Once.. Twice.. 19 Times The Champions
Okay so the title doesn’t quite fit in time with the famous song by the Commodores but it was the best title I could come up with. On what was a bitter-sweet afternoon at Old Trafford, Manchester United were presented with the Premier League trophy for the twelfth time since its inception; their 19th overall top flight league title surpassing Liverpool’s record of eighteen. In doing so United manager Sir Alex Ferguson finally made good on his promise when taking over United in 1986 which was to “knock Liverpool right off their fucking perch.”
When United won the Premier League in 2009 they equaled Liverpool’s tally of 18 top flight league titles. It looked like we would pass that tally last season but Chelsea managed to pip us to the title by a solitary point and the way things started this season it looked like we were going to have to wait another season. However, in what can be described as an odd season, United managed to come good when it counted and grab points when we probably didn’t deserve any. Sure we were helped by a faltering Arsenal side that couldn’t quite hit top gear and a, now manager-less, Chelsea losing their way after parting ways with their longtime assistant manager Ray Wilkins.
It hasn’t been the prettiest of seasons for United, especially away from home, where United only won 5 times this season. That said none of the top four managed more than eight wins away from home! Our home form however was excellent winning 18 of the nineteen games and drawing the other one. The 10 draws we mustered away from home thereby grabbing vital points when others faltered was, I think, instrumental in helping win the title. Though probably the biggest turning point towards the end of the season was beating Chelsea in the run-in meaning we only needed, and got, a draw away to Blackburn.
I think the most amazing thing about it all which when I realised it made me go ‘wow!’ is that I’ve witnessed twelve of these titles and they’ve come in the last twenty years. In the preceding 90 years United had only won the title seven times their first coming in 1907-08. It’s this stat that really makes my mind boggle and then realise that I’m watching a once in a generation experience. It is unlikely that there’ll be another manager like Sir Alex who will come along and surpass his record for success (12 League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 9 Community Shields, 2 Champions League Titles, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 Club World Cup).
If anything the amount of silverware he has won for United paired against his longevity at the helm should serve as example to other clubs (like Chelsea & Man City) who seem to think sacking a world-class manager because he didn’t win anything one season is a good idea. The most recent case in point being Carlo Ancelotti who was sacked after yesterday’s 1-0 loss to Everton; I mean it’s not like he won the double last season or anything… oh hang-on…