Saturday, May 29

Everything Will Be Alright

The year I bought my first United shirt - or rather my dad bought me my first United shirt - was 1991. I was aged 5, illiterate to the world around me. A year later marked the beginning of the Premier League, alongside the growing prominence of Sky Sports, as the game of football over time became big business for all those involved.

Some clubs had the marketing prowess to take advantage of national and international TV rights, some hadn't. Mine most certainly did - and does - as the global brand of Manchester United went on to rival that of the New York Yankees. The club was, until 2005, running as a public limited company, meaning that if a rich Florida businessman wanted to take us over by way of borrowing lots and lots of money, he could. And then he did, sticking us 'about' £600m in the red, as it were.

Big football clubs, sorry corporations, tend to live in herds of debt. Tesco, Marks & Spencer, ITV. It's obviously not ideal but as long as it's controlled, the rules don't disagree. My team's owners, if they were real bastards, could have therefore hiked up ticket prices and prevented the team manager from purchasing big-money signings. But they really haven't. Earlier this year, they sorted a bond issue which will handle the club's debt until 2017. Not only that, but we've won everything under the sun since the take-over.

United are in good shape, being one of the best run businesses in the West, making transfers Fergie wants, agreeing new sponsorship deals, competing as one of the best on the European stage. So when those stupid green-and-gold scarves started popping up in and around Old Trafford, it was odd. Especially considering the debt wasn't exactly news, and it all spun off from the bond issue announcement, which is essentially a good thing.

"It is ironic that the protests gathered momentum after an event that put the financing structure of the club on a better footing," David Gill told yesterday's Independent. And the scarves? "I think that minority will go away. I see people from Asia walking out of the megastore with a red-and-white scarf and they just assume they (green-and-gold ones) are official scarves and go and buy one. I think there is an element of that. A lot of people understand what it means but a lot of them don't."

But it isn't just the club's faraway fans that don't understand what they mean. Old Trafford on matchdays has recently been a sea of these uneducated, bandwagon-jumping morons. However, they're still attending, which only raises their lack of know-all even further. If you were truly angry against your team's owners, why put money in your club's pockets every week by paying for a ticket?! Why not go and watch FC United of Manchester?! It's like they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

I'm pretty much repeating previous blogs here. But today was a kind of landmark for those who, like me, really don't mind the Glazers. They're not the devil. They want the absolute best for United, and there's been no reason to believe otherwise since they bought us. But today was huge because the senseless collective who thought they could somehow wangle up enough dough to purchase - and run - the biggest sporting organisation on the planet were struck by the debt decreasing by a good £20m.

But really, it's not even about who's behind the scenes. For me, unless the manager or team's success is negatively impacted, red-and-white is where it starts and finishes.

Related posts:
Bias Bias Coverage (28/5/10)
Common Sense Talks (22/5/10)
Don't Let It Be Too Late (9/5/10)
I Swear I Knew It All Along (24/3/10)
Love United, Don't Mind Glazer (16/3/10)
We're In This Together (26/1/10)

The Killers 'Everything Will Be Alright'

Friday, May 28

Bias Bias Coverage

Glazer family: "The board notes recent press speculation regarding a possible bid for Manchester United. The owners remain fully committed to their long-term ownership of the club. Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers."

David Gill: "Sir Alex is not restricted financially. I can look you in the eye and say that."

Right, please can we stop the stupid little fucking protests now?

Oh wait, BBC: "Manchester United was bought by the Glazer family for £800m in 2005. In the 2009/10 season the club finished second to Chelsea in the Premier League. They were also knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter finals, and have ended the season relatively unsuccessfully by their standards, winning only the League Cup."

BBC, how about the fact that we won everything under the fucking sun between 2005 and 2009? Partiality journalism coming from the organisation that prides itself on its requirement to be impartial. Disgusting.

