2014 has been a year of massive change and upheaval for United. We’ve had 3 managers, lost some of our most senior players, and generally been taken on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It’s been a year with some real moments of despair, but as 2014 draws to a close, the optimism for next year and beyond is palpable.
As we prepare for our last fixture of 2014 tomorrow against Spurs, let’s take a chance to reflect on the highs and lows of the last 12 months at Manchester United…
The Worst Man Utd Moments of 2014
Losing 0-3 to Liverpool at Old Trafford
Perhaps the lowest point of a comprehensively dismal season under Moyes, this horrendous defeat to our biggest rivals was pretty hard to take. We managed just ONE shot on target, at home, in the biggest game of the season. When you’re clinging to the fact that Gerrard didn’t score a hat-trick as some form of desperate consolation, you know things are bad.
Losing 0-3 to Man City at Old Trafford
The same depressing scoreline marked our home defeat to City in March, where we were disposed of “with almost embarrassing ease.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26624110). I think the ‘almost’ is being very generous indeed. Conceding a goal in the first minute of the game seemed totally symbolic of our hopelessness at that time, and Moyes’ decision to play Cleverley on the right wing was just bizarre. And who could forget his post-match assessment, where our manager said we need to aspire to be as good as City. These were the words of a man completely out of touch and out of his depth; his narrative of inferiority had to end.
Drawing 2-2 with Fulham at Old Trafford
81 crosses. 81 fucking crosses. Dan Burn hadn’t “headed that many balls since the Conference.” Einsten once said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” and we would have all been happy to see Moyesy sectioned after this woeful display.
Getting Knocked Out of the League Cup by Sunderland
Losing to Sunderland on penalties at Old Trafford in January was another brutal dose of post-Fergie reality. Even at this stage of the season, there was an eery predictability about our Capital One Cup exit, and with it, United’s chances of any silverware all but disappeared.
Losing 2-0 to Everton at Goodison
By this point in April, there was an air of grim inevitability about the result. This defeat officially ended our chances of Champions League qualification, and the fact that Everton did the double over us for the first time in 44 years, against their own former manager, was just too much. There was no way Moyes could continue after this, and fans were left feeling empty and numb.
The Best Man Utd Moments of 2014
Evra’s Goal Against Bayern
22 seconds of pure, euphoric bliss – Evra’s stunning strike against Bayern in the Champions League quarter final was a rare moment of joy amidst a season of despair. The celebrations were quickly silenced by Madzukic’s equaliser, but for a few seconds, we all felt the thrill of watching United again. Bittersweet as it may be, this was without doubt the highlight of 2014.
Beating Olympiacos 3-0
On our way to the quarter finals, we dispatched Olympiacos convincingly at home to overturn a two-goal deficit and beat the Greeks 3-2 on aggregate. It felt like maybe we’d turned a corner. Van Persie scored a hat-trick, and De Gea was a total beast. With players like that in the side, we could match anyone on our day, right? Maybe not, but it was a really positive moment and showed we hadn’t completely lost our fight.
Ryan Giggs Leading Out the Team
There was something surreal yet magical about seeing Giggs as Man Utd manager, leading out the team in his perfectly fitting suit, accompanied by Scholes, Butt and Neville in the dugout. His decision to give James Wilson and Tom Lawrence their debuts was brilliantly vindicated with a 3-1 victory and two goals for our young number 49. This was the moment we began to feel some hope for the future again.
Signing Di Maria
Signing Angel Di Maria for a British record fee of £59.7 million was a powerful statement of intent and a massive relief as we approached the end of a worryingly quiet transfer window. Yes, we needed a strong centre-back and a midfield enforcer, but this was a world-class player with a fantastic record for Real Madrid and Argentina; an elite attacking talent who could only improve our team. This was the moment we really started getting excited about the 2014/15 season, and we hadn’t even signed Falcao yet. After deadline day, we were able to reflect on six major signings and a totally new-look team.
Beating Liverpool 3-0 at Old Trafford
The final high of 2014 has to be our recent 3-0 win against Liverpool – a welcome contrast to last season’s home defeat. We may have ridden our luck, with yet another immense performance from De Gea, but we worked hard, and you don’t win six games in a row by chance. After Liverpool came so close to winning the title last year (before some epic end-of-season slippage), it’s great to see our arch enemies struggling again and to get some much-needed revenge. As the curtains come down on this most transitional of years, this is a result we can savour.
I hope you enjoyed our round-up of 2014, and big thanks to everyone over at r/reddevils for their comments on the year’s highs and lows.
From all the Manchester La La La team, happy New Year, and here’s to an epic 2015…