Reasons to Hate Manchester United

A few years ago, there were many Arsenal fans who were actually openly rooting for Manchester United to overhaul Chelsea for the Premier League crown. The reasoning, I guess, was because they detested Mourinho’s nouveau riche Chelsea. They figured, if we weren’t going to be champions, please don’t let it be Chelsea. A couple of years later, the same dilemma greeted Arsenal fans viewing the Champions League final. Even though Manchester United would have achieved a historic double on the 50th anniversary of Munich, the same type of Arsenal fan rooted for Manchester United. They wanted Arsenal to be the first London based club to win the Champions League.

I am not one of these people. To cut to the chase, I detest Manchester United with every fiber of my being. I hate them. Unless they approach me, you won’t see me say a word to a United fan. Along with Tottenham, they are the club I want to beat the most.

There’s nothing wrong with being a new Arsenal fan. As long as you support the club with your heart, I have no problems with it. But, the attitude towards Chelsea belong solely to the new Arsenal fans. That must be rectified soon.

These are few of the reasons I hate Manchester United:

– Sir Alex Ferguson, the “dustbin man who looks like Taggart”. Personally, I find it highly irritating that Wenger and Ferguson are somewhat cordial now. I’d rather they hated each other’s guts.

– They humiliated us at the Emirates last year in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal.

– Patrice Evra. His comments about our squad being comprised of babies should have been met with a swift slide tackle from behind. The fact that he complained he was targeted by our players (with tackles that weren’t nasty enough for my liking) makes him sound like a baby.

– They clinched the title against us last year, forcing Cesc Fabregas to extend his congratulations to the aforementioned Taggart.

– Ryan Giggs, the Welsh Sheep Shagger. The image of his goal against us in the 1999 FA Cup semifinal will never be forgotten. I don’t care if he’s never played in a World Cup. The woman who was caught on camera giving him the finger while he was taking a corner is a legend. She’s a true Gooner.

– They can potentially win a record-breaking fourth Premier League title in a row while surpassing Liverpool for total triumphs.

– Darren Fletcher. How a player becomes this overrated is a result of British pundits who confuse effort with actual skill. A couple of years ago, United fans didn’t even want to see him in their team. Now, he’s compared with Roy Keane. That comparison makes me laugh and vomit at the same time.

– Their fans are sensitive bullies. Calling a manager a paedophile is something they do with pride; it’s become so routine that it doesn’t even bother us anymore (even if it’s still greatly offensive). During the Carling Cup semifinal second leg, a section of fans at Old Trafford made machine gun gestures at Emmanuel Adebayor. Clearly, I am no fan of Adebayor, but those are pathetic actions by cowards. The same group of cowards who if other groups of fans mention the words “airplane” and “Munich” can’t take the heat.

– Nani. He could have been crippled by Mathieu Flamini after showboating against us during the FA Cup two years ago. Had he connected, Flamini would have been banned for at least eight games. It would have been worth it.

– They snatched Chris Smalling from us. Smalling, who was an Arsenal fan growing up, somehow decided to snub us and join “the biggest club in the world” instead. I now hope he fails and that Aaron Ramsey leads Wales to the World Cup after Ryan Giggs retires.

– Wayne Rooney. He dived to end our 49 match unbeaten streak. The contrast between how Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are judged says everything. A man who would kiss the United badge in front of the same Everton fans who worshipped him is clearly a scumbag.

If those aren’t enough reasons, I’m sure we can think of more. Please feel free to list more in the comments section.

As I sit here typing this, I can’t help but look forward to the match on Sunday.

A true culture of hate for Manchester United must be a requirement for any Arsenal fan. Players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, and Rio Ferdinand hate Arsenal. It’s time to have some of our players show that sort of hatred. I want that to see that type of anger on Sunday.

Nothing would make me more happy than to start our run towards the Premier League title by destroying them at the Emirates.

Sunday. I. Can’t. Fucking. Wait.

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Left-Back Worries Me

It’s a strange world that we live in. We can get a man on the moon but can’t get one on Rosie O’Donnell. Last night, we were told that Vermaelen had broken his leg thus ending his season. Today he’s OK.

It’s a strange world.

So Arsenal drew 0-0 away to Aston Villa. This has caused some Arsenal fans to have heart attacks. Two reasons why: Last night Chelsea won and on Sunday Arsenal were knocked out of the FA Cup – by playing a bunch of rookie teenagers.

Throw-in Stoke now play away to Man City in the 5th round. They’re out and will now play the rest of the season trying to stay in the Premiership.

