One evening in 1999, my brothers and their friends were watching a football match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. I knew nothing about football and even till now, I have never sat through the whole 90 minutes of any football match involving whoever. I always ask for the scoreline and that is always enough for me.
For this match, yes I didn’t watch but I remember one of my brothers and two friends were all against Manchester United. Bayern had scored earlier on and the teasing was so high. My other brother who supported Manchester United kept his cool. Maybe he knew they could win, or better still, if they should lose, he would have argued from different angles like almost every Manchester United supporter is becoming known for. They are proud losers.
That night, in extra time I think, Manchester scored two goals in two minutes. The joy of my Manchester United supporting brother was so high it nullified the against of the three others. That night, Manchester United fascinated me, but I didn’t love them as much.
Years on, as I heard news item after news item talking about teams sacking their coaches for whatever reason, I realized Manchester United still maintained The Sir Alex Furgusson. There was a particular time when a sports panel on a local radio had one panelist talking so bitterly against Sir Furgusson and how old he is and how he should take a bow and how the Team should make him take a bow. (let me just add that anytime such commentaries go on on local media, I wonder what the impact will be. There are local clubs who can hear your sentiments, whom you can impress to change A, B or C yet they still talk at length about European teams and what they think can be done to make the teams better. Do these Europeans ever hear you? When mention is made of Zamalek, I bet most people the world over will know where the team is from. When mention is made of Berekum Chelsea, I always feel like bowing my head in shame. Cant we be original in our naming? Do we have Chelsea in Ghana? Is Berekum not a city enough for the team to carry the name alone and so proudly? Yet our sport panelists will rather talk about issues in Arsenal and Real Madrid with so much zeal as if they will ever make an impact! Whew!!! Who talks about such shamefully named Ghanaian football teams elsewhere in the world?
Now back to Manchester United. . . Over the years, I have come to appreciate the team a whole lot. This is solely because they have used one coach for a long time through their wins and losses. When he falls, they maintain him. When he wins, they celebrate him. I look at that and relate to life and realize that when all hope is gone for someone, they don’t throw their life away. They find hope in themselves, enough to keep on. When they breakthrough, they celebrate. Life is not always rosy yet we stick to ourselves and our hope. This is why I love Manchester United. I feel the Team is treating the coach just as most people treat their lives. In this vein I must add that I always feel sorry for those teams who sack their coaches because of a single loss.