The curiously fickle world of football punditry has taken on a new hypocrisy this term with the fall of the mighty Manchester United…
Jenny Leigh picks out some of the very worst predictions...
Flashback 12 months ago to January 12th 2013 and Gary Neville was clearly in the know about his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson…
“You cannot plan for Sir Alex Ferguson finishing. I honestly don`t see him finishing. His mentality and person hasn`t changed in the last 5-10 years. He is still the same man. He is healthy," he stated.
Fair enough. In his defence, no one could have predicted that but few would have predicted the disastrous start to the season under David Moyes either, Gary Neville included.
“What people forget is that Manchester United still have a group of players that can play. And they have Robin van Persie who is absolutely sensational, as he was in Saturday's 4-1 win," he wrote in the Daily Mail.
"Remember these are the players who won the league by 11 points last season. This is just another challenge for them and the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have to take their share of responsibility. They control the future as much as David Moyes.”
“I believe this team are capable of performing as they did without the former manager," he added.
I’m a big fan of Neville’s punditry in general, I have to say but I did have to laugh at his change of tune in recent weeks….
"You can no longer say United are not doing enough," he said just this week. "You have to say that they haven’t got enough.”
This comes off the back of his calls for United to sign as many as four new players which they clearly need although the squad under David Moyes is almost completely unchanged from the title winners last term.
“I think two, three, four players - but the problem is everyone knows they want top players and to get them will be so difficult because nobody wants to sell them," he began.
"They need a midfield player or two, it's obvious."
"I think it's a squad that needs an impetus and when you sign players at a squad it brings a new lease of life to everybody and that's what it needs to me, not a rebuild. There's a lot of good young talent there,” he added.
I suppose that’ll be those up and coming youngsters Vidic, Evra, Ferdinand, Van Persie and Rooney he mentioned previously.
In Neville’s defence he is not the only one and he is certainly not the worst offender of fickle punditry. Robbie Savage said back in April of last year:
“A lot of people are saying this is not the best United team, but the way they won the title suggests they deserve more credit.”
Yes, I agree Robbie, credit where it’s due…cue headline on the BBC website on January 10th this year which read:
“Robbie Savage says 12 players need to go”
Next in the firing line is Jamie Redknapp who insisted back in August:
“It's been the perfect day for David Moyes. The performance of Robin van Persie was excellent, but we all knew what he can do. He was the difference last year and that's why United won the league and there's no reason why they can't win it again. I think Moyes will be even more delighted with Danny Welbeck today, getting two goals. He challenged him in pre-season and he has delivered. All the question marks about whether David Moyes can handle the pressure have been answered.”
Whilst Jamie’s questions were undoubtedly answered, by January 8th he had some new answers for David Moyes:
"Moyes needs more than one or two new signings - he needs five or six."
“This squad needs major surgery,” he added.
I suppose there is only really one conclusion to be drawn when it comes to football pundits and Manchester United...none of them really know what they're talking about.
image: © lawkeven