Friday, September 12, 2014

Bringing Sexy Back

Impotence is a common yet very frustrating condition, impacting over half of the teams in the English Premier League (EPL).

Impotence is a team’s inability to rise to the occasion, disrupting the capacity to deliver consistent thrust and penetration when moving forward. This is not a disease as such, but a symptom of other problems – failure to invest in quality players, poor coaching, or a mixture of both.

Fans shouldn’t be too worried about the occasional failure to play exciting, attractive football. This is normal. Some of the root causes of occasional performance failure include bedding in new players, injury problems, back-to-back games, and experimentation with new tactical systems. Unless poor performance continues, there is no reason to be concerned.

However, ongoing impotence should be investigated and addressed as a priority.

For Manchester United fans the concerns around impotence and poor performance have been growing steadily over the past handful of seasons. And whilst victory in the pre-season International Champions Cup offered hope that we might be turning a corner, symptoms have persisted and the winless start to the EPL season offered evidence that our problems of maintaining sustained periods of penetration continue.

For a number of seasons now there has been a lack of thrust in United’s forward play, with a complete inability to breach the opposition backline consistently. The team has been boring, stale and unimaginative, offering little in the way of excitement or stimulation.

To be completely frank, Wednesday nights and weekends at Old Trafford have become dourer than David Moyes personality, and more depressing than following the stranger into the van then realising he doesn't have any candy.

Live viewing, replays and statistical analysis can determine if the flow of the ball from the middle to the tip has been adversely affected. Further testing can also help to isolate specific areas of dysfunction.

Unfortunately misdiagnosis can occur, which often leads to challenges in corrective treatment.

In the case of Manchester United many experts diagnosed the problem as a lack of investment on new recruits by the Glazer family. A combined $60M plus spent on Mata and Fellaini last season quickly dispels this theory.

Other notable authorities have cited the failure of the youth team to emulate the performance of the Class of 92. Certainly the likes of Cleverly, Welbeck et al. have flattered to deceive. Historically it’s extremely rare for teams to graduate one or two players from one academy squad into the first team, much less six players. Rarer still that they all become internationals.  The Class of 92 is such an outlier it cannot be used as a realistic benchmark.

Poor depth, especially in midfield, is touted as a factor. Undoubtedly ever since Roy Keane hung up the boxing gloves we’ve been overly reliant on Paul Scholes and his KISS like ‘final world tour’, along with the more pedestrian qualities of Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher. And while it's true this has been a problem, it does not get to the root of our difficulties.

All of these factors have contributed in some form to United’s embarrassingly rapid fall from grace. Yet there is a far more fundamental issue at the heart of United woes.

A lack of sex appeal.

For years we’ve heard about playing the ‘United Way’. How an attacking, flair based game played well into ‘Fergie time’ was somehow a trademark of Old Trafford…and to a certain degree it has been. But there’s something far more significant to the Manchester United ethos and success than a three on two fast break or an injury time winner.

Sex appeal!

It’s that bloody simple. Not convinced? Hear me out:

Each period of United domination has coincided with a United player who has stood head and shoulders above all as a sex icon.
It all started with George Best. Such was Georgie’s talent and charisma he became the first celebrity footballer…earning the nickname El Beatle. Anyone who was been quoted saying "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered" simply oozes sex appeal. And it was with Best leading the line that United were first crowned European Champions.

Unfortunately George wasn’t equipped to handle celebrity, and his extravagant lifestyle led to various issues, including a painful battle with alcoholism. Best’s premature retirement was proceeded by a period of footballing darkness lasting decades.
It wasn’t until the mischievous, cheeky grin of Lee Sharpe and the slicked curls of a youthful Ryan Giggs strode onto the scene in the early nineties that United’s rejuvenation began.  Both players brought with them an exuberance that had been sorely missed, and a first championship after 26 painful years followed. 
Whilst Sharpe and Giggs got some of the girls panting, it was when David Beckham took centre stage – complete with sarongs, tattoos, highlights, hair gel and celebrity wife – that United’s domination hit peak form. As Beck’s got sexier, so United got more successful. It is a basis of scientific fact that a directly proportional relationship exists between images of Beckham half naked featuring in women’s magazines, and trophies appearing in United’s cabinet.

Soon enough though Brand Beckham got too big for the Boss…at some point too much sex appeal can become a distraction. And so Becks was exported to Spain, and we imported a new product from Portugal. Genetically modified in a Lisbon laboratory, Cristiano Ronaldo kept the men and their wives enthralled, terrorizing defenders without a single strand of hair out of place. He’d thwack in a free kick stunner and follow that up by removing his shirt to reveal 16 perfectly sculpted abdominal muscles.
After delivering another European Cup Ronaldo nearly caused our sex drive to go into overdrive, and like Becks we bid adios and he was sent packing to Madrid. It seems the appetite and tolerance for coitus is much higher in the sunshine of Spain than the colder climates of the UK.

Darkness once again began to envelope the Theatre of Dreams. With the likes of Rooney, Carrick and Fletcher as our poster boys not only did we lack inspiration on the pitch, this translated to an appalling lack of stimulation and activity in the terraces and the homes of Manchurian’s the world over.

But that’s all changed, because after years of searching we’re finally bringing sexy back to Old Trafford. Welcome Radamel Falcao.

I know there have been a lot of critics who have panned the Falcao transfer. “He’s injury prone” they say. “He’s overpaid”, “his best days are behind him”, and “what about a midfielder and a centre-half?”

All rational critiques steeped in logical footballing fundamentals.

But f#ck all that I say, because they all miss one glaring fact – the man looks amazing! And if history teaches us anything it’s where good looking men go, success follows.

I simply cannot wait to see Radamel, resplendent in Manchester red, with his long locks flowing and tanned thighs pumping, start banging away goals left, right and centre. With each goal he scores Radamel will re-ignite the Theatre of Dreams, rekindle our passion, and revive our primal lust for winning.

It’s not enough to win…you’ve got to look good doing it. And now we look pretty f#cken sensational!

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