Never mind the pointless abomination that was United versus Cardiff. The final whistle has just gone at Brighton versus City, and I find myself yelping a cheer for the triumphant Blues.
Yes, I am ashamed. Yes, I feel dirty...yet also gleeful. Perhaps this is what it would be like to cop off with the wife’s best mate.
But what relief after such a miserable and stressful period. Watching the four English teams unprecedentedly making it through to their European finals left us feeling like the only kid in class not to be invited to a birthday party.
Add that to the pre-match tension as we contemplated the horror of a possible LFC title and you had a week we are very glad to see the back of.
This is what we have been reduced to: our mood entirely determined by the doings of other more successful clubs.
United’s own activity over these past seven days had been all but an irrelevance. A meaningless Sunday match few wanted to go to and even fewer enjoyed; uninspiring transfer gossip no-one really wanted to hear; and a managerial no 2 appointment that surprised and excited precisely nobody.
United are still to appoint their ‘technical director’, having apparently failed to technically direct a swift and fitting process. Reports emanating from some of those who have chatted to Woodward about the role speak of candidates being unimpressed by the job specs or unconvinced by SuperTed’s patter.
Still, perhaps Ed will surprise us all — he did, after all, pull a doozy with Solskjaer. Allies of Darren Fletcher tell me he thinks he’s in with an excellent chance. There’s no doubting the lad’s intelligence or understanding of United.
You can see why such a quiet, modest figure might appeal to munchkin Woodward, who’s had his fill of being dominated by beastly alpha males.
The new man will presumably have major input into the transfer market discussions, although not perhaps as much as we originally thought when the role was mooted under Mourinho. Ole was certainly keen to reassert last week that he will be the one “having the final say” on deals, although one wonders what that really means, given Woodward’s pulling all the strings.
I had been hoping to throw some market names at you this week but the truth is no one has yet emerged with any credibility. Perhaps this was only to be expected as we wait for the Fourth Man to be appointed, where he’ll find Ole, Phelan, and Woodward already sat at the decision-making table.
You do wonder how well this is going to work — especially when there’s an unseen fifth player, in the shape of Joel Glazer, at the end of a transatlantic phoneline. Sorry, Ole; it’ll surely still be him who ‘has the final say’ on the really big ones.
That’s if we can attract any ‘big ones’ expensive enough to justify bothering Joel with in the first place. I don’t get any sense of Europe’s greats beating a path to our door, do you?
Yes, we are still United, the ‘World’s Greatest Club’ blah blah blah - if that’s worth anything to the modern footballer. Some of the early-20s players we’ll be after will barely remember when United last won the European Cup. And they all know Pep and Klopp, but who knows Ole? “Are we still famous, daddy?” I hear an imaginary small voice chirrup.
The Saudis seem to think so; I can confirm there’s been all sorts of ‘chatting’ going on between interested parties about “serious investment”. But it seems to have been suspended for now, according to two of my informed snouts.
Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, had also been hovering, but he too is believed to have curtailed his interest. “Too rich a price tag, even for him,” was the line I was given.
The Glazers are thought to believe their eventual payday is likelier to come courtesy of an internet giant rather than a single plutocrat or sovereign wealth, and they’re in no hurry to sell out while they wait and see. Depressing a thought though that is, let’s face one potential crisis at a time, shall we?
No need to ask who we are all supporting in the European Cup Final, is there? Yes, it’s another night of feeling dirty ahead as we cheer on ‘dear old Spurs’.
This vicarious support may not be The Glory Game, but right now it’s the only game in town for us at poor old United...