Oh what fun it is to see United win away.

I’m not shy in saying it hasn’t been easy watching Manchester United in recent times.

On a week like this though, it all seems worth it again.

Don’t get me wrong. Nothing could stop me (or us) from watching United. Whether enjoyable or not, it isn’t a choice. It’s a lifestyle. But when everyone does their job, brilliant things can and do happen.

When it comes to this club, people will always have something to say. And in this fast paced modern footballing world, managers seem to be under even more pressure to succeed quick or face losing their jobs.

Talking of which, any human being who is spiteful enough to be racist to another and stupid enough to do it on camera deserves all that is coming to them. Imagine being a grown adult and that being your reaction to losing. I have no sympathy for someone displaying that kind of behaviour and I know the vast majority of City fans also will agree that he has no place at any football ground. And two words for people throwing objects at the opposition’s players. Grow up!

For many reds, we can only wonder how they got a lid into the Etihad. But that’s another story entirely!

Back to what proper fans go to games for now. The football!

Manchester United’s performance yesterday, especially in the first half, was a joy to watch. Relentless going forward, calm when it mattered and solid defensively. It was disappointing to concede later on but none the less we got the three points away from home and not many would have predicted so prior to the game.

There was no debacle when it came to the penalty taker. Manchester’s own Marcus Rashford scored and not long after hit the crossbar. Amazingly for many who doubted United’s chances, it could have been a lot more!

As I said before kick off, I don’t care about players coming back from injury quicker than expected. Or the speculation behind it and what ifs. All that matters is Anthony Martial was fit, got the start and got his name on the score sheet. Pure and simple. Give me that any day over excuses and non stop will he won’t he nonsense. If you want to play for this club, do so with everything you have. If you’re injured focus your energy on coming back and if you want out fair enough. No more. No less.

Even with one of the best displays I have seen in a long while, ‘squeaky bum time’ was to return following  Nicolas Otamendi’s late goal. Overall, it was a thrilling watch and shows what this team are capable of.

Credit where it’s due. However much I don’t like saying it, the blue side of Manchester are champions and are giving their all to put the pressure on Liverpool sitting pretty at the top of the table. Even so, we worked hard, came out victorious and Ole got it right!

Several days prior to this, United managed to get the same result (at Old Trafford this time) against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. That sentence in itself once again showing how quickly things can change and turn themselves around in Premier League football. Of course it was man of the moment Rashford to get the goals! Brilliant to see!

Yes. The table can turn quite literally. United are right now back to 5th on the league table. The highest we could be sitting after this weekend. Whilst the lowest possibility following the derby would have been 12th! Utter madness! Just goes to show you doesn’t it!

Some highlights for me. Scott McTominay making a return to the squad. Youngsters starting to make their mark. Aaron Wan Bissaka against City! Blocked everyone and everything that came his way. Superhero-esque indeed! And the pride shown!

There was one magic moment that stole the show for me though. The video you will see doing the rounds on social media and rightly so!

Ole Gunnar Solskjær, under much scrutiny, looking up to the away end at the Etihad following his team’s win. To see who else but Sir Alex Ferguson looking down beaming at him. That right there money could never buy. Only years of history, glory, good and bad days and an understanding between those two most of us will never know created that spark. And that is why we will continue to fight for the love of our team.

I’m not Ole out. I’m not proclaiming he has completely found his feet yet either. But what I am completely for is the best for United. And if somehow, despite the problems behind the scenes and all the turbulent times the club has yet to come before we can truly celebrate again, we can finally turn these fixtures into consistent results, then it will all make sense.

If not, I’ll be here anyway. For results like yesterday. To see the unexpected. And for those few seconds, in the midst of all the drama, where we can witness Fergie’s pride and Ole’s happiness. If only for a short time.

Is someone chopping onions again?

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[Photo Credit: Daily Express.]

Better the devil you know?

A long awaited away win finally came our way tonight in the Europa League. Albeit quite a dull affair with only an Anthony Martial penalty to separate the two teams.

Nothing much else to write home about. Except a shout to youngster Brandon Williams for getting United’s man of the match and hopefully setting the precedent for what’s to come.

Prior to the Partizan Belgrade game was none other than Liverpool at home in the Premier League. It doesn’t matter where the teams reside on the table. There will always be a bitter rivalry between the two and much anticipation leading to the fixture.

Arguably, it had everything you want in a match of it’s nature. Excitement, pace, controversy, heartbreak and a last gasp winner. Ultimately, Manchester United couldn’t hold on to their surprising lead and it ended 1-1. The real star of the show was V.A.R again with two important decisions for either side. There is still an uncertainly of it’s place in the modern game, and the impact it has on our very enjoyment of football. But for once, I will make an exception!

Away from what has been happening on the field, rumours have picked up again regarding the ownership of the club and there has been talk of a Saudi Arabia takeover. Supposedly not the first at that! Which brings me to my next debate.

There are two very solid arguments either side for this apparent development. Can you ever listen to just your head over your heart? Can you put aside your very morals and everything you believe in for the sake of your club’s future? Or in other words, is it better the devil you know?

There is no doubt that the Glazers have got us into this place of despair. Where an away win is deemed an achievement. A top half finish in the league needs to be seriously fought for. And the trophy cabinet stays expectedly shut for who knows how long?

Of course, United haven’t always known success. There has been times in the clubs history where we have struggled for years. Yes. Even when Sir Alex Ferguson began his now glittering career with the reds. For the younger generation though, it has never been so bad with such little hope.

Aside from the action on the pitch (or lack of shall we say), from a business point of view, we might aswell have the bloke from the old Halifax adverts in charge of the money side of things.

You and I already know that Ed Woodward is not a football man. He is a business man (or boy as I like to call him). The Glazers have took so much from us without giving back. It has reached the point where we find ourselves saying it can’t get any worse! Only to find that,  it actually can. And it will. This is no longer a case of a manager being able to change things overnight. Regardless of who he is!

The problem (or virus) is much much bigger and it’s going to take somebody to come in and build an empire again. I could go on and on. But like I said we already know.

In which case, anyone is better than this toxic family who we see smiling in pictures whilst our beloved team crumbles in front of our very eyes? Right?

Which is where this very rich prince comes in, and like a fairytale, makes the story pretty again with a happy ending in sight. Only, it’s much more ugly than that isn’t it?

You would have to have been hiding under a rock (and it wouldn’t surprise me if some reds are to be honest) to not see the overwhelming change over at the blue side of Manchester and as much as I don’t enjoy saying it, their uprising! Which of course all stemmed from radical new ownership and money being pumped into the club, clever decisions and signings. All ultimately leading to trophies. Which is what a club of Manchester United’s stature should be aiming for!

In that respect, and if all this is even to be believed, I would welcome the change in a heartbeat. It would hopefully be the start of turning Old Trafford back into the fortress it was and always should be. I have always said to start to eradicate the problems at our club, we must start from the very top. Having an opinion on Ole is all very good, but a new boss is only going to cover up the cracks (if that) temporarily. Sir Alex was simply a genius to keep us afloat amidst those storms simmering. But there is no place or way to hide anymore.

Our United. Our United being laughed at. Our United lowering expectations. Our United a shadow of the former glory days. You sit and watch tinged with numbness. And become accustomed to it. But we know it will never be right!

Talking of which, could this new owner be? However much I would love to close my eyes and ears to what is going on in the world, it really is disturbing to think there are places where loving someone who happens to be the same sex as you is illegal. And punishment includes public whipping, stoning, chemical castration and even capital punishment.

As for women… There are many rules they have to follow that we would never consider in this country. For example, a woman can break them for talking to an unknown man and one of the lightest punishments is lashes. There are many cases where women are brutally killed and a release from jail is only possible after a male guardian requests it. The place where I’m talking about? Saudi Arabia of course.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to embrace other cultures and I try not to judge other people’s way of life even if I may not understand it myself. Hatred will consume you and I always try to live and let live. I’m also not claiming to know everything about their situation or insinuate there is not room for change in the future.

However, to think that some members of my family or long time friends could be sentenced to death for simply being themselves there is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Do I want someone to come in and rid us of the Glazers once and for all? Of course I do! And I appreciate not all is as clear cut as it seems. There will always be good and bad in every situation.

