Inside the Opposition: Manchester United (Part 1)

United are the visitors on Sunday for what is City’s first big test of the new season. Whereas United have already played Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen, we’ve played Newcastle, Hull and Plzen. There’s no question that City are going to have find their best performance of the season to take three points.

Ahead of the game, I spoke to Lucia Zanetti: a writer, a mum, a Mancunian and a United fan.

What do you think of Moyes?

It’s early days, but I think he was a clever appointment.

All the attributes we’ve afforded to Ferguson – both the fans and many parts of the media – as a majestic architect of modern football and grand overlord of the mind-game, came about over a long period of time.

There’s no denying that Ferguson had a particular set of skills that served United extremely well, but conversely the late 1980’s was a different era. He was given the space to properly fuck up initially. Fans’ knee-jerk requests were ignored and he helped develop a youth system that afforded us… well, everything.

That space and time to bed-in and find a rhythm has been eradicated from Modern Football. Not just for us, for you (Viva Mancini!) and for everyone. New managers are expected to come in and sit astride a bucking bronco and hold on, or fuck off. Look at Chelsea.

You’re essentially asking for someone to manage someone else’s vision for the team. Which makes no sense, given that (as previously outlined) the most successful Premier League manager had a decades-old tenure. I’d follow that model if I were looking to make a long-term investment.

Moyes is not the showbiz, jazz-hands choice. But he has spent a long time at a club he was valued at. He also worked well with their budget, which will be important to our evil owners.

But he’s a man of integrity, which fans will appreciate. He’s Scottish, he’s no oil painting, he rarely smiles… I think he could fit right in.

After starting on Tuesday, are we now going to see Kagawa play regularly? I think he’s a lovely player.

YOU think he’s a lovely player??!! I’m fizzing, Rob. A lot of United fans can’t fathom it. I got a glimmer of hope when it looked like Rooney was leaving; I was having daydreams of an RvP/ Kagawa pairing made in heaven.

Although he likes to play central and pushes forward, he can also work either side. He’s fast, versatile and we’ve been shit in midfield. I don’t get it. I don’t get why he’s hardly had a game under Sir Alex (despite managing to become the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premiership with us) and I don’t get why he’s only played this last game for us, thus far, under Moyes.

Moyes has claimed it’s to do with his International responsibilities and jet lag and then this mild flu shite… we’ll see. Because as it stands Germany and Japan are properly gobsmacked.

It’s a monumental fuck up of the highest order to not utilize a player of his ability.

He didn’t have a great game against Leverkusen, but he’s hardly ever likely to switch it on for us if he never gets a full game and isn’t allowed to develop key relationships on the pitch. And if he doesn’t start playing more frequently and getting full games, he should go somewhere they’ll appreciate him and give him more than a smattering of games and a racist Twitter account.

Has the City-United rivalry intensified in recent years?

Hahaha. I’ll have to be careful here. Yes, it has intensified.

I mean, look, living in Manchester I think City have seen us as rivals when they shouldn’t have. In previous years, it’s been ace to beat you lot, because when we don’t, you get t-shirts printed up. But in any footballing sense, we haven’t seen you as rivals until the last five years or so. So yeah, it’s gone from nothing, to something. It was tough to take when you won the title. I liked Mancini. I think you have some great players. I’m looking forward to watching Jesus this year, and all the “hilarious” faux-religious chants that will ensue. I can’t be nice about you lot can I? Maybe that’s further evidence that the rivalry has intensified.

From the outside looking in, United had a dreadful summer. How do you see it?

Yeah, this is a difficult one for me. I don’t get too bogged down in Window Watching. It bores me, and the speculation always leaves me heartbroken. Plus we’ve signed some great players in the past at the final hour.

I hate the language and the glibness that fans implement when discussing transfers – talking shit about where Rooney will and won’t live, or laying moves on the heads of players like it’s old fashioned headhunting and not a process that involves teams of lawyers and agents and owners and businessmen.

To be honest though, I thought we’d have secured a more impressive signing for the first season of a new manager. It was important to make a statement. It’s nice to have signed a Midfielder though, Fellaini could be ace for us.

The real fuck-up here has been Edward Woodward’s and what is positive about it all, is that he’s the one the fans and media have blamed.


What would be a successful first season under Moyes?

If you’re expecting me to say top three, you can go fuck yourself. Prepare for my twattiest ever statement – We’re United; we expect to win.

Who’s United’s most important player?

Important is all relative. Team Spirit, Fan Favourites… they all play a part.

Special mentions go to De Gea, who is vastly underrated, Danny Welbeck, who all the fans want to be able to switch it on for United like he’s done for England, and Ryan Giggs, who, at bobbing on for forty is taking the piss somewhat in terms of his Benjamin Buttonish athleticism and stamina.

But in terms of this season? It’s Robin. There’s no question about it. Whatever happens to us this year, will be as a direct consequence of him.

I’ll get bollocked for not mentioning Carrick here. Arsed.

Ronaldo was never coming ‘home’ was he?

Ronaldo who?

Which City player would you take?

I would’ve taken Balotelli. All day long. I fucking love Balotelli. I loved him when he played for you lot too.

But if we’re talking current then I’ll probably take David Silva. And with our commitment to attacking midfielders, he might get a twice-yearly game.

Yeah. I’d take Silva and put him on a great big United-sponsored ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard.

Who will win the league?


Prediction for the game?

We’ll be shafted probably. You always try your best with us. Let’s say…

City 3-2 United

Interview by Rob Pollard

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3 comments on “Inside the Opposition: Manchester United (Part 1)
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