Welcome to the fifth issue of The Red Report, the round table discussion of all things Manchester United by your favourite United blogs: The Busby Way, Stretford-End, Bangalore To Old Trafford, ManUtd24, and Red Force Rising.
This week we look back at the Derby against Manchester City and explain what it means to us; discuss Ole’s departure; praise Michael Carrick; and run the rule over free-scoring Andy Carroll.
This emotionally charged week was dominated by a game at Eastlands against City. With the ITV documentary about what the game means and with people questioning City’s passion, we discuss what the derby means to us…
Chudi | The Busby Way: The derby with City has taken on renewed importance with City’s sugar daddy but it will always be a massive game. I remember losing 3-1, Gary Neville messed up and Goater scored then John O’Shea missed a sitter near the end, it burned me but we have had some great wins over them too with the 3-2 in 1993 (Cantona double) and all of our wins last season. The tie will only get bigger as City continue to grow and we continue to succeed and I expect many more epic games in the future too.
Doron | Stretford-End: The Derby is the game with Man City. Liverpool are rivals because of their achievements but Man City are our geographical enemies. Even so, I look forward to the Liverpool game more and I’m not too sure why.
I think because City have never been a threat to United the Liverpool game became the bigger of the two. However, since coming into money and after the four epic and draining matches last year I have a new regenerated feeling for the game. Pride is now once again on the line (or so sky sports’s montages tell me).
With the way Liverpool are going and the way City are going this game can only get bigger.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: The Manchester derby is one of the biggest fixture of the most important fixtures of the year for me, and the only other fixture in which i look forward to a win as much as i do here is when we play the Scousers.
This time’s derby turned out to be a drab affair, many thanks our noisy neighbors who seemed to have forgotten to do the talking where it matters, on the pitch!!
No matter how much City spend or how much they try, there will be truly only one big club in Manchester and that is us. They might be able to buy all the world class players in the world but they should know that money will not win them fans and respect! And beating their sorry faces gives me immense joy.
TG | ManUtd24: Over the past few years, the derby has gained importance, if you like, what with the amount of money being poured into Manchester Citeh and the fact that they look at team worthy of a top three finish. Even our previous games have involved much drama, bar the one on Wednesday night, of course. Whoo knows? In a few years time, this game might not just decide who has bragging rights in the City, but instead, be a title decider. That would be great for Manchester – but for the moment, the city is red in colour.
Alan | RedForceRising: The Manchester derby might be contested on a more equal playing field nowadays, but it’s still not as important to me as the matches against Liverpool…… or Chelsea. I want Manchester United to be beat the biggest clubs and Al Ciddeh still are not in that elite group. City are currently paying big money for good players, but fortunately have not been able to sign great players, so can’t even buy success like Roman Abramovic did. And try as they might, the bitters can’t even be as revolting as Liverpool fans, who down the years have caused me emotional – and on two occasions – physical pain.
I also think the media hype has been very misleading. City have won against United in recent times, so it’s not as if winning the Manchester derby equals silverware. Especially not if you lose against Wolves and need luck to win against Blackpool. Long may Bobby Manc’s reign continue at the Wastelands and when he finally gets the boot, I hope they get Rafa Benitez. Amen.
Kyle | Stretford-End: Hating Citeh is just part of being a United fan. There was one moment in my life that really pushed my hatred over the edge. My first year of college we were randomly assigned roommates, and I somehow managed to get paired with a City fan. I really liked him as a person, but his ranting about City was intolerable. All I ever heard was about all of his suffering as a City fan and complaining that United had bought all of their success. Apparently he forgot about all the players we developed, but regardless, it was enough to drive any United fan mad. My hatred for City easily doubled that year. After all that, City is easily my most hated team and my favourite to beat. I think the sheik has only made my hate worsen too. After all the “buying success” arguments my roommate made about United, the fact that City are now trying to do exactly that is even more infuriating. It’s a shame we only left with a point this time, but I trust we can get three next time. Oh, and I just want to say how thrilled I was to see Rafa show the same hatred I have against Tevez. That’s the spirit of the derby!
That’s passion for you, folks!
Molde FK unfortunately announced that Ole Gunnar Solskjær would be leaving us to become their new manage in January. Here are our thoughts on his departure:
Alan | RedForceRising: I wasn’t very emotional on Tuesday. I had heard about Molde’s ambitions to give Ole his first pop at top flight management a while back and by Monday was convinced the deal was as good as done. The move seems completely logical and a perfect fit for the baby-faced assassin. Having won the Barclay’s Reserves League, Ole simply had to take another step up and his hometown club is the best place to cut his managerial teeth without biting off more than he can chew.
The upside for United is that the club will be able to loan young players to Molde with the confidence that they will be getting good guidance and that the club will receive accurate, quality reports on the youngsters’ progress.
