Now that the dust has settled, and Woodward has returned from a nice all expenses paid holiday in Catalonia without a pacey wide forward stashed in his luggage, we get to talk about what comes next. Don't waste your time thinking about one of the richest and most storied clubs in world football's chief executive's chronic and very high profile failures. That's all in the past, man. Let's look to the future! Besides, the only explanation for Manchester United suddenly losing interest in Pedro the day he agreed terms with Chelsea is they have something even better lined up. Sure, why not. Just go with me on this one. Thomas Muller would certainly qualify, (hey it could happen) or even that old, unsettled Manchester United fancy, the inimitable Gareth Bale.
Aw yes. Bale. The simian featured human piston with thighs like artillery cannons. The single most powerful British engine ever engineered. Fastest man on the pitch without the ball, somehow even faster with it, and even faster still underwater holding a very heavy rock. Surprisingly though, or maybe not depending on your interests I guess, a close examination of his evolving and sometimes devolving hairstyles mirror the massive ups and somewhat smaller downs of his young career.
Look 1: The Harry Potter Movie Extra circa 2007
At this point in his career, he was basically just a guy, and he looks like it. He was a teenage fullback prospect on a slightly better than middling English team, and fittingly, he had looks like a grocery store clerk who thinks nobody can tell he snuck one ear bud under his amorphous blob of hair so he can listen to the Kooks while he haphazardly bags your groceries. Throwing the meat in with the milk, and stashing your fruit on the bottom where it gets smashed. The less said about this look the better. Any self-respecting person will say they've grown as a person since their late teens. No reason to believe Bale is any different.
Look 2: The Wholesome Hero circa 2012
Success. Just take a look at that super jock. His muscles have collided and conflated seemingly at random, pushing his hair farther and farther up his head. This is the hair of a man that scored a hat trick against the European champions by taking the ball and forcibly throwing it down their throat over and over. This is the hair of a man that scored 21 goals in 33 league games. His look says, yes I'm a super athlete, capable of feats hitherto only thought possible by machines, but I'm also grounded and attainable. Nothing fancy, no hair gel or weird swoops, just hard work and sheer power. He'd be just as at home carrying Tottenham farther than they'd been in years as he would be on a farm fixing a tractor by merely whacking the engine block as hard as he can with a wrench.
Look 3: Galactico circa 2013
Look, when you're the most expensive footballer ever, playing for Real fucking Madrid, and bringing home la decima, you have to look the part. Fair to say this qualifies. There's some sort of hair clip involved, and it looks like maybe a bump it or two. About a gallon of mousse has to be applied every half hour. He had a full team of stage managers handling his hair cut at all times, yanking on pulleys that pulled his bangs one way or the other, and adjusting lighting. This was a man truly ready to walk in the footsteps of Beckham, Guti, and Cristiano Ronaldo. It was his time, and he was taking it.
Look 4: The Hangover current day
They did it. It took them a year, but they finally turned him feral. His inconsistent form, the constant booing, Rafa Benitez, they broke him. He's no longer a footballer. Bad turned to worse and his face shows it. What is that a beard and a top knot? He's like a sloppy Nicholas Bendtner. You'd almost expect to find his house burned down, with him sitting next to the rubble gnawing on a chicken bone he held with his feet. It's a tragedy, and the best evidence yet that he simply needs saving. One day a hero will come and rip him away from the despotic hands of Florentino Perez, and mercifully offer him a hot shower.
Based on this past data, we can project what he'd look like with Manchester United.
An artist's rendering: