You will find ‘square pegs in round holes’ in all walks of life but nowhere more so than in the British tabloid press. That’s why it may not be surprising to see a deep, thoughtful analysis on a subjest like why the UK economy will make a spectacular comeback in the next twelve months by Paul Gascoigne in one of our ‘best selling’ newspapers. Best selling is of course usually just another term for gutter press so while the thought of Gazza giving his ‘valued’ opinions on the economy may seem ridiculous, it’s no more unthinkable than having a judge on such television shows as Britain’s and America’s Got Talent attempting to give serious predictions for the new Premier League season.
If anyone had bothered to read last Sunday’s Mail Online like I was stupid enough to, they would have noticed the following gems from self confessed Gooner and television presenter Piers Morgan “Manchester United will miss a top four position for the first time in decades. Putting aside my usual detestation of all things United, I actually believe this.” On what basis? “I can’t look further than Chelsea. Again. They have the biggest and best squad and a team who have tasted a lot of success in recent years.”
OK Piers, if “success in recent years” is what’s required to win Premierships, let’s have a look at the record of both clubs. Is 2000-01 a recent enough starting point Piers? Chelsea has won 3 Premier League titles during those years, 3 FA Cups and 2 Carlings for a total of 8 trophies. During that same period, United brought home no less than 5 Premierships, 1 European Champions League, 1 FA Cup and 3 Carlings to give Sir Alex Ferguson 10.
If “recent success” is all it takes to become Champions, anyone can win a small fortune by putting an early season wager on United. Only problem is that there won’t be a bookmaker prepared to take your bet because it will be too easy to pick the winner! But wait, Morgan also believes that Chelsea has the “biggest and best squad”. Really? How interesting will it be to watch the Reality Television judge debating Ferguson about that? It will be worth going a long way to see.
The former editor of The Sun and The News of the World – now there’s a couple of quality newspapers, is also basing his hopeful “United will miss out on a top four position” prediction on his belief that Wayne Rooney “will score 10 fewer goals than last season” because “Premier League defenders will have watched his dismal displays in the World Cup and suddenly realised he is not as unstoppable as they thought.”
There are two simple points that can be made here. For someone to base that sort of definitive conclusion on Rooney’s four performances as a member of an abysmal England team only illustrates the shallowness of his opinion. And this self proclaimed ‘football expert’ does not have the common sense to cut his losses there.
Morgan goes on to opine that “As we’ve seen with Tiger Woods in golf, once the aura of invicibility is shattered, it’s shattered. My further prediction is that Rooney will be found gurgling in a gutter with Amy Winehouse, singing ‘Rehab’ at the top of his voice as a furious Coleen clubs him with a £10,000 diamond studded Gucci handbag.”
Can the man really be taken seriously? Will United finish outside the top four simply because opponents no longer believe that the super striker is ‘unstoppable’? There’s no doubt that Rooney scoring fewer goals than last season remains a possibility because it has been commonly recognized that United was overly reliant on him hitting the net. Ferguson was always aware of that fact which is why he fully expects the load to become spread more evenly between the members of his heavy artillery.
Morgan is probably just simply trying to stir the pot of course, agitating his readers in order to get some sort of response but if that’s the case, the Mail Online needs to be careful not to lose the little amount of credibility it has left. If this pompous buffoon must continue giving opinions about football, he should be restricted to writing about the only aspect of it on which he may have some knowledge – like the quality of singing by football fans in the stands.
It may even give the ‘Anfield Choir’ a rare chance of winning some sort of silverware for their club.
How likely is it for United not to finish in the Top 4 next season?