Related posts:
Common Sense Talks (22/5/10)
Don't Let It Be Too Late (9/5/10)
I Swear I Knew It All Along (24/3/10)
Love United, Don't Mind Glazer (16/3/10)
We're In This Together (26/1/10)

Caspa The Friendly Chav

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of my fellow human beings. Especially those who are from where I am from. And I and Caspa, aka Gary 'Looks like a chavvy lad-boy from London, mate, init, nah mate, init' McCann, aka Gazza (probably), aka Maccas (probably), aka Gary McCann, would most likely struggle to hold a down conversation outside of the subject of expensive sausage rolls if we met in a service station.

But sometimes it can be a good thing to not be so condemnatory of people. Especially when the mortal in question happens to be the architect of, like, the best fucking dubstep choon since... er... umm... its Wiki is too hard to read!

Generally speaking, I'm (clearly) not a fan of dubstep. But this is amaze.

Caspa 'Back For The First Time'

Tuesday, May 25

"Shut It Down"

Very few television shows fail to jump the shark. Even some of the greatest, after a few seasons and the employment of fresh scenarios and new writers, eventually lose their cool. 24, that 'real-time' drama which concluded in the US about two and a half hours ago, by all means had its ups and downs. But as toilsome as it is to conserve consistency, Jack Bauer, in the main, was pretty darn notable.

"There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal," Russian naughty man Yuri Suvarov tells US naughty man Charles Logan of Bauer on Day 8 at roughly 1.57pm. See, 24 itself had often been "wounded" by falling ratings and threats of the axe prior to its eventual cancellation. But, like the protagonist up'd his savageness, Day 8's final few hours saw some of the show's most fearless and brilliant writing and acting to date. It turned in the goods when the clock was ticking.

And the actual finale? Well, for all its great anticipation, it certainly wasn't soaring on emotion in those final few minutes - Not like the Hollywood-style blistering violins roasting away at the end would have wanted anyway. But then maybe it was its ridiculous expectancy that overshadowed the whole thing. In terms of the plot, Chloe shooting Jack was nowhere near as jolting as it sounds on script, though Jack viciously biting off Pillar's ear probably made up for it.

The last hour for sure asked a multiplicity of questions - Will Jack go with Chloe? Is President Taylor going to sign the treaty? Surely Logan won't finish not being finished himself?! Plus, just like the rest of the series, the story was exceedingly unpretentious to follow, and it truly left you hanging on right 'til the very end as to Jack's demise. But see, we already knew that there's a movie on the way. So - another query - why put a gun to Jack's head with minutes to go when Fox has previously announced a film deal for the show?!

The thrust seen through Jack in the last eight days shone through President Taylor's refusal to sign the treaty - good overpowering evil, a healthy conscience equals inner peace, etc, etc, etc... Further, Chloe's teary-eyed sayonara to Jack was sweet, though (at least for I) not cogent enough to transmute outside of the screen. And so, it's over but it's not really over, then. Sure, the clock counted three seconds down for the first ever time to mark the end, but all concluded with a sense the scriptwriters are still high on notions to sensationalise politics for its corruption and decipher more ways to save a man from, well, I'm all out.

In short, the finale was more than competent, however those last few minutes were perhaps too predictable/anticlimactic/like-a-film-before-the-film's-even-made for the show to go out on that high we were all praying it would. Really though, 24 jumped the shark before it even hit halfway. But accept it for its stupid absurdity, and you've got yourself eight days of utter satisfaction.

Sufjan Stevens 'Jackbauersonville'

Sunday, May 23

Say "Astronaut" #8

From 'The Stall' (S5E12)

Pixies 'Tony's Theme'

Saturday, May 22

Common Sense Talks

"There's a lot made of it, maybe too much. The fans are obviously passionate about the club but sometimes they need to focus on supporting the club a bit more than getting carried away with the technicalities of who's in charge. Personally I think the Glazers have always put money into Manchester United to buy players when needed," Ben Foster, ex-Manchester United goalkeeper, May 2010.

Couldn't. Agree. More.

