There was a degree of derision on the messageboards about the visit of Manchester United (XI) yesterday. Of course nobody was seduced by a visitation of ‘Manure’, they were all there on some sort of fan-based scouting mission to undertake a root abd branch analysis of the current pre-season progress of the home team.

Truth is, whilst the Manchester United team on show yesterday probably represent some of the finest young talent in the country, most of them have probably already missed the boat of being Manchester United first-teamers.

One or two might make it to the fringes of the squad, whilst others will become vaguely recognisable names from early rounds of the Carling Cup. A small number will eventually be sold off for an over inflated fee to a Championship side. Some will probably make it to the likes of Bury and Tranmere or earn a small summer wage as a Manchester United ‘Legend’ in the Sky Sports Masters. The rest will impress girls with their inflated stories of training with Ronaldo, whilst holding their stomachs in and pretending not to be a plumber or painter decorator.

This is not a team of future superstars, because, by their age, they should already be on lucrative pre-season tours of South Africa with the first team. Which raises the question as to why over 6,000 people made it to yesterday’s 2-2 draw. In short, everyone is enticed by the Manchester United brand, which rather like Coca Cola and MacDonalds, is probably why we hate it so much.

Not much else has been going on, apart from a procession of new goalkeepers – the last two seasons we’ve been cursed by striking, is this a sign that the curse has focussed itself at the other end of the pitch?

The other main piece of news is that Adam Murray is the new captain. In some ways, not a surprise; he was a highly influential figure towards the end of last season. However, we must question what Barry Quinn did wrong. Perhaps nothing – but maybe, with Willmott and Foster fit, Darren Patterson is struggling to find a regular spot for him in the first team.

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