As a fan, I want the absolute best for my club. And whatever may be, I will accept it and support them which is the only way I’ve ever known.

But as a human being, can I ever accept somebody being a part of one of the loves of my life (Manchester United) when their home still supports such abhorrent acts? I simply don’t know.

And who knows? We could talk about this for days and it turns out to have been just been another ploy in the money making scheme that is the Glazers reign at United. Or nothing more than a tabloid story.

Head or heart? Lesser of two evils? Who knows?

I’m not against it. We are in dire need of change. But I’m not entirely sure about it either.

Make or break. Will it all be worth it in the end?

Who knows?

On a lighter note, one thing we do know is… It’s Rebekah Vardy’s account.

Till next time reds…

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[Photo Credit: Sportskeeda]

 

All Drawn Out.

What is there to be said that haven’t already been spoken about?

Tonight’s performance from Manchester United was abysmal. Bland. Boring. Unsurprising. Once again, shockingly unable to attack with urgency and score from open play.

Yes. I know about the pitch and the difference that would have made. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times! But let’s not pretend that we would have played some stunning football had it not been on an artificial surface.

Our home ground is Old Trafford! Enough said. The facts speak for themself. Five wins in twenty two is simply not good enough. But we already knew that didn’t we? Injuries. Lack of squad depth. Questionable tactics. A lot of pressure on youngsters. And older players past their prime.

It isn’t good enough. And let’s face it.. it hasn’t been for a very long while. With all due respect, this is the reason we have ended up in the Europa League playing these teams in the first place. And if we aren’t good enough to beat them, then we are in no position to berate them either. In fact, good on AZ Alkmaar and their fans showing brilliant support.

Did I expect it? Well, I didn’t not expect it! I never really have any expectations anymore as I’ve said before. A draw I will take. It’s better than nothing. And it could be worse obviously. It’s not that I’m spoilt. Or that I want to complain. I don’t even expect anything better anymore. But it isn’t easy to accept this as the norm and I don’t think it ever will be.

We have such a long way to go until we can even contemplate really competing or being a top table club again with ease.

Seeing Louis van Gaal watching on tonight could easily take you back to crazy speeches, possession based football with the odd exception and propose the question of what has changed since then. Or hasn’t?

We haven’t significantly improved. If anything, you could say we have gone backwards getting rid of names in the squad and not properly compensating for their absence. Possibly not with the full backing to do so? In the long run, this could all completely pay off. But to watch in the meantime is no fun at all.

It’s no surprise to see the instant social media backlash and ‘Ole Out’ trending on Twitter. I’m (personally) not there yet. Or, to put it another way, not under the illusion that any manager could take control and get us immediately out of this mess any more.

This constant attitude of everything is fine on Ole’s part with the big smile plastered across his face post game is getting tedious I have to admit. Maybe the noise will see the end of another boss eventually. This time a club legend. Or maybe it won’t and we will see how his United evolves (or doesn’t).

On this miserable and dark Thursday night we can sit and argue amongst ourselves, wonder how the mighty could have fallen so much and look back with nostalgia at the successful days we knew.

We can go on and on about what we would do to change the way the club is run. We could do the same regarding the team selections the manager makes. But it isn’t going to make a difference.

This is our Manchester United. A distorted, forever rebuilding and below par United. But still our team all the same.

One day this may well make sense again. Your guess is as good as mine. For now, we will just have to laugh.

A joke shared is better than a point scored against each other. Talking of which, it would be nice to get three of those for a change!

Goodnight reds!

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Photo credit: Manchester United.

When you say nothing at all.

It’s been a minute!

Or in watching United time, possibly a few years.

It’s difficult to find the words when nothing has changed and you feel like you’re simply repeating yourself.

Also, I was brought up with the belief that if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all!

So, let’s rewind for a moment. It’s the start of a new season. Ole’s first full year (up until now anyway)! Once again, huge divisions within our fan base.

Some are (in my opinion overly) optimistic. Others have given up before a whistle has been blown or a ball has been kicked. Me? Somewhere right in between.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting top four. The post Sir Alex Ferguson era (and perhaps Louis van Gaal at one point) have taught me to keep expectations realistically low. That very thought was too much for me to comprehend at the time. The ‘pride of all Europe’ lowering what we expect of them? Never. Only you should never really say never should you?

The mentally draining cycle of excitement turned into disappointment has lead to this road of numbness. Neither thrilling for the right or wrong reasons. The very thing that made me fall in love with the beautiful gane seemingly missing.

So, I didn’t expect miracle work after a summer of what if’s when it came to the transfer market. Some business was taken care of. But the midfield still needs reinforcing. There is still a huge question mark over the future of Paul Pogba. And still a lack of creativity and dare I say excitement in that area.

Do I think Solskjaer was fully backed in his needs for the club? No. Does this mean he is immune from criticism. Also no!

As I’ve said though, it will drive me insane to keep on repeating myself. Or to keep watching the same story over and over again. Cries of manager out. Sacked. Positivity for a moment at new boss. Stumble. Pause. Cries of manager out. And continue. On and on and on…

Simply put, the state the club is in will not be helped by a continuous cycle. We have tried that several times and it has not worked! So what will? Do any of us really even know at the point?

The most important thing is looking long term. Yes. It would be wonderful to see an instant improvement in the team and some success or silverware. But the foundations for a permanent rebuild as opposed to a temporary solution must come first. Anyone not up to Manchester United standard? Out. Knee jerk last minute signings? Gone. Youth? Give them a proper chance. Actions speak louder than words. But of course do not entirely rely on them. I do think some of this is starting to unfold but we are clearly still nowhere near good enough to be up there with the top teams in the league.

Which brings me to my next point. Lack of leadership. We need that figure going absolutely berserk. Can you imagine the likes of Roy Keane playing today just plodding along with it? I may not agree with everything he says now but when it mattered, he was ferocious! Think of the difference it made when you had someone with the presence of Eric Cantona on the pitch. And the effect that had on younger players around him. It’s all about balance.

Traditions should never be forgotten and one thing I will always remain proud of is our ever growing chances given to young players. Mason Greenwood is just one developing player to be positive about.

However, in order to keep up with the rest, before we can even think about competing, we need that ruthlessness back. Old Trafford was a fortress at one point. It has always been a place teams want to come to and win. But it has never been as easy as it is now!

Reds are torn. Some are at the end of their tether and think the way forward is to refrain from attending games or purchasing merchandise. But there are those who never miss a game. Be it home or away. And are first in line for the new kit. Worn with pride regardless of current form. It isn’t for me to judge either of them. Nothing could ever falter my support. My optimism perhaps. Then there is that side that is disappointed and wants to hit the owners where it hurts.

On the business side though, things are still looking good. After all, the reason so many are loving our worst start to a season in three decades is because of the worldwide fascination with this club. The glory my generation and those before have seen can never be taken away. Nor can the global idolization. There is something that will always be magic about Manchester United. Love us or hate us. This is not an excuse and does not make the lackluster football we have been accustomed to acceptable.

So what next? Who knows? Whether you’re pitch side, at home, angry or sad, or numb, we are all in still in this together someway.

Like any relationship in life, it cannot always be pretty. Sometimes we have to go back to the very start to appreciate what we have. And start from scratch. Which might well be what Ole is trying to do with or without full backing. Then again he might be merely a man given his dream job too soon. Who knows?

All I do know is, through frustration or anger or feeling nothing at all, we have to stick by our club in whatever way that means to us.

I’m not Ole out. I’m not overly positive either. All I am is what I’ve always been. A fan of this momentous football team, regardless of current standings. Obviously, we need leaders! A stronger squad and a backbone! The manager to be as brutal as his moniker ‘the baby faced assassin.’ Someone like Harry Maguire to take charge. Most of all though, I’d just love ninety minutes of enjoyable football that I grew up with.

We have stumbled. Massively. And the glory days are a world away from the present. But how many times can we repeat ourselves until we just let it be and stop trying to drive ourselves mad? Sometimes, you just have to say sod it.

The only thing we do have control of is the one thing we always did. Our support. However that may be.

It might not be easy to watch sometimes, but even now I don’t know any other way.

Should we get to see such riches again, it would mean so much more.

Something tells me it’s going to be a while longer and I’ll be shaking my head and left with more questions than answers in the meantime but it is what is it.

Forever and ever, I’ll follow the boys of Man United. That’s all there is to it!

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Photo credit: Manchester United.

 

 

 

 

 

Green and Gold. Youth and Old.

With an uprising of controversy surrounding the ever growing ‘Glazers out’ movement, Manchester United began their pre season tour.

Despite all the recent drama and alleged unrest with some players wanting a move elsewhere, myself and many others are just pleased to have our dose of football played  y the reds.

So much has happened since the final whistle was blown at the end of last season, it’s hard to know where to begin.

As someone who always wants to end on a high note, I shall start with the negatives.

Social media has been alight with reds around the world furious at the owners and vice chairman Ed Woodward. Whilst football is a business and of course needs sponsors etc to survive, the football and heart of the club should rightly always be at the forefront. Which is why so many fans are angry at the handling of the club and transfer business.

Ed is a businessman who fell into football. As opposed to the other way around. The Glazers seem unfazed by the disappointment of our recent standings in the league and lack of silverware, so long as the money keeps rolling in. To them that is. How they invest it back into the club is another matter entirely. And many aren’t pleased with how they are running it. As we all know, this isn’t just a recent turn of events.

In the era of social media though, green and gold is ever unavoidable.

As I always state, I am simply one fan. So, I thought I would incorporate your thoughts into my writing. I asked reds to sum up Manchester United after the Glazers takeover and here and some of your views…

• “The fall of an empire.”

• “The heart and soul ripped out of our sacred      home.”

• “What was an all conquering football club,          ran by football lovers is now a money                  making machine, owned by greed, ran by          yes men.”

• “Whilst United’s bank balance continues to          grow, the club continues to sink.”

• “Debt up, wage bill up, sponsors price up,            merchandise price up, ambition down,                expectations down, results down, league            position down.”

• “The worst fears expressed by fans when the      Glazers first bought the club are now                  coming true. Only things that stopped the          impact being bigger sooner were the                    quality of the existing squad and Sir Alex’s        genius.”

Amongst many others. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Talking of which, the worry is the problem will only sink the club further and further into the past. Now more than ever, we can only look back in awe at the magnitude of the job Sir Alex Ferguson did. He really was a miracle worker and not only kept us afloat but winning.

There has been speculation of a Saudi takeover. Which comes with a debate in itself. Head or heart? Better the devil you know? Talk is just that though. The saga continues and we can only watch on. Whilst continuing to make our feelings crystal clear.

On another note, despite our struggles, I maintain my stance that no player will ever be bigger than the club. What use is a technically brilliant player if he doesn’t give his absolute everything on that pitch? I admire Paul Pogba but if he wants to go (again) let him. If not, I expect to see nothing less than 100% from him. Romelu Lukaku on the other hand though. With all due respect he has done nothing to warrant this supposed ‘legend’ status. So it shouldn’t even be a debate. Open the door for him and leave it there for a better replacement.

Onto a positive note, whilst pre season friendlies are just that and a chance to get players warmed up again for what’s to come, I have certainly enjoyed watching.

It was a decent watch against our old foes Leeds, scoring four and seeing some seamlessly attacking football. Preceded by a 2-0 win against Perth glory and followed by a 1-0 win against Inter Milan. In which some older chaps were perhaps angered by our youngsters. Which is exactly how it should be!

With several more fixtures before United’s season kicks off playing Chelsea, there is much to do and consider.

Harry Maguire’s speculated move appears to have stalled. He is exactly what we need to strengthen at the back and I do hope Leicester can agree a deal and terms with us before the market closes! If we lose players, so be it. But that defence and midfield needs some reinforcement where possible.

Whilst Ole remains positive (and to be fair, he has to be) there is a lot of work that needs to be done. I can’t even begin to comprehend us being up there with the likes of Manchester City & Liverpool if ruthless decisions aren’t made and quickly at that.

Irrespective of that and all the continued nonsense at the running of the club, I can’t wait to have Premier League football back.

And in spite of the challenges we face and shakiness of United’s present the future does look bright on the youth front. With the likes of Mason Greenwood scoring today, and Chong and Gomes coming into their stride, we can have something to be positive about. Not forgetting about our recent signing; 21 year old Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

How does that saying go again?

If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.

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[Photo Credit: Manchester United.]

We all follow United. Or do we?

That age old saying.

Win. Lose. Or draw. Supporting Manchester United until the very end. Irrespective of success or perhaps lack of? It seems for some people there has to come a point where the fans have to  bite back.

I get it. Another sorry season is coming to an end. The Europa League beckons. The pathetic realisation that the only thing we can potentially celebrate come next week is our long term rivals Liverpool staying off the top spot and our noisy neighbours remaining in first place. Remember the days when we would be counting down to another Premier League title? Or at the very least a chance at it. Those days are well and truly gone.

Is the modern football world ever going to see the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson again and what he achieved at one club for close to three decades? More than likely (and sadly) not. The likes of him and Arsene Wenger (he wasn’t all bad) are history.

Many players seemingly care more about how many likes their latest social media post will get them than their performance on the pitch. At a time when people get more and more easily offended on a daily basis, it wouldn’t surprise me if one such darling pressed charges should they encounter a real hairdryer moment.

Do we really see the disappointment for days and weeks after a significant loss in football any more? More and more logos and sponsors splashed over stadiums and kits taking pride of place over the team’s badge.

Yes. My beloved team has become more known for business deals than a heart at the core of it.

As Gary Neville has recently stated, Ed Woodward has had years to show his understanding of United the football club. Instead, transfers seem to be less at the forefront and more important to the Glazer family is the sponsorship deals and bank accounts being topped up.

Do I understand why reds have had enough and want to try to do anything to make some kind of difference to how the club is run? Of course I do. Does each and every one of us have the right to show our support (or not) as we see fit? Absolutely.

The ‘unfollow Manchester United’ social media movement is admittedly gathering pace and even attracting attention from news outlets. Be that positive or negative reactions. Thousands have seemingly joined in to vent their anger and frustrations. I see that. I appreciate that. You are well within your rights to do so.

Me? I’ve never blended in with the crowd or done what was expected or told of me. So, I won’t unfollow my team because I’ve been told to and this doesn’t disprove my allegiance as a ‘top fan.’ Nor does it prove on the contrary that I don’t care.

Truthfully, I just don’t think the owners care enough to act on it. This hasn’t happened overnight. Years of protests. Years of green and gold. Of love United, hate Glazer. Have all culminated… to nothing.

I don’t claim to have the answers either. And I won’t hide my exasperation of what United has become. Or pretend that next season will be any better without change.

Every man and his dog (and their Twitter accounts) is seeing the fall of a team once so mighty. There was always an element of positivity for me. That things will go back as they were. That naivety has pretty much gone.

It doesn’t come easy to say Manchester City and Liverpool are head and shoulders above us. They are only going to get better. And admittedly if there aren’t any serious significant changes from the very top to the squad, things are only going to get worse for United.

So no. I don’t believe we will ever have those glory days back which we knew so well. But we can create a new era gradually and only when cracks aren’t papered over but the whole foundation is rebuilt. How can we make a difference? I don’t pretend or proclaim to know. Because for every person to leave a seat empty or contribute to numbers declining on the follow count, there will always be someone out there ready to jump in and show their support.

What I do know is I was brought up a lot better than to ever dream of burning my team’s kit. Not only is it ridiculous and practically setting money alight I’ve worked hard for but it also makes no difference to the fact that you already purchased it!

If we hadn’t seen such riches, perhaps we could live with being so poor. Or accept it with more ease. I do know one thing though…

I’m glad we got to witness the success we did.

And be it years from now and almost impossible to imagine improvement with the current state of our club, I would never stop supporting or following them. Come what may.

In the grand scheme of things, I honestly don’t think it would make a difference if I did.

Should you choose to, that is absolutely your prerogative.

Me? Forever and ever, I’ll follow my team. Even though it might not be the easiest to do. And at the moment there are players I wouldn’t miss should they never grace United red again.

Of course I’m mad. But that doesn’t mean I stop caring.

