An Ode to Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira
He’s gone… He’s really gone.
After many years of frustrating the masses of United fans around the world, the January transfer window finally saw our beloved Brazilian, Anderson, leave Manchester for pastures new. His destination? Florence and Fiorentina. To many this is a cause for celebration and mockery aplenty, however, I can’t feel anything other than a sense of disappointment for our Ando and his career at Old Trafford.
Paul Scholes- The Maestro
There’s an overwhelming rush of emotion as you try to explain Paul Scholes. A rush that comes to a screeching halt as you just can’t figure out that perfect word or feeling for it. But you know it’s there and it’s so deep inside you that it feels like you are under the ocean, suffocating, as you frantically wave your hands and try to grab anything you can but you seem to just miss that escape, that answer.
It’s not easy. Words like legend, genius and the like are too common these days. They would never do justice to Paul Scholes. No way. It’s a classic irony that the man himself is the embodiment of simplicity. But you still don’t give up. A bit more effort and a bit more time and you finally come up with a word, a feeling, for this man. And then the words just don’t stop. The dam has been broken. You breathe again.
A Respectful Look Back: 5 Beckham Memories
By now, unless you’re “living under a rock,” so to speak, you’ve heard the news regarding ex-Red, David Beckham. After a professional career spanning just over 20 years (and beginning in 1992 with Manchester United), Beckham has finally decided to call it quits, and will be stepping aside from the world of football. At least, that is, in a playing capacity – rumour has it Becks is already exploring an investment stake in a new professional team in Miami, Florida.
The Day That Was Never Supposed To Come
I was sitting in my friend’s car earlier today. We were discussing what the players were referred to by their teammates. He’s a Liverpool fan. We had gone through all the Liverpool players. I started going through the United players. «…Giggsy…Chris…Anders…Chicha..Well, Sir Alex usually called him Chico..». Usually called him. He won’t anymore. Because it’s not his job. Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer manager of Manchester United.
We have all grown up in different circumstances. Some with a huge family with uncles, aunts, grandparents and the solid unit you call your mother and father. Some of us grew up in homes with just a mother or father. Maybe an older sibling. Maybe not. They were people on whom you could always rely. People who would never really go away. Through good times and bad times you’d stand together. United. Many of us grew up with Sir Alex Ferguson. Many of us have never known anything else. Many of us do not wish to know anything else. It would be to replace the reliable unity you formed. It was never a unity you chose to form. It was just the way it became. Sir Alex Ferguson was Manchester United.
The past couple of days have been a rollercoaster. For us all. I have danced through my entire emotional register. I have been heartbroken, I have been angry, I have been hopeful and I have been fearful. I was born in 1992. I have never known anything different than what stands ahead of me. My unity with Manchester United was chosen through a radical Frenchman and a baby faced Norwegian who never looked a day older than 14. Behind them stood this authoriative, proud Scot who didn’t need to gesticulate or make a mockery of himself to get his point across. He would, from time to time, lose his cool. But that was his passion, his heart, his relentlessness. He was a winner and he demanded that they transpired him whenever they stepped on the pitch.
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think about all the trophies he won when I think about the legacy Sir Alex Ferguson leaves at Old Trafford. Sure, he took the club from a fallen giant to the juggernaut of modern football. He made it the biggest and most popular club in the world. But what he did was provide a sense on consistency. You could always rely on Sir Alex Ferguson. You always knew his mentality. His work rate. As the son of a plater’s helper in the shipbuilding industry in Govan his working man’s principles were something we all grew to cherrish. Nothing was done without hard work. Look at the players he created. David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo. Yes, their talent was obvious, but they were a product of hard work. Sir Alex Ferguson’s hard work alongside them. And in the end, we were the ones who benefited. Had I received had a penny for every time I have been told that Manchester United was the only thing that made a person smile, I would now be a millionaire.
And so came the day. The day that was never supposed to come. It happened so quickly. Too quickly. We never got a chance to react. He was just… gone. Sure, the rumours were there. They were there every summer. Every time the league was won, every time the season ended, every time something monumental happened at the club. This was the time for Sir Alex Ferguson to retire. And we laughed. Because we all knew it was untrue. He would never leave us. But, he did. He had won us the league. Number thirteen for him, number twenty for the club. He had knocked Liverpool off their perch. He had regained control of Europe. He had ruled the world. But more importantly, he had conquered all of our hearts. 26 years. 9692 days. And so he’ll ride off into the sunset. Having appointed his favorite deputy to lead the march on. But it will never be the same. We will all support David Moyes. Because he’s one of us now. We who grew with Sir Alex Ferguson, however, will forever have a section of out heart reserved to the greatest of them all. The hairdryer, the red nose, the chewing gum, the glasses, the rants, the smiles, the glory, the triumphs, the sadness, the grief and the anger. But more than ever, the unity. And the years we spent finding sense and normality in comfortably knowing that Sir Alex Ferguson would always be able to make us feel good about ourselves again.
When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer
Thank you for the memories, Sir Alex Ferguson.
“The reincarnation of Cantona?” – Thoughts on Berbatov’s departure
Football is enamored with the past. Football writers, fans, and even entire clubs cannot seem to get enough of what has been. Manchester United are proprietors of one of the more interesting histories in British football. As such, United supporters have a rather extensive well from which to draw when they are feeling nostalgic. When Cristiano Ronaldo broke through at the club, he was declared the ‘new George Best.’ As Wayne Rooney inches closer and closer to a role at the center of the park, he turns more and more into Sir Bobby Charlton. Were it not for those flash hair implants, he might already be there. Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football, has long existed as the ‘new Sir Matt Busby.’
