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Wake Me Up When September Ends

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  • Wake Me Up When September Ends

    Wake Me Up When September Ends
    By: Meatbag Manifesto

    In late September, United lost a home game to a mid-table standard side. The ripples were felt across the footballing world and the it was more than the simple loss of three points. It seemed symptomatic of something great. A milestone on the path to great change. Sound familiar?

    It should do – it was September 2005 against Blackburn. Morten Gamst Pedersen scored the winner and it felt like the world was coming crashing in on us. The empire was crumbling. The Glazers had just taken over and this was the beginning of the end. Our only signings that summer had been Ji Sung Park and Edwin Van Der Sar. The fans were up in arms at the inadequacy of our transfer dealings and blame was flying left, right and centre.

    The match report for UWS didn’t mention football once and simply quoted the entire lyrics of ‘I Know it’s Over’ by The Smiths. That song starts with the line ‘Oh Mother I can feel the soil falling over my head’. It seemed apposite at the time. Then again it was written by a man who punched a Newcastle fan on Wembley Way in 1999 and within 10 seconds was pushing people out of the way to throw a couple of pound into a ‘Save the Vegans’ bucket or something, so who knows what was going through his head.

    The autumn/winter of 2005 was a cold and hard place. United exited a Champions League group that included such European heavyweights as Lille and Villareal (though they did make the semis that season) and it all ended on a minging night in Lisbon as we crashed out to Benfica. There were home draws in the league to Everton, Manchester city and Tottenham, none of whom would be troubling the European places as they routinely do now.

    There was an abject, goalless display at Anfield (where we also had to listen to them singing ‘Champions of Europe’) and the bottom of the barrel came in a 1 – 4 defeat at Middlesbrough that prompted our captain to slate the team and ended up with his own sacking, effectively.

    Fergie, too, was finished. The man who had given us so much was taking flak from all sides – reds included. People denounced the football as boring and negative – remember the 4-4-2 chants in Paris – and the fuckwit element of our support weren’t shy on letting everyone know that Fergie had had his day. He was a relic from a bygone era and, in actual fact, was probably never actually that good to begin with. He had no tactical nous and basically just scared people into being brilliant at football.

    Most pointedly of all in the autumn of 2005, the cloud of the Glazer takeover infected everything that the name Manchester United was associated with. The Glazers are still despised but it’s not hard to forget the utter poison in the atmosphere at that time as Reds fought each other and the rest of the country pissed themselves laughing at us.

    UWS ended the year with a front cover featuring the year ‘2005’ with a cross through it and the strapline ‘Goodbye and good riddance to United’s annus horriblis’. We were a club on the skids. The dynasty was crumbing before our very eyes and the soil was falling over our heads. We knew it was over.
    It wasn’t though.

    United circled the wagons, battened down the hatches, got behind our team and our manager and we got our shit together.

    A patchwork team surged through the second half of the season and ended up pushing Chelsea far closer to the title than they had any right to. Young players like Rooney won their first trophy in Cardiff with the League Cup and there were green shoots of recovery. The following summer we signed Michael Carrick, the central midfielder we’d been lacking so evidently and for whom the fans had been calling out for what seemed like eons.

    New players like Vidic and Evra – initially decried as wastes of money by all and sundry, became the best in the league in their positions. United came back and for the next three years were the best team in Europe. We won the league three times in a row. In Europe our record read semi-finals (injury depleted and knackered), champions and runners up (to a team that would subsequently be lauded as the best club side in history).

    If you were dividing the history of MUFC into three year periods, the period 2006 – 2009 would be the absolute high point of the last 135 years. And it all started from a position much lower than we find ourselves in now.

    Recently we’ve lost two games to sides that we always lose to – Liverpool and city. In the past ten years we’ve regularly been thumped by city. 1 – 3 twice. 1 – 4 twice. 1 – 6 once. We lost three in a row to Liverpool at Anfield until a victory last season that was more of a robbery than a football match. We rarely turned up in these fixtures, so why is it a disaster that we’ve lost the latest in the series of misery?

    A home defeat against WBA is different. It’s not something we’ve come to expect, but again, there have always been rogue results at Old Trafford. There is usually one every season. The team didn’t play that badly on Saturday in my eyes. But they just shit themselves once they went 1 – 2 behind and that’s down to a lack of confidence. That’s inevitable when everyone is queuing up to stick the boot in. But what should you do as Red in a time like this? Put your 18 hole Doc Martens on and join the queue? Cry like a little bitch on the internet so everyone can see?
    Or should you keep your mouth shut, your gaze fixed and your fists clenched? Circle the wagons, batten down the hatches, get behind your team and your manager and fight your way out of it?
    You know the answer to that.

    We’ve lost three matches – big fucking deal. We’ve got a new manager who has had a cunt of a baptism but is learning on the job. We’ve got some world class players in our ranks and will surely add some more over the coming months and years. We appointed a manager for the long term and one who will build for the long term rather than pander to the babies throwing their toys out of the pram because United haven’t won every game 8 – 0.

    He’s made some mistakes so far. He’ll make more. It’s inevitable. But the vast majority of what I’ve seen and heard from David Moyes so far – including his time at Everton when in adversity and when en vogue – makes me sure that he is the man to lead our club through this phase and into the next one; one that will hopefully ram all the criticism and mockery right back down the fucking throats of anybody who is standing up and taking a shot at us right now.

    Fuck them. It’s siege mentality time and in siege mentality time then it’s easy to tell who’s on the inside fighting off the masses and who’s on the outside throwing the stones. The ones who stood firm behind their team and their manager and kept the faith in the autumn of 2005 were the same ones that were stood in Moscow in 2008 with a grin on their face as wide as a John Terry penalty. The ones who knew the true meaning of the word ‘United’. There were others in Moscow too. But they won’t have enjoyed it as much.

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  • #2
    My favorite team are the Red team from Manchester. They are really good at playing soccer.