Supporting Manchester United is Like Rooting for Microsoft

Sir Alex Ferguson: Troll Genius

When your correspondent was just a wee young thing, his first love (besides the girl down the street whose all-encompassing beauty is still growing by the day) was the baseball. I loved the geometric order of it, the subtle nuance of how each pitch plays out, the hats, the bats, the stockings, and the familiar feeling of a muggy summer night at Baltimore’s old Memorial Stadium.

HOWEVAH, I was so small at the time that my attempts to become the next Cal Ripken, Jr. were thwarted by my inability to even swing a bat. I wasn’t much better in the field. After two seasons my combined batting average was .333 because I struck out twice, got one fluke double that should have been a home run but for my conservative baserunning , and walked every other time because my strike zone was approximately the size of a shoe box.

So, I was gently nudged towards the soccer, where diminutive size was only a problem at the goalkeeper position and was even an asset in others. To help learn the game, my dad bought me Bryan Robson’s Soccer Skills, a brilliant book about the sport’s fundamentals of training, its subtle physical technique, and some elementary game tactics.

Those of you who are somewhat familiar with TEH SOCCERZ know that Bryan Robson was a midfield dynamo for a 22-year career spanning three decades, and that he was at his imperious best with Manchester United (and England) in the mid 1980s.

There, I admit it. I learned how to play soccer from a Manchester United player.

Quelle Horreur!

Now that I have this (and my sports bra) off my chest, we can properly preview Saturday’s tasty early morning match-up (7:45 Eastern, ESPN2HD; espn3.com) between Manchester United and Liverpool, two clubs from the northwest of England who have hauled in more major trophies in the last fifty years than most other clubs put together. Their rivalry, which would be intense solely due to the mere 27 miles that separate these two old cities, keeps getting hotter every year.

By winning the Premier League last season, ManYoo surpassed Liverpool’s record of 18 domestic league championships (to which Liverpool has not added in more than twenty years) and can now legitimately lay claim to being the most successful English club. In addition, the flare-up earlier this season between Liverpool’s little Uruguyan genius Luis Suarez and ManYoo’s veteran french left back Patrice Evra that (in the opinion of your clearly unbiased correspondent) was a disgraceful smear campaign that left Mr. Suarez unfairly accused of racism on “evidence”  that could never support a case in front of a real court.

Yes, RAYCESSM is actually a criminal offense in England. Leaving aside for the moment the problematic nature of Thoughtcrime, Suarez and Evra should have been given the same punishment (nothing) because they both allegedly said naughty words. Oh but no, The laughably inept Football Association had to go make an example of someone to make a point to the fat, stupid FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is actually racist (and a misogynist to boot. What a lovely fellow!). So, Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches and Saturday could mark his first full match back from suspension. Of course it will be at Old Trafford, a/k/a Old Twatford, the 78,000 seat fortress of the Red Devils™ which will be even more electric than it usually is for this fixture.

So boys and girls, it’s once again time for me to ask WHO YA GOT?

Manchester United (5/6) – In the last twenty-odd years, while hauling in an unprecedented load of silverware under the evil genius Sir Alex Ferguson, ManYoo has signified both everything that is right and good about football off the field and everything that is wrong with both football and global finance. As one of the first high-profile English clubs to be floated on the London Stock Exchange, the club operated with brilliant business acumen and conservative financial discipline worthy of any public company. They’re still one of the best global brands in the history of EVAR, but the club’s finances have been in a weird place ever since it was purchased in a highly leveraged deal by Malcolm Glazer, the proprietor of dying American big box shopping malls and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Suckaneers.

Your correspondent used to have a grudging respect for this shower of bastards because they were a well-run business. Now that they owe money all over town to hedge funds with the juice reportedly running at 15% or more, and because their owners are now as despicable as their “fans” have always been, I want them to go down in flames more than ever.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Young; Rooney, Hernandez.

The Draw (23/10) – The draw seems underpriced, as does a victory for Liverpool. If I wasn’t sending most of my barely earned money to the lovely people of Bank of America, Chase, and Discover I would buy the draw until it was on even par with a ManYoo victory, for libertee and freedumb.

Liverpool (16/5) – This seems like a value bet. Saturday’s match will be played at approximately one million miles per hour and Liverpool has a better defense than ManYoo. If a goal is scored in fluky circumstances it will probably go in for Liverpool, the club of my boyhood passions despite having more of a familial connection to Everton, Liverpool’s first club and still the team I have seen play live more than all other English clubs put together.

Your correspondent worries that, now that LFCee is basically the footballing arm of the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club, their fans will all become as obnoxious as New England spahrts fans, or that they already have been for quite some time and I couldn’t see it for what it was. Liverpool is like a pretty girl who has lost her looks. Everyone knows it and they’re further embittered with every season that goes by without the trophy they care about the most, the one they have not won since the TeeVee money revolutionized football and brought us the glorious English Premier League, Brought to You by Barclays® PLC.

Possible Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Kuyt, Gerrard, Adam; Bellamy; Carroll, Suarez.

Comments

  1. My money, parlayed of course because I’m a greedy Manchester United fan, is on the Red Devils. I’ll plan to tell you this in person tomorrow morning. You’re a gentleman for coming down.

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