The 2011/2012 season of the English premiership ended last Sunday and I wait to read the account of our own dear ‘Prophet’ Mike Awoyinfa on that crazy day that had everything: Excitement, suspense, drama, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, regrets and much more.
It was a day the Blues of Manchester eclipsed the Blues of London in what promises to be the beginning of an interesting financial shoot-out between a certain Russian oligarch and an Arab Sheikh. And for Manchester United, it was fun watching Sir Alex Ferguson chewing bubble gum at twice the speed of light!
I am sure all ‘Red Devils’ will forever remember that recent match against Everton when they were cruising with four goals to two with less than 10 minutes of regulation time to play and Patrick Evra headed against the post. It could have been 5-2, game over! But it was not to be. And then the incredible happened with Everton scoring two quick goals to force a 4-4 draw at the Theatre of Dreams. That became another turning point of an already unpredictable season. And who could have written such script for the final day except the gods?
With 90 minutes over on Sunday, Fulham boss, Martin Jol said he was told by his Spurs counterpart, Harry Redknapp that Manchester United had won the title. By the time he entered the dressing room a few seconds later, the story had changed. Just like it happened in the movies, the punch-line came at the very end: And it was written for Diego Maradona’s son-in-law, Sergio Kun Aguero. Too many things to remember on a day football bad boy, Joey Barton, went mad again and West Brom put ‘Father Christmas’ Martin Fulop in their goalpost, gifting Arsenal three vital goals. But at the end, the log table didn’t lie because every team got its just reward and Manchester City were indeed worthy champions.
I must nonetheless commiserate with all Manchester United supporters. To Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr), Alhaji Sani Lulu, Dr Amos Adamu, Chief Tony Nnacheta and my brother, Jibola Adebutu, I extend my sympathy. And to the millions of Gunners, it is delightful that Arsenal finally overhauled Tottenham Hotspur to pick the third and last automatic Champions League slot. The North London wannabes also huffed and puffed all season but at the end, the Gunners eventually managed to put them in their proper place.
There are many lessons to learn from the just-ended English football season but two will suffice for now: Don’t ever count your chicken before they are hatched. That is to Manchester United and their fans. It is never over until it is really over: That is from Manchester City. But to carry our charity (I can hear some people say madness) back home, we must begin to ask the right questions concerning our football. So much has been written about Rashidi Yekini since his unfortunate death two weeks ago and that is because we watched him play and scored incredible number of goals with IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan and the Super Eagles. That was at a time we all trooped to the stadium to watch good football in this same country of ours. May the good old days return!
• This piece was first published in THISDAY on 17th May 2012