We all know the story of ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’, those famous six, young, enthusiastic players that came through by ’94 and took league, and world, by storm. The story that also involved the decision for Sir Alex Ferguson to release some of his most senior of fighters, which, in doing so, placed an even heavier burden on the already young squad that they burst into. A decision which, some would argue, to date earmarks his greatest achievement. Yet I ask, whether, like when bringing in Henrik Larsson for those three magical months, the revival of Paul Scholes’ career could stand with, or above, that achievement in the early nineties.
Following three relatively unsuccessful seasons, Manchester United finally held position in January ’07 to knock Chelsea off their perch, and claim back the Premier League crown. It was in this transfer window, a place where those in power at the club usually carry out very little business, that Sir Alex made the most important move in, the chess board that is, the Premiership title race. The announcement of a three-month loan for Swedish legend Henrik Larsson, to bolster a young attack force of Rooney and Ronaldo. It was his vital moves, passes and goals, that saw off otherwise difficult opponents, and gave the United body the passion it needed to complete the season as champions. Though he didn’t affectively win the campaign, as Messi can do for Barcelona, it was the ingenuity to give one of footballs greatest a chance to perform on the one stage he had missed throughout his career, and influence those that had never seen success on that scale, first hand.
It was with a hammer blow to those looking to challenge Manchester United, when the decision for Paul Scholes to return to the playing staff was announced. Though having not played competitive football for the first half the season, it was hard to see how the ‘little wizard’ couldn’t weave his tricks on one last hurrah. Though this shares some major differences with the Larsson case, the fact that Scholes had already previously played for the club, it is the idea that experience and presence can influence more than just the result. It also, like in ’07, brings the passion and belief to the young, who would otherwise feel such strains on doing what United do best, chasing down the premier league leaders. They now have a safeguard, to guide them past, and through the most difficult of games. It is also fair to add, from the first few performances, that he could also, like Henrik Larsson, have a profound impact on the field as well.
The legacy that was made in ’94 when bringing in the greatest batch of English youth players of a generation, may have had a more lasting effect on the club, making it a golden moment in the clubs history. It has been a revelation of all proportions to dream, and carry out the signing of Henrik Larsson in that first push to reclaim the title. But to bring back one the most experienced premier league legends, and hero’s, to bolster the squad, could yet prove to be the pinnacle of a very successful mans career.
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