As the start of the new season begins for United with the Premier League visit of Crystal Palace to Old Trafford, I guess there are many things we can be grateful for. Not least the fact that we are still able watch football, even though from a distance. If like me, the opening home game of the season normally fills you with the excitement of walking to the Theatre of Dreams on opening matchday, grabbing a pre-match burger and chips on the way and entering the stadium to be greeted by the pristine pitch and overpriced beverages, then these are difficult times.
It seems like only yesterday that the season ended, however here we go again! An extremely short pre-season where once again United have not exactly lit up the transfer market, with the only piece of business was the purchase of the promising young Dutchman, Donny van de Beek from Ajax, another in a long line of imports from just over the sea and one who has the backing to succeed from the likes of United legends van der Sar and van Persie, so he must be quality, right?
Edwin van der Sar commented that he and Ajax would miss van de Beek, but understands how difficult it is to turn down a move to United when they come calling. What a shame many other players clearly don't share his opinion.
Once again United have been linked with every player on the planet since the transfer window opened, and once again the lack of buys has whipped the fans into a fury with the main source of anger directed firmly at the door of Ed Woodward. While other clubs around us have been splashing out money left, right and centre (back), we as a team have done nothing. Surely this is a time to strengthen and build on what has to be seen as a successful end to last season by qualifying for the Champions League. But here we are again! It doesn't matter all the excuses that the hierarchy come out with, the fact is our club has struggled in the transfer market every season that Woodward has been at the helm. If Edwin misses Donny so much he should come back as director of football or even CEO and short it out.
Anyway, it is a new campaign and as always I like to look at the positives and there are some out there. For example, new fans' player of the season Bruno Fernandes should once again bring the inventiveness and drive to the team in what will be his first complete season. The players didn't agree with the fans as they voted for Anthony Martial as their player of the season and doesn't he seem happier these days? Gone is the slouchy downbeat player of the Mourinho era and in with the new under Ole. A player who is at last living up to his credentials as a striker. Now all Ole has to do is sort out Marcus!
Between the sticks is also a promising situation. As much as I admire and respect Romero, I believe that the return of Henderson will keep de Gea on his toes as he is more of a threat to his number 1 status than Sergio. A spot of competition never hurt anyone. Talking of competition, I would like to see more of an effort from the likes of Lingard and Pereira if they are to stay, if not then it could be the time to part ways with some of the fringe players.
During the very short period between the end of last season and the beginning of this one some of the players have not exactly covered themselves in glory off the pitch, you know who I'm talking about. Some of the players should know better, and some are on that learning curve of life. My thoughts on this are that whatever they do and wherever they go in their free-time the players are always going to be there for the taking, whether it be by the media or the public wanting to have a pop and get their names in the papers. It's happened before, and it will continue to happen in the future, but it will be a true reflection of their characters how the players respond to the publicity. Bestie didn't exactly live the life of a hermit and we still sing about joining him for a few drinks up above.
So that's it. I look forward to the day when we can all walk down Sir Matt Busby Way, adorned in our new Zebra kit and join together once more at the true home of football.
Enjoy the bumpy ride that inevitably comes from watching United, I know I will.