins orgasmic celebration.

It quickly moves through the early season demolitions, including Anderson’s beautifully crafted goal against Tottenham. As well as the highlights of that most magnificent and extraordinary 8-2 victory over Arsenal. The pleasure of which is enhanced with Rooney’s Dead-ball hat-trick and Ashley Young’s screamers and includes a brief verbal review by the player himself.

Each monthly review ends with a look at the table as it stood.

SEPTEMBER;

As it takes us into September it notes the significance of Davies on the League title chase with his crude challenge on Tom Cleverley, ending his promising fledgling United career.

It takes time out following Rooney’s Double hat trick feat to celebrate Rooney’s achievement as Manchester United’s lethal weapon.

It then commences with the ill-fated start to Manchester United’s Champions League campaign.  We then get to watch the highlights of the implausible Manchester United –Chelsea game, reliving Nani’s exocet and ‘That’ Torres miss from the future Euro’s 2012 golden boot winner.

As we get to view some of the Manchester United’s fringe players during the Carling Cup run we enjoy the 3-0 victory over the Old Yorkshire enemy, Leeds United.

Less enjoyable is watching the capitulation at Home to FC Basel in that 3-3 home draw.

OCTOBER;

We slip into October, and see yet another Anderson goal in a 2-0 win against Norwich as a preamble into the first instalment of the Man United-Liverpool season saga. This time in that dour 1-1 Anfield draw. Following a non-descript champions league win, we come to the seasons darkest day. The solemn music and tone reflects the Nightmarish 6-1 loss to our City rivals. Although unsurprisingly not viewed in its full ugliness, its stylised reminiscence is accompanied by comments and quotes from the players themselves. Leaving the Republik of Mancuria’s own Danny Welbeck to share his United derby pain.

It ends with United showing their true character with a 1-0 win over Everton, and are we viewing potential future United players in Baines and Rodwell, as they try to inflict further pain on this wounded devil.

NOVEMBER;

As it starts with a rare champion’s league victory, the DVD then changes pace with the acknowledgment of Sir Alex Ferguson’s place among the greats. A celebration in chronological video highlights and a brief interview accompanies the section showing the ceremony that will place the greatest premier league manager forever in our history as the North Stand is renamed the ‘Sir Alex Ferguson Stand’ in his honour.

We swiftly move on to that most costly of draws against Benfica, and even more so against Newcastle with the wrongly given penalty. Yes United get all the decisions ™ !!

Our Carling Cup departure, still allows us to witness once again one of the best ever goals scored against Manchester United, by Darren Ambrose.

DECEMBER;

Commencing with a brief review of Phil Jones, following his winner against the Villa, this was the prelude to that horrendous night in Basel as we crashed out of the Champions league to the might of FC Basel 2-1. The DVD rightly reflects on the defeat through the manager and Patrice Evra, but also on the devastating loss of Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher to the United cause with their long term injuries and illness respectively.

As it speeds through the games, we get to witness that slow motion mazy slalom from Michael Carrick in 2-0 win against QPR, as well as a ‘cracker from Rooney’ and a delightful, ‘classy’ Berbatov back heal in the 5-0 destruction of Fulham. The 5-0 rout of Wigan provided us with Berbatov’s seasonal hat-trick.

The following game celebrating Sir Alex’s 70th birthday saw further points thrown away in what was roundly accepted as one of United’s worse performances of the season in the 2-3 Blackburn reversal.

JANUARY;

The beginning of January saw Newcastle completely outplay Man United in their exhilarating 3-0 win that saw back to back defeats.

United’s response was to Un-retire Paul Scholes lifting the entire dressing room. Scholes’ was to be Heaven sent driving Uniteds challenge to the Oil Dollars of City.

His returning game was the 3-2 win against City in the FACup, witness to a great Rooney header and expertly executed Welbeck Volley. The next game supplied Scholes with a goal scoring premier league return in a 3-0 win against Bolton.

He then helped United beat of a Van Persie inspired Arsenal. A game marked with another Welbeck winner, the DVD momentarily focuses on this impressive youth product.

