“Play For The Shirt, Lads”

A season of fantastic highs and occasional lows essentially came to an end on Sunday with Chelsea’s draw at the Arsenal confirming Manchester United as the champions of England for a ninth time in the Premiership. Manchester United fans all around the world deserve to shout it out loud and truly revel in this moment because this has been a well earned success when few outside Man United actually predicted it. The ‘special one’ himself at various times in the season predicted that the table was false and that his Chelsea team would eventually topple United from the top and eventually win the league. They got close on a few occasions especially when our injury list got longer, and I actually believe that if we had been removed from top spot, Chelsea would have gone on to win the league. That they didn’t says an awful lot for our players, the ones that get the headlines and the ones that do not. I’m speaking specifically here of Darren Fletcher, who I have been critical of in the past but who, even I will admit, has risen to the challenge in recent weeks. Such players may not be first team material on a week in week out basis and there were times I wondered why we kept such average players around even for the bench. The fact that we did shows why Alex Ferguson is the manager and I am not. We built a team mentality that was not based on superstars in every role, but was instead based on players playing for the shirt whenever and wherever they were required.  You do not need twenty two headline grabbers!

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It’s Not the Size of the Gap, It’s What You Do With it That Counts!

In this, the season of good will to all men and fellow supporters in this wonderful league of ours, I thought I would make a return to Mancunia to say thank you to all the rival fans for their reaction to our own Cristiano Ronaldo. After the world cup we wondered if we had seen the last of Ronnie in United red. So did Sir Alex, according to an exclusive interview done by Rollin Reds (the magazine for United’s disabled supporters), after that incident he was texting Cristiano and receiving no reply. Fergie feared the worst, agents getting involved, not being able to speak directly, the news was saying that Ronaldo was ignoring his club and for a second Sir Alex believed it. Then he realised that he had been texting his old number!!!!

When he did get in contact with him it was clear there was never any intention to leave our club, and so he just had to prepare himself for the reaction from rival supporters. We as United fans have been through this before with David Beckham and we watched him grow and grow into a player that the world would know. Ronaldo is following the same path (by all accounts a move to Real Madrid at some point wouldn’t be too out of the question for him either) and the lad seems to thrive on all the boo antics. Against Aston Villa he scored a goal didn’t look too far removed from one that Ryan Giggs may have scored a few years back, or George Best (back when he could be arsed to play) and all round he is playing the best I have seen from  him.

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…Than Be A City Fan!

Job done in the derby, Stuart Pearce tried some half arsed mind games with his “this means more to City fans” comment. I think he was right, though not for the reason he thought. It meant more to City fans because it was one of their two chances each season to drag themselves up and feel good but for us it was just another hurdle in our way, the opposition did not matter. I was not as geared up for aManchesterderby so much as I was for the chance to put Chavski under a little bit more pressure than usual. Slick Rick Jose said there was no pressure and that it was a fake table because they have games in hand. Funnily enough I remember another such occasion when the tales were reversed and we had games in hand and Jose stood there cool as ice and said that games in hand did not matter, to have the points in the bag was the main thing. What a difference a year makes. Managers everywhere are guilty of the rose coloured spectacles on some days, Arsene Whinger more than most and much as I like Jose, it’s nice to know that we are messing with his head if only a little bit.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Carrick deserve mention from Saturday, they both continue to impress me in their roles and Carrick spread a few passes around as yet more proof that he is settling in. Ronaldo’s supply is better than it has been and the end product is there. It wasn’t one of Wayne Rooney’s great games but on his worst days he is better than many rival players so he can still add to our team.

For one brief moment on Sunday I began thinking that it would be possible for Arsenal to do us a huge favour. I didn’t expect anything for them fromStamfordBridge and fully expected the gap to be closed by a maximum points haul from that lot, starting with the Gooners. However, Arsenal went for it and at least caused a stumble in the Champions. Credit where credit is due their equaliser was some goal, and a two points dropped is better than nothing.

I think that Jose’s post match comments were interesting, telling everyone who would listen that the gap would be five points on Thursday morning and that Newcastle, as good as they are, should expect a spanking. I agree with Jose, Newcastle will crumble.