It is that time of the year when the Premier league table settles down and the top clubs start cementing their position in the top 4/5. The early bursts of good results by lower rung teams normally fizz out with the arrival of the holiday season. But that is certainly not the case this time round.
Everton, Newcastle, Southampton and Tottenham have been fearless , playing some delightful football.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City have dealt with this surge a bit better than Manchester United. A good record at home has ensured their steady march away from the pack of the ‘resurgent’ clubs. But United seem to be lost, searching for direction, a driving force to lead them away from this mess
So what is the reason for this sudden turn of events? The new Manager, the lack of form and creativity offered by the midfield or just plain misfortune.
David Moyes has been an easy target for the media as well as the fans. Both of them holding him responsible for United’s slump in form. It is not easy coming in and taking Sir Alex’s legacy forward, Moyes needs time to adjust, to make things happen at United in his very own way. He did make a few horrendous substitution calls at the start of the campaign but hasn’t done much wrong since. A combination of lack of penetration offered by the midfield and injury problems to RVP has led to United’s downfall. Also, the killer instinct seems to be missing. United just don’t appear to be threatening enough in the offensive third.
The form of the team affects the players but it is the fans who tend to be more vocal about it. Banners and Facebook statuses reading ‘Moyes Out’ have been flying out from the day United received a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of City. The Manager does play a huge role in influencing the way his players operate on the pitch, but if the players aren’t responding well to tricky situations then there is very little that the manager can do. In order to settle in, Moyes needs the players and the fans to back him. The players claim to do so but the fans are just not doing their duty. If you can’t support them when they are at their worst, don’t bask in their glory when they are at their best.
Fans play a huge role in the success story of a club. All fans undergo transformation over the years of supporting a club. You start of as a novice, a glory hunter. Some stay the same way throughout, others develop a connection with the club like no other. They look up the clubs history, stay up to watch the U19 games as well and wear their passion for the club on their sleeve. Never do they let any individual demean their club in any which way.
My journey as a United supporter started in 2003. The EPL had paved its way into the Indian subcontinent and had started to lure the cricket supporters away. And with it came the brand ‘Manchester United’. The club with a rich history, a great set of players, money to spend on bringing in big names and the game to win people over. And how well they did. Almost all my friends started supporting United and as I did not want to be any different, I did the same. Following the crowd? It is fine sometimes.
I slowly developed this innate passion for United and it just became a part of me. Supporting the club came from within. I grew. I matured and the fan inside me matured as well. The young me would get frustrated after petty losses and would abuse the team for not performing well. I would question the credibility of the team, the manager. I would almost never support my club during a tough period but come back roaring after a victory, glory hunter you see.
But then I realised that it takes a lot to be the best in the business. You can’t always win, you can’t always batter your opponents, sometimes you have to fight your way through. Playing badly and winning is a quality in itself.
I knew that there would be hard days, there would be petty loses but also that the club meant much more to me. It is family to me now. Those comebacks, those 1-0 away victories, the Champions league nights all that is United for me. It’s an inspiration. It’s love. I am not going to ask for sackings or abuse my players. I am going to keep my head up and support the club I love because that is what true fans do. And this is when I realised that I had transformed as a fan.
Yes, I am a worried fan at this stage because this is unfamiliar territory for us as well as the clubs that are beating us at home. It doesn’t happen that often. The game play is not as magical as it used to be. But I am sure about one thing that United won’t give up and that I won’t ever give up on my team. These are tough times and the club needs me. It needs every fan to stay by its side.
There is nothing to panic about because come March and we will be fine. See you at the top of the table 🙂