Published: Aug 30 98
"His Brain Went On Holiday While Bill Stayed Home...
And Wrote To Me."
Well, we all know about the "Anyone But United" school out there. Itís a large school, but has never included anyone bright enough to graduate. I heard, in a roundabout way, from a typical "ABU" type this week, and seeing as his comments were circulated in the newsletter, I thought my reply might as well get equal exposure. The name this clown uses is William Boyd, although itís anyoneís guess if this is his real name. What follows is my e-mail to this person regarding his comments on last weekís Reditorial "Munich, Memories and Small Minds.
Dear Bill, I always enjoy receiving intelligent reaction to what I write, but part of the deal is I also get mindless rubbish from the likes of you. You begin your remarks by saying, "You'll love the irony in this title." Actually I do appreciate the irony, for when I wrote it, and decided to use Ďsmall minds" in the title I had no idea I was going to get reaction from one.
You accuse me of "waffling on in a sycophantic style about some French bloke." Itís all in your point of view, I guess. To my mind I was paying tribute to one of the best players to perform in England in recent memory. The player happens to be from France. Obviously your anti-Manchester United bias will not allow you to accept that.
You quote me as follows. "THAT goal against Sunderland and Eric's reaction" and follow with the statement, "That must have been memorable :-)".
Well Bill, great goals are great goals no matter which team constitutes the opposition against which they are scored. Also, for the record, Sunderland was a Premiership team that year. They began the season with a goalless draw against Leicester, then beat Nottingham Forest 4-1, and followed that with a draw AT Anfield. 3-0 wins over both Chelsea and Everton were also features of that season for Sunderland, so pushovers they were not. If you had bothered to look up their results from that year you would already know that, but donít worry, Iíve done your research for you.
Next quote: "The infamous kung fu kick on the Crystal Palace cretin" Your reaction: "AKA Pass the buck to the Palace fan."
So poor Matthew Simmons was just the unsuspecting victim of Cantonaís temper, is that what you are saying, Bill? Well of course he was. I mean itís part and parcel of the game isnít it, having some lout rush from his seat to the front of the stands, yelling obscenities and racist remarks at a player. Footballers should be used to this kind of abuse, right? Well, let me remind you such behavior is a criminal offense, and Simmons was convicted. Do you really think what he did is acceptable? In an ideal world Cantona would have just ignored the moron. But in an ideal world there wouldnít be a place for the likes of such bigots as Matthew Simmons either.
Next quote: "The cup final goal against Liverpool, a sublime piece of skill". Your reaction: "Or just a straight forward shot."
No, not a straightforward shot........Actually a shot made while the player was moving backward. Obviously you donít remember the goal very well, so Iíll detail it again for you. (Youíre welcome).
David James went to meet the United corner, but only managed to knock it slightly to the right and front of him where it bounced off Ian Rush toward Cantona. The United number 7 had to back up a couple of paces to make sure he could get a first time shot away, which he did, and please try to follow me here Bill, while still moving BACKWARDS. Try it sometime. Have a friend, if you have any, bounce the ball to you and try it. Youíll know the ball is coming to you long before it does, Cantona had less than a second to react. You wonít have the pressure of being in a Cup final. Cantona did. You wonít have to thread the ball through a crowded penalty area. Cantona had to, and did so successfully. Cantona kept the ball down. You will more than likely balloon it over the bar, because it is difficult to keep a ball down when you hit it while you are moving BACKWARDS.
Next quote: "The disdainful glare Eric would direct at a fellow United player" Your comment: "This is when Eric saw 'another' Cole miss." Hey, Call a news conference Billyboy. We finally agree on something. Cole was the target of some laser-like looks. But he wasnít alone, and when he did score Cantona was there to congratulate him. You see, Bill, and this may be foreign to you, but some people have high standards for their work, and wonít settle for any old rubbish.
