Now that it is the off season, I have the time to be able to look back on the wonderful history of United. In this Nostalgia Series, I and guest writers will be recapping the memories of the seasons in which SAF secured the a title and take a look back on some of the moments we may well have forgotten. We’ll have a re-run of the coveted 1999 Champions League including what can stand as the greatest campaign for the winners ever and the indomitable 2009/10 season that saw Ronaldo score 43 goals for the Red Devils. For the first piece, Benedetta Ruggeri aka DevilsQueen from RedCafe will be taking a look back over the 2006/7 season, so thanks very much Benedetta for taking the time to write a piece.
The summer of 2006 for United was full of questions. Would Rooney and Ronaldo be able to seal the rift created between them after the infamous wink that took place during a World Cup game between England and Portugal that saw Rooney sent off for the incident. The irreplaceable Ruud Van Nistelrooy was also sold to Real Madrid in the summer so how would United be able to replace the goals that the stalwart striker always brought to the team? This season also marked the first for Michael Carrick after he moved from White Hart Lane, a move from SAF which aimed to fill the void left by Roy Keane who had left the club during the 2005/2006 season, something which no doubt contributed to United being pipped to the title by Chelsea for the second time in a row. Alongside Michael Carrick, Ferguson also brought in the relatively inexperienced duo of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, in an attempt to boost the squad, preparing for a season that would be hallmarked by the end of it.
Looking over the entire season would provide a laborious read so we will take 3 matches that can perfectly summarise what the Premier League season was and how United achieved their 16th English League title in the season. The first game of the season, a home fixture against Fulham, couldn’t have started the story any better.
The team did not disappoint Ferguson’s expectations.In front of 75115 fans, United trashed Fulham with a 5-1 perfect win. With 3 goals in the first 15 minutes, the team showed the rest of the league just how they would seamlessly combine the old and new faces in a changed United side that looked more dangerous than ever. It also looked like it didn’t take long for Ronaldo and Rooney to bridge the gap created during the summer, something which proved to be a great relief to the fans.
The second match is the late win against Liverppol at Anfield courtesy of John ‘Handyman’ O’Shea. It was in March when John stepped up to slam home the 93rd minute winner at Anfield. Nothing is sweeter than a late and dramatic winner and to do it against Liverpool at Anfield was and is a special memory still today, poignant as ever. O’Shea was later quoted as saying ‘The 90th minute at Anfield in front of the Kop, Gary Neville just told me that was his dream and I’ve just gone and done it. Not bad for a player who had once been called a Liverpool fan by the opposition.
The third match, chosen for its sheer resilience, was the comeback against Everton. The stuff of champions from United saw us emerge 4-2 victors at Goodison Park in April. The match was the Premier League game in between the Champions League semi-finals against AC Milan, the home leg that saw us win 3-2 and the away fixture in Italy that saw us lose and crash out of the tournament. Skip to 2.45 in the video.
The first half was horrible for United as we went in 2-0 down but in typical United fashion, we never lay down. An opportunistic goal from O’Shea after a keeper fumble and a scramble in the box saw United rip-roar back into contention and a couple of individual moments from Rooney and Eagles completed the comeback. The win all but secured the Premier League title for United and allowed us to travel to Stamford Bridge two weeks later and receive the coveted Guard of Honour in the home of the enemy. Could anything be sweeter?
This season was particularly special for United as it marked an end to the domination that had seen Chelsea retain the title for the past 2 years. Questionable doubt was placed over the head of United thanks to summer controversy and the introduction of a lot of new players but SAF once again pulled the rabbit out of the hat as the team bonded on the pitch immediately, allowing for United to secure another Premier League title. This title provided the catalyst that United had been looking for and we subsequently won the Premier League title back-to-back for the next 2 seasons, putting Chelsea firmly back into the passenger seat.