Date: 6th May 2011 at 2:30am
Written by:

The denial of greatness is something we have all seen and possibly done.

I’m not a fan of Cesc Fabregas, the pizza incident, his snide remarks towards Mark Hughes and the incident with Hull have left more than a bitter taste in my mouth regarding the Spanish midfielder so previously when questioned about him I would fail to acknowledge that he is a quality player and instead dismiss him as ‘alright but slightly over rated’.

As I have matured though I have learned not to allow my personal feelings towards him to cloud my judgement and I can admit that whilst I still dislike his attitude he is a genuine star.

You are probably bored to death of the boxing references from me but in this instance it helps make a poignant point. Think of a boxer, a boxer people consider a great and there is an argument to discredit their ability/career’s work.

Muhammad Ali – lacked power

Mike Tyson – Peaked too early, fought no one of any real significance

Floyd Mayweather – ducked the best fighters

They have even found a way to discredit the work of arguably boxing’s most entertaining fighter and one of the sporting world’s highest paid stars Manny Pacquiao by claiming that the fact he has retained his fierce punching power and remarkable all round ability despite a previously unseen rise through boxing’s weight classes is down to steroids.

People will always try and cast doubt over the achievements of those on the path to glory or those who already sit in the Pantheon, I realised this a long time ago but it will never cease to amaze me.

For all his past glories and achievements the fact people continue to question is insane. In December when became ’s longest serving manager a host of articles from the early to middle parts of the last decade deriding Sir Alex and calling for his retirement resurfaced. They spoke of him having lost his touch and that with the wolves at the door it was better for him to walk rather than succumb.

But he didn’t. Instead he remained to see off Mourinho, Abramovich and break Chelsea’s grip, albeit a loose one, on the Premier League. He recaptured the League, then went a step better the following season and won the League and European Cup. The next season he equalled Liverpool’s 18 league titles so after all that and having been written off prior to these achievement you would have though the wordsmiths on Fleet Street would be more measured in their assessing of Sir Alex and .

This season, the wolves returned and whilst not a direct criticism of Sir Alex, the concerns raised about the quality of the squad he possessed was in a way a slight upon his ability. There is very little Sir Alex hasn’t seen or experienced in the game of football so when those around him panicked about the state of this United team it must have riled him just a little as he and he alone will have known what his players are capable of.

For every criticism of and his defensive naivety, Sir Alex will have known that he had a performance like the one he put in against Tottenham at Old Trafford where he kept a then in form quiet in him. For every criticism of Michael Carrick, Sir Alex will have known he was capable of putting in the performances he did against Chelsea in the quarter final. For every claim that he should have cashed in on following his loss of form (his contract saga is a different issue) he will have known Rooney was still capable of doing what he has done in the later part of the season and that form is temporary but class is permanent.

I, as well as many of you reading, am not perfect and at various different points doubts will have crept in, it is natural to worry but what we should have been concentrating on is who is at the helm of the ship that is Manchester United.

The League is by no means won and we face a daunting task of a brilliant side in the final of the Champions League but can we just assess the situation in which we find ourselves?

This ordinary Manchester United team, the worst team in recent history has managed to top the Premier League with just 3 games to go as well as make the Champions League final. It is silly to make comparisons, each team should be judged individually but just to make a point even if it may be deemed silly, this team has made the Champions League final. We didn’t manage that last season and in 06/07 when we were playing some of our best football in recent memory we failed to do so too.

Again I will put much of this down to the man that is in charge. What we lack in talent/ability is compensated for by the winning attitude that Sir Alex has installed in this team. Late winners, bigger performances when it was expected that we would lose – all the creation of Sir Alex and executed by his players.

I’m not saying that Sir Alex is omnipotent and should never be questioned or judged but I do feel he should be given a lot more respect and credit than he has been shown this season. If he does manage to pull off the ‘impossible’ and win honours with what the press will have you believe is a rag tag band of men, then the last laugh will indeed be his and finally his greatness should never, ever be judged.

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