Showing posts with label Wilf McGuinness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wilf McGuinness. Show all posts

Defining week for Solskjaer that seem familiar with McGuinness and Moyes era

Wilf McGuinness and David Moyes had taken their teams at Manchester United to the semi-finals of the League Cup which they lost in 1970 December and 2014 January and went out of the FA Cup 3rd round respectively with the former's reign ending in December itself while the later lasted till April. That predicament could soon befall Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if the tie against Wolves in the 3rd round of FA Cup and against Man City in the league cup semi-finals over two legs do not go right, nor if he fails to stitch together a run of victories in the league to secure the 4th spot.

The patchy results in the league despite the victories over Spurs and Man City he has clearly failed to bring consistency that normally would have meant a run of 5 or 6 straight victories increasing the confidence of his young charges. Unbeaten at Old Trafford since the loss to Crystal Palace in late August and six game unbeaten run that included three draws are the only two positives that have protected Solskjaer in the results oriented business of football management. Loss to Arsenal was a consequence of two bad choices by the Norwegian: Lingard instead of in-form Andreas and James instead of Greenwood. No Angel Gomes in the squad either who traveled but did not make it to the bench due to issues over his contract. To resurrect the confidence of David De Gea MUFC appointed a new goal keeping coach Craig Mawson from Burnley.  Fans would have loved to see a hard fought draw given the hectic schedule and eke out a result to maintain another run of games unbeaten.

All focus was once again and unfairly on Paul Pogba who did not play in the match after Solskjaer had hinted that he might be involved earlier in the week. Two events clearly points to non-cohesion between the football and commercial management at the club. Firstly after MUFC pulled out of Haaland deal Pogba's agent gave a damning indictment saying "It’s a club out of touch with reality and without a sporting project. I wouldn’t take anyone there, they would even ruin Maradona, Pele and Maldini." Huge loss of commission from that Haaland deal seem obvious but why should MUFC allow such a diatribe from an agent of a player employed by the club. Second is more worrisome actually spoken by Solskjaer "How long is Pogba out for? Three or four weeks maybe, I don't know. He's been advised to have an operation by his people and he'll probably do that." It reminds of Mourinho wanting the Frenchman out but could not due to Management disagreement over the loss of revenue vis-a-vis social media. Despite Solskjaer maintaining utmost restraint so far this season to put a brave face on a tough situation given the weak squad this admission does demand an transparent revelation of the exact injury suffered by Pogba. No talks about contract extension with Pogba who is already in his final 17 months of his existing one does bare out the hard truth.

Without Pogba and more importantly McTominay for a whole month could jeopardize what could possibly be achieved this season. James Garner and Dylan Levitt may get more game time but its probably a year too early for them to be playing in the Premier League every week. MUFC must reignite the interest in Kalvin Phillips or Sandro Tonali based on Solskjaer's template of young and hungry, after sounding out their first tier targets in Grealish and Maddison. The iconic number 7 jersey remains vacant and is still a big draw for an aspiring midfielder seeking world wide acclaim. Ferguson wasn't a fan of January signings either but did bring Vidic and Evra when required. Saul Niguez, Donny van de Beek, Arturo Vidal, Fabian Ruiz, Marco Verratti are pricey options that should be considered. Although experience is the key driver to bring a midfielder given that McTominay might be the first choice Denis Zakaria or Boubakary Soumare may be looked in purely from availability point of view only if none of the other names work out.

The sheer passion shown by Solskjaer coupled with courage to chart through the tough times for the club does deserve more praise than scorn. He is also perhaps caught in the clash of classical manager versus the modern hands on coach from varied background that has inundated the game. The loss to Arsenal away followed by the loss to Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-finals in March was the start of unraveling of deeper issues that led to a collapse towards the end of last season. The same opposition and a year later will the performance and result be any different now? Worse given the same two fixtures are early in January this season if the deficiency in midfield isn't managed by the way of player acquisition the fallout can be disastrous for the 17 remaining league games.

