Man Utd: Director’s Cut – Ep 6: The list

Roy Keane and his Man Utd team went into the second half of the 2019/20 season top of the league. With a squad lacking depth, juggling league games and the knockout stages of European football, with a chasing pack of wolves right behind them, pundits gave them quite a small chance to stay there throughout the rest of the season.

In this episode we’ll go through domestic and European competitions, look at player performances and start outlining the plans for the next season.

Premier League

As you can see above things went well, really well actually. Of course the 4-0 loss away to Manchester City was the biggest disappointment of the season, but besides that and a couple of hicc-ups at home Manchester United really performed above expectation. Sadly this wasn’t enough since both Man City and Arsenal performed even better. A 3rd place was not bad though, as it met the board’s expectations of Champions League qualification.

From their 1st place halfway through Man Utd slipped into 2nd after the loss against Man City and into 3rd after a draw at home to Wolves in the penultimate game of the season. This meant a third consecutive Premier League title for Manchester City. Roy Keane couldn’t decide what was worse, Man Utd missing the title or Man City actually winning it. Regardless, even though the team wasn’t expected to challenge for the title this season and the board’s expectations were met, Roy Keane still felt disappointed.

Or not disappointed really. He was actually quite impressed that a group of players he had such a low belief in managed to produce this sort of results. Just you wait until he had cut off the rotting planks and replaced them with new fresh timber. What a ship this would become! The negative feelings he carried inside himself wasn’t actually disappointment. It was anger. Good old anger, simply because the silverware was in someone else’s trophy cabinet. This needed to change in coming years. Despite the fact that Roy Keane really loved the feeling of anger, surely it couldn’t be good for his heart in the long run…

Europa League

The first rounds of the knockout stage went as smoothly as the group stage.

Neither Bulgarian side Ludogorets, French team Olympique Lyon or German surprises Eintracht Frankfurt could match Man Utd as they eased their way through round after round.

The first real test came against Arsenal in the semi final. They were on a great run of form and were top of the Premier League at the time, which meant that they went into the games as slight favourites. They were the better team in the first leg, but after a proper hairdryer treatment from Roy Keane Man Utd to reach a 2-2 draw at home, keeping them in the game for the away leg.

An early Marcus Rashford goal at the Emirates put Man Utd ahead, but Alexandre Lacazette equalised in the 55th minute, a result that would see Arsenal through. After an absolutely gutting 78th minute penalty miss by Anthony Martial, Roy Keane feared that it was all over. Marcus Rashford wanted something else. In the 86th minute he met a corner kick with a perfect header and Man Utd was ahead once again! The last few minutes were nerve-wrecking but the result stayed 1-2 which put Man Utd through to the final!

Finally it was time to fight for a bit of silverware! After beating Arsenal in what felt like a final, confidence was high going into the actual final game against Inter Milan. Man United started the game looking like champions, attacking the opposition goal in wave after wave. In the 7th minute Inter Milan couldn’t withstand the pressure anymore and caused a penalty. Anthony Martial stepped up again…and missed. Again. This became a turning point and the Man Utd players started looking anxious. After a Paul Pogba straight red card in the 16th minute several players started hanging their heads in despair. After a misdirected Victor Lindelöf clearance hit the back of Martial and bounced to Romelu Lukaku who could tap it in to make it 1-0 the team never got back into the game. In the 49th minute former Man Utd man Lukaku showed his old team no mercy as he secured the win for his new Italian team with his 2-0 goal.

Gutting that they fell just before the finish line. He couldn’t blame Martial, it wasn’t his fault that he had missed the penalty. The man had the mental strength of a demented parrot, of course he was going to miss. No, the fault was his own for selecting him. He couldn’t blame Paul Pogba for his red card either. Roy Keane certainly knew what it felt like when the urge to hurt someone physically became overwhelming. No, he blamed Romelu Lukaku. The traiterous bastard should have shown his former club more loyalty. Even though he was basically served the ball on a silver platter the decent thing would have been to miss the goal on purpose. Twice. Well, it was what it was. A missed trophy and another name added to the Roy Keane death list.

