Reasons to be Cheerful for MUFC

John Lennon once said that ‘life is what happens when you’re making other plans.’ He had a point. Fretting about the future comes naturally to me and my reaction to the events of Sunday was no different. Manchester really was blue; both the colour of the celebrating champions or the mood of distraught Reds. The fear that this was as close as we would be to glory for the foreseeable future felt unshakeable. ‘What if City dominate England? Europe? The world?!’ The foreboding sense was that the garish spectacle of trophies being paraded on the streets of Manchester by a glittering array of mercenaries was the shape of things to come. The future of Manchester United looked bleak.

I’m sure I’m not alone in having these thoughts but as the days have passed since Aguero sealed the inevitable, I’ve felt surprisingly at peace with the whole thing. Let them have their moment. Hell, let them enjoy many such days as year by year a limitless pot of money brings in the finest footballers to be moulded into a team. It might sound absurd coming from a supporter who has been fortunate enough to live through two decades of silverware but winning isn’t everything.

Two images from the football world over the last few days triggered this revelation.

One was Carlos Tevez embracing Samir Nasri, the famous crest of Manchester City prominent on his back. The pair are duly ecstatic at winning the league and rightly so. Both feel personal vindication in response to criticism of their behaviour both in seeking transfers to and away from the Etihad stadium. Both feel that they have proved themselves to be high calibre players at the top of their profession. Neither cares one bit about the shirt they are wearing. If they had become champions with Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona or even Manchester United their feeling would be the same. (In the interests of balance, perhaps the same could be said of Wayne Rooney last May. A feeling of vindication at having agreed to stay at Old Trafford.)

By way of contrast consider Ilker Muniain’s response to Atletico Madrid’s third goal in the Europa League final. A competition I derided on this very blog had a different connotation for the young Basque. A team with a unique sense of identity, that had been moulded by a coach who’s punishing physical demands they followed to the letter, had failed their final test. It was all too much for Muniain and the tears flowed. Now I’m not a mind reader, and may be doing Tevez and Nasri a gross disservice, but the reaction of Muniain appeared to juxtapose the self-aggrandising reaction of the City duo to success. Muniain’s collapse appeared to stem from genuine pain at failure for his teammates, his coach, and above all his club. I may be an unashamed, nostalgia junkie (otherwise known as a History teacher) but this moment resonated with me. It was a demonstration that the ability of football to inspire the most contrasting of emotions could still be true of players and not just the preserve of those in the stands.

So what has all this got to do with Manchester United? On the weekly United podcast I appear on (shameless plug: have a listen here) we reflected on our biggest positive of this season; no contest for me, Danny Welbeck. To have a local boy, developed through the academy, leading the line for our club is something to cherish. Just as we feel it is our club, it is also his. He only needs to look around the dressing room to see Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes to see how special it is to serve a club that you are part of.

Not a brief employee, not a pit stop on a tour of Europe’s elite clubs, part of.

I want my club to be populated by players who know what it means to be a Manchester United player. It’s the very soul of our club. We’ve done it in the past, and we’ll do it in the future. That’s why win, lose or draw; I’d rather be a Red.

Like what you’ve read? Follow Tom on twitter @TomPattison

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. A very interesting article and a different way of looking at the present United plight. I have been supporting United long enough to fully understand your point of view and the value of United history not only to United fans but to English football as a whole. Only this week, David Gill was talking about United history when a player is choosing between United and another team. The commitment of the Neville brothers, Butt, Beckham, Scholes etc to United cause has been unbelievable throughout their United career and it is interesting that foreign players joining United are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the club history. However, it will never replace the local player who has supported the club since childhood. I listen to Evra both on English and French media and he is always on about the history of the club and expectations from United players. Unfortunately, he’s an exception to the rule. Pogba is a typical case and I’m of the view that if a young player hasn’t got United in his soul after spending three years at the academy he’d better leave. Liverpool is suffering the same fate and only Carragher would give his life on the pitch for the club. Having said that, I don’t think we can linger on the past. Football has changed dramatically and unless a club brings in foreign internationals it would be very difficult to compete and it is part of the package that the foreign players will never have the same sense of belonging as the local lads. As Fergie once said about Ronaldo: If you can get six good years from a foreign player then it’s not bad. At the end of the day a combination of local and foreign players is a good compromise to maintain players commitment and a winning side. What should never be done is what Arsenal did recently when they didn’t have a single English player in their team. I think United have had some good foreign acquisitions in Park, Evra and Chicharito ( just to name these three ) both in terms of ability and club commitment but players like Tevez typifies exactly the opposite. It’s a matter of choosing the right ones.

  2. Tom, great article, and spot on. We have some great youngsters coming through the Reserves and Academy. Hopefully a few will follow in Danny’s footsteps.

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