To mark the 10th anniversary of RoM, there will be several articles remembering some of the best moments for Manchester United fans over the past decade. Mark Ogden, Chief Football Correspondent at The Independent, has shared some memories from the past decade from reporting on United.
RoM: What do you think the best moment of the past 10 years has been for United?
Mark Ogden: It was probably not celebrated as much as it should have been at the time, probably because United were accustomed to winning everything, but the Champions League victory in Moscow is the obvious highpoint. Moscow certainly didn’t get the bells and whistles that accompanied the Treble win, but if you look over the years since, it was undoubtedly the highpoint of the last ten years.
It was the best of Ferdinand and Vidic, Evra at his peak, Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney playing brilliantly and even Owen Hargreaves ended that campaign as the key figure everyone expected him to be before his injuries. It’s eight years since Moscow and does anyone really believe United will replicate that night in the next eight?
RoM: Are there any games that stand out to you that you’ve reported on over the past 10 years?
MO: Barcelona semi-final in 2008. The atmosphere that night was electric, but so tense in the final ten minutes.
The 4-3 win against City, when Michael Owen scored the winner, but also the 6-1 defeat because it was just so bad.
I think the 3-0 defeat against Liverpool at Old Trafford under Moyes also has to go in there as arguably the lowest of the low, in terms of performance and the sense that the roof really was caving in.
RoM: When Abramovich/Mourinho came to Chelsea, did you think there was much chance of United still being the dominant team in England?
MO: No, I think the ship had sailed completely by the end of the 2005-06 season, but Ferguson somehow turned it around. It probably helped that Rooney and Ronaldo were just about to explode, but Chelsea were so far ahead in the first two years of Jose Mourinho that there did not look to be a way back.
It’s a similar challenge facing United now, but they go into this period without certainty in the manager’s position or the boardroom.
RoM: What have the biggest changes been behind the scenes between Fergie, Moyes and Van Gaal?
MO: One word really. Belief. They had it in bucketloads under Ferguson, it evaporated under Moyes and hasn’t come back under Van Gaal.
Without that confidence and assurance, good players look average and average players? Well, I think we have seen plenty of examples of average players without confidence in the last two years…
RoM: Any particularly memorable moments at a United press conference/interview over the past 10 years?
MO: Everyone knows about the mad Fergie moments, but I think the most obvious one away from Ferguson is a car crash of a press conference staged by David Moyes before a game at Arsenal in 2014. He just tried to face down every question, insisting he was in control of everything and then tried to stare out anybody who suggested he was being misguided.
I don’t doubt that Moyes can be quite intimidating when he wants to be, but after dealing with Ferguson – both the press lads and the players – he was never going to play that card successfully at United.
RoM: What has been the most interesting United related story you’ve reported on in this time?
MO: Again, Fergie retiring was arguably the most crucial moment in the club’s history, certainly post-Munich, but away from that, I think the sale of Ronaldo was the biggest. I was at The Telegraph then and we did eight pages on it in one day. Only England winning the World Cup will get the same treatment and we all know that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.