Terrace Talk: Man United - Spanish hangover leads to Goodison nightmare

“Goodison is no place to go with a Spanish hangover,” fretted your pessimistic correspondent here last week, although not even I thought the week would turn out quite this badly.

Sunday wasn’t just waking up after too much Catalan red with a thumping headache; this was also having Motorhead stood at the foot of your bed blasting their greatest hits at you.

I had also wondered whether I’d been a bit harsh here, ruminating as I did on “how little we either like or rate so many of the players; how many would you really miss?”

Well, come on then; after the “reality check” in Barcelona, and now the full-on Moyesian nightmare of Easter at Goodison, how many of those Reds do we want to see here next season? Umm...

I also warned last week that I’d heard Ole suggesting we had “zero chance” catching up with Liverpool or City in the short term. Few would now accuse him of defeatism, at least. 

Helpfully, the manager confirmed this himself before the weekend, talking of the need for a deep rebuild and several windows. 

He also confirmed the lines run here about the desire to reestablish “the DNA...the culture”, as he called it; ‘United Way’ players, and disproportionately English, as I put it last week.

Most Reds purred at Ole’s prescription, although we’re already seeing some collateral splashback. The Mail reports United’s Spanish contingent are already unhappy about the pro-English favouritism being allegedly shown by the club hierarchy. How very Brexity this sounds; never let it be said United don’t try to be fashionable.

Less pleasingly, Ole also spoke about the softly-softly gradual nature of this planned project which, after Sunday’s apocalypse, sounds entirely inadequate. 

To use the imagery of the week, it’s akin to chuntering about getting in a few slates for the roof as you’re watching the whole shebang burn down.

Notre Dame has already raised a billion euro; what are the Glazers and Woodward going to provide for our own crumbling edifice? That’s partly a rhetorical question, of course; the Glazers have never actually provided a cent, instead preferring to extract millions in fees and dividends. 

‘Provision’ in this context is about how much of the money the team generates that Woodward might graciously allow his new manager to spend on its refreshment.

There will be a sneaking suspicion for some that Ole might struggle to get much out of Woodward. Even Mourinho, a notorious bruiser and canny political operator accustomed to tipping his bosses upside down and collecting the coins, found it tricky putting the squeeze on Ed.

Indeed, just this very weekend, I hear from Lisbon that José’s been grumbling afresh about never eventually getting out of Woodward what he believed he’d won. 

“He thought he was receiving Verratti for the midfield, but found he’d unwrapped Lindelof for the defence,” exampled one pal of an unhappy transfer gift session.

But United bosses no longer get to decide who comes to Old Trafford; they provide lists and options. SuperTed then delivers what he can - and later sacks the managers who want what he cannot.

Most Reds would want at least a half-dozen player clearout/replacement switcheroo this summer, but Ole’s already told us we’re not getting it. 

Meaning, presumably, he’s been instructed the same by Woodward. Most of those faces we saw trudge off on Sunday, some barely marked by any effort, will be back in August. Oh, what good news. 

Not quite the ideal incentive to renew a season ticket. But renew they all will; the Glazers have them over a barrel.

Back to the week from hell, which started in Catalonia last Wednesday and will end the day after tomorrow at Old Trafford. 

How fitting for the slump we are in that even the delicious taste of a derby victory would, in this instance, be spoiled by the knowledge that we might have all but handed the title to Liverpool.

No Red ever wants to lose to City but I suspect Wednesday is going to see some rum underlying emotions tampering with the collective subconscious.

At least Chelsea at the weekend will be brutally straightforward; fail to win, and the mini-league for the two Champs League slots will surely be all but lost to us. 

We would be back exactly where we were when Moyes left us in 2014; potless, beaten EC quarter-finalists, and then left outside looking in at the whistle. ‘Five years; zero progress.’

As corporate slogans go, at least it’d be honest.

More on this topic

Terrace Talk: Ole’s at the wheel of a clown car stuck in flux

Terrace Talk: Forget the past — it’s all balls and fortune now

Terrace Talk: Liverpool - I can’t take this much longer. Thankfully, I don’t have to

Terrace Talk: Liverpool - We’ve gone beyond the call of duty

More in this Section

Clubhouse leader Justin Rose searching for ‘extra gear’ at Pebble Beach

Airtricity League: Mandroiu strike seals Boh's unbeaten streak against Rovers

City have to settle for point after perfect start

Stephen Henderson resigns as Cobh manager after home win


John McCarthy gives standout performance but Evening Train takes safe route

The Currabinny cooks celebrate the courgette

Cork city in the rare oul’ times

What next for Madonna?

More From The Irish Examiner