I am a proud die hard Manchester United fan. By die hard I don’t mean I watch every game, enter arguments or get THAT emotional when things go bad for the team. After all I am not getting paid like the players but I will support the team in good times and bad times. I guess you could call it a marraige.
I decided to become a Manchester United fan in 1999. It was a couple of days before the UEFA finals that year and there was a lot of talk in school about whether Manchester United would beat Bayern Munich.
People were taking sides and at that time I didn’t have a clue of what was going on or the history that the two teams had built for themselves.
I am not really a soccer person but it felt wrong to not be bothered about this game and the ticket to participate in the discussions, arguments or pride talks was to choose a side.
Manchester, I believe by the UEFA finals had already won the Premier League and the FA Cup and were in route to obtain the UEFA cup making it a treble. I on the other hand had no clue about this and did not utilize this as a reason to choose Manchester.
I only leaned in the direction of Bayern Munich for patriotic reasons or so I thought. Samuel Kuffour, was a Ghanaian defender on the Bayern Munich squad so my thoughts initially were in favor of Bayern.
I did not make a decision till the day of the match. My younger brother was a Manchester fan and I guess on the day I decided to trust in the colour red and trust in my brothers tastes. We had sibling rivalry like any other normal family and I didn’t think soccer would have been a good reason for us to fight. So I went with Manchester.
Bayern were the first to score that day and I remember asking myself in thought whether I had made the right decision. But I stuck to my red colour.
In the closing minutes of the match I did think of announcing my divorce from Manchester. After all, this was my first match as a fan. I felt the rules would permit me to leave as a fan and move to Bayern as long as the match is not over……..but I stuck with Manchester.
In extra time miracles occurred. In quick succession, two substitutes that came in before extra time delivered the saving goals that saw Manchester win the treble and saw me become a fan for life. Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were the substitute players who saved the day to the shock of the Bayern players and fans who believed they had won.
Fast forward almost 20 years later, Manchester find themselves in similar waters in the UEFA cup. Honestly, I didn’t watch the match between Manchester and PSG but followed the highlights. I wasn’t surprised by the performance of the club. Such optimism hasn’t been felt in Manchester for a while but when the manger leading the team on is no other than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, an individual who has seen the team persevere time and time and again and has a spirit of hope, anything is possible.
I won’t bore you by breaking down how Manchester we’re victorious that night but rather shift the tone of the conversation a bit.
Part of the reason why I am a Manchester United fan is because on and off the pitch the team has a never say die attitude that has seen it become the most valuable soccer team.
This is a team that almost went bankrupt; had a fair share of financial problems; had its stadium bombed during the world war and lost an entire football squad in a plane crash amongst other disappointments. That coupled with their battles on the field which sometimes prove difficult make them a team that gels with my spirit of optimism.
If you are going to be optimistic then you have to have unshifting faith. Had I at the last moment moved as a fan to Bayern Munich, I would not be able to revel in the joy celebrated in victory minutes later.
Sometimes we have fought or struggled towards a goal always believing that things will change; only to give up at the very minute that things were about to change for good.
The question is how do you know when that change is coming? My answer is you don’t. However, the benefits of hanging on to what you believe outweigh giving up. (If you’re fighting for a good thing)
Things may be bad for you and yes, it may seem as if you are destined for failure. Nevertheless, you have to believe in yourself and keep fighting on.
This is always easier in my opinion if you have Jesus with you. He always knows how to provide the right word or send a person your way to encourage you.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
So don’t give up. It’s easy to think that the successful are successful because they’ve always had it all but that’s not the case. Everyone started from somewhere including great Manchester United.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9
You too can accomplish the mission deemed impossible. As long as your intentions are pure and you are right with the Lord. It’s just cooler when you are a Manchester fan and more importantly believe in Jesus.
Keep it ONE HONDRED!