Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has added to his MBE award by receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester.
However, The Times’ columnist Matt Dickinson has had the audacity to suggest that some of Rashford’s political campaigning might be less than 100% altruistic.
Dr. Rashford MBE became the youngest person to ever receive an honorary degree from the University as a reward for his efforts to fight child poverty.
— The University of Manchester (@OfficialUoM) October 7, 2021
— The University of Manchester (@OfficialUoM) October 8, 2021
However, in an article reporting the occasion, Dickinson felt it necessary to criticise Rashford’s form on the pitch, even though due to surgery he has not kicked a ball this season.
‘The Manchester United forward may run rings round politicians off the pitch, but he needs to rediscover his form on it when he returns from injury,’ Dickinson wrote.
‘Since Rashford last played, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo have arrived at Old Trafford. Mason Greenwood has stepped up as a first-team striker, and superior finisher.
‘All things considered, Rashford’s figures last season were respectable, with 21 goals and 12 assists for United in all competitions…but it was also obvious to all that for months he was not the player he wanted to be.’
Dickinson goes on to cast shade over Rashford’s school meals campaign by referencing a planned exposé in The Spectator.
‘There is a team behind him led by Kelly Hogarth, formerly of Roc Nation who has set up a company in the North West looking after the interests of Rashford and Sterling.
‘One carefully worded tweet can make an impact. When The Spectator magazine was pulling together an article that was apparently going to question the personal gains and sponsorship deals from his social causes, Rashford, or his team, put out a pre-emptive post that killed the piece instantly.
‘Instead, Rashford ended up with a first-person article in a publication not known for seeking the views of young, black footballers from Wythenshawe.
‘For his task force, the declared ambition is beyond providing relief but changing long-term government strategy. Big complex stuff, in other words, but it comes with an insistence that Rashford will not be compromising anything around his football.’
The Times is beginning to get a reputation for its anti-United rhetoric. Articles from blatantly embittered rivals such as former Liverpool star Graeme Souness and pro-United articles from seemingly ill-informed transfer hounds such as The Daily Record’s Duncan Castles are a case in point.
This unpleasant little article is arguably yet another example from the same ‘when did someone last muck out’ stable.