In between Andy Gray waxing lyrical about the ‘curtain-raiser’ of the season and Paul Scholes flying into a tackle he was never going to win, there was a game on offer which could have graced any pitch round the world.
Manchester United were the victors by three goals to one, with Wayne Rooney performing like a changed man, and even Dimitar Berbatov contributing a cheeky dink leaving United fans to wonder who on earth their scapegoat will be this season. The fact that these two scored also illustrates the great benefits cigarettes seem to have on the modern football player. Bring in tobacco sponsorship!
But why do they never publicise the chosen brand of cancer stick when players are snapped smoking them? I’ve got money on Rooney being a hardcore Marlboro Red fan, and what a marketing ploy that would be. As for Berbatov, Lucky Strikes.
Apart from the tobacco inspired performance from Sir Alex’s charges, you could probably put a lot of Rooney’s success down to the fact that at the World Cup he wasn’t able to play against a defence marshalled by Jonathan Terry. Here he found it, and boy did he revel in it. If that’s the best the rest of the league has to offer, Croxteth’s finest could have quite the season again.
Terry and Ashley Cole were probably more bothered at out-doing each other in the bedpost stakes than winning the McDonalds Community Shield – they sponsor the Olympics, so sponsoring this is really small fry.
Chelsea really did look despondent though. Watching it in a dour West country pub really did sum up Chelsea’s performance for me – rather flat with the hint of age in the air. It’s the way Ancelotti’s squad went at Milan and Chelsea also have all the hallmarks.
Looking through yesterday’s squad, the creaking old guard of Hilario, Terry, and Paulo Ferreira showed how teams could easily exploit their susceptibility to pace in the coming season, and they’ll be thankful Javier Hernandez, or ‘Chicharito’, didn’t start the game. Which brings me to the next point.Why have that on the back of your shirt? I mean you’ve got your Ronaldos, Ronaldinhos, Kakas, but this is just ridiculous. It’s not shortened, it’s not part of his name, it’s a nickname. If this is allowed, surely the rest of the league could have what they want on the back of their shirt. Imagine you get the fans to vote what to have on the back of Ashley Cole’s shirt instead of the benign A. Cole. You wouldn’t even have to do that much with it – a simple replacement of the first consonant in the surname and hey presto.
The final result of 3-1 was probably a fair reflection and the game didn’t leave the safety curtain down as is usually the case in these games – the curtain was well and truly raised to reveal the new season, warts and all.