First, Sir Alex is Scottish; and secondly he now has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on his forehead.
After earth-shaking Festive season defeats against rock-bottom Blackburn Rovers (3-2) and Newcastle United (3-0), the Manchester United boss goes in to today’s FA Cup third round clash against neighbours City with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mantra firmly in mind.
Sir Alex, who turned 70 on December 31, said: “We have the experience to cope, we need to get the show on the road.
”It’s not a time for panic. Losing a game at this time of the year can sometimes happen.”
The Scot, not averse to the odd Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster (the effect is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick, according to the Guide), is only too aware of Roberto Mancini’s last outing: a universally acclaimed 3-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.
He said: ”Advantage to them, of course.”
Sir Alex, who could do with a towel (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus Ⅴ, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal - a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you, daft as a bush like Joey Barton, but ravenous; you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough, but that's enough about towels) and a few goals from returning Boxing Day Gargle Blaster Wayne Rooney at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday (live on SuperSports 3, 5pm South African time) adds a few words for arch-rivals Liverpool, who rank alongside Vogon Constructor Fleets in Mancunian affections.
Under pressure to ease tensions over the racist abused heaped on United full back Patrice Evra by Uruguayan Luis Suarez, Sir Alex growled: “It is nice of Liverpool to call for peace talks through the press. You would have thought they would come to Manchester United first.
”I do not see why there is any need for it. I have nothing to say about it.”
Suarez has been banned for eight games after using the N-word nine times and telling Evra “I’m Spanish I don’t speak to blacks”.
Ironically, his return from suspension is likely to fall at Old Trafford on February 11 where the Uruguayan will be about as welcome as an appearance from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
As for reports of Chelsea's unhappy Frank Lampard moving to Old Trafford, you might have well as suggested Zaphod Beeblebrox was planning a move to Manchester. Sir Alex grunted: "Do you really believe that? There is no foundation to it. We won't get the players that we would like. What can you get in January? What do you do? Do you take a second-rate player? No, of course you don't."
So if not Lamps, then what exactly IS the answer for gloomy United as the transfer window opens? That's easy. 42.
For this and more stories like it, read South Africa's new Sunday tabloid SCOOP! this Sunday, available from all good newsagents, supermarkets and street vendors. See www.scoopnews.co.za.