Monday, March 17, 2014


My disenchantment with Manchester United really goes back to 2005 when in the last game of that season, Southampton needed to beat Manchester United at St. Mary`s in order to stave off relegation from the Premier League.   Well, we lost 2-1 and we went down.  I had no complaint about the result - we simply didn`t deserve anything more - but the thing which sealed my contempt for United and all they stand for was the spectacle, at the end of the game, of their captain, Roy Keane, walking round the touchline giving us the thumbs down and waving goodbye.

It summed up Keane, the attitude of their manager, `Sir` Alex Ferguson, the club and all United`s grace and charm and I have never forgotten it, neither will I forgive.  It was cheap, unworthy and totally unnecessary.   And so now, nearly ten years on I notice that the fortunes of both clubs have changed.  As things stand today, Southampton are eighth in the Premier League, just behind United who are seventh.   

But it`s the attitudes again that produce marked contrasts.  Saints fans are over the moon, perfectly happy with most things about their club at the moment - benign, enthusiastic and mercifully generous ownership, inspired management, talented players playing an attractive brand of football.   United fans on the other hand are sick as parrots, unsure of the owners, the management, the players and the future.  

This morning I went to Homebase and on the car radio, BBC Radio Five Live were holding a `discussion` amongst United fans about the present state of their club.   Almost without exception, the clarion calls came in adenoidal Surrey accents for the manager, David Moyes, to be sacked.  Seventh place, you see, is `unacceptable` given their divine right to win everything in sight.

On the last day of this season, Southampton play Manchester United at St. Mary`s and it`s not inconceivable that each team might have to win that game to ensure a place in next season`s Europa League competition.   How sweet it would be if Saints were to win 2-1. If they do, I will refrain from walking around the pitch waving goodbye to the United fans and giving them the thumbs down.  I`ll just enjoy the fact that things have finally come full circle.

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