Watching Bayern Munich playing Lyon in the 1st Leg of the Champions League semi final I was struck by a strange feeling of relief that Manchester United were beaten by the Germans in the quarter final. This is purely my own personal opinion which in all probability is not shared by colleagues at Truly Red or by many fellow United supporters.
The European Champions League winner becomes exactly that – Champion Club of Europe and as such, has to undoubtedly be the greatest of all prizes. There is something very special about the Premier League this season however which to my mind, makes winning it an even higher priority.
Human nature being what it is, this may be nothing more than an automatic defensive mechanism to ease the pain of that disappointing Bayern defeat but think about it, Manchester United are agonizingly close to setting TWO records, one of which will be unlikely to ever be matched or broken.
Even in the early stages of last season, I held little hope for United winning the Premier League because to my mind, doing a hat trick of titles in this day and age was virtually impossible yet here they are, a measly three matches from the finishing line, with a real chance of completing FOUR in a row! The odds of any other club ever equaling, let alone surpassing it, have to be incalculable.
Then there is that other little matter of becoming the first club in England to win 19 championship titles, overtaking Liverpool’s jealously guarded record of 18 which looked impregnable when Sir Alex Ferguson first walked through the gates of Old Trafford.
Fergie’s long held ambition of “Knocking Liverpool off their perch” could be on the verge of becoming reality at a time when his days as United’s manager are starting to be numbered.
Obviously, becoming champions of both England and Europe this year would have been the stuff that dreams are made of but results in previous seasons irrefutably show that United have always struggled immediately following a European Cup tie. A difficult, must win home game against Tottenham Hotspur within days of a first leg, Champions League semi final may well have resulted in any hopes of taking all three points off Spurs being snuffed out.
Nothing can ever be guaranteed in football of course. The Champions League may still not have been won even if Bayern Munich had been defeated while the Premier League title may yet finish up in London but for one season at least, if a choice had to be made between only winning one of the two honours, a 19th Championship was always going to come out on top…by a long way.
Which of the two titles did you have a preference for?