TG | ManUtd24: I was swept up and felt emotional when I first heard the news, tweeting various pieces of tributes to the great man. When he retired as a player – that felt like the end of Ole and United. He came back and did a great job with the reserves and so we must thanks him, and wish him luck at Molde. He may never return, but that doesn’t matter becuase he’s already left his legacy at the club. You’ll see soon when a couple of these reserve players make the step up.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I was gutted to hear he was leaving us, Ole has to be one of the most loved players at United over the past decade, he’s done so much for the club over the years and continuing his excellent work in coaching too. Ole’s professionalism and dedication to United is a example for every United youngster to follow.
He’s been pretty successful with the reserves and turned out to be a very good manager, and a move back to his Old club seems a logical step in his progression into management. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a very successful career in management for him and maybe one day we’ll see him at the helm at Old Trafford.
Doron | Stretford-End: It is for Ole a good time to move on. He was never going to be able to say no to Molde this time round. I’m sure he will go on to take Molde back closer to the good times, just don’t take any of our young stars!!!
I made my feelings for Ole clear earlier this week in an article for SE – we all wish Ole the best of luck and I’m sure he’ll be back.
Kyle | Stretford-End: Obviously I’m sad to see Ole leave, but honestly what United fan isn’t? In January his 14 years association with United will come to an end, and I’m young enough that I really can’t remember a time when Ole wasn’t around Old Trafford in some capacity. It’s a whole mixed bag of emotions, but it won’t really hit home until January. It seems so surreal that Ole won’t be around.
There are two sides to everything, though, and I am thrilled for him to be taking this big step forward in his management career. Obviously the United reserves were not going to be the end of the line for him. Molde is a great next step for him and it’s a club that has special meaning for him. There seems to be an overwhelming belief that Jose Mourinho will be the next manager of United, which I think is the most likely scenario. Mourinho will be no Sir Alex though; he won’t be there forever. There’s no guarantees that Ole will return, but if he is successful at Molde he could certainly find himself back with United someday.
Chudi | The Busby Way: I looked at Ole’s departure logically, whilst I was sad to see him leave he had to go to get the necessary experience if he was to ever return and manage the club. He had said previously that he couldn’t manage the reserves forever and after nearly 15 years at the club he has every right to go out and try his hand elsewhere. I think he has the necessary attributes to succeed and I look forward to his return.
A mish-mash of feelings, thoughts and emotions…who put the ball in the German’s net?
Our third United topic is another player debate: recently Michael Carrick has returned from injury and become an important part of the midfield again as his form has returned. He is rejuvenated…
Kyle | Stretford-End: Michael Carrick has managed to rediscover his form just in time. A month ago I honestly thought his United career was drawing to a close, but he’s stepped up his performances to a whole other level and he is starting to look like the Carrick we all used to know and love. Against City he was arguably one of our best performers and his passing that game is exactly what this team has been in need of. I don’t want to get carried away though. He’s had a couple of really good games now, but for all we know it may just be a fluke. I think we was headed for the exit door, but if his performances remain consistent at this level then I think he’ll still have a future here.
It isn’t all about his future, but also what his rejuvenation will bring to the squad. I don’t think it was any coincidence that we won the Premier League three years in a row after Carrick’s arrival in 2006. When Carrick is in form, he is an incredible passing threat in midfield. He has the ability to unlock a defence with his passes, and that is something we’ve been in need of this season. He can’t run at a defence, he isn’t particular creative, he lacks any sense of flair, but he will pass his opponent to death. Now that he’s starting to rediscover his form I think his ability to create goals will be crucial moving forward this season.
Chudi | The Busby Way: Michael Carrick’s return to form has been long overdue when on top of his game he is a huge asset to the team as he showed this past week. It was painful to watch some of his performances last term especially against Bayern Munich but if he can put that behind him and return to giving us the level of performances that he has previously he will go a long way to wipe away those memories.
Doron | Stretford-End: It’s a real bonus to have Carrick playing well again. He struggled to adapt to a formation change last year and although he produced a brilliant performance in the Carling Cup 2nd leg in a 4-5-1, generally the three man midfield didn’t suit him.
Carrick is best sitting deep, doing exactly what Scholes does. However it’s good to see he’s worked hard to be able to play a bit further forward. We all know his ball retention is excellent and he’s a superb passer. What I think would be nice now would be a few more goals. However it’s no coincidence that the side’s return to winning has coincided with his return to form.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: For me it’s too early to say Carrick has rediscovered his form, he may have done well in the previous few games, but i think he;s needs to be consistent over a longer period of time before he convinces me that he’s back to his best.
Carrick at his best is an asset to any team in the, he’s a key player in the team and hopefully he does regain his form. But if he doesn’t i think it’s time we look at other options to improve our midfield. we can’t wait forever for Carrick to rediscover his form. I’ll just wait and watch for now.
