Recently, a Chelsea supporter reminded me of comments made by manager Jose Mourinho during the heat of the summer transfer saga involving the London club and Manchester United. With the media pumping out daily stories of Rooney’s imminent departure, and anticipation of a harsh reception during his first match back at Old Trafford, the striker turned in a man of the match performance against Chelsea. Instead of jeers, Rooney was roundly applauded and serenaded throughout the contest by United supporters.
Mourinho’s post match interview speaks volumes to how he and most managers view Manchester United: “This club must be a very special club because at every club in the world, when the player wants to leave they [the fans] don’t support him. When a player wants to leave, they give him a hard time — but [here] they support him all the way, so I think this is a real special club with special fans.”
The relationship between the manager, players and supporters at Manchester United is the model that most football clubs want to emulate. Those words will be argued against or simply disapproved of by non-United fans. But if you asked football experts, owners, managers and players if they would agree with that statement, the majority would answer, “Yes.”
The past few weeks in the Premier League have been a reminder how crazy the world of football has become. Two league managers were sacked and another is in the process of being run out of a club by his owner. Whether these decisions were right or wrong is a matter of opinion, but it’s safe to say more than a few people were scratching their heads when word of the news first broke.
As football fans, our hearts goes out to the supporters of each of those clubs. Knowing that your club’s manager is on the verge of being sacked, or has already been removed, is a difficult situation. Fans exhaust so much of their emotions and money into a club, only to stand by helpless while big decisions like these throw the team they love into turmoil.
This has not been the easiest of seasons for David Moyes and the players at Manchester United. The club had to endure Rooney’s rumored move away from the club, a poor transfer window, numerous injuries to key personnel and have seen their chances of retaining the Premier League title all but vanish as they head into the busy holiday period. The bright spot for the club is the fact that United have progressed into the Last 16 of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.