Recently, ESPN blogger Musa Okwonga posted an interesting take on which English Premier League team he, a United fan, would prefer to win the title. Specifically, the piece focused on the two title favourites – and United’s most passionate rivals – Manchester City and Liverpool.
His argument essentially matched old and new; the somewhat boorish manner of Manchester City’s ascendence – that many, if not most United fans hope to emulate in 2014-15 – against longstanding disdain for the other Reds and much of what they have long stood.
It’s a great article, and absolutely worth a read. However, I’m compelled to add my own brief spin.
For the length of time I’ve supported United, they’ve been managed by two men – one for nearly 97% of that time. That man, Sir Alex Ferguson, moulded the club into the single most successful entity of football’s modern era behind one simple goal: “To knock Liverpool off their f***ing perch”.
The reasons underlying his vehemence are still somewhat murky and may rest with an imagined slight dating back to his days with Aberdeen and Scotland, but it was fuel enough for Fergie. With his last league title – Manchester United’s twentieth and his thirteenth – Sir Alex Ferguson edged United to a safe margin and the most Championships in league history.
If it weren’t for Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United might have less than a handful of titles to show for the past thirty years. The expectation of excellence that took less than twelve months to evaporate may never have evolved. That “success gap” means the club would be almost certainly unrecognizable from the multinational behemoth it is today.
A Liverpool championship, as likely as it now seems, would be their nineteenth and right back near to the mountain’s apex and begin to (further) unravel everything that Alex Ferguson sought after. While the old enemy are playing the most irresistible football and at this point in the season absolutely deserve to win, having them win would counteract part of his legacy immediately upon his exit. It's a little demoralising to see nearly thirty years of his vocation equalled so quickly after his retirement.
For that reason – almost alone – I’d prefer a City title victory. And I feel dirty all over for saying it.