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I Love The Club So Much…But I’m Leaving

I’ve had more time for Louis Saha than a lot of reds I know. Those who sit around me at Old Trafford have called him all the names under the sun in the few appearances he’s made for us this season. “You lazy bastard” is the most frequent insult.

This season, when he has played, he hasn’t had any match fitness. He can’t seem to run much, or is unwilling to. Like any striker, he’s missed good opportunities, but it seems so much worse when he’s hitting wide of the target. Every chance he misses could be his last opportunity to put ball in the back of the net for United.

I understand the complaints of fellow reds, however I can’t help but have sympathy for the guy. It was Ruud van Nistelrooy that made me appreciate Saha and I’ve struggled to shrug off those feelings. Back in the 2005/2006 season, Ruud was our starter, with Saha waiting patiently for his chances from the bench. He played in all our League Cup games and was the highest scorer in the competition. Winning that trophy was some consolation for an otherwise disappointing two seasons. After the barren year of 2004/2005, we finally had something to put in the trophy cabinet and something to give us hope for the next season.

Deciding to start Saha and not play Ruud in that League Cup final really began to show the differences between the two players. Whilst Ruud has always been a better striker, he was exposed as a self-obsessed sulk. He felt he was above sitting on the bench, working for his place in the team. In contrast, Saha had spent his entire United career doing just that. When he came off the bench, he gave 100%, eager to do well for the club.

However, enough is enough, and whilst I really do rate him for spending so many years trying to do the best for our team, and am appreciative for his contributions in the 2006-2007 season, his injuries mean it is time for him to leave.

Both his knees are knackered now and it’s too much of a risk to rely on a player like that. In our first title winning season since 2003, Saha remained fit all the way through the season up until March, which was impressive for him, but still not good enough. He missed all of the Champions League quarter and semi finals matches, as well as the FA Cup semi and final. We can’t afford to have a player who goes AWOL when they’re most needed.

Saha has recognised as much today, indicating he knows he will be sold in the summer.

“I know it [the final] could be my last game, and I would understand if the manager went for another striker,” he said. “It would be painful if he did and it’s painful even to talk about it because I love the club so much. But it’s been very hard for me this season. This is the best and biggest club in the world and the fact is that I’ve had very few chances. I do get miserable when I am injured and it’s very tense for my family because I want to play and I want to win things, so when that chance is taken away from me I can’t help but be in a bad mood. I’m 29 now and I wanted to improve again this year because that’s what you have to do at a club like this. But it’s difficult when you get injured. You are staying in the same place all the time.”

Louis Saha, 115 appearances, 76 starts, 42 goals, two league titles, one League Cup. Thank you, but goodbye.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Anant says:

    yes please . good riddance . what a waste of space . he feigns injury as and when he likes . he doesnt like sitting on the bench so he goes AWOL . bye bye saha , sometimes i wonder if diego was better than you .

  2. Sagar says:

    i liked his style of play but its just unfortunate that he had so many injuries in his time here.

    thanks for the goals and memories!

  3. Keko says:

    100% agree with you mate, good read.

  4. ellie says:

    i bet u will never say the same about Gary Neville or u never said these things when Ole always gets injured. Let Fergie decides what he wants to do with the striker. i realy dont mind if he keeps him one more season cause we all know he his one of the best when he his fit. and if its one team i know he never fails to perform against its Chelsea!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Albi-TRD says:

    i think people are way too harsh on him. if he wants to leave, then he should definitely go. but if he’s happy to stay and play 4th or 5th fiddle to other strikers, then he should stay.

    ultimately it’s not his fault he’s unfit and injury-prone. you don’t get to the height of your profession and just choose to not participate. he’s not lazy, he’s just unlucky. and i feel bad for the guy.

    people say there’s no room for sentiment at the top, but that’s bollocks, as clearly illustrated by A) scholes starting the champions league final, and B) the way we’ve treated Ole – who was also in a similar boat to Saha (though Saha is much younger, and Ole gave a lot more to the club and is adored (rightfully so) by the fans).
    we should do right by the guy, as we should with all our players who respect and are loyal to the club.

