Date: 3rd March 2011 at 3:15am
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Watching the game against Chelsea¬† we all saw the same thing and raised the same points, ref messed up didn’t press our advantage and midfield wasn’t good enough.

As the game went on, our players tired and we were over run in the middle of the park so I can only think of how different the outcome would have been had we had different personnel on the pitch. Anderson has bundles of energy and whilst you wish he hadn’t been injured, another player comes to mind.

Yesterday it was rumoured that Owen Hargreaves would be announcing his retirement from football at the end of the season after failing to overcome the injuries that have plagued his spell at Old Trafford. In November Hargreaves played his first game for United since September 2008 but his return was an spectacular failure as he tore his hamstring 5 minutes into his comeback and hasn’t been seen since. An initial prognosis of 5 weeks became 8 weeks in December and whilst it was said he had started light training in January, this latest rumour confirms our worst fears in that he is done as a professional footballer.

Mike Phelan said that it was strictly a hamstring injury and there had been no re-occurrence of the knee problems so the fact that we haven’t seen him and with his contract expiring at the end of the season it inevitably means that even if he isn’t going to retire, he is unlikely to be playing here next season as he hasn’t had a chance to justify a new contract.

Looking at the figures, ¬£17m for 4 years, 39 appearances and 2 goals may sound excessive or even a waste but I don’t see it that way. Hargreaves’ contribution in the 2007/2008 season means he will always be held in high regards by our fans. Playing in the middle as well as at right back and on the wing made him a very useful addition to the squad and we reaped the rewards. His part in our European and League double may be overshadowed by Ronaldo’s 42 goals but he like everyone else played their part especially with the thundering penalty against Chelsea in Moscow or the curling freekick in front of the Stretford End to come from behind against Arsenal.

People often attribute mythical powers to players that have been out for long periods. In their absence they become two times the player they were before they were injured as people want to believe they are the missing piece to the puzzle and it could be said this is the case with Hargreaves. I have come across a number of fans who don’t rate his play with the ball but if you too subscribe to this you can not deny the fact that he more than made up for it with energy, effort and versatility. We have suffered in his absence, how many times have you found yourself wishing (Chelsea game included) that he was available or after a game ruing the fact he wasn’t?

If he is to retire at the end of the season we finally get some closure instead of continually waiting for good news and wondering if he’ll be back any time soon. A top quality midfielder, he is a loss to both United and England, hopefully his case won’t be one repeated at Old Trafford.


11 responses to “Hargreaves to retire? He will be missed”

  1. timbo says:

    I have serious issues with not only the highly questionable manner in which Chelsea were able to cancel the fixture in the first place, at a time when they were at their weakest, but also how they were allowed to include players that were signed in the January transfer window – one of whom affected the outcome of the game both by his goal and also his thuggery. Then ask yourself what kind of extraordinary good fortune falls into the lap of a team that gets the weekend off prior to playing the makeup game it forced, giving Chelsea a week or so to rest and train for the game, while United only managed to get a few days rest – and you questioned why United seemed to tire? Then to add salt to the wound, the blues get the benefit of the most one-sided and error-ridden refereeing displays seen since Graham Poll butchered the game between Australia and Serbia at the World Cup 8 years ago.

    Are Chelsea just one hell of an extraordinarily lucky team to reap so much good fortune, or does the team have friends in high places pulling the strings?

    Aside from fixing the huge problems and inconsistencies with refereeing, of instituting changes that utilize 4th officials and modern technology, and of bringing in post match analysis that can mete out appropriate justice to the likes of Luiz for their sickening and cowardly behaviour, FIFA also needs to ring in changes that bars teams from utilizing the services of players in make-up games who were signed afterwards or unavailable through injury. If not then it leaves the game open to out and out accusations of corruption, of teams canceling games in order to have them rescheduled at a time when the availability of key personnel will be more favorable to them. Clearly, United was severely disadvantaged on a series of fronts by the rescheduling of the game, denying it the opportunity to take points from a side who were playing poorly and had been weakened by injury. Fast track a couple of months forward, and Chelsea not only had the benefit of playing recovered players such as Terry, Lampard, and a stronger Drogba, but two new major signings.

    Every aspect of this game, from top to bottom, stank. The rescheduling of the game, player availability, the refereeing – everything. Other sports go to great lengths to ensure that issues such as this don;t arise. The FA should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen, and for doing nothing over Atkinson’s display, which could well play a big part in once again seeing United lost the title through dodgy decision-making in key games. It happened last year at Stamford Bridge and it’s happened again this year, only this time to the benefit of another London team.

    • jonathan says:

      I’d agree in principle regarding the player availability, but as a matter of pride our team should be able to compete against whichever lineup an opposing team presents.

      No excuse for the officiating though, and we were certainly powerless against that. Now Fergie is likely to receive a ban for describing what was plain as day – even to Chelsea players (look up what Ivanovic said).

  2. richard says:

    Spot on Timbo!

  3. jonathan says:

    It’s sad, but 3 years is a hell of a long time out and it’s demoralizing for every party involved. Unless by some miracle he can feature this season I don’t think there is another alternative.

  4. Tom says:

    Its obvious our midfield is not strong enough and this was very clear against Chelsea. We couldn’t keep control of the game and that was because Chelsea won the midfield.

    Hargreaves has been a big loss, but lets be honest, we haven’t had him for 2 years now anyway. The chances if him coming back were slim at best in the first place. I would have though he would retire by now, but maybe someone will take a chance on him next season, maybe the MLS.

    Ferguson is a great manager but I cannot still understand why we never bought a midfielder. It was the area that required recruitment. I can only hope that this summer we will sign some players. I would love Alexis Sanchez, Jack Rodwell and Marek Hamsik to join us. Along with Tom Cleverly returning from loan. It would be best for Gibson to be sold, along with Obertan. Loan out Bebe and we will have to see if Scholes carries on.

  5. Marlowe says:

    I will miss you Hargreaves. I remember being so excited when you signed with us from Bayern. I loved watching you tear up that right flank. We owe our treble to you. You will be missed my friend

  6. Bruce says:

    Firstly, I’m Canadian – so my opinion here will be biased. I’m not sure there’s ever been a Canadian player to represent United, so I’ll be gutted if Hargo has to throw in the towel this summer.

    But as someone who’s been a United support since 89′, you bet your ass I find myself wishing he was on the field after every big game. United’s midfield is as weak now as I’ve ever seen it. As weak as the doomed Smith and Fletcher pairing.

    Scholes is still a class apart, but he’s 36. We’ve needed someone to replace him for the last 5 years. That player should’ve been in the wings learning his trade. But there’s no one there. And don’t tell me it’s Anderson. I’m sorry, but he and Carrick just aren’t good enough. I’d take Phil Neville over either, and Jack Wilshire would probably play them both off the park.

    Loosen the purse strings, Fergie. It’s well past due.

  7. ali ajibade says:

    let me know the day hargreave we paly or which mahct

  8. arthur says:

    is it so.i remember reading news that he was training now am hearing d bad news of his retirement.i 4 one will miss him since i admired him from his munich days.hp 2 c him play one more tym 4 utd.