‘Enemy of Football’ a target for snipers

Good grief - what’s that awful smell? Did the wife leave the remnants of Friday’s fish out? Is it the smell of Brexit turning rancid? No, don’t panic; it’s just the rotting corpse of Saturday’s snore-draw at Anfield.

Bus-parkingg? We’ve not seen owt like it since FC Sparta drove a Number 300 in front of Xerxes United.

I think we can all agree that this body needs burying quickly, rather than enjoying a long drawn-out autopsy.

As Graeme Souness fairly pointed out, the entire onus to win was on the seven-points-adrift home team Liverpool, and they simply failed to o vercome the injury-weakened visitors’ gameplan to prevent that victory.

The implication thereof?

Well, it was surely that if there’s any criticism to be doled out, most of it should go to LFC for their failure. But of course, that wouldn’t be the inference drawn by most of the press and pundits, who had already all duly piled to throw rotten tomatoes at José.

As though there wasn’t enough rotten material on the pitch on Saturday as it was.

Ordinarily, I am the type of Red who’d be first in the queue to attack such wretched negativity as displayed by United on Saturday.

But I must admit part of me was amused by the sheer fist-shaking fury of the nation’s reaction, and also tickled by the fact that the prematch Premier League hypemasters who’d spent the week flogging this fixture to the world’s TV gawpers had been so thoroughly gutted.

Serves them right for ignoring history and tradition, if nothing else; after all, this fixture is almost always a huge letdown in both the quality and entertainment stakes.

So let us move on with a shrug and a naughty chuckle - whilst hoping we never see its unholy like again, admittedly - and consider pastures ahead.

Lisbon and Huddersfield await; can one think of two better awayday minibreak destinations for these last knockings of an Indian Summer?

No, I am not being facetious there; for many of us, novelty Huddersfield really is something to look forward to, if not quite to the same extent as a midweek on the balmy Portuguese Atlantic coast.

Very few of us can remember going to the old Leeds Road ground that United last visited in 1971, now replaced by a retail centre and a sad memorial plaque, and I know only one person who remembers them actually beating us back in 1952.

Nevertheless, it’s an evocative name that stirs the soul.

‘Uddersfield conjures up properly baggy shorts and cloggy boots on a howlingly cold Yorkshire day; a shoeless Harold Wilson and the WM formation; the days when ‘Northern powerhouse’ could signify any number of proud stand-alone conurbations, puffed up with provincial pride and industrial working-class solidarity.

Funnily enough, José actually mentioned the WM formation in his pre-match press gig on Friday, during a sardonic and tell-tale riff about the extent of his attacking intent for Anfield.

I wonder whether Herbert Chapman was ever branded an ‘Enemy of Football’ for ruthlessly deploying his tactical nous and occasionally, as they say these days, “winning ugly”?


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