Published: 17 August 2001
'The future's bright;
the future's RED!'
For any respectable football fan outside of Manchester, especially Scousers and Gooners alike, it must be hard not to get carried away with recent events. It seems like every you throw open a Newspaper, flick through a Magazine, Turn on a Television or even lend an ear to a Radio, there is either a 'Respected, Retired Footballer/Manager' or an experienced Journalist claiming that, in respect of recent results, maybe the dominance of The Great Red Machine we call Manchester United may be thinning. People around the world tuning into watch the Charity Shield at Cardiff's fabulous Millennium Stadium were probably expecting a White-Wash from United in their Changed White Away Kit, with Liverpool reportedly throwing in the towel on their own title bid. Of course everyone knows that it was just early mind-games from the googly-eyed French man, and it was fooling nobody from inside Old Trafford.
Then 1 hour and 45 minutes later, many of those who put their money on United already, were considering withdrawing their bid.
Liverpool had apparently overcome their North-England counterparts, after beating their bitter rivals three times in a row.
Many now claim Owen and co. have found the recipe which many have been looking for for the past 10 years, which people such as Alan Shearer, George Graham, Arsene Wenger and other 'Big Names' have tried desperately to find but to no avail.
After merely beating United in a meaningless friendly, in which United dominated, scored a great goal, had 2 clear penalty shouts denied against Liverpool's uninspiring performance capped by a slip by our best defender and a penalty, the rest of the premiership sat up and took notice, thinking that, with less than a week to the big kick off of the premiership season, that maybe there is hope yet.
Pundits have been saying for years now, with no prove to back it up that maybe when the great Sir Alex Ferguson, possibly the best manager of all time, steps down from the helm of Old Trafford in less than 10 months time, than the teams that call themselves 'Major Clubs' such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Leeds United can finally challenge for the ambrosia of England, which in the past decade has become rather one sided to say the least.
United have been looking for someone to replace Sir Ferguson for 2 years now, and seem torn between whether to search for an established, experienced manager (which would mean looking abroad) or whether to gamble for a younger manager (which has the added bonus of him being able to understand English).
Either would surely hold his own at the centre of attention in Manchester for a few years but you tend to think United may have difficulty finding someone.
I have even witnessed trouble amongst our own camp.
Players such as David Beckham are reconsidering their future here, with the man in question taking time to agree a new contract, and revelations from Jaap Stam in his new autobiography "Head 2 Head" especially matters concerning the gaffer himself.
I have heard many fans, on forums and pubs alike discussing the future of what is considered as the best club in the world.
They seem to underestimate the players. In my opinion, the likes of David Beckham (with his France '98 nightmare), Jaap Stam (Critics on his back in 1998) and Roy Keane (concerning his injury in 1998).
Obviously it all ties in with 2 things: 1998 and Media Pressure.
United had lost the double to Arsenal and many players were feeling the heat after the disaster that was England's bid for World Cup Glory. Critics were already placing their 'Wisdom' on a critical season for United, and of course, We all know what happened at the end of that famous 98-99 season don't we?
The players fired themselves up and won the treble for the first and so far only ever treble. While many United fans are getting worried of what the future holds, i look up to the future with relish. It gives united players a chance to really prove themselves and show everyone how good they are as they venture into the wilderness without their master Fergie.
Do not worry Reds because whatever happens there will be a new Ferguson come 2003.
Everyone thinks the great man is irreplacable and indeed he is, but then again Sir Matt Busby was said to be irreplacable and so was a host of others but people come and go and there will be a new Fergie and United will continue to do what they do best, WIN!
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