To mark the 10th anniversary of RoM today, there will be several articles remembering some of the best moments for Manchester United fans over the past decade. Paul Ansorge has spoken about one of his favourite memories.
Hindsight is famously meant to be 20/20, though given the filter of nostalgia and self justification we often apply to our past experiences, that is perhaps not particularly accurate. What is certain, though, is that hindsight can change the tone of an experience.
Danny Welbeck signing for Arsenal and scoring for them at Old Trafford—twice—has really taken the shine off what was easily one of the best United moments of the past decade.
Moments in the most literal sense. Ultimately it was a goal which counted for nothing, either in terms of Welbeck’s United career’s untimely demise or United’s progression in that season’s Champions League.
But Danny Welbeck scored in the Bernabeu. It was sublime. Here he was, a local boy who divided fans like only one of our own can. Was he a superbly gifted footballer who just needed more confidence in his finishing or was he a Bambi-esque showboat who belonged nowhere near our first team, who other fans only liked ‘cos he was from Longsight?
In that glorious moment, those of us in the first camp could revel in this kid stepping up when United needed him most. So what if Cristiano Ronaldo had gone to Real Madrid and a decade of the Glazers had eroded United’s seat at the top table of European football? Here was a moment which meant something special. It was pure United. One of our own, doing the business in Madrid. He’s not one of our own anymore of course, but we did not know that at the time.
He did point to his own name on the back of his shirt in the celebration, though. Perhaps that should have been a hint that Arsenal lay in his future…