Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rio is the captain, so why should Vidic wear the armband?

In many ways it is a non issue.

United do indeed have leaders throughout the team so does it really matter who wears that big 'C' on his arm, and gets to lift the silverwear?

To me at least, the answer is yes. And it has a two fold explanation to it. One part is historical and one part is practical, but neither has anything to do with common sense:

When I was a boy (violins start to play) the captain of Manchester United Football Club was Bryan Robson. He was heroic. A leader. A man's man. He led the team on the pitch and was the symbol of the club off it. While Liverpool scooped up title after title we all just gave thanks that we had the best captain on the planet. It mattered to us. Since then we've seen real United icons wear the armband. Since 1982, United have only had FIVE captains. That is an amazing stat in modern football. Robbo, Bruce, Cantona, Keano..and of course Red Nev. I understand that there is a modern slant on the captaincy, as to 'who gives a toss who wears it'...but to me it still represents something..

Which leads me to Nemanja Vidic now leading the team out.

Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for Vida. The man leads by example. Smashing defenders with the efficiency of a Jaap Stam and showing the bravery of a warrior. But in my opinion the guy should not be captain and that is simply because he does not skipper the side when Rio plays. Ferdinand does that job when he would Neville. I totally get Fergie's reasons for appointing Vida but my opinion still stands true..that the guy who is actually running the show for the team on the pitch deserves 'THE HONOUR' of wearing that armband...and it is an honour to captain Man Utd.

The Valencia game highlighted all this to me like a beacon! Vidic lead the team out, yet Rio lead the team on the pitch. I would rather there was a hierarchy to the captaincy rather than this 'oh he plays the most so he should have it'... I think that's crass. Those who purely lean on the side of common sense will say "but surely its better to have a stable captain", but I say "surely its better to have the RIGHT captain" know! The one who actually does the job for 90 minutes!

Ultimately, I don't think any of this will effect results, so I see why some United fans think its some negative tirade against Vidic or what not. But the only reason why I raise the subject is that I view that strip of material as being representative of the history of my football club. You don't just get it cos you play the most...otherwise we would have had Ronaldo as captain not so long ago. He played the most...why not have him as captain every week? In the future, if we are lucky enough to see United lift more silverwear in our lives, I want the real skipper on the pitch to be the lucky guy who gets to be immortalized in all those pictures, lifting the cups, that we look back on over and over again. Not just a guy who was the fittest or the most regular pick.

To some of us die hards, the footnotes in history interest us.

(ps. before anyone comments and gets upset that I haven't mentioned our wonderful smash and grab in Spain last night, as I've said before, I try not to do match reports. Last night was a great European victory at a stadium we thought we would struggle at. The manager got his tactics spot on...and that's why in Sir Alex we trust)


  1. in deed this is a stupid ass article. vida is Serbia's captn, he got d experience if u doubt his resume, thug!

  2. Too much is put on captaincy is this country. I'd love to see a team with 11 captains, I know this is not likely however.

    Rio is a great captain and so is Vida. I'm not counting who shouts/screams the most as this "should be done by all".

    The only people who can judge on how good a captain are the 10 men that he leads out.


  3. When it comes to lifting trophies, if we do win any this year, I don't think it'll be Vidic up there alone. In what could be the last season for a few of our legends, I think there'll be a joint lifting of any trophy, just like when Bruce invited Robbo up to lift that first Premier League trophy back in 93.

    As for whether Vidic or Rio should be captain, I'm not convinced by either. I haven't taken to Rio as captain in the way I did to Robson, Bruce, Cantona or Keane. In fact as much as I love Gary Neville, I don't think there's been a player at the club to captain the side as well as Keane did, he left more than just a massive hole in our midfield when he retired to Celtic. And with Vidic, well, I just wonder about the source of those rumours throughout last season.

    I'd hoped Rooney would grow into the role, and maybe he still will, but he's not there yet. While we have some good leaders out on the pitch, I don't think there's one player in the squad who stands head and shoulders above the rest as a real captain.

    And I think that's what Fergie was thinking when he took it off Rio. We can't depend on Rio to be fit for 80-90% of our matches anymore, and with a young team, stability is crucial on the pitch.

    So I think Vidic represents stability and courage, even if he doesn't command the side in the way that those before him did.

  4. Hello Rob
    Good article and one I agree with whole heartedly. I suspect this may have something to do with keeping Vida at the club? The thought of lifting those trophies as skipper may just keep his focus on playing for United amidst all the unsettling reports about him leaving. In Fergies mind he may just be THAT important due to Rio's back and the problems that come with young players that cover for them when injured. Just a thought!

  5. I would have to agree with Rob. The Captain should be the player that can heavily influence the game. And the face of the club. rumour has it that in the 2006 when England got knocked out. The only person to have the courage to speak was Red Nev, not even sven or captain becks could utter a word. This is a captain's role. A leader of men, the heart beat of the team, not the one who plays the most games. A captain is usually a buffer between the players and the manager. Players could approach him with problems and him in turn can relate to the coaches, without any backlash. I think Gary Nevill is the best captain we have, and after Rio as he is the second most influencial character in the changing room. When they speak players listen and you have the feeling that the players will follow them into an abyss if they have to. In the future, I would like to see someone with the heart and drive of Keano be captain and preferably a midfielder as they are more likely to control the game than in any other positions. Looking at the players we have for the future, the likeliest candidate for captaincy may have to be young Cory Evans.

  6. i totally agree with you. rio is kinda part of the club. vida? he's a good player but i really don't wanna see him as the cap after the transfer fuzz

  7. i think vida he has been given the armband precisely because of the transfer buzz.. to placatae him and make him feel more a part of United