Red is the colour of champions

PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The Red Devils are dishing-out a hell of a performance at the moment and in truth for most of the current Barclays Premier League season they have been out-performing everyone.  English football has its knockers, and I’ll put my hand up and say I’m generally one of them, but Sir Alex Ferguson has consistently produced football excellence to be admired.

Competition amongst the top sides in England is probably stronger than ever.  Arsenal and Chelsea are still a threat to pip Manchester United to the post for the title but not likely.  Watching Man Utd destroy Aston Villa 4-0 over the weekend was enthralling to say the least and Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed his place at the pinnacle of EPL football talent this season, his spontaneous (and clever) back-heel for the opening goal sent shivers down my spine.  He’s got my vote for the Ballon d’Or.

Ronaldo has come of age at Man Utd.  His chemistry with Wayne Rooney is evident to the eye and on the scoreboard.  These two haven’t always had the best of relationships, Ronaldo’s part in Rooney’s send-off in the last FIFA World Cup, at one point produced speculation that the Portuguese was on his way out of Man Utd – isn’t that a distant memory?

Goal-scoring has not been a problem for Ferguson’s men this season.  Ronaldo has scored a league-leading 26 goals (at an average of one per game), Carlos Tevez has 12 and Rooney’s got 10 – that’s 48 goals coming from three players.  A great return on investment!  However, it’s the contribution of the whole team that has made this Club hot favourite for the title and to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy this season.

You just get the feeling that this side can go all the way.  They are peaking at the right time, unlike Arsenal who have lost serious ground, Chelsea who always look like they’ve got a chance but have never recovered psychologically from the loss of José Mourinho, and Liverpool who are their own worst enemy.  It’s got to be back-to-back for the Red Devils.  If they win the title, it will be Ryan Giggs’ tenth.  What an achievement in any sport: 10 times a champion.  Wow!

Ferguson is the creator of dreams, although he has his critics (it’s an English trait to knock those that are more successful than you) tall-poppies like Sir Alex are to be put on display and used as a reference point for excellent coaching and player management, he’s truly the league’s greatest ever gaffer.

He has re-built a side that can take on the world’s best.  Ferguson has been responsible for nurturing some of the best ever players to wear the red of Man Utd, the likes of Giggs, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Paul Scholes to name but a few.  He has earned the respect of many in the game, starting at the bottom and working his way up, but more importantly staying there, time and time again.

It’s difficult to find a weakness in this Man Utd side.  For all the money spent season-after-season in the transfer market, it has been the form of the settled players that has influenced the overall success of the team.  Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Scholes and Giggs have been putting-in the work which has rubbed-off on the others.  It’s true that new-comers, Nani and Anderson, have been key contributors here and there but the old guard’s experience under pressure has been the source of the Club’s rise to the top of the EPL ladder.

Old Trafford has been the stomping-ground of the greats for many years – Charlton, Law, Best, Cantona, Beckham, and Ronaldo and Rooney.  The ups and downs, the goals and saves, and the jubilation!  The fans have certainly been treated to some high-quality entertainment.  The Club has a trophy cabinet full of silverware.  It’s going to have to make room for some more if the current run of form continues.  Now’s the time to be a Man Utd fan!

I read an article recently titled, Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences April 2008 edition.  The researchers presented a strong-case that red is the colour of champions.  I’d also heard this coming-out of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Whether you believe it or not, the fact is, Man Utd wears red and has won more EPL titles than any other Club.  Interestingly, Arsenal and Liverpool also wear red and have been successful in domestic and European cups over many years.  I wonder whether Man Utd would have been as successful playing in blue, yellow or green.  The Blue Devils of Manchester, it just doesn’t sound right.

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