Terrace Talk: Man United - Hurricane Jose blows welcome winds of change

Always try to start a column with a topical reference, they tell you at Hack School. 

Terrace Talk: Man United - Hurricane Jose blows welcome winds of change

So: Stoke City’s ground is often described as the least meteorologically-inviting venue in the league. Thus I suppose it’s fitting that Hurricane José should finally have met its match there on Saturday.

No need, then, for the slave to be whispering to Caesar Mourinho about mortality this morning: the dodgy displays of Messrs Darmian, Bailly and Jones have seen to that. “A necessary - even welcome - bit of degiddyfication,” opined a colleague, and you can see what he’s getting at. Some had been in danger of getting carried away; Stoke, plus City’s five goals against the Dirties, have put a stop to that.

Poor Phil Jones’ nightmare shouldn’t detract from an acknowledgment that he’d had a good start to the season; ditto Bailly, whose tizziness was uncharacteristic. Darmian, however, is regarded as a serial offender: “trust us to sign the only Italian who can’t defend,” wailed one colleague.

Of course, Caesar himself turned out to be a bit vulnerable when on the back foot, which is something you can’t usually say about Mourinho teams. So we’ll chalk Saturday up to ‘one of those days’ and move on. For even the most grumbly types of Reds wouldn’t argue that we saw anything to get too worried about on Saturday.

Indeed, tomorrow night will offer us a reminder of how much better things look today than they did even when Fergie was still our emperor. Yes, I know that sounds sacrilegious, but think back to last time we played both Basel and our subsequent European opponents Benfica. The Champions League group of 2011/12, to be precise - a group United never got out of, because they cataclysmically lost the final match in Basel, to complete a failure to beat either team in four attempts.

Only two from the team that lost in Switzerland will likely feature tomorrow night - and one of those, Smalling, only because of others’ suspensions. Even in these fast-moving times, that’s a very thorough personnel turnover. Although Fergie did rouse us for one last Indian Summer title in 2013, 2011/12 was really the season when you felt the rot truly setting in, and when City completed their comeback to eminence. The outlook was decidedly negative, which no-one would argue is the case today.

No-one except Louis Van Gaal, perhaps, who was all over the papers on Sunday complaining about how hard done by he was at Old Trafford. Most hilariously of all, he whinged about United moving towards his successor whilst he was still in post and under contract. Mmm, Louis: you mean, just like Poor David Moyes was, when you were secretly meeting United representatives in the spring of 2014?! Sauce - goose - gander = shut up, Van Loony.

Then again, it’s obviously the month for unwelcome figures to come lurching out of United’s past to issue jaw-dropping screeds of self-justification. See also ex-chairman Martin Edwards, whose memoirs are released this month and who has been all over the UK media shamelessly shilling for them.

Still, if he has anything worthwhile to impart, I shall let you know next week, having just acquired a review copy. Don’t hold your breath, though. See you next week, when we hope we will all be laughing about Wayne Rooney’s return.

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