I’ve woken up this morning not with the hope or expectation that yesterday was a bad dream, it was all to real at the time for it to have been, but instead with a sense of disappointment, disappointment that we have a year to wait to reclaim the title.
Last week I tweeted ‘we’ve lost one title by a point and now potentially one on goal difference. Is this someone’s idea of a cruel joke?’ Little did we know that the punchline hadn’t even been delivered!
What happened yesterday was the most see-saw, roundabout final days in Premier League history as the ribbons on the Premier League trophy swapped from blue to red and ultimately back to blue.
Football can be a cruel game and all too often we have been on the positive side of it’s harsh reality, so when Man City won the title they were described as having done it in ‘the most Manchester United of ways’. I’m pretty sure I am not the only person to have seen the heart wrenching moment when Sir Alex and Phil Jones found out Sergio Aguero has got that late winner for City, the look of disappointment on Sir Alex’s face isn’t one I will forget but we have to realise we did what we came to do.
At the start of the day many presumed that City would end up winners, the fact that they flirted with disaster before rescuing the situation may have meant an emotional roller coaster for us, but essentially the script played out as it was meant to. For those of us that had resigned ourselves to second place prior to yesterday’s game, the games against Wigan and Everton will continue to burn the soul and rightly so. Those are the games where we lost the title and whilst City may have lifted their first Premiership in the most Manchester United of ways, we blew an eight point lead in the most Manchester City of ways.
One thing that is often levelled at United fans in between jibes of being ‘glory hunters’ and ‘not being from Manchester’ is that we have a sense of entitlement. Being that so many of us have only started supporting United recently (I think I left some of these out of How To Write About Manchester United) ie in the Premiership era we are only used to United winning.
Whilst that may be true of some fickle fans, most of us realise that we have no right to win the league every season, instead we go out and lay our claim to being the best in England on the field. Yet at the same time I can’t help wonder why I sit here writing this having lead by 8 points at the start of April. Our capitulation is one that will haunt these players forever especially considering who it handed the title to. But as Sir Alex said:
“The younger players will remember today because sometimes a bad experience is even better for you.”
This should provide the impetus to drive these players on next season and with more luck and some additions we are certain to be there or thereabouts next year.
Yesterday I tweeted we faced some serious obstacles this season so to lose the title on goal difference isn’t awful and whilst 1 or 2 disagreed I stand by it. I could sit here and reel off the injuries that have thwarted our attempts, I could even point to that article that debunked the myth that United get all the refereeing decision and stated we should have had the title wrapped up prior to going into the final day had refs been on their job, but we aren’t a club for excuses. The simple fact is we had the title in our grasp and didn’t seize it properly.
So instead we look to positives, the fact that this team almost pulled off a footballing miracle, and despite not doing so, lost solely by way of scoring 8 less goals than our rivals. Next season there is no way the Footballing Gods will be as cruel in terms of injuries and we can hopefully look to Sir Alex bringing in some new faces to make the task of recapturing the title that much easier.
Amidst the celebrations, the angst, the despair and a laughs the most poignant thing I picked up from yesterday was Sir Alex’s post game interview.
Whilst I previously pointed to the look of disappointment in the video when he found out that City had won, it was quickly followed by determination and defiance. Straight away looking to the future, Sir Alex knows the task that stands before him. He has seen off Liverpool, Wenger’s Arsenal including their brief incarnation as the Invincibles, he also saw off Abramovich’s oil money and the efficient Chelsea side Jose Mourinho composed.
Man City pose a much bigger threat than all of these, but I have no doubt that if anyone can topple them it will be Sir Alex – the man that has vanquished so many empires before.