Are Manchester United The Thickest Club In The Premier League?

Ollie Irish

18th, October 2010


By Alex Netherton

When I started work, I was left to do the more menial tasks. Sorting post, answering the phone, photocopying. The usual stuff that engenders a real respect for real life, and emphatically doesn’t make you anticipate a healthy need for the Bic and a hot bath. However, as I showed a level of intellect slightly above the trolley collectors and Andy Townsend, I got a bit more responsibility and credit. In essence, I learned because it’s what normal people do. Clearly, footballers aren’t normal people.

Since Ronaldo sashayed off to be a lone beacon of frustrated brilliance in Madrid, Manchester United have been shown up to be almost as stupid as the people who comment underneath articles on the internet, maybe with even more arrogance.

Wayne Rooney’s just asserted his independence from Alex Ferguson. If the definition of insanity is to expect a different outcome from the same action, then when does Rooney start receiving his incapacity benefit for mental health problems? Contradict Fergie, and unless you’re more important than he is (and nobody is more important than Scotch Heat) and you either get booted out and achieve little more, or simply get a humiliating few weeks on the sidelines to learn your lesson. If you don’t, you’ll be playing for Blackburn next year. Scholes got a single bollocking, Giggs at most two, and they’re the most succesful British players of their generation. This could be Rooney’s lot. But if he’s not careful, carries on with the fags and slags and never really learns you don’t mess with Ferguson, ex-boxer Rooney might have a couple of years in the Spanish sun, throw a hissy fit at the difficulty of ordering “two lagers and 20 Marlboros” in another language and end up in an Allardyce bruise crew at 29.

But he’s not the only United player who looks superficially like he might, at one point, have been able to hack it abroad. Michael Carrick, the English Xavi according to understandable misapprehension written a few years ago, is a different kind of stupid. He’s football pitch dumb. A classy sack, full of hot air and brainlessness. I heard a possibly apocryphal story about him years ago: in a sound booth, recording an audio track for a ball-on-a-string training device, it took him a full day to record his four lines, unable to read from a simple script. Described accurately during his pomp as, ‘Britain’s finest mid-range passer,’ not only has he learned nothing new – he’s not more effective defensively despite playing in front of the same, often brilliant, back four for five years – he’s become a staid passenger, a less burly John O’Shea.

Ah, John O’Shea. In his first season he nutmegged Figo, playing as United finest attacking left-back since Dennis Irwin, still faster and stronger. What has he become? A less adept Gomer Pyle, as tactically unaware as a Marlon King chat-up line. He’s clearly a technically accomplished player, with an impressive touch for a defender, he rarely misplaces passes, but he doesn’t have the brains to match. Yes, he can score the goal of the century against Arsenal, but he can no longer be trusted with his positioning against even a second rate winger. It’s a shocking state of affairs to have spent literally thousands of hours on a football pitch, and to be beguiled by Jermaine Pennant’s GSCE-level trickery. That’s John O’Shea, ladies and gentlemen.

Worse still, what about Rio? King Merk. A man so sentient he ‘forgot’ a drugs test. Presumably, at that time, Wes Brown would also have ‘forgotten’ to turn up to the test along with ‘footballer’ Kieron Richardson. If that really is the case, then Manchester United have such small intellectual resources that they’ve been regularly captained by a dope dope. I know you can’t choose your family, but anyone linked by blood to dancing mishaped mannequin Anton Ferdinand should not be let anywhere near an down escalator, let alone the captain’s armband.

That, for £120,000 a week, it’s come to this. Rooney’s vain stupidity is just the tip of the iceberg at United.

Posted in Featured, Man Utd, Opinion

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  1. I love the :
    “almost as stupid as the people who comment underneath articles on the internet,”

    comment. I’ve always thought that the best way to convey your thought is not to…..
    Oh. Damn it!

  2. dc says:

    This article isn’t very goodly written.

  3. bruce thomas says:

    I like your style, young man.

    Less thick than Andy Townsend and less groan worthy than James Richardson :)

  4. Alex says:


    Oh look, it’s someone making your standard internet commenter’s wanker comment. That’s a surprise. Must try harder.

    Best, Alexander.

  5. Judge 1 says:

    What a stupid, self absorbed idiotic article. There is rubbish on the internet but this is really the bottom of the barrel.

  6. Jesus says:

    Its funny how you deride the people who read your articles as being wankers but then behave like one yourself when you write your conceited pieces.

    It’s all well and okay to be a cynic but cynicism is a subtle art. You keep messing it up and coming across as angry and bitter.

    and really, if you don’t like what people say about your articles, then stop publishing them or start taking feedback slightly more constructively.

    As for the premise of the article, I think it’s a shame how Carrickl has regressed as a player under Fergie. Football intelligence is rarely correlational to IQ but he could reall play at Spurs. Him playing with Hargreaves or Barry would have been a far more workable system in a 4-2-3-1 for England.

  7. Jesus says:

    i.e. If he had progressed as everyone expected him to when he moved to United.

  8. Alex says:


    No, I’ve just got no interest in criticism that isn’t barely constructive.

    Best, Alexander.

  9. Conor O'Riordan says:

    ‘throw a hissy fit at the difficulty of ordering “two lagers and 20 Marlboros” in another language’

    Brilliant. Great article by the way.
    All the more depressing though what with me being a United fan!

