Cheer up Manchester United fans: during this most dismal season there is one area where your current nosedive in form is being witnessed in reverse. The punditry box.
Last night, Paul ‘the shy one’ Scholes joined Roy Keane and Gary Neville to form a new triumvirate of United legends hoping to dominate the sofas of Match Of The Day and Sky Sports.
In a series of bluntly-stated ‘truth bombs’, Scholes scoffed at Arsenal’s evaporating title bid and called out several of their players, most notably with this shoulder mounted rocket launcher of a line: “Jack Wilshere doesn’t look any better now than he did at 17.”
Scholes was soon trending on Twitter where fans praised his candidness, just as they did Keane and ‘Red Nev’ when they made their early forays into the world of tight trousers and Fisher Price-powered tactic analysing screens.
For a generation raised to hate Man United players with all their trodden-upon hearts, it’s been a disconcertingly pleasurable experience watching Neville offer up genuine insight and Roy Keane cut through the golf buddy chumminess of his co-commentators with a stare so cold, Lee Dixon visibly tries to locate his 'happy place'. And now it turns out the ginger one passes judgement as wildly as he used to try and tackle, making for even more great TV.
Best yet for United fans, the emergence of the trio comes at a time of steady decline in the fortunes of pundits from their bitter Merseyside rivals.
Alan Hansen, whose head has been operated by Thunderbird puppeteers above the Match Of The Day studio for over a decade now, is retiring at the end of the year, presumably to go and finally try his hand at actually managing a football team.
Meanwhile Mark Lawrenson, a commentator so miserable he can make watching a World Cup fixture between Brazil and the Ivory Coast feel like burying a childhood pet in the back garden, is being gently put out to pasture by the BBC.
Michael Owen, on the other hand, has had Twitter running out of ways to articulate how awful his debut season as BT Sport’s go-to expert has been. ‘A voice like a fart lacking conviction’ and ‘the punditry equivalent of other people’s holiday photos’ being two of our favourites so far.
Of course, Fergie’s old boys have a way to go before they knock Liverpool off their fucking punditry perch just yet. Carragher and Redknapp, furrow-browed defensive critic and eye candy for the girls respectively, still hold a tight grip over the Sky Sports sofa.
But in Keane, Neville and Scholes, at least Manchester United have an emerging generation of exciting young talent who might one day deliver them the title. It’s not quite the Champion’s League, but it’s a lot more promising than what’s happening outside in the rain at Old Trafford.