Manchester Utd yoof, Spurs targets and The Project (Part II)
For Part I click here.
Spooky - Okay, enough of the boring off the field shenanigans and boardroom politics. Let's talk a bit of football. Does it get boring winning everything, you silverware-hugging show-off you?
Scott - Honestly? No. You hear our players talking about it and I think it reflects the fans' opinion too. The more you win, the more you want to win. You get greedy for it. You win the league title, and whether that's the first time for a few years or the third time in a row, it feels f***ing brilliant. I can't claim that the last time we won the league in 2009 made me feel the same way a City fan would feel if they won the league this year, because I imagine being used to winning things takes the edge of it a bit, but no, never boring.
Spooky - What's the gut feeling for this season then? Plenty of suggestions in the world of blogs and forums that United are over-extending themselves, masking over the cracks with one or two bacon-saving individual performances. It would be unwise to write you off considering that if currently United are considered off-key, you're still top 4 early season. Are you perhaps worried that there's not enough genuine balls deep world class quality in your side to really push Chelsea? Do you accept that you wont win the title?
Scott - I think we're going to win the league every year. We're not looking great right now but we haven't really got going yet. Nani and Berbatov have definitely stepped up to the plate, but players like Fletch and Evra who have been so important in years gone by, have gone off the boil. United tend to do well after a World Cup but it's looking to have a negative effect this time around. If we don't win the league, it's because Chelsea do, but I can't see Arsenal or City finishing ahead of us.
Spooky - So, in that case, you don't face a battle on your hands to finish in the top 4?
Scott - No.
Spooky - Do United fans prefer having to fight tooth and nail for the League with Chelsea or whomever, or do you prefer the 90s when you won everything at a canter, more or less?
Scott - Oh it's far more exciting having to fight for it. Winning the league by a point on the last day feels so much better than wrapping it up a few weeks before the end of the season. I wouldn't say we won things at a canter in the 90s though. You look at 99 and 96, with our squad spread across winning other trophies, and we just scraped through at the end.
Spooky - What do you think the fans reactions would be if you finished just outside the Top 4 and SAF was another year nearer retirement?
Scott - Devastation, I suppose. How would the fans react if we got relegated? How would the fans react if we won nothing for 10 years? I dunno. It's too hard to answer a question about a scenario you just can't imagine happening.
Spooky - Talking of which - who do the fans feel is likely to take over as Manager after SAF's retirement?
Scott - Erm, Mourinho is desperate for the job. I would rather Laurent Blanc or Pep Guardiola, and have battled long and hard against Mourinho getting the job, based on his dreadful personality and the job he did at Chelsea. He spent a f**k load of money but the team he left them with was inferior to the one he inherited. It's hard to argue with what he's achieved at Inter and is achieving at Real Madrid, playing the attacking football we require.
Spooky - Concerned about City? If not this season, next?
Scott - No. If anyone will f**k this up, City will. This is the 3rd year of The Project (TM) and they're not nailed on for anything. They've got less points this season than they did with the same games played under Hughes a couple of months before he got the sack, their best player is repeatedly talking of his unhappiness and wanting to retire, and as every transfer window passes they seem to make it their challenge to bring in a player with an even bigger ego than the ones the window before, to try and battle it out with Mancini's massive ego. They will implode sooner or later because all these stars who joined with the promise of lots of money and trophies will soon get bored of lots of money and no trophies. I think Robinho put it best at the start of this season: "When I arrived, the directors at City told me that, in a couple of years, we would overtake United, but the time has passed and nothing has changed."
Spooky - United have harvested a lot of young talent from around the world, sometimes at eyebrow raising expense (Bebe, Mame Diouf, Obertan, Tosic, Smalling). Are Utd fans concerned that very few of these appear to be worth the money paid? I know it's subjective, but it's a question birthed from the curiosity of other fans assuming United fans are scratching their heads.
Scott - All of those players are 21 or younger, so I don't know how you can say whether they're worth the money or not. Diouf has scored a hat trick at Blackburn this season, as well as scoring against Arsenal, Bebe has scored for Portugal's U-21, Smalling is doing well for England U-21 and has scored for them, Obertan is a fans' favourite. Tosic is the only one of those that didn't make the grade but we got our money back for him, so no biggie.
If we start writing players off when they're 21, we're in trouble. Ronaldo scored 9 league goals in 33 games for us when he was 21. He was a one trick pony, a waste of money at £12m.
