Out with the old, in with the new era
Here’s a positive slant after a dissapointing week of football. The last torch carriers of a famous era for the club, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville will soon stop signing one-year contract extensions like they have done many times in recent years. Whether you like it or not – change will come.
In what was an ultimately bitter victory against Bayern on Wednesday, we saw signs of this brand-new era. Those carriers of the torch were nowhere to be seen in the starting line up, instead the likes of Darron Gibson and Rafael were preferred. That gamble seemed to have paid off, with Gibson scoring early and Rafael playing with such promise that he had superbly kept Ribery out of the first half. Of course, the Brazilian was sent off in the second half – lacking the experience that the campaigner Neville possesses.
Scholes, Giggs and Neville have been great servants for the club but you sense their time is coming. Neville’s future, in particular, is in doubt with reports earlier this year suggesting this may well be his last season at Old Trafford. Injuries have blighted the careers of all three veterans and the competition is more fierce than it ever has been. Soon the iconic era that won the treble in 99′ will be gone.
There is much expectation at the club. And despite the inexperience and complacency shown in both legs against Munich, this current crop will come good. Once again, Sir Alex is looking to build another great era at the club. In Darren Fletcher, he has transformed him into a perfect central midfielder, the perfect replacement for Roy Keane. Darron Gibson, too, is another homegrown player full of promise. His goal in midweek proof that he is almost ready to step up and become a first team regular. In Valencia, a fantastic signing, he has brought someone who conjures up the most magnificent balls in the box. And Nani, too, has become somewhat of a revelation down those flanks.
Then there’s Wayne Rooney. The undisputed king of English football. No longer in the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney has become a national treasure after some truly blistering football this season. Once we wave goodbye to the great servants of our club, we shall welcome a new era that has plenty of talent and all indicators suggest that this may be another successful one. United’s hopes of more silverware may have been dashed this year, but this team will come good soon. This isn’t the end of Manchester United. No, this is the start of something new.