The last time Manchester United had a string of back-to-back, bad performances was back in 1996 (as far as this 27 year-old lifelong supporter can remember). They lost FOUR matches in a row during the October-November period: 0-5 against Newcastle, 3-6 (!!) against Southampton, and 1-2 against Chelsea. Before the Chelsea match, United had lost 1-2 at home against Fernerbache: ending the club’s 40 year unbeaten streak of never losing a European game at Old Trafford.
I remember those matches because it was so horrendously painful to watch as a kid. I still have the official Manchester United magazine 1996-1997 match result pullouts tucked somewhere in my cupboard. When was the last time you’ve ever seen Peter Schmeichel let in FIVE goals? How about SIX in the next following game?
I have given a lot of stick towards David Moyes for the past few months, mostly because of his refusal to play Shinji Kagawa in his best Central Attacking Midfield position behind the main striker. Guess what? Kagawa played in that exact position against Everton, and they still lost 0-1.
In the end, the lesson learned here is this: there is no “miracle solution”, no magic formula to play winning football. It comes from the combined efforts of everyone: all of the 11 players on the pitch (and the subs on the bench), the manager, and the support from the fans. If we win, we win together as a team. If we lose, we lose together as a team. Putting the blame squarely on Moyes isn’t really fair because he has almost the EXACT same players that Sir Alex had last season (with the new addition of Fellaini). If the players can’t perform, then they are equally at fault.
It’s a really bitter pill to swallow after being so used to seeing Man Utd winning title after title for the past 20 years or so. So this is what it feels like to support a team languishing in mid-table. I will still continue to support Man Utd because I have been doing so for over 20 years. They need my support now more than ever.
A friend once asked me to support Arsenal this season because of their amazing form so far. I find this to be one of the biggest insults you can receive as a football fan — asking me to turn my back on my loyalty and faithfulness towards my favourite team to support a rival? No. Absolutely not. That’s as good as being unfaithful to your partner.