There has been a remarkable amount of agenda fuelled media attention relating to the Ji Dong-Won fiasco. Yet more embarrassment shovelled over a desperately depressing climax to the season. Whilst we’re clutching at proverbial straws to find specks of hope in situations that should make little difference – I can’t help but suggest this might work in our favour.
If you have been living with your head in the sand recently – we played the South Korean international despite the fact the player was ineligible to play. The club stated it was due to a “technical” problem through no wrong doing of our own. Rather than a points deduction, we were fined behind closed doors last year.
Football is as much, if not more, about mentality as it is talent or tactics. A team who goes onto the pitch believing they can win invariably does, it’s quite blatant that belief is a massive void in our flimsy armour.
We have almost been the media darlings of the relegation battle up to now due to our heroic cup run and the popular Gus Poyet taking over from the villainous figure Paolo Di Canio. Pundits, former players, bookies, opposition fans amongst others all fancied us to steer clear of the drop and are all probably a lot more surprised than we are of our struggles. Such is the fickle nature of football media the Ji façade has no doubt given them the hammer required to pummel our likeability. You know what? Good riddance.
It’s not just the media planting the seeds into readers’ minds that we are cheats, almost brushing aside the facts about the matter and that really we should be given more points as a handicap for fielding Ji such was his limited impact. No doubt it will leave a sour taste for our relegation rivals who would be all too keen to see our chances of survival stamped out by a points deduction.
I’m sure we will see more comments about it during post-match interviews this weekend, but we’ve already had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speak on the subject commenting;
“We accept the outcome ... I did not say I'm not bothered, but there's nothing I can do.”
I think this could add a whole different dimension to those home matches against our relegation rivals Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea. There won’t be much mutual respect if we are within touching distance of staying up.
Indirectly this issue just might help us add a bit more bite to our play. A bit more of ‘us against them’ mentality rather than the ‘us against ourselves’ that we currently battle with each football match. No more patronising pats on the back for almost getting something from a game or for trying to play football the right way. Now it’s all about sticking it to the man and getting the points to stay up and really make this issue rile people. Everyone wants us to go down now, everyone wants us to lose - let's make it hurt.
Of course I could and probably am just needlessly putting a positive twist on something that will have nothing to do with results between now and the end of the season. But we do need all the help we can get…