“THE CURSE OF THE BLUE MOON”
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 00:05
Manchester United has done it again. They had a lead in the Barclays Premier League standings, only to blow it all away on bad moves and horrible plays. Monday’s match against Manchester City showed that side of Manchester United again as the team dropped—well—did everything with the ball except score. It all sounds so familiar.
This is how Manchester United started the season. The team showed flashes of brilliance, capping it off with an 8-2 win at Arsenal. Then they played Manchester City. The score of that game was a 6-1 loss for Manchester United. The “Curse of the Blue Moon” had been put on the Red Devils. Then Manchester United fell out of the English League Cup, 2-1 to Second Division Crystal Palace F.C. and then looked absolutely languid as they fell out of the UEFA Champions’ League. Then they started to rebuild, losing only one match between Christmas and Monday, a 3-2 loss to Blackburn Rovers, now on the brink of relegation to the Second Division. They even found the strength to beat Manchester City, 3-2, on Jan. 8 in the Football Association Cup’s third round and looked to break the curse. Although they fell out of the FA Cup in the next round, losing to Liverpool F.C. 2-1, and the UEFA Europa League, they looked to be taking their 20th Barclays Premier League title. That was, until today.
There are only two sides to Manchester United; people love them or hate them. People feel that like the New York Yankees, Manchester United players are arrogant and only in it for the money. They see Manchester City as the phoenix rising from the ashes of losing to win. But, that is not the case.
It can be said, that, yes, Manchester City has reclaimed its place in greatness, claiming its first championship in 42 years by winning the FA Cup last year. Nevertheless, it can be said that the reason that they won is because they were able to entice players to play there with money. At this point, Manchester City fans are covering their ears and saying “No, not us.” However, it’s true. In 2008, the ruling family of Abu Dhabi bought the team and opened the checkbook for players like brothers Yaya and Kolo Touré, members of the Ivory Coast national team. In addition to the brothers Touré, the money has attracted others like Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez, who came to the team from—shocker—Manchester United.
And for fans to say that Manchester United has been winning everything they can get their hands since the dawn of time, that is completely untrue. They have had their share of hardships. The club teetered on the brink of extinction in the early 20th century until John Henry Davies, brewery magnate and moustache enthusiast (you think I am joking? Look him up) saved the team by putting in a cash influx to buy the best players. In 1958, the team was headed for the first UEFA European Cup (precursor to the UEFA Champions’ League) when eight players were killed after their plane crashed shortly after takeoff. A decade later, they claimed the European Cup in honor of their fallen comrades.
Five years after that, they were sent to the Second Division with what was called “the goal.” Former Manchester United player Denis “The King” Law, now playing for guess who—Manchester City—accidentally back-heeled the ball into the United net to relegate them. As he said later in an April 2010 interview with the Daily Mail, “I was inconsolable. I did not want to score the goal that sent United down.” Though United returned to the top flight a year later, the team had to fight internal strife until Sir Alex Ferguson’s arrival in 1986.
Even that took a long time. In 1992, 25 years since their last Premier League championship, the team were in the lead of the league table with two games to go, when they lost the last two games and the league title to Leeds United.
Now they are in the same situation. Earlier in the season, that shaman in soccer cleats, Paul Scholes, was tempted out of retirement to fix Manchester United’s problems. He came back, and they started winning again. Hopefully Paul Scholes can cast the same spell to cure “the curse” this time. If he can, he better do it fast, because if he doesn’t, the “Curse of the Blue Moon” will hang over Manchester, and the United fan base, until August.
Jack Cobourn is the assistant sports editor at The Review. Send questions, comments and five more minutes of Fergie time to firstname.lastname@example.org.