Argentina!For generations it will no doubt be filed alongside those other seismic events that sent a shudder rippling across the globe; the shooting of JFK, the death of Diana, the disappointment of learning Malcolm Glazer had survived both his strokes. Yes, for years people will ask, ‘Where were you when you heard that Tevez and Mascherano had signed for West Ham?’ And most of us will answer in one of two ways, either sat in front of Sky Sports News, or sneaking a look at the Internet at work. Both sources of information share a common feature – inflating the trivial to a wildly disproportionate and hysterical sense of importance.
In recent weeks the Red Issue forum – the burning hub of red related idiocy on the Internet – has hummed with anxiety as United have allowed players of such proven quality as Dirk Kuyt and David James to slip through their fingers. The signing of virtually every player by any other club has been immediately followed by some forumista or another wailing at United’s failure to hijack the deal and bag the player themselves. As the transfer deadline approached this frenzied fretting intensified to an almost ridiculous pitch. You could almost hear the heads being bashed against monitor and keyboard in despair. This in spite of the fact that United have got off to a blazing start to the season and are sitting pretty at the top of the league, after all for the paranoia riddled individuals who inhabit the forum, that’s just what they want you to think.
So you can imaging the reaction when news of West Ham’s ‘sensational double transfer coup’ broke (it’s hard not to fall into tabloid cliché when discussing this kind of stuff). Predictably they wailed like never before. When this was quickly followed by the news that Rossi was being packed off to the toon on loan, the sobs were deafening. Rossi, of course, having been anointed as some kind of saviour on paltry evidence indeed if you ask me, much in the way that Alan Smith has.
But the sense of dismay at the West Ham deals reached critical level. Conspiracy theorists quickly went into action – what was I saying about paranoia? – joining the dots between Corinithians, Media Sports Investments, Abramaovich and Chelsea. The feeling that Tevez and Mascherano are rightfully ‘ours’ was palpable. After all aren’t we the ones who travel up and down the country goading opposition supporters with shouts of ‘Argentina?’ Mancunia is virtually twinned with Buenos Aries these days.
But no, they’ll be sporting the claret and blue, at least for a couple of months, and United must soldier on with a threadbare squad that only contains the single greatest football talent on the planet (Wayne Rooney not Darren Fletcher), two incomparably great veteran midfielders, and a wealth of top-class defenders. January can’t come a moment too soon.