The season has finally ended in nightmarish proportions for United fans.
Liverpool put out United in the F.A.’s famous show piece competition and even managed to reach the prestigious finale. Horrible Suarez and co did lift silverware in the shape of the Carling Cup this year a long time before Athletic Bilbao humbled us too, this time in the much coveted European Champions League in which John Terry unashamedly fondled, slavered and pawed at a trophy he never actually won, those moments were amazing and horrific in equal measures. For Hodgson to bump Ferdinand in favour of the same ‘alleged’ racist for ‘football reasons’ (that exist only in the southern driven media myth-dom) is pitiful. But these are only the beginning acts.
These are the Apéritifs’ to the main nightmare.
On the last day of the season with virtually the last kick of the season, a final swing of the pendulum saw Sergio Aguero twist the knife deep into the heart of Manchester United and our title challenge was finally quelled. Manchester City F.C. became English premiership champions for the first time. It only took $1.5b petroleum dollars to beat a not so classic United team on goal difference… GOAL DIFFERENCE! A RECORD POINTS FOR A TEAM FINISHING ‘SECOND’!
But for 42 second half minutes the league chase promised so much more. We dared to believe. We invested in that belief with each QPR goal, as the minutes ticked away like hours. We dared to cling to that mere possibility of hope; A hope against all hopes. We were close. So very close. 38 games and 9 months was finally decided by 5 mad Barton provoked injury time minutes at the Etihad in a game we had absolutely no control over. As the City fans’ tears turned to an unrestrained release of bliss and ecstasy, our unlooked for hope died and turned sour in our mouths. It’s a bitterness that will last months. It’s a bitterness that will endure until the beginning of the new season and beyond. Until we can right this deepest wrong, it will remain a wound that will lie deep within the soul of every Manchester United supporter.
We’d mainly resigned ourselves to not winning the league this season after the casual way we deemed to throw away our title following crucially 4 points in 4 key run-in games. I readily accepted the offer of attending a party at a friend’s in the knowledge I could hide from the inevitable City celebrations. The hardiest of us knew the hope was slim. BELIEVE was the rallying call for the fans. But it was said in a somewhat shallow resonance with reality. But as 10 man QPR took a 2nd half 2-1 lead that hope grew and flourished in the incredulity at what was happening at the Etihad.
The TV was in full dual mode as the party faltered with disbelieving eyes concentrating on what wasn’t the procession that was expected. More Cruel we thought, but more and more United fans switched over to the City game. Focused on what was happening at City, rather than United. A total novelty to United supporters who rarely concentrate on any other team than United. As the minutes slowly ticked down It became completely unbearable. I have never felt like this as a United supporter. Even the famous Nou Camp night where we left it so late did not foster the combined apprehension, paranoia, sickness and hope that fought for dominance in my psyche.
Even thinking about it now I have the palpitations I experienced then.
The acid sickness that tinged my throat and the prayers offered for continued QPR resilience in their game are a vivid memory. I really for the first time in my United experience could not bear to watch, listen, tweet in any shape or form. Then hope turned to belief. I can tell you exactly when that was for me. 87 minutes and Dzeko missed an absolute glorious chance to equalise.
Finally my hope got the better of me. And I absolutely dared to believe that the final twist was happening in our favour and City was going to finish the season being City-ish. I dared to pump my first and smile with pending realisation that I’d have witnessed the craziest, most exciting finish to a ‘winning’ league season. I don’t know what you were doing, where you were guys’n’girls at this time, but I was hiding behind the sofa. I’d retuned to that innocent, scared and awed fan I was as a child; full of agonising doubt and assurance in our ability. 90 minutes passed and we remained champions….. I can remember someone saying thats it, there’s no way they’ll score 2 goals in injury time. I remember thinking “What an Idiot! Do you Not Remember ’99 at the Nou Camp!” The final whistle went at Sunderland and we remained champions…… And then it turned out Manchester City could win the league in such a horrendous Man United way.
As Sky Sports erupted in seemingly orgasmic pleasure at our pain we were left numb at the manner of our defeat. Seemingly jeered by a nation we were left shattered. This was beyond doubt the cruellest of defeats. We were left to reflect that we’d rather of City won six-nil than this. We realised that it really was a vain hope to believe. We reflected that this was what it was like to be Munich all those years ago. We reflected and some of us cried, because this was the first time they’d experienced the true pendulum of emotions that football can produce. We were angry, we were sad, we were graceful in defeat, some not so….
It’s fair to say it hurt; truly, madly, deeply. God it hurt! It still hurts all this time afterwards. But that’s the end; if we revisit my previous post; ‘A Call to Arms: BELIEVE’, I asked for A Call to Believe, when we had no right to. It was a call to believe when nothing else was left but belief in that Manchester United myth and magic. A Call to Believe that we could finish with our heads held high. Then we realise our lads did do us proud. They did their job and pushed City to the fullest; they kept the title challenge alive to the very last whistle and made them win it. We can be proud of this squad, although tempered by the knowledge we threw away a winning position with an uncharacteristic loss of form and focus at such a crucial time. Yet still they did the shirt, the badge and the memory of legends proud.
After all, when you really review our season; the persistent debilitating injuries, the failure to attain the central midfield targets, the loss of a crucial player and captain in Vidic and continued decline of Fletcher with his illness. The anguish for Evra with his brother’s death and then controversy with all the debacle and distastefulness that surrounded the abhorrent actions of Luis Suarez, King Kenny and Liverpool F.C. It truly is amazing Sir Alex was able to cagoule, inspire and encourage such a response form a team in transition and whose core squad members are so early in their development. Sure we bought back Paul Scholes to stabilize a stuttering threadbare midfield. But essentially players like, Jones, the twins, Smalling, Evans, Cleverley, Welbeck, De Gea, Hernandez are at the start of or early in their development. Jjoining players like Rooney, Nani, Valencia, Young, Carrick and Vidic who are going into or at their peak. Fletcher is an unknown at the moment and we’re likely to see further squad player leave like Berbatov, Park, Owen and Anderson that will free squad places for other recruits. The future remains Red, The future remains bright…….
But that’s the future, today we deal with the now. We Deal with our pain, dust ourselves down and we lick our wounds. We experience all the clichés through gritted teeth. We experience the catharsis of sharing our pain with friends. Here at RedRants we want you to share your pain and final day experiences with us… A reminder when can reflect on hopefully happier times next season as we regain our title….. So share with us today……….
Then remember the City gloating and the classless response to their victory that proved that despite the cash, they remain a small minded club casting an envious eye at the history of our great club. Remember Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United remain fighters, already straining at the leash to resume battle at the Theatre of Dreams…..
……..Remember We’re United and We’ll Never Die!
…….Remember To Cry ‘Victory for Manchester United, Sir Alex and The King, Cantona!’
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