Here is a story that you may have heard, or may not, depending on your age. It was originally written by Hans Christian Anderson, I believe.
There was once an emperor who lived at a time when magic still existed in the world. One day two brothers appeared in his court claiming to have manufactured a cloth that could only be seen by wise people. Foolish folk would see nothing.
'Ah!' thought the emperor, 'I will now be able to know which of my ministers is wise, and which foolish. I can then get rid of the foolish and surround myself with wise men.'
So the emperor told the men to bring a bolt of the cloth for him to see. The two brothers left, and when they returned they appeared to be struggling with something between them, but the emperor could see nothing. However, all the courtiers appeared to see a bolt of cloth, if their comments were anything to go by.
'Oh dear,' thought the emperor, 'I must be a foolish man. I mustn't let the court know I can't see it.' So he spoke aloud exclaiming, 'What beautiful colours. I have never seen such colours in a cloth before.'
All the court murmured their agreement.
The emperor asked the brothers to make him a suit of clothes with the cloth and so the brothers were given a room in the palace in which to work. Every time someone entered the room, the brothers were hard at work, cutting and sewing.
Eventually the two men said the suit was finished and the emperor went for a final fitting. Everyone exclaimed how the new clothes suited the emperor and how the colours of the jacket and trousers complemented each other and the emperor's colouring.
'I will wear it at the parade tomorrow,' exclaimed the emperor, secretly thinking that he would get an idea as to how wise or foolish his subjects were as well as his ministers and courtiers.
So the next day, he donned the clothes and set off in the parade. All the people exclaimed how good he looked in his new clothes as he strode along before his soldiers and ministers, until suddenly, a child's voice came from out of the crowd.
'But the emperor hasn't got any clothes on!'
His mother and father tried to hush the little boy, not wanting people to think their son was foolish, but a murmur began in the crowd. It grew louder and louder until the whole crowd was laughing and pointing, saying,
'The emperor has nothing on!'
Soon the courtiers and the soldiers joined in and the emperor realised that the cloth did indeed show who was foolish--it was him.
Now why have I told this story?
I am a lifelong Manchester United supporter, and I think this story is rather pertinent to what has been happening at the club recently. This is not only in the new 'Moyes era', but started, I hesitate to say, in the era of the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
There are some players who are boosted up beyond all recognition. I am speaking of Tom Cleverley and David de Gea in particular, but I will come to others in a moment. Tom Cleverley is not good enough for Man U. He is not creative in any way, shape or form. Most of his passes are backwards: he passes back to the person he's just received the ball from too often when that person can't do anything with it: he frequently backs out of challenges: he rarely runs at people when he has the ball: he backs away from people with the ball: he often passes the ball to someone who has 2 or 3 opposition around him: he also gives the ball away too frequently.
David de Gea: People say 'He has potential: He's only young: He's improved:' OK, but Man U is arguably the biggest club in the world. We shouldn't have a journeyman goalkeeper who is still learning! De Gea punches too much, often straight to the opposition who then go on to score: he saves with his feet not his hands: he opens his legs when saving and the ball goes through: he isn't tall enough. There have been times when if he had been a few inches taller he would have saved a shot. OK, he can't help that.
Now everyone is on about Janasej. He's had 1 game when he started for Man U. Most of the game he was just about OK, but not exceptional, but then he scored 2 good goals and he's the best thing since sliced bread. On 1 match! We have other young players who are better, but are not given a chance or are out on loan, scoring for other clubs.
We have 2 excellent midfield players in Anderson and Kagawa, both creative. When we were playing West Brom the other week, Man U were running the game with those 2 in midfield in the first half, but it all went to pot when they were substituted.
It seems to me that no one dare say that these players, (de Gea, Cleverley, Janasej) are just not good enough. Someone somewhere has said that they are brilliant and, like the courtiers and the emperor, no one wants to be the person to say 'The emperor has nothing on' in case they appear foolish. A pity one of them seems to be our manager!
It isn't only Man U that suffers from this. Other teams have their Cleverley too. Is Wilshire really as good as Pele?