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Manchester United & Mythology: The Reality

August 14, 2009

My writings are normally quite upbeat…so here is a home-truth…

Now if you knew me, you would know that in real time, i am the utter most pessimistic United fan in England. Cramped by silly superstitions, always finding “the good” in the opponents, whilst highlighting my teams inefficiencies. This is born of being an MUFC kid of the 1980s. I had one FA Cup win to celebrate in that first decade of being a Red (I was too young for the 1983 Brighton cup final win) That was as good as i thought it would EVER get. So to this day that sticks with me. Those early thoughts of my team. I do not think of United as some trophy consuming behemoth. I think more that all this success is temporary…and that will not matter, because i will support United until my dying or not. Its the badge that means everything.

This leads me to think about 2010. After this new season, and the dust has settled on the African continent’s first World Cup finals, United could well be in a state of transition. I am convinced that this will be the last season for Messrs Giggs, Scholes and Neville. Three living footballing legends. Talk will be about retiring the Number 11 shirt. Of who will be the next full-time skipper. And of the best passing midfielder this country has had in generations, that Sir Bobby Charlton calls “My favourite United player ever.” Three massive players. Now we know Sir Alex knows this and is already thinking about recruits, but what…BUT WHAT!..if this all happens after a season of disaster for United?

Edwin Van Der Sar will retire as well, leaving us short in the goalkeeping department. What if Nani and Anderson do not “step up to the plate” and have awful seasons? What if Kiko and Wellbeck turn out to be Frazier Campbells rather than Ruud Van Nistelrooys? What if Owen Hargreaves never fully recovers from injury? …AND what if Michael Owen flops!?

And what if Liverpool win the league!!??

These are things which pass through my brain almost every week.

And that is because i do not believe in the myth of Manchester United.

Now this myth has slapped me across the face before, and thankfully so. As i stood behind the goal in Moscow to watch John Terry slip like an Essex girl in 8 inch stilettos, to keep us in the game…well, the myth made me believe. When Giggsy mis-kicked the ball into the path of Teddy in the last minute of the 1999 Champions League Final, the myth grabbed me again. And when i watched Steve Bruce come forward to head home the ball in the 96th minute against Sheffield Wednesday, which prompted Brian Kidd’s and the boss’ touchline jigs…well, the myth just put me in a headlock! All United fans know that this mythical scripting is common with us (for last year, see ‘Unknown Italian comes off the bench to score last minute winner..Kiko who?” and “Lets give Spurs a two nil half time lead when we need a win”)

Yet I still do not believe it

As far as I’m concerned, United’s success is down to one man, and that is the manager. He creates the teams. He instructs them. He motivates the individuals. Yes, of course the players are the ones that should have the glory as it is them that bury the ball in the net and make last gasp tackles. However, organically speaking, its all down to Fergie. This leads me to think of the one unthinkable, yet thoroughly feasible, question that may be asked at the end of the season…

‘Who is gonna be manager of Manchester United next season?’


The pessimist in me knows that this is coming. This filthy, stinging question. Now OK…maybe not at the end of this season (hopefully not!) but it IS coming. Sir Alex is a man who is contemplating his seventies. He is not super human. One day he will say “What the F am i bloody doing this now for?” and will finish. It is inevitable. This is the day i think our luck may just break. This is because with the loss of this one man, we are back on parity with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and all the big guns in Europe. ..

Because we have a Sir Alex Ferguson…and they DON’T.

So the flip side of my personality says this: Lets enjoy it and enjoy him (Fergie) now while we have them. Lets appreciate what we have got this moment in football time. Let us not believe in legend, but in those that deliver for United week after week. Let us not take for granted that we will produce teams of such grace and panache…just because of the mythology of Manchester United.

Because its highly possible that we may “Do a Liverpool”

And that means we may have to wait until 2030 for another title.

Until then, I will keep wearing my lucky socks/pants/jeans/coat to Old Trafford. I will keep eulogising about the quality of the opposition and how “we could get beat by this lot today”. And I will keep staying awake at night thinking, are Darron Gibson and the Da Silva twins really the real deal? (I hope they are!)

Who said football was enjoyable?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 7:23 pm

    Trust me being a United fan sounds a lot easier than being a Spurs fan. We get stick for celebrating the League Cup win 2 seasons ago, while Arsenal get celebrated like kings despite not winning anything for 4 or 5 years. Where’s the fairness in that? LOL

    • August 14, 2009 7:39 pm

      think its just being a football fan in general. I know the years weve won the league things have been peacfully quiet but the years we have lost it it is like hell! Xmas last year I had Scousers emailing me like vultures about how we had F’d the league up and that theyd won it…fools ;-)

      • August 15, 2009 6:28 am

        Liverpudlians have a habit of counting their chickens rather early. You gotta forgive their early celebrations as they are after all the only ‘Big Four’ to have not won the ‘Big one’ in its current format.

  2. August 15, 2009 1:19 am

    i have to wear socks when i watch united play on the tele. i forgot to wear socks during last season champions league final, im sorry. it wasnt the fact that xavi, iniesta, messi and etoo made fools of united. it was because of me not wearing socks.

    • August 15, 2009 7:53 pm

      I forgot to pack my lucky red ladypants on my Manc trip. I, too, am responsible for the debacle.
      It shant happen again.

  3. chrisutd07 permalink
    August 15, 2009 8:09 am

    i know i’m going to feel retarded, but who’s the guy putting at top right putting the halo on fergie?

    and the day fergie retires is the day all united fans dread… irreplaceable.

    • August 15, 2009 11:29 am

      jesper blomqvist? does look a bit like john curtis too.

  4. Kai permalink
    August 15, 2009 10:28 am

    Gosh.. that guy putting the halo on Fergie looks like John Curtis… Haha.. Wonder where he is now…

    Great article.. I have the same fears myself… It will be really big shoes for anyone to fill.. Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.. Personally, I don’t think anyone can…

    And that is for every United fan to fear about…

    • August 15, 2009 7:55 pm

      I will need valium on Giggsy’s last day. I’m not going to be ok. Fergie, I am able to mentally prepare for. Giggs…it’s like thinking about the day your dog will die. I can’t handle it.

      • August 15, 2009 8:19 pm

        Until he returns as Manager of course! But in all seriouness, I’d like to see Mourinho take over! He’d come full circle!

      • August 17, 2009 4:35 pm

        I personally want Mourinho as the next manager…

      • August 17, 2009 4:35 pm

        the day Giggsy plays his last game for United, a 100 million people will cry (including me). It will be like a passing. I think no one will be allowed to wear the number 11 ever again. It will be United’s first ever shirt retirement. OMG I JUST WELLED UP I remember being a young teen when he first arrived…oh god i cant think about this….

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