Garry Birtles tells a story about the mental torment of enduring a goal
drought while playing for Manchester United. His words could either force
Robin van Persie to jump out of bed in a cold sweat or jolt him into
realising that his own barren run is not as bad as it seems.
Van Persie, Manchester
United's prolific talisman during the first half of this season,
will face Stoke
City at the Britannia Stadium having gone 685 minutes without a goal
for the Premier League leaders.
That pales in comparison to Birtles, who managed just one in his first 32
games for United after his big-money arrival from Nottingham Forest in 1980
and he admits the distraction of his failure to score almost killed him.
“It all reached a head when I almost killed myself when driving back to
Nottingham from Manchester after a game against Everton,” Birtles said.
“My barren run was running through my mind. I wasn’t concentrating on my
driving and I ended up skidding across the road.