Fans use the past to give the present context. The past helps us place expectations on players, and it guides our belief in a player and, ultimately, in our club. As the present makes good on the past- as Ronaldo does become one of the world’s best, as Rooney inches closer to Sir Bobby’s club goal record, and as Sir Alex continues his revivals of the club a là Busby after Munich- we feel emboldened to continue linking today with yesteryear.
Yet the past offers pitfalls, as Dimitar Berbatov illustrated this summer. After toying with Italian hearts on the last day of the transfer window, Berbatov has joined Fulham FC, of London, in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Dimitar Berbatov Departure Special- ‘He Was Manchester United’s Godfather’
After travelling around Europe for the week on a private jet whilst deciding where to venture next, Berbanigma finally decided to sign for Fulham yesterday. We give our reaction to the transfer:
Dimitar Berbatov – the right player at the wrong club. Prodigiously talented, languid and with a playing style that made you feel like you were watching the only player on the pitch. Everyone else was just on the periphery for Berba. It is a shame to see him leave but it is the right decision for all parties as that much talent is wasted on the bench.
We will remember the highs (Liverpool hat trick) and also the lows (penalty vs Everton) but above all we will remember that the Bulgarian simply got what it meant to be a United player. Whether left out or on the bench there was no complaints whereas lesser players would be on the phone to their agent before the day was finished.
I wish him well at Fulham where he will quickly become the main man and the fulcrum of the team. Whatever happens, it won’t be dull and who knows, in a few years that shocking statue of Michael Jackson will be replaced with one of a certain Bulgarian casually smoking a cigarette seemingly in a world of his own. Thanks for the memories.
The Secret Footballer sums it up better than I ever could… Dimitar Berbatov…
The Godfather. That is how I will remember Dimitar Berbatov. Not because he used the film to learn English, but because every time I saw him on the pitch, I couldn’t help but think “That might as well be Michael Corleone”. The way his hair was slicked back, the slickness he managed to portray on and off the pitch but also the cigarettes and the wine. Especially those.
When watching Berbatov play, you couldn’t help but notice that the man is a connoisseur. Not of wines (he probably is) but of football. He didn’t run around like Park or track back like Wayne Rooney. With Berbatov, it all happenened once the ball was in his feet. Whether it was a ball magically plucked out of the air or a flick over a player’s tackle, once Berbatov received the ball, he owned it.
He will always be remembered for that hat trick against Liverpool at Old Trafford with a performance that will forever engrave his name in Manchester United folklore. However, Dimitar should first and foremost be thanked not for a majestic display over bitter rivals, but for a 19th title which allowed Ferguson to knock Liverpool off their f***ing perch.
Some will always complain about his inconsistent displays in previous seasons or the fact that he was lazy, but really, who cares? He was Manchester United’s Godfather. He was Dimitar Berbatov.
Спасибо, до свидания и прошайте Димитар.
What can you say about Berbatov that has not been said already? He’s an artist, a magician, a maestro which treats the ball as his orchestra. Players become mere peasants as he dances across them with a touch so delicate it would’ve scored three stars on the Michelin Guide.
The hattrick against Liverpool and the five goals against Blackburn will forever be remembered between United fans. So will his rejection to Manchester City on deadline day in the summer of ’08. A man who never complained and was dedicated and motivated to do a job for the club hhe described as his dream when he joined. However, he just didn’t fit in. United wanted pace, attacking on the counters. To all his qualities, Berbatov lacked the essential speed to cope. A genius who just did not fit into our club anymore.
I wish him all the best and I hope he gets an absolute awesome reaction from the Old Trafford faithful should he return in a cupgame this season. Or perhaps next season if he’s still at Fulham when they visit Old Trafford.
Thank you for the memories, Dimitar Berbatov!
*Can They Score contributor, Musa Okwonga, wrote a superb poem on Berbatov’s depature, check it out on his site here.
Another Great Servant Whose Time Is Up
Having waited six weeks to redeem himself, after two horrible performances against Athletic Bilbao, Ji Sung Park seemingly ended his Manchester United career this week with one of his worst performances in a Red shirt. With only two months left to run on his contract, it seems that his thoroughly commendable Red Devils career has sadly sizzled out as the effects of ageing start to truly take its toll on the South Korean’s 31 year-old legs.
Diligent, determined and defensively minded, Ji Sung Park’s Manchester United career has gone on a lot longer than many people expected when we signed the little known winger from PSV, for £4million, in the summer of 2005. Initially, many people saw his arrival as a marketing ploy, quickly citing the Dong Fangzhou experiment, but he has undoubtedly been much more than that; although he has inevitably contributed to the fact that 1 million Koreans have United branded credit/ debit cards and have such a healthy presence in the county.
Still, South Korea’s former captain is set to finish his United career on 205 appearances, assuming that he is not involved against Swansea or Sunderland, which is a figure that only 88 players can claim to beat. Despite his diminishing abilities, after the retirement/ departure of so many players last summer, the workmanlike winger remains one of the most experienced players in the squad.
Park, June 2011
“I wont be able to show my best after one or two years. I don’t know how long I can stay at Manchester. I never thought about retirement but it’s obvious that I don’t have much time left as a player.”
The Jury Is Still Out
Over the last number of years I have been fortunate enough to witness many exciting moments at Old Trafford but one of the best has to be Kiko Macheda’s epic introduction to the world, against Aston Villa, during the conclusion of the 08/09 season.
‘Fergie Sign Him Up….’ Let’s Celebrate That He Didn’t
It is often highlighted when Manchester United miss out on signing a player who people think they should be signing or when they let someone go who they think they should keep.
Paul Scholes- 50 Quotes That Define a Legend
Now retired, Paul Scholes was undoubtedly the preeminent midfielder of his generation. Hailed by all of his peers, the admiration shown for Scholes, throughout the world, is a testament to his career and the only true reflection of a what great player he was.