You could have put your house on it - though very few would have.
How many times does a team that sacks its manager bounce back with a win in their first game after the boss leaves? Over the years it’s become a football standard - as certain as the law of the ex which says that any player who leaves a club and returns with another team will have a blinder.
The irony is that United’s 2-1 win on Saturday - their second league win of the season and their second over a ten-men this term - could be the start of an awkward spell for the club and one that United will want to end as soon as possible. If caretaker boss Chris Morgan stays in charge for a few more games and wins them the pressure grows for him to become a legitimate contender for the position - even though the club have said he isn’t and won’t be.
Loyal servant that he is that probably won’t bother him but United’s next move is one of the most crucial in their history. Should the next man in fail the club could be back in the old fourth division for the first time since 1982 and looking at a further erosion of status, income and belief.
No-one within or close to the club or the fans thinks this likely and it shouldn’t be. United is a Premier League club in waiting, in terms of fan base, history and potential not one that ought to be languishing one rung above the part-timers. But the next man in will need to re-define the club’s ambition and re-invigorate the side over the next seven months in a way that hasn’t been done for years.
Destiny is calling someone, let’s hope he’s not got his phone on silent...
*They’re poles apart when it comes to pay, hype and national significance but England’s relationship with the Rugby League World Cup and the FIFA world cup seems almost to have switched places. The soccer team is through to the World Cup finals with two fairly straightforward wins - despite our traditional national hand-wringing in the run up to games.
By contrast our Rugby League side - usually no-nonsense, get-the-job-done types - floundered against Italy ahead of the World Cup when they face a colossal battle against Australia. Just one of those things? According to those who know there was a hint of complacency that will be gone by the time they kick-off on Saturday. It will need to be, at 1/3 favourites the Aussies won’t be taking any prisoners.
You can put your house on that too.