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Vidic, Europe, fans: 5 things we’ve learnt from yesterday

105188After 10 seemingly endless months, when disappointment and dire football became as common as success and attacking endeavour had been for the best of the last 26 years, we finally waved goodbye to the 2013-14 season, not in style but after a dull 1-1 draw.

Here’s what we’ve learnt from United’s last outing of a dismal campaign.

1) 10 months in 90 minutes

The 1-1 draw at Southampton encapsulated United’s season: an appalling first half with only but a few reasons for optimism towards the end.

It’s hard to believe that a season that had started with four points in the first two games ended up with United missing out on a Champions League spot for the first time since 1995 and on a European place altogether for the first time in 24 years.

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David Moyes’ tenure will be always remembered as a colossal mistake, Ryan Giggs’ spell as interim coach confirmed that while a new manager might revive the environment, the need for change on the pitch can’t be underestimated.

2) Who’s sad about missing out on Europe?

When he took charge, Giggsy stressed the need to clinch a European spot and insisted United would give their all even if qualifying for the Europa League could only be considered as small comfort for a club that had dined at Europe’s finest table for the last 19 seasons.

However, while the words were the right ones, the actions deserted United. The Reds yesterday did not look like a team even remotely interested in finishing sixth, particularly in the first half when they treated fans to the sort of football normally only seen on Sunday league pitches.

Whether missing out on the Europa League will be a blessing in disguise or not remains to be seen but, even if it was, the lack of effort was inexcusable.

3) Thanks and goodbye

In his last game for United, Nemanja Vidic put in a characteristically uncompromising performance and it was fitting that the United captain would bow out with his shirt stained in blood.

We can only hope that Vidic won’t be the last man out of the door this summer, for the sooner United clear their deck the better for everyone.

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Rio Ferdinand is surely past it, Ashley Young, Nani and Tom Cleverley should have already played their last game for the club and there can no longer be room for Anderson, Bebe and Alex Buttner.

Mediocrity and passengers have been tolerated for far too long at the club.

4) Shaw is worth £27m

As it emerged last night that United had submitted a £27m bid for Luke Shaw many questioned the wisdom of the decision. Even more surprisingly, a lot of Reds concurred with those claiming that spending almost £30m on a left-back would be sheer lunacy.

Never mind that Shaw has been one of the players of the season and that he’s likely to be England’s left-back for the next decade or that Patrice Evra has been a defensive liability for years and that he’s almost certain to leave the club, Shaw, according to some, isn’t worth it.

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Leaving aside the fact that United spent £30m on Rio Ferdinand 12 years ago and could be looking at the same kind of long-term investment with the Southampton left-back, spending £27m on a 18-year-old might indeed by lunacy, but so is allowing money to be siphoned out the club on a daily basis.

And of those two activities, only one should raise concern.

5) We love United, we do

Over the last two decades, fans of other clubs and pundits have all expressed their opinions on our fans. United are always accused – often more righty than not – of having an embarrassing home support for a club of their size, capable of notching attendances north of 70,000 every second week.

While that is undoubtedly true, a lot of fans of other clubs have, through grinned teeth, had to reconsider their stance this season.

Despite a shambolic season the support at Old Trafford has been fantastic, while the away fans have been absolutely incredible.

Judging by the scenes that unfolded in the away end yesterday, one would have thought United had won the league.

To those of all who have accused us of being glory hunters, plastic, morons that must have sounded like a kick in the teeth.

Win or lose, we’re always the same: loud, noisy, proud.

Here’s hoping that the 2014-15 season will be a belter.

Dan