The maddening transcript of Deeney v Custis: Boys, interrupted

Matt Stead

There is no pitch higher than that which an exasperated Neil Custis can reach during a heated discussion about Man United.

The Sun’s Man United correspondent was invited onto talkSPORT as a guest on Monday morning and that has literally never ended badly before.


Throw Troy Deeney into the mix and the result was about ten minutes of interruptions and two grown men talking over one another, the full and frustrating transcript of which is below in its entirety.

There is sadly no David Seaman on this occasion.


TD: Hi, Neil. It’s Troy, mate.

NC: Hi.

TD: Just a quick one: You spoke earlier about leaders and Solskjaer trying things as well. Who takes accountability for when the lads go from, as you say, a 5-0 win to losing 1-0 in the manner that they do? Who’s accountable for that in your opinion? Is that players, Solskjaer, transfer policies? Who do you think it is?

NC: Well I don’t…I don’t think it’s transfer policies. I mean, I think that’s an easy one, when people don’t want to criticise Solskjaer or the players they always point at the directors. I think the actual buying has been good under Solskjaer. I think they’ve bought good players. People go on about, ‘oh, we needed a centre-back’ but then you saw what Tuanzebe did away to PSG, and he is a great defender of the future I would have him in now alongside Maguire because Lindelof again was flaky yesterday.

But you know, there should be accountability in major players like Pogba, and I keep going on about Pogba and everyone seems to think that the media pick on Pogba, but this is a major player. You know, you saw the influence he had on France in the World Cup, you saw those videos of him in the dressing room geeing them all up, then you see him yesterday and I can’t even remember the last time I actually saw him sprint. He just seemed to amble around the middle of the park and let the game just go on around him. It’s players like that that should be accountable, and should be the ones geeing everyone up and helping young players like McTominay and what have you.

But it’s almost as if, on days…now we have to remember, we remember those two Champions League performances and how well they played, so this is…but the thing is with Man United, you know, the whole club seems to be judged from game to game, whether he’s got it right or he’s got it wrong. So we have to sort of, like, you know, remember those two performances. But, as we stand, they’re 15th in the Premier League and they’ve had their worst start since 1972/73, certainly at home. So it’s poor. But you know, those are good players, that is a good team. When the Man United first team plays well it’s a very, very good team, one of the best around.

But to have that lack of strength of belief to do it week in, week out is what used to set Sir Alex’s teams off against the rest. So Liverpool could – in those days – Liverpool could win a big game like, you know, the 4-3 against Newcastle, and I think they then go on and lose the next one possibly, I think it was away at Coventry or something like that. Man United, every single game was just as important, every single game you had to be up for it, more so now I think because I think the strength in depth in the Premier League, certainly in this season, every team is going for it.

A reminder that this was the answer to “a quick one” from Deeney about accountability.

TD: I just think, I appreciate that and I can understand why people say Pogba. I’m gonna throw a name at you that I don’t really see gets that much criticism other than when he made a mistake for England. Why is no-one going at Harry Maguire? Is it not the captain? Is he not the guy that’s meant to lead the ship?

NC: Well…

TD: So where’s the criticism of him in the last two weeks?

NC: But how…

TD: Other than the England stuff?

NC: I…

TD: I don’t see how… you talk about Ferguson and the time under Ferguson. That’s gone. I’m sorry, like, people need to just put that away. That’s like talking about Arsenal with Wenger in the good old days. It’s finished. We’ve had three or four managers since then.

The accountability, I understand, Pogba needs to be better. I’m not gonna sit here and say he’s not, but I don’t see the level of criticism raised at Harry Maguire, and not putting that consistently.

NC: But…

TD: Like, you’re the captain of this ship. Why are you not leading it? Why are you not visibly calling people out in front of everybody?

NC: Well he has been. I mean, I called him Captain Calamity two weeks ago, so he has been getting criticism.

TD: [Talking over Custis] Well you didn’t say…no-one’s saying nothing about him today, that’s what I’m saying. When he had a little spell and it was acceptable to call him out, when he had the incident that happened in the summer…

NC: [Talking over Deeney] But you said over the last two weeks. You weren’t talking about today?

TD: [Talking over Custis talking over Deeney] I’m talking in general. In the whole – what, two? – in the whole two years of him being here…

NC: Right, let…

TD: [continues]…you’re gonna tell me he’s been bad enough over two weeks, that’s the only time we can call him out?

NC: Well last season they had the third-best defensive record in the Premier League, only three goals behind Liverpool, and had the most clean sheets of any of the other top five leagues in Europe. So…

TD: [Talking over Custis] So we’re gonna make…so what we’re gonna do, then, we’re gonna hide behind stats. OK. No problem.

Incredibly high-pitched NCWhat do you..? Hide behind stats? What do you mean? What are you talking about?

TD: [Talking over Custis] We’re hiding behind stats. We are. We’re hiding behind stats. We’re literally…because if we, you know if we did stats on…

NC: [Talking over Deeney] What do you mean, hiding behind stats? I’m talking about if they kept the third-best de…

TD: We had the third-best, third-best de…

There is a brief and uncomfortable pause at the moment they reach a mutual climax of “the third-best de…”

TD: …so, so where are you – OK so hold him accountable to those stats now.

NC: [Returning to normal vocal levels] So you’ve never used stats on talkSPORT, do you not?

TD: I’m not talkSPORT, I’m Troy. I’m talking to you.

NC: No but, do you never…you use stats. You never use stats? Like points…

TD: [Talking over Custis] Yes but what I’m saying is you hold him accountable to the three…so that was last season…listen to what I’m saying, Neil. That was last season.

NC: [Talking over Deeney talking over Custis] But you said over the last two years! You said over the last two years!

TD: [Talking over Custis talking over Deeney talking over Custis] Listen to what I’m saying to you, Neil.

NC: I have listened.

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TD: That was last season…

NC: [Talking over Deeney] You asked me about the last two years.

TD: [Talking over Custis talking over Deeney] …and do you hold him accountable to that standard this year when they’re 15th?


NC: Are you gonna let me talk?

TD: Yeah, that’s why I just asked you a question.

NC: Right. You just said to me, you asked me about Harry Maguire over the last two years. Right. That’s why I referred to last season; that’s within the last two years. Right.

TD: Mmhmm.

NC: And those stats are very, very relevant when you’re talking about the captain and a central defender. Those stats are very relevant. So it’s not hiding behind them. I’m using them as evidence that…

TD: [Talking over Custis] So the accountability to this year is what? If they’re 15th?

NC: *Audible sigh*

TD: So are you saying they’re the third-best defenders now? Or are you gonna call him out on what it is? That’s what I’m asking. That’s the question.

NC: No, the question was…

TD: [Talking over Custis] But that’s the question I’m asking you now, like, is that it? Is…are we gonna hold…

NC: [Talking over Deeney talking over Custis] No but you’re now changing the question…

TD: Oh, alright then.

NC: …you’re asking a question about over the last two years…

TD: *Removes headset*

NC: …so I’m referring to last season, right? We’re six games in now and he has been criticised and he’s been criticised in my paper because he hasn’t been as good as he was last season.

TD: OK. Thanks, mate.

Lockdown II has hit everyone hard.