I would wager that David Weir has said the words ‘disappointed’ and ‘disappointing’ more times in the last few weeks than at any previous time in his life.
He played for teams that generally won more than they lost (apart from Scotland), so being involved with a team that cannot win must have come as a bit of a shock to his system.
It’s something he has rarely, if ever, had to contend with and if his team went on a bad run when he was a player he bore only a small part of the overall responsibility. Now, however, he is the man who has to put it right, and I hope he is allowed the time to do so.
I missed Carlisle, and it was something of a blessed relief to not have to get up early and drive for three hours to see United play badly and lose.
And it’s not as if there any great pubs in Carlisle in which to gain some degree of compensation.
So I was reliant on Radio Sheffield, and I always like to listen to Keith Edwards. I have scarcely ever heard him speak anything but sense when he’s assessing a United performance.
He praises when he can, criticises when he feels it is necessary, and overall is the most balanced summariser I have come across.
He admitted to be ‘quite happy’ at half time, even though United hadn’t done much, but the second half had him tearing his hair out. For a brief moment he was even speechless. Then when Carlisle had a corner in the 90th minute and United brought everybody back he went seriously apoplectic.
He accused the players of being robots, unable to think for themselves, unwilling to do anything outside their area of the pitch and contrary to their particular instructions.
Of course, you can’t have players blatantly ignoring team tactics and formations but there are times when some flexibility is necessary. He said if a manager had ordered him back to defend a late corner when United were losing he would have refused, saying: “Gaffer, I can get you a goal.”
Keith’s verdict at the end was: “Absolute rubbish.” I wasn’t there, but I doubt if anybody who was would argue otherwise.