TG | ManUtd24: Carrick has long been my favourite player, so it was more than a minor irritant watching him play last season. It wasn’t exactly dreadful, but I know he’s a better player than that – he was the inspiring figure behind our challenges for past silverware. Hopefully, the old Carrick has returned.
Alan | RedForceRising: I’m fairly satisfied with Carrick’s recent performances, but he has a lot to make up for. Michael Carrick has been completely below par since the Champions League final in Rome where Barcelona had their way with United. In some games last season, Carrick was totally abysmal and while he seems to have found some form recently, he still hasn’t hit the highs from his debut season.
It has been good to see Michael actually pass the ball forward for a change and show some semblance of determination, but he owes it to himself, his team mates and the fans to kick on from here. On his day, Michael Carrick is one of the best passers of the ball and he needs to start showing his quality, as well as determination to do everything for the United cause.
As frustrating as it’s been to watch a player out of form for so long, he’s a big asset to United when he’s fit, something we can all agree on.
As per usual we decided to look at a non-United topic. All the chatter at the moment seems to be about Andy Carroll – on the pitch, off the pitch, for England…what do we think about him:
Chudi | The Busby Way: I like Andy Carroll, he gave us trouble at the start of the season and that should have set alarm bells ringing for the rest of the league as he has gone about scoring goals for newly promoted Newcastle. I had a friendly bet with my pal’s step dad over how many goals he would get this season, he is well on his way to the 15 target with 7 already. Some people are worried about his off field antics but despite his stature, he is just 21 an age where mixing fame and money will inevitably lead to some problems but he isn’t too far gone and if kept on a leash it shouldn’t affect his playing career.
Doron | Stretford-End: I’ve made it clear before that I’m not really that bothered by England. Yes I’ll cheer them at summer tournaments but Man United is my true love. However, I do get angry when in form players are not selected for their country. Andy Carroll’s form merits not only a call up but high praise. He’s been a real handful for opposition defences and with the help of his teammates he has propelled Newcastle to 5th.
He’s a young kid who’s made mistakes of the pitch. He’s not the kind of guy I’d want to be mates with!!!! Whilst I hope he grows up, I accept that he’s a footballer and should judge him by his on the pitch form.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Son’t let Andy Carroll’s pony tail fool you, he’s a classic English Center forward, Physical, good in the air and a pretty good finisher. He’s been pivotal to Newcastle’s excellent start to the season so far. His Off-field antics though have been widely publicized but I think it’s best I leave it at that much.
England could do with a striker like him, he’s a better option for England than the likes of Crouch or Heskey. and he fully deserves a call up to the national team. Newcastle won’t be able to keep hold of him much longer I think, he’s surely destined for a bigger club soon.
Kyle | Stretford-End: Being from the United States, I’m not really too concerned by his impending call up to the England squad, but I do have to give credit where credit is due. It’s easy to get caught up in all of his off-the-field antics, but the same can be said of a certain striker that we signed from Everton. On the pitch, Andy Carroll has been magnificent and has played a major role in all of Newcastle’s early season successes. Seven goals in thirteen appearances this season is certainly a great return from a young striker. I may not be an England supporter, but it will be nice to see Carroll rewarded for his form this season.
TG | ManUtd24: He’s an English star in the making. Why? Plenty of goals on the pitch, plenty of controversy off it. Perfect! What I would say is that he should continue doing what he’s doing (on the pitch, that is) and he’ll soon reap the rewards for it. And, like I did Wayne Rooney and various other player, I’ll only judge him on what he does on the football pitch.
Alan | RedForceRising: Andy Carroll likes girls and McDonald’s breakfasts. He also likes to score goals. He’s also pretty good to have in your fantasy football team.
He’s also gotten rid of the dodgy corn rows, so I’m finding it difficult to dislike this archetypal English centre forward. Carroll has been called up to England’s squad to face France and although he probably won’t receive playing time, it’s still nice to see players getting picked on form and not reputation.
If Danny Welbeck can develop into 90% of the player Carroll is, I would be quite chuffed.
Future star in the making?
Best of the blogs:
The Busby Way | Just A Blue Moon Rising In A Red Sky
Stretford-End | Stretty Rant Exclusive : More Than Just A Game
Bangalore to Old Trafford | Young Devils On Brink
ManUtd24 | The Key To United’s Challenge Lies At The Back
RedForceRising | Loan Watch: Welbeck Impresses, Drinkwater Back From Injury
That concludes another Red Report for the week. Hopefully this edition keeps you entertained until next Monday. Were always open to hear from you so you can catch us on Twitter:
But don’t forget to check out our individual sites if you think we have missed something, as it is likely at least one of us will have covered it there: