Last night (Monday) I sat down at five to eight to watch the Manchester United versus Aston Villa game, with the slight feeling that Villa might actually get something from the game.
By quarter past eight, all those feelings had gone and the Red Devils had wrapped up their record 20th title.
The game was filled with things to admire: great goals, good goalkeeping, a will to win, sportsmanship, atmosphere, but what I enjoyed seeing the most was Ryan Giggs’ name in the starting eleven, and still on the park at the end of the match.
The Welshman is now 39 years of age, and to still be playing at the top level of his sport, outlasting some players who are half his age is beyond me.
Most 39 year olds I know struggle to get out of their car seats. They’ve all given up with fitness and look just to live out the remainder of their days relaxing.
How he does it is amazing. To have played with the best team in the country for more than 20 seasons, winning the Premier League 13 times leaves me lost for words.
I make no mistake, when I leave out the word “arguably” in the previous sentence. Manchester United have destroyed all their opposition in the Premiership this season, and have deserved their championship.
Giggsy now has 25 medals with the club, and that is something I don’t think I’ll ever see again in my lifetime. We may never see someone accomplish this again.
Even at 39 years old, he still provided two passes for Robin Van Persie to score from.
Giggs and Van Persie celebrate Utd’s 20th league title
But where does the Welsh Wizard’s desire come from? Does he motivate himself to keep doing what he is doing? Does he simply just love playing this wonderful game?
It could be either of those. Personally, I think it stems from his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Scotsman is now 71 years of age, and just like Giggs, has been at the top level of English football for over 20 years.
When he joined the club following the sacking of Ron Atkinson in 1986, the Old Trafford side were four places from the bottom of the First Division, and had to motivate a group of players, which he felt, were underachieving.
Even though the impact of the former Aberdeen manager did not bring any silverware to the trophy room until 1990, with a League Cup win over Crystal Palace, the then 48 year old had already begun to turn the club around.
He made it his goal to break the dominance of Liverpool when he joined the club, and he did, dethroning them as the kings of English football two years ago, when the Reds of Manchester won their 19th League title.
Now, with their bitter rivals seemingly unable to challenge for the top prize in British football, he can only extend the record further.
Alex Ferguson celebrates winning the 1992-93 Premier League Title
The sad thing is, all this may never have happened had he moved to Arsenal in 1986.
He admitted himself that the Gunners wanted an immediate turn around and he couldn’t provide it, so several months after turning a move to North London down, he left the Dons to go to United.
After the heartache of losing the title on the last day of the season last year, Ferguson re-grouped over the summer, made arguably the signing of the summer and now his side have once again reigned supreme over all their rivals.
I do think that Manchester City will be back stronger next season, Chelsea and Arsenal could mount a stronger challenge too; but can I see past another title win for United? The simple answer is no.
What the Red Devils have done this season, is find the perfect balance between youth and experience.
Next season, his older players may lose a bit of skill or pace, but the younger ones will only get better.
We’ve seen the run the club’s gone on this season too, I think they have by far the strongest squad in the Division, and this is what has proven vital this season.
Of course, they have been helped by underperformances of many of their “Noisy Neighbour’s” players, but will it make a difference for next season? No, I don’t think so. I can only see United going from strength to strength, but anything is possible in football.