ONE of my Red Issue website colleagues punted this as his entry to our ‘find-a-chant-for-Dimi’ contest a couple of weeks ago: “Have you heard the word / the Berb is the word … (repeat ad nauseam)”
Fans of TV’s Family Guy — and that really ought to be all of you — may remember the classic episode wherein Peter Griffin bursts into the original of this early 60s trash classic every 30 seconds, to the annoyance of all.
The temptation for me to do the same here today is almost overwhelming, though the editor has made it clear he is only prepared to pay for 650 different words.
Any player, however humble, is guaranteed a kind of OT immortality, if he scores a hat-trick against either City or Liverpool, of course.
Even the wretch Forlan emerged from a double at Anfield with a new song and 12 months’ extra patience, such was our gratitude. Even so, this surely must mark a potentially epochal break in the timeline of the player’s relationship with the crowd. And incidentally, can you recall any other United player in recent history compiling a hat-trick of genuine goal of the season contenders by mid-September?
Naturally, I am aware of the danger of being a bit previous here. It is, after all, the period of the calendar in which we experience Indian summers, and such a mercurial personality is clearly going to be prone to such a phenomenon more than most. But still: rejoice, rejoice. For now, at least.
We certainly needed Sunday after the shattering denouement at Goodison, Rooneygate’s ongoing horrors, and the utter misery of Rangers last week. My oldest colleague, who’s seen every United European home game since we first entered in ‘56, pronounced that the match was the worst of its kind he had ever seen, and significantly reported “more grumbling about Fergie in the concourses afterwards than I’ve known in ages”.
Given he sits in the Main Stand, the notorious redoubt of knee-jerk Fergiephilia and establishment thinking, that speaks of something troubling.
Yet here we are, undefeated and tucked in nicely, with a squad that — if you’re feeling generous — is equipped to proceed successfully on all fronts (notwithstanding Valencia’s injury).
That generosity of spirit is based on the optimistic assumption of Scholes and Giggs being able to continue to turn back time, of Carrick rediscovering how to play football, and of Rooney defying the demons to rise again. Several ducks need to be in a row there, admittedly. But after Sunday’s heroics, I’m prepared to consider our glass half-full for once.
Moreover, we have a delightful trip to Scunny to look forward to tonight, a fixture that constitutes that absolute rarity: a League Cup tie you are relishing. The mind boggles as to what bizarre combination the Tinkerbell might be preparing to unleash, given his recent behaviour — the entire U18 side? The United Ladies team? — but the novelty of the trip and the throwback nature of the venue are sufficient to engender enthusiasm.
Which is more than can be said for Sunday, and the grim surroundings of Bolton’s soulless modern hovel. You will doubtless be aware of the less-than-neighbourly history between our club.
Owen Coyle, when he first sprang to prominence at Burnley, appeared to be a breath of fresh air but has turned somewhat fetid since then: his revolting behaviour when jumping ship turned many a stomach, and Bolton’s style seems to have changed little from that of the former incumbent.
Furthermore, Coyle has regrettably joined the Axis Of Evil, alongside Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce, who are united by their pathetic public loathing of Arsene Wenger and his artistic philosophy.
Fergie is pals with the villains in this, sadly: let’s see if he’s quite so happy about their modus operandi after the savage Trotters have kicked his lads around the park for 90 minutes, shall we?
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