One of my favourite parts of sport is it’s ability to make a universal moment also feel deeply personal. We all certainly celebrated winning number 19, but the manner in which we did so was different. I celebrated winning the title on the same day that I graduated from university and so 19 will always have a special place in my heart. While our season ended in heartbreak at Wembley, the match felt like when you ask out a girl that’s way out of your league, you get on well at first but it just goes horribly south from there.
Player of the Season – Luis Nani. I already declared him my player of the season on my other blog so I really ought to keep things consistent, right? The beauty of 19 is that so many players played key roles this season that choosing one is horribly difficult. Dimitar Berbatov deserves an honourable mention for his stellar play at the beginning of the season where he scored goals while our other big name striker was mired in a post-World Cup/cheating on his wife hangover. But I chose Nani because he was in large part the most consistent player in the squad and played a part in many of United’s most crucial matches. While he tends to frustrate nearly as much as he gives us cause to celebrate, his goals and assists totals this season suggest he is very close to being in the top three best wingers in Europe.
Goal of the Season – Many have already mentioned Wazza’s overhead kick, which was delicious and Berbatov’s similar effort, so for the sake of attempting to be original I am going to go with Chicharito’s back of the head header away to Stoke City as my goal of the season. His ability to twist in the air and get an ounce of accuracy on a cross like that illustrates his score by any means mentality that was so evident by season’s end. And I doubt I will see many goals scored like that!
Best Moment – I am going to go with our match versus Blackburn at home, the 7-1 thumping in which Dimitar Berbatov scored a quarter of his goals this season. I was in New York City during the week to celebrate Thanksgiving (a fun American holiday where we stuff ourselves with food, bit like an average day here though really) and decided that I would like to go out to Nevada Smiths to watch United. I ended up having to go by myself and felt a bit lonely in the buildup to the match as I was the only United fan there during the second half of an Arsenal match. My buddy Dan (fellow blogger on my other site) surprised me by showing up right before the match, announcing to me that he had quit his job to come watch the match with me! Considering we had both backed Berbatov from the beginning through thick and thin, watching Berba score five together was a special experience. Singing the Berbatov chant while jumping up and down, probably spilling plenty of lager in the process, is my favourite moment of the season.
Best Match – Chelsea at Old Trafford. This award was particularly difficult to choose considering there were so many matches this season that proved memorable. Certainly the trip to Upton Park last spring deserves mentioning, as does our away journey to the seaside to Blackpool and of course the beauty of defeating the scousers at Old Trafford also merits inclusion. But my favourite match of the season was watching us defeat our closest rivals for domestic trophies in such clinical fashion. Chicharito’s goal just 36 seconds in will be one of the moments I will remember for many years to come. That combined with Nemanja’s celebration of the decisive goal makes this one my match of the season.
Special Mention Award – Sir Alex Ferguson. Is there a better leader of men in the world right now? It is certainly hard to think of many better than our manager. His ability to instill a winning mentality every season at a club so used to winning every season is a true testament to his powers of motivation. Combined with his incomparable tactical nous and ability to pick the right team for every mach, it makes our job of writing about United a lot easier!
To the frequenters of Anfield, you told us to come back when we won 18. Are we allowed to come back with 19?