ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Manchester United
soccernet blog
Manchester United
Posted by Mark Payne on 04/11/2011

Much like Janet Jackson, United have usually got something pointy up front even if the whole package is a bit dodgy. Certainly, our defence was far from secure in the first half on Saturday.

There are not many weekends left in this season now but the progress we have made over 31 rounds is impressive. Nani and Berbatov, previously much maligned players, have played an enormous part in this league campaign. It is a real testament to trusting the process of team integration. Not to mention, further good reason to ignore just about every thing the pundits say too.

On the subjects of punditry and trust, I feel compelled to clarify an issue of identity. After a volley of e-mails this week let me state one thing very clearly. I am NOT Superintendent Mark Payne of the Wolverhampton Police Force. Nor is he related to me, nor do we even share the same dimension of thought. I must admit, the guy has a pretty snappy moniker, but he is nothing to do with me.

It seems a little ironic that the police have got involved in the football this week when the game’s governorship is so transparently anti-United. Let me take the opportunity to clarify what Fergie meant when he said United were being “victimised”.

The current chairman of the Football Association is David Bernstein. Mr Berstein was previously chairman of Manchester City between the years of 1998 and 2003. When one's mind boggles at Rooney’s two game ban please consider who the second game is against. That’s right, Manchester City, in that club’s biggest match for some 30 odd years. In other news, 2 plus 2 is 4.

There is though, a calculating glint in Fergie’s eye at the moment. He, more than anybody, knows how to make adversity work in his favour. At the moment, the results show that whatever they throw at us we can work around. And that, is why we love them.
Come on you Reds!

Follow Mark on

Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook


Posted by Ian Hough on 04/10/2011

Hi Mark, this Bernstein business is symptomatic of a further shift toward the corrupt structure at the end of the slimy rainbow. That structure is the blurred region between public and private, official and unofficial, etc, where lobbyists with "special interests" are placed in positions of power and allowed to ABUSE THAT POWER for their own ends. The American political system is a prime example, but FIFA, UEFA and the FA are all comparable.
I haven't looked that deeply into it, but I'm willing to bet someone somewhere is copping for a very nice butty as a result of this move, not least Bernstein himself. We need journalists who will investigate these scumsuckers and drag them out into the spotlights for public shaming.
City are trying not only to buy a trophy but to cheat to one too. I hope they're happy, but next week we'll know who won and who lost.

Posted by Mark's response on 04/10/2011

Hi Ian,

You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, journalism, and particularly in sport, is just not set up to investigate these things any more. David Conn of the Guardian does his best but basically the rest of the pundits just talk about what each other is saying. It is sad and tedious.

Personally, I couldn't give a rat's who Rooney is shagging, but that's about the sum of a 'scoop' nowadays.

Posted by john on 04/10/2011

Best way to get back at the FA is to field a reserve team for the FA Cup vs Man City. After all, who cares about the FA Cup anyway.

Man U should focus on the Champions League and Primiership title.

S%^&& the FA.

We are Manchester United, and we do what we want !

Posted by John Tring on 04/10/2011

Symptomatic of gutter "journalism" in UK. THey are after Rooney for a "crime" that is committed daily all over the world. But hey, it's Rooney and Utd. The same idiots shot down the chances of England's WC bid by trying to be "good guys".

Posted by Seth Taylor on 04/10/2011

2+2=4... FACT!

I thought the FA was meant to be INDEPENDANT?!!! By appointing a former chairman of a football club - no matter who that team is - the FA loses all credibility.

The only way they can keep credibility now is to completely de-personalise all disciplinary hearings by making them annonymous. That means, that the name and date of any incident should be kept from the supposedly 'independant' panel so that that they can start to apply rules and punishments consistently. Let's wait and see what happens to the next player who swears on camera... especially of course if it is a City player!

