Arrogance can be a word that is difficult to define. Think back to August 19, 2007, a special day for the blue side of Manchester, one that their fans celebrated long into the night. City won that Eastlands derby 1-0 to go top of the table while United were left languishing near the bottom, just one point away from the relegation zone. Hopes were understandably high by City fans that manager Sven Goran Eriksson was going to deliver some sort of trophy to a club that had won nothing for over thirty years. Was that arrogance or mere confidence?
Now fast forward to May 11, 2008, the last day of that same season and what do you find? Manchester United were in their customary position of League Champions for the second successive year while City were left languishing in mid table with Eriksson on the brink of losing his job after suffering a humiliating 8–1 defeat by Middlesbrough in the last game of the season. How quickly did that early season arrogance turn into despair!
So what’s the point of looking back on recent history? Only to illustrate the fine line that exists between what can be defined as arrogance, confidence and despair. It was instigated by a Manchester City website which went out of its way to accuse United defender Patrice Evra of arrogance when he was asked to give his thoughts on this week’s derby, describing his comments as “absolutely in line with the rag mentality of arrogance and smugness that we’ve suffered from for decades” Really?
Have a look at precisely what Evra was quoted as saying in various media outlets “They always say that they are bigger than us and they never beat us. If we win it’s a good result for Manchester United. But it will be normal – it will not be so special. We need to win every game now. We don’t just need to win against City – we are looking to win the league.”
And he continued by saying that “When we start the season we think about winning every game. I can say it would be nice to beat City because it’s a special game. It’s the derby and everyone wants to win. But it’s not the priority. The priority is to win the league but make sure we don’t lose the derby.” How can anyone in their right mind see that statement as even close to being arrogant?
But then the writer of that juvenile garbage goes further by stating that Evra “is hysterically out of touch with the more cautious approach of Taggart’s old guard. Evra and company are all City talk. Keep ’em coming rags. We only need Gary Chuckle this week and we’ve got the full set.”
Whoever the cretin who offered those opinions was, he or she showed how completely out of touch they are with reality by then going further to declare that “Clearly Evra failed to absorb the panic that gripped Stretford and the Home Counties when it became clear that City were closing in on United’s League Cup last season. The outpouring of relief and celebration that we witnessed from the rags was unprecedented at the final whistle.”
Manchester United panicked by Manchester City? That can only possibly happen in the imagination of whoever wrote and believed such rubbish. A more realistic question is to ask when Manchester City were last capable of panicking ANYONE…except perhaps their own supporters?
Evra was perfectly correct in what he was really saying “There’s a war to be won irrespective of who wins one battle” Remember season 2007-08 anyone?
Do you think that Evra was being arrogant with his comments?