Two Down, And Then There Was None
And then there was none. Four days, two more trophies for Manchester United. The impossible treble is possible. The impossible is now.
The greatest night in the history of the most famous club in the world. And Matt Busby’s birthday to boot. It just seemed like history all year long. Remember that I told you on the suite that United would go all the way back in December – see Will the Reds sing the Blues – but little did I think that Utd would not be beaten in any competition from that date to the end of the season. What an achievement.
Just to witness this glorious fulfillment of manager Alex Ferguson’s ambitions has been a privilege. Ferguson is not just a perfectionist, he is a genius. His attributes will long be extolled in books probably already on their way to print. The truth is that genius is hard to define but suffice to say that it goes well beyond the much overused superstar. His record qualifies him as superstar. This decade has seen him reel in five domestic league titles, four FA Cup triumphs, one League Cup win, one European Cup Winners’ Cup, and one European Super Cup. The style of play with which he has won the trophies qualifies him as genius. It’s attractive to watch, skillful, entertaining, and thrilling. The onus and responsibility to win the game is taken to the opposition who must defend or fold. Most of all, it proves that attacking soccer can win and entertain at the same time. Uniteds’ youngsters seem to find a way to win and enjoy the moment.
British Sports Minister Tony Banks says Ferguson deserves a knighthood and I for one won’t argue with that. Of course, I don’t give two hoots who gets a knighthood in the first place. Let me be the first however to congratulate you, Sir Alex. Thanks.
Although I was thousands of miles from the Nou Camp stadium, I felt excitement and calmness both at once. Bayern Munich were just the next opponents in line. Yes they could have won it. Yes they hit the crossbar and the post and yes a second goal probably would have sealed it for them but history will record differently. Destiny predetermined differently. Even with only seconds left in the game and apparently the trophy heading for Munich, I couldn’t help thinking that United would win. Not just equalize – win. That’s hard to explain but it just seemed destined to happen. It certainly wasn’t the first time this year that United were facing defeat and at the mercy of the referee’s watch/whistle. Any watching Liverpool, Juventus or Arsenal fans will have experienced a sense of Déjà vu in those last tense moments and will no doubt reflect on what might have been. But United can forever look back on this season and reflect on what is. Soccer history and glorious.
Can we feel a little sorry for the Germans? It was a tough way to lose. They did come so close themselves. But even club president Franz Beckenbauer who has lifted a few trophies in his day said the nature of the 2-1 defeat was cruel but added that the best team had won. Very classy as always, Der Kaiser.