As the dust settles on another season at Manchester United and before I go and renew my season ticket at Old Trafford for another year, I thought I would quickly run through my highs and lows of the 2014/15 season with the red devils.
Doing the double over the old enemy Liverpool has to be up there as a highlight. Stuffing them 3-0 at Old Trafford in December was very satisfying especially after they lauded it up at the Theatre of Dreams and stuffed us the year before. How they rubbed our noses in the fact David Moyes was clearly not a football genius. Then to go to Anfield just as Liverpool were on a great unbeaten run since that defeat in December with the race for a champions league spot heating up and dominating the game for the first half, out foxing them and to see a Gerrard clearly wound up by the stick he got off the United fans in the first half warming up and getting sent off after seconds into his last game against us was pure delight.
After dominating City for decades at Old Trafford but suddenly seeing them win three years in a row in our back yard, it was pleasing to see a United side finally up for the fight against the blues. A totally dominant performance and a convincing victory was only slightly soured by the fact all the City fans at work went into hiding and did not want to discuss the game the next day!
That period in March and early April where we won six straight games and played some great stuff was pleasing with a superb performance to blow Spurs away 3-0 as well as the already mentioned wins over Liverpool and City, but despite the great record we achieved under Louis Van Gaal against the top sides, this leads me onto the lows.
Against the so called lesser sides like West Brom, Leicester and Swansea we have struggled. I remember walking into work that Sunday the reds were away at Leicester hearing we were 3-1 up thinking we should finish the job now only to hear goal after goal go in and we finally got stuffed 5-3 much to the amusement of anyone not a red. That took a while to get over. If fact the first few months were a roller coaster with poor results mixed in with the odd win and a poor Christmas when we just looked to have turned the corner. One thing I have noticed is to leave the world of Twitter well alone when United lose. Throughout the season, the reaction changed like the wind depending on results. If the side are on a good run, all is rosy and Van Gaal is a messiah, yet should the reds lose then its all doom and gloom, I am so glad Twitter was not around during Big Ron`s reign in the 1980`s!!
Whilst it has been well documented that Di Maria and Falcao have struggled to look anything like the players they are capable of being, it has been a shame that the likes of Shaw and Rojo have had injury hit seasons, but I do like Blind wherever he has played.
The revival of Ashley Young is nothing short of a miracle, clearly the player has knuckled down but I suspect the biggest reason will have been Van Gaal who must have put an arm around the player and boosted the lads confidence.
Robin Van Persie I am afraid maybe a one season wonder. He single headedly won us the title a few years back, but he lacks mobility and I suspect all those injuries through his career are catching up with him. His 94th minute equaliser against Chelsea at Old Trafford was celebrated by us all in the Stretford End like Ole`s winner in the Nou Camp in 99 but I do feel it may be time to say goodbye to RVP.
The atmosphere at Old Trafford has improved although it is far from rocking week in week out, but with the old J stand now becoming a singing section with fans allowed to bring in all sorts of flags and banners, it has improved things. Whether no longer winning everything in sight has brought out more of a response from the support, like the superb singing at the end of games last year against Liverpool and City despite getting hammered on the pitch who knows? The away support has always been top class, numbers have travelled to all corners of Europe but the atmosphere within the away support has been readily acknowledge by the United players on social media. The noise generated has put many home supporters to shame and those lads and lasses who have travelled all over and created one hell of an atmosphere at away grounds up and down the country need applauding.
Alas we have to put up now with the endless transfer speculation which means every new day, United are linked with another player. Hopefully the clubs business will be done swiftly and that includes moving out the rest of the dead wood so we can look forward to a new season. Louis Van Gaal for me was always the right man for the job, having watched him recently entertain us with some very strong press conferences and evening speeches I really do think United under his helm will be one to relish.