  6. Scott the Red says:

    Albi – you don’t think Scholes is starting in the final because he’s a great player and scored the goal that is taking us to Moscow?

  7. jimmy Bob says:

    sorry can;t agree with keeping him
    he is good money and if he is injured for 3/4 of the season what use is that
    bin him and let someone else pay his wages

    he has been injury prone for 4 years and he is getting older he is getting more not less injury prone bomb him out and get a reliable centre forward in

  8. jimmy Bob says:

    ps the stats speak for themselves 115 games in 4 years less than 30 a season
    76 starts in 4 years less than 20 a season

    how can you justify keeping a player wuth an apperance record like that?

  9. blindkat says:

    I know Saha bashing is almost an olympic sport for a lot of reds but I hope he stays on for another term. When he gets himself together he is a damn good striker, he’s tall, unselfish, gives us a different options up front and genuinely seems to care for the club. Injuries can screw over anyone (Neville,Wayne’s feet,etc) I say give him one more year to pull it together if he can get healthy and some games he’s better than dong , welbeck, or half the name that i’ve read about replacing him (Fabiano,Klass,etc) imo

  10. Albi-TRD says:

    >you don’t think Scholes is starting in the final
    >because he’s a great player and scored the goal
    >that is taking us to Moscow?

    i think scholes has been absolutely terrible since he came back from injury, with the sole exception of the 2nd leg against barca. and that’s not just because he scored, even if he didn’t he had a great game.

    he can’t tackle, he gets robbed of the ball time and time again. he gives it away loads. just watch any game he’s played in this season and count how many times he gets robbed of the ball, or does a wayward pass. it’s more than any other player.
    a lot of united fans (fergie included) are oblivious to this fact and i have no idea why.

    he’s been a true legend and i respect him thoroughly, but i don’t think he should start any important game again, especially not over anderson or hargreaves who give more to our team both offensively and defensively.

    i’d love it if he proved me wrong in the final – but he won’t. he’s gonna get dominated by chelsea’s midfield just like he did when we lost 2-1.

  11. Albi-TRD says:

    my mistake – scholes didn’t even play when we lost against chelsea. (it was o’shea who came on and was ultra-poor, as usual)

    my point still stands though! ;D

  12. mico says:

    The one point I agree with regarding Scholes is giving the ball away with wayward passes. His short passing game is starting to be a liability when it used to be a strong part of his game. It is the little ficks to the side that are the problem and I’m beginning to think he still has some sort of problem with his sight and especially his peropheral vision. Saha should stay with us another season. Remember he had a serious knee operation last year. He needs a rest from training and a productive preseason. He deserves that chance. That will show we try our best with all our players and don’t pick and choose those we dump because of injury. If he doesn’t improve after that I would expect him to be honest eough to hold his hands up and leave – as I would of Gary as well.

  13. mico says:

    whoops, hit the ‘o’ instead of the ‘i’ I can see. It should read ‘peripheral’ not ‘peropheral’.

  14. Anant says:

    scholes is the best passer of the football i’ve ever seen . he has to be the first name on the team sheet purely on merit . he is twice the player anderson is .

  15. suhayl says:

    Saha. this boy if he had remained fit and healthy would be our first choice striker/ He offers something that we dont have…a leap,pace..power..shooting from all angles…strength. TEV and ROO are not these things.

    Saha when fit ala his early days + starrt of last season before xmas was amazing…12 golals before xmas…..he was superb. I have no doubt SAF believes in his ability sooooooo much and wants him fit. As i feel he could have been the henry like.

    However saying that…All the potantial never fully was realised. Due to the worst injury record since sicknote anderton. Im one for loyalty of our players and honouring them properly. NOT judas’s who come out week after week wanting a move eg heinze etc.

