Congratulations, then, to Manchester City.
I write those words a week later than I was expecting to and, boy, what a difference a week makes.
City have anti-climactically ended up being crowned in absentia which, as we experienced champions know, is by far the least appealing place to win it. A 100% total contrast to what they had planned for eight days earlier, which would have allowed them to witness rubbing Red noses in it in person.
There were certainly red faces at Old Trafford, yesterday, mind. Ordinarily, I would now start jumping up and down here for several hundred words, ranting about the embarrassment of United’s shockingly inept and half-arsed display against the division’s bottom team. But just like the United team yesterday, I can’t be bothered.
Partly, perhaps, this might be because of the extensive credit they collectively banked a week earlier in defying the Wastelands lynch mob; partly it may be because of the warming afterglow of City being knocked out of Europe, which not even yesterday’s swamp of cold sick could chill.
Besides, fortunately, United have a chance to make almost immediate amends against Bournemouth the day after tomorrow, after which we may be able to look back on the West Brom abomination as the one-off car-crash we all hope it was.
Tempting though it is to treat it as a symbol of something we have all muttered about this season - Mourinho included: players appearing to be unable to apply consistent commitment and a good attitude.
City completing the formalities, and the yawning points gap between United and Chelsea, means many of us now look on the league season as all but done. Even yesterday’s shower of slackers ought to be able to rouse themselves to garner the few points needed to formalise our top four spot.
Instead, most of our focus now shifts to two trophies, starting next weekend at Wembley. The one we can win (the FA Cup) and the one we pray Liverpool don’t (the Champions League).
It’s a telling pub test for your Red mates; ask them whether they’d surrender the former if God promised to ensure Pool don’t win the latter. Then watch them hesitate before they reply. Ouch.
No matter what happens to Liverpool and United’s challenges , we must remind ourselves that the worst possible outcome has been averted. The world will not be Putin’s, and Europe will not be City’s.
Yes, this is all very small-time sentiment (not to mention tasteless) but one can’t help feeling like one of the Ugly Sisters at the moment. Watching Liverpool and City’s stylish attacking play dancing them towards trophies can be a sobering experience for Reds brought up on Busby, Docherty or Ferguson.
Last weekend’s brief burst of heroics apart, we have been starved of anything approaching glory this season. And if we don’t win the FA Cup, we will also be potless. The summer will then see us watching on jealously while plutocratic City outspend us on various World Cup stars. Quite possibly whilst also having to hide from anyone with a scouse accent and a Ukrainian tan.
Not a very appetising prospect, is it? *Sigh*. Where are those nukes when you need them?”
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