Football and cricket have virtually nothing in common right? Apart from there being another Old Trafford in Manchester where test matches are played. So why is that statement being made by someone who finds cricket tedious on the verge of boring and confesses to knowing nothing about it. Because there may be a lesson to be learned from the recent Ashes series for Manchester United and their fans, a reality check if you like. Englands comprehensive defeat of Australia proved once again that long term success and total domination of any sport must eventually come to an end.
Australia had been almost untouchable in world cricket for decades in much the same way that United has dominated the Premier League but the English cricketers have now shown that nobody can forever take success for granted. The day when others catch up is inevitable, it always arrives at some point.
This is not a case of negativity but simply a matter of facing truth. The trump card for United is obviously Sir Alex Ferguson thanks to his impeccable future planning. As he explained in the latest edition of the Inside United magazine “It’s been our plan for years to have a spread of ages here, so that when the older players retire we have the people with the right experience and ability to replace them”
“At the moment we have several players in that mid to late 20s group” he said “Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, John O’Shea. Then we have that group of older players in their 30s, Ryan Giggs, Wes Brown, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. Finally there’s the younger group, which contains a lot of players aged 24 or under, including Nani, Gibson, Anderson, Obertan, Macheda, Hernandez, Evans, Smalling, Rafael and Fabio, plus players out on loan like Diouf.”
The millions of United fans around the world can never thank Sir Alex enough for his foresight, his legacy will continue for years to come but they must also be prepared for a day sometime in the future when just like the seemingly unbeatable Australian cricket team, Manchester United may one day have to surrender its domination of English football.
Unless if together with the likes of Arsenal, they become one of only two clubs to completely dominate the Premier League in the same way that Barcelona, Real Madrid, Celtic and Rangers have turned La Liga and the Scottish League into a two club competition.
Will that ever happen in England? Realistically it’s highly doubtful but don’t forget that football is a fast evolving game. Who would have thought 30 years ago that only one of half a dozen clubs could possibly be crowned champions?
Will Manchester United ever become a mid table club like Liverpool has?