England crashed out of Euro 2012 on Sunday night after losing to Italy on penalties. Two players from the England camp failed to put away their kick from the spot – one being Manchester United winger Ashley Young. He received so much abuse that the police confirmed Monday afternoon that they would be investigating messages left on Twitter which were racist.
International tournaments usually end in a similar manner for England. The last three European Championships have seen England crash out on penalties; twice in the quarter-finals and once in the semi-final. The fans tend to point the blame at a United player and hurl abuse at him from the stands for the entire season that follows. But when England are eliminated in disappointing fashion, United generally have a good season so the message is “lets take our title back from City.”
It was David Beckham in 1998 after that red card against Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006, and Wayne Rooney in 2010. For Beckham it resulted in pubs hanging effigies and the Daily Mirror printing a dartboard with a picture of him centered on the bulls-eye. Ronaldo was already hated by others which made him even stronger. Rooney had that affair with Jennifer Thompson on his mind and the press made the most of that.
Post Beckham’s sending off: The 1998-99 season was the most successful in the history of Manchester United. After finishing the previous season trophy-less, United won the Treble, becoming the first team in English football to achieve such a feat. And there hasn’t been an English side that did it since.
Post Ronaldo & Rooney’s spat which included the infamous wink: In 2006-07 United enjoyed a much more successful season than the previous three seasons, which were dominated by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. We got our title back and finished six points ahead of runners-up, Chelsea. It took the blues four years to win the league again, but with Carlo Ancelotti.
Post England’s poor World Cup which Rooney got the blame for: The 2010-11 season wasn’t too bad either. Ferguson knocked Liverpool off their perch as United claimed their nineteenth league title. We also reached the Champions League final for the third time in four years but were beaten 3-1 by a much improved Barcelona team from 2009.
So what does the future hold for Ashley Young? He has a big season coming up and I’m sure Ferguson will have him aware of what’s in store, especially when United travel away to other grounds when the atmosphere is likely to be hostile. But this is one of those things you need to get on with when joining United. Jealously plays a big part in football.