IT said it all about the predicament in which Manchester United find themselves that their 2-0 defeat to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday night felt like a huge deal for the visitors but, in a very strange way, just more of the same for those home supporters who clogged the exits with ten minutes still to play.
In a parallel universe Manchester United released their first financial figures of the post-David Moyes era this week, concluding six glorious years in which the club seamlessly moved on from the retirement of Alex Ferguson.
The pressure is on Unai Emery to deliver at Arsenal this season. Failure to finish in the top four or win a trophy could signal an abrupt end for Arsene Wenger’s successor at London’s biggest club. Wenger’s early success and general brilliance ultimately afforded him 22 years running football affairs so replacing him was always going to be a challenge despite fortunes waning towards the end of his reign.
For the past three seasons, the top of the Premier League has been a closed shop. While both Manchester United and Arsenal have recently dropped out of the Champions League places, so far their financial advantages and traditional pulling power for top players have kept their heads above water.
It must be halfway through Full Metal Jacket when Lt Lockhart, editor of the US military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, briefs his men in the wake of the surprise attack by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong that would go down in history as the Tet Offensive.
Corky Browne left Carrigtwohill for a life in racing, working with legendary trainer Fred Winter, in England, before forging a glorious partnership with five-time champion trainer Nicky Henderson. Browne announced his retirement, at 77, last week, ending a 62-year association with the sport.
On the road up to Ennis on Saturday evening, Clive Tyldesley was being interviewed on the radio about his recollections of his 1999 Champions League final commentary on ITV, and specifically about those final, frantic minutes when Manchester United went from 1-0 down in injury-time to somehow turn the tables and beat Bayern Munich 2-1.