Good­bye, Man U, thanks for the me­mories

Jamaica Gleaner - - LAWS OF EVE - Link me at daviot.kelly@glean­erjm.com.

IF YOU know me and this lit­tle piece of the uni­verse I re­side in, you know that I’ve ex­pressed de­vo­tion to one par­tic­u­lar foot­ball team.

I started fol­low­ing Manchester United ba­si­cally af­ter the 1994 FA Cup fi­nal where, bat­tered and bruised in the first half against Chelsea, United stood firm and ran out 4-0 win­ners. That kind of tenac­ity and the abil­ity to over­come ad­ver­sity (trust me, Chelsea was by far the bet­ter team in the first half) made me a United fan. I didn’t watch much foot­ball out­side of Ja­maica at that time (I was about 22 years younger and about 150 pounds lighter). I never re­ally had a team, so I be­came a Red Devil.

We’ve been through much, me and Man U. Plenty of league ti­tles, a cou­ple of League Cups, a few FA Cups, and two Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles, in­clud­ing the ‘Mir­a­cle Against Mu­nich’ (two goals in stop­page time to beat Bay­ern Mu­nich). But we’ve had our dis­ap­point­ments. Fin­ish­ing sev­enth in the league, get­ting ham­mered 6-1 at home by Manchester City, los­ing the league ti­tle in the fi­nal sec­onds to the same team, and los­ing the ti­tle on the fi­nal day to Black­burn in 1995. There were some heart­break­ing Cham­pi­ons League losses, too. But I’ve al­ways stayed put. And it’s been fun.

I say ‘been’ fun be­cause I’m done with United. Fin­ish! Lef’ dem! No an­i­mos­ity or any­thing like that. It’s just that I see the team and, by ex­ten­sion, world foot­ball, head­ing in a di­rec­tion I don’t like. Been head­ing that way for a while. It’s all about peo­ple with big money but zero foot­ball sense and team man­agers who think they’re big­ger stars than the play­ers they guide. Manchester United was a team I al­ways thought was above that. We grew tal­ent, we didn’t buy it. We de­vel­oped play­ers, rather than fo­cus on jersey sales. I’ve been feel­ing a lit­tle queasy over the years, but the past two sum­mers have con­vinced me, with all the money spent fool­ishly.

CLUB NOW A COR­PO­RA­TION

The Glazer fam­ily has come in and turned the club ba­si­cally into a cor­po­ra­tion (I guess pro­fes­sional teams are, but you get what I mean). I knew things were turn­ing dark like Anakin Sky­walker mor­ph­ing into Darth Vader in Star Wars. To top it off, José Mour­inho, ar­guably the big­gest ego­ma­niac not named Don­ald Trump, was named man­ager. Like Bels­haz­zar in the book of Daniel, I saw the writ­ing on the wall. So af­ter the third game of this sea­son (a game United WON against Hull City) I called it a day. There were hard times with man­agers David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. So the ship has kinda lev­elled off. For now. So I de­cided I’m leav­ing BE­FORE the sink­ing starts for good!

I said I would sup­port Stoke City for now. But I’m not even re­ally do­ing that. Nice team, nice town, long his­tory. But I’ll just hope they don’t get rel­e­gated. But that’s it. Now I’m just watch­ing foot­ball for fun. And hope my beau­ti­ful game stays just that, cor­po­rate in­flu­ence aside. Later.

KELLY

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