Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Manchester United's Milk Cup withdrawal hurts both sides

David Beckham was one of the many Man Utd players who participated in the Milk Cup
David Beckham was one of the many Man Utd players who participated in the Milk Cup

By Jim Gracey

Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end. If proof was ever needed, the souring of the 25 year love affair between the Milk Cup and Man United is testament to the truth of the saying.

As partings go, there are no sweet sorrows in the decision by United to end their long Milk Cup association just two days before the draw for this year's tournament was due to be made (its now been postponed til replacements can be found) and only eight weeks before the July 26 kick off.

Everyone comes out of it badly. United, for their pig's ear PR and timing; the Milk Cup from the potential financial loss and headache of forced rescheduling and, not least, the fans, especially the younger ones looking forward to seeing the famous red jerseys on their traditional summer visit to the north coast. Therein may lie part of the problem.

Did familiarity breed discontent, leading to grounds for divorce, on the United side of the marriage made in heaven back in the day of Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers?

Whatever the reason for an exit so at odds with the United way, it is the club's absolute right to channel their youth side in whichever direction they believe will be beneficial to their future development.

It is the timing that stinks, just two months after confirming their entry in writing.As for the Milk Cup, did they place too many eggs in the United basket? Fears of financial loss in this and future years suggest an over-reliance on United as a box office attraction. We will see more clearly where the Milk Cup is headed in a defining tournament this summer.

A wake-up call was maybe needed, not just this early.

Belfast Telegraph


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