Welcome

Welcome to United Calypso a blog dedicated to all that is great and sometimes not so great about Manchester United.

We will cover match day write ups, transfer news and speculation plus the thoughts and comments of the bloggers themselves. The opinions are entirely the writers own and whether you agree or disagree please respect them.

You can also find me the creator on twitter Steve_Marsh2

Now, football is a pleasent game,
Played in the sun, played in the rain,
And the team that gets me excited,
Is Manchester United.

Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

If ever they’re playing in your town,
You must get to that football ground,
Take a look and you will see,
Football taught by Matt Busby.

Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

They are the greatest team today,
If you don’t believe it go see them play,
The type of football, second to none,
‘Cos they’re at the top of Division One!

Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

It’s the greatest thrill that you’ve ever seen,
They are known as a soccer machine,
They are the best, there is no doubt,
So raise a cheer and give a shout.

Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

Down on Maine Road’s greasy pastures,
Play a load of dozy bastards,
Colin Bell, the City ace,
A ruptured duck has got more pace.

Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

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Posted in Match Talk | Leave a comment

United V Liverpool

Every year when the fixtures get released the first match I look for is United V Liverpool at Old Trafford. For me its the biggest fixture of the season, forget all of the Evra/Suarez incidents or Daglish’s stupid comments in interview this is about football between the 2 biggest sides in England its 19 v 18 going head to head once more.

The year was 1983 and as a 7-year-old boy I was looking forward to my very first trip to Old Trafford a place that would one day become a second home. Coming from a United background, my Grandfather was at the 1968 European Cup and my Father like me followed in his footsteps to become a Red. What a game for my first match United V Liverpool even then at the age of 7 I was aware what this game meant. Liverpool were the current powerhouses of English football, current champions, European Cup winners on 3 occasions it didn’t get much bigger as a game.

For the game itself I don’t recall a great deal, I do remember missing the only goal being 7 and small at best when everyone jumped up as Graham swung the ball over I missed Stapleton side foot home. I do remember cheering and the crowd singing and the train journey home only for the fact I got crushed which ironically is something that hasn’t changed over the years. It would be 7 years before I returned to Old Trafford but that day lives with me forever, my first game a win against Liverpool.

We all know the history Liverpool dominated for a number of years after that before we appointed Sir Alex and our period of domination took place. What remained during those dark days was our need to beat Liverpool at every opportunity and when Sir Alex came to United his only desire was to knock Liverpool off their perch. He did that whats important now is we don’t let them back on.

United V Liverpool will always be the game I look for first, its history, my history of this game stems 30+ years of my watching football and further still.It’s a game that will be full of passion, probably played at 100 mile an hour and always has incident but that’s what makes it great a true advert for English football.

Its a must win game, win and it makes my weekend, lose and its ruined.

Posted in Memory Lane | Leave a comment

The Busby Babes

54 years ago a tragic event that will be forever remembered by United fans young and old. 21 lost their lives in all including 8 players Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Liam Whelan and Duncan Edwards.

Lost but not forgotten

The Flowers Of Manchester

One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Eight great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Eight men will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Matt Busby’s boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The pilot of the aircraft, the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take off and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was slush upon that runaway and the aircraft never rose,
It ploughed into the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And eight of the team were killed as the blazing wreckage burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England’s side.
And Ireland’s Billy Whelan and England’s Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
They all lost their lives as it ploughed on through the snow.

Big Duncan he went too, with an injury to his brain,
And Ireland’s brave Jack Blanchflower will never play again,
The great Matt Busby lay there, the father of his team
Three long months passed by before he saw his team again.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them Big Swifty, who we will ne’er forget,
the finest English ‘keeper that ever graced the net.

Oh, England’s finest football team its record truly great,
its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate.
Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there,
the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

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United V Chelsea

54 years ago United drew 3-3 in what was to be the Busby Babes final game together. This was a fitting performance in their memory and one that I am sure Sir Matt would have been very proud of.

United went into the game knowing 3 points was really a must to close the gap to Manchester City and we started well dominating the early encounters. We could and probably should have had a penalty when Ashley Young was pulled back in the area, referee Howard Webb had a great view of it but inexplicably turned down the appeals. Not long after Welbeck latched on to a through ball only to be upended, replays showed it was probably just outside the area but once again Webb waved play on.

