Choccy’s Diary: United Back On Track, Shaw Praise & Scholesy’s Comeback

Brian McClair give us his take on recent United news.
Brian McClair   |  6th September 2018

Back to winning ways. 

The Burnley game was a very good performance, being against a local rival and their biggest game of the season. It’s always tough at Turf Moor, although Burnley have had a lot of games, a lot of travelling and results haven’t gone well for them. I don’t think the scoreline reflected the dominance United enjoyed and while Burnley had the odd opportunity, United had far more.

One thing I don’t understand was how Phil Bardsley only got a yellow and Marcus Rashford got a red card? Marcus was a bit daft, but Phil has kicked him – both should have got the same punishment for me.

Marcus will have to serve a three-game ban. Not great for him but he’ll have to learn from these things and I think it shows a sign of maturity from him that he apologised after the game. He explained he was in the wrong and got carried away by the occasion.

Maybe it was excitement for Marcus as well, what happens when you’re an athlete is you train and it produces hormones in your body that gets you ready for performance. The performance then depletes those reserves and when you don’t get a natural release it can build up and you become pent-up and frustrated.

There’s always that desire anyway to make an impression and try and stay in the team. When you get in to the team, doing well would certainly be one of the markers for the coach to consider you for the next game.

Ed v Jose. 

When it comes to the media situation with regards to debate about the influence over the coach and Ed Woodward, it worked for Jose in regards to the supporters, everybody likes in situations for there to be a goodie and baddie. Jose is the goodie in this situation and quite right too!

Is Woodward the baddie? The evidence is there from the fans point of view. Are they fans or are they not who are paying to have a banner using a quote that Jose had used about Arsene Wenger previously, although I don’t think Jose paid for it!

We’ve been here before. 

We managed to win the league in 1993 after a poor start, you’d always expect fans to support the manager in a situation like that. Of course United can still win the league, it’s not all guaranteed that just because you have a good start you’re going to win the league, if that’s the case are we all going to put money on Watford to win the league, they may well do as we saw with Leicester but it’s not likely. I’ve seen United are priced around 48/1 which is a reasonable price to have a punt at.

When I look back to that title win in 1993, we were always notoriously slow starters anyway, if you look through the number of title-winning teams the starts haven’t been that amazing, it’s always been after Christmas that a run of results have occurred that’s led to titles.

In 1992 there was a bit of a problem with the Stretford End not being there but as that came closer to completion it made a huge difference with the atmosphere in the ground. I don’t remember being overly concerned by that start, the manager tore strips off us for some of the performances but it was only three games in.

The fans are being supportive of the team that was clear on Sunday – very much supportive of the coach/manager, it doesn’t really matter at any other level. The transfer window is closed, no is one going out, so nothing changes. If anyone is interested in any scenarios where there could be a change, then the share price is the way to check and I don’t think there will be.

Luke’s a Shaw thing. 

Luke Shaw had a bad injury leg broken in two places it was interesting to hear him say at his press conference on England duty that the surgeon told him that in some circumstances he could have lost his leg, with that knowledge to come back from that is very impressive. His form as been very good, whether it’s been in a back four or as a wingback. He’s replacing Ashley Young in the squad as Gareth Southgate is looking for players that are going to be around for the next finals. The progress from Shaw is down to the player himself – he’s done very well.

Mischievous Suarez. 

Luis Suarez has made comments saying Paul would be welcome at Barcelona but he’s only a player he doesn’t decide who comes and goes and if any player has that sort of influence it doesn’t help the club.

Paul can’t go anywhere until January, to me the offer from Barcelona for Pogba wasn’t serious. If you look at Barcelona’s transfer activity the year before, the offer for Coutinho was genuine, they tried to get him in the summer then secured his services in January. I don’t see the interest in Paul as being real, not when you look at the offer Barcelona made, with two players who ended up signing for Everton being part of the deal.

It seems as though someone has said to Barcelona we can get this player [Pogba] for this. It’s like if someone came to United and said ‘we can get Messi for forty million and a couple of squad players,’ you’d say aye alright see what you can do then, but before you know it the only way you’ll get Messi is for whatever his buyout clause is.

Honesty is the best policy. 

I find the Players Tribune really intriguing and a great idea, I see the baseball player Derek Jeter is behind it and has been backed by Kobe Bryant. I see Lukaku, Sterling, Dani Alvez have been allowed to tell their story. They’ve been given editorial control and been able to tell it their story the way they said it. It’s becoming a popular way of sports stars busting myths and speaking about the very things they were aggrieved about. You’ll always have a situation where some people like you and some people don’t. The Players’ Tribune interviews are good for the supporters, media, and the players as it gives everyone the chance to get the truth. It also gives players the chance to get a certain point/side across, especially when previously they were wary about how it would be written or shown.

The return of the Ginger One. 

I see Paul Scholes has turned out for Royton Town, I don’t understand why a team only had nine players. He played alongside his son, I would quite like to have played in the same side as my son when he was playing football, but unfortunately never got the chance.

I don’t mind the odd charity game but I won’t be coming out of retirement, Scholesy’s got more than ten years on me!

Scotland in a different league. 

If you’re an international manager you want to have the best use of your time with your players. If you’re in between competitions that’s the idea of this Nations League.

Albania and Israel are two games Scotland have got coming up and they’re not games that would possibly capture the imagination. The friendly against Belgium who were third in the World Cup will be a much tougher test.

We had a couple of games in South America in the summer but there’s no way of making any judgement –  you’d expect Scotland to win on Monday, especially in front of a home crowd.

Being in the RedArmy (bet). 

When you meet people and you enjoy their company, they’re like-minded in the sense of what teams they like, the RedArmyBet people knew more about my playing career than even I did. I felt the idea is quite intriguing, running a business but 50% of the profit will go back to the fans which is pretty innovative. It’s people that make companies and people who make a business and what I’ve seen when I come here aren’t people working I see people enjoying themselves. (Thanks for grassing us up Choccy! Ed)

RedArmyBet is the only bookmaker that promises to share 50% of net profits with United fans. 

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