Today I watched on the Fox Soccer Channel as Manchester United celebrated their 9th Premiership championship in front of their home fans at Old Trafford. They lost today to West Ham United, 1-0, but after the match they celebrated the title they won last weekend when Chelsea drew with Arsenal to make Man U England's champions. (West Ham at the same time pulled off a miracle escape, winning four of their final road matches to avoid relegation.)
After the match, they celebrated the championship with their fans, and they had a trophy presentation celebration. It's always cool to share it with your loyal fans in that way.
But as I was watching it, I couldn't help but think that Manchester United was "The Yankees of England." You may recall that a few years ago, United signed a cross marketing deal with the Yankees to promote the other team in their respective countries. I never had any hatred for Man U until then. That all changed when I heard that deal was done. Anyone who makes a deal with the Evil Empire doesn't get my support.
Manchester United had a terrific season in 2006-07 and deserved to win the championship. They jumped out to a fast start last fall, and left Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in the dust. The combo upfront of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the league and led United to glory this season. You either love them or hate them, but Man U was the best.
The Yankees comparison really hit me when I saw a fan holding up a banner after the match that said, "Fergie 9, Liverpool 0," that in reference to Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured here with a previous championship trophy) winning his 9th Premiership title as manager, and the fact that Liverpool have not won a league title since 1990. Congrats on winning the title, but who will be playing for the European Champions League title in 10 days?
Just like Yankee fans, I guess the United fans just couldn't help but rub it in a little.
Bring home the championship to Merseyside on May 23rd, guys. It would be the second in third years. GO LIVERPOOL!!!