It’s been another year of highs and lows for Manchester United in 2013 so with the year in retrospect, here are some resolutions for 2014.
Keep your word
Sir Alex Ferguson addressed the fans at Old Trafford upon his retirement and reminded the fans that they gave him time to make it work with United and he pleaded for the same patience and faith to be paid on to his successor.
This unofficial promise is one that may not sit easy with United fans who have seen a difficult and disappointing start to the season under David Moyes and who may be concerned about whether he is the right appointment but we must remember who chose him – Ferguson rarely got a big decision wrong and United fans must now trust he chose well. Honour the legendary manager with keeping that faith in his choice.
Look to the future
With that in mind, look forwards, not backwards. It’s easy (and lazy) to say Moyes isn’t up to the job given that the Red Devils have had a tough start and don’t look like the champions they were just months ago but, even though it’s hard in such a reactionary and short-sighted industry as football to be objective and see the bigger picture, try to imagine what the future holds.
Moyes is a very good manager and he knows how to build teams and sustain top-level performance – he is still learning and growing into his new role under an immense amount of pressure and scrutiny but he’s handling it well, considering. He will bring in new players over the next few years, he will shape and re-shape and refine a team but that will take time.
Support through thick and thin
Of course it’s fun to support your team when they’re winning! It’s a joy to watch attractive attacking football and a team well-gelled and well-drilled win title after title for decades on end but don’t be glory hunters – support Manchester United whatever the weather. That’s what it means to support.
If you're around my age and you support Manchester United even though you've never been to Manchester just like the stereotype there's nothing wrong with that because it's irrelevant if you support the team - it's only upholding that stereotype and reinforcing it if you suddenly can't be bothered to sing because the team's not winning. Some fans support rubbish teams and they follow all over the world watching them lose - that's what it means to be a supporter.
Cheer them on even when they play poorly – the fans’ support gives the team and the players and the manager confidence and they need the fans now more than ever. It’s always the way that find out who your real mates are when you’re down on you luck and need some help so cheer louder now than you did when they won the title and they’ll repay the faith back in time. It’s a period of change – roll with the punches.
Under times of pressure and stress and confusion and discontent, fans often turn on each other, on the players and on the manager out of despair, but posting on Twitter about how rubbish Marouane Fellaini is isn’t going to make him perform any better is it?
It says a lot that one of the most viewed articles I’ve had on United this term has been one listing potential replacement managers for Moyes if the unthinkable happened – it says Manchester United on the badge and that ought to be extended to everyone; every fan, every player and every employee, including the manager and his signings. Stick together in 2014.
image: © Paolo Camera