Following this is that fateful Liverpool FACup loss, although the serious ramifications of that game were not highlighted at the time in the DVD.

FEBRUARY;

Potentially the game of the season commences the February slot with United’s ‘Spectacular’ 3-3 comeback against a Chelsea side leading 3-0. Recognised as David De Gea’s coming of age in a United shirt we are treated to some team mates supporting sound bites.

Following this was the terrible spectacle of Suarez’s non-shake and its underlying declaration of shame, this time given full view on the DVD. Unfortunately missing was Evra’s final outpouring of emotion at the final whistle, however understandable its exclusion was.

Next to be reviewed was United’s debut in the Europa Cup against Ajax.

This was swiftly followed by the 2-1 victory against Norwich at Carrow road. A game that was started with a ghosting Paul Scholes far post header and a late, late winner from Ryan Giggs. A tremendous way to mark his 900th game for the club.

MARCH;

March started well with a win against Spurs, thanks to two great Ashley Young strikes, but soon descended into more European misery as the gorgeously talented Athletic Club taught United a footballing lesson.  Albeit, giving us opportunities to again watch Llorente’s and Rooney’s wonderful strikes.

But in the Premier league, the review follows Man United continued ability to rack up the points with wins against WBA, Wolves and Fulham. This allows an opportunity to salute Johnny Evans season.

APRIL;

Beginning with the thrilling victory against Blackburn, inspired by United’s Player of the Season; Antonio Valencia’s and his blistering strike.

A thumping Scholes goal assisted in the win against QPR, but all the good work is undone as what is comfortably regarded as United’s worse performance, sees the DVD replay the Insipid 1-0 loss to Wigan. A 4-0 drubbing of villa is sandwiched between the Wigan debacle and Watching United ‘Unravel’ against Everton, throwing away games, points and ultimately the title. The 4-4 draw was interspersed with ‘stunning’ goals, not least a fabulous Welbeck effort, and we’ll forever wonder ‘what would have been’ had Evra found the net rather than the woodwork……

So at the end of April, the review records another Derby loss, if not the insipid performance that attended it.

MAY;

The penultimate game saw a great improvised Scholes finish against Swansea, but the final game became mission improbable…

The DVD review, like the season is down to the last game….

There’s a suitable build-up to the game, and even now it’s terribly hard to watch this again. Rooney scores the only goal and winner against Sunderland……

There is crowd reaction as Manchester City take the lead and we resign ourselves to the inevitable……

Then….. Hope against hope Cisse scores an equalier….

But, Disaster! Barton’s madness means QPR are down to 10 men!!…

Jamie Mackee’s goal sends United fans into disbelieving and anxious joy….

Then Man City produces an equaliser and unbelievably I’m now reliving my palpitations….!!

The Whistle goes at the United Game…

Then bewilderment amongst the Man United players as Sunderland Fans celebrate our pain….

Sir Alex Ferguson shows his class in the final post match interview as he congratulates the noisy neighbours. The DVD concludes with a rallying call from true United Legend Ryan Giggs to meet the challenge this coming season… We wait with expectation and Belief in Uniited’s Spirit and History….

>FIXTURE LIST<

This allows the viewer to choose a specific game with an easy to navigate system to locate and select your favoured game.

>EXTRAS<

The bonus material is probably the most satisfying of all the material available on the DVD.

This short segment provides extended Interviews with Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes and Patrice Evra that are available to watch individually or all together;

  • Sir Alex is in fine fettle, reviewing the season honestly but buoyed by the youth within the squad and obviously looking forward to meeting the challenge of the noisy neighbours
  • The Paul Scholes interview reflected on his decision to return and his characteristically understated response to his returning. He also gives his views on the ‘Gaffer’ as well as the squad.
  • Captain Patrice Evra. This is a player who has embraced the spirit and the history of the club. He provides an interesting insight into what drives a Manchester United player. He discusses the challenges the playing squad faced during the season, including a remarkably honest appraisal of the miserable European experience. Patrice also offers a player’s perception of Paul Scholes return from retirement.