It’s funny how the wheels of time often come full circle. In the autumn of 1995, the late Shane McEntee TD ran against Sean Boylan for the position of Meath senior football manager. This being against the babkdrop of the ten point drubbing against Dublin in the Leinster Final.
The Nobber native, who was a well travelled and highly successful GAA team manager before entering politics, got within 12 votes of the legendary herbalist. As we now know, 12 months later, Sean remarkably led a brand new team to All Ireland glory.
This week, in a different time, different place, the were almost a complete reversal of the above scenario. The Brains Trust, in their collective idiocy, thought it would be wise to remove Andy McEntee from his role as senior manager. Thankfully, the club delegates kicked that unfair and unwarranted nonsense into Row Z.
Tonight, in Manchester, there may be similar rumblings gathering pace in Manchester. Or if not, there should be. That is said with a very heart here, but, sometimes, the obvious answer is the only one.
A seasoned student of the form book and the betting ring once said to me that there’s no sentiment in betting. In other words, back who you think will win rather than who you’d like to see doing so.
It’s a maxim that would certainly seem applicable to Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was one of the most popular players of the modern era. With damn good reason too. However, in a results driven business, at a club like United, even if they are but a pale shadow of what they once were, past glories can only save you for so long.
As much as it turns one’s stomach to admit the following, the Glazer family and Ed Woodward cannot be faulted in terms of facilitating the signings the manager has desired. This summer alone, with tthe the array of signings acquired, they should be more than capable of overpowering most teams in the Premiership week in, week out.
Instead – and today’s conquerors Leicester City are not included herein – bang average sides have discovered they can bully the Red Devils and – with all due respect – bring them down to their own level.
Yes, of course the players carry considerable culpabllity. But leaving arguably the best striker in the Premiership unmarked straight in front of the posts isn’t player error. That’s down to a systems failure. And if the systems are malfunctioning, focus must rest on those who designed and implimented them.
The question, though, is which straw will eventually break the camel’s back. They will hardly be in the best frame of mind going into the crucial Champions League encounter with Atalanta. Daunting as that will be, what in certain ways is the most important game of the season for entirely different reasons comes after the Italians in rapid fire fashion.
There are certain things in life that are non negotiable. In sporting terms, Manchester United defeating Liverpool absolutely fits in that bracket. For so long, Alex Ferguson’s vow to “Knock them off their f*****g perch” was both rallying cry and badge of honour. Now though, it is the Old Trafford outfit who, at the very least, need a step ladder merely to keep on the coat talls of those who have claimed back their… perch!
They definitely need somebody to point them in the rihht direction.