The game then became the usual scrappy affair, lots of petty fouls and whistle blowing at every opportunity by the inept Webb (cue my touch-line ban). Chelsea struggled to make any impact on the game and it was always United that were the most likely to score.

What happened next in 10 minutes of football either side of half time I don’t think anyone could believe. First Sturridge danced past Evra on the by line and drilled the ball across goal, De Gea tried to get a foot on it but it deflected off him into Evans and over the line, half time Chelsea 1-0 up. 24 seconds into the second half Torres found acres of space on the right (once again Evra who had a nightmare was nowhere to be seen) he whipped in a cross to the far post that was met by the crispest of volleys by Mata who smashed it past De Gea. Chelsea buoyant and United stunned as Chelsea came forward again and again Evra at fault as he up ended Sturridge on the edge of the area. Mata swung over the free kick and Luiz head followed by Rio’s shoulder and the ball finds the top corner.

Chelsea 3-0 up and United in disarray but this is Manchester United with a never say die attitude that dates back to those Busby Babes and they were not going to give this game up without a fight.

Defensive errors most notable from Evra had cost us big, but it was Evra’s attacking influence that started the comeback. As he was put in down the left he broke into the area and as Sturridge attempted tackle came in Evra moved across, Sturridge was commited and Evra’s right leg was taken from under him, Webb pointed to the spot, Penalty. At first glance I must admit I thought it was soft but replays certainly show plenty of contact. Rooney stepped up and smashed the most emphatic penalty you will see into the top corner 3-1 there’s hope.

This really was United’s half and the introduction of Scholes was pivotal as the little magician controlled the game from here on in. Pinging passes left and right and space started to open up. Rooney became more and more into the game as Scholes found him in space with ease and you really felt it was only a matter of time before we scored a second.

We didn’t have to wait long as on 69 minutes Hernandez found space inside the box and thread a ball into Welbeck who nudged the ball past Ivanovic. The big defender stuck out a boot and Welbeck went over, Webb amazingly again pointed to the spot. The inconsistent Webb possibly got this one wrong but United were not going to complain about some good fortune at the Bridge for once. Rooney stepped up again, sent the keeper the wrong way and it was 3-2 game on.

At this point I was only amazed it took until the 83rd minute to find the equalizer, Valencia who had been pushed to right back drilled in a cross which Rooney controlled and brought a sharp save from Cech, who pushed the ball out to United’s left where Giggs was lurking. He swung in a perfect cross to find Hernandez in acres of space to head home. United fans jubilant, Chelsea fans booing and leaving.

It was an incredible fight back and I know at the start of the day 3 points was a must but at 3-0 down a point felt like a win and considering our record at Stamford Bridge a point was I believe a good result for us in terms of the title race.

 

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United V Stoke

A good win 2-0, goals coming via penalties form Chicharito and Berbatov with the only minor gripe is we didn’t score the goals our domination and possession should have brought about. We look at 3 players following last nights games, midfielders of past, present and future who dictated results. Paul Scholes who was instrumental in our control of the game against Stoke, Paul Pogba whose 30 minute cameo showed all the class and composure beyond his years and Darren Gibson whose name finally rang around Old Trafford.

Paul Scholes

I like many united fans were delighted to see Paul Scholes back in action but slightly disillusioned and concerned that instead of dipping into the transfer market for a top class midfielder we were once again pinning our hopes on a 37 year old.

Well last night he for me really showed why Sir Alex jumped at the chance to put Scholes back into his first team plans. From start to finish Scholes controlled the game, keeping the ball moving and spraying his trademark passes out wide. His ability to keep the ball is still better than most in the premiership and in games like against Stoke it’s that ability and control that make the game and outcome very easy, it was an absolute masterclass.

I still don’t think just like last season that his legs are up to playing against some of the top sides if we go with a 4-4-2 formation (he was fine in 4-5-1 against Liverpool) but when we need to keep possession and carve open stubborn defences there are still very few better than Scholes.

Paul Pogba

On the day Ravel Morrison left the club under a cloud Paul Pogba made his Premier League debut and what a class act he looks.

Comfortable on the ball, he has a range of passing that Scholes himself would be pleased with and unlike his senior midfield partner he tackles as well. If you didnt know better looking on in that last 30 minutes you would think Pogba had been in the first team for years.

Granted this was only Stoke and yes they were poor but lets not take away from a debut that was impressive and mature beyond his years. He has a big big future at Old Trafford we just now wait and hope his contract situation is sorted and soon.