Posted by oswell mugota on 04/10/2011

hi mark. I have observed that many people hate man u or anything related to man u,whether it be fergie or rooney.this stems from the success of the club in and out of the ground,financially,marketing,team spirit etc.when barca beat man u in 2008 the world was happy.lets show the f.a that hatred does not work by winning every trophy on offer.

Posted by VeryRed on 04/10/2011

Well what can I say... success breeds hatred, then again whats the point in suceeding if u dont have enemies to suffer seeing u succeed eh? Man Utd haters f*ck what f*ck!

Posted by Bill on 04/10/2011

Does anyone think for a second if Wayne, or any other England player, had dropped a couple F-bombs into a camera after any of their limp results in South Africa, said player would have faced a ban? Bernstein is such a joke it's sad. His moral turpitude was somehow absent when he was the head of French Connection, making money by placing 'fcuk you' on t-shirts.

Posted by yinka omotosho on 04/10/2011

Am surprised, nobody realised that fact. How can the FA be independent? Man u has an important game against city and they feel the best thing to do is ban Rooney. Dont they realise they(FA) are killing English football. Every footballer swears, some even swear at the ref and it is glaring that you dont have to be a specialist in lip reading to see all this things. What on earth were they thinking? Ban the face of British football for something that everyother footballer does. I think the British Parliament should look into this cos this is corruption of the highest order.

Posted by Ted on 04/11/2011

First time reader. I am relatively new to English football in general, but I am troubled by what you said. I am a City fan for one reason or another that is just where I landed when I got into soccer, which was 2008ish. I haven't looked back, although being from the US, I found it hard to get out of the domination of the US sports market, though thankfully, soccer is growing in popularity. I might be nieve but I hate to think that someone from a City background or any potential situation that would lead to bias would make a decision on such bias. I know this must be ironic from the American fan but I guess I would hate to see this be the case. My main comment is, as a City fan, I think the charge is sh** and sets a hard precedent to follow up on. I really hope it's just a case of the FA being windbags and not the corruption you have accused here. I'll never forget Super Bowl 35 when Ray Lewis (who killed someone btw, no suspension) really let the camera have it during introductions.

Posted by aussiered on 04/11/2011

Gentlemen let the games begin!!!.

Why anyone bothers to comment on the FA and how badly done by Rooney is. Of course he was going to get banned. If you are like me and unlucky to have to watch on square box at 230am, despite the hour I was pretty taken aback by Rooney. I uderstood entirely why he did it but all the same it was pretty confronting. Im the wrong side of 40 and have seen a bit. If you were to compare it with Cantona and his Selhurst Park event I would say it was more agressive if that makes sense.

But back to the point the FA dont give a flying F about United we are bigger than them and they dont like it. The cartoon characters running it are affiliated to clubs who have also had to suffer for too long by our success, so like the kid in the play ground who wants to take his ball home they do what they can to spoil our fun.
So as a certain cartoon once said Smile and Wave boys Smile and Wave.!
OT is where its at, United are it and the rest can just watch and suffer.!

Posted by Daniel on 04/11/2011

Please can some-one refresh my memory,how many match ban was handed out to Ashley Cole for insulting a ref. During a chelsea match cos i remember the FA did nothing

Posted by Clemmo on 04/11/2011

A. Cole insulted a ref, Cesc insulted Everton gaffer.....the list is endless. Somebody has gotten a fat lining of petro-dollars cos of this, trust me!

Posted by Iheanyi Ike on 04/11/2011

The remaining battles(ofcourse matches!) we must win to teach everybody else how not to be haters of success, rather they ought to learn how become equally successful in a fair manner. I am a United fan in Nigeria & I've never seen or read about more passionately fans of EPL anywhere else in the world. We are United! We come first!

Posted by Mike on 04/11/2011

lol, yea, Man U is a bunch of martyrs!! poor them... the punishment was stupidly excessive, but it was because it was right into the camera and to the world, and partly because Rooney and United have terrible recent disiplinarian reputations anyways, not some City conspiracy. Maybe he should've said "down with the queen" to it..?

