Football: Fans fail to add fuel to protest vote

Manchester United 2 Coventry City 0

FOUR DAYS after Manchester United agreed to sell their birthright there was scant evidence of change. A small pitch-side advertising hoarding read "Sky Digital Oct 1" and the member of the Socialist Workers' Party on Sir Matt Busby Way had extra reason to damn capitalism. Other than that, very little.

True, the Coventry fans sang barbed chants, but members of United's board will pocket BSkyB's money with equanimity if the only thing they have to face is: "You're not Man U any more". Even Martin Edwards escaped unscathed.

Why Old Trafford is taking the proposed takeover with barely a whimper is a mystery. A local paper poll had 96 per cent opposition to BSkyB's takeover, yet the 55,000 filling the ground seem to have reached a pact of silence over the deal. Rupert Murdoch cannot have bought all of them, can he?

Perhaps the supporters know something we do not because Old Trafford was buzzing with reports the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association are to launch a bid of its own, although it was struggling to stump up the pounds 6,000 for tomorrow night's fans' meeting at the Bridgewater Hall last week, so pounds 623m is probably beyond them.

For the sake of football romantics, you hope the reports that IMUSA, which distributed 25,000 leaflets, will be backed by a rock star are true, but even Paul McCartney would be hard put to find a sum of that magnitude and he is a Liverpool supporter. "Sky's the limit" was a handy motto to paint on faces and banners; it is also probably true in terms of hard cash.

The future would seem to be one-sided games with one team packed with international stars barely breaking sweat to defeat the poorer toilers put up against them. Not unlike this match, in fact.

Coventry's reputation for making things difficult for bigger, richer clubs will not survive if they provide supine performances like this. Even their second-half improvement was dismissed as "propaganda" by their manager Gordon Strachan, likening it to the golfer who completes the final 15 holes in par after the first three have ensured he has no chance in the monthly medal.

"They're not kidding me on," Strachan said. "You could sense something was wrong from the beginning. We were like somebody going to the dentist knowing there's pain coming some time. We weren't brave enough to play against them."

After Paul Telfer had hinted at hidden courage with a header that flew close to a post after six minutes United took over, doing enough to win the match and then taking the foot off the throttle to prepare for Wednesday's Champions' League match against Barcelona.

At the centre of most good things was Dwight Yorke, who, unlike Andy Cole, has come to terms with the extra demands of playing for United immediately. His partnership with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has yielded five goals in two matches and if they had received anything like adequate service on Saturday that figure would have been more.

Even on these meagre rations Yorke managed to take his tally to three goals in as many starts since his pounds 12m move from Aston Villa, tapping in Paul Scholes' pass after Solskjaer's run and Ryan Giggs' cross to the far post had left Coventry's defence looking as sorry as the car park attendants outside Old Trafford caught in the freezing rain.

After 47 minutes the game was as good as over. Yorke's shot was blocked on the line and Paul Scholes' follow-up was turned in by Ronny Johnsen, who later hurt his right ankle and is doubtful for Wedndesday.

Strachan was impressed with United: "They're just the same. If you don't work hard and do your job you are turfed out. Dwight Yorke and Ryan Giggs were chasing all over the pitch and they're millionaires. Money means nothing to them, their hunger for the game is exceptional. They must get if from the manager."

Alex Ferguson was less sure. "The second goal came too early for us," he said. "After that we went to sleep."

Frankly it became little better than a bore but, never mind, BSkyB will be telling us such fare is wonderful/brilliant/magnificent (take the superlative of your choice) in the very near future. You can almost hear Andy Gray already.

Goals: Yorke (19) 1-0; Johnsen (47) 2-0.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; G Neville, Stam, Johnsen (Berg, 89), P Neville; Beckham (Butt, 78), Keane, Scholes, Giggs (Blomqvist, 78); Yorke, Solskjaer. Substitutes not used: Cole, Van der Gouw (gk).

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Shaw, Wallemme, Breen, Burrows; Telfer, Quinn, Boateng, Telfer; Dublin, Huckerby (Hall, 71). Substitutes not used: Shilton, Williams, Soltvedt, Ogrizovic (gk).

Bookings: Manchester United: Beckham, Yorke. Coventry: Burrows.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).

Attendance: 55,193.

Man of the match: Yorke.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015