Barnsley 2-0 U’s: Tyke That

Sky Sports. Fans Behaviour Charters, VAR, Manchester City. There’s a lot to dislike about modern football, but one of the worst things about the game nowadays is the rise of the ‘Bad Football Take’. Let us explain: Over the last few years as social media has become more and more ingrained with the game we’re seeing more and more hot takes plastered all over Facebook, Twitter and Internet message boards. Some of these takes are reasonable enough (United play better without Ironside), some of them are boring as hell (Messi vs Ronaldo), and some of them are just so absolutely dreadful you wonder if the poster is actually trolling, or just doesn’t understand the game at all.

It seems to us that the worse your team is performing, the worse these takes can be. A successful team doesn’t attract anywhere near as many Bad Football Takes as one performing badly, by virtue of the fanbase enjoying themselves in a sense of unity. Once things start going wrong however, that’s when fractures in the fanbase start to show, and these can be exacerbated by online take merchants throwing in some Bad Football Takes.

It’s no surprise that United’s fanbase is currently experiencing it’s toughest spell in recent memory. There’s a small, but noticeable (and growing) camp that are firmly ‘Bonner Out’, and another that think Lankester should play every minute (maybe not that unreasonable). Online and on the terraces fans who’ve experienced the incredible highs of the last two years together are beginning to mention phrases like “Beck Mark Two” and “Calderwood” as they begin to remember what life is like when things aren’t going so well for the U’s.

As a result we’re beginning to see a number of Bad Football Takes aimed at our club, and after our limp away defeat to Barnsley on Saturday we think we might have just seen the worst one yet: A suggestion that if Brophy is still injured we play Shilow Tracey at LWB instead of Haunstrup.

Now Shilow Tracey has many good qualities as a footballer, but even his agent would struggle to suggest defensive discipline is one of them. Playing him in a defensive role over an actual left back would be tantamount to giving the opposition a 3-0 head start. It’s like suggesting we play Liam Bennett in goal because he can kick it quite hard and Dimi and Mannion have both conceded a couple of goals lately.

No matter how bad this season turns out to be, it’s worth remembering that this club is actually in a far better place than it has been any time in the past 30 odd years, if ever. Yes results on the pitch are disappointing, and yes, it’s looking more and more likely that we could go down. You could call it inevitable, we prefer to retain a grain of hope, but the next two games will have a huge bearing on that. But, we own our ground now. Relegation for United in the past would probably have been fatal. That threat is no more. We’ve got an owner who although might not possess oligarch levels of wealth, deeply cares for the club. We’ve got a manager, that despite his faults (and there are a few for sure), understands the make up of the club from the bottom to the top. We’ve got a Youth Team that are in the Quarter Finals of the FA Youth Cup, with a date at the Emirates. That same Youth system has created three or four players who’ve played in the first team at League One level this season.

Let’s put Saturday behind us. It was a poor performance no doubt, made worse by the fact that the past two games we look like we’d begun to turn a corner. Take nothing away from Barnsley they’re a decent side, and they’re up in the Playoffs for a reason. We’ve got a massive game tomorrow night, and another massive game on Saturday, and if we can pick up six points from those two then all of a sudden things start to look a bit different. If we play like we have played against Lincoln and Ipswich then there’s no reason we can’t win both. Unless we start Shilow at Left Back.

Man of the Match: Probably McGrandles again, but no-one covered themselves in glory.

Soundtrack of the Match: A-Ha – Take On Me

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