Ten Hag’s biggest achievement at Man Utd? Shutting Richard Keys up

Anybody who has lived in shared accommodation has experienced confrontation with somebody they’d never associate with through choice.

Maybe they insist a group of twentysomething young professionals adhere to rotas for toilet roll. Maybe they’re incapable of closing a door without slamming it with the heat of a thousand suns.

But the real fireworks begin when you catch this certified weapon chatting shit.

One former housemate insisted my bathroom scales belonged to them, cornering me by the front door to demand their return, only to go very quiet when presented with the box and receipt.

Richard Keys is your nightmare housemate and Erik ten Hag is his pair of bathroom scales. Only he’s still chirping away in his own world of delusion.

Keys, having spent the last decade sunning his skin and sense of resentment in Qatar, scorned Manchester United’s appointment of Ten Hag in an instalment of his Brent-esque blog on April 25 last year.

“I genuinely wish him well,” Keys mused. “I hope he gets beyond the 10 months or so that United coaches are generally given – a pattern set after the sacking of David Moyes.

“Ten Months might turn out to be a stroke of genius by football director John Murtough and Darren Fletcher – but I have to wonder – what was the rush to appoint him?”

Ten Months. In a darkened room, Bob Mortimer threw down his pen and immediately retired from comedy in a pique of hopelessness.

“Not one of the other big clubs in Europe was chasing him,” the former Sky Sports presenter continued. “Not one. So why did United dive in headlong now?

“As I write Poch looks as though he’ll be on the market. I still don’t believe Conti is in for the long haul at Spurs. There are so many other options. But it’s done.

“Ten Months has got his work cut out and I fear he’ll go the same way as the others.”

The 10-month anniversary of Keys’ blog sees Manchester United looking forward to a domestic cup final, days after knocking Barcelona out of Europe and nestling on the fringes of the Premier League title race.

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Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring for Manchester United in their Premier League victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, Manchester, February 2023.

READ: 8 players that Ten Hag has improved at Man Utd: Rashford, Fernandes…

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Ten Hag has taken a bedraggled group of underperformers and whipped them into shape; Marcus Rashford is currently the hottest goalscorer in Europe, Luke Shaw has become the millennial Maldini and Aaron Wan-Bissaka now crosses the halfway line without getting a nosebleed.

Scores of players have spoken highly of Ten Hag’s no-nonsense style and innovative tactics. With an impeccable lack of foresight, Keys wrote in April: “Big players at big clubs are different. They need handling differently. They’re not impressed by whiteboards and crayons.”

United’s transformation is all the more remarkable considering they lost their first two Premier League matches, including a pathetic 4-0 reverse at Brentford.

“Now I’ve got a theory,” Keys pondered afterwards. “Now maybe at Manchester United, having watched him work and his team play twice, they’re thinking to themselves: “We have made a cataclysmic error, this man is not for us”.

“That might explain the fact that they’re not spending money. Come September and our first international break, what are the chances – a little bit like Crystal Palace did with [Frank] de Boer – they pull the plug and Pochettino is in charge by the time we come back.”

Come September, United had signed Casemiro and Antony while winning three successive league matches. Having defecated in his pants, Keys neglected to change and bided his time while Ten Hag kept winning football matches.

“You’re playing with ten men most weeks if he’s in”, he said about January signing Wout Weghorst on beIN SPORT after United had beaten Leicester 3-0.

“I mean, he doesn’t do enough to justify a starting place does he? Come on, let’s be honest!”

Having picked a fight with a superior opponent, Keysie has been reduced to pot shots at a six-month loanee. Although, some will say, Keys would sink lower than the ocean floor to have the last word.

United fans preparing for Sunday’s match should pour a glass of alcohol and toast the ‘Ten Month’ anniversary of this particularly scolding take.

And perhaps Keys, now he’s realised those bathroom scales don’t belong to him, will learn to engage his brain before opening his mouth.

By Michael Lee

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