Both West Brom and Manchester United players will form a guard of honour ahead of kick-off today for Sir Alex Ferguson, who is celebrating his 1500th and final game as our manager. Today is a day we will look back on and talk about for the rest of our lives. Today is the last day in the job for the greatest football manager of all time. When we reflect on this era, this magical period in the club’s history, we will remember exactly how we are feeling today.
At our last home game last weekend and at the parade on Monday, I felt like I’d said my goodbyes and was ready to move on. They talk about the different stages of bereavement and that’s what our fanbase has been going through since rumours began last week. Denial, shock, anger… acceptance. We are losing the influence of the man that has made our lives immeasurably better, and only United fans can truly understand how that feels. So, after thinking I was alright with his retirement (I didn’t even cry last Sunday, much to my surprise!) I am feeling fairly overwhelmed by it today.
I celebrated Rio’s late winner wildly last weekend. It’s funny that, even when there’s nothing to play for, you can’t help but thoroughly enjoy watching United win. It was important that we won Ferguson’s last game at Old Trafford though, and it’s important that we win his last game today.
“1500 games – it’s incredible,” he said in his last press conference. “West Brom have done fantastically, every team wants to win their last home game and obviously I want to win this one more than last week’s even.”
For that reason, you imagine the manager will go with a strong team today. The boss has confirmed that Lindegaard will play in goal and that Jones and Evans will play in the centre of defence. Rafael isn’t available and Smalling and Powell have been ruled out after having operations. Wayne Rooney has been given permission not to travel with the squad as his wife is expected to give birth any day now, but after being left out of the squad last weekend and the manager confirming he had requested to leave the club again, it’s unlikely he would have gone even if his wife wasn’t pregnant.
Hopefully we’ll see Robin van Persie and Chicharito start up front together, with the latter playing nowhere near as much as he should have done this season, although it would also be great to see Danny Welbeck get some minutes. Ferguson has claimed he might play some of the younger players today. By that he could mean Tom Cleverley ahead of Paul Scholes, or hopefully he’s going to give our Reserve Team Player of the Year, Adnan Januzaj, his début at some point during the game.
So, here we go. An end of an era. Come on United!
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