Beautiful game or just plain ugly?

Busby Babes
Busby Babes
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It is strange how events in early December can link those over half a century apart.

Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United have been described as ‘Highly effective but ugly beats the beautiful game’. The beautiful game goes back much further than the reign of Alex Ferguson.

The Busby Babes were notable not only for being young and gifted, but for being developed by the club itself.

On December 26, 1964, I saw my first game at Bramall Lane. The Manchester team included George Best and survivors of the 1958 Munich air disaster, Bill Foulkes and Bobby Charlton.

Sheffield United had its own home-grown babes, including Len Badger, Alan Woodward, Mick Jones and Alan Birchenall.

The quality of these footballers and their playing style were enjoyed by the 37,000 crowd then and remain in the memory of those fortunate to support these two teams.

The FA Cup has drawn these two clubs together in January. Sadly, one missing spectator will be Alan Hodgkinson MBE, the former goalkeeper for Sheffield in the 1960s who died last week.

I hope the forthcoming FA Cup match will become a beautiful memory, as this season has been poor for the Blades.

The relatively lowly-paid Hodgkinson supplied memories, but I cannot respect a Premiership club that spends millions of pounds buying and paying foreign mercenaries, plays ugly football and flops playing in Europe.

David H Wells

(formerly Cortworth Road, Ecclesall). Wimborne, Dorset