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A Manchester United fan’s COVID-19 outbreak diary

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It’s been a long, long week

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Sport Coronavirus - Thursday 19th March Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

COVID-19 Blog: Day Four

It was only a week ago that we were watching football. There may not have been any fans in the stands, but it was real, live, football.

Just one week ago. It hasn’t even been two weeks since Old Trafford was erupting as Scott McTominay sealed a derby win by putting us 2-0 up against City. It feels like a year since then, maybe even a lifetime.

It’s been weird. Just a week ago we were proceeding somewhat normally. There was Monday Night Football. There were Champions League matches on Tuesday and Wednesday. By then we knew we probably shouldn’t be staging those games, and certainly not with fans, but they were still there.

Things didn’t really go crazy until Wednesday night when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The game was postponed right before it was about to tip off. Hours later the NBA suspended its season. Other leagues started following suit.

Suddenly it felt like we were living minute by minute. We woke up Thursday not knowing if Manchester United were going to play or not. They did. Why? I don’t know, but in hindsight I’m glad they did. I don’t want to say I needed one more game, but I’ll certainly say it’s better that I got one.

I put my thoughts on United and the timing of this suspension in a separate post here.

I also have thoughts on the Euros; not that they were moved to Euro 2021, but who does that effect? Who is it good for? More on that another time.

It’s a bunch of random thoughts, and some suggestions for how to fill your time. Maybe it’ll help you; if it helps one person that’s good enough for me. This is my COVIDiary.

Watch Old Matches

If you search around the depths of the internet there’s a pretty good catalogue of old matches available. Can’t promise the one you specifically want to watch is there, but there are certainly good ones.

Books

I plan on writing these hopefully once a week or so until we finally get sports back so I’d like to give out a book recommendation every so often. I’ll try to do one United book and one football book. I’m currently reading The Ugly Game by Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert. It’s the inside story on how Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup. I don’t know if it’s because I started it when this mess started and I’m no longer motivated to do anything, or if it’s just not a page turner, but I’m struggling to get through it. Anyway, here are some good ones .

United book: This is the One by Daniel Taylor

Say what you want on how you felt about Daniel Taylor as a columnist [Ed.: I think he’s brilliant. - BM] but I thought this gave a very unique look at United’s 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons. It’s about the media’s relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and how that changed based on United latest result.

Even if you’ve already read it, it’s great to go back and read it now to really regain perspective to how things were on a week to week basis, especially during a very tough 2005/06 season, which includes the dismissal of Roy Keane. There are a lot of parallels from that season to this one. The fans were calling for #FergieOut that year, as he attempted to rebuild his squad and transition the team to the Rooney-Ronaldo teams that would be so successful. Except Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were still a year away from being ready, and thus, created some issues.

It covers the season that they finally did win a title, though to be honest I thought it was written a year too early, as it would have been good to have these insights the following year when United were Champions of Europe.

Football book: Football’s Secret Trade by Alex Duff and Tariq Panja

This book goes into the dirty world of the transfer market and specifically third party ownership, which was rampant in Portugal and Spain in the early part of this decade. It gives you a really clear picture as to how that worked, who was involved, and how teams like Atletico Madrid could build a team that went to two Champions League finals with virtually no money.

Even without third party ownership it gives a great look inside the transfer market, the role agents play, and just how many moving parts there are in every transfer, which makes no transfer a straightforward one.

Until next time.