The kids aren’t alright: United youth policy in tatters

There is a sporting myth that the United youth system is the envy of modern football.

Unfortunately, for fans of the Red Devils, this is seriously unfounded.

In mid-week the Maltese Mosquito Michael Misfud swarmed ver the Old Trafford club as they went down to a 2-0 reverse in the Carling Cup to Coventry City.

This in itself isn’t a strange occurrence. United often lose to inferior opposition in this tournament – remember their exits to York City and Southend United?

However, this time they weren’t just beaten.

They were severely beaten.

United created very little and, in truth, Coventry could have had at least four goals.

Alex Ferguson’s latest crop of ‘kids’, in my opinion, are just not Manchester United calibre.

To be brutally honest, there has only been one vintage crop to come through the United ranks -the mid 90’s group which included the Nevilles, Scholes, Butt and Gillespie.

Apart from that the youth scheme at the club have only produced sporadic brilliance, Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs to name a couple.

In the last few years things have become even worse.

John O’Shea and Darren Fletcher never really look as if they would make the first-team and Kieron Richardson has been sold.

The real academy is at Upton Park – Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Mark Noble are the latest in the long line of West Ham excellence.

Maybe United should take the Arsenal approach and scout Europe for their young talent.


Why is no-one helping the Burmese?

What is going on in Burma? And why is no-one doing anything to help?

In front of the eyes of the whole world the Burmese army is slaughtering peacefully protesting monks and their supporters – and while these atrocities are being caught on video the west is sitting on their hands.

And even more insulting to the plight of the protestors, the west are shifting the responsibility on China.

When an oppressive regime is slaughtering its citizens it is not up to the neighbouring nations to step in – it’s the world’s problem.

As always the selfish western nations, chiefly the US and the UK, are reluctant to get involved for one simple reason….

No-one from our side has died.

If a British citizen, or an American for that matter, gets caught up in this mess then there will be action.

Then the police of the world would walk the beat and start twirling his truncheon.

Obviously the life of a westerner is more important.

Look at the tsunami coverage – it wasn’t about how many people died, it was how many British people died and how many American people died.

It makes you wonder why we have the United Nations if they can’t be used in a situation like this.

The situation reminded me, for some reason, of 9/11, where an oppressive regime had its hand in the death of a number of its own people.

However, when American lives are lost the west falls over itself to provide relief and condolences.

Racism caused by brain shrinkage?

There is northing worse then people playing the race card.

One of the most serious allegations that can be levelled against someone is that they are racist – so it is abhorrent when the few, no matter what their race, bandy the term about.

However, where racism is clearly evident it cannot and should not be excused.

Which is why I was extremely sceptical of new research produced by Bill von Hippel of the University of Queensland.

According to von Hippel, brain atrophy can account for some of the racist language used by the elderly.

Brain atrophy is the shrinking of the brain as we age – and this new study claims that this can lead to ‘unintended racism’.

von Hippel says: “Because prejudice toward African Americans conflicts with prevailing egalitarian beliefs, older adults attempt to inhibit their racist feelings, but fail.”

Senility can cause an untold range of problems but is it logical enough to cause racism in some cases and not in others.

And why would it effect just the white population?

It seems to me that this study attempts to put a biological reason behind the evils of bigotry and that is something which is hard to swallow.

After all, wouldn’t young racists simply have the tendency to turn into old racists?

Strike it rich: Arsenal wealthiest club in Premier League

Arsenal are the richest club in the Premier League after reporting a turn over of £200 million.

And I think their riches are richly deserved.

There has always been talk of Arsenal not being a big club and being a selling side but since the move to the Emirates that is no longer the case.

For a long time the Gunners have competed admirably with the fat cats of the English game having been the paupers of the big four.

They had to sell their big players every time a good offer came in, usually form Spain, with Barcelona taking Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit and Thierry Henry to Barcleona and Real Madrid taking Nicolas Anelka.

Arsene Wenger has dealt with his lack of funds by signing the cream of Europe’s young players and stilling finishing above sides like Newcastle and Tottenham, who often spent millions of pounds more.

The success has come without having to go the Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool route of selling out to massive foreign investment.

It will be interesting to see how Arsenal build with one of the best managers in the league and a sound financial platform to stabilise them.

Derby surely set for the drop

There is always talk of a gulf in class between the Premier League and Championship but never has it been so evident with Derby County.

Down the years there have been some awful Premiership sides, Swindon Town and Barnsley among them, but are any as bad as this current Rams side?

Billy Davies’ boys, in truth, have not been terrible at home claiming a victory against Newcastle and a credible draw with Portsmouth.

But County have been shocking away from home, they conceded six at Anfield, four at White Hart Line and five at the Emirates – which terrible for the top division.

If the Premier League is to the best in the world then it has to be competitive and, unfortunately, the league is predictable at the top and bottom of the table.

While something must be done to address the gulf, and bridge the gap, that will not save the Rams this season.

It may take a miracle for them to maintain their top-flight status.

Treatment of the McCanns beyond biased

I have been very disappointed throughout the whole of the Madeleine McCann furore and the media treatment of the couple.

Since the child disappeared they press have been nothing short of scandalous.

It seems that, in the eyes of the British press, the parents, who are incredibly irresponsible, can do no wrong.

The tabloids, and unfortunately some of the broadsheets, have been more interested in damning the Portuguese police than providing an accurate account of a mising child.

A newspaper is supposed to act like a mirror held up to society, reflecting the events so that the public can see the world for what it is.

But for some reason, maybe it’s a class issue or maybe even a race issue, the McCanns seem to be exempt form criticism.

And it seems to me that they deserve to be criticised. It must be hard to lose a daughter but at the very least they have been awful parents.

Why would any parents in their right mind continually leave three young children on their own, at night, while they go out for a drink?

There are also rumours that they couple drugged their children – with the police claiming that the McCanns other children were difficult to awaken after their elder sister went missing.

The fact remains that only the McCanns know whether or not they were involved in the death of their child.

So I don’t know why the Daily Mail is so sure that they are innocent.

No way Jose: Mourinho will be missed

I don’t think it will be just Chelsea fans who miss Jose Mourinho.

The self proclaimed ‘special one’ has left a lasting mark on the Premier League and departs Stamford Bridge with a formidable 67 per cent win rate.

He was arrogant and brilliant in equal measures, winning two Premier League titles as well as a couple of League Cups and an FA Cup triumph against Manchester United.

The Portuguese illuminated English football with his wit and charm and no press conference or post match interview that he was involved was ever dull.

Obviously Chelsea belongs to Roman Abramovich but parting company with Mourinho may set the club back a long time with the squad Mourinho built looking likely to break apart.

Finance at the Bridge makes Mourinho replaceable but he will be an immensely difficult act to follow.

Avram Grant will only be a short-term solution but he will not have the backing of the fans and probably not even the players.

Time will tell whether or not Grant will last in the post but for now we say goodbye to a managerial great.

Bye Jose, we will miss you.