If Arsenal were still in the FA Cup then I think yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Villa would have been deemed a decent result. But Arsenal have now gone two games without a win and for some Gooners that’s a crisis. Villa have beaten Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool and drawn with Man City. They’ve only conceded seven goals at home in the Premiership.

With the injury scare to Vermaelen and the disappointment by some Arsenal fans in losing out to Man United in the signature of Chris Smalling, calls have been made for Arsene Wenger to sign someone – anyone.

The striker position is the number one area that Arsenal fans want a signing made – even though Arsenal already score a ton of goals. And what striker should Wenger sign? Eduardo is now injured but while Bendtner is back, expecting him to play twice a week for four months is asking too much.

The other alternatives are Vela and Walcott who seem to do better on the wings and are not yet the answer.

The positions that concern me the most are goalkeeper and left-back. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Almunia will not be replaced this season. I therefore hope that he rediscovers the form that got him the man of the match award against Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final 1st leg last season.

The left-back spot is more of a worry. Traore has shown that he is not a left-back. His positioning is poor and his marking is even worse. Clichy had a poor game last night and has not been the same player of two seasons ago. He’s only just got back from injury so maybe with a run of games, he will find his form.

The plus side for the defence is the return of Song and Eboue. Song in particular will provide defensive cover and muscle – something that we lacked against Stoke.

Rio Ferdinand is banned for Sunday’s game for deliberately elbowing a Hull City player in the face. Until the FA had charged him for his cowardly act, nothing was mentioned in the media or by Hull City boss Phil Brown. During that game, Man United scored a goal while a Hull player was down injured. Again, nothing was mentioned of this incident by Phil Brown or the media.

Sky Sports have been banned by Alex Ferguson from attending any post match interviews because of their continual coverage of the Tevez/Gary Neville spat. Ferguson did a similar thing to the BBC. Therein lies your reason behind the silence of Phil Brown and the media towards Manchester United. Ferguson holds too much power.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lord Acton 1887

Keep it Arsenal

Why Clubs Need Great Office Staff

The following is from Roy Keane’s autobiography. He explains his transfer from Nottingham Forest to Manchester United in the summer of 1993. It’s interesting for two reasons:

1) Why a club needs excellent administrative staff to be successful;
2) The ruthlessness and cunnigness of Alex Ferguson:

I’d heard that Alan Shearer was on 500,000 pounds a year (at Blackburn), so that’s what I demanded. After some bargaining, I accepted Blackburn’s offer of 400,000 pounds a year. A deal was agreed late on Friday afternoon.

Terms agreed, I was ready to sign the contract. But when Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn boss) phoned Ewood Park, the office staff had left for the weekend. “Don’t worry,” he said, “you can sign the forms on Monday.” We shook hands.

I went home to Cork for the weekend. On Saturday news of my transfer to Blackburn made the newspapers. The fee set a new British transfer record. I hit the town on Saturday night to celebrate my move.

On Sunday, I woke up with a hangover. I was due back in Blackburn the following day to sign forms. After that I was looking forward to a holiday.

At lunch time the phone rang. It was Alex Ferguson. My family were Manchester United daft.

“Roy it’s Alex Ferguson here. Have you signed any forms?”
“No, but I shook hands on the deal, and I’m due to sign the forms tomorrow.”
“Why don’t you have a chat with me before you do anything?”

Wow. Manchester United. The Premier League champions.

“Yes, but I have agreed the deal,” I tell Ferguson.
“You’ve signed nothing. Come over for a chat.”

From that moment I was never going to sign for any other club. In my heart of hearts I knew I could never refuse to sign for the world’s most famous football club.

The next morning – after a hectic night on the town – I flew to Manchester. Alex Ferguson met me at the airport. We drove to his home close by. Brian Kidd was there. After a meal and some general chat, Ferguson suggested we have a game of snooker. He was a useful player.

I liked him straight away. For a man managing Manchester United, who’d just won the Premier League, he was unaffected, funny and reassuringly human. He was also clearly hungry for more trophies.

“Roy, Manchester United are going to dominate the domestic game with or without you. With you we can win in Europe,” he asserted.

It was a persuasive argument. However, there were a few obstacles to overcome before a deal to join United could be done. Ferguson asked who was representing me. I told him the PFA. He suggested that we would not discuss terms right now. “Leave that to me,” he urged. We agreed that I would tell Dalglish our deal was off. After that, I would have to sit tight while United dealt with Nottingham Forest. It wouldn’t be easy, Ferguson pointed out, but, he assured me, he would secure what both of us wanted in the end.