Related posts:
Don't Let It Be Too Late (9/5/10)
I Swear I Knew It All Along (24/3/10)
Love United, Don't Mind Glazer (16/3/10)
We're In This Together (26/1/10)

Say "Astronaut" #7

From 'The Lip Reader' (S5E6)

Lightspeed Champion 'Dry Lips'

Monday, May 17

Nice Dream

When Cristiano Ronaldo fouled Malaga's Patrick Mtiliga in the 86th minute of Real Madrid's final game of the season, it wasn't because Mtiliga had been scuttling the Portuguese winger. In actuality, he was lashing out at himself, or rather a first season in the Spanish capital and without a trophy to show for it. Barcelona were already 4-0 up see, so even if Madrid did manage to advance on a 1-1 dead heat, the La Liga title was still headed to the Nou Camp.

But I'm not sure if Cristiano has anything to be truly upset about. Yet, anyway. Was it not asking too much for this fresh set of galácticos to acquire something as momentous as to overcome the power of Lionel and co in their first year together? And if they did, surely anything but another La Liga/UCL the season after would be deemed insufficient.

Now they can build on the fact that they took Barcelona within a point of the pinnacle, that's eight whole more than the season before. Of course Pellegrini will be unemployed give a week, but that's just the Madrid way.

Ronaldo himself, netting an overall 33 goals in 35 games, hasn't exactly had a bad season either, plus that goals-per-game average beats any year he had in Manchester.

Look, here's what's gonna go down. José Mourinho will next Saturday evening be lifting his second UCL and first proper treble, marking the most pivotal moment in Internazionale's rich history for four decades. All prior to leaving his post for the Bernabéu. Then, around this time next year, Real will take back that title, Messi the fallen wonder. Oh boy, one can dream...

Radiohead '(Nice Dream)'

Say "Astronaut" #6

From 'The Little Kicks' (S8E4)

Arab Strap 'Don't Ask Me To Dance'

Saturday, May 15

Allegedly Not Nice People

Tiger Woods
Ashley Cole
John Terry
David Boreanaz
David Letterman
Jesse James
Steven Gerrard's wife
Vernon Kay
Mark Owen
Ronan Keating

Just saying...

Kate Nash 'Dickhead'

Friday, May 14

Say "Astronaut" #5

From 'The Junior Mint' (S4E20)

Jimmy Eat World 'Lucky Denver Mint'

Monday, May 10

Don't Panic

Let's not panic, eh? Yep, we only lifted the Carling Cup all season. However, what some are predicting as wholesale changes is unnecessary and simply won't happen. We came within a point of the Premiership in its most bizarre season yet - after shifting the Greatest Footballer Of All Time, I might add - were ridiculously jinxed in the UCL quarter-final to Bayern Munich, and the FA Cup, well, we won't go there...

If Wayne Rooney never got wounded in Germany, we would most likely be lifting the Premiership for a fourth year in a row. However, these things present themselves every so often and without him, Chelsea looked a cut above us at Old Trafford those few days later, Drogba offside or on.

So, to the squad. Should Dimitar Berbatov depart? Probably. Will he? I doubt it. Unless he's fallen out with the bossman, there's most likely enough deftness there to serve as backup for who we actually do bring in. The only players I expect to exit are Ben Foster, which Sir Alex has virtually admitted to, and Anderson, who reportedly did indeed cross swords with the honcho.

So, coming in... Actually, now to who's already there. Starting from the back, Rafael has simply got to learn from his raw mistakes that arguably cost us the UCL. Jonny Evans, now the go-to support for no Rio Ferdinand/Nemanja Vidic, is still only 22 and improving all the time. In the midfield, Nani and Antonio Valencia will better their respective highly decent seasons. Michael Carrick, who also apparently had words with Fergie, can still do a job confidence-permitting. Darren Fletcher now turns it on for both small and big opposition, while Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have secured another hot-and-cold season each. Up top, Rooney is sure to build on his best year yet. Berbatov's been covered, and Michael Owen could get a new deal if his second term's as good as his first pre-injury. Not forgetting the up-and-down Gary Neville, dependable John O'Shea/Wes Brown, getting-better Darren Gibson and 'returning' Owen Hargreaves. Oh, did I forget Ji-Sung Park and Federico Macheda? They can go, not that they will.

