Hello, my friends…
It was nice to have the Bundesliga back at the weekend, wasn’t it? A bit of football on the box to watch will always go down well with me.
Meanwhile, it looks as though we’ve still got a good few weeks to go before the Premier League returns. Hang in there, folks! In the meantime, here’s another edition of United Uncut – packed with the best features, gossip and nostalgia on offer from the last couple of weeks…
I noticed there was a piece in The Times over the weekend on the continuing rumours that United are keen on Raul Jimenez.
Great news? Yeah, brilliant actually. I love Jimenez, he’s such an excellent all-round attacking player and is a genuine Champions League-level forward. I’ve thought for a while now that he’d be perfect for our team – and I know many of you do too, judging from some of the emails you’ve sent me in recent times!
But according to the report, Juventus are said to be eyeing him as well and while Wolves are open to selling their striker… it’ll only be if they can make a substantial profit on the £34million fee they paid Benfica for him in 2018.
At 29, I’m not completely sure we should be paying that sort of money for him – despite how good he is. But maybe I’m just being overly frugal; after all, United do have money to spend…
THE IMPORTANCE OF PARK
Park Ji-sung was a wonderful little player, wasn’t he? You know it, and I know it. But it seems United fans are the only ones who do…
The South Korean’s importance to our side during that glorious period under Fergie some 10 years ago or more is wildly understated by our rivals, but was firmly cemented this weekend in Rooney’s latest column for The Sunday Times, where he claims Park was just as essential to United’s success as himself or Ronaldo.
He wrote: “It’s crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, “Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United,” but if you said “Park Ji-sung” they may not know who he was. Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success.
“That’s because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They – not stars – are the most important thing in sport.”
Rooney talks about how successful clubs require hard-working players to help pull the strings – not always the glamorous stuff that makes the headlines – adding: “Look at the biggest games United played. Park or Fletch [Darren Fletcher] – or both – were always involved. They were vital to us.
“Players like me, Ronaldo, Tevez got the headlines but they were as important as us if not more, because of what they did for the team. We knew that inside the dressing room – and also that because they were so good at sacrificing themselves, their actual individual quality was often overlooked. Fletch and Park played a huge role in our development as a side.”
That’s as true today as it was then, right? Sure, we all love Rashford and Martial, and we’re already wildly impressed with Bruno (and rightly so), but we should never disregard the importance and the hard-work of the players who do the hard-grafting, like McTominay or Fred in our team now.
What a shame it is that Angel Gomes hasn’t quite reached the heights we expected of him when he made his debut back in 2017.
United have been in contract negotiations with him for most of the season, which is perhaps the main reason why he hasn’t really featured in the first-team – aside from three matches in the Europa League group stages.
It’s been reported this week that Ole has taken a ‘dim view’ towards the youngster’s refusal to commit his future to the club, and that he’s since been linked with a host of rival clubs – both in the Premier League and abroad. On his way out? Sadly, I think so.
Time for a slight change of mood, because I wanted to talk about the interview Luke Chadwick did last week in The Athletic, where he talks about the struggles he faced as a young player in the public eye.
For those of you unaware, Chadwick – who came through the academy and played for United between 1999 and 2004 – was the constant subject of cruel jokes regarding his appearance on the BBC show ‘They Think It’s All Over’ which he’s said killed his confidence as a youngster.
The show ran from 1996 until 2006, with Nick Hancock as the main host and Gary Lineker as one of the team captains. Various segments of the show poked fun at Chadwick’s appearance, which he says “stunted his growth” as a person. Now a coach at Cambridge United, Chadwick said: “When they started bringing it [my appearance] up, they were bringing me to the attention of millions of people.
“I remember the first time and someone texted me to say, ‘Nice appearance on They Think It’s All Over’. I was so shocked because I was quite naive back then, even if I was playing occasionally for Manchester United. I watched it the next week and I could see people laughing at these jokes about me. It was obviously funny to other people but, to me, it didn’t feel like that.”
Chadwick added that his time on the pitch was blighted by cruel taunts off of it – with the BBC show clearly playing a big part – and he was left “praying it would stop”.
I can’t begin to tell you how angry this story made me, or how terrible I felt for Chadwick. No one deserves that kind of battering to their mental health, especially a teenager. Hopefully his story gives hope to those on the receiving end of this kind of mental abuse, and provides a wake up call to those who believe bullying others in the name of entertainment is acceptable.