COS contributor Jude Ellery wonders why the Old Trafford new boy is getting so much grief before he has even taken the field.
In the sharpest and most ridiculous U-turn since Steven Gerrard decided not to join Chelsea in 2004, Manchester United have parted company with Portuguese forward Bebé, signed only three weeks ago for £7.4m. As rapper and part-time Hollywood actor Will Smith so tunefully told us in ‘Switch’: ‘Last one in, first one out the club.’
OK, that is not technically true. The lyric was in fact the reverse: ‘first one in, last one out.’ Oh, and (almost as significant some may feel) none of the rest is true either. Of course Sir Alex has not abandoned the young lad. That would be preposterous.
It was all a lampoon; a despicable, attention-grabbing ploy, akin to the recent article posted on caughtoffside.com entitled ‘Naked Pictures of Wayne Rooney Hooker Jenny Thompson’, that left numerous readers feeling as foolish and naughty as a seven-year-old scallywag found thumbing through his big brother’s copy of Nuts. Come to think of it, anyone found perusing such a poor quality magazine should be embarrassed.
Apologies, then, for the tabloid-esque (i.e. factually incorrect) headline. But hey, whoever let THE TRUTH get in the way of a good story? Not the ‘real’ journalists, that is for sure.
Last week The Guardian was among those writing stories about Bebé not being good enough to play for the reserves. How could they? One would expect this kind of lazy, sensationalist, two-bit journalism from the red-tops, but The Guardian? Shocking. It was especially ironic considering regular columnist Charlie ‘Cynical’ Brooker has just written a piece for the broadsheet, lambasting journalists for this very crime – specifically the American press and their horribly under-researched ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ headlines, about something that was neither at Ground Zero, nor a Mosque.
It seems a smear campaign has begun against the poor Bebé. Is it because he spent some time on the streets? Is it because now the Glazers have put their hands in their pockets, for once the Fleet Street vultures could not think of a legitimate gripe against The Red Devils? The stories (for that is what they are) centred on the fact that Bebé had played pre-season games for previous club Vitoria de Guimares, but was deemed not good enough (well, not fit enough, but which is more eye-catching?) to play for United reserves.
Ferguson vehemently defended his new signing, calling the attacks on him ‘bitter’. We may have a pot/kettle situation here, but if Fergie got this irate about the articles he must truly believe he has a star in the making.
The reality of the situation: Bebé is on an endurance training programme to increase his fitness levels, which unsurprisingly are not up to the requirements of Old Trafford players. Ferguson said: ‘I know he has had a couple of vicious attacks on him for why he wasn’t playing in the reserve game but he was never going to be playing.’
United Rant forum contributor ‘Just1n’ sums things up nicely:
‘The kid just joined us, coming from a background of street football. It will take a while before he learns about our tactics and playing style. He doesn’t even speak English. Must be in culture shock. 6 weeks ago he was eating at a soup kitchen. Give the lad a chance ffs.
Hear hear. Leave the poor Bebé alone.
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