Marseille, a city United fans should love.
The city that gave us Eric Cantona will host the first leg of our Champions League tie against Olympic Marseille and whilst we appreciate the city on the south eastern coast of France for their contribution to United’s greatness I don’t think they can expect any favours when we go head to head on Wednesday.
And to be honest neither should we as Marseille’s fans will be loud and particularly hostile to former national team captain Patrice Evra. The game will see Evra play on home soil for the first time since he captained the national team that rebelled against coach Raymond Domenech and crashed out at the first stage of this past summer’s World Cup.
Whilst Evra will be public enemy number one for the French, an equally hated defender will line up against us.
Gabriel Heinze will play against Manchester United for the first time since departing from Old Trafford and whilst he was a fan favourite for his no nonsense style of defending, the manner of his departure left more than a nasty taste in the mouths of those that had previously supported him.
I haven’t a clue what it is with us and Argentines but I think it is fair to say that Heinze takes the cake being a particularly nasty piece of work.
Upon Heinze finally moving on from Old Trafford in 2007, Sir Alex claimed that Heinze had been itching for a move for 2 years:
“He started playing for us in 2004 and his first season was fantastic then, the following season, the day before we played Villarreal in Spain and he got his bad knee injury, his agent came to our hotel and asked if we could sell Gaby. After one year I thought it was an absolutely distressing signal to put out…He came back unfit from the World Cup. We had to rehabilitate him again and meanwhile, all through that time, they kept having meetings with David Gill asking to leave. Or double his money.”
Of course Patrice Evra’s emergence meant that he wouldn’t be seeing as much playing time as he had before his injury but his actions, going by Sir Alex’s time line, started before Evra even joined the club so are all the more deplorable.
Despite itching for a move, what makes Heinze particularly unpleasant is how he left the club. In his time at Old Trafford I assume Heinze learned of the huge rivalry between United and Liverpool yet he still attempted to force a transfer to the Merseyside club, going as far as apparently using solicitors hired by Liverpool to get his move to Anfield.
He claimed that he was in possesion of a letter that stated he would be allowed to move if United received an offer of £6.8m (the amount Liverpool offered) but United proved that they had indeed told him he would not be allowed to move to one of United’s title rivals even if that valuation was met.
Heinze is a sneaky f*ck, you can see it from how he plays but what emerged after he was sold to Real Madrid means it is unlikely that he will ever receive a pardon from any United fans.
At the hearing to clear up the mess that Heinze had created by trying to push through the Liverpool deal it was revealed by Crystal Palace chief executive Phil Alexander that Heinze and his agent had attempted to trick United into selling Heinze to Crystal Palace so he could then be bought by Liverpool (I assume Liverpool were in on this too). I don’t know if they thought they were dealing with idiots because NOBODY would have fallen for that.
That for me is the definition of sneaky, so any ill sentiment felt towards him duly deserved.
Heinze moved to Madrid and won La Liga whilst we won the Premier League and the Champions League. Patrice Evra has since established himself as one of the best left backs in the world so it looks like we made the right choice in sticking with him.
Veron may not have lived up to his billing but I won’t hold that against him, Tevez may have switched allegiances and proved himself to be a money grabbing whore but so did Heinze by asking to be made the club’s top earner so I’ll say he edges both with the pure sneakiness in how he attempted to engineer his move away from United.
So if you’re are in the Stade Vélodrome on Wednesday or even at home (I promise you won’t look like a nutter) boo the snide twat. He deserves it.
Heinze could do with a good punch or two!