I phoned Kenny Dalglish to tell him that I’d changed my mind about joining Blackburn Rovers. He went crazy.

“What the fuck do you mean?”

I told him I’d talked to Alex Ferguson.

“We shook hands on a deal. You can’t back out now,” he screamed.
“Look, I’m sorry, I really am,” I told him, “but I’ve got my future to think about, I’m entitled to that.”
“You’re entitled to nothing except the commitment you made to me on Friday.”
“I’m sorry, if you’d had the forms ready, I would have signed on Friday.”
“Nobody does this to me, nobody does this to Kenny Dalglish. You’re a wee bastard and you won’t get away with this.”

Here was Kenny Dalglish insisting that I honor a deal I hadn’t signed. The same Kenny Dalglish who’d spent several months tapping me up behind Brian Clough’s back. The more he swore at me the less my conscience bothered me.

The next call I received was from Frank Clark (the then new Nottingham Forest manager). I confirmed that after talking to Alex Ferguson I had changed my mind. Clark had also received a call from Ferguson. Unlike Blackburn, who going to pay 4 million, Manchester United would pay just over 3 million. That was unacceptable to Forest, Clark declared. He made it clear that there would be no sale to United unless they matched Blackburn’s fee. I insisted that United was the club I wanted to join. Stalemate.

I was going on holiday to Cyprus and spoke to Alex Ferguson again. He assured me that the choice was mine. It was up to me which club I joined. If I kept my nerve, everything would work out in the end. Keeping my nerve might mean starting the following season as a Forest player. I resolved to do as Ferguson suggested. Go on holiday and don’t worry.

The next day the phone rang at 6:30 am. It was Kenny Dalglish.
“You won’t get away with this,” he began. “Blackburn Rovers will sue you for every penny you’ve got.” He and Alex Ferguson had never got on and this more than anything appeared to be bugging him. He called me names. He repeated that nobody “fucked with Kenny Dalglish and got away with it.”

When I returned to Forest for pre-season training, I was forced to train with the reserves. It was made clear that I would be punished for the crime of rejecting Blackburn by being ostracized in every conceivable way. Ferguson told me to keep my composure. This was a game of poker between United and Forest. United’s latest offer of 3.5 million fell 500,000 short of Blackburn’s bid. If I kept my head, Forest were faced with a choice: 3.5 million or an asset worth nothing, training with the reserve team.

Two weeks into pre-season training, Forest blinked. Manchester United’s bid of 3.75 million was accepted. Now I had to negotiate my own deal with United. Their offer of 250,000 pounds a year was 150,000 short of Blackburn’s.

Eventually, with the help of property lawyer Michael Kennedy, United offered 350,000 a year, 50,000 less than Blackburn. I was happy to sign. A thousand pounds a week was a small price to pay to be a Manchester United player.

Keep it Arsenal

The CL and What Really Matters

The UEFA Champions League tomorrow is between the two best teams in arguably the two best leagues in the world. That has not happened since 1994 when AC Milan dismantled Barcelona. It is a match that is laced with interesting storylines. It is a Final that one cannot miss as a football fan.

And it absolutely pains me that Arsenal are not in it. I cannot effectively argue that we deserve to be in it, playing in what would be known as the purist final.

So, for that reason, I’ll approach the final in an extremely objective manner. My hatred for Manchester United runs as deep as other great men, but I will ignore that to deliver a more level-headed analysis. It’s just one person’s opinion, of course, and I would be genuinely excited for it if my memories of United beating us at the Emirates had dulled (they haven’t).

Each team will be missing key personnel. 75% of Barcelona’s back four will be missing. Of those players, Dani Alves is the player who will be missed the most. Quite simply, in a match where I expect United to be cautious and play counter-attack football, he is another weapon to stretch the United defense. Neither Iniesta nor Henry are fully fit either, although they’ll be no way they’ll miss the final. You never know what that extra 15% might cost you in the long run, but the season will be over for both of them after today, so they will play.

