It’s probably not advisable to start your first post for Stretty News by a) telling United fans to shut up, or b) quoting a girly Disney film to do so. But what the hell, because it really is time for us all (and the media, of course) to Let It Go, when it comes to Danny Welbeck and United’s ‘famous history’ of youth football.
Even Mike Phelan has been huffing and puffing about the sale of Welbeck somehow cutting a tie to our illustrious history, like he’s the first youth player we’ve ever sold, rather than the 750,000th (rough estimate), while my Twitter timeline has seen more people bleating about ‘Dat Guy’ than celebrating the arrival of Falcao. You know, that Mark-Hughes-meets-Ruud-van-Nistelrooy type goal machine.
And, of course, the media have been sticking the boot in, slagging us off for abandoning our principles after one bad season and turning into a hybrid of Real Madrid, Chelsea and City, but somehow more disgraceful than all of them. But that’s to be expected, they’ve got to sell papers after all and there’s only so much they can gain from getting high and mighty about the Jennifer Lawrence pics their lawyers won’t let them print.
So screw the media, this is about us. Yeah, I’m sad to see Danny Welbeck go, and I’m kind of sad to see Tom Cleverley go too, especially after that pic his dad sent to Andy Mitten of a cherubic little lad in an over-sized United kit. LIKE THE REST OF US. My paternal instincts went into overdrive when I saw that, and I almost forgot about two seasons of passes that don’t go anywhere and tackles that don’t get the ball. But then I stopped thinking about my son and thought about myself at that age. I never got the chance to play United because I was rubbish. Cleverley has had that and not made the most of it. Welbeck too.
United do have a proud history of bringing youngsters into the team, and there IS something special about it when it happens. But that history is 99% built on just two occasions in history when it’s really worked. The Busby Babes and, sigh, ‘The Class of 92’. Those players who made it then did so because they were good enough. Neither Busby nor Ferguson had any qualms in letting those go who weren’t good enough. Just ask two men who saved his job in 1990, Mark Robins and Lee Martin. Or ask original fledgling Russell Beardsmore. The list is endless.
A lot has been made of Fergie’s quote from a couple of years ago about how United weren’t like Chelsea or City, spending silly money on silly fees and silly wages, because we were about building teams from within. But what’s being forgotten in that context is that FERGIE WAS A MASSIVE HYPOCRITE. This is the man who signed Seba Veron and shafted Paul Scholes trying to fit his luxury signing into the team. Plus, at the time at the quote, he wasn’t being allowed to spend money, or was stubbornly refusing to do so. Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez with Owen and Valencia wasn’t about putting trust in youth, was it?
Instead, he was letting our squad wither away to the shambles that he handed over to David Moyes. There was no great, noble long-term planning going on there. If there had been, he’d have made sure his Chosen One inherited a team ready to keep on winning, because at this club, in this footballing world that we have been largely responsible for creating, that’s all that counts. Some fans might be willing to spend years outside the top four while the likes of Cleverley and Welbeck et al were given the chance to prove that they could be world-beaters, but the money men and the glory hunters that our club relies on certainly wouldn’t be.
That was why Moyes had to go and it’s why some of our youngsters had to go too. Maybe Welbeck will go on to be the new Thierry Henry under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage, but we don’t know that. Maybe he’ll just keep on looking promising without delivering when it counts, like against Bayern last season when they were terrified of him right up to the point where he blew a one-on-one. In the meantime, we’ll have Falcao. FALCAO. Seeing a Colombian loanee score a hatful might POSSIBLY feel less wholesome than a local lad getting the odd goal, but I can live with that.
The rest of you just need to let it go. Or go build a snowman, for the first time in forever. I’ll stop now.