Once upon a time in Manchester.
Growing up in London and supporting Queens Park Rangers throughout the 90’s had its challenges. The Premier League gate-crashed English Football and before you knew it we had Frenchmen and South Americans doing things with the Football that we could only dream.
Along with this new elaboration of the national game came a television subscription by the name of Sky Tv that most of our parents did not understand let alone able to afford.
Millennials reading this, we only had 4 television channels in the 90’s and Subbuteo was our version of FIFA. Actually happened.
To keep with the theme of Football being televised the only scraps that were left for us neutral ground youth was to literally live and breathe Italian Football on channel 4 and hope that Manchester United could have a long run in Europe so that ITV would continue the coverage. Actually happened.
Therefore most of us kids in the 90’s grew a strange affiliation with Manchester United be it for their European passage only and of course the glorious ITV Coverage. Whenever Manchester United played domestically or in the domestic cups of course the usually hatred that comes with most rival clubs enjoying substantial success and dominance re-emerged.
But this is 2022 and that was an era throughout the 90’s where the dominance of Manchester United was so strong that the ramifications of those glory days still hark out for attention and prestige to this day. I’m not even sure if its sadness or pity that last night we watched a hapless squad of players attempt to relight that era for a new generation of fans with the older ones looking on in utter disbelieve and calling for the good old days again.
Chelsea dominated United and should have left Old Trafford with all 3 points save for one man showing up on horseback and prepared to drag the good old days back into 2022. Cristiano Ronaldo has returned like a man possessed, a one shining light in a squad full of potential but with no one to lead them into the future.
Paul Pogba doesn’t want to know and Harry Maguire just cant play football.
But what future? What of this mediocre resemblance of the past that is so desperate to relight the cauldron that once was “The Theatre of Dreams”.
The crippling effect began with David Moyes, handed the now notorious poisoned chalice from Sir Alex Ferguson he managed to acquire some rather bewildering signings thus managing to deflate and neutralize any footballing ability they once held into oblivion. I think I’m being generous with the likes of Falcao, Fellani, Zaha and Angel Di Maria.
We then move onto the intervening Paul Pogba Years and yes I stand as a big “Pogba” fan, however no one can work out or understand the actual crucifying effect this multi million pound Manchester United mega move has had on his career.
Even Paul Pogba himself most probably shrugs his shoulders whilst waltzing around Manchester in his Rolls Royce asking why this proposed beautiful marriage has become nothing short of a disaster…and who’d blame him.
The answer may have arrived this week in the mold of the Ajax shaped, Tika Tika, High Pressed, possession dominated game that we watch being played by Klopp and Pep.
Erik Ten Hag has it all to do, literally.
We’ll all watch on with that lineage feeling of once having minor happiness for Manchester United’s progression in Europe owing thanks to an ITV Television deal. However these days the backdrop is no more “The Theatre of Dreams” but a mere morsel of that mantra in “Theatre and Dreams”.