Monday night was the FA cup quarter final between Manchester United and Arsenal. The game was played on United’s home ground, Old Trafford, also known as the Theatre of Dreams. None of the teams are close to winning the league this season, the two teams are separated by just one point lying in 3rd and 4th, so the FA cup was their only chance of getting any silverware this season.
Sadly Arsenal won the game 2-1 and went though to the semifinals after ex-Manchester United player Danny Welbeck scored the winner for Arsenal. Manchester United’s manager, Louis Van Gaal, sold Welbeck to Arsenal last summer, saying that Welbeck was “more a substitute than a line-up player.” Now of course both the press and social media are blowing up the quote just because Welbeck scored one goal, the goal that sent United out of the FA cup.
I can’t remember one news outlet or even anyone on social media disagreeing with the quote at the time, since he had been mostly a substitute player through his years at the club, and United already had Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Falco, considered to be world class strikers, in the club. Even now, with Van Persie and Falco having a rough season, I still think his quote is as true today as it was last summer. It’s not like Welbeck is having such a great season, eight goals in 27 games, that isn’t exactly world-class stats. But both the press and rival fans love to dig up old quotes to try and prove a point. But even the goal that Welbeck scored wasn’t great, it was a mistake from the United defense. United’s right back Antonio Valencia played a weak back pass towards United’s goalkeeper that Welbeck picked up, rounded the keeper and put the ball into the empty net.
It can explain why both managers and players can tend to have “the same” boring interview again and again, because everything you say can be found and used against you at any time. But then again, it can go both ways. Alan Hansen is known for a famous quote that later turned out to hunt him. Hansen worked as a football pundit on BCC’s Match of the Day when he said “you can’t win anything with kids” following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the opening game in the 95/96 season, United went on to win the double, the league and the FA cup, and Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager at the time, made Hansen look like a fool. So either you’re a player, manager or work in the press, everything you say can and will be used against you at some time.