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’Twas the night before Christmas in Manchester

Merry Christmas, Reds!

Photo Illustration by Nathan Heintschel

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Old Trafford

Not a creature was stirring, except for the gaffer;

The stockings were hung by the Stretford End with care,

In hopes that Erling Haaland soon would be there;

The Red Devils were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of top 4 danced in their heads;

And the Glazers aloof, and Woodward unwary,

Had just settled their transfer business for a disappointing January,

When out on the pitch there arose such a clatter,

Ed sprang from his suite to see what was the matter.

Away to the window Ed flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the cash.

The spotlights on the figures with new-fallen glow,

Gave a luster of transfer targets below,

When what to Ed’s wondering eyes did appear new endorsements,

Plus a ruthless forward and midfield reinforcements,

Gifts from a blustering agent so lively and big as a piano,

Ed knew in a moment they must be from...

More rapid than Dan James the transfers they came,

And Ed whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

”Now, Haaland! now, Rice! now Kroos and Bruno!

On, Maddison! on, Longstaff! on, Grealish and Sancho!

To the top of the group! to the top of the table!

Now dash away! dash away! dash until unable!”

As leaves that before the media hurricane fly,

When they meet with a rival, highlights on Sky;

So up to the table top the transfers they flew

With the sleigh full of goals, and Paul Pogba too—

And then, in a twinkling, Ed heard on the telly

The cheers on Twitter from New York to New Delhi.

As Ed drew in his head, and was turning around,

Down the suite steps St. Ole came with a bound.

He was dressed all in glory, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all monogrammed and well-put;

A bundle of new tactics he had flung on his back,

And he looked like he was ready to counterattack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His heart-warming smile was drawn ear to ear,

Like so many who watched his legendary career;

A man of middle age with the face of a baby,

An attitude so positive, the next great United manager, maybe;

He had an attitude supremely bright and positive.

His dream appointment as United manager causative.

He was slight and unassuming, a right jolly middle-aged elf,

And Ed cheered when he saw him, in spite of himself;

A wink of his eye and a 4-2-3-1 formation in his head

Soon gave Ed to know he had not wasted money on Fred;

Ole spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled out the next team sheet; and hoped it wouldn’t make everyone berserk,

Hands on his hips he stood in a triumphant pose,

And giving a nod, back up the suite he rose;

Ole sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a “well done lads,”

And away they all flew to Gdansk for another Europa League trophy to add

But Ed heard him exclaim, as The Reds flew out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Original poem by Clement Clarke Moore, adapted by Nathan Heintschel