Contributed by: Mike Awoyinfa
Enterprising journalist and author of best-selling books in journalism practice and biographies, he was a founding editor of defunct Weekend Concord and founding Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers, where he also handles a weekly column known as Press Clips.
On a Tuesday night, I sat with pity, shock, anger, disbelief, mouth agape watching in agony as the monumental soccer skyscraper and big global brand, Manchester United, were reduced to rubbles by the rampaging army in blue.
In less than a minute, 44 seconds to be precise, Manchester City Football Club, through their deadly marksman, Edin Dzeko, had rushed in an early lead, sending out a strong message: we have come to fight, we have come to beat you on your soil.
In the 55th minute, Dzeko increased the tally to close the game. And in the 89th minute, the phenomenal Yaya Toure, Globacom’s Africa’s Footballer of the Year tripledUnited’s calamity. It could have been worse, but for God. It could have been four, five, six goals, but Jehovah intervened. And it was all happening at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. Suddenly, the “theatre of dreams” had transformed into a “theatre of nightmares.”
Suddenly, Man City had metamorphosed into a Goliath inflicting menace over the Israelites led by a certain David, the son of Moyes, the Chosen One, whose head was anointed with oil by his kinsman, the great Alex Ferguson. Now, you can see tribalism is destructive everywhere. You can see how the fate of a great club was passed down from one great Scottish coach to a mediocre one. A great leader is known by how he chooses his successor.
Oh, how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in streets of Ashkelon lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice. How will the legendary Alex Ferguson be feeling now seeing the disintegration of a team he built? How will he feel now as he watched this absurdity, this humiliation, this torture of watching ‘Man U’, a team he built and nurtured as true champions?
Now, this Man U was unrecognizable. This was a team of impostors in the red shirts of Man U. This was a team that had lost its confidence, its self-belief, its all-conquering spirit, its never-say-die mentality. What we saw today was a shell of the old team, the old building now gutted by fire. Against Man City, their old neighbours and perennial foes, they were clearly the underdogs. Underdogs whose tails were now between their legs. Underdogs who were not at the same level with Man City.
Although a Chelsea fan, I really felt like crying. Crying for Man U.A team that had fallen apart and was no longer at ease. From the mountain top, the team kept tumbling and tumbling. In the words of a friend who joked, “the way Man U are going down, down, down, they would soon discover oil.”
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