sport news RIATH AL-SAMARRAI: Why must NOT bring Mason Greenwood back - ... trends now

sport news RIATH AL-SAMARRAI: Why must NOT bring Mason Greenwood back - ... trends now
sport news RIATH AL-SAMARRAI: Why Manchester United must NOT bring Mason Greenwood back - ... trends now

sport news RIATH AL-SAMARRAI: Why Manchester United must NOT bring Mason Greenwood back - ... trends now

The finer arts of lip reading are a little lost on me, so I was grabbed by a comment on MailOnline a couple of weeks ago. It came from Jeremy Freeman and he has credibility in that field — he said he was 97 per cent confident Jude Bellingham called Mason Greenwood a ‘rapist’ during Real Madrid’s win at Getafe earlier this month.

An interesting number, that one. It is rather precise and it does make you tangentially curious about where the increments lie. How much is the R worth? And the P? How much of the missing three per cent is attributed to not quite detecting the T? But then again, Freeman mentioned context and context counted in his reasoning.

We all know the Greenwood context, of course. You know it. I know it. Sir Jim Ratcliffe knows it. Away with the fairies and suckling themselves fat on someone else’s cash, the Glazers know it too. 

Everyone knows Greenwood was charged with attempted rape and everyone knows the case collapsed when key witnesses withdrew. We therefore know he is innocent within the definitions of law and we also know public opinion operates with fewer limitations, because by now most of us know about those horrific recordings.

If the lip-readers are right, we can assume Bellingham is across the gist of it. Did he call Greenwood a rapist in that game? I don’t have the skills to go as high as 97 per cent on that one, but I would safely enter the bidding at 100 if I had to predict how crowds over here will chant if Greenwood shows face at Manchester United again.

Mason Greenwood joined Getafe on loan in the summer after Manchester United strongly suggested he would not play for the club again following charges of assault against him

Mason Greenwood joined Getafe on loan in the summer after Manchester United strongly suggested he would not play for the club again following charges of assault against him 

New United part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has left the door open for Greenwood to return to the club this summer, despite backlash from fans when this was contemplated last year

New United part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has left the door open for Greenwood to return to the club this summer, despite backlash from fans when this was contemplated last year

A lip-reading expert said he was '97% sure' Jude Bellingham (right) called Greenwood a 'rapist' when Getafe faced Real Madrid earlier this month

A lip-reading expert said he was '97% sure' Jude Bellingham (right) called Greenwood a 'rapist' when Getafe faced Real Madrid earlier this month 

That’s a sure thing. It’s the six-letter stench that will follow him to every game and every ground. It will cling to United like a green cloud, surrounded by flies. And being a smart man, Ratcliffe is well aware of that, which is why I was a caught out by his comments on the subject this week. 

Whereas the club have previously given guidance that Greenwood would never again play for United, Ratcliffe was more ambiguous and that felt like a misstep to an otherwise strong start.

‘There is no decision that’s been made,’ he said, and one can understand the business complexities of that call when the player still retains a considerable financial value to his club. We might also see the merit in not showing your hand before negotiations with potential buyers this summer.

But surely United will not, and must not, countenance the idea of bringing Greenwood back, because that would be a Glazer line of thinking. That would be a classic from the Glazer book of blunders.

We are aware through detailed reporting how close they and the club’s senior executives came to letting him return before catching the whiff of a public backlash and then flip-flopping to a loan evacuation. 

That was the Glazers’ United in a nutshell — weak, immoral, nose in the money trough, incapable of recognising just how grim the place was looking until it smacked them in the face.

But Ratcliffe has typically positioned himself as the opposite of the Glazers. He won’t say so explicitly because, as he reminds us, there is a legal document in his bottom drawer that prevents mud-slinging. 

But he has done so in ways that are subtle and also incredibly obvious. In words and deeds, his approach through this acquisition process has been to study the Glazers and set a course for 180 degrees the other way. Again, clever guy.

Greenwood has been in excellent form for Getafe, scoring seven goals in 24 games

Greenwood has been in excellent form for Getafe,

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