Neil Custis suddenly can’t figure out how Man United and Cristiano Ronaldo got into this mess. And there is one more transfer ‘hammer blow’.
‘He will score for United, he will win for United and he could even bring the title back this season, he is still that good’ – Neil Custis, August 28, 2021, The Sun.
‘The club are no longer the dominant force he left behind, without a title now for eight years. Now he could he just change all that and with it write the most astonishing chapter in his incredible football story’ – Neil Custis, August 28, 2021, The Sun.
‘CRISTIANO RONALDO is the last piece in the jigsaw’ – Neil Custis, September 11, 2021, The Sun.
Less than a year later…
‘FED-UP Manchester United players are becoming increasingly annoyed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s antics. A number would prefer it if he just left rather than the current impasse between player and club go on’ – Neil Custis, August 10, 2022, The Sun.
Custis has occupied himself on Wednesday morning by committing many a word to the latest development in the Ronaldo situation. And he wraps things up with a simple question:
‘Hopes resting on someone who won’t even want to be there – how does a club the size of Manchester United get into such a mess?’
Long story short:
‘ED WOODWARD played a crucial role in ensuring the most incredible return in football history happened.’
‘It was Woodward who convinced them how it would work on and off the pitch.’
‘Woodward convinced them this Ronaldo deal would really work for them.’
‘Woodward got straight on the phone and turned things around with Mendes, the club’s owners and sponsors in two days.’
It was 11 months ago when you wrote those four lines among 579 words venerating the man supposedly solely responsible so perhaps it is understandable that you’ve forgotten. But be in no doubt that Manchester United got into this particular mess because your ‘funny, clever, engaging’ friend pulled the strings.
At least that’s what you exclusively reported when it was seen as a good transfer and not a complete mistake. Things might have changed now it can no longer be painted as an absolute masterstroke.
Mind the gap
The Ronaldo update does not quite translate to enough clicks for The Sun website, who instead seize the opportunity to try and engender some outrage.
‘How much Man Utd’s women get compared to men’s team… with staggeringly huge pay gap compared to Ronaldo and Co,’ reads a headline which achieves many things, but absolutely none of them are to stagger.
Was anyone really wondering whether the Manchester United Women squad was on a similar wage to Scott McTominay, never mind Cristiano sodding Ronaldo? And does anyone actually think that shouldn’t be the case?
Manchester United suffering a transfer setback is pretty much the only current currency in football churnalism worth having. And the Daily Mirror website dip into their overdraft with this one:
‘Man Utd dealt Cody Gakpo hammer blow as another transfer target looks unattainable’
You see what they’re doing. ‘Another transfer target looks unattainable’. Manchester United have done messed up and wasted everyone’s time again.
But this ‘hammer blow’ is worth evaluating, because it sounds particularly crushing and definitive. This is no ordinary problem.
It turns out that PSV beat Monaco to qualify for a Champions League play-off. Not for the Champions League itself, you understand. But a match to reach the Champions League proper.
And Cody Gakpo would quite like to play in the Champions League. Enough to reject a move to Manchester United? Who knows. He has said “it is more likely” he will stay at PSV if they do make it but then he would, wouldn’t he?
It is certainly not ideal. It is an inconvenience, a hindrance. But any ‘hammer blow’ that can be reversed within a fortnight if PSV lose a two-legged tie to Rangers, or by Manchester United throwing an ungodly amount of money his way if they really want him, is not really worthy of the term.
Dreams can come true
Credit to the Manchester Evening News, who actually go for the more sensible ‘Manchester United’s Cody Gakpo transfer hopes dampened by last-minute De Jong goal’. But…
‘Manchester United could hand Sergej Milinkovic-Savic dream squad number if they complete transfer’
Yeeeeessssssssss. Absolutely textbook stuff. Let’s just hope it doesn’t clash with Benjamin Sesko’s.
The Daily Mirror website also carries this headline:
‘Man Utd have new Frenkie de Jong transfer alternative to target thanks to Arsenal’
It’s Matteo Guendouzi. But is it based on a) well-sourced information from an insider or one of their many esteemed journalists or b) a quick glance at De Jong’s profile on football database FBref, which lists the ten players most statistically similar to him?
Well let’s just say that Man Utd presumably have a few Frenkie de Jong transfer alternatives to target, with thanks going out to Manchester City for Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva, and to Swansea for Renato Sanches.
Shirty get down
But back to the world of transfer blows we go, thanks to The Sun website:
‘Chelsea in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer blow as Barcelona confirm his new shirt number amid Thomas Tuchel interest’
Well f**k. It’s over. No chance of getting him now he has a new shirt number.
When you see this Liverpool Echo headline…
‘Liverpool legend slammed as ‘overpaid’ and banned for 11 games after fighting in front of millions on live TV’
Do you assume that a Liverpool legend has been slammed as ‘overpaid’ and banned for 11 games after fighting in front of millions on live TV? Do you wonder what Mo Salah has been up to? Or how you could possible have missed this breaking news on Virgil van Dijk or Jordan Henderson?
Silly you. And silly Mediawatch for assuming it would be a current story and not a recap of Kevin Keegan’s red card during the 1974 Charity Shield final.