I wrote a very emotional blog in October of 2010. Wayne Rooney broke my heart. Admittedly, it was my own fault; I had allowed myself to fall in love with a player, who at the end of the day had left the only club he had ever loved to play for us. I was angry back then. I wasn’t amongst the fans who booed Rooney, though; I wasn’t amongst the fans who then cheered him a couple of weeks later. I stopped thinking Wayne Rooney was God’s gift that day, and I started looking at him more critically. For a while, I’ll admit I was overly critical, but Wayne Rooney doesn’t encourage the anger in me anymore, in fact he struggles to provoke any sort of emotion. Some would probably argue that I’m not neutral, that I’m so hurt by his disregard for this club that I can’t see how much the player means to me. I would say that I am more neutral than those who believe that we would be a lesser club without Wayne Rooney. No man is bigger than the team he plays in.
A couple of days have now passed since the confirmation of Paul Scholes’ retirement from football as a player, for the second time. Granted, many would have already paid their respect and written their tributes for the ginger marvel, so it may seem I am slightly behind. However, I felt that the last two days were days for celebrations and I wasn’t quite ready to say my goodbyes. The truth is, we all knew this day was coming. After a season where Paul has suffered long term injuries, and taking into account his age, I don’t think it was avoidable. For someone so talented, yet so humble, you would expect nothing else but a gracious and quiet bow out of football.
The last home game of the season is often one that makes me so happy, yet so sad. Happy because it is always a day that fills me with pride and a sense of gratitude towards the team that has worked so hard for us throughout the season. The sadness creeps in because you know that the summer holiday is imminent, and you now have the task of spending the next two months desperate for the pre-season to begin, by which point you will be in dreadful withdrawal for any kind of football that you’ll gladly get up at 3-4 in the morning to watch a game that doesn’t have any significant meaning past the players beginning their climb towards regaining match fitness and seeing any new players that have been either bought or promoted within the club getting a chance to gel with the first team. The above scenario is taken from a normal season. Of course the end of this season is anything but normal, and everything is that much more emotional because the changes our club is facing.
Yesterday I started something that I thought would be the most difficult blog I’d ever written, a good bye to Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager. Then I sat down to consider our future, our next manager and the changes that our great club was about to go through. As it turns out, contemplating a future without someone who has essentially become the picture of Manchester United, after nearly 27 years in charge of the club, is so much harder. Not because I refuse to accept that we now will be without Sir Alex, simply because it is so very hard to picture the club without the person who has been there for your entire lifetime.
There are times in your life, when you don’t know what to say. When there are no words that can describe your feelings, when every word in the dictionary would still fall short of what you would want to express. Today is one of those days that make those times look easy. How do you begin to describe, begin to show your gratitude, begin to arrange your thoughts into coherent writing when the one thing that has always been a constant in your life, suddenly is no more.
It’s very strange to have supported a club for well over two decades and having only seen one manager in charge. It’s very strange to consider that since you were 6 months old, there’s only ever been one person in charge of the club you love. It’s very scary to consider that one day, and one day soon, you will have to deal with that person leaving, and someone new will be taking his place. Like after having your dad around for 20 odd years of your life; one day your mum announces her divorce, introduces her new fella, and asks you to call him daddy. Obviously, I’d tell her to fuck off.
Now, I suppose for anyone who is not a United fan, you would expect a blog written by a United fan in regards to Suarez to be nothing more than a bashing of the, how to best describe him, colourful striker. Now don’t get me wrong, as a person, I think he is despicable. You cannot deny that he’s a very talented footballer, without whom Liverpool would most likely struggle to even challenge for a UEFA cup spot. As much as it pains me to say, he is a very talented player indeed, just not a very pleasant one.
There are a lot of emotions that come with being a football fan; ups and downs, laughter and tears, but none of them can quite compare to the feelings brought about by your team winning the league. We are a lucky bunch of fans, as are all fans that get to see their team win trophies, gain promotion, winning games as much for their fans as for themselves. We were the underdogs in August; the team that very few non United fans thought could win the league. The team who had only really signed a big name in Van Persie, and some Japanese player from the German league, that no one really knew that much about, because it’s not strictly speaking fashionable to watch football leagues that do no concern your own team.
Isn’t it funny how somehow you’re seemingly never more proud of your football team than when they lose a game? It’s always heart-breaking to watch your team go out of a competition, even when you tell yourself you’re not really that fussed about the competition, which I continually do about the Champions League. Maybe I don’t really care that much, the priority to me is always to see the boys lift the Premier League trophy, anything beyond that is a bonus, and we’re talking big, fat, Barclays PLC executive bonus at that. But it still hurts when you exit a competition, although I think it hurts a little less when you go out as the better team, rather than the team that just weren’t very good.
The way the season ended last year may have been one of the most heart-breaking ways I have ever seen a season end. The rollercoaster that he second half of the season turned into, I honestly did fear would be the end of me. They say it’s the hope that kills you, and as we gained points on City until, at last, overtaking them, gave us hope. However, much like Carlos Tevez and modelling, winning last year’s league trophy just wasn’t meant to be for the Reds. And that hurt. A lot. Not so much because we didn’t win it, just because of the how they did win it. City had the better team last season they should have had it wrapped up long before they actually did, but they had to take it down to the final day of the season, which took us from cheering to crying (I admit that actually was what happened in my case) in a manner of minutes.