New documentary on Busby recounts the greatest story that sport can ever tell

Sport based movies are best told with actual footage aided by conversations from the players or peers who were involved rather than recreating the drama as actors who can never substitute for icons of the game. Busby the movie by Joe Pearlman does exactly that. It has apparently taken inputs from the very best biographies of Sir Matt Busby from the likes of Eamon Dunphy, Micheal Crick, Patrick Barclay and Roy Cavanagh as per the BBC review.

My personal favourite quote about Sir Matt is from Willie Morgan his last major signing "Everything that's been said about Matt since he died was said before he died. That's the greatest epitaph that he could have."

Would be interesting to see if it mentions about rumours of Sir Matt getting the sack in Jan 1951 after a string of poor results 15 months before winning the first league championship, two lost Babes -  Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower, weather playing havoc over the return flight after playing Dukla Prague and how the team reaches Manchester just in time to play in the league, the take over of Louis Edwards immediately after Munich, cruelty of FA to snatch Bobby Charlton by holding a friendly at the same time as MUFC ravaged by Munich play in the semi-finals of European Cup, FA declined the offer from UEFA to invite MUFC in the European Cup season immediately after Munich, Real Madrid helping Manchester United by playing an annual pre-season game to raise funds and profile of the club post Munich, reaction after the shock loss to Partizan Belgrade in '65 European Cup semi-final, sale of John Morris & Johnny Giles, tussle over player wages, concerns over Busby's health after Munich that necessitated an annual summer holiday to recover from the stress of the season, lack of spending in the later years, failure to sign Mike England & Alan Ball, the succession...etc.

A constant source of support through all the ups and downs of those 24 glorious years was Sir Matt Busby's first signing his assistant the Welshman Jimmy Murphy. What a partnership! Busby first met Murphy at Bari towards the end of WWII and heard him taking a training session for an army match and described it as "It was as if he was delivering a sermon".

Louis Rocca the chief scout of MUJAC who was responsible for being in touch with Sir Matt Busby through Manchester Catholic Sportsman’s Club and tried to sign him from City as a right-half in 1930. Rocca  eventually brought him to Old Trafford in February 1945 as the Manager impressed by his straight talk of complete control with a clear plan. Rocca was succeeded by Joe Armstrong in 1950 ably supported by Billy Behan, Bob Bishop, Bob Harper, much admired trainer Tom Curry whom Busby called 'the best trainer in England' and an ex-MUFC player and coach Bert Whalley both were lost to Munich with eight Busby Babes and eight journalists, ex-MUFC player and trainer Bill Inglis, club secretary and twice the caretaker manager Walter Crickmer, MUFC supporter Willie Satinoff, Jack Crompton the goal keeper of Busby's first great team who joined the coaching staff as a trainer immediately after Munich and was the caretaker manager during MUFC Far East tour in 1981 after Dave Sexton was sacked and before Ron Atkinson was appointed, Wilf McGuinness whose career was cut short due to injury at the age of 22 and succeeded Jimmy Murphy as reserve team coach in 1964 and later replaced Sir Matt Busby in 1969 at just 31 years of age!


Busby is set to release on digital platforms on 15 November and on DVD from 18 November on Amazon.

Clamour for a similar documentary on Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt be loud as the footage is still ripe in memory but the tales of Tommy Docherty to bring the club back up and the Ron Atkinson era be more prudent as it probably takes 30 years or a generation to completely comprehend those events from all angles.

Only sport based DVD which I own is Richard Harris starrer Lindsay Anderson's "This Sporting Life" about rugby set in 1963 that told a tale of a working class man rising up the social ladder.

At long last recognition for 'Forgotten Babe' Johnny Berry

About a year ago published my article about ' Flowers of Manchester ' in which I found the name of then United vice-captain Johnny B...

Popular Posts