    So if was SAF i would say..louis, im buying a striker or two cause i have we are short upfront..need different options. But you have 2 months rest..go and see DR Richard STEADMAN..the best knee surgeon in thw world…recover recuperate and PROVE yourself…you have 6 months to jan window to show what you can do….and you will get that first team chance in the fa and lge cups…

    Delivers = great
    Doesnt = i gave you all the chances in the world..handshake…small fee and all the best.

    BUT give him that final chance

  16. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    Saha is a brilliant striker. I have no doubts that had he remained fit last season, he would have ended on 30 goals for the season. The problem is, he didn’t and never will be reliable to call upon. I’m sorry for the boy as he is not in it for money and wants to play but can’t.

    I’m disgusted by those who question his integrity. Unless he’s confessed to feigning injury or the medical staff has proved that there is nothing wrong with his knee and somehow that information leaked out, on what basis do people like Anant judge Saha’s character? It’s disgraceful and very unfair. Does Saha have to come out every week to assure United fans that he loves the club for people to stop questioning his commitment?

  17. UnitedRay says:

    Saha is fantastically athletic. Very much the drogba of our team. But enough really is enough. I dun think he will ever have an injury free season so he should just hang up his boots.

  18. UnitedRay says:

    Oh btw i think scholes is still the one to start our central midfield at least till next season. He holds the ball and control the rythmn better than any of our players and he compensate his increasingly lack of pace with his cross field passes

  19. Mr United! says:

    I rated him so highly and gave him as much support as was feasible but unfortunately it is time for him to go. I do wish him every success in the future as well as good health because surely all these injuries will take their toll on him after he retires from the game.

  20. Stephen says:

    I think calling one of our best strikers of all time as a self obsessed sulk is a little harsh!!

  21. austin reynolds says:

    i think its a spot on assesment. the mans a fool. it was no coincidence either that van basten dropped him from the holland team either.

  22. Kunal says:

    People who are accusing his passing accuracy… please check out Opta or any other season stats… He was among top 5 passer in 2007-08 season with accuracy of 89%…

  23. Stephen says:

    Austin, I think thats not fair did you think the same of Keane when he fell out withy McCarthy?

    I am not RVN biggest fan but but I think we should respect what he did for our club, he left simply because he fell out with Ronaldo.

  24. Scott the Red says:

    Ruud left simply because he fell out with Ronaldo? Not a chance. He was dropped for the Cup final and threw his dummy out. He thought he was too big to have to fight for his place at this club.

  25. Stephen says:

    Didn’t RVN score 21 league goals that season, justing finishing behind Henry as top goal scorer? Not surprised he got fed up playing second fiddle to Mr Glass.

    Honestly I cant say i miss him but we realisticly do need a striker of that ilk, maybe one who runs would be preferable!!

  26. Scott the Red says:

    Saha played the Cup Final because it was his goals that got him there. Ruud showed a serious flaw in his attitude by not being able to accept that. His performances on the pitch following that day showed him as someone who looked like they couldn’t give a shit less. Anyone remember that godawful penalty against Sunderland, on the day we drew 0-0 with them at OT and they got relegated?

    From January to the end of the season, Saha made 17 appearances, 13 of those were starts, and he scored 9 goals. In that same time period, Ruud had 16 appearances, 11 of those were starts, and he scored 6 goals. Saha proved his was good for the starting place.

    RvN was an awesome player, top quality, and there was no doubt that he was going to prove himself again in the Spanish League. But he doesn’t have the mentality to be a United player.

    Look at Giggs in 1999. He was getting a lot of stick and was dropped for Blomqvist! Didn’t stop him coming off the bench and scoring that goal against Arsenal in the Cup.

    No player at United can be afforded a status where they believe they are bigger than the club. Ruud thought he was, so he had to go.

  27. ellie says:

    so should we keep Gary Neville and if yes Why????????


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