I don’t know about you but this shirt from the 2001/02 season always reminds me of Juan Sebastian Veron.
I’d be lying if I said the failure of Veron to fulful his undoubted potential at United wasn’t one of my greatest disappointments at United down the years.
When Seba signed and the season finally got under way with an opening day match against Fulham, I know I wasn’t the only one sat having a few beers before the game broadly smiling as the Argentinian style T-Shirts with ‘VERON’ emblazoned on them were being sold in the pub’s and stalls around the ground.
The atmosphere built up around Old Trafford that day, the anticipation was obvious and everyone knew this guy was special, he was the only topic of conversation. Everyone expected Veron stamp his authority on on the team and take United to the next level.
There were occasions when it happened (think Spurs away 3 down at H/T), but more often than not Veron got caught on the ball and generally didn’t get to grips with the aggressive pace of the Premier League. He had good spells in Europe and became integral to United’s game-plans abroad until injury marred his final season.
To me, Veron even looked good! (don’t take that the wrong way!) He had the look of a player who knew what he was doing, he had class oozing out of his boots and when afforded the time and space to display it he had fans and players in awe of him. His first touch, his range of passing and his vision makes him one of the all-time best players to play for the club in my opinion.
In fact, if the Veron of 2000 was on the market today, bearing in mind all the discussion that United are crying out for a world class central midfielder, do you think he would be on the wish list? I bet he’d be on Sir Alex Ferguson’s, and I wouldn’t mind betting that even today, with the hindsight knowledge that he didn’t quite make it the first time around, he’d also still be high up there with the fans.
That first Saturday of the season way back in 2001 we actually came from behind at home to beat Fulham 3-2. Louis Saha scored twice for Fulham and a certain Edwin van der Sar was keeping nets.
Which player does this shirt remind you of?