  10. Me says:

    What’s with the anti Blackburn stuff?? Who does oli support?? I’m sorry if we can’t all support the Sky Four you silly little tosser.

  11. Me says:

    Whoops I thought oli wrote this (add me to the list of idiots who post under articles) but who the fuck is this prick. Wanker.

  12. Alex says:


    That doesn’t really make sense.


  13. Sam says:

    I’ll love most Manc bashing articles, but this one is superb & 100% factually correct. What’s more, the fact it’s written by you Monsieur Netherton makes it all the sweeter.
    Good job.

  14. Andy says:


    To an extent what you are saying has some relevance but the title of your article is needlessly sensationalist. Footballers in general have a reputation as being of fairly low-intellect so to target United is blatant anti-United bias. I could write an article on any of the other 19 clubs in the premiership and produce just as many, if not more, examples of stupidity from members of their squad.

    It is interesting that you only deal with a handful of players when there are plenty of intelligent players at the club, see Van Der Sar, Giggs, etc.

    Is is ridiculous that you think a loss in form (Carrick) or an overall lack of ability (O’Shea) is directly associated with a lack of intelligence.

    The standard of journalism on this website is generally interesting and well-informed, you are an unfortunate exception.


  15. Mr. Angry says:

    not only are man united the thickest team in the league, they are also the ugliest! here is how I prove my point… look at: rooney, ji sung park, ferdinand, vidic, evra, nani, valencia, smalling, van der sar, and the worst of the bunch GARY UGLY NEVILLE! come on… you can see what im on about….

  16. Alex says:


    Title is a question, not a statement. Now, I think that the number of dunces in United’s team does make them a contender. You can disagree, of course. Carrick, I do think isn’t bright because he’s not learned anything from playing at a higher level, and I think his regression is not so much form as permanent damage. O’Shea I criticise for tactical deficiencies, which I certainly think can be linked to a lack of intelligence.

    Yes, Giggs and VDS are smart footballers, no argument, but consider there’s Nani and Anderson as well. I think the number of stupid first teamers is worth commenting, and arguably one of Fergie’s biggest problems.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it, and I can see why you disagree, but I think if I’m exaggerating, then you might be a bit, too.

  17. Alex says:


    Should mention that I’m actually a United fan. So the bias thing doesn’t stand.

  18. Me says:


    You’re a bellend.


  19. dc says:

    My apologies, mate, my comment was sarcastic, I should have made that clear. I didn’t mean to criticize your article at all; I think it’s a great article and *very* goodly written.

  20. Alex says:


    Bollocks! My friend suggested that might be the case. I’m an idiot.


  21. dc says:

    I believe “thick” was the word you were looking for.

  22. Alex says:

    Nope. I think as ‘Me’ commented above, it is ‘bellend.’

  23. Andy says:


    Yes, I accept i’m probably exaggerating a bit as well for which I apologise.

    I think the title is more of a rhetorical question, there isn’t much discussion for a counter-argument. My point is just that football is full of thick players and I feel United’s current problems lie elsewhere than a lack of intelligence.

    Personally I think there is a distinct difference between tactical awareness and intelligence. Steven Fry is undoubtedly more intelligent than Nani but I know who I would rather have on the wing.

    Still, none of this was meant as a personal dig at you, I guess we just disagree on this one. Provoking a bit of healthy debate is always welcome so fair play for that.

  24. K says:

    See, its a real shame, cos I’ve always thought your articles had good topics, it’s just that they are a wee bit ‘try hard’…a bit like you are trying to be so very offhand cynical and funny, but you just don’t quite hit the target. There is always something a bit off key and it comes off as affectation rather than genuine humour. Which is unfortunate cos the subject matter is always worth a read.

    Plus, did you deliberately say “I’ve just got no interest in criticism that isn’t barely constructive”? Was that another attempt at funny?

    Anyhoo, keep up the interesting subject matter cos you have a really worthwhile opinion, just stop trying to be so clever with the way you put everything.

  25. Devil310 says:

    As a United fan, I enjoyed reading this article…it was…amusing, to say the least. I mean, if you’re going to talk crap about my team, I figure it goes better when it is put in clever way…

    Anyways, footballers aren’t known for being smart, so it’s kinda mean to focus on United. but hey, it worked….so, there you go!

  26. Alex says:


    Well, I’ve only started in the last year or so being published, so I hope I’ll get better.


  27. Mr. Angry says:

    alexander, dc, me, YOU ARE ALL DICKHEADS

  28. RedSkywalker says:

    Worst artical I’ve ever read on this brilliant site.

  29. Dave says:

    Hit the nail on the head with this article, however you forgot to mention the Man Utd Fans and their lack of sense/intelligence. However I think the lack of sense/intelligence owes to the fact of inbreeding.
    Shagging your Mother/Aunt/Grandma/Sister results in chromosone degradation in the mass Man Utd fan population.

    Take Gary Neville for instance having a father called Neville Neville doesn’t help and only owes to mass chromosone degradation further down the family line generation.

    If Man Utd want to stop the intelligence rot they’ll need to import more fans in from Asia and throw them in the Stretford End.

  30. UTD4LIFE says:

    What Sean Ferrell said, like you can justify Rio’s intelligence because he missed a drugs test or Caricks because you think he’s shit.
    maybe next time you write an article you could write an article on how Rio has managed to win over 10 medals at United and Carrick almost as many and John ‘the cat’ O’Shea more than both of them.

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