It’s car-crash television watching another club turn inwards on itself and devour every shred of dignity. You know, how other fans viewed us.
Mourinho’s reign is the Hovis ad. Manchester United are the baker’s boy freewheeling down the hill, just at the moment when he realises that the brakes on the bike have failed and there are just two options: jump off now and take the bruises the cobbled street will give, perhaps even a mild concussion; or, ride to the very end, struggling to control the bicycle before ending up in a crumpled mass of torn skin, blood and metal.
We all want the latter but surely the former is how United will react? The hounds of the back pages who lost the scent with Arsène are moving in for the kill with Mourinho.
Which is all well and good, but if they can just hold off for a few more weeks. Thanks to United’s ineptitude we moved up the table although there’s an element of relief that Tottenham didn’t go top of the table. I’m sure there’s a DVD on the way: “Celebrate the day we moved to second in the Premier League!”
Not that we’re without our own drama. Mesut Özil returns to training today in our own early afternoon soap opera; it’s a tale which has a few more episodes to run. Once he returns to the first team, the story dies. Unless he gets hooked, then the series is commissioned for a second run.
Football without its dramas is nothing, is it?
Talk Is Cheap Unless You Pay For It
Which leads to Aaron Ramsey’s contract. The decision to renew or not to renew feels like it needs a Mel Brooks song with the Blazing Saddles Busby Berkeley chaotic ending. It’s January, it’s not; there’s too much brand management in football from the players.
The silence in these situations is more detrimental to a player’s reputation that making a statement either in an interview or creating a false narrative on a hastily created website. You know, I would have no issue if Ramsey said he didn’t believe in the project or he needed a new challenge. That happens; it’s part of working life.
Silence used to be golden; we know Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe told us that. However, that was the ’60s and now Silence is most definitely not golden; it’s the fodder for speculation and every niggle about a player, the role in the team and performances. About how they were good for one season, how they were overhyped, over-rated and over the hill long before we reached this point.
It’s a simple equation for the player, but the way negotiations play out now seems to ignore the fact that the common sense of the many is outweighed by the shouty social media madness. The damage is done quickly and almost irreparably.
Almost is great because it is not quite certain. Ramsey is second only to Özil in the marmite stakes. He’s either adored or hated, which underlines the extent to which extremes rule the roost. Is it a calculated strategy to rely on the stadium’s support? Ensure the club shop records sales of his shirt, t-shirt or pillowcase. I assume there are pillowcases; I don’t know and honestly, I don’t care.
Anyway, there’s something about contract negotiations which is utterly tedious, even back as far as the Vieira days and before. Signing da ting; how rare it is for a deal to be easy, to be straightforward. A sign of our fallen status, of the decade without a title challenge?
He’ll sign if he wants to, he’ll leave if he thinks the grass is greener. Manchester United’s tribulations, trials, and implosion underline that for Ramsey. Chelsea last season; football now is combustible at every level unless the title is habitually a realistic option. Even then, it’s only a matter of time before the cracks appear at City. One wrong signing, one rampaging ego is all it takes for the happy ship to be holed.
It happens all the time in football. Always has done, always will; just the surroundings are different. Frankly, there’s nothing new in modern football.