Let's all drink to Giggsy
There are many times when it strikes me just how lucky I am to do the job that I do.
That thought entered my mind when I was allowed the privilege of going into the United dressing room at Ewood Park to witness some of the squad’s post-match celebrations. Our MUTV cameramen got totally drenched in champagne!
It was a treat to witness the explosion of joy on the faces of the players after a long season of countless ups and downs. The highlight for me was when Ryan Giggs rather belatedly joined the party after doing a raft of interviews on the pitch. His arrival heralded the rest of the squad all launching into a lusty version of, “he’s won it 12 times, that boy Giggsy, he’s won it 12 times”. Even the boss was joining in with that one. It was great to see just how much the players respect the legendary winger’s achievements. 12 Premier League winners' medals – that’s a record that will surely never be eclipsed.
It was also a great moment when Sir Bobby Charlton came into the dressing to congratulate the boss. Sir Bobby played a role in bringing Sir Alex to the club 25 years ago but surely even he must be staggered at the manager’s achievements. A few minutes later, I interviewed the boss for MUTV and he was already looking to the future – this is what marks him out from the rest. There was very little dwelling on the success – all the talk was about improving next season and bringing in two or three new players. Any thoughts of retirement seem laughable.
Winning a title leads to a raft of reflections on the season and the key games. Sensational, trademark comebacks at West Ham and Blackpool stick in the mind. But I would point to two other key games: Chicharito’s late headed winner to overcome a steadfast Everton in late April was pivotal. At that point, United were stuttering a bit – they’d lost the FA Cup semi-final and spluttered at Newcastle – more dropped points would have led to many fans fearing the worst. The relief when the young Mexican scored with an adroit header was palpable.
But the key game of the season for me was back in November at Villa Park. With 10 minutes to go, United were trailing 2-0 and getting absolutely swamped by a rampant home team. Somehow United turned it round to grab a point and even came close to winning the game. That showed the determination and team spirit required to win a title was still very much part of the United squad. That same weekend Chelsea were thrashed at home by Sunderland and lost their air of invincibility at Stamford Bridge.
Now we can all look forward to Wembley and a thrilling way to end the season. A fourth title in five seasons and a third Champions League Final in four years - not bad for a side that supposedly pales in comparison to some of the ones that have gone before it!