At long, long, last we’ve finally reached the end. Sunday’s trip to the South Coast brings the curtain down on this seemingly endless, utterly shambolic, largely uninspiring campaign meaning we can all spend the next few months dreaming of returning to success, while our heads spin at the number of players United are linked with in the press.
In the last quarter of a century never has there been a season Reds are so desperate to see the back of such as the current one, which has tested our collective resolve and patience in a whole new way from what we had been used to for over two decades.
Rio Ferdinand has admitted his future remains unsure and has expressed his concern at United’s decision to allow Nemanja Vidic to join Inter Milan on a free transfer this summer. Vidic, who alongside Rio formed arguably the best centre-back pairing in the Premier League over the last decade, played his final game at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Taking a break from selling “5” caps and trying to convey a message by posting links to songs on Twitter, Ferdinand has said that the decision to allow Vidic to leave could backfire, just as Sir Alex found out himself when he sold Jaap Stam to Lazio.
Louis Van Gaal went some way to dispel doubts over his future by publicly admitting that he wants to manage Manchester United, describing the Reds as “the biggest club in the world”. The Dutchman is largely thought to be the overwhelming favourite in the race to succeed David Moyes at Old Trafford and could be announced next week.
Ryan Giggs is expected to remain at Old Trafford as Van Gaal’s assistant manager, after the Dutchman has reportedly expressed his interest in keeping Giggsy on his coaching staff. Even though the Holland manager hasn’t formally been appointed, yesterday he gave the biggest sign yet that he will in fact replace Moyes in the Old Trafford dugout after the World Cup.
United’s last home game of this shambolic season offered, at long last, something to look forward to after 10 largely disappointing months, in which the highs have been few and far between. The 3-1 win against Hull was also the chance to wave goodbye to Nemanja Vidic and to welcome some new faces on the big stage.
Here’s five things we’ve learnt last night…
United’s last home of the season was an emotional occasion 12 months ago as Sir Alex Ferguson walked out in front of the Stretford End one last time before bidding farewell to the ground where he had spent 26 years. The occasion might not be as grand as last season, given the horrible campaign and the difference stature of the men involved, but tonight a few reds could shed a tear or two.
After eight years, five Premier League titles, one European Cup and three League Cups Nemanja Vidic will make his final appearance at Old Trafford, before leaving United at the end of the season and moving onto Inter Milan on a free transfer. Patrice Evra too could be appearing at Old Trafford in a red shirt for the last time and that’s without even mentioning Ryan Giggs, who could be about to bring the curtain down on the most extraordinary career British football has seen.
Ryan Giggs looks set to become Louis Van Gaal’s assistant manager at United when – hopefully not if – the club will confirm the Dutchman as the new manager sometime during this week. Having been in charge for two weeks as caretaker manager, Giggs has still two games left in his managerial career but reports suggest he could extend his stay at United.
While the clamour for Giggs to be given the job on a permanent basis had grown after the 4-0 win against Norwich during his first game in charge, United seem determined to avoid another romantic appointment and Van Gaal is widely expected to become David Moyes’ successor before focusing on Holland’s World Cup campaign.
On Monday, it’ll be a year since Sir Alex Ferguson took charge of his last ever game at Old Trafford but the way things have unfolded this season one’d be forgiven for thinking that 10 years have passed by since that rainy May afternoon. United’s catastrophic season simply refuses to end, the feel good factor generated by David Moyes’ sacking and Ryan Giggs’ first game in charge evaporated in less than a week, as United were their usual inept selves on Saturday.
The defeat against Sunderland underlined that while appointing a world class manager is crucial, so is securing world class players in the upcoming transfer window if United are to challenge for trophies again in the foreseeable future, for most members of the current squad simply aren’t good enough.
Not for the first time since leaving Old Trafford, Paul Pogba has had bitter words for Manchester United, with the Juventus midfielder accusing his former club of disrespecting him and wanting to get rid of him.
Pogba has claimed he was sidelined and marginalised, after he was told to train alone and he insists he has absolutely no regrets about leaving Old Trafford for Juventus in July 2012. It’s hard to fathom how the Frenchman could have any regrets at all about his decision, given that since joining the Serie A giants he’s gone on to win a consecutive league title, with a second on the way, and has developed into one of the best midfielders in Europe.