Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece asking United fans to chin up. We had just been through the most devastating loss of the season to the most hated rivals we have.
A year on, this time, the loss just suffered is probably worse. We are no longer masters of our own destiny, in the league at least, and have to pray for good fortune.
The referee and his linesmen played a part, just like the game at the Bridge. United were screwed again. The emotions rage again.
The message, too, doesn’t change. This is not over. Not till it’s over. Sir Alex Ferguson will be willing on his players to go till the death, and that is what the fans should be telling each other.
Too much has been said in too short a time; that the season is over, that we have to look to next season.
Stop, take a step back, and let the facts sink in.
The fixtures list is hard for Chelsea, harder than for United here on in. White Hart Lane and Anfield are not guaranteed results, and the smell of the fourth spot will spur both teams to go for the kill. A stumble by Chelsea and United have to be ready to pounce, there is no doubt about that.
For that to happen, United have to keep winning their fixtures, and that is something United dare not give up doing. Alex Ferguson will do everything he can to make sure this happens, but the supporters need to get behind the team. There is such a thing called too much negativity, and two points off the top of the table does not mean “end of the season.” Just look over your shoulders to the Liverpool faithful. Would they call second place their end of season? Thought so. Whatever the end result of this season, United can be proud of their achievements.
One cup already in the bad, a European Quarter-Final from which the team has every chance of progressing to the next round, and two points off the top with five games to go is a great place to be for a team which had its entire defence blown to bits right at the start of the season, and played over half the games without a semblance of stability.
Of course, there is also the murmur that United are a one man team. Which is what Man Utd. were when Cristiano Ronaldo was at Old Trafford. When Ruud van Nistelrooy plied his trade at the Theatre of Dreams.
Of course, let us all quickly forget the four games that United have won without Wayne Rooney in the league this season. That is far tougher a phenomenon to explain, so we shall stick to the one-man-team hypothesis.
This is not a time for Old Trafford to mourn. This is a time for the legions upon legions of the Red Faithful to galvanise into one entity, to spur this team on to play the best it can.
Yes there is little fans can do when the players on the pitch have an off day, but it’s time to make sure that we are left in no doubt about the value of this team and what we have done this season.