And now, the end is near, And so I face, the final curtain…
That’s right folks; it’s time for my final AWIF column of the season – a season that will live long in the memory, albeit for the wrong reasons. The best Premier League campaign of “all time” I keep on hearing. Maybe it is for others, but not for me. Not for us.
One of the things I’ve learnt when doing a writing course at university is that it doesn’t matter too much if the ending is predictable, providing the journey to get there is entertaining enough. That’s fine for Ian McEwan, but it ain’t for me – not when it comes to football. I doubt many of us watched the thoroughly predictable Aguero winner on Sunday and thought “Yeah, but the 8-2 was good, wasn’t it? So it’s all fine” a second later. That’s all I want to say about last weekend, anyway. This column is meant to be a look back at the week in foo…well, you can read the title for yourselves. That’s what it’s meant to be, but sometimes it’s too painful, too gut wrenching. I have to keep reminding myself that we did actually win away at Sunderland – a very tough place to go and get three points – but now it matters not. Let us move on to sunnier climes.
The following day saw the United Player of the Year awards, an event I always enjoy watching. There’s a variety of reasons why I love it, but the stand-out reason is the compering of that wily old veteran Jim Rosenthal. Jim’s great, isn’t he? Not only is he an assured host, but he always speaks warmly about the club and does seem to truly like us. Either that or he’s a brilliant bullshitter and he’s only there for the fat cheque at the end of the night. Regardless of his true feelings though, there’s always a wonderful moment about ¾ of the way through the night when Jim has to turn into a secondary school teacher and start scolding the attendees who are getting progressively rowdier and drunker:
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the goal of t…excuse me? Settle down, please. Thankyou. Rooney, straighten that tie, look smart. The goal of the year awa…look, I’m going to get through this, I don’t mind waiting all night. Sit down Sir Alex. To present the awar….QUIET!”
On those lines; it’s always pleasing to see our famed manager getting progressively hammered as the evening goes on. You know you’re in trouble when he gets on the mic and starts slurring his words and saying “bloody hell” a lot. Truth be told, I don’t know what the gaffer is saying half the time anyway, so when he’s been on the vino the task of deciphering him becomes even harder. I think he began to mumble something about “no value in the market” and “the money is there” but who the hell knows.
The other main reason I love watching the United POTY Awards dinner is the gorgeous Helen McConnell. The Northern Irish lass is a stunner, but, bless her, she needs to work on her interviewing skills a little. Paxman she ain’t, let’s put it that way. My favourite toe-curling moment of the night was when she asked Ryan Giggs – I’m paraphrasing here – whether he was disappointed about the events of the day before. Oh, Helen, it’s a good job you’re beautiful and have such a pleasing accent, that’s all I’m saying. Actually, on reflection, someone get Giggsy away from her, quick.
The night itself belonged to our surly Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia, who picked up all three main awards and dazzled us all with his English and his smile (that’s a joke, for those of you who didn’t watch it). My player of the season was Scholesy, but no-one can begrudge Antonio the accolades – he’s been fab. The decision not to start him in the derby game will haunt us for a little while longer, I fear.
So that is very much that for this season – on the field, at least. Off it we now start silly season – the wonderful time of year when we get linked to 75 players and apparently have a “warchest” of £300m yet at the end of it all find ourselves with a kid from Crewe, a 35 year old veteran and a player who has a good Euro 2012 but can’t adjust to the pace of the Premier League. Apparently we haven’t signed a midfielder since C-Ron left. Good that, innit?
I’ve very much enjoyed writing these columns this season and would like to thank Yolkie and Mart, that lovable rogue, for the opportunity to do so. Will I be back next season? To quote the Portu-geezer with the massive adam’s apple – “Only God knows”, which means I’ve secretly put in a request to write for a Real Madrid fan’s website starting August.
So long suckers!