5 Reasons To Love Man United: By A Liverpool Fan

Calm down, calm down, you might think. But try as I might to hide it, I have a grudging respect for that lot down the road. Here's one from the archives
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Calm down, calm down, you might think. But try as I might to hide it, I have a grudging respect for that lot down the road. Here's one from the archives

Try as I might to hide it, I have a grudging respect for Manchester United despite being a Liverpool fan. Here's five reasons why I may never walk again...

1. Sir Alex Ferguson

Tuber-nosed Lord of the Sith that he is, Darth Ferg remains beyond question the single greatest manager of footballers this country has ever seen. His record at Manchster United speaks for itself. And when it doesn't, Mike Phelan does.

2. Ryan Giggs

Under the all-seeing eye of the aforementioned Glaswegian despot, the boy once tipped as the next George Best somehow gave fate, the full spectrum of STDs, innumerable liver transplants, and the English FA the slip with a textbook Cruyff turn, a burst of speed and a pair of eyes so close together they may as well share a socket and save on rent.

Quarterback-sneaking his way into international footballing oblivion (thanks in no small part to Bodin, Pembridge, and Horne - worst legal firm ever), you'd think the most gifted player of his generation had fair reason to hit the bottle hard. But no. Saved by the dull gene, young Ryan shrugged a pragmatic shoulder and hyper-blanded his way to 48 league titles, 319 FA cup winner's medals, the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, and almost all of his swimming badges. He really is Cliff Richard with shin pads. You're more likely to catch Desmond Tutu snorting coke off a crucifix than see St. Giggs in the tabloids. What's more, despite being three months shy of his 70th birthday, the model pro's model pro still doesn't seem to have lost any pace. Even this Liverpool fan is forced to bow down in awe.

An astonishing athlete, a privilege to watch and, in a week soiled with elbows, gunshots, touchline brawls and drug busts, it's just nice to know there is still the odd footballer out there with a modicum of dignity.

Ask anybody who lives in Manchester; nobody has ever seen Paul Scholes anywhere but Old Trafford. Clubs, pubs, not even Clinton Cards.

3. Old Trafford

It would be easy for me to resort to petty jibes about cockneys here, but I shall rise above it in the name of fair play and journalistic integrity. Designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, few sporting cathedrals are imposing enough to house the ever-expanding twattery of Eamonn Holmes and Mick Hucknall at the same time. So just be thankful the Theatre of Debt is, or they may've ended up at yours.

4. Eric Cantona

A very rare creature indeed. And if you need me to justify his inclusion you know nothing about football. You know nothing about life. And you may as well kill yourself now.

5. Paul Scholes

I left this one 'til last for the simple reason, as any Liverpool fan will tell you, admitting to yourself you adore a Man Utd player is hard enough. However admitting it in public, why, that's tantamount to starting a sentence, "In Ashley Cole’s defence..." in a room full of rabid and toothless Chery Cole fans from Gateshead.

Yes, it takes a special kind of player to bring out the cunt sympathiser in you. And for me that player is the man Pele christened "Powle Sholls". As gifted with the ball as he is a liability without it - I find his lifelong aversion to a well-timed tackle almost as endearing as his absolute refusal to sing the national anthem before England games (frankly, you'd have to be some kind of dickwheel to expect anything other than panoramic reticence from football's ultimate Quiet Man).

Over 600 appearances for his club and booked in all but three of them. With that kind of rap sheet you'd at least expect a badger-baiting addiction or a couple of murder charges. But the second the Ginger Ninja leaves the field of play he ceases to exist. Vanishes, he does. Ask anybody who lives in Manchester; nobody has ever seen Paul Scholes anywhere but Old Trafford. Clubs, pubs, not even Clinton Cards. It's as if Sir Alex pulls his batteries out between matches and locks him in a man-sized safe. Rumours suggest he has a wife and three kids but they're even more elusive than he is. The man is either sitting on the mother of all secrets - cannibalism, Aleister Crowley books, a pentagram of toddler limbs - or he's an automaton from the world's dullest sci-fi franchise. Either way, Paul, you complete me.

Now let the lynching begin...

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