This is what it’s all about. Last season we were the Champions of England and Europe. This season we’re the Champions of England again, we’ve won the League Cup, we’ve won the World Club Cup and now we’re just two days away from potentially being crowned Champions of Europe again. Even by United’s high standards this is all a bit much.
I was in the local yesterday and the general feeling about Wednesday was confident. We’ve won the league three years in a row, we’ve reached two European Cup finals in a row and we’re Manchester United. I feel confident and that unnerves me. Is it just going to come around and smack me in the arse? Am I getting complacent? Am I getting too cocky? The rival fans who frequent this blog from time to time would probably say I was and maybe I am. And maybe that is unavoidable.
I grew up going down to the main road and watching the lads bring home the trophies. My first really clear memory is the 91 Cup Winners Cup bus and then every year or so it was more of the same. However this year, having won the Premiership, the League Cup and the World Club Cup, there will be no parade unless we win the European Cup too. You think for one second Chelsea or Everton won’t be driving the FA Cup through the streets to celebrate with the fans? Yet at the very least this season we’ll be Champions of England with two other trophies in tow and they’ll be no public celebration for us. What the fuck is that?
The bar has been raised to unimaginable heights by our great manager and talented players, which means our expectations are becoming ridiculous. There should have been hysteria at Old Trafford last weekend. Not only had we won the league but we had equalled their record, something they lauded over us for years. What we’ve achieved under the guidance of Sir Alex is nothing short of phenomenal but for some reason there wasn’t the tingly atmosphere I was expecting. The players casually walked around the field, Sir Alex spent time with his grandkids, and the press seemed far more interested in whether Cristiano Ronaldo was planning to stay next season. Is this a reflection of football or of our club?
If Liverpool are to win the title any time soon, there would be tears at Anfield. They would be uncontrollable. They would be parading that trophy around for days. Yet when we equal the record for the most titles won, the parade is conditional.
This feeling of complacency should be unavoidable though. Maybe it’s hard to recreate those moments back in 1993, like the feelings of Bruce’s late winner, which saw Kidd on his knees, but our eighteenth title should be massive. Showing the trophy off to the fans should be the least our club organises to mark this occasion.
I guess what I’m saying is that even though the club aren’t marking this moment as they should, these feelings shouldn’t be reflected in the fans. We’ve gone twenty six years without the title before now, so the fact we’ve won eleven in seventeen shouldn’t allow us to become unappreciative of all Sir Alex is achieving. To a certain extent, it’s never going to feel as fresh as it has done in the past. We’ll probably never be able to relive those feelings of 1993 or 1999 again, but we should strive to getting as close to that as possible with every trophy we see our lads lift. You only have to look at how hate-filled and bitter Liverpool and City fans are to realise how much it must hurt to see your biggest rivals winning the prizes whilst you win fuck all. Nothing lasts forever and we shouldn’t kid ourselves in to think every year will finish with us being Champions, even though that’s how it may feel right now. We need to appreciate every single moment of glory.
I’d fucking love to see us win the European Cup on Wednesday. I’d love to see Sir Alex’s great work talked about over and over and I’d love to see our hard-working players add another medal to their collection. However, we should not let a defeat against Barcelona outshine what we have won this season. It’s a shame the club don’t see it that way.