Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Munich's fault for Man U slide

While Alan Hansen is inarguably one of Liverpool's greats in the history of the sport, he often typifies the punditry we are blessed with on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. As much as I love a former player give his opinion on current performances, hopefully masterfully interwoven with richly detailed anecdotes, the former player talking head has little to offer by way of insight.

How many times have I watched Steve McManaman (close yer legs, man) and Emmanuel Petit (in what part of the world is a ponytail and pirate shirt still cool; actually was it ever?) struggle to tell me the obvious? Or a former great commenting on his club's current run of form without obviously watching any of it's matches in detail, but using every footy cliche in the book? (Another thing we can attribute blame to Hansen for - "power and pace", touch and technique")

Which is what brings me to Alan Hansen. While some Liverpool fans may believe he still has something to add to the world of football, whether as a pundit or as a rumored addition to the club's organization, this is the guy that claimed Sir Alex Ferguson "would never win anything with kids" after he retooled the Red Devils before winning the double the same year.

In his piece in today's Telegraph, Hansen claims the "great history of Manchester United weighed very heavily and very visibly on the club" and that they were a "a club hemmed in by its own past." Citing the emotions and meaning of the anniversary of the Munich air disaster as a reason for United's disintegration at the hands of their city rivals, Hansen obviously didn't think the absence of Rooney and various players' international duty just days ago had anything to do with it.

In all of United's losses this season, Wayne Rooney was absent. On Sunday, Vidic, Ronaldo and Ferdinand were on the field, but contributed to the mediocrity. While City did well to press and close the space when not in possession and played the right tactics and nearly lasted the whole game to hold a clean sheet, it was more a case of United's form letting them down than being ripped apart.

So what the hell is Hansen talking about? Does he really think a group of Playstation-playing, roasting, supercar-driving, emotionally-immature millionaires give a crap about what happened so long ago? Do we honestly believe that the whole gravity of the anniversary of such a tragic occurance weighed so heavily on them? Can you picture Ronaldo whispering his thoughts to last night's hooker: "I play badly today because I remember Munich . . . "?

Did Hansen watch the game, or did he simply stay to document the over-hyped minute of silence before the match, nip into pub to discuss the match in generalities, and file his piece before the final whistle had gone? I know he doesn't perform the tactical analysis of say, David Pleat, but don't just make stuff up, Alan

Man Utd weighed down by burden of history [Daily Telegraph]


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