Ten Hag has taken Utd precisely…..nowhere.

Published: Monday, 08 May 2023

All I hear when people talk about Manchester United is ‘they’re in a much better place now’. Really? Much better place than when?

I never thought I’d say this - but better than when Solskjaer finished 2nd? Better than when van Gaal won the FA Cup? Not for me. And I admit that I had some pretty harsh things to say about both men during their time in charge.

Are they better than the team Mourinho won two trophies with and took to a 2nd place finish? No. No - they’re not.

Ten Hag spent a record £220m last summer - more than United have ever spent in one window - to take them precisely…..nowhere.

And he’s run out of excuses. There’s only so many times you can blame players for being ‘unprofessional’, or for not ‘sticking to the game plan’. That talk all wears a bit thin in a dressing room after a while.

I got sent this text - on the whistle after the West Ham game - from a mate, who’s an ardent United fan.

Knew it straight from kick off. Anthony = Fraud. Casimeiro = MIA for weeks. Erikson =not same since injury. Rashford = not getting the service. Rest of them, the shirt is to heavy for em. Won't get top 4. Them scousers will. Mark my words. 😡😡😡😡

It had been forwarded quite a few times, so I can only imagine a fair few United fans had sent it to mates as well. Is this how they really feel?

Ten Hag MUST deliver CL football. Nothing else will do. If he does - ok - he buys himself another season. If he doesn’t - a League Cup win won’t be enough from this campaign. There was a time when United fans were embarrassed to win that trophy. How times have changed.

Yep - there’s still an FA Cup final to play - but does anybody fancy them to beat City? Here’s the follow up text I got yesterday.

Dreading Wembley

Sweet Jesus Take Pity on Us....

Ten Hag has got it all on after Liverpool’s recent run. Oh - and Nout Workhorse isn’t the answer. Why does he persist in underlining that error of judgement? It really isn’t funny anymore.

Credit to Arsenal for that performance at Newcastle. I thought they were terrific. From the time the penalty was overturned they bossed that game. I went so far as to say on beINSPORTS that it might just be their best performance of the season.

A lot of things were against them. Recent form has been poor. Not many teams go to St James’ and win. It’s a difficult place to visit again now, but their game management was really good. I hope the defeat doesn’t cost Newcastle a CL place because they deserve that after a fantastic campaign - but I’m glad Arsenal won. We need a few more anxious games yet in the title race.

So we can all look forward to a new show where referees explain decisions taken by VAR? Expect ground-breaking tv we’re told. Anything that takes us nearer real time audio at the monitor being shared by fans is a step in the right direction, but I’m not getting too excited. Unless we get to that stage where we can listen to the ref and Stockley Park ‘live’ then not a lot will change - especially when VAR operators can’t spot a handball offence. Lindelof at West Ham? Nailed on. He might as well have caught the ball. The matchday centres excuses to us were embarrassing.

Graeme Souness’s ‘retirement’ from Sky didn’t feel right to me - especially when I read his Daily Mail column suggesting he was still ‘open for business’.

A conversation relayed to me from a Sky ‘insider’ this week tells me I was right - he was sacked. Well - it was decided his race was run. Same thing really.

I have to say immediately that I wouldn’t trust the individual who reported the info as far as I could throw him - but he’s made a career of man-marking senior management figures in order to protect himself so this time I believe him. His sources will be good.

It turns out it was decided to dispense with Graeme’s services the moment he referred to football being a ‘man’s game’. Remember? He used that phrase after Chelsea’s 2-2 draw v Spurs in August.

His comments caused a bit of a stir. He was clumsy in his phraseology. He didn’t mean harm, but you can’t say that anymore. Football is simply a game - enjoyed by everyone. And we should celebrate that.

I think most people felt that Graeme had been clumsy and he’s a much loved character, so they were happy to give him the benefit of the doubt - but senior management at Sky certainly weren’t. They decided that was it. He’d be out at the first opportunity.

Two things will happen now. Sky will deny this and the mole will be making frantic calls trying to cover his tracks - but I will be proved right because Graeme is by no means finished. He will turn up somewhere - ITV perhaps - because he’s a classy operator and remains box office.

Having revealed the truth now if I was Martin Tyler I’d be looking over my shoulder after what were described as his ‘racist comments’ about Son Heung-min recently. Again - I’d say Martin was simply clumsy, but you can be sure the incident is on file somewhere at Gillette Corner. And I think I know who the Guardian of that file will be - the same person that did for Graeme.