Terrace Talk: Manchester United - Ole not the only one looking over his shoulder

LET’S start by reminding ourselves of yesterday’s obvious prematch golden oldie: “That pitch looks so awful, it could be a real leveller; it might give United a chance”.

Terrace Talk: Manchester United - Ole not the only one looking over his shoulder

LET’S start by reminding ourselves of yesterday’s obvious prematch golden oldie: “That pitch looks so awful, it could be a real leveller; it might give United a chance”.

Such was the black humour on display after Wednesday’s cataclysmic defeat against Burnley, then.

And after 10 minutes, as the drenched divots were threatening to help make divvies of us, I was wondering if it was time to start thinking about composing the Ole Obit.

Six goals later, and we’re now wondering whether we should get a tractor in to plough up Old Trafford a bit. United’s biggest goal tally since Fergie left may have come against a terrible team giving their own worst performance of the season but it still remains an achievement of sorts.

Hey, these days, you take your succour where you can.

Thus ended a chaotic, near-violent ‘cracked badge week’ which had seen the very alpha and omega of Ole’s United.

I would love to think the immediacy and decisiveness of yesterday’s response might mean we can ignore what happened midweek, but only the giddiest are going to fall for that.

Something did crack last Wednesday; maybe not the badge, but we heard a snapping sound alright.

What could repair some of last week’s damage would, of course, be some sort of miracle at Wastelands this Wednesday night.

I could hear upbeat pals trying it on for size amidst the six-shooting euphoria: “you never know; an early goal, then we could be heading into Juve 99 territory” and so forth.

But fan opinion overall remains divided.

That dreaded symbol of a manager in trouble — the special occasional Red Issue website opinion poll — emerged from the Wednesday wreckage and currently shows a near 50/50 split between those who would like Ole to step down now, and those who want him to at least get until the summer.

(In the interests of full disclosure: I voted without hesitation for the latter option, although I clearly do not brim with confidence. Much like the players, then.)

Not all opinions divide, though. The rather more immediate target of almost entirely united fan ire is, of course, Ed Woodward, who was conveniently (and fortunately, for him) absent last Wednesday.

He thus missed the special medley of murder songs the Stretford End had lovingly arranged for him, songs which in turn infuriated the media.

The story therefore then became all about what beastly devils United fans supposedly are, rather than what a serial incompetent Woodward has been.

I am told there’s likely to be more to come on the anti-Woodward front during this week, although the planned stadium walkout for next weekend seems to me to be a non-starter — or at least a likely failure.

There is also the transfer window factor; should Ed pull some rabbits out of the hat at the end of the week — and especially if we have also knocked out City — then you can see that the activists might have their work cut out mobilising the ficklest.

The moment to strike was last week — although, of course, in a larger sense, it was actually in the last decade. North-east of us, the alleged planned Saudi takeover of Newcastle is bringing an end to the lingering hopes of some (especially some in Florida, I bet) that the Arabs might ‘rescue’ United one day.

That’s the best bit of news this month, as far as I am concerned; ‘Saudi United’ would have ended all further interest for me in Old Trafford.

But interest there certainly is today. The atmosphere around the club remains feverish, bordering on the insurrectional, and I am told the press are sitting on some damaging stories that they could run at any moment.

Trapdoors are set below players, coaches, administrators, you name it; everyone is fighting for their future here. And United are still in three cups, plus a Champions League race, despite all our woes and crises.

2020 looks like it won’t be the first of the Boring Twenties after all.

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