And if that makes me different from you, good. It would be boring if we were all the same.

Turn on the board by all means. But to do so on each other is just ridiculous!

We have (somehow) overcome much much worse without turning our backs when they need us most…

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Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999…

Several months ago, the saying ‘if I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor’ summed up Manchester United’s situation perfectly.

If only for a moment, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time at ‘the wheel’ of the club he famously played for has turned that completely on it’s head. If anything, the opposite is now true.

Instead of wondering how it all went so wrong after years of success, reds are now asking how it has all gone so wonderfully right. On paper, the initial temporary appointment of Ole taking on the role of caretaker manager seemed like a great idea. Someone who understands the club, who has played for the club and is respected by fans and players alike? No pressure and perhaps a change of scenery for a while.

What has happened since is so much more than we could ever have imagined.

Yes. The results are back. The attacking United way is back. And not forgetting the fantastic Mike Phelan! But much more than all that, I can feel something much more fulfilling which has been amiss in recent years. The belief is back!

Gone are the low expectations and twiddling of thumbs as we watched a side appearing to have about as much confidence in themselves as we had in experiencing the old school thrill of watching Manchester United. Not much. If any.

With all due respect to Jose Mourinho, had the team travelled to Paris under his reign, I can’t help but think he would have already considered it game over. And simply instructed his players to incur as little damage as possible to the already daunting scoreline.

Ole though? He sincerely thought that in spite of being 2-0 down against PSG from the first leg at Old Trafford, ‘it is a mountain to climb, but they are meant to be climbed.’ We silently hoped, but accepted that this may well be our last venture in the Champions League of the season.

So long as we gave it everything and shown some true determination and fight, I would have been proud of the team hand on heart. Anything else was to be a bonus.

The beauty of football prevailed once again though. Manchester United. Our Manchester United. Who everyone laughed at. Who everyone wrote off. Came back from the brink to not only qualify for the UCL quarter finals against one of the biggest giants in the competition! But we did so in style.

We became the first team in Champions League and European Cup history to overcome a 2-0 or greater home first-leg deficit. Ever! Some may say we are merely an historic team.

But I haven’t seen a more beautiful coming together of past and present for sometime in football. Two times colliding. At such different stages for the club. Everything has changed. Yet somehow, so much of it has echoes of times gone by. And seems the same.

A stoppage time winner. Check. Doing it the hard way. Check. Celebrations in Europe that will never be forgotten. Check. And one man in tow who has experienced this feeling all too well some twenty years ago.

I’m not delusional. I am fully conscious to the fact that we haven’t win a major trophy for simply doing the unthinkable. There is still a long way to go. Top four in the Premier League is still not promised. To be truthful though, the absolute magic of a classic United comeback is already enough for me to appreciate the vast improvement in the team. Not just physically but mentally also.

Irrespective of what does or doesn’t happen between now and May, I can once again be truly proud of my team. I can once again say I witnessed the impact of youth and experience together representing everything Manchester United is about!

The result doesn’t come without it’s controversies. That VAR decision. The unsurprising comments that followed. But that’s football. With so many injuries and arguably one of our best outfield players in Paul Pogba suspended, we dug deep. Romelu Lukaku silenced recent criticism and came to life when we needed his impact the most scoring twice. As for Marcus Rashford? The Manchester lad – hailing from Wythenshawe – keeping his calm and composure in possibly the most pivotal moment of his career yet and scoring penalty which sealed the win on away goals? Unbelievable!

We celebrated. We cried. We shook our heads in disbelief. But somehow all of it seems so spectacularly right. Everything that has occured post the forever irreplaceable Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement has lead us to this period right here.

We dare to believe again. We are enjoying the beautiful game as we should. And that’s all down to one man. No. Not you Paul Ince!

The baby faced assassin. Bringing the nostalgia of the nineties into the here and now. Somehow, it seems anything is possible again.

Ole, you are undoubtedly my choice for permanent manager. You learnt from the very best but most importantly of all you respected the very traditions of our beloved club and made a team United once again.

Long may it continue.

They said it wouldn’t be like 99. Then Rashford scored a goal in injury time…

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[Photo credit: Manchester United.]