United back and the marketing department knows it

It didn’t take long for the over ambition to start. Just a few minutes in fact. No sooner had Manchester United booked their place in the Champions League group stages than Paul Scholes was declaring them one of the contenders for the trophy. The marketing department twitched with excitement.

United were way ahead of the game with this anyway. This morning the club email went out announcing their third strip for the season. A fetching black number with the shorts dipped in snow at the bottom. It probably goes great with jeans.

Last night against Brugge, the coaching staff could be seen in new tracksuits that would not have been out of place on a Neighbours character in the eighties. The club this year have different tracksuits for the warm up sessions in different competitions. Adidas are getting a lot of bang for their substantial bucks.

Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan
Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan

The draw itself has been more than kind to the returning heroes. PSV Eindhoven, Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow demand respect, but Louis van Gaal et al will be delighted to have avoided Barca, Bayern and Juventus. City and Arsenal, palpably, did not.

The search for narrative is not a difficult one though. Memphis Depay just arrived from PSV and he top-scored for them last season. Maybe it will be an emotional return for him, I am sure he will get a lot of attention.


The young number seven is beginning to fill his shirt as a United player. Over the past week he has started buzzing around the pitch in the manner a Manchester United player should. Do not be surprised if he finds himself being thrust to the front of Adidas’s next textiles push.

The football is finally getting there despite all the hand-wringing over United’s possession-based approach under their Dutch chief. So it should be quite frankly. A lot of money has been splashed about and keeping a steady hand with the manager is beginning to pay dividends.

Whilst I include myself in the majority of traditional fans who get fed up with their exploitation by the clubs (cheapest ticket at Old Trafford is now 44 pounds), I am happy enough with what I am seeing at the moment.

The club are back where they should be and experience teaches me not every game can be 4-3 against Newcastle or 3-3 against Barcelona. A bit of patience will go a long way.

Maybe all the way to the San Siro next May.

Dammit! It looks like I can’t resist either.

Follow Mark on www.twitter.com/markjpayne


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