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Can't Buy Me Love (Or Hate)!

Monday 11th July 2011
There's a fine line between love and hate. But is the line between hate and complete apathy even finer?

When is too much, well, just too much? When does the average football fan stop caring about the team they've has supported since a boy? Or even worse, when does the average fan stop hating the teams they always have for many many years as even that base feeling is too affected by money...

Well, for me it was a few days ago. I stopped hating Manchester United. There. I said it. Still have the bit of fire in me around the way Sir Alex Ferguson bullies officials, bullies opposition players, has suck ups like Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce support his agenda and "management" of the media but that's more on a case by case basis now. Darren Fletcher too has the ire thrown at him for being a talentless clogging donkey but as it stands, I have no hatred for the vessel that is Manchester United FC.

Now for those that know me and will hopefully get to know me reading a series of blogs on It's Round and It's White (IR&IW), me saying that is a fairly big breakthrough. I believe the religious amongst us call it an "epiphany" and the more drunk amongst us call it a "moment of clarity" but either way, from reading the back pages, Sky Sports updates and God knows what else to support my football habit, I feel no hate. Now this could be down to the relentless marketing of Man Utd as a commercial entity, the relentless media obsession with Wayne Rooney's new hair implants or they just keep f'n winning stuff and that's bored me but in my heart of hearts, it's all about the money. They've simply bought the hatred out of me.

You see, I am a man of decency. A man of principle. A man of reasonable goodness but... but.... the money they have spent through the summer window and potentially shortly too (Sneijder anyone? £30m?) has turned them into an early Chelsea, now Man City alike sideshow. More money that sense, more pounds than brain cells, more debt than the average British bank (though that's another blog!) but how much for an untested central defender? A skinny as a rake Spanish keeper (Hello? Almunia much)? A former Watford schoolboy who almost got relegated last season?

Bottom line is I used to hate Man Utd because they were an old school club, who, though through my very instinct should loathed, had an old school manager, built from the ground up, invested in youth and built a team around outstanding English talent. I hated them. Hated them because no amount of silverware later , they made me respect them. They did it the right way, in line with my principles and ethics. Now, yeah we can go into tailspins around Corp America and the Ginger dudes coming over from Tampa and saddling them with monster debt but that was a side issue for me. The hate came from the fact that they did the things my team could have done if they'd had the brains. But they actually did it. And better...

Beckham, Scholes, Neville Bros, blah blah blah you can go one for weeks about the super talented and even world class players they produced (Robbie Savage apart). Yeah they produced more shirt styles per season than the average Top Man, and yeah they got the odd refereeing call their way (calling Mr Webb!) but they made me respect them. Grudgingly yes. Even to a point where I didn't want to but you HAD to. Now, in July 2011, I have nothing but apathy. I suppose I should be thanking Man Utd for taking my respect for  them away. Give them the old wink and say "Ha ha! You're just the same as everyone else!" but I can't even bring myself to do that. The apathy is overwhelming... as it comes from abandoning those core principles that I hold dear. Focus on the youth, develop the Beckhams, Scholes, etc, enhance them with some of Europes finest? Nah. Spend money. Buy foreign "stars". Overpriced unproven England players rather than develop your own.

I'm smiling as I write that they have become YET ANOTHER big spending boring Premiership club. Where the millions and millions don't matter. Where the fact a footballer is earning £250k A WEEK (hello Mr Tevez! Oh and btw, yeah it rains in Manchester. Didn't you know? After 4 years?) means nothing to the "man in the street" (me?). Now I pick up a newspaper, I read the internet and I can't bring myself to hate. The figures are pointless. De Gea? Don't care. Jones? Who? Man Utd used to be everything I hated about the inadequacies of my own team. The lack of vision. The lack of investment in youth. The poor commercial engagements. Aaaaaaargh!!

Now though, the principles are gone the way of the dodo! No principles apart from paying fortunes for players someone else had the principles and the ethics to develop. Someone else who worked with what they had, invested in youth and made it happen. No care for English players or their involvement in the team. No vision to do it the "right way" again. Yeah it may mean they don't win as much. Yeah it may mean it'll take some time, but I'd love to see them (and others like Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, etc) do it the right way! Not gonna happen though. The time has passed. Hate is just like trust. Once gone is never the same.

Apart from Darren Fletcher of course! I'll always hate him! LOL

Until next time...

Richard Catanach
Richard Catanach

Total articles: 1

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