For United, Rio Ferdinand is in the same condition that Henry and Iniesta are. In effect, I’ve read that Rio will never be the same again, because it is a back injury. In this game, Rio Ferdinand is by far the more important central defender for Manchester United. Vidic is a fairly good defender, but his power/stopper game suits the English Premier League more than any other league. He’d still be very good, but he wouldn’t shine nearly as much. Barcelona have made him their number one target, and he’d do them a world of good, but he won’t have as much impact as they think he will. The key to this pairing is due to the fact that Vidic is a left sided/left footed defender that matches up perfectly with Rio’s strengths. But leave Vidic on his own, and he can be beaten. Nasri and Theo once hoodwinked him, and so has Fernando Torres. He’s a very good defender, but not an elite one. Rio, with his anticipation skills and speed, will be more adept at cutting out the probing passes put forth by Xavi and Iniesta. His injury could create the fraction of a second they need to score a goal. Darren Fletcher has been praised to no end by Sir Alex Ferguson. He called him an honest player. In Carrick and Fletcher, he believes that he’s found his replacement for Roy Keane (it’s too bad they’re two men, instead of one like Keane was). The truth is, Fletcher is not a great player, but he does do the dirty work for United, and he does it with far more precision than Anderson does. In a game where constricting the midfield will be of primary importance, this is a problem for United.

I expect Manchester United to play a counter-attacking game. They will be cautious, and they will take their chances when they can. This is how they play in finals. Ronaldo has even told the press that they have been practicing penalties extensively, which tells you where their thinking is. Barcelona will attempt to pass their way through the United side, but that will prove to be difficult when Ferguson deploys five men across the midfield.

This match also features the two players that most consider to be the best offensive players in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. This will not be the pivotal battle of the night, but one of the players will be a pivotal player in the match. That player will not be Lionel Messi. Theo Walcott was hounded to death by Evra and Rooney on every minute during the two legs against United. Wayne Rooney is such a gifted player, but he’s willing to do all the donkey work to help his team win. He has such bags of stamina that he can track back to defend and join in on a counter-attack. Obviously, Messi is ten times the player that Walcott is, but there is an area where even Theo is better than Messi. Arsene Wenger once commented that Messi does not appear to make good runs. He always receives the ball, sort of like Bo Jackson in Super Tecmo Bowl, and he proceeds to destroy opponents with it. Blessed with the best first touch in the world, he makes it look like the ball is glued to his foot. But, he rarely receives a key pass in a dangerous, final position. He roams for space so he can receive, then attack. Messi will be marked out of the game by the two United players, while Ronaldo, one can never predict what he does. In my eyes, once you remove the antics of Cristiano Ronaldo (something that is incredibly hard to do), you’ll see the best player in the world. Here’s things he can do that Messi cannot. He can score free kicks, he can defend corners, he can use both feet, he can score headers, he can make decisive runs, and he can hold off players using his strength. He’s a prat, simple enough. You could even call him a cheat, but Messi has scored goals with his hand and taken human growth hormones to further his footballing career, so neither is he a complete saint. He’s just a more likable guy, by a huge margin. But Ronaldo is the best player to ever have played for Manchester United. He is the important cog in their challenge next year to win four straight Premier League titles. He leaves for Madrid, you can kiss that goodbye. That’s a guarantee. He is the head, not Ferguson, of this United side, and Sir Alex knows it. The reason why that’s true is because if any other player had done the things he had done this year, Ferguson would have destroyed him. Ronaldo was never reprimanded for any bad actions this year. Never. And there have been great players in the past who Ferguson has gone out of his way to humiliate.

Messi has never impressed in the most important occasions, neither for Barcelona nor Argentina. Cristiano Ronaldo has unfinished business with Portugal, to be sure

Last year, Manchester United accomplished a historic double in the 50th anniversary of Munich. This year, they can achieve a historic defense of the Champions League since the new format premiered on Matt Busby’s 100th birthday. Sir Alex Ferguson is a man who thrives off achieving history. He has almost done it by tying Liverpool in League Titles.

The key players for Barcelona tomorrow will be Xavi, Iniesta, and Thierry Henry. The fact that Barcelona have two players of Xavi and Iniesta’s quality is devastating. Cesc couldn’t walk into this team. The luxury of having two players like that is that if space is restricted, you can always reset and re-position to open up new opportunities. You shut one player down, and the other one will take the mantle. Iniesta, although not fully fit, is more likely to score of the two, because he knows how to pop up in the right position and he’s also possesses a shooting foot. Dani Alves would have been another huge weapon, because he could have made it harder for United to mark Messi out of the game. He has guile and the skill to make things happen, but he will not play tomorrow.

