It is a dangerous game Ferguson is playing with this cup final. Whilst I utterly respect the policy of blooding the youngsters in this competition, and continuing with those selections for the final, there is one small problem with it. It greatly increases the chances of us losing.
The ides are slightly against us on this one. Redknapp, as one of my esteemed friends once eloquently pointed out, is “a wily old sod” who has put one over us on several occasions. Plus, Tottenham’s entire season pretty much rests on this game and they have players good enough to hurt anybody when they want to.
The ramifications of losing this could be acute, we have spent months building up momentum and it has been coming together for us nicely of late. But if we stumble here that will be two games with no victory and the initial chiming of alarm bells may start up. The Inter tie is a million miles away from being safe and we need to meet them at Old Trafford in the form of our lives if we are to progress. Losing a cup final is the kind of thing that can really put a crimp on your day.
Ferguson is an inherent gambler and at the moment he has the biggest pile of chips in front of him. He can throw his weight around and bluff if he needs to but there is the outside chance he could blow it here by putting too many young guys on the team-sheet. I have said it before and I will say it again, we are a different team without Wayne Rooney and today he needs to start. On another note, please buy every Middlesborough fan you meet a pint from here on in. Cheers