It used to be that players would do anything for the chance to wear the United shirt, the history of the club meant that for the most part, if we wanted them during the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, we got them, but during the decade prior to this one, and the start of this one, we had to learn to deal with our targets signing for other clubs, sometimes due to our owners refusing to pay the selling clubs price, or where the owners did agree to, the player would choose to take up the money on offer from oil funded clubs.
This also appeared to be the case with our youngsters, Pogba chose to move on rather than battle it out to prove he deserved a first team slot, Morrison chose to let the opportunity to show off his talents at Old Trafford pass him by like I do the chance to join Slimming World, there are many options that I could go on and list that looked to be knocking on the door without ever getting through it.
So looking at the current situation, and how it’s improved so impressively over the last 12- 15 months, you can only feel positive about things at the club right now.
Just look at the arrivals, Herrera, Blind, Shaw & Mata to pick a few, they’re players of immense talent, with their peak years ahead of them who could each choose just about anyone in the game to go and ply their trade for, but each of the 3 chose to join United above all other offers, and since they’ve arrived they’ve (when selected) delivered performances that have added great quality to what was looking like a shambles of a United side for the majority of the previous campaign.
Now we’re on to the big guns… In Angel Di Maria we’ve signed a player who played a huge role in Real winning last season’s champions league, played a starring role in last summers World Cup and has the ability to drive this team forward for years to come, and he’s chosen to do so because he knows what it means to do what he does so beautifully in the number 7 shirt at United, just stop to drink that in for a second, a guy with a legitimate claim to being among the 5 best players in the world chose to leave a club achieving great success to join one at the start of its rebuilding process, purely because he wants to be seen as delivering the goods in that iconic shirt.
Falcao, a player capable of anything, yes he’s injured, yes it’ll take time for him to play his way back to the level that lit up la liga during his unplayable spell in Madrid, but you need only listen to the pride in his words when interviewed about playing for United, look at the hunger he plays with for the good of the team, and the huge passion he celebrates with when he’s involved in the team hitting the back of the net and it’s clear this guy isn’t here for the money alone, he’s here because he knows how we as fans appreciate and worship those who’ve been before him that played their part in writing our magnificent history, he wants desperately to have his chance to earn that level of love from fans he clearly loves at this club.
You can even throw the manager into the mix at this stage, Louis Van Gaal has achieved all there is to achieve domestically in every country he’s worked in, he had a tremendous World Cup with Holland, it could’ve been so easy for him to say to United, cheers for the offer, but I no longer care for dealing with stroppy millionaires, daft members of the press & getting dressed 7 days a week, but the chance to win things at a club that cherishes success like we do clearly drew the man in, and from the day he’s arrived he’s certainly made his mark, he’s brought in the names mentioned and more in addition, he’s blooded many young players and given those of us who cherish that aspect of the club great hope that it’s something he’ll look to continue doing throughout his time at United.
Liverpool were kind enough to show us all what can happen when you don’t do a proper job of replacing a successful manager and squad back in the early 90’s, during the Moyes phase I was among many who feared we were following their path into oblivion, but having seen the change in recruitment attitude from those running the club, the desire to right by the clubs history from the players in the current squad & the coaching staffs desire to continue the tradition of promoting the youth prospects into the senior squad, those fears are long gone.
Will we dominate as we did under SAF? No, we won’t, no one ever will, that was the perfect storm of timing, ambition, motivation & finance, but looking at the current picture, I can see that the history of our club is being used to build a bright future, not to explain away as dismal present as they do on the Mersey…