I hear that a lot of Ole’s decision is motivated by his desire ‘to give something back’ to the club that developed him. There is little more we can say to the man who won us the European Cup, is a patron of MUST and all round nice guy other than - “Thanks for the memories and best of luck in the future, you will always be welcome back with open arms”.
It was interesting to be at Old Trafford in 2007 for the match against Sunderland. It was Keano’s return as a manager but also the first home fixture since Solskjaer had announced the end of his playing career. Both names were sung of course, but the two teams formed a guard of honour for the Norwegian before kick off and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
There was no such crowd appreciation after this week’s turgid derby against City. I thought we might nick it at the end but a draw is still a good result considering we had to make two forced defensive changes because of injury.
My goodness what a slow game though, the whole thing felt like a Mexican standoff from the beginning. I found the most entertaining aspects of the match Wes Brown’s current moustache and Tevez’s ridiculous neck warming cravat. Who does he think he is? David Niven.
One man whose identity could not be mistaken this week is my old man who appears in the below press photo (somewhere towards the left in a green and gold scarf). Whilst he is, of course, delighted to have been snapped by the fourth estate, it reminds me about one of the fundamentals of being a football fan.
The Grimace consoles Owen Hargreaves
It is a process so entrenched between fathers and sons, it is such a deep part of community and culture that it occupies a special plain in our lives. Watching United is about more than being associated with a singular club and enjoying their style of play. It provides us with the language we use to communicate with each other.
Most of what was said between us on Saturday lunchtime during the ‘Thriller at the Villa’, particularly in the second half, was of the four-letter variety, loud and panicky. The teams exchanged blows like young versions of George Foreman and Mohhamed Ali and although United should have been stronger I am inclined to agree with Feguson’s summation.
“Another five minutes and we'd have won," opined the Scot. Indeed he is correct, but we need to start winning games inside ninety minutes now more than ever. Chelsea, for example, have been doing this on a weekly basis recently. P.S. I love Sunderland.
I’m loathe to criticise Ferguson at this juncture though because I personally believe he is doing the best job of actually managing the team he has done since he arrived in 1986. The empire is crumbling kids. The players we have are not as good as the ones we have had. Money is flying out in all the wrong directions and the fans are divided.
Truly, Manchester United as an institution has not been in as dire a straights for eighty or ninety years. The fact that we still have a manager at the helm who can keep this side unbeaten thirteen games into the season is a miracle. I, for one, am pretty bloody grateful.
Follow Mark on twitter.com/markjpayne