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Fergie's winter of discontent

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Robbo Robson | 11:03 UK time, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Undersoil heating - what's the flaming point, eh, if some over-protective numpties decide that the routes around the ground are too treacherous for people to use?

The pitch is perfect, but full-grown, free-thinking people will only fall on their backsides, fill up the local A & E's with their cracked coccyxes (dammit what's the plural for that?) and probably, in this litigious age of ours, find someone or other to sue.

OR

Your average footie fan will tiptoe down the glacier streets like a lass in her first stilettos and slither into his favourite seat 'cos quite frankly that's what a football fan does. He'll take his chances with the darned ice 'cos he loves to see his team play. In all weathers.

And for goodness sake we all like a good story about the day we got a point against the Champions in a minus eight degree blizzard.

Yes, I know I had a rant about this in my last blog but ooh it makes me mad!!! It was cold enough to reduce your average adult male to apparent womanhood on Saturday, but I'd still've been up for watching the Boro.
Volunteers clear snow at The Emirates stadiumVolunteers clear snow at The Emirates stadium
Let us choose is all I'm asking. I'm not saying it's a Nanny State, but I fully expect the next PM to be Mary Flipping Poppins.

Fans at St Andrew's and The Emirates were served up a treat, and I can tell you one thing with a strong degree of certainty: Manchester United won't win owt this year.
Hansen was dead right on Match of the Day - they've been poor this season.

The defence is a right old mish-mash, but that's nowt compared to the tedium of their midfield. Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Park. Hardly a goal between them and about as inspiring as day-old toast. There have been times this season when it's looked like four Djemba-Djembas strung across the middle.

Apart from the odd Giggs cameo, it's all down to Wazza. The lad needs a rest, but that'd mean starting with Berbatov and Owen. St Michael has pretty much proven Capello's case since he arrived and Berbatov is... well, some say deft... I say lazy.

Every touch is like a Gower waft outside off-stump. 99% of what he does reminds me of thistle seeds drifting on the breeze. He's up there with Veron as Fergie's most expensive blunder.

They miss Ronaldo, of course. For all his swagger and insufferable sulking, the Gelled Tumbler is a magnificent footballer and replacing him with Valencia - good though the lad is - is akin to pulling down Nelson's Column and putting up a toothpick.

And don't get me started on Tevez. The brilliant hat-trick against Blackburn took his tally to 15 for the season and City are getting ominously close to their old rivals.

Having said all that, you can't doubt Fergie's management skills. To get to being a point or two off the lead with this run-of-the-mill outfit is looking like one of the greatest achievements of a brilliant career.

He seemed happy enough with the minus six pitch-side temperatures at the weekend. As did McLeish. They're a right ruddy pair them two, aren't they?

Mind, there are a couple of Scots round our way who keep telling us that the climate is positively tropical right now with their tedious weather one-upmanship ('I saw a man so cold he snapped his own arm off so he could dig himself out of a snow-drift' etc, etc. Yawn.)

Apparently, Man United don't ever have to use their undersoil heating - if they want to get rid of the snow they just send Nani out on the pitch, Fergie gives him an almighty earful and the surface is cleared.

According to reports, Nani is just one of the expensive decorations that the gaffer is getting shot of this month. What a pointless little garnish that lad's proved to be. I wouldn't be surprised to see Berbat-off 'n' all.

Anderson was bleating that he's never played in his favourite attacking midfield role but given his inability to hit a rhino's rear with a tablespoon I doubt that would've made much difference. Vidic is off as well, they say, but given the travails of United's defence I find that hard to believe.

It all suggests that United are not so much in transition as in a pickle - and unless Mick McCarthy picks the players for every visiting side from here 'til May I can't see them winning a trophy.

The only hope is that Chelsea do just as poorly, although the Lord in his infinite wisdom has seen fit to time this avalanche of postponements to coincide with the absence of Drogba, who along with Bellamy is the player of the season so far.
Didier DrogbaDrogba is frozen out at the moment
Of course the terrible events that unfolded in Africa leave you feeling rather silly about getting into a rage over a mere football match.

Nevertheless, football always has its small compensations and Mali's recovery from 4-0 down after 78 minutes will live long in the memory. I've never seen anything like it and at least it reminds you that the game, trivial and overblown though it often can be, is just blinking wonderful sometimes.



Any finally, with too much time on our hands, the Blue Bell regulars have assembled a special team to suit the Arctic conditions.
I give you Winter Milan!

Brrrrrrrrrad Freezel; Paul Konche-ski, Martin Skatel, Wooly-am Gallas, Ashley Cold; Shaun St. Sledger, Scott Parka, Kevin Snowlan, Parky Ji Sung; Emile Husky, Andriy Shiver-chenko. Subs: Sleigh Given, Leroy Sleeta, Michael Snowin' and the redoubtable Dele Adepolar.

Two left-backs in the same side doesn't make much sense but then it's difficult to keep your balance in this weather. The owner is of course Mohammed Al F-ridge, and the manager is inevitably Big Sam Allardicicle. Let's hope the games are back on next week or there'll be more of this!

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