Friday, May 12, 2006

MEN: One year on: can anyone see the join?

Source: Manchester Evening News

By Stuart Mathieson

THE proof of the pudding is in the eating. So after a year sampling the Glazer's fare what will United fans taste buds be telling them?

Some Old Trafford supporters adamantly refused to dip their spoons in the American desert and sated their hunger elsewhere.

Most notably, of course, around 2500 of them chose to dine at Gigg Lane and other more modest places on the FC United diet.
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Other equally vociferous detractors were unable to tear themselves away from a lifetime at the United banquet and have adopted a `grin and bear' attitude.

There was never a right or wrong argument to which faction you joined forces with when the Glazers took over 12 months ago.

If you couldn't stomach a Yank putting the club in debt, then fair dos if you took your business elsewhere.


If you couldn't break the bond with the club no matter who was in charge, then that was your prerogative.

If you chose to go to FC and MUFC then so be it. You pay your money and you make your choice.

Splits between one-time Old Trafford terrace neighbours have surfaced because of the takeover.

But falling between the new non-League conscripts and the resentful anti-Glazer brigade who've kept their United seats are arguably the majority who have noticed little difference between the plc recipe and the USA menu.

Many match-going Reds judge value for money by the entertainment and success they witness once through the turnstiles.

It is what Wayne Rooney and Co does on the pitch and Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, Denis Law and George Best did before them that counts.

Louis Edwards, Martin Edwards, the City bods and now the Glazers, it doesn't really matter one jot who runs the place if that buzz from walking down Warwick Road still stirs the emotions.


If you were a United fan that had to leave Old Trafford say two years ago and came back this season would you really have noticed much of a difference?

In 2004 when the plc were running the club United had won the FA Cup against Millwall, had been knocked out of Europe at the quarter-final stage and finished third, 15 points behind champions Arsenal.

You'd witnessed the mid-season capture of Louis Saha and the imports of Eric Djemba Djemba and Kleberson the previous summer.

Twelve months ago as the plc became defunct, United were unlucky beaten FA Cup finalists, finished third, 18 points behind title winners Chelsea and had been knocked out in Europe in the last 16. Gabriel Heinze, Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney were bought.

This campaign with the Glazers running the show, the Reds have won the Carling Cup, finished second in the Premiership, eight points behind Chelsea and were knocked out of the European Cup in the group stages. A total of £18m of new talent has been brought in by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Not much of a difference between any of those seasons and the last 12 months appears to have been a case of business as usual.