One of the saddest things in football is the obsession by some fans to look back at history as a way of replacing a lack of hope for the future. Being mindful not to fall into the same trap, memories of the wonderful season Manchester United enjoyed in 2006-07 following a three year Premier League drought is only brought up in response to a comment made by one of our readers. History alone can never win silverware but it can be help to point the way to the future.
We welcome all comments at Truly Reds of course , irrespective of whether they agree with our opinions or not, so please be assured that this is far from an attempt to be critical of what one of our readers has written in the last few days. “I didn’t say that it was only United that has the “fingers crossed” attitude, I said that this season is the biggest “fingers crossed” season United has had for years.”
The writer continued “There is real uncertainty filtering through from all areas, players, management, fans and even kit makers (what on earth are they hoping to achieve by stitching “BELIEVE” to the inside of the badge?!!!!). Confidence levels are not as high as they have been previously and for the first time in many, many years, there is a real feeling that United might not finish in the top 2.”
If truth be told, it’s likely to be an opinion shared by many Manchester United and rival supporters alike so it’s interesting to note the following analysis after United ended three seasons without a Premier League title at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. The same comments can just as easily be applied today after Chelsea succeeded in removing the Premiership trophy away from Old Trafford in May.
“Too many people are forgetting that Sir Alex Ferguson has built and rebuilt many great sides over the past few decades” the report began “when Ruud van Nistelrooy left the club for sunnier pastures in Spain, the entire football world was wondering where the goals would come from.”
It went on to give the opinion that “Back then, and just as today, Fergie didn’t need to find a direct replacement for his biggest star. Instead, he rebuilt the team based on a different focal point. van Nistelrooy as a slow target man was replaced by an entirely new system. Louis Saha led the line quite successfully with his dynamic movement and tricky pace, Cristiano Ronaldo grew into his free role where the world was his stage and Michael Carrick sat back and threaded the needle for the always moving and always fast United attack.”
“The result?” it asked “the 2006-07 Manchester United remains one of the most exciting and attacking sides that the Premier League has seen. That Ruud less team ended a long drought of trophies for the club and kicked off yet another period of United dominance. Three Premier League trophies later, and Ferguson is still kicking.”
Apologies for what may seem to be a history lesson, it was never meant to turn into one, but the similarities are there. Ronaldo is now in Madrid but Nani showed enough at the back end of last season to indicate that he can develop into another match winner. The experience gained by Javier Hernandez in South Africa could turn him into a Ferguson master stroke and Wayne Rooney has the character to put the World Cup disappointment behind him and repeat last season’s heroics.
History can never be guaranteed to win you future silverware but when the common constant is somebody as successful as Ferguson, a repeat of it will always be a strong possibility irrespective of crossed fingers and mere hope.
Is Fergie in the process of building yet another Premiership winning team?