Saturday, December 10, 2011

Europa League - Be Better, Not Bitter

The last time an English team won the Europa League was in 2001 - a time when the competition was known as UEFA Cup. It was the year when Liverpool completed a treble of cups most of us laughed off as the Mickey Mouse Treble; a commendable achievement nonetheless. It's basic common sense - forget winning 3 trophies; even 1 trophy is better than 0. Ask an Arsenal fan how it feels to be devoid of silverware of any kind for the last so many years. Recall their exuberance even against Birmingham in the Carling Cup Final and how they were shocked at not being able to overcome a team which eventually got relegated to the Championship. A trophy is a trophy - it's better to add to that cabinet than maintaining the status-quo. 

It's a bit daft that Europa League is looked down upon with disdain by quite a few teams in Europe. Let's not lose sight of the fact that there are only two trophies that UEFA offers to European clubs. In the recent past, European clubs with historical pedigrees have crashed out of the so-called minnow competition. Yes, even giants like Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Liverpool have failed to win it. This is what I don't understand. One should look down on a competition only if it's easy to win. If you're getting knocked out of a competition by the so-called smaller teams, then what exactly merits your arrogance? 

It represents nothing but a defeatist, bitter psyche. Feyenoord, Porto, Valencia, CSKA Moscow, Sevilla, Zenit St. Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Atletico Madrid are the teams that have lifted the trophy in the last decade. The only two English teams to have made it to the final during this period were Middlesbrough and Fulham - both of them lost to Spanish teams. It gave further credence to the theory that La Liga is a btter league than EPL. So, let's ask ourselves again - what merits the arrogance if EPL teams can't even win Europa League?

If Tottenham and Birmingham can manage to survive in the Europa League, they would be joined by the Big Boys contingent of United and City. Add Fulham and Stoke to the equation and we would be looking at a mini-EPL competition within the Europa League. This English group would be joined by teams like PSV, Sporting, Atletico Madrid, Besiktas, Braga, Schalke 04, Ajax, Valencia and current Europa League champions, Porto. I would call this anything but an easy ride. The Champions League going ahead to the knock-out stages this year consists of teams like Napoli, CSKA Moscow, Benfica, Basel, Lyon, Leverkeusen, Marseille, Nicosia and Zenit St. Petersburg - you wanna know what's common among these teams? They regularly feature in Europa League every year. Our disdain towards Europa League would only be merited if we win it.

Let's look at two basic questions. What's better - winning a competition we're in and adding the only trophy that's missing from our cabinet or not winning it all just 'cause we're arrogant enough to think that it's "beyond our stature"? 

Secondly, if we're so WICKED, how would you feel if after Basel, a team like Braga knocks us out of the competition? Would you feel thrilled at that prospect?

These calls by some United fans to field a weakened team in Europa League are daft. Sorry to break your balls, but all youse calling out for this are just LOSERS!! Manchester United competes in the European contests that we're playing in. We DO NOT give up. We DO NOT play to lose. We play to win competitions. That's what real winners do. We would emerge as REAL CHAMPIONS only if from here on, we give everything we have and win the league, FA Cup as well as Europa League and hence prove once again the kinda stuff that United is made of.

What if we had progressed to the knock-out stages? Does anyone have a guarantee that we would've qualified for the Quarter Finals? If we had lost during the next round, we would have been out of Europe completely. At least, right now, we have an additional trophy to compete for. 

Why do we feel embarrassed to be in Europa League? Let's not kid ourselves here. We're in Europa League 'cause we've consistently made tactical errors in Europe since 2007, to the extent that now we've become a predictable team. Other teams stifle us to defeat. Our team work is consistently sloppy and the lads have been letting the manager down on a regular basis. All these factors effectively translate into one fact - on the basis of recent performances, we DESERVE to be in Europa League. 

So, what's the appropriate way REAL CHAMPIONS would respond to this? Would it be to field weakened squads so that someone like Besiktas or Ajax can beat us and in history books, we get knocked out of n inferior competition by an inferior team? Does that even make any fuckin' sense? Wouldn't that be embarrassing? Get a fuckin' grip over yourselves. Get a reality check! The reality is that we ARE now in Europa League. I'd rather win it than get thrashed by a minnow just 'cause I was arrogant enough NOT to take it seriously. 

Lots of twats among our ranks are peeved by the fact that rival fans taunt them about Basel knocking United out of Champions League. Well, sample this - how would you feel when the same rivals taunt you about Sporting knocking you out of Europa League? Would that heal your pain? DAFT!!

I've read some appallingly disturbing comments by certain "United Fans" recently. Check out some of them:

"Let's play useless players like Berba, Owen, Carrick, Gibson and the cripple Rio in Europa League!!"


"Let's not play that cripple Rio - we may need him for the league games when other useful players are injured!!"


"Let's take this as a practice session by giving some game time to Diouf, Pogba and Ravel!!"

Are these knobs serious??

Are they even United fans?

Don't sound like Red Devils to me!!

Just analyze their psyche - players wearing the United badge are disrespectfully termed as "useless". Rio Ferdinand, one of the best defenders not only in United's history but in the history of the game itself is dismissed off as a "cripple". Europa League is a competition instituted by the same UEFA which instituted Champions League. If you win it, they give you a trophy. And err.. it's a trophy that we've never won. It is, in fact, the ONLY trophy we've never won. So idiots, this is NOT an opportunity for "practice sessions"; it's a serious competitive trophy that we should aim to lift in May 2012. Of course, it would be a bonus if Pogba and Ravel could play a part in helping the club achieve that goal.

The best response we can give in Europe would NOT be to back off like LOSERS and think we're too superior for Europa League. No competition is inferior in football. A trophy is a trophy. The best response would be to RUTHLESSLY CRUSH all opposing teams in Europa League. Only then would we be able to merit the saying that MANCHESTER UNITED ARE TOO GOOD FOR EUROPA LEAGUE!!

Imagine a Manchester United vs Manchester City Final in Bucharest. That alone is such a delicious prospect. Imagine the buzz it would create just around the time, should those two be the eventual finalists in Europa League.

NOT ARROGANT, JUST BETTER is a slogan we have cherished for so long now. Yet there are times that we need to reinforce it with our performances. Now is such a time. Let's not look down upon anything while we're on the down. Let's have the humility to accept the challenge facing us and let's CRUSH the teams that await us. Arrogance won't do it; humility will.

Let's NOT be like Liverpool, City or Arsenal.



  1. I am just left speechless. What we all true fans think has come out in the right words! RESPECT! WE AIN'T ARROGANT! WE AIN'T BITTER! WE ARE MAN UTD., JUST BETTER!!

  2. Brilliant Article as always . Described what United fans need to understand !

  3. hw do people say things like that about utd players thats jst wrong.