The list had slowly but steadily grown over the season. Fewer people have reached out their hands in irritating friendly gestures than before, but that was likely because they had learned their lesson. Roy Keane could not be easily fooled by shenanigans like that. However, the occasional manager still aired opinions on Keane’s person or his team or other things they had no business having opinions about. The latest one was the twat Pochettino. In a pre-match interview Roy Keane had simply told the truth about Tottenham’s boring side-passing excuse for football and then given Pochettino a footballing lesson by beating his team. He should have been greatful for the free lesson, but instead he just sat there whining in his strange accent throughout the post-match press conference. “Breat-taking arrogance” you say? It’s not arrogance if you KNOW that you are superior, then it’s just the simple truth. Pathetic. Join the list, cunt.

A new beginning

Well, Roy Keane didn’t have to sulk for long. At the end of the season he got an early christmas gift in a hefty £302M (Yes! Threehundredandtwo million!) in sponsor money, which of course changed the numbers from devastating red to healthy black. All of a sudden it became very clear why the board had just calmly watched the financial deficit grow each and every month throughout the season!

This money gives Roy Keane a much needed initial capital to continue the Man Utd metamorphosis from leaky boat to majestic galleon. In the next episode we’ll get to follow captain Keane as he overhauls the crew, and sets sail with a brand new band of merry men (naval metaphors galore, I know).

The most important addition to the crew was a free one, however.

Blaise Matuidi had grown tired of a Turin life filled with pasta meals and lazy men with mustaches. He wanted to work hard and win titles. This was the perfect match for a Roy Keane. With an empty treasure chest but in dire need for a leader in midfield it was the perfect solution to get Blaise to agree to a free transfer upon contract expiry. In Blaise Matuidi the yellow triangle group would get the perfect leader, hopefully spreading his experience and rubbing off his Model Citizen personality on the younger players. The fact that he looked really solid both technically and physically as well, despite his age, increased the chances of him actually impressing on the field as well.

Player performances

In the latest post I highlighted winger Tahith Chong as the top performer in the first half of the season. He didn’t, as often is the case with young players, manage to keep up this high quality for the second half. Instead, the biggest star of the squad stepped up and carried the team. The feeling was that whenever Paul Pogba started games the team won and whenever he was missing from the starting lineup the team lost.

In recognition of a great second half of the season Paul Pogba won both the English Footballer of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year awards. He was also accompanied by Shaw and Wan-Bissaka in a Players’ Team of the Year completely dominated by the top 3 clubs.

Pogba and Keane even warmed up to one another enough to start contract negotiations. However, it quickly became obvious that there wasn’t enough room for two kings in the kingdom of Manchester and negotiations came to a halt.

Paul Pogba got angry and Roy Keane even angrier. Neither of them was willing to budge and negotiations completely broke down. Paul Pogba complained to the press and Roy Keane countered with transfer listing the Frenchman.

When PSG saw their chance to retrieve Pogba to the motherland he was already mentally on a plane back home. Just look at his big smile in the picture below!

After a bit of negotiation back and forward PSG offered £100M for Pogba, which felt like a really good deal considering that he only had a year left on his conctract. Better cash in on him now, Roy Keane thought, rather than keeping a sulky French midfielder around for a year just waiting to leave on a free transfer.

The sale of Paul Pogba boosts the financial situation even further, but is of course a major setback from a quality point of view. McTominay and Gagliardini are decent central midfielders, but decent is not enough. Not if you want to build a dynasty at least. A major squad overhaul is imminent. Will Roy Keane manage to replace Pogba? With money in the bank will the rebuilding process pick up speed? Make sure you read the next episode to find out. Until then,

“Take that you cunt”

Addendum: The Roy Keane death list

DISCLAIMER: Roy Keane isn’t really going to kill these people, he simply hates them enough to put them on a list. Or is he?

  1. Jürgen Klopp – Whiny German cunt managing shitty Liverpool. No need for more explanations.
  2. Neill Lennon – Cocky little midget. Who do you think you are?
  3. Diogo Dalot – No, you are not the new CR7, “mate”. You’ll never be. Stop acting like it.
  4. Mauricio Pochettino – Argentinian snooze fest. Zzzz…
  5. Paul Pogba – No, you cannot be king. There can only be one king. Enjoy your frog legs! Bye bye!

In-game implications of the death list:
If a person ends up on the list, Roy Keane must ALWAYS interact with that person in the most negative way possible, in press conferences, contract negotiations etc.

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