EL BARIO, BRONX – According to rules set by Ze Staff Czar, Angerius Wardico, no one is to talk about Soccer on MTM, maybe on RWU – but never, ever here. However, yours truly, Deacon Blaber, is too stressed from watching his favorite soccer team to hold it in. So, here’s an attempt to explain the sheer pain and frustration that this one Manchester United fan is going through, using American Sports Terms.
Duke Basketball is synonymous with head coach Mike Kzryzewski. The same goes for Manchester United Football Club and Sir Alex Ferguson. Yes, he really was knighted after winning the title for best team in English football (um, soccer), Europe and English Football‘s regular season. A very rare feat by SAF or Sir Alex or Fergie (if you must). Anyway, he took over at Man United when they had fallen on hard times. A former national powerhouse was now a mid-major. This was 27 years ago by the way. Prior to taking over at Man United, SAF had just come off making the Aberdeen FC of Scotland relevant and very good. In the last fifty years or so, only two teams (Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers) have won the Scottish football title except for a three-year span when Aberdeen won. That was the magnitude of SAF’s achievement.
When he took over Manchester United, Fergie had one major rival and one minor rival. The minor rival was Manchester City, the old crosstown rivals but it was even less heated than Yankees versus Mets. The big rival that had a Yankees-Red Sox feel was always Man United versus Liverpool. Liverpool is right up there with Boston for their victim syndrome, accusations of bias and arrogance. Liverpool had more and were in rampant form. Their favorite chant was “Comeback when you have more cups than us.” During Fergie’s time at Man United, he won 20 cups to Liverpool’s 6. Man United were doing great. We (yes, I’m on the team) had gone from the Yankees of the 80s to the Yankees of the late 90s and 2000s. We knew what winning tasted like and my Yim it tasted great.
A caveat to this story is that in 2006 the Glazers, the same family that struggles to be good owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, somehow in the layer cake of life and a world I don’t understand, bought Manchester United… using their debt as an asset. Since then they have been tight with spending, though there is no salary cap and have been using the profit from the team to pay their personal debts. Sound familiar Mets fans??? The essentially have bought a house with mountain of debt and are using the rent from the tenants to pay off their mortgage. Meanwhile crosstown rivals got bought by Saudi billionaires and filthy rich Russians who were/are buying players like it was fantasy football. But the Glazeers were still making tightfisted calls, yet SAF was able to overcome this and keep the club winning. Imagine Duke winning the ACC regular season and conference championships but struggling to win in the NCAA because other teams were locking up all the one and done kids that were available. That was what was happening at Man U!
Finally, Sir Alex at the ripe old age of 71, retired from the club after 26 years of glory. So who takes on the job of coaching at Duke after Coach K? After all, North Carolina had trouble replacing Dean Smith until they got Roy Williams. But what if Coach K, told Duke who should replace him?
Sir Alex did just that, choosing fellow countryman David Moyes. To say United have struggled under David Moyes is an understatement. The only way “we” get an invite to the tournament is to win it all and we have to go through the defending champions. We have been knocked out of the conference playoffs and all we have is the regular season. I didn’t mention it earlier but in European soccer all of those events happen at the same time, not 1,2,3. You will play a regular season match one weekend, then next weekend a conference championship match, then an NCAA tournament match. It can be crazy and tough. Now people are calling for Moyes to leave!
I don’t want us to be one of those teams that run a manager out of town when we are not winning as much as we expected to. There must be time for a new coach to acclimatize. However, Moyes is like the guy at Wichita St., Gregg Marshall. He has made a really good team out of guys that are like 2nd tier guys. Never won anything big but has done well with what he had. Now he is head coach of a program where fans are calling for him to go.
For Man U, all this losing and being outclassed is tough. I want to stand by Moyes and I will, but goddammit there is so much stress! To go from the glory days is hard because Manchester United was the one team I could depend on when my Knicks, Mets, Jets and Rangers were playing horribly… which is every season. Now I have know where to turn and my fan-hood is being tested. Yet, I will continue to side with the manager and hope he can turn things around.
That is it for now, feel free to comment below and come back tomorrow for the one and only, Cheesy Bruin.
P.s… If you want to read more of my ramblings as a Rugby Guy, you can find them on RugbyWrapUp.com and our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp and @JunoirBlaber, respectively