I think it’s outrageous for people to claim that were to Sir Alex to win the league this season it would be his finest hour. It’s being written because we’re a ‘poor’ team and City are fantastic.
While I do agree that City are a brilliant side, possibly even a better one than us, we’re just not getting the credit we deserve. You only have to look at the beginning of the season to see what this team is capable of. From the second half of the Community Shield until Benfica away in the Champions League, we were fantastic.
Steamrolling everything in our path. People will no doubt argue we crept passed West Brom on the opening day of the season, but they will also have forgotten that City drew, and that Chelsea lost there. A complete overhaul of a consistent, winning side against Benfica coupled with the unfortunate injury to Tom Cleverley and the team lost its fluency. Cleverley’s youthful, forward thinking and energetic exuberance was replaced with Michael Carrick’s slow, laboured, safety-first attitude, and the early season’s exciting football was replaced by a type of football where ‘getting the job done’ was the priority. 8-2 victories against Arsenal were replaced with 2-0 victories against Norwich. A horrendous day at the office in October when we lost 6-1 to City and people said it was the end. That we would never win a title again. We’re a better side than people make out. We’ve finished the season unbeaten against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, and the draws against Chelsea and Liverpool felt like victories after we came from behind.
Beating City to the title would be great because of the rivalry and because of how good City have been, but they wouldn’t be the best team we’ve beaten to the title. It wouldn’t be Sir Alex’s greatest title victory. Nowhere near. That would have to be Arsenal 1998-99 team. However, we were better than them. We were rightly crowned the best team in Europe because that’s exactly what we were. The 1999 treble would have to be classed as Sir Alex’s greatest achievement at Old Trafford, not just because we’re the only English team to have ever won it, but because it was the result of 13 years of hard work. Sir Alex invested so much time into developing the youth system and was handsomely rewarded. But I still wouldn’t class that as Sir Alex’s greatest title victory. In 2002-03 we were up against a fantastic Arsenal side who had demolished all in their path the previous season in the league, and we were in a transitional period. We were even 12 points behind the Gunners at one stage. They were a better team than us, yet we still won the league. That was Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest title. We were up against a team who knew what it took to win the league. We overhauled them and caused them to bottle it right at the end.
So, that’s Sir Alex’s greatest achievement and his greatest title triumph at United, but I still think Sir Alex topped all that at Aberdeen. I mean, to win the European Cup Winners Cup with Aberdeen, beating Real Madrid in the final is, in my opinion, the single greatest managerial achievement in the history of European football. To win the league in Scotland with a team that isn’t Rangers or Celtic is one thing, but to take a provincial Scottish outfit and win them a European trophy is beyond belief.
So for people to claim that a ‘mere’ Premier League trophy can be considered either the man’s greatest achievement need to take a closer look at what it’s up against. City are good, but they’re not that good. And we’re not that poor. Nowhere near poor enough to make such a ludicrous claim. It’s an insult to Sir Alex and the club.
As for the club’s greatest ever achievement; I think winning England’s first European Cup ten years after the heart of the club was ripped out in Munich would top anything it has ever achieved. To rebuild so much in such a short time in nothing short of miraculous, so to even claim that winning a 20th league title is more of an achievement is almost slanderous.
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