Let me get this out of the way quickly, for the sake of being honest and forthright. I’m still relatively new to this sport. Soccer. Football, I mean. Footy. "I’m gonna go watch a spot of footy." I say things like that now, I’m pretty legit.
I first started following United in the 09/10 season, which you may recall as year one of the post- Cristiano Ronaldo era (or should I say, the first Ronaldo era…), and I’ve learned many important things about the club since then. The history, the glory. Sir Alex is a god, Ryan Giggs is a legend, and so is that short ginger with the soft voice. He scores goals galore, you know? I’ve learned that people who say ‘Man U’ should be ridiculed to no end, and that Scousers are a bunch of wankers- or, wait. Wankers are Scousers. No, Scousers are definitely wankers, as are Geordies and Gooners, I think. Either way, my spell-check is going nuts.
There have been so many outstanding memorable moments since I began following United, but we never forget our first, right? Michael Owen’s injury time winner at Old Trafford against City, right after Craig Bellamy stole Rio’s pass (or whatever that was. I’m still not sure) and took it the length of the pitch to tie the game. That was my first moment. Giggs found Michael Owen with a beautiful long ball that Owen swept into the back of the net, just before the defender got a foot in. I leapt from my chair in rapture. I paced around the room, talked some smack to my dog and then probably played FIFA for two hours straight. Glorious.
It goes both ways, though. I think we all remember the final day of last season. I was actually watching City’s match against QPR because ESPN showed the game on their Xbox app, and when I heard that City was down by a goal late in the contest, I had to turn it on.
Fortunately, that’s right about the time when that Martian mothership crashed onto the Etihad Stadium pitch to collect Emperor Tevez and bring him back home. Miraculously nobody was injured, but the FA still had to end the match two minutes early and hand United its twentieth title. Remember? That’s what happened, I done seen it with my own two eyes.
But in all seriousness, you know what really shocked me about that whole ordeal? As soon as Aguero scored and won City their first league title since Nixon was in the White House (points for anyone who can draw comparisons between City and that loveable 37th president of ours), I simply shut the TV off and it was like the whole thing never happened. It wasn’t on the news, it wasn’t on the radio, it wasn’t in the newspapers the next day. I mean, it might’ve been mentioned on the back page somewhere, but I didn’t exactly search hard for it.
Contrast City’s gut-wrenching victory with my beloved Niners’ recent Super Bowl loss, in which I can’t so much as flip on the radio here in the bay area without being reminded of it. It’s awful. My eyes are still crossed, but my imaginary friend Joey Montana says it’ll all get better soon. He’s such a good friend.
So anyway, what was I talking about? I suppose there are positives to keeping our game- our wonderful, glorious game- an afterthought here in America. I’d love to see the sport take off, and I’d love for MLS to grow and become one of the world’s elite leagues. I mean, we have the athletes here in the States to compete with the rest of the world, but first we have to convince those athletes to choose soccer over basketball, baseball and football. I’d love to become a San Jose Earthquakes fan. I really would. But MLS just can’t compete with the history and the passion of the European game. Maybe the answer is to bring in more ageing superstars from across the pond? I don’t know.
Or, we can just forget about it. We can be selfish. Manchester United and everything we love about the club and the sport could be our little secret. People might laugh at us. They might think it’s weird that we keep waking up at 5AM on Sundays so that we can yell at Nani for being selfish, or scream our brains out when RVP scores a late goal at eastlands while Nasri hid from the ball like the scared little child he is and Mancini looks like he wants to cry and WOAH some drunk fan just ran onto the pitch to confront Rio Ferdinand. I need to breathe.
Point is, as much as it bothers me to hear American sports fans trash the game, even if some of their points are valid (I’ve seen enough of players falling to the ground and clutching their faces to last me a lifetime), I’m kind of over it. The game is great enough that I don’t need validation from the people around me. I can’t wait for the World Cup in 2014, I can’t wait for the summer transfer window. Hell, I can’t wait for this Saturday’s match against Norwich, and I can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts about it on this site.
So, I think I’m done rambling. Just felt like expressing my ever-growing love of the sport, and in particular the reds of Old Trafford. Also, the treble is ON.