Search icon


09th Jul 2019

An in-depth analysis of all the beef in the Man Utd preseason video

Kyle Picknell

The most disturbing aspect of it is, of course, the music

Honestly, what the fuck is that music? Even the Zapruder film, which contains actual scatted brains and skull, is more watchable than this awful, twee Manchester United-branded film of all their semi-useless players strolling around in sandals to a soundtrack that would be more befitting slapped on a Love Island montage of two people on a jet ski date.

You’ll have seen the video already if only because those notorious troublemakers Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are at it again, slowly eroding this once great football club from the insides by *checks notes* doing that thing literally every group of mates does where they dramatically pretend to fall out other an innocuous difference of opinion.

The thing is… what about all the other telltale signs of trouble, and division, and conflict within the ranks? They are everywhere in the footage if only you look hard enough.

Fortunately for you lot, the drama-seekers, the simple injectors-of-it, I have run both a magnifying glass over and a fine-toothed comb through this horrendous corporate shell of a video and found all the evidence you will ever need that Manchester United is a club in turmoil.

Let’s go through it, step by step.

Chris Smalling has, quite simply, had enough

Look at that face. Look at it. It is clear that Chris Smalling hasn’t felt this disrespected since Louis van Gaal called him his third captain. And then said his name was ‘Mr Mike Smalling’.

Evidently, Ed Woodward bidding £70 million for an unearthed Easter Island in some broad-footed football boots, Jacob Harry Maguire, is the final straw. Mike Smalling has had enough. He has simply had enough this time round. He might not even go through that classic rigmarole of drastically changing his hair midway through the season so the unknowing football supporter thinks a new semi-exotic defender has rocked up at Old Trafford.

I’m telling you. That’s why he does it. That is the only reason.Why else do you think Phil Jones went bleach blonde? It was on Smalling’s advice. I’m telling you.

Scott McTominay secretly hates Sergio Romero and Andreas Pereira

Have you ever seen such a look of pure, unadulterated disgust? Soak it in. Scott McTominay, here, clearly, clearly, hating on the South American bench-warmers with all the fury of a thousand suns. Why? What could sweet Andreas and amicable Sergio have possibly done to offend the young, lanky, Lancashire-y, midfielder?

The truth will come out eventually. Until then, your guess is as good as mine. My best guess? I reckon they cabbaged his rucksack like you do at school. I don’t know what else it could be. And clearly they’re still pissing themselves about it.

Axel Tuanzebe is quite blatantly pretending to listen to music so he doesn’t have to talk to Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka can’t believe what he’s seeing 

Axel Tuanzebe has returned from his successful loan spell at Aston Villa, where he formed an imperious partnership at the back with Tyrone Mings and helped Villa return to the Premier League. And, already, he can’t be arsed to talk to anyone. He misses Jack Grealish and John McGinn. He misses big Tyrone, or Alan Hutton, or Mile Jedinak, or, fuck, even Glenn Whelan, putting his arm around him and telling him everything is going to be ok. He misses that camaraderie, that team spirit, that togetherness.

Already he is pretending to be – but not actually – listening to music, as though he’s stepping onto packed public transport with a migraine, or having to hotdesk in an unfamiliar corner of the office.

And in response, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is already having regrets. Deep, impossible, soul-altering regrets about what kind of project he has joined.

Mason Greenwood is secretly trying to ask Tahith Chong who the guy in the cap is

“No honestly bro I thought we sold Wayne Rooney yearssssss ago. I don’t know who this guy is. The sports science intern maybe? Why is he wearing that hat and no socks with his sliders loooooooool. BRUV he’s a big guy yano! He is chunky!”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has had enough of this shit. He’s been there literal days

Back to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, whose expression here is clearly a troubled cry for help. Have you ever seen a human being more fed up with his environment than this? He has literally been with the team for days. Days. And already he is giving it the full The Office side-eye to camera, “What the fuck am I even doing here? This is bullshit”, expression.

You hate to see it. But in a much more real, accurate sense, you do. You just fucking love to see it. Wilfried Zaha sends his regards.

David De Gea is so upset he can’t even look at Juan Mata when he is talking to him

Now this, this has all the makings of a romantic stroll along the canal turned sour. Everything was going so smoothly, the picnic was delightful, the sun is still out but setting, the golden hour was bouncing off the azure water onto your adoring faces, and then BANG. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, trouble in paradise. One of you has made a fairly inconsequential of how much of the cheese the other consumed and suddenly you are faced with this: a double side-on stroll with one party just fucking glaring at the other, who, in turn, refuses to turn their head and keeps walking, pretending they don’t exist.

It will last for several hours.

Look at their body language. The way De Gea is clutching his own arm, longing for affection, or the way Juan Mata is striding alongside him in an aggressive, authoritative manner. This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all.

Victor Lindelof can’t stop itching his nose

Paul Pogba is away with the fairies, checking out potential property investments for when he inevitably ends up playing for Melbourne Victory in the A-League at 36 years of age. Antony Martial is giving both saucy barrels to the camera operator because he doesn’t know what else to do. Victor Lindelof, currently the closest thing to a dominant centre back United have, is getting hammered by sudden-onset extreme hayfever. And Eric Bailly is just happy to be there.

Is this the makings of a Champions League squad? No. No it isn’t. I’m sorry, but it isn’t.

The simultaneous downbeat posture of this dude in a white t-shirt and Scott McTominay is telling

And then there’s this. The final nail in the Manchester United coffin. The slumping, beaten, disinterested posture of both Scott McTominay and a random, fairly large, member of their backroom staff. Possibly the team masseuse. This is it, everyone. This is all the evidence you need that United are finishing seventh next season. ‘Lump on’, as they say. Lump on.