Before I read TF 105, the idea of having to review it, and thus pay much attention to what was being said by the fine boys and girls that write for it would have filled me with dread- such were the comical (if you weren’t a United fan) event of the summer. I expected it to be full of anti-Kinnear and anti-Ashley rants. I could have totally understood this, but I did wonder whether it might be so full of this stuff that it might just get a bit boring by the end- just like this summer has. Thankfully, that’s far from the case. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty on this summer’s two heroes (but Neil’s piece on Kinnear manages to express how ludicrous his appointment was, but without just ranting), but plenty more aside, and even the angry stuff is done with the wit, insight and downright charm we’ve come to expect.
The editorial is (as usual) spot on, and sets the tone for the whole thing. It’s withering in its assessment of Ashley and the other fella, but also sets out a view of what the club should be striving to be. Whether we ever would get there is not really the point. The idea that the least we ought to demand is that people associated with the club act with a bit of dignity and professionalism is one that I think we can all agree with. Having said that, I guess for many, winning games, no matter who is involved is the only thing that matters.
I found Alex Hurt’s piece on our former-MD very interesting, and it seemed to echo everything you hear about the guy (Derek, not Alex) That he’ll be missed (again, Derek, not Alex) says all we need to know about who’s in charge now. Gareth’s bit about the way we’re heading under Ashley is similarly spot on. As is his assessment of Mick Harford’s appearance.
Any article that talks about Shola is always going to get me interested, and I thought Richard was a lot fairer on him than most tend to be- and he didn’t really cover the fact that the guy has played when absolutely fucked time after time, unlike some of his horse race loving colleagues down the years. For a bit of balance, I thought Shola’s willingness to be associated with the W*nga deal could have been mentioned, as that lost him a little bit of respect in my eyes. This brings us neatly on to Gavin Bradshaw’s take on the Cissé situation. He calls W*nga Panto Villains, when to be honest I would just lose the Panto part of that. He hits the nail on the head when he says “Only Cissé knows…” but I also think it’s true that what we do know of Dave is that he’s not your typical footballer, and without knowing the full facts, and having a deep understanding of both Islamic Law, and more importantly Cissé’s take on it, I don’t really think people can judge the whole thing too much. It’s a complicated issue for anyone to talk about, but it’s a relief that Gavin doesn’t just reel off some rant about casinos…
All the regulars are as good as ever- Feel Every Beat, Sub Culture, Geordies Here… and particularly TBAWE, which is always worth a read even if it’s rehashing events from a month or two ago. I always think Paully ought to be given more than one page as well. Drums and Wires was a relief from the doom and gloom (and I thought the review of the Roses summed up the awfulness of the sound that night). The idea of trying to work out where to play Sissoko is a good one (one that I wish the manager would devote some of his time to) but I think it slightly missed the mark. Or maybe it’s just that he’ll be forced to play a variety of positions as the manager is far too spineless to drop either Tiote or Cabaye.
Overall, I think it was a cracking read, one that dealt with the events of the summer really well. There’s plenty of doom and gloom about what’s happening at the moment, but it was also an attempt to look more broadly at where the hell we might be heading to if something doesn’t change. TF 105 seemed to manage to still seem relevant and fresh, even though it mainly covered events that we all know far too well. I guess all that might have been missing was some sort of insight into how the club might try to get itself back towards the position set out in the editorial- namely operating with some pride and ambition- but then with this Owner, this Director of Football and (most of all in my opinion, I think he gets off very, very lightly in this issue) this Manager, I guess there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of hope.
If you’ve read the current issue of true faith (TF105) let us know what you thought was good, not so good and any ideas how we might improve the next one by posting in the comments box below. Please be gentle, we are fragile souls in the TF bunker.