I must admit that I was one of the sceptics who said the internet would never take off and aside from my daily dose of bongo and the odd flutter on bwin, I reckon I could largely do without being connected to the world wide web.
For a start, I don’t want to see anyone’s ugly boat race peering down a camera when I’m talking to them and who needs online shopping when I’ve got Imran’s 24-hour convenience store yards from my front door?
I’ve still got a wireless to keep me abreast of the news and every time I get that rash I go to the quacks, rather than have the net doctor diagnose me with Multiple Neurocysticercosis of the Brain.
The other thing which really narks me about t’internet is the endless, non-stop, procrastinating whinging of ‘columnists’ deliberating about whether there are too many/too few foreigners or too much/not enough violence and how the league and cups have gone to the dogs since football was good pre-1992.
For example, do you remember the big four? Not those girls from Grimsby we couldn’t shake in Magaluf, but the mythical concept floated from Fleet Street a couple of years ago that Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool were set to go on winning everything, forever, while the rest of English football became hopelessly detached.
That was the doomsday scenario we were supposed to be faced with but it hasn’t quite come to fruition thanks to a combination of Hicks and Gillett, Sheikh Mansour and Arsenal’s accountants.
Instead, I’m now reading about how our top sides have deteriorated, congealing the league into a mish-mash ‘It’s a Knockout’-type obstacle course with trips and falls waiting around every corner.
In some ways, Manchester United are the exception and the rule in relation to both of the above scenarios.
So far this season, the Reds have fallen behind to Fulham, Southampton, Liverpool, Cluj, Stoke, Braga (twice), Aston Villa and QPR and have lost to Everton, Tottenham, Galatasaray and Norwich, yet they remain top of the league and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, despite never remotely looking much good.
On Saturday, they travel to basement-dwelling Reading and if I was a snooty green tea-drinking broadsheet writer in 2007, I’d be saying it was all over bar the shouting, even though during the Royals’ last spell in the Premier League they played United six times, drawing three and losing three, and only one of those losses were by more than one goal.
As it’s 2012 – I think – I’ve got no option other than to believe what I read in the Daily Torygraph and go down the avenue of predicting a pretty uncomfortable afternoon for United in the footballing citadel of Berkshire, which suits me on this occasion as I reckon that’s exactly how things will go.
The headlines are that bwin’s 3Way football betting market has the league leaders as 2/5 favourites to scramble together another three points, with Reading miles out at 27/4 and the draw 17/5, but I can see this game going the way of plenty of United’s previous outings and if it does, there is decent money to be made.
Although Brian McDermott’s men have only chalked up one win in the league all season, each time I see them play they seem to be a right handful and you can have the Royals at 5/2 to open the scoring against a Reds side who continually concede first.
However, going behind appears to be an incentive for the team with better powers of recovery than Lazarus and indeed United have claimed 18 points from losing positions this season.
bwin’s run of play market has it a massive 7/1 that one side will take the lead then lose and this punt is certainly going to receive a couple of quid from the Royal Bank of Baines.
As bad as Reading’s league position and record is, I just can’t see United having this all their own way and I think the hosts will register in an eventual defeat, so don’t look too briefly at the multiple correct score of a United 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 win at 29/10.
Continuing the theme, Reading have an awful record after the interval and almost 80% of their goals against come after the re-start, which will again play into the hands of the Red recovery machine.
It’s 333/100 that United win after the half-time draw and a massive 22/1 that United again come from behind to win after the break and that punt is certainly worth a punt for nothing by using your free £20 bet, courtesy of bwin.
I’ll also be investigating goals in the second half and it’s 29/10 the visitors will score twice after a half-time orange and 11/2 it’s three or more.