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. Alex Shaw, the General Editor at ESPN, has spoken about one of his favourite memories.
The 2006-07 title winning season ranks as one of the best in Manchester United’s Premier League history. Having finished 18 and eight points off Chelsea in the two previous campaigns respectively – then seeing Roman Abramovich bring Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge, the Last Rites were once again being read over United’s ability to compete at the top. But Sir Alex Ferguson had the last laugh, as he usually did, and triumphed over Jose Mourinho’s men in a season stocked full of outstanding moments and thrilling, counter-attacking football. Remember what that looked and felt like?
Following a tumultuous summer that really cranked up a notch when Wayne Rooney stamped on Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles at the World Cup and Cristiano Ronaldo was dubbed a winker, a glimpse of what was to come arrived as early as the first 20 minutes in the opening match of the season. Rooney and Ronaldo were outrageously impressive as the Reds stormed into a 4-0 lead on their way to a 5-1 win.
There was so much more. Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand sticking it to Liverpool at Old Trafford; Louis Saha in attack; Henrik bloody Larsson; John O’Shea in goal at Tottenham; 3-0 up in five minutes at Reading; Ronaldo and Gabriel Heinze’s celebration at Fulham; O’Shea Scousebusting in front of the Kop; the comeback at home to Blackburn; the 7-1; AC Milan at home, Everton away and actually reaching the FA Cup final. The season had everything.
It is, therefore, a testament to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s standing among the fans that his moment burns brightly among those. Ole struck in the 89th minute in the 3-0 win at Charlton – as United made it eight league goals in their opening two matches – to complete his long road back to rehabilitation.
Solskjaer and United fans were cruelly robbed of his predatory instinct in front of goal for too long, the knee injuries sustained between 2003-06 meaning the tap-in at the Valley was his first league goal in three years. Ole appreciated the magnitude of the moment and shared his bowed celebration with the fans on a wet night in south London.
Sure, last minute winners at Liverpool and massive European nights capture the imagination but one of the biggest crowd favourites in the club’s recent history getting his first goal back after injury stirred the soul.