Big Ron places the blame for Manchester United’s current defensive woes on the gap where Rio Ferdinand once stood. It seems fair enough, but the piece of this article which jumped out at me was Ron outlining his doubts about Wes Brown.

‘He’s not a muck and nettles player’ is a genius, iambic turn of phrase and, although the argument smacks of a ‘he hasn’t paid his dues’ attitude which I’d find tiresome elsewhere, it sums up very nicely the frustration I feel when players seem unwilling to get stuck in.

‘Get stuck in” there I go reverting to footballing clich’. It’s so easy to do, and Atkinson seems very often to sidestep that by inventing new pseudo-clich’s, phrases which (perhaps) originate in the Ron mind but which have the ring of the 1950s training ground. Sometimes I think Ron takes more pleasure in the language surrounding the game than he does in the game itself. Sometimes I hope I’m right.