The Times, retaining the European Cup and the end of Neville?

So, four months after we commented on the fact that no team have retained the European Cup since AC Milan in 1990 and how United could well be the first side to achieve this feat in the Champions League as we know it. Well to be fair, Martin Samuel did comment on this three days later – maybe he read our article?


Of course the European Cup winners is common knowledge and it doesn’t take a random blogger to state the fact but the fact of the matter is that no team has ever retained the Champions League whereas winning back to back European Cups hasn’t been achieved in nearly two decades. Long gone are the days of when a side could win three European Cups (Bayern Munich and Ajax in the early to mid 70’s) or even further back the five that Real Madrid won in the late 50’s. However, this United side can go on to retain the European Cup and give Fergie that European Cup that Clough used to mock him over.

‘Roy, you’ll never meet a better manager than me, promise you that’

So AC Milan, Ajax and Juventus all got to the European Cup final in 94,95 and then 96 having won the title the previous season. This would be the closest any side have gone to retain the trohpy in the Champions League format as we know it. However, since the addition of four teams in the tournament, the stats grim for the previous winners. If we go on the past four winners, we’ll be out in the next round! Although, as we all know – stats aren’t everything, 47% of people know that.

The Times also commented on Neville fearing that his days are numbered. Unfortunately, I probably would have to agree with him although only in terms of being our first choice right back. Yolkie commented in the forum earlier in the day about Fergie stating Neville was outstanding against Blackburn in the Carling Cup, something that although shows immense support for our skipper is completely inaccurate.

The emergence of Rafael Da Silva has been outstanding. Highlighted by World Soccer magazine last season as being one of the top talents in World Football – Da Silva has shown us why United brought him from Fluminense at the age of 15. Obviously, every red is awaiting the introduction of Fabio later in the season but Rafael has done wonders since his debut against Newcastle United at the start of the season. However, the boy has a lot to learn to add to his astounding natural ability. His goal against Arsenal was breathtaking – you can’t teach that but you need to gain valuable experience to play at the top level for a number of years – experience Neville has in abundance. Neville’s days aren’t over yet, but since his injury in March 2007, he has had to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer our first choice right back.

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