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Manchester disunited

It’s time the protagonists in the Old Trafford/Rock of Gibraltar now acted like grown-ups.

Tony Cascarino, 12 Feb 2004



There’s only one word to describe the argy bargy going on at the moment between Alex Ferguson and John Magnier and that’s “pathetic”. You’ve two super rich people behaving like kids – “he said that, I said the other”…for God’s sake lads, grow up!

If I was Manchester United PLC, I’d lock ’em in the boardroom and only let them out when they’ve come to some sort of financial agreement. Business people have to be ruthless when they’re making deals, sure, but what you’re seeing from both sides is embarrassing.

Why on earth didn’t Fergie accept the financial settlement that was offered him before Christmas? As for John Magnier and his people, they’ll never be welcome at Old Trafford or anywhere else there are Manchester United fans, which is pretty much the whole word. People like that I don’t have the time of day for. That’s society for you, though – there are no principles or morals anymore. They know the conversations they had together and what they shook on.

Despite it all, I’ll be very surprised if Alex Ferguson isn’t the Man U manager at the start of next season. Magnier & Co. may have more money than him but they don’t have his status in the game, or the ability to United send share prices soaring.

But if he does get ousted, I imagine the man they’ll go looking for is Martin O’Neill. He has the ability to turn good players into great ones plus he has experience of the Champions League which Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce and the other names that are being bandied about don’t. Sam’s having a fantastic season with Bolton and, after a few initial hiccups, Steve’s got Birmingham punching well above their weight. They may prove me completely wrong but I don’t see United going continental – well, not unless it’s Sven or Wenger. They’ll want somebody who knows the Premiership inside out and won’t need a period of adjustment.

I thought I’d seen everything in football, but Manchester City’s comeback against Spurs was something else. 3-0 down, a man short and away from home…the odds couldn’t have been any more stacked against them but they kept going. It’s a one-off that I very much doubt will be repeated in my life, although Everton gave it a go on Saturday. How Rooney missed that chance in the final seconds I’ll never know. As I said last year, if somebody like Chelsea comes in with a £20 million bid David Moyes would be an idiot not to accept it. He’s a very promising lad but nowhere near the finished article which is what Everton need if they’re not to get sucked into the relegation dogfight.

They were at home and had a full side, but I remember Marseilles being 4-0 down at half-time to Montpellier and coming back to win 5-4. There were a few bottles of vino sunk after that one!

Finally, I thought Arsene Wenger was very ungracious in defeat last week when Middlesbrough knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup. “They kept making professional fouls which meant we couldn’t get into our natural flow.” What a load of codswallop! It’s not like he’s Mickey Adams or Eddie Gray having to make excuses for poor performances every week. Once a season, he should be able to say: “We got beaten by the better team on the day.” From what I’m told, he’s quite a distant figure at Highbury – you certainly can’t see him going out for a couple with the lads on Saturday night.

But as long as the results are good, who’s complaining?


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