After celebrating his 1499th game at Old Trafford last week, Utd fans had one final opportunity to witness Sir Alex’s Reds in action away to West Brom yesterday. Personally, I didn’t want the game to ever go ahead. I didn’t want to witness the moment where the whistle blew, signalling the end of the game, a game that has been 39 years long, completely unique and utterly special. Unrepeatable. Irreplaceable. But the team bus drew up to the Hawthorns, the teams ran out, and the last 90 minutes of Sir Alex’s career were played out. And what a crazy 90 minutes they were. Read the rest of this entry »
I perhaps should have done this earlier, because there has been plenty of Utd-related news strolling across the bottom of Sky Sports News this week. So let’s run through some little news bites and see where we go…. Read the rest of this entry »
And so, 26 years, 6 months and 7 days after his appointment, Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford looking to oversee his final encounter in the stadium he has made home. A capacity crowd of 75,572 were in attendance to show their appreciation for the work of the greatest club manager the football world has ever seen. A man who took a struggling side and made them into champions, not just once, but 13 times. A man who built a side, and built another, and more still, each achieving success in their own right. A man who has become synonymous with the name, Manchester United Football Club. A man who has written an enormous chapter of the club’s history. They were there to watch him turn the last but one page, the last ever in front of his followers, the last in front of the stand that will forever bear his name. Sir Alex Ferguson. The Greatest. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, in the last few moments, the fastest moving and most important sports news story of the year has thrown us the expected, with the confirmation that David Moyes will become the new Manchester United manager. Over the last day or so, Moyes’ name had come firmly to the front of the likelihood list, and now it is a done deal. This will come into effect on July 1, with Moyes signing a SIX-year deal. With the length of the contract, it signals a very strong vote of confidence from the Utd management, with a unanimous approval from the board. Read the rest of this entry »
The shock of the news of Sir Alex’s retirement this morning hit me more than any sports story I have ever read. Can I write a fitting tribute? No, I am not a good enough writer. It is a time every Utd fan knew would come one day, but like many, I did not expect it at this time, which makes it all the more difficult to compute. It was common knowledge Sir Alex would take some time to have surgery on his hip before the start of next season, but his programme notes and statements of late gave little indication his time as manager was coming to an end. He spoke of being active in the transfer market, the desire to be around to see the youth of the squad develop further, to continue to drive the team forward. But if he feels it is the right time, who are we to argue with that? How often can a manager end his career on a high note of his own choosing? I could weep, for whatever assurances are made there will be doubt over the future, simply because of the consistency that has gone before. But I could do something more. I could just say thank you, and be grateful I was around to witness some of the work of the greatest football manager in history. Regardless of club supported, give credit where it is due, and Sir Alex deserves so much credit. I cannot list his achievements at this time, because we have two more games, two more, with Fergie at the helm. Enjoy them, we will not see the like again.
I suppose the key point to make before we start is the fact that Utd have nothing left to play for, whereas Chelsea still have to do the business to get a Champions League place. They’ll be aware Arsenal and Tottenham are watching their games with interest and for a large part of yesterday, with pleasure. For Utd, after clawing back to a draw last week, the chance was there to put in a carefree performance. Instead it was as sluggish as a sluggish man caught in a particular sticky and sluggish marsh. The team lacked a cutting edge in the same way a spoon does, and it was incredibly boring to watch. But, if only in the interest of completeness, review it we shall. Read the rest of this entry »
Utd fans have had their excitement for this week already, so in the interests of natural balance, it could be said that the match against Arsenal was always going to be a bit more in the ilk of a middle-of-the-table clash. Many things tried beforehand to point to the contrary. Yes, the Reds may have enjoyed a cold beverage or six during the week, but there was the record points haul on offer? It’s all about records, right, to be the best of the best? Beside that, there was the Arsenal guard of honour, classily organised, but understandably not adhered to by some Gunners fans, with their players effectively applauding ex-main man RVP on getting some silverware that they haven’t got. In nautical terms, a bit like the captain leaving the boat first (Hey, you’re the big man – get back here!). That would be enough to get Arsenal riled up enough to get a good performance out of them, and by association, Utd. So perhaps not a damp squib? Read the rest of this entry »
20 times a league winner. A record 20 times a league winner. Utd’s title winning machine rumbled on and over its target, with four games to spare, to clinch the Premier League Trophy last night as Aston Villa came to town for the celebrations. Realistically, there was only going to be one winner here because this was a special occasion under the lights of Old Trafford and everyone inside it was willing it to happen. Willpower doesn’t win football games, but the support inside the ground was brilliant, and fittingly, Utd produced a similarly great display to wrap things up. Here’s what happened: Read the rest of this entry »
Most will be aware by now, but following today’s clash between Manchester City and Tottenham, 2nd placed City dropped three points as Spurs mounted a terrific comeback to run out 3-1 winners. This result means that Utd will be crowned Champions as early as tomorrow if they succeed in beating 17th-placed Aston Villa. At Old Trafford. In front of 70,000 people who want them to do just that. Villa are in decent form that may sound surprising despite their position and have lost only one of their last five matches (3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss), but even factoring in Utd’s awful performance levels of late, I fully expect title 20 to be achieved tomorrow night. On we go….
It’s not often the manager gets the blog picture. Even stranger coming in off the back of a match that had more than enough candidates. But I think it the best indication of how West Ham took their match against Utd last night, and how gutted they were not to win. A late Van Persie conversion preventing that, prompting fury from the Hammers and quotes about Utd involving such words as: “We played like Champions.” As much as I will give credit to the way Utd, yet again, came from behind, twice, to take a tough point, I also think this statement ignores the sheer effort of West Ham and overstates Utd’s performance on the night. Read the rest of this entry »