Thoughts of a Manchester United season ticket holder
Friday, 9 July 2010
Thank You Owen Hargreaves...And Goodnight. Time To Move For Ozil?
I felt sick yesterday when I heard the news that all good United fans were wishing their ears not to listen to.
Owen Hargreaves is back in the States because of his injury again.
When Hargreaves was purchased, which seems like an age ago now, I was delighted. And that was because I believed he was that mythical player we like to call 'The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw'.....and I was right. That year we won the league and European Cup double, and despite injury, Mr Hargreaves (and a certain Argentine) drove us on to glory with our usual suspects.
But now, in the year 2010, Hargo has not started a game for the club for what will soon be two years. Both United and England have suffered for this..what would have happened in that Champions League final against Barca if Hargreaves had played? Would United have got that extra couple of points last year to get championship number 19 if he had bossed our midfield? Would England have faired any better in the World Cup with a genuine driving force?
All 'Ifs' and 'Buts'..but all valid questions of retrospection.
The news that Hargo has again been packed off to Colorado is a bitter blow to him, but also to the progression of United as a team. A fit again Hargreaves would have had the press and Sir Alex wheeling out that old chestnut 'He's like signing a new 20 million quid signing' ..and they'd have all been right. Emotionally there's a balance to be met when dealing with injured players. Of course a club must always be patient and United have been brilliant in the past to talent which has been cut down with injury. But maybe time has now officially run out for Hargreaves.
I personally have begged whatever God or beast that controls our destinies the chance that Hargreaves will play again for United, but yesterday I feel that that request was firmly answered. Once I get that bolt from the blue, my mind changes tact in a split second. I believe we have to now face facts. If Hargreaves ever made it back to the level that we demand at Manchester United it would be a minor miracle...but how long are we supposed to wait??
Another 4 weeks? Maybe 3 months? What about 6?
You can only let the head rule the heart for a certain period of time.
I think most United fans feel that we need an injection of talent this transfer window. There is now a hugely diminished chance that Hargo will even get the opportunity to earn a new contract, and that is shrinking by the day. With a mooted £25 million bid in the Ferguson pipeline for Mehmut Ozil, who is in the last year of his contract at Werder Bremen, and the epic performances of Darren Fletcher, who has made the non-Hargreaves months so much easier to deal with, it is time we all looked ahead, rather than to the treatment table.
Despite only playing a handful of games, I will miss Hargreaves. He is the closest thing United have signed to both Bryan Robson and Roy Keane..lots of blood and thunder and putting yourself where it hurts. Lady Luck has been cruel to the lad, but the timer on the oven is nearly pointing to 'cooked' I hope maybe we can retain him in a coaching capacity, and give him a post playing career..but once again i guess that is thinking with your heart again rather than your head. As I just mentioned, Darren Fletcher has turned into a glorious footballer..one which I certainly didn't predict. His combination of aggression, work-rate, tactical knowledge and ball skill is a testament that even those with limited ability can become top class professionals of genuine value. Some football fans still don't see this in him. But most of us know better. I'm happy for Fletcher to become United's enforcer for the season ahead and probably for a long time after. If Arsenal had a Darren Fletcher last season, they would have won the league.
So...thanks for that freekick against Arsenal, Hargo. Im happy to say I was there and screamed the house down with 70,000 other Mancs. And thanks for the penalty scored in Moscow. We all died a thousand times behind that goal in the Luzhniki Stadium that glorious night, but we all somehow knew you would bury your kick.
As the song goes..Oh Owen Hargreaves you are the love of my life. Our time together was fleeting, but never ever forgotten.
Manchester United fan since the age of 9 when he saw Norman Whiteside curl the ball into a Wembley goal in the dying minutes.
He is an Old Trafford season ticket holder in the North Stand Tier 3...and cried tears of joy, on his knees with the many in Moscow.
Rob is a contributing author/editor at Man Utd blogzine 'The Faithful'