“He wasn’t a Manchester United legend… If I was the lad, it’s a no brainer. If it was one of the big boys I’d say no but he wasn’t a United legend”. Is Paul Merson an Arsenal legend? I guess that could be debatable but, if not, would he have taken the chance to move to Tottenham if they were one of the dominant forces of his era?
Recently, I went on a Liverpool supporting friend’s stag do to Budapest and we ambushed him in the toilet and did the unthinkable… we dressed him up in full United attire. He wasn’t best pleased but he didn’t break out in hives and the four horsemen were nowhere to be seen. In fact, if he was getting paid a handsome sum to where that kit every day, have photos taken, sign a few autographs and kick a ball to boot I’m sure he would have got past his hang-ups relatively quickly.
The thing is though, my mate doesn’t live in Liverpool or Manchester. He lives in the relatively safe confines of the Midlands when it comes to such matters. Jonny, as a Manchester United youth product, former title winner with the club and very much a Sir Alex Ferguson player, may not find the prospect of donning sky blue as palatable as a healthy wage increase would suggest. I’m sure he’s already had an awkward conversation or two with his partner, a United fan and MUTV presenter, about the possibility of pledging his allegiance to the dark side.
I’ve tried to work out what I would do but I’ve realised its impossible to not be idealistic about such a situation when somebody isn’t actually showing me how my bank account would look if I were to ditch mid-table for the top four. In my mind, I’m already earning a very good wage and playing regular football for an established premier league team. I wouldn’t give that up to possibly warm the bench in the Champions League for what is ultimately a life-long enemy and rival.
I somehow get the feeling however, we will soon be reading a quote a long the lines of, ‘it was a tough decision, obviously, considering my time at United but I couldn’t turn down the chance to work for Pep and get back to playing football at the highest level. I’d like to thank everybody at Albion for everything they’ve done for me, especially Tony Pulis who has helped me get back to my best and the fans for their exceptional support’. Then as soon as the cameras disappear, Jonny has to fight the urge to tear of his freshly printed jersey and jump into the nearest shower.