The Munich Air Disaster, 1958.
Yes, this was proclaimed to be the end of Manchester United.
8 of the first team players were dead.
The clock stopped, people said the blow was too heavy and Manchester United would fall into an abyss that would take too long to recover from and by that time they would be too far below in the race to ever rise again.
And yet, today stands Manchester united — 19 titles, top of the tree, and once again its threatened in a way that it hasn’t been before, since a long time. Yes, Arsenal had been stronger at a time. Way too strong for United. But once again United overcame them. Then came Chelsea who threatened to take away United’s place as the best in England. And again United overcame and outclassed them.
But the rise of Manchester City is especially going to hurt United. United have never been the over spending team. They might be in debt but unlike most plastic fans who feel this is because of the club losing money, it’s not. How can that be true when they still remain the highest revenue earning football team in the world? No, it’s because the owners (The Glazer Family) have borrowed heavily from the club’s assets. But that remains irrelevant. The thing that will sting United is that they had an 8 point lead over Manchester City with less than 8 games to play and they are likely to lose the title tomorrow.
For too long Manchester United have been the only club in Manchester. They have laughed at City and I do not say that’s wrong. But when you laugh at them and they outdo you, then it’s a tight slap on the face and this is a bad one for Sir Alex Ferguson. The sideline quarrel wouldn’t do any good to his ego either. He is a man who likes to take on opponents and win. But this time he has been defeated and this will hurt badly because of his confidence and his lack of faith in Mancini’s abilities. He took him head on in the psychological battle and though Mancini looked to be losing that war, the title shall be the only decider and that seems to be heading towards Manchester City.
The United team this season, in the absence of Vidic, has been widely proclaimed as the weakest Man Utd team in a long long time. The fact that SirAlex almost manged to pull off the win shows the quality of management he possesses. He hasn’t signed big players in a long time. The last big signing was Berbatov and that was 4 years back. But finally this loss has made him state, “There shall be massive changes should we fail to retain the title.”
Now this is huge from the man who doesn’t take drastic steps and does his best to utilize whatever he has. Manchester City have prodded a lion that had gone into slumber and they will have to face the consequences. Because this is a club that lost 8 players to a disaster and responded with the English and European double in the very next season. This is a team, that has been reborn as many times as required without letting its dominance slip for more than 2-3 years. And this time it’s a tight slap that’s going to hurt real bad. This time it’s not just any club, it’s the noisy neighbours. It’s with that team that they share the greatest rivalry no matter how one-sided the rivalry was in history. The fact is that they got beaten twice by the same team and one of them was a 6-1 loss at home, at their fortress, at Old Trafford, in the Theatre of Dreams, in Sir Alex’s backyard. And to add insult to the injury, the title’s been snatched away despite having one hand on it.
This one has hit Sir Alex hard and one needs to wait and watch if the sleeping lion roars again. Because this is Manchester United and they like the quiet. Too much noise for too long shall never be tolerated, and that’s what will be seen next season – the rise of Manchester United from the ashes. Watch out noisy neighbours. You may have won this one, all credits to you, but next season, it’s all about the return of the Red Devils.