It's all a bit quiet out there. Manchester United's competence at the weekend, coupled with the closure of transfer window, has left a large hole where either anger or speculation should be, and so the Busby Babe must do what all forelock-tugging English subjects do in such dire situations. We turn to the BBC.
Over on the BBC website is a quite interesting list entitled "What are the top questions asked about your club?" Essentially an exercise in harvesting Google for content, there are nevertheless some faintly amusing ones. "The second and third most popular questions about Arsenal, for example, are "Why do Arsenal have so many injuries?" and "Why didn't Arsenal sign anyone?" And you thought Arsene Wenger was a Bing man.
Other questions of note include "Why aren't Aston Villa in the Champions League?", "Why are Leicester City doing so well?" and "Why are Liverpool so bad?" (Since you ask: they're rubbish; nobody knows; and cosmic justice.) But it's Manchester United you're here for, and as a service to any passing Googlers, here are the definitive answers to the five most Googled questions about Manchester United:
1.Why are Man United wearing black armbands?
Black armbands usually mean that somebody connected with the club has died. Occasionally they are worn by the whole league in memory of somebody of national significance or to mark a tragedy of national or international significance. Depends, really; the question's hopelessly imprecise. What date are you talking about?
2.Why do Leeds hate Man United?
Tradition states that the rivalry goes back to the War of the Roses, in which the House of Lancaster defeated the House of York, deposed Richard III, and generally kicked off centuries of mutual cross-Pennine contempt. However, a more likely origin, according to Rob Bagchi in the Guardian, is an FA Cup semifinal in 1965. Apparently the game was
a ragged, violent draw. Nobby Stiles's early dreadful tackle on Leeds' left-winger Albert Johanneson set the tone for a game which quickly degenerated into a series of skirmishes on and off the ball between Jack Charlton and Denis Law, and Billy Bremner and Pat Crerand.
There were scraps on the terraces and arrests after both that game and the replay four days later. Leeds won that game, but United went on to lift the title. After that, well, there's been bad blood from transfers in both directions — Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, and later Eric Cantona and Alan Smith went one way; Johnny Giles and Gordon Strachan the other — and a general, lingering air of loathing has persisted, even as Leeds have slipped down the divisions. Both sides know one another as "scum".
3.Why did Angel di Maria leave Manchester United?
Take your pick from the following options:
(a) he never had any interest in moving to Manchester, only so because PSG fell foul of financial fair play rules, and quite clearly had very little interest in turning things around once his form started to drop away;
(b) Louis van Gaal played him out of position and, once his form dropped away, did little to rebuild his confidence, which had already been shaken by a traumatising break-in at his family home;
(c) a combination of the above.
4.Why did United let Paul Pogba leave?
Because Ryan Tunnicliffe was much better! Because Alex Ferguson was busy playing Rafael and Ji-Sung Park in central midfield! Because United are, quite frankly, idiots.
5.Why are Manchester United so bad?
Look, did you not see the Stoke game? Manchester United are brilliant again, and that's official.
Somehow, when writing this, we managed to miss the finest question of them all. Apparently the third most Googled question about Manchester City is "Why are Man City fans called Berties?" Lovely stuff.