How do you describe a roar?
The Oxford dictionary describes a roar as ‘a loud, deep sound uttered by a person or crowd, generally as an expression of pain, anger, or approval’.
Despite what Oxford say ‘roar’ is a sensory word. It needs to be seen, heard to be able to describe it properly.
Last night we saw Manchester United roar to a 20th Premier League title with a sumptuous 3-0 win over Aston Villa, giving Sir Alex Ferguson’s side an insurmountable lead at the top of the table with 4 games to go. The noise when United opened the scoring after a minute, that was a roar, the sound at the final whistle, that was a roar!
Despite their resistance, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, and protests that the table doesn’t tell the full story, Man City had long accepted their fate as runners up this season. At City’s press conference on Friday Brian Kidd looked like a spin doctor with no practise as he asserted that the title race was still alive, and that United would crumble as they had last season. In reality he knew that the then 13 point gap was too big for his side to claw back, the lack of conviction was evident in the second half of Sunday’s game at White Hart Lane as City capitulated, essentially ensuring United would become champions again.
So with 4 games to go, Manchester United are champions again but now what?
Of course there is the points record that Sir Alex is eyeing, a chance to properly display United’s dominance over the league but in the larger scale of things that is minuscule, instead Sir Alex’s attention will have already turned to next season. Last night’s title win won’t have erased the memory of last May, United will still use it as fuel to ensure it doesn’t happen again instead of claiming to have exorcised the ghost.
It is a trademark of Sir Alex Ferguson, being relentless, never letting up, so whilst the celebrations were large and loud last night, Sir Alex is already plotting a way to ensure repeat scenes this time next year.
It will require him to be cover both bases in regards of players already present and those he looks to bring in. It was the inspired signing of Robin Van Persie, the hat trick hero last night, that most attribute the title win to, but don’t forget the huge role those already present at Old Trafford played in bring that trophy home.
Ferdinand has been one of the standout players of the season and with his experience, it is essentially that he signs a new deal. Although limited by injury, Nemanja Vidic looked impressive when he played and hopefully he will be able to play a more prominent role next term. Then you look at the likes of Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck who all represent the future of the team. Sir Alex paid Jones the ultimate compliment saying that he could go on to become one of the greatest players the club has seen, but after winning his first title as with De Gea, Cleverley and Welbeck, he will need to keep his appetite. They have a shining example in Ryan Giggs who 13 titles into his career, is still hungry for more.
The next piece of the puzzle who will be added to the team.
Bayern Munich secured the Bundesliga back in March, but have wasted no time putting plans in place to secure another by announcing today that they have agreed a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Goetze. It is a move that not only strengthens themselves but weakens the opposition and sends a clear message to anyone thinking of mounting a challenge next season, it will only get tougher.
It is unlikely that Sir Alex will go shopping at the Etihad, but he will need to make some assured signings this summer.
David Platt said today that Man City will be spending big in an attempt to reclaim the title and with their unlimited funds it means the wounded animal will be that bit more dangerous, so to counter that Sir Alex needs to make the right signings. Every fan will have a list of players we should sign but realistically there is one area specifically, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you where, that he should be looking to strengthen.
Manchester United is a team always striving for more; after the disappointment of last season to bounce back and win the title in this fashion is not only satisfying but impressive. Next season players like Kagawa will be accustomed to what is required of him to thrive in the Premier League, whilst youngsters like De Gea, Rafael, Welbeck etc will be a year more experienced. Then you will still have the players already in their primes like Rooney, RVP, Carrick etc and the experienced senior players like Ferdinand, Giggs etc
The team is in a good place, but good has never been a hallmark of Manchester United. Instead the club strives for excellence so as you’re reading this Sir Alex is formulating plans to deliver just that, excellence.
So around this time next year, I’d wager that it will be United fans roaring in celebration too.