You can rely on the England fans to raise a smile despite the national team’s dismal performances. This banner summed it up nicely and brings home just how much England’s loyal followers spent to follow their team. The players gathered to applaud the fans at the final whistle and I’d like to think they appreciate the sacrifices some fans make to follow and support them. Continue reading
It was a normal day in the office. There were stories on the news reporting rumours that Sir Alex Ferguson was to retire. Most commentators seemed to think it unlikely, but then it was announced, the news all United fans dreaded was finally confirmed; Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire at the end of the season. Anyone who doesn’t love football or United will not understand the feelings that announcement has provoked.
So it’s finally arrived. We have just a few hours to kick-off in the Manchester derby. Although tonight’s meeting isn’t crucial in deciding the destination of the Premier League title, it’s still a match every United fan is desperate to win. I don’t just want us to win, I’d love us to do it in style, just to show our many detractors that our lead in the League is no accident and to stamp all over City’s claims that they were destined to dominate Manchester and the Premier League after their last kick title win last season. Well, they can’t claim dominance now. Far from it; and I’d love to see us ram the point home tonight.
At last, England beat Sweden for the first time in a competitive match. But, only just. Typically, England made us suffer, having to come from behind to eventually win 3-2. Having gone in at half-time with a 1-0 lead, things seemed to be broadly going to Roy Hodgson’s plan. Andy Carroll’s recall to the team had borne fruit with a superb headed goal from an equally superb Steven Gerrard cross. Although England weren’t setting the world on fire, Sweden didn’t pose much of a threat.
Within four minutes of the re-start it all started to go wrong when Sweden grabbed a scrappy equaliser thanks to some sloppy defending by England. Ten minutes later Sweden took the lead when Mellberg headed his second, completely unmarked in England’s box. So much for England’s supposedly dependable defence. The game was turned on it’s head.
To Roy Hodgson’s credit, he changed things around and introduced Theo Walcott in place of James Milner. Walcott’s swerving shot from the edge of the area brought England level before he made a darting run into the area and his cross enabled Danny Welbeck to score with an instinctive back flick. Continue reading
A satisfying start from England against in form France. England displayed all the hallmarks of a Roy Hodgson team. Steady, disciplined and a little dull. But, a 1-1 draw against France is a result I would have settled for before kick-off. We must keep in mind that the manager hasn’t been in charge for long and has had to build a team with several players in key positions missing through injury or suspension.
I thought Danny Welbeck put in a promising performance and although he isn’t my favourite player at the moment, John Terry also did well, considering he was playing on the right of central defence and not in his familiar position on the left side. Glen Johnson and Gerrard also warrant a mention.
So are we any clearer on England’s likely progression in the tournament? Well, not really. It will be interesting to watch Sweden and Ukraine this evening. But I still think it’s going to be a tough ask to win both of our remaining Group matches, which we may need to do. Continue reading
So it’s here. 16 national teams, 31 matches; football is going to dominate my late afternoons and evenings over the next few weeks. There is certainly a lot less hype surrounding England this time. The main news about the tournament has centred around concerns about racism in the host countries and the controversy surrounding Rio Ferdinand’s omission from the squad.
I always look forward to both the Euro’s and World Cup Finals and watch virtually every game. It’s obviously much better when England have qualified. They didn’t qualify for the Euro’s in 2008 and Spain were crowned the kings of Europe and I suppose Spain must be favourites to lift the trophy again this year.
Not much is expected of England, with a newly installed manager, injury hit squad and Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two Group games. Following on from their South African World Cup debacle, expectations are at an all time low and that may not be a bad thing. I’m hoping we can progress through the Group stages, but to be honest, I’m not expecting any exciting, attacking football. Continue reading
Yesterdays remarkable events confirmed just why I’m such a pessimist when it comes to football. Even after all United’s recent success, I never take anything for granted. I’ve supported United for a long, long time and therefore remember the years before Sir Alex, when we hardly won anything. Don’t get me wrong, those barren years were still full of fantastic memories. Supporting United, whether in the old Second Division, or winning the Treble, it’s all the same to me.
Okay, I can’t deny I was disappointed yesterday. To say the least! But we shouldn’t forget that we pushed City all the way, right to the final few kicks of the entire season. It wasn’t yesterday when we lost it. I was almost as disappointed at the Everton game. To be leading 4-2, with eight minutes to go, I more or less accepted it wasn’t going to be our year when Everton scored the equaliser to make it 4-4. Of course, I hadn’t completely given up hope but in my gut I think I knew it wasn’t to be. Continue reading
Oft quoted by Greavsie, years ago, on his ‘Saint and Greavsie’ tv show; and proved to be true in so many unlikely football scenarios. Time after time, the seemingly impossible does happen. Unfortunately, as a United fan, I’m hoping for the seemingly impossible to happen next Sunday. Can QPR, with a terrible record away from home, snatch a point at The Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City have only dropped points to Sunderland all season? And if they do, can United beat Sunderland at their place?
I’ve never been one to rely on another team helping United out; but I was yesterday, hoping the Geordie’s would at least earn a draw against City. Alas, it was not to be. So now City, with one hand on the trophy, only have to beat QPR on Sunday, to win their first Title since 1968. But could this Title run-in still have a massive twist in the tail? Continue reading
It’s official, Roy Hodgson is England’s new manager. Am I excited by his appointment? No, to be honest. I, along with many other England fans, have been looking forward to Harry Redknapp taking charge and injecting some excitement into the England set up. Of course, we don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes, but there’s no denying it’s a disappointment and a missed opportunity.
Still, we are where we are. I’ve nothing against Roy Hodgson; he seems to be a thoroughly decent bloke. And he’s respected by his peers. However, I do feel he’ll struggle with the press, especially if things go badly. His time at Liverpool doesn’t inspire confidence. Plus, many big players were championing Harry for the job. They’re bound to be disappointed. Will Roy Hodgson be able to win them round and motivate them?
So it’s the morning after the night before. A night full of disappointment…of epic proportions. During most of the game I had that numb feeling and it’s the same this morning. Just feel ‘empty’. It began when I heard the team selection. I understand the arguments for picking that starting line up, but it signalled we were going to be happy scrapping for a draw, or hoping for a lucky breakaway goal to snatch a win. Many pundits were likening the selection and formation to the way we play in Europe. Enough said, considering our woeful displays this season. It may be criticised as being tactically naive but I always prefer it when we pick an attacking team, signalling our intent. Like when we beat City, at The Etihad, in the F. A. Cup, earlier this season. We started with Rooney, Welbeck, Valencia and Nani and went for the jugular. We stormed to a 3-0 half time lead and hung on in the second half to win 3-2. Continue reading