Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday May 7 2007
This might just be the most melancholy article I have produced for vital, but in the interests of sportsmanship, I feel dutibound to offer Manchester United congratulations for claiming a ninth Premiership title. It's a fantastic achievement, anyone wresting the title from the moneybags of Chelsea really does so with the odds stacked against them.
Feeding on the pain of season's past, United hit the ground running this season and carried the momentum through all the way. Having failed to really usher in an new era to replace the Golden Genration, Ferguson got a great campaign out of them, aided and abetted by a sprinkling of new acquisitions. Vidic has formed a formidable partnership with Ferdinand and the emergence of Patrice Evra at left back has reinvigorated the backline. The subtlety of Michael Carrick has offset Scholes' genius delightfully. If Scholes was a more egotistic attention seeker, he would probably be held in the regard he deserves on the pantheon of world footballers. Great players are able to reinvent their games and nobody confirms this more than the evergreen Ryan Giggs, who has used his experience to emerge as a real leader.
Rooney has flattered to deceive at times, but as with every title winning team, the quality of the squad comes into it. The likes of Solskjaer, Smith, Brown and O'Shea have performed brilliantly when called upon. I always refer to players like this as administrators, the people that do the behind the scenes work. Of course, the star turn has been Ronaldo, the player that can win games on his own. Simply, Ronaldo has been to United this year what Henry was to Arsenal in the unbeaten year, the lace in the nightgown, the gravy on the chips. The weekend game at Manchester City elucidated his season. Stamped on cruelly and hystrionically at the outset, he used his flamboyance and class to usurp the sharpened studs and acid tongues. There is still hope for Arsenal here though, I don't see a great longevity in this United side, the likes of Scholes, Giggs and Neville will need replacing and that will be a thankless task. But for now, congratulations United and we look forward to giving you a stiffer challenge next season. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to light a few black flamed candles, chant a backward mantra and pray for forgiveness from the dark overlords.LD.
Date:Monday May 7 2007
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