Darren Gibson

Darren Gibson spent 4 years in and around the first team during his 7 year stint as a Manchester United player. He made 31 appearances and scored 3 goals yet it took until he left for his name to be sung by the Stretford End faithful.

In truth Darren didn’t really fit at United, too similar to Micheal Carrick but not as good his only really endearing feature was a thunderbolt right foot that actually very rarely found the target.

It was probably a relief to many United fans when he was finally sold but most also wish him well because despite never really being good enough he always worked hard and gave 100% for the club and cause.

Queue his move to Everton and a game winning goal against Manchester City for the Stretford End to erupt in chants for “One Darren Gibson”. It was a great moment even if he wasnt anywhere near the ground to witness it first hand.

Once a Red always a Red

Posted in Match Talk | Leave a comment

Ravel Morrison

With Ravel Morrison close to signing for West Ham at the time of writing we take a look at the saga surrounding this precocious talent over the last 18 months or so of his United career.

What isn’t in question in this post is Ravel’s talent, hes scored goals at every level for United which has seen him get a couple of chances in the first team. Sir Alex himself when he signed terms for United in early 2010 described him as the most talented player he had ever seen at that age. That is a huge statement from a man who has watched and nurtured the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham at young ages.

So whats gone wrong, he has the talent, the fans are desperate for him to succeed with social media having been lit up with Ravel’s name during the last few months with his will he wont he sign situation, together with many calling for him to be given a chance in the side, especially given how many midfield injuries we have at the moment. Sir Alex obviously rates him as a player yet his chances in the first team have been limited and now it would seem the club are happy to ship him out for a cut price £1mil deal.

Much of whats gone wrong would suggest is down to attitude. We know Ferguson does not tolerate players who think they are bigger than the club or are not willing to put the club first, bigger names than Ravel Morrison have been ushered out of the Old Trafford door for lesser reasons. In a recent press conference Sir Alex lauded Danny Welbeck for his attitude together with a number of others from the youth and reserve setups, ironically enough the only person not mentioned was Ravel which some would suggest was an indirect dig at the youngster.

Contract discussions certainly started back in December but stalled, Ravel changing his agent part way through and there have been many rumours since suggesting Ravel’s wage demands have been way in excess of reasonable. There have also been more than one of his team mate’s who have openly criticised Ravel for turning up late to training and general apathy towards working hard in training, not the kind of attitude that will adhere any young player into Sir Alex’s good books.

Then there have been numerous off field problems, he has 2 counts of witness intimidation last year, a referral order which expires this month and has a police caution for assaulting his own mother. Through all of this the club have stuck by him and given him opportunities to prove himself.

In summary I would lean towards this, Sir Alex has one of the best reputations for bringing young talent into the game and giving them a chance in the first team. Players with less talent have been given more time, the likes of Keith Gillespe, Luke Chadwick and even more recently Darren Gibson were all given big opportunities to shine, players I add who showed the right kind of attitude to the club and training. Sir Alex also does not suffer fools lightly and if he feels a player is not suited to Manchester United football Club, that he is disruptive to the team or does not have the right attitude to succeed at this club then he is shown the door and rarely is he wrong to do so.

I wish Ravel well if he ends up at West Ham, I can’t help feel we have let one go that could end up a huge, huge talent but if Sir Alex feels he isn’t right for Manchester United then who are we to argue. Everything Sir Alex does is for the very best of this club, our club and it’s not like Ravel hasn’t been given time.

 

Posted in Transfer Talk | Leave a comment

A Goalkeeping Crisis?

A lots been said and written about United’s goalkeeping blunders and the rotation system for our keepers that Sir Alex has currently adopted. Another poor performance from David De Gea at the weekend has certainly brought that debate to the fore once again so its time for United Calypso to post some thoughts on the situation.

Let me start by saying David De Gea will one day be a world-class goalkeeper that I have absolutely no doubt on. He is a superb shot stopper, his distribution is good and he like any good goalkeeper plays the role of a 5th defender and commands his area well.

However I do say one day because right now his confidence is low, he is not accustomed to the rigours of the English league and from all accounts he is to have eye surgery in the summer. Now is not the time to be throwing the lamb to the slaughter which is exactly what Sir Alex did against Liverpool, a club that like to get crosses into the box targeting their giant centre forward who were always going to test De Gea under the high ball, he flapped at a couple his confidence took another dent and it ended up being a difficult day for the young keeper, one that I believe Sir Alex could have protected him from.

