The image is burnt into your memory. Lionel Messi kicking a microphone after scoring against Van Der Sar, David Villa curling into the top corner, and watching Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez sit on the pitch in utter despair while Abidal lifts the giant trophy. Yes, the Champions League final may just have been 4 months ago, but it does feel a really long time ago.
Then again, some people remember it like it happened just yesterday. Thing is, for most Manchester United fans the defeat at Wembley was a very unusual experience. Not because we lost a game, but in the manner in which it happened. We were outclassed, outrun, outsmarted, but the fact that Barca put up a bigger fight for the ball than what we did is what probably stings the most. But no, it wasn’t only being outclassed in every way that hurt so much. Fact is, going into the game Fergie said he had learnt from his previous Final loss in Rome. We now had a better team to face Barca, and as the comeback kings United are, who would have believed they could lose two games in a row? And in basically the same manner? It hurt like fuck, and it will stay with us for the rest of our lives. But the reaction from fans, rivals and us alike, has been disgraceful!
Not Arrogant……Just Better.
As Manchester United fans we are used to being the best. As the banner says, “Not Arrogant, just better” is the true emphasis of being a United fan. You get used to supporting the best team, winning almost every game, competing for every trophy, having the best players. These are some of the greatest prides that come with being a United fan, but lately I’ve seen too many people unappreciate our players, question the manager. And no discussion about the quality of this United team cannot be made without one idiot asking the question: “Yeah, but are United good enough to beat Barca?”
I roll my eyes in despair every time I hear this question. It’s just odd. Despite us losing a Champions League final to them, we really shouldn’t sink to making these remarks. We are Manchester United. The most successful team in England for the last 20 years, best manager in football history, scoring the most goals, conceding the least, and just about every possible compliment you can pay to a side. But still, there is that feeling of ambition which runs in every United supporter’s veins. The ambition of always becoming better. Stronger. More clinical. More resilient. Simply becoming the best! Thankfully that is an ambition passed on by the manager, Mr. Ambition himself. What makes Sir Alex so f*cking brilliant is the fact that he never, NEVER, is satisfied. There is always a way to improve, no matter how you do it. If a young player needs time to become the player this team needs, then so be it. Give him time. Becks, Ronaldo, Rooney, Nani, and hopefully Cleverley are proof of this. If you need to make a risky signing, you do it! Jones was bought for a hefty fee, but so far he looks every bit as good as every English defender out there! Get players no-one has ever heard of, like Smalling, Chicharito, or Pogba, who’s transfer created a lot of controversial fuzz between United and Le Havre. Thanks to Fergie and United, we will always aspire to become the best team there is.
However, if you want to be the best club you need fans who are willing to support you through thick and thin. Manchester United fans are great fans, whether they live in Salford or Cristchurch! Wherever you live, you attend matches, root for your team, chant our songs and celebrate our goals as if you had scored it yourself. Some Manchester United fans have never been to a game, but they still celebrate a goal like a loon, jumping up from their couch, fist pumping and waking up your neighbors. This is beautiful. This is when you feel proud of being a Manchester United fan, if you ever need something to give you more pride. But when you support the biggest club in the world, you can’t miss coming across people who share different views. Lately that’s happened a lot. Too many United fans talk about Barcelona as if they were the Mekka of football! Barcelona this and Barcelona that, alright they are a good team but is their presence so superior that you can’t have a football discussion without mentioning their club?
I too suffer from the Champions League loss 4 months ago, but unlike others I do not hate them. I don’t like them, but I don’t hate them either. Hating them is the mentality of a City- or Liverpool fan. Truth is, I just don’t give a flying f*ck about them! As a United fan I’ve prided myself with supporting the best club in the world for my whole life, and then Barca come along and suddenly all the jealousy us United fans have been exposed of since 1993 is gone. Just gone. Even the media are starting to respect us!! When did that last happen? Claiming that we play beautiful football, talking our players up into the sky, even having us as solid winners for the Premier League title… It’s unusual! Somehow it feels as if others feel sorry for us. Barcelona are the new United, they are the club you love to hate. Trying to find every flaw they make, making fun of them as if they were Justin Bieber. This is the attitude of a poor fan which we would call an ABU. Yes, a fan which seems to focus more on the failings of another team more than the quality of their own. Too many of us are bitter, and I don’t like it. We shouldn’t sink this low! We are Manchester United, and we should gain our throne as being the most hated team in the World ASAP! It’s a title we wear with pride, it’s a title we honor. Because we are the best. Simple as! Socially, we are the most hated team in the World and if you’ve got friends who don’t support United you really get to experience that. I was really surprised there wasn’t an outrage in the media following the Chelsea win. Two of our goals were scored from offside positions, and those two goals made the difference. Had this happened in 2008, I would bet you my house that every paper in the world would focus on that. But now, no shout. It’s incredible, and it’s giving me a headache.
United fans should do their part to make this team the best again. Don’t mention Barca, I mean, who the f*ck are they really? I couldn’t be bothered about them, they play in Spain and another league, and the chances of us facing them in the Champions League isn’t as high as people would think. As long as the Champions League remains a cup competition, we need luck, and if our number doesn’t fit with Barcelona then we won’t have to deal with them. So get on with United, love our team for what it is, and enjoy this thrilling start to the season! Long may it continue, and let’s put all this Barca hate to a rest.