Yoga on the Wii Fit
Monday 29th February 2016
Analysis on yesterday’s disappointment is extremely difficult. Having seen us play in every game at Old Trafford since the mid to late eighties in fact, I have found it harder than ever before and that includes everything from history making victories, to cup semi finals, to 8-2 defeats.
In October 1990 we headed up to Manchester with a side that after a disappointing attempt at retaining the title we won in 1989, looked very capable of winning it for the second time in 3 seasons.
The game will always be remembered for what was described as a ‘brawl’ when if my memory serves me right ‘Nutty’ Nige went in with a rather zealous challenge that probably would have been given a red card in modern times and Brian Mclair, someone he had enjoyed a number of altercations with in the past, decided to put the boot into him as he laid on the deck like someone with the ‘ump in a nightclub car park! Pretty much everything else was no more than handbags but the fall out was typically, like if someone had been murdered. Fortunately the unprecedented 2 points we were docked didn’t prevent us from romping home to the title.
A combination of clever thinking by Anders Limpar and bad goalkeeping by the late Les Sealey led to us winning the game 1-nil, a goal that saw one of those traditional and raucous terrace jostles in the packed away enclosure directly behind the goal at that time. More importantly though if you listen to the commentary (by Martin Tyler I think), he describes how we had ‘pretty much defended for the previous 40 minutes against a purposeful United side’ before taking that crucial lead.
And for me, that is the point. We might have been second best. But we didn’t concede. And as a result, look what happened. It’s something away from home this season at the likes of Norwich, West Brom, Liverpool and now Old Trafford that our inability to achieve has seen us pick up just 2 points from 12 out of those matches.
Journeys home with friends and people going through the same emotions are the only way you can deal with your team’s result I feel. We celebrate as one when it goes well so to chew the fat and sound off at one another after getting beat is the way it should be.
One of our loyal regular travelling party (many of you would have met or recognise Finbar) likes the occasional pint. And if he pops to one of his local hostelries the night before an away match, his journey home passes a small supermarket. As a result his plastic bag of pre-match journey ‘goodies’ is fast becoming legendary.
And yesterday’s was bordering on sheer gluttony! Everything from pork pies to chocolate muffins to jelly babies were produced.
It was my birthday Thursday and the realisation of the fact none of us are getting any younger coupled with the fatty and sugary fare Finbar had provided and the fact we needed something to take our minds off our defeat led to a conversation regarding diets and fitness regimes of varying levels and success.
Weights to cycling and gym visits all got the treatment before one of our party brought up the difficulty levels of doing yoga on the Wii Fit!
It was at that stage we realised our conversation had reached an all time low in our attempt to avoid any further analysis or opinion regarding the game.
I would never verbally ‘attack’ any one of our players or staff so I don’t want to be accused of such. But I am totally convinced that if Per had played alongside Kos yesterday afternoon we would have won the game.
Although that statement is admittedly easy with the benefit of hindsight I was astounded when I saw our big German had been omitted for such an enormous game. In my opinion he and Kos are our best central defensive partnership and with a game away at Man Utd they should be out there.
Gabriel is a decent player and has played at a high level. But today he had an absolute shocker.
Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play well in many areas again. But when you are not at your absolute best but relatively comfortable, it is crucial you keep the score at nil-nil.
Yet against an at best mediocre Man Utd eleven we managed to go two goals behind and leave ourselves with simply too much to do. And I believe both goals would have been avoided had our first choice centre back pairing been playing.
We scored twice, as many as any of my previous visits over the last 30 years……and that could and should have been enough to get something from the game.
But defending like schoolchildren, which we did at times yesterday, cost us in the harshest possible way.
We weren’t unlucky. We were poor I’m afraid. And that is worrying, especially in the short term at such a crucial stage of the season.
A few short weeks ago we were arguably the favourites for the title. Now we are definitely the outsiders.
More importantly, even if those around us slip up, we are not showing anything to suggest we are good enough to take advantage.
Swansea at home is our first opportunity to prove not being capable is inaccurate.
And a win is essential. There is no other way to describe it.
See you Wednesday (if my Yoga efforts don’t prevent me attending!)