Manchester United supporters used an FA Cup fourth-round hammering of League One Tranmere Rovers to voice their frustration with the club’s owners and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
United scored five times in an amazing first-half at Prenton Park, with skipper Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot scoring their first goals for the club and Phil Jones getting his first since March 2014 under David Moyes.
Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were also on target in the first period to give the 2,000-strong visiting support a high point in an otherwise tortuous season.
But they also spent five minutes chanting against the Glazer family and Woodward, who was not at the game. The chants appeared to be sung by the vast majority of United fans and ended with “We’re Man Utd, we’ll sing what we want”.
United’s fans are annoyed at what they view as a lack of investment in the team, a long-held belief that has grown during the current transfer window with the team fifth in the Premier League and in obvious need of reinforcements but the club has yet to make a signing.
They did not need additional assistance today, with Mason Greenwood adding a second-half penalty as United scored six for the first time since 2011 when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge.
Man Utd’s flying start
The visitors made their first trip to Tranmere against the backdrop of fan disenchantment, knowing they must overcome a sticky pitch in addition to opponents who were responsible for knocking Watford out of the competition three days ago.
When the covers on the pitch were removed an hour before kick-off they revealed a heavily rolled but patchy surface that was part sand, part mud and part grass.
United assistant manager Mike Phelan went for a walk along the worst areas with some trepidation before the visitors began their warm-up and the players’ warm-up cut the pitch up further.
Once the match began, it was clearly going to be a difficult surface with one strip down the touchline in front of the dug-outs a spongy mess and it wasn’t long before the front of Jones’ shirt was covered in mud.
United were not daunted by such an unfamiliar surface, going ahead when Maguire powered home a shot from outside the box and doubling the lead three minutes later when Dalot drilled in a right-footed effort across keeper Scott Davies.
Lingard added to the one he scored in Astana in the Europa League as the visitors took total control within 16 minutes.
When Martial’s deflected effort went in, it was the first time United had scored five goals in the first-half of a game since the 6-1 hammering of Arsenal in 2001 – when Solskjaer was among the scorers.
A positive day for Jones
Few players are currently ridiculed as much as Jones.
He was a member of England’s World Cup squad in 2018 but his star has waned so much since then it has been suggested the 27-year-old turned down the offer of a testimonial because he felt no-one would turn up.
His propensity for pulling amusing faces or finding himself in strange positions means he is a rich source of content for social media.
And in the first five minutes today he managed to get booked, get his shirt covered in mud and get himself on the wrong end of a nasty challenge from Corey Blackett-Taylor.
For a while it looked as though Jones might not be able to continue but he carried on and amid some manic arm-waving and a couple of last-ditch challenges, he also managed to score his first goal since the short-lived Moyes era.
It reminded us that meant the former Blackburn defender – who at one point in his career was compared to legendary United and England midfielder Duncan Edwards – had gone through the entire Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho eras without scoring.
His goal was well received by the visiting supporters, who sang a song in his honour, which has not happened for quite a while.