Monday, April 18, 2005

It all comes to nowt

An antidote to Paul's stoically upbeat report...

Two enormous games in the space of four days, and two soul-destroying defeats.

Anyone would think that with the amount of disappointment us fans have had to stomach over the years, a little more wouldn't stick in the throat. But no, it's no less painful to swallow.

Yesterday's first half was staggeringly gutless and disorganised, Boumsong manfully attempting to stem the red tide on his own but it was all in vain as we were systematically destroyed by Rooney, Ronaldo, van Nistelrooy and Scholes.

At least in the second half there was a bit of fight and spirit from the likes of N'Zogbia and Ameobi, but it was far too little - not only for a comeback but also as reward to the long-suffering black-and-white-clad supporters in the stands who roared the players on all afternoon.

In truth, though, I think most of us feared the worst after Thursday's defeat. Deprived of key players through injury and suspension, victory over a near full-strength Man Utd stung by last Saturday's humiliating 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road was always going to be a long shot, and so it proved.

Our best chance of success had seemed to be in the UEFA Cup, where we needed to fear no-one, and in Lisbon we had one boot firmly planted in the semi-final before the horrific late capitulation. That was probably the defeat that hurt the most - the thrashing at the hands of Man Utd was by contrast depressingly predictable, our recent record against the Red Devils making cringeworthy reading.

There's still no doubting we have a very talented squad - it's been organisation (especially in defence) and pure fight that we've been lacking all season long, and without those we'll never go anywhere but backwards.

We're now left with nothing to play for except pride (even I don't think relegation's a possibility), needing to avoid our lowest ever Premiership finish, but pride is something only the fans seem to prize, and even then it's in increasingly short supply thanks to successive humiliations like those dished up this week.

The summer must see a mass clearout, and a host of new faces, though our recent record in the transfer market has not been good. Boumsong aside, the players brought in over the course of the season have done precious little to impress - Butt has been atrocious in recent weeks, Carr's looked similarly awful, Faye has underwhelmed with his passing, Babayaro has flounced around ineffectively when fit and Kluivert's looked overweight and utterly disinterested of late.

Of course, whether Souness is around to oversee it all remains to be seen. How itchy is Fat Fred's trigger finger now?


Post a Comment

<< Home