Spooky - On a similar note, who is the best of the home-grown Utd talent (i.e. Cleverley, King, Drinkwater, James etc etc)? Have United still got a stranglehold on the best of the country's youth?
Scott - Cleverley looks to be the business. Ravel Morrison is the next one for the future. Corry Evans (Jonny's bro) looks good, Will Keane too, and James Chester. Our youth set up is really impressive and Solskjaer helped the Reserves to be crowned champions of England last season.
Spooky - Are you worried that you have VDS, Rio, Scholes, Giggs, Neville, Berbatov, Owen, Hargreaves etc to replace in the next 2-3 years but have (i) no cash and (ii) a lot fewer decent young players making it into the first team squad than historically?
Scott - Neville, Hargreaves and Owen hardly play, so that's not such a worry. The idea is that Cleverley can fill Scholes' boots (nobody can fill Scholes' boots, he's the best midfielder the Prem has seen, but he'll give it a good crack), Chicharito, Macheda and hopefully Welbeck are options for up front, Bebe/Obertan to fill the gap on the wing. The only position that hasn't already got plans is the goalkeeper, which I imagine the club will take very seriously after the farce we endured once Schmeichel retired. There will be some money to spend though, if the players who have been earmarked for these positions aren't up to scratch.
Spooky - Berbatov and Rooney should be the strike partnership to end all strike partnerships. Why isn't it?
Scott - Who knows? The manager can't get the best out of them and they never seem to hit form at the same time. Berbatov and Chicharito is a far more potent combination.
Spooky - Will you stop attempting to tap up and steal our players now you are so poor?
Scott - We should really take a leaf out of Spurs' book. Levy and Redknapp never attempt to tap up and steal players.
Spooky - Steady now. Our Daniel writes letters of an apologetic nature to the fans. He can't possibly be underhanded. What with all the donations to the Tottenham foundation. I might as well ask this so we can all prep ourselves for the inevitable knocking of the door...What do United fans think of the current Spurs squad? Which of our Lilywhites would you want at United and why? How many Utd players do you think would get into a combined Utd/Spurs side?
Scott - I remember towards the end of last season and we were still in the race, and Spurs came to Old Trafford. As the players and subs were read out over the speaker, it really hit me how many top class players you have. Probably the best squad to come to Old Trafford last season, no exaggeration. I mean, you didn't play well, but there's loads of great players at Spurs.
I like Dawson, Modric, Van der Vaart, Bale and Palacios but working out a best XI is difficult. Bale and Nani on the wings, and Modric and Van der Vaart in the centre of the park alongside Fletch (he isn't playing well this season though :S) or Palacios. Berbatov as a lone striker? I'd have Van der Sar over Gomes (WBA mistake aside), Rio and Vida over Dawson and King (even when they're not on the treatment table), Evra at left back and right back? Well, we've played O'Shea there more often than not this season, so I'd have Hutton over him. I like Rafael though.
Spooky - Bale, Modric, vdV…all linked already. Honestly, hand on heart. Can you see yet another one of those Levy complaint letters doing the rounds on the official site next summer?
Scott - It wouldn't surprise me if Bale and Modric came to United. I can't see Spurs doing well in Europe AND retaining top 4. Something has to give. Fergie is a fan of both and I imagine both would be interested in coming. But maybe Levy won't be so f***ing retarded as to send them on a plane to Manchester though.
Spooky - You're breaking my heart over here. And finally, we might as well mention Utd v Spurs. History tells us United will win. Regardless of Howard Webb or lack of goal line technology. We tend to implode up at Old Trafford. I'm sort of confident that we could get a point or even do the impossible and win away from home against a 'Sky Sports Top 4' side for the first time in 400 years. Thoughts on the game? You've not been amazing thus far, but neither have we. In fact, we have both dug deep to win games. So, close game? Dare you predict?
Scott - Given the strengths of your squad, this should be a game to make us worry, but like you say, you don't tend to do very well against us. You'll score against us, because everyone does, but I fancy a United win. 2-1.
Spooky - I fancy a Spurs 2-1. Ooh. It's going to be a corker. Cheers mate. I guess all that's left for me to say is - pleasure as always. And make sure you d*ck City at the very least. Ta.
Scott - Only if you make sure you do the same.
And they both lived happily ever after. Well, only one of them. To find out which, watch the game on Saturday.