I’ve been a United supporter since 1994 and I’ve seen Ferguson build countless squads. A lot of media furore is going on now about Ferguson declaring that Rooney wants out. Of course, hordes of people from our rival clubs are gloating. But frankly, there’s nothing to worry about.
Come on, we’re talking about Sir Alex Ferguson here, the famed gaffer who has sold Ince, Kanchelskis and Hughes in the same season, only to replace them with kids. We’ve also seen him sell of the rock-of-a-defender Stam and goal-machine Van Nistelrooy. In recent times, we’ve also seen Ronaldo leave. I was personally sad to see the former World Player of the Year leave for Madrid, but hey, life moves on at this great club.
Now, I’m a Singaporean and I have never been to Old Trafford, or stepped foot in England. The closest I’ve been to this team was to see them emerge out of Changi Airport, watch them train in the National Stadium, sit beside the legend Giggs and P.Neville in a meet-and-greet session and drove four hours from Shanghai to Hangzhou to catch them in action. I’ve stopped collecting jerseys and magazines because they just got too expensive to keep up. My only investment and sign of loyalty is to subscribe to cable TV just to watch United in action every week. And of course, every once in a while, post something that’s related to United on Facebook.
For crying out loud, 90% of United fans in Singapore won’t even be able to tell you where the Stretford End is if you showed them a picture of Old Trafford. But does it stop us from feeling for the club? I guess emotions have seeped into this harmless weekend activity, as we lend our support to a club which doesn’t really need our support.
But I’m posting this because I think United is more than just one fan. United is more than just one player. United is more than just Yanks. United is more than just one team. We’ll make it without Rooney, as we’ve made it without Beckham and Keane. We’ve even made it without Cantona – oh the reason for my love of #7, United and through passes. Look boys, we will survive! Fergie > Rooney < United.
What we must hope for now is to fetch the highest possible price for Rooney, regardless whether we spend the money or not; that’s secondary. It’d be nice to buy Akinfeev, Sneijder and Benzema with the extra cash, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care who owns or manages the club. I don’t even care who plays for the club or if the latest jersey designs are nice. I care for my weekend dosage of entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking football. I won’t find that with other clubs, not because they play horrible football (like Liverpool) but because I do not have affections for them.
When Cantona retired, a lot more supporters (like me) were devastated. How were we going to replace such a talismanic figure? He revolutionised the way we played football – with flair and arrogance. Let the Scousers laugh at us. Let the Wastelanders mock us. Let the media make an earthquake out of this. United has and will always move on. We never look back, only forward. I couldn’t care less if Rooney retracts his words. I care more for the team. I like what Ferguson told Rooney, that he should “Respect the club”.
Gents, we’re on good ground. We have good talent coming through. Every time he was on the pitch, Chicharito looked so much more dangerous than Rooney this season. I won’t comment on unproven potential like Bebe or Obertan, but I will make an exception for Cleverly. He’s got United written all over him. He’s direct, creative and most importantly, he plays with an arrogant swagger, knowing that he can trust in his own ability.
Even the biblical adage hold true; new wine cannot fit in old wine skin. Similarly, not all old wines taste great – some are just really expensive vinegar! Let Rooney go. He will realise that there’s no other club in this world who has fans that will stick with him through thick and thin and adore him wholeheartedly. I won’t bother about his off-the-field behaviour; I will only state that if he is not keen to play for the world’s greatest club, then he should just leave. We don’t need uninterested players, but players who realise what it means to play for the shirt.
Rooney should understand one thing though, that if he wants out, he must leave the country. It’d be travesty if he joined any other English team. Rooney would make Tevez look like a hero if he swapped red for blue. That would be career suicide for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he received death threats from the real fanatics if he tried that. Assuming he will leave us, what Rooney must do now is to play his heart out for the team whenever he’s not frozen out by Fergie, and leave with his head held high – just like Ronaldo, who incidentally was the only player who turned up for the Champions League Final against Barcelona; he wanted to win the lot again before he left. I have no ill-feelings about Ronny and I think I, like most United fans, would welcome his return with open arms. So Rooney has to learn to do this well.
At United, we’re never about one player. We will make a player but a player will never make us. I would support United even if they got relegated. It doesn’t matter. If Rooney stays, good; if he goes, good. But honestly, I don’t care. Forget about Rooney, everyone. We’re United and we’re bigger than that.
I like what I read on another United blog:
Adversity may be looking us in the eye, but we will spit in it. We may be about to take a huge emotional pummelling, but as we fall to the canvas all bloody and broken, we will look up at our detractors and enemies… And we will laugh at them. Yes, the joke will be on us, but we are galvanised by history. Things may be about to get ugly… But that’s life… …The wheels have started to turn. If he stays we will rejoice. But if he goes we will be ready to roll up our sleeves and we will build again.
We’re not arrogant, just better. Our history makes us strong, your hate makes us stronger. GGMU!
“Sir, I think you booked the wrong tickets.”
Without a shadow of a doubt, this goes down as one of my biggest boo-boos. I couldn’t believe that I committed a mistake of this simplicity. The crazy thing about it was that none of the four people I had sent my itinerary to spotted it as well. The dates on my E-ticket read 28 Nov Fri to 28 Dec Mon (!!! – I know). On hindsight, thank God there was no promotional fare this time – the more expensive flexi-saver ticket I purchased allowed for a n0-fee flight change.
To help you understand the severity of the situation, on the line was 40kg of fish meat, a $919 SQ air ticket and another $90 paid for excess baggage. It was midnight and my sister (who kindly sent me to the airport) had already reached home. The current flight was fully booked and so were the next two flights at 7am and 10am. The frozen fish meat only had a lifespan of 10 hours without refrigeration.
To say I was panicking is an understatement. But a part of me really enjoyed the impending adventure. Suddenly I was captured in a cinematic moment. Strangely, I was at peace but also in a flurry.
Check-in for the flight closes at 12:35am. The plane takes off at 1:15am.
T-30 minutes @ 12:05am:
After confirming this major mistake, the check-in officer informed me that 12 people have not turned up for this flight. And there were already two passengers on the waiting list. I was third on the list. If nine passengers turned up, it’d be game over for Joey. My uncle and I dismissed paying for Business Class (DANG!) and were hoping for the no-show of these 12 people.
T-20 minutes @ 12:15am:
After putting down the phone with HY for the third time – I needed an anxiety-venting outlet – I was informed by the same officer that there were only 5 seats left. Calmly, he said, “Sir, maybe this is your lucky day”.
His colleague added, “But honestly Sir, based on my experience, I think your chances are really low.”
T-10 minutes @ 12:25am:
I told HY that I couldn’t be on the phone anymore because I was in such a state of peaceful flurry (!). I hung up, looked towards the counter and established eye contact with the same officer. He didn’t give me a thumbs up, but gestured “3” instead. I remembered the two already on the waiting list and my negotiations with God reached a new level of extraordinary wagers. I think I must have really tickled God.
D-day H-hour @ 12:35am:
“Sir, please proceed to the opposite counter to pay for your excess baggage after you check-in. Please watch your time as the gate closes at 1:05am. Have a good flight.”
This was the first time I was the last person on the plane. And this miracle really made me look forward to my short 3-day 2-night hiatus in Shanghai.
Tomorrow, find out why I got zero rest on the plane in Shanghai Tan Part 2 – Sleepless on SQ.