Yes. It was Man U not Sheff U

Published: Monday, 04 March 2024

Well now you all know what I’ve been telling you is accurate. It’s over. We’ve had a bit of fun with his name previously - which was perhaps a little naughty - but here we go for one last time. He’s now Erik ten Games. That’s just about all the time he’s got left.

The Dutchman wrote his resignation letter Sunday. United were awful. Wretched. Well - let’s give them some credit for a disciplined 45 minutes. They stuck rigidly to their jobs and frustrated City. And I’ve always believed that there’s more than one way to play the game. But that said - I had to keep reminding myself that I was watching Manchester United - not Sheffield United.

There can’t be a United fan on the planet that wasn’t embarrassed by the way ten Hag set his team up. To borrow a phrase from a U.K. pundit ‘this was Manchester Uniiiiiited’.

It was incredible. United - admitting that they are simply aren’t good enough to be on the same pitch as City anymore. That they can’t compete on equal terms. No wonder Rashford is pissed off. Can you blame him?

I’ve got a feeling that if United weren’t still in the FA Cup, ten Hag would be out already, but whilst there’s feint hope that they could somehow win the thing Sunny Jim will stick with him.

City were terrific. I said many many months ago that I can get bored watching them. (Others later repeated that view). City are often guilty of overplaying, but I they put on a master class to win Sunday. They were patient. Never once did they look desperate. They all believed that eventually they’d find a way through. And when they did it was with a spectacular goal from an absolute diamond. How Jack Grealish must wish he could conjure moments like Foden does in a City shirt.

From the dull tedium of watching United pretend that they still have a seat at the top table - to City proving why they could yet do another treble - it was a glorious transformation in the game. Stunning.

Just one other thing that I noticed. It was a terrific ball from Onana to Fernandes in the lead up to Rashford’s goal. But did you notice that the keeper had the ball in his hands for a full 17 before he delivered it?

Why does that matter? Well I thought it odd that IFAB announced the day before that they are going to trial an idea to extend the time a keeper can keep the ball from six seconds - to eight. Confused? Me too.

The last time I can remember a keeper being penalised for holding onto a ball too long was at Newcastle when Mike Riley was reffing. (Yes, him) Apparently the feeling is that awarding a direct free-kick for the offence is too strong a punishment so refs are hesitant to do it.

So the cunning IFAB plan is to extend the time to eight seconds and if a keeper hasn’t released the ball then, possession reverts to the opposition. I didn’t read how the opponent gets the ball back. I guess they’re still working on that bit.

It’s all to do with time-wasting of course. We can only wait with bated breath for this next dramatic change to the game. In the meantime I’d suggest that the current laws are enforced properly.

Other weekend highlights? It hurts a little bit because I don’t like to see Everton in as much trouble as they are - but I was pleased to see West Ham record a win that lifts them back into 7th. What are they doing in East London? Why haven’t they put a contract in front of Moyes yet? He’s right you know - never have West Ham enjoyed a time like the one he is delivering. Never. What Moyes has done at the club is incredible.

In some ways it was fitting that he made his point again at Everton. What would they give now for a time when they were finishing in the CL places and taking part in finals? Karen Brady would do well to learn a lesson from history. So would Hammers fans.

There was plenty this weekend for Howard Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) to get his teeth into on the next edition of Sorry! I’m not getting into the incident, but when I heard Paul Tierney had ignored his 4th at Forest before dropping an enormous bollock, Graham Poll came to mind.

Apparently Tierney told the Forest staff he’d ignored advice from Scott because ‘I’m the boss’. What arrogance. Poll reportedly did similar prior to his 3-yellow card trick. He told colleagues ‘don’t get involved with the bookkeeping. I’m good at that. I’ve never fucked up’. Really?

Keep an eye on the Championship this week. It’s going to be a fantastic finish in that division. What looked certain for Leicester is all of a sudden in the balance.

And finally….I see the PGMOL are planning to strengthen staff levels at their Stockley Park VAR hub next season. They’re looking for a new operations executive who will provide support to refs and video assistants. I’m not kidding. I’ve got a better idea - how about Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) gets a grip and raises standards? Refs would feel a whole lot better about themselves then.