“What’s the best part of being a Manchester United footballer?” is the question directed at Dimitar Berbatov. With a smile on his face, as if he can’t understand how such a question could be asked, he replies, “being a Manchester United footballer.”
The eyes of the country are all on Dimitar Berbatov at the moment as he is given the difficult task of replacing Wayne Rooney in Saturday’s fixture against title rivals Chelsea. Of course, our Bulgarian scored in this fixture last season but this season it’s a whole different scenario. We are just weeks from the end of the season and the pressure on Berbatov to deliver is tougher than ever. Despite breaking in to the top ten scorers in the league last weekend, which is an impressive feat given the month he missed, his on-going knee trouble, as well as the fact most of the players above him are their clubs’ penalty taker, our striker is still getting stick from rival fans and our own fans alike. The 18 goals he’s scored and assisted in his 19 starts isn’t enough for some. His sublime first touch and unequalled vision don’t do it for them. Why? Because the bandwagon rolled in a long time ago and he got typecast as lazy.
We can argue the toss all day long on this one and have done on many an occasion on this blog. It’s hard to remember the last time a player split our fanbase so dramatically. But the constant slating he gets from sections of our fans is unbelievable. He didn’t ask for his price tag but he did ask to play for Manchester United. Carlos Tevez scored 5 goals last season but because he ran around like a blue arsed fly our fans chanted for him over Sir Alex Ferguson’s end of season speech, which was praising our title winning team and looking forward to a second successive European Cup final. And what did he do? Jumped ship for City as soon as they wafted money under his nose. Compare this to Berbatov, who didn’t even bother meeting up with Mark Hughes, despite knowing they would double whatever we were offering to pay him. Yet even when he looks to treble the number of goals Tevez scored for us last season, (with Ferguson not playing him in the big games too), Berbatov still has to prove himself. And don’t we look like an uncultured mob because of it!
Essentially, I want us to win the league, and if “own goal” wins the golden boot on our behalf, I couldn’t care less. Who scores the goals and how we score the goals is no concern of mine, as long as we just bloody score! But truth be told, obviously I would love it if Berbatov was to steal the headlines over the next few weeks for nudging us that bit closer to the title. Not just because I like him but because I think it’s important his appeal stretches to our fanbase as a whole.
So Dimi, good luck!