Five months ago, The Guardian wrote an article searching to find the answer of who was to blame for United’s “decline”, in response to Roy Keane’s rant about his fellow team mates. Ex United players, United fans, Sports writers and IMUSA spokesmen all had answers to the question. Alex Ferguson was the main culprit according to them, but fault was also at the hands of players like Rio Ferdinand who “had no respect for real United fans” (this, of course, was before he sat with United fans away at Anfield, starting chants and chatting with the fans) there was no real leadership on the pitch, and the players weren’t of United quality, to name a few reasons.
Four months ago, almost to the day, The Telegraph did a write up after United’s 1-1 draw with Everton at home. The words “decline”, “ordinary” and “failing” could be found in this article, all in reference to United and Alex Ferguson. The journalist encouraged Ferguson to seek a dignified exit from the club in the summer.
The Cheif sports writer for the Manchester Evening news said, “if Fergie can arrest this shocking and alarming slump it will rank with anything he’s achieved in all his years at the club.”
There was a lot of talk about United taking the Carling Cup, dubbed the Worthless Cup by most United fans over the years, seriously. When making it to the quarter finals, that was, according to most papers and opposition fans, a clear sign of United’s decline. The fact that the current 1st and 3rd ranked teams in the country took it seriously enough to reach the final last year is something a lot or people wanted to forget. It wasnt as funny that United were in it to win it if last seasons final was remembered. But Ferguson took it seriously this year, just as Mourinho and Benetiz did the season before, and he inspired United to a crushing victory.
3 weeks ago, Chelsea were a whopping 18 points clear (2 games in hand). United have now won 6 Premiership games in a row, Chelsea have been stuttering, and we’ve closed their lead down to just 7 points. Despite statement after statement coming from the Bridge claiming they are not worried, and they will go on to win the title, more and more we’re seeing people raise their eyebrows and wonder, is it possible? Is it possible that Chelsea, who have spent £350 million in 3 summers, who were tearing teams apart in the Premiership for the opening months of the season (ahem, United being one of the very few teams who were able to take points off them before Christmas), who had bookies paying out on them winning the league months ago, could slip up, and United be there to pip them to the post?
6 games to go, and who knows. United have got a huge test this weekend against Arsenal, who are in form, and want to get one over on us after not beating us in the league for seasons. The dream could end there, with our makeshift midfield finally buckling. But what if it doesnt? What if earlier that day West Ham take points off Chelsea, and United beat Arsenal?
This season, unpredictably, could all be decided at the Bridge on the last weekend in April, and whichever way it falls, Alexx Ferguson and his team have got a hell of a lot to be proud of this season. We had an attrocious start, in terms of results, injuries, and Keano’s exit, leaving the country laughing at us. Finally, United were a team in decline. Finally, United weren’t going to be contenders for the league. Finally, Alex Ferguson would leave United.
If United win the league, or if United miss out by a few points, with O’Shea and Fletcher being our best available central midfielders for most of the season, then that alone is something to celebrate. My favourite part of this season is getting to think of all the United haters, who were the first to rub our noses in the CL exit, and were more than happy to announce that Ferguson was past it, and what they’re thinking right now. Will they ever be able to get rid of United? If having a start to the season like this isn’t enough to get rid of United, then what is?
This season, more than ever, is a sign of hope. We need some good summer buys to pad out our squad, and a good start to the season. Some of the lads got their first ever medal this year, and that should give them the hunger for more. We should start the season with the confidence, and build on the great end of the season we’ve had this year.
And Jose Mourinho best manager in the world? He’s just Kevin Keegan with even more money 😉