Which leaves us to the entrance door. David Silva, who United went for two seasons ago, would be ideal behind Rooney. At least on paper, anyway. Valencia media have dismissed talk of a move, but how long can he and David Villa stay at the Mestalla, harming their big-team potential? Supposedly promising Fulham defender Chris Smalling, we've already got incoming. So maybe one other. But where? A striker, possibly. But who is another blog post.

See, if this is a 'transitional' season, this year's stars can be next year's icons. That plus "one or two things" as Fergie tells, and we'll be fine. Honest.

Coldplay 'Don't Panic'

Sunday, May 9

Don't Let It Be Too Late

"The danger, as I see it, is that we could be presented as being split which would be harmful and inaccurate because I believe the vast majority of Manchester United supporters are behind us," Sir Alex Ferguson, January 2010.

Thing is, Manchester United's anti-Glazer campaigners don't seem like their "behind" anything but a hiding to nothing. Reports over the weekend suggest that a smoke bomb was set off outside Old Trafford, though fortunately led to no injuries or arrests. However, seeing it dilate as it does every other week, from some 60-year-old bloke selling green-and-yellow scarves by the ground to a bandwagon of twerps flaunting 'em like a fashion accessory, there's a sense their what-was smart and subtle message is now getting out of hand.

As these things do. It's that Brit insecurity of acting robust, only ultimately fearful, that's emerging to the anti-Glazers' front line. The most worrying thing about it all is that there's probably more to come - who knows where this is gonna go? I guess the season's conclusion will calm things down, a blessing in disguise perhaps.

Today's game was joined by a plane flying over the stadium bearing a banner calling for the owners to step down. One flag in the East Stand asked for fans to "starve" the Glazers by not renewing their season tickets (something I personally think these so-called supporters should have done a long time ago - are they not being hypocritical by turning up every week?). A single is even rumoured to be in the pipeline.

Some of this canvassing is impressive, for sure. But nobody should get injured for the sake of it. Plus the way things are heading, it's only a matter of time.

And considering the Glazers doubtlessly have no plans to move a muscle, these protesters are only endangering themselves.

Related posts:
I Swear I Knew It All Along (24/3/10)
Love United, Don't Mind Glazer (16/3/10)
We're In This Together (26/1/10)

Saturday, May 8

Las Vegas One Time

Apologies for the recent lack of blogging. I'm not gonna lie to you, it's a result of my football team being sucky, laziness and winning $6 in Las Vegas, Nevada. See below for the latter...

Saturday, May 1

Album Of Last Month

Darwin Deez 'Darwin Deez' (Lucky Number)

"Cause everyday ought to be a bad day for you; And if you drop your keys I hope there's a sewer somewhere very nearby; I hope that your team lost; I hope your new girl takes off with a new guy." ('Bad Day')

Ouch. Whoever burst Darwin Deez's spirit musta saw to it that it was wholly screwed before departing. Still, as is often the score, in agony comes innovation. And in this self-titled debut album, comes some of the most splendid pro-life NYC-kickin' medleys since Nate Archibald graduated St. Jude's. Although it's not all angst-rousing baggage, some folk-laden guitars even verge on Strokes lite disco.
Not 'Deep Sea Divers' however, which has frontman Darwin laxing about a defecting romance ("You're bringin' me down; Now I'm blue; Now I'm in deeper, too") over oh-so treacly 'lectro. His aloof energy, it turns out, is actually saved for 'The Suicide Song', as his positively sloppy vocals pep up "from the window ledge" above sock hop funk strings, all probably for the motive of good ol' irony.
'The Bomb Song', though not as sanguine, is more provocative by alluding to that "people are sick", "the shelter is sick" and "sixty-nine-hundred people have died"... Is it lazy to assume this concerns that war that won't go away?
'Bad Day', the last and best number on here, may commence wearily (see above), but ends on a total befuddlement, with Darwin squealing: "I'm sorry if it ever is, I'm sorry if it ever is."
'Darwin Deez' is a buoyant and snappy record that, yes, is ideal for the July sun. But for a long time after that, too...

Best Track
Bad Day