Next quote: "Was he the best ever to wear a United shirt?" Your comment: "If you never saw George Best :-) "
Oh Bill. And all along I thought you had actually READ my article. Or did the person who was reading it to you, or maybe just helping with the big words pass over the following part, which I have reproduced for your benefit.
"Those of us privileged enough to have seen the team of the mid 60's play will talk of the contributions of Charlton, and the man we called the King back then, Denis law. We marveled at the skills of George Best and to this day shake our heads at what we saw him do, not quite believing any player could actually do those things. "
So just to make it plain to you, yes I saw George Best, in person, many times, and he was brilliant, no doubt about it. But like him or not Cantona was also a brilliant player, and if you canít see that then you know nothing about the skills of the game. But to Ďbe the best everí means, to me, more than what you can do as an individual. It means what part you play as a team member, and there is no doubt Cantona was much more of a leader in that respect than Best ever was. The record will show, if you would care to look it up, Bill, that with Best in the side United won championships twice, in the 64-65 and 66-67 seasons. Best was never in an FA Cup winning side, however his contribution to the European Cup winning side of 1968 is without dispute. With Eric Cantona in the side United won the championship 4 times and the FA Cup twice.
In terms of success measured by trophies won, Cantona tops Best.
You say "very funny" when I talk about Alex Ferguson, Bobby Charlton, and Harry Gregg as people whose opinions have to be respected. Even those who make a living in football who dislike Ferguson will tell you he knows the game. He has been the most successful manager in the game in England in the 1990ís. Oh, just pure dumb luck, eh Bill. Right. Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg have more than a little bit of knowledge about football too.
I wrote: "Ferguson also believes the Cantona transfer was the best deal he ever made" Your comment: "Better than Dwight Yorke?"
Ask me that in 10 years time, not after Yorke has played one game for the club. Iím not saying Yorke will turn out to be the greatest move Ferguson ever made. Iím saying such things canít be judged on the evidence of one appearance. And if thatís what you did by making this remark then you know even less about the game than I think you do. (And thatís not much)
You know, Bill, if you tried reasoned, logical argument to make your point, instead of pathetic sarcasm without any attempt at stating why you disagree, and what you believe to be true, then you might just get some respect.
I wrote of "those who live thousands of miles away but make the occasional trek to Old Trafford at great expense just to drink in the atmosphere" and your comment was "SPLUTTER".
SPLUTTER? There are thousands of words in the English language and "SPLUTTER" is the best you can do? Brilliant Bill, a witty retort worthy of Wilde. But then again he has been dead for years, hasnít he. Suffice to say if you have ever been to Old Trafford, and I have no idea if you have or not, but if you have and could not feel the atmosphere, then you must surely be as dead as Wilde is. North of the neck, anyway.
And when I wrote that the board of directors at Old Trafford have a debt to all the managers and players who have ever worn Unitedís colours, "Especially those who died in Munich in 1958." Your comment was "Oh well... at least the real purpose of last weeks match got a slight mention".
Well, I didnít really think readers would need clubbing over the head about this. You see most knowledgeable people, and you have shown me by your attempts at criticism and wit that you are on the outside looking in as far as that group is concerned, were well aware of the event for which Cantona was returning. As for "a slight mention", again, if you had paid any attention to the article at all you would see the Munich benefit was mentioned TWICE before you seem to have noticed it. And one of those mentions was in the very first paragraph of the column.
Look, if you are going to disagree with me, then fine, I welcome it. But argue your case in a logical manner, donít change or ignore facts just to state your case because, when such errors in your case are pointed out, people see you for the fool you are. You strike me as a United-hater; a card carrying Anyone But United type whose existence I pity.
I am willing to bet you are one of those who takes great joy in booing Manchester United players when they appear for England.
It must be awful to ooze through life with only negative thoughts, emotions and words. What a pathetic way to live it must be, to be able to boost your own self-esteem only by bringing others down, rather than trying to attain higher goals yourself. If it is any comfort to you, Bill, you arenít alone. There are many other pitiable losers out there too. I just hope you are the last one I hear from in this venue.