News today that Owen Hargreaves could be on the verge of signing for Man City was met with a mixed response.
Having been released by us this summer after an injury plagued 4 years it was thought that Hargreaves could be on his way to West Brom, but today it emerged that Man City were shock suitors for the England midfielder.
Having become somewhat of a cult hero for his part in our double winning 07/08 season, I’m sure we as fans were nearly as disappointed as he was every time he was penciled in to return and didn’t appear on the teamsheet on footballscores.com or that he was scheduled to play but suffered a set back, so rightly there was some anger when it became apparent that he could be on his way to Eastlands.
Hargreaves has worked hard to prove his fitness this summer going as far as to release videos on YouTube to demonstrate that his body is up to the rigours of football but it appeared few were willing to take a risk beyond Sven Goran Eriksson, Roy Hodgson and Tom Soehn, manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It has emerged that Hargreaves was desperate to remain at Old Trafford and even offered to play for free but the club turned down his offer, so how angry should we be that he is now set to sign for rivals Man City?
Earlier this summer I looked at a players loyalty to his club and to himself and this is another ideal example.
Hargreaves has been out of the game for since 2008, I don’t count these numerous false dawns and reserve appearances and I’m sure he doesn’t either. Looking at the press this summer it appeared that he would have to take a massive step down to continue his career.
Going from playing for Manchester United to the likes of Leicester, West Brom or Vancouver Whitecaps wouldn’t have been easy, especially as he had gone to such efforts to prove his fitness so the fact a team like Man City have come in for him must feel like Christmas to Hargreaves.
Although he apparently had offers from Aston Villa and Tottenham, Man City are the obvious option as they are a team on the rise not only domestically but also in Europe and offer the best prospect for silverware.
Another case for him to join them is the fact that we released him. He offered to play for free and we turned him down so essentially he was free to do what he liked regardless of past allegiances, whether we agree or not.
As my fellow blogger Rob B pointed out he isn’t the first person to do it so why has this move evoked such anger? Denis Law made the move and isn’t regarded in a negative light, Mark Hughes went over there and isn’t as chastised as Hargreaves has been but why?
Some are calling him a mercenary, claiming that he is simply going for the money but surely you must agree that he believes if he is fit he will break into their squad. A fit Hargreaves would easily be amongst their top midfielders and if he was good enough to do a job for us why not them? He clearly has faith in his ability to play at the top level thus he rejected Eriksson’s offer to play Championship level football.
So is it a simple case of loyalty?
Throughout the 4 years Hargreaves was at the club we stuck by him despite the injuries. As mentioned there were various relapses and injuries that kept him from playing again. Other clubs would have cancelled his contract but we continued to pay his wages.
He was with us long enough to understand the needle between the two clubs and also saw how it has grown over the past few years so even though we rejected his offer to play for free would it have been a sign of good will not to sign for our local rivals and biggest title threat?
As disappointed as I am, I can’t fault him for joining City. They represented the best deal for him financially and in terms of on field prospects. He could have joined a lesser team but that is an impossible ask of a professional.
The fact of the matter is we released him so he was free to do what he liked. I wouldn’t tell an ex girlfriend who she can or can’t go out with. Once we split up her business is her own and the same goes for Hargreaves.
Saying that I can totally understand the anger directed towards him, he knew what he was doing signing for them so if he is boo’ed, and it is likely he will be, it will be as a result of his actions.
But what do you think? Are you angry at Hargreaves for joining Man City
Hargreaves is a great footballer, and these are the reasons why United fans should be upset that he is at City
1) City are not just derby rivals, they are an arab oil sugar daddy pet project, and represent everything that is wrong with the modern game. This isn’t 1973
2)Hargo wants to play regular football and bring his name back up. City clearly doesn’t offer that straight up. He will be a squad player. perhaps he actually does want to just play the odd game or two
3)He knows full well what it means to leave United for City, and he was a United fan as a kid.
4) he earnt 11.2 million pounds since August 2008. I think he’s doing alright for himself. Other clubs could have offered him a decent wage too. Clearly City offered the most and that’s helped to push him there
He’s made the choice, and he could have been a United cult hero in spite of his injuries and departure, but now that he’s off to city, he will never been appreciated in the same light. c’est la vie. that’s how it is, if people don’t agree with that reality they are being hypocritical, or they just don’t get football
“City are not just derby rivals, they are an arab oil sugar daddy pet project, and represent everything that is wrong with the modern game.”
Which makes the Glazers?
What have united won since the Glazers took over at united in 2005?? 4 league titles, 3 league cups, 4 community shields, 1 champions league, 1 club world cup, Total 13. In the same period (and I had to google this) City won 1 (one) FA cup. I can see how what the glazers are doing can be seen to be wrong.
Forget what they did after the glazers its the 5 years before the glazers that really does it. United was always titles or were genuin contenders. City were well. Lets just not.
He offered to play for free and we declined for HIS best interest. We told him he did not want to do that and the club felt like they would be taking advantage of him. Still be a little betrayed though
We paid to get his fitness up when he was in the treatment room for the best part of 4 years in the belief that he was going to play for us again..
Oh well. players come and go. we just have to continue our winning ways. he has to continue earning a living.
I thought, as a blue, the article was actually quite balanced and made a lot of sense, it’s where the comments begin it goes a bit tits up. The loss of your player to us has whipped up somewhat a bit of a frothing frenzy it would seem, with the usual vitriol and bile pouring out (we’re a club with no history, we’re an oil rich sugar daddy plaything- the usual tedious shite).
The reality of it is that Hargreaves is a quality player but obviously has a lot to prove. We are looking to sign him on a short-term deal on a pay-as-you-play basis. He has a wealth of experience at the levels we are now pushing at, and with the African Nations Cup in January – cover for Yaya Toure is available. Far from signing for money, the deal makes sens to City and it makes sense to Hargreaves- a man with something to prove, but if he doesn’t it’s no loss to us.
It is nice to hear there is much hatred and bile coming from you lot, particularly over something so benile – it’s a big compliment and proof the noisy neighbours are cranking up the volume day-by-day.
I think it’s a bit naive to think Hargreaves can cover Yaya Toure.. dare I say it thats actually a compliment.
The haters are daft! Good luck to him, no hard feelings, though I’ll be surprised if City give him a game. He would get games elsewhere if he was prepared to be more modest in his ambitions after such a long lay off.
good luck Hargreaves …. and thanks for your services…..
I’ve always respected Owen, but as a Canadian I’ve always had a little disappointment towards him for not playing for the country he was born and raised in. This situation is similar in that though I understand the reasons; it doesn’t mean I like them.
I guess you could say he is going for maximum ambition. Pragmatically though, he’ll likely be playing alongside another defensive and/or holding mid giving him much less responsibility than he had with us, or would’ve going to any other PL club he had an offer for. In terms of starts, he’ll be relied on much less too. When you look at it, the ambition lies in joining City than the other clubs that offered in terms of City’s higher status; but for him personally though, it reveals less ambition because less is expected and needed of him.
Stay healthy, but that’s about all I can wish.
As a side note, I don’t think the girlfriend metaphor is too apt as “she” isn’t just going out with anyone. The whole point is not that he joined another club, but joined City. It’s more like a girlfriend who decided to date your own (ugly) brother inspite of offers from other more detached suitors.
a few years back i would have been really angry but now I mature enough to understand that for these players playing is a job first.
Players come and go. What remains behind is the club and the fans.
I dont think that I forgive Owen or understand his position. I simply donot care anymore.