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The end of an Era at United

Sid Monday, July 11, 2011

I never really thought I’d be so sad to see John O’Shea or Wes Brown, maybe it was because I was so sure we’d see them play out their entire career at United, like Scholes and Neville have, and Giggsy will. While Brown's departure was on the cards, no one ever imagined we'd see O'Shea leave. 

John O'Shea is the epitome of professionalism, he has never been the first choice player at the club, but still he has never complained, and always stepped in when we need him the most. To be honest, I was one of O’Shea’s biggest critics this season, especially during the first few months when he started at Right back ahead of Rafael. Though eventually O’Shea lost his place to Rafael, his contributions to the team have always been undervalued because he has spent most of his career as a backup player, but he has always performed well when the club needed him to!

Whenever we have an Injury crisis in defense or even midfield, we almost always call upon O’Shea to step in and he has always performed well when we need him the most! He has played almost in almost every position on the pitch, including as a Goalkeeper!! He’s the perfect Utility player, an invaluable asset to the team, and I’m sure we will sorely miss him!

A perfect synopsis of John O’Shea’s career was given by Sir Alex following his winner against Arsenal in 2009 Champions League Semi-final 2nd leg.
"He is a great professional. The boy never complains. He is happy to play anywhere. He has not always been a number one choice but he produces 30 performances a season and it is a contribution we are grateful for. He is so versatile and offers such great value for us"

Wes Brown could have possibly become a first team regular had it not been for the torrid time he’s had with injuries. He’s one of the best natural defenders around, and his no nonsense style of play would have gotten him far. Easily England’s best right back after Gary Neville, had Brown stayed fit, he’d have picked up numerous caps for England.

Brown is among a handful of British players still playing football, who have won the Champions league twice. The 2007/08 season was one of his best seasons as a United player as he covered for an injured Gary Neville splendidly at right back and went on to start in the Champions league final. That was the only season where he remained injury free throughout, and started in almost 34 premier league games.

Brown departure from the club was all but sealed after he had a spat with Sir Alex while drunk during the US tour last year. He didn’t see much game time this season, and made just 10 appearances in total for the club in all competitions. But his departure wasn’t as acrimonious though, as Sir Alex went out of his way to ensure he got a move to Sunderand, and also gave a nice tribute to Wes.

 “Wes has been a great asset to the club during the most successful period in its history. He was a product of the youth system and marked himself out from an early age as one of his generation’s most natural defenders.”

Between them Wes and O’Shea have notched up almost 730 appearances for the club in 12 years at the club and have won around 30 club honours during this time. They have achieved so much at the club, watching them play for Sunderland next season against us would be painful but at the same time, Sunderland have just gotten themselves a horde of fans rooting for them next season!

Saying we’ll miss them at the club is an understatement, but it’s time to move on. Sir Alex is clearly building a new team, with younger stars, and he has made tough decisions like this before and they have always paid off. Plus the two will finally get the regular football they deserve, and in Steve Bruce they have an excellent manager, and together I’m sure they will take Sunderland forward in the long run.

With Scholes and Gary Neville's retirement, and with Brown and O'Shea's departure from the club, we are seeing the end of an era at United. Only Giggs remains as the only club player who has appeared for the club in the 90's. Sir Alex is rebuilding the team again, freshening it up with players like Smalling, Jones, De Gea, etc. It is a change of guard at the club, as the old makes way for the young. Sir Alex is yet again building a new United side!


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