I first fell in love with Manchester United way back in 1963 when Cork man Noel Cantwell captained The Red Devils to win the second most important trophy in English football, the FA Cup, and for most of the last 53 years, whether we were winning or not (and mind you we weren’t winning for lots of those years), I was supporting a team that was renowned for its exciting vibrant attacking football.
Fast-forward to last Thursday evening and Man. United were playing the Danish equivalent of Athlone Town (with apologies to Athlone) – a team called Midtjylland – in a Europa Cup match. Under normal circumstances, l would have been plonked in front of the telly, feet up, fire lit and roaring and swearing at the screen and driving my good wife, Carol, crazy.
However, for all of us ‘Man. U’ fans, these are not normal circumstances and since Fergie left us, watching our team play is as exciting as watching paint dry, again with apologies to the paint!
We are almost certainly not going to finish in the top four in the Premiership, which means missing out on the cash cow that is the Champions League, and so the only real way of getting into that competition next year is to win the Europa League. So you might be forgiven for thinking that the over-rated, over-paid and under-achieving United players might rise to the occasion, produce a performance worthy of the jersey they should be so proud to wear, and put the Danish minnows to the sword. But that’s where you’d be wrong, because after the most embarrassing and disgraceful display of all time (by United), the Danish side, through simple effort and commitment, won by 2 goals to 1 and produced the biggest result their little club has ever had. What’s even more remarkable for me is that while all this was going on I was on my nightly walk, round the lovely rural roads of Lenamarla and I didn’t even bother to look at the game on the telly.
Now it was always inevitable that, following Fergie, United would find it impossible to continue to be as successful as they have been for the last two decades, but what drives the supporters mad, me included, is the puerile football they are playing under Dutch manager, Louis Van Gaal. As Pat Spillane once famously said, the brand of football (Gaelic) being played by some of the northern teams was ‘puke football’, and I can’t think of any better description for the stuff that United are producing. It seems that the Special One, Jose Mourhino, may be on his way to us – and I can only say he can’t come quick enough.
As it happens, tonight, Monday, has us away to Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup and there is every chance that they too will dump us on our backsides – and if that does come to pass, by the time you read this, it’s very possible that Louis will be in retirement and a new exciting era may be on its way to Old Trafford.
Okay, it’s now Tuesday morning and, against all my better instincts, I stayed in the sitting room last night and watched the FA Cup match against Shrewsbury and, in case you haven’t heard, we won by 3 goals to 0, in what was a comfortable victory, but one which didn’t really do anything to make us feel much better.
We now have the second leg against the Danish minnows on Thursday evening to not look forward to, and it’s another game that could make or break Van Gaal’s immediate future. I will resume my evening walk that evening, as it would be too much to bear to miss two walks to watch Man. United.
Patiently waiting to be canvassed…
With the election now almost upon us, l am amazed at the lack of callers to the house by canvassers for the candidates. As I write, there are only three days to polling and, out of a total of 12 potential TDs, only three of them have managed to call – Michael Fitzmaurice, Eugene Murphy and Claire Kerrane.
None of them called in person, but the first two had very popular and very capable representatives from the parish on their case, and I may be unfair on the Sinn Fein candidate, as there was no one home for the visit by her team, so all they could do was put some of their literature through the letter box.
So, as someone who has written before about Creggs being a political wasteland, is it yet another sign when three-quarters of the candidates couldn’t be bothered to call to us at all? Our problems don’t matter except to a few and I for one will remember those who called when I go to Lisaniskey National School on Friday next.
I am no political guru, but I would say the result in our area will see Fitz and Naughten home and dry, with a battle royale being fought for the third seat. Maybe next time we might be worthy of a visit.
Sticking with politics, and over in America they seem to have lost the run of themselves and it now looks possible that Donald Trump, who strikes me as one of the most ignorant, most bigoted, most racist and most arrogant men of all time, could make it all the way to the White House.
All l can say is God help us all if he makes it – a lunatic at the controls of the most powerful nation in the world is not nice to contemplate!
Finally for this week, Bina Harris has asked me to remind you that she wants all outstanding cards for the Barrie Harris Walk returned in the next week or two! They caan be brought to herself or to Mikeen Roarke and we’ll have a night out soon, when the funds are being distributed. I’m looking forward to that!
Til next week, bye for now