Posted by Kripa on 04/11/2011

Mark, YES you are :D

Too bad about Rooney's F-word, he did a mistake and I'm glad that he apologized right away after the game. Certainly the authorities had to act, but I think the FA over-reacted and pulled the punishment out of a hat.

Aren't there a higher sports authority in England? One that should feel funny and investigates that the punishment is 2 games, which conveniently will put Rooney out from the FA Cup semi against our lovely noisy neighbours?

How lucky they are, oh my, what a coincidence ... come to think of it, lots of coincidences lately, we might be the most unlucky club in the Premiership in the last few weeks, manager given 5 games touchline ban, soft penalties, soft red cards, bad decisions, etc.

Fans of conspiracy could easily say that sheiks had very long hands backed by a very deep pocket. But of course not, no chance of that, the FA and refs are made of people with integrity and oblivious to those kind of temptations, right?

Posted by David Smith on 04/12/2011

If David Bernstein DID act with any sort of malice when handing down Wayne's two match punishment, then karma certainly bit him on his fat arse tonight. The sight of Tevez limping off at Anfield and a three-nil thrashing of his beloved Citeh must of brought a tear or two to his eye. Good. I never believed for a second that we would struggle against the noisy neighbours on Saturday without Wayne, but no Tevez for the light blues can only be a positive for the Champions-elect.

Posted by alan williams on 04/12/2011

Mark - your are a credit to the fans and this football club - I couldn't think of anything better to say!!!! But then again its the first time I have said it so I must mean it - but I promise I wont keep on saying it - as it might get a bit boring. If you get my drift.

Posted by johanzul on 04/12/2011

1. Rooney deserved a ban? The answer is yes.
2. Deserved a ban for important games? The answer is yes.

Why? FA needed to make a point out of Rooney and for other players too. If FA had choose this incident as a start, well, we have to accept it but after this, MU fans shall watch, critic and bombard FA if they didn't imposed the same fate to other players for similar reason occurred in near future.

As one of MU fans, of course I'm feeling devastated but couldn't agree more with what FA had decided. I still believe that MU shall win against City, other players need to step up and do the job. Other players must show their value rather than depending on Rooney alone.

Yes, we all know Rooney had come back from the 'dead', we all knew how good he really is but a football team doesn't consists of him alone. Thus, for all 11 players that shall fought 'battle' with City, show how really good MU as a team, a team deserved to be call...Champions! Champion of BPL, FA and CL!

Posted by Daggash on 04/12/2011

This has the potential to serve just one purpose; United being fired up to deliver when faced with adversity. There is no better aphrosidiac than blatant injustice

Posted by Solomon Sesan on 04/12/2011

Am Sesan, I have observed that many people hate man u or anything related to man u,whether it be fergie or rooney.this stems from the success of the club in and out of the ground,financially,marketing,team spirit etc.when barca beat man u in 2008 the world was happy.lets show the f.a that hatred does not work by winning every trophy on offer.Man United will surprise the world againg this year by winning out.

Posted by zino on 04/12/2011

no one can be so sure of what d FA's up to but d manner,timing and d frequency of d bans against man utd raises suspicion. consider it against d backdrop of similar incidence involving other EPL clubs and d levity with which it's treated and u'll be alarmed but all of it make united united.

Posted by Shawn on 04/12/2011

Fergie once said when Paul Ince and company had been asked for autographs by a bunch of Liverpool supporters who promptly tore them up and threw them in Ince's face - "Remember that boys, it's us against the world". Same is still true today.

Posted by Davis Nturanabo on 04/12/2011

We are still United whatever they do. I dont give a fuck, i know we will always come on top.

Posted by Joe D on 05/23/2011

Man Utd is like the NY Yankees or Notre Dame football most people either hat them or love them and all of them are my favorites

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left