For me its simple, goalkeeper is one position that needs consistency and in Anders Lindegaard we have just that. He has shown himself to be very capable, a good shot stopper, good distribution and has handled English football better than his younger team-mate. Give him the number 1 slot until the end of the season, it’s up to Anders to prove whether he is good enough to keep it for the long-term but it gives the team the consistent last line of defence that it desperately needs. In 34 matches this season we have used 22 combinations and that is just too many, sort the number 1 jersey at least for the season and evaluate again in the close season.

As for young David, firstly I would get him in the Gym and bulk up a bit. If he is going to try to mix it with the likes of Andy Carroll then he needs a bit of meat on those bones. Secondly and this may be contentious but I would loan him out to a championship side where he will learn the rough and tumble of English football but wont have the high pressure situation of playing for Manchester United. Learn how to play under the high ball, learn the rigours of English football and come back in pre season a bigger fitter stronger more capable goalkeeper and then prove you are one of the best around and not just a kid with potential.

Do we have a goalkeeping crisis? simple answer is no we are blessed with 2 very good goalkeepers one of whom could be exceptional but the situation needs managing better in order to get the best out of them both short-term and long-term.

Posted in Team Talk | Leave a comment

United V Liverpool

Liverpool V United
FA Cup 4th Round
Anfield
12.45pm Kick off

United, Liverpool games are always massive, always full of incident and very rarely disappoint aside from maybe the result. This was no different and was spiced up by the racial abuse Patrice Evra suffered at the hands of Suarez causing the Uruguayan to be suspended for the game and guaranteeing the United captain would be subjected to a torrent of abuse from the Anfield crowd. The crowd for the main whilst noisy and yes abusive towards Evra did at least remain civil, some booing and chanting were to be expected and I wouldn’t have thought that be any different at any of other 90+ league grounds in the country.

So to the football, United took to the pitch with what would today be described a weakened side, second choice keeper 18 million signing David De Gea got a start and in midfield we fielded the oldest combination probably seen in football with a combined age between Scholes, Giggs and Carrick of 105. With Rooney and Nani out injured it Welbeck who carried our goal scoring threat.

A Quiet burst into life with the first real chance falling to Valencia who powered past 2 Liverpool defenders and hit a thunderbolt which had Reina beat all ends up only for it to canon back off the post. Liverpool then took the lead on 21 minutes as the gamble on playing De Gea backfired, despite a smart early save from Maxi he was found wanting for much of the game. Liverpool were obviously targeting the young Spaniard with 2 players sat on him for set pieces and when Gerrard swung the ball over, Agger climbed above our sleeping defence and with De Gea in no mans land fighting to try to shake his 2 minders the ball skimmed off his head and into the net. De Gea unfortunately looked ever increasingly nervous from that point on, his catching was poor, his distribution worse still and should have done better with Liverpool’s eventual winner.

This prompted a spell of possession that gave the impression of dominance and yes in part it was we controlled the game for 25 minutes of the first half and the equalizer was well deserved. Rafael who was outstanding throughout getting to the byline and cutting back for Park to drill home. What was disappointing was despite all of the possession we had in that 25 minute spell this was the only meaningful chance we created.

The second half took a very similar shape with lots of United possession with very little cutting edge. Scholes the architect but dared not venture past the half way line, Carrick looks static alongside him and Giggs looked every bit the 38 year old he is. Liverpool didn’t particularly play well but just looked that bit more dangerous in the final third. Tackles started to fly in as the game progressed and Maxi was possibly fortunate to stay on the pitch in light of recent dismissals but wasn’t even booked for his 2 footed lunge. A red would have probably been harsh but the lack of even a booking was baffling.

With the game heading towards a replay that I am sure neither manager would have wanted, Fergie chanced his arm bringing off Scholes and throwing on Chicharito and this seemed to hand the initiative to Liverpool and they made it tell in the 87th minute. Evra went AWOL and Kuyt found some space in the left channel to drill home past De Gea, Evra’s mistake but I felt the keeper should have done much better.

A very disappointing loss, we dominated possession but never really created much in the way of chances which is a bigger worry with some tough league games coming up, it showed again our lacking in the centre of midfield and how much we need Rooney and Nani to be firing if we are to retain our title and make it 20.

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