The recent comments made by one of the greatest midfielders of the modern game and a highly revered Manchester United footballer, Paul Scholes, on the wake of the club’s yet another abject submission against bitter rivals Manchester City earlier this week has stirred up quite a pandemonium within the club and their fans.
The club has been in complete disarray, the 3-0 win over Olympiakos may have helped douse the flames for a moment but the recent defeat stirred it up again; least to say, Moyes has been feeling the heat all the more and Scholes’ direct, undisguised assessment of the club’s performance has contributed a lot to the same.
Paul Scholes; a name which has reverberated around Old Trafford for two decades, one who best represents the greatest breed of young footballers to have evolved from the Manchester United youth academy, one who came out of his retirement to help guide the club to their 20th league triumph almost Rocky Balboa style. Scholes, who has mostly shied away from all the fanfare and the media attention throughout his playing career, took his place alongside former club captain Gary Neville and made a barrage of comments that could leave David Moyes red-faced.
In fact, most fans would hardly associate him with a football talk show, most would labor hard to imagine him as a pundit. But when, surprisingly enough, he emerged alongside Gary Neville and Graeme Souness to dissect the club’s tame surrender against city rivals, he tackled the questions much like he used to do on the field – ‘bordering on reckless and ill-timed’.
Scholes’ comments could not have come at a worse juncture for Manchester United manager Moyes and his entire team. The team is still struggling to blend in, putting up disjointed performances almost every weekend save a few, mostly down to the heroics of Wayne Rooney. The win against Olympiakos, which many touted as a game-changer for Moyes and his boys in the context of their performances as a whole this season, appears to be a lucky win in retrospection.
The manner in which the fans, from the Stretford End, made a beeline towards the dugout only to hurl abuses at their ‘Special One’ sums up the mood in the red half of the city. Worse still, they are highly annoyed with his predecessor and the most successful manager in the history of the club. It seems, the faithful have ran out of patience and seem to hardly remember or have any reverence for what Sir Alex Ferguson said in his final addressing to the fans. ‘You need to stand by your new manager’ hardly arouses any sentiments among them, anymore.
Paul Scholes, who is also rumored to be taking up a coaching job at the club, was brute and unforgiving in his assessment of the team’s performance. “When I was playing, we could be two or three down but we never felt we were beaten. Tonight I never thought we’d get back in it, even at 1-0 down”, he quipped.
That basically sums up every Manchester United performance this season, they just haven’t been United, in every sense of that word but a disjointed group of lost, confused and demotivated footballers taking the pitch every weekend trying to undo their undoing.
When further prodded about the players, he insisted that Fellaini hasn’t been good enough while the team as a whole has been ‘toothless’. Ouch! These words, coming one of the most respected and loved figures within the club, might knock the wind out of Moyes’ sail or might as well bring the whole boat down.
It remains to be seen, however, what led to this outburst from the diminutive ginger-haired magician. Was that a club legend voicing his disappointment at the club’s recent run? Was that a professional football pundit trying to render unbiased opinion about the game? Or was it the fan inside who has had enough and wants things to change badly?
We will find out.