For Thierry Henry, redemption could possibly await. Henry has played well against Manchester United in the past. We all remember his stunning goals against them. He genuinely dislikes them, because he’s a great man. But, Henry is also keenly aware that he blew an opportunity to hand us our first European triumph. That must eat away at him at night. He must be thinking about it right now. For Henry, if he’s to win it, his time is now. But a part of me feels as though that ever since he changed his white Nike boots for black Reebok boots, he became human. He was a legend in his prime, but he’s still very good now. Which will be key, because John O’Shea will be playing right back. And if there’s a player to target in the United defense, it’ll be him. No matter where he is, I’ll always root for Thierry.

Arsene Wenger said the other day that Barcelona would not win the English Premier League. When he says that, I know exactly what he means. Of course, if Barcelona were in the Premier League, they would have to build their squad differently. But Messi has never scored against an English club, doing so tomorrow will help immensely. Manchester United have the ability to suffocate the match in midfield, leaving the Barcelona three of Eto’o, Henry, and Messi without supply. It is a tactic that has already worked, albeit in a horrendous manner, last year.

One could write even more about this Final. It is simply that good of a matchup, but I’ll wrap it up here with a prediction, which I’ll make because there’s nothing really on the line and Arsenal are not involved.

Manchester United will win it 2-1. The first goal will come from a set-piece and Ronaldo will have some role on it. In the second half, United will score a counter-attack goal and go up 2-0. Barcelona will score in the final ten minutes, but it will not be enough.

Writing all these positive words about United is making me sick. I want to vomit. I hate this team with a passion, but I see United winning definitively. Or perhaps, I have just put a jinx on the entire team and city of Manchester.

And with that, I’ll post a picture of something I care about more than anything else at the moment:

The first FA Youth Cup in eight years. Effectively, the first with Wenger’s influence in full. The Future is not far away at all for players like Jack Wilshere, Kyle Bartley, Francis Coquelin, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

I love The Arsenal.

The Big Red One

I’ve never been more excited for an Arsenal match than tomorrow. Quite simply, this is a tie I’ve waited for the last ten years. Arsenal Football Club versus Manchester United Football Club. It represents England at it’s very best, and the world will watch to see which football side emerges victorious.

To be correct, hopefully, the tie will not be decided tomorrow. Any manager will tell their team that you cannot necessarily win the tie in the first leg, but you definitely can lose it.

But this tie has everything.

It has the grand rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. The truth is, we hate Ferguson with a passion because he is a successful manager. Were he our manager, I’d venture that most Gooners would defend him with great zeal, the same way they defend Arsene. If it were the other way around, it’s hard to say. That’s a comment that says more about United fans than it does about Arsenal fans. Both are class managers in an objective sense, although Wenger remains much more of a purist. He is a man who tries to achieve champagne football built on fantasies, something that simply doesn’t exist anymore in this era of football.

It has the wonderful talents between both squads. I do not want to highlight the fine players that United have in this segment, because it makes me sick. More to the point, I’d like to say that the players have the opportunity to take another step towards supremacy. Last year, we suffered a horrible exit against Liverpool at Anfield. The players learn from episodes like this, and I’m confident that if we were to lose this tie, our players will not crumble up and die. That doesn’t mean the players aren’t up or prepared for tomorrow. They’ll want it badly. It’s often said that players nowadays fancy the Champions League more than the League, that may be due to the cosmopolitan nature of the big clubs now, but it is a fact. The only trophy players covet more is the World Cup. I think the league is very important, but the Champions League is a huge omission in Arsene Wenger’s glorious CV. If this group of players achieve what most people feel is impossible, it may rank as his greatest achievement.

It has the history that was too easily swept under the rug. They may be “friends” now, but as fierce competitors, the two managers still do not like to lose to one another. Let’s not forget that Cesc was there for pizzagate. The hatred wasn’t what it once was, but after this tie, everything will come back. I guarantee it. I can’t begin to describe to you how much I hate United.

Tomorrow, I want to see only one thing by the end. Obviously, I would love to head to the Emirates with a 3-0 lead in hand. However, this is probably unlikely.

What I would like to see is us in a position to win the tie at the Emirates by winning at the Emirates. I want the tie to remain alive. I want the team to experience the sensation of playing United at the Emirates knowing that if they win, they’ll progress to the Champions League Final. I want the fans at the Emirates to realize that they’re watching something special, something that will forever be remembered in history.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have never played each other in this format before. This is a tie that will be decided over 180 minutes, not 90.

The thing I’d like to tell our fans is to enjoy the occasion and support the squad. They never gave up on each other, so we have no reason to give up on them. It’s rare that you get to see genius on this level collide like two freight trains.

This tie will have majesty and ferocity. It will be one for the ages.