True to general form and mood around Old Trafford lately, the U-19s were eliminated from the Youth League by the equivalent of our opponents tonight. Of course the senior side are already through to the next round, but the only thing that will raise eye-brows is if United produce the kind of performance that they did in Germany a couple of weeks back.
A Shaktar win at Old Trafford tonight would be the first time we've lost three home games in a row in 51 years. The rate at which we're losing our records this season means that even that particular one could be wiped out before the end of the day.
That, however, is as negative as this post will get. There's too much bile on the Internet these days from United fans and rivals alike to add to. Yours truly has always confided himself in the joys of supporting Manchester United rather than the ills that come with it. Sitting in 9th place in the league does not take away anything from Manchester United. No situation on earth is permanent (as all United fans know well and truly well now) and so that in itself means that we will be good enough again. But even in the dark days, I can't see how I wouldn't be jealous of United if I supported a club other than the Reds. Supporting Manchester United is like being a part of a movie script (I mean there's at least 3 silver screen simulated productions about the club), and therefore just like any movie, it has its low moments. What makes United's highs special is usually the predicament that the club found itself in before that high.
About 6 years ago, pub-mate of mine asked why I celebrate every United goal (even in a 6-0 win) with as much enthusiasm as I would if we won the Champions League final at Anfield against Liverpool. My simple reply has always been that I appreciate the humble beginnings of the club and the times it has sunk to rock bottom depth throughout its history, so much so that I never take a goal for granted. There was a time during the Sir Alex reign that some mates of mine had become so comfortable in success that there was a serious inquisition in the manager's abilities, for instance after the 2007 Champions League 3-0 drubbing handed to us by AC Milan at the San Siro (after we had won the first leg 3-2). Winning the league that year kept a bitter taste in their mouth because we did not win the Champions League. How those boys would do with the league this year.
The point is, Manchester United's success has never really gotten to my head. I've always been mindful of potential days ahead because no club in history has ever had a consistent run of success spanning a generation. Even under Sir Alex, United had to morph about 4 times to keep that run going, but that meant a few bad seasons therein. So just because we had won the last 2 titles, it didn't make celebrating the 2009 title less of a joy for me because you never really know when its going to stop for a while before you get another chance.
Any of us could easily been born in that 26 year period when United did not win the league and even suffered relegation. But that did not make the occasional FA Cups therein that period and indeed the European Cup less of a reason to celebrate.
Expectations have since risen, United are a much bigger global force than then, but all that change has never changed how I feel about United. I still think that I'm fortunate to support the club. I still feel that every goal is worth a party, and I'll certainly continue to cherish every 'small' trophy that United win. I'll take the dark days in with the natural promise that no situation is permanent because ultimately, I just love Manchester United, not as a tool whose success I could easily use to taunt our rivals, but as a football club whose success is my personal success.
Now you know why it was easy to come up with the name of this blog.
Labels: MANCHESTER UNITED, UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE