Can I handle a title challenge?

I can remember years ago, if Man Utd didn’t win a match, if a result went against them, that I would need to take a break, I would need time to settle myself. I would need to find a quiet, dark corner somewhere where I could come to terms with my disappointment and, let’s call it was it was, my blinding rage.

One time I can remember being really excited to see Rocky Balboa in the cinema. I wasn’t a huge Rocky fan or anything but for some reason I was really hyped to see him box as a ridiculously old man. The plan was to go to see it on Sunday evening after Man Utd v Arsenal. Long story short, United lost and I hated the movie. I could not concentrate on anything other than how bad Utd had been, how everyone was going to want to talk to me about it at work and how hard I was going to have to try to convince people I wasn’t that bothered about it.

I’ve never rewatched that movie. Too many bad memories.

I thought I grew up in the years since. I mean, I literally have gotten a lot older but I have not achieved the levels of personal growth that I had convinced myself I had. I only truly realised how far I haven’t come last night.

I mistook apathy for personal growth.

The problem was the lethargic, aimless, rudderless, Moyes, Van Gaal, Mourinho, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini filled last few years that have been the most miserable Man Utd supporting years of my life. And before you say anything, shut up, I know I can’t complain, I’m going to anyway, shut up.

I’m becoming aware that I really like this set of players. Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Fernandes, Matic…I’m a big fan of all these players and I enjoy watching them, I enjoy watching Paul Pogba in spite of the furious groans that leave my body when I can see a player running up behind him ready to steal the ball from him, I even have sympathy for Harry Maguire, shut up, I know I don’t need to feel sorry for him, he’s a millionaire, I get it, shut up. It’s not his fault that he cost as much as he did…it is his fault that he makes as many ludicrous mistakes as David Luiz though. But I like him. I like this team.

And they gave me hope but now they’ve reminded me of how fucking annoyed I can feel when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to. After the 2-2 draw with Southampton I tried to watch the latest episode of Perry Mason and I did not enjoy it. And I have been really enjoying that show but last night it was Rocky Balboa all over again.

So if this is happening to me at the thought of moving third in the league, can I handle a title challenge? Shut up, I know they’re a long way away from challenging for the title but I’m thinking about it anyway, shut up. Can my nerves handle worrying about every single point gained or dropped? Football is much easier to handle when you have absolutely no expectations or belief in your team. It’s very hard to be let down when your expectations are zero. You can only be surprised at that point.

I’m just about getting over the silly annoyance of conceding a last minute goal to draw 2-2. Incidently, well done Michael Obafemi. Good lad. Do it in green and I’ll be much happier. I’m just about getting over it and becoming aware that it was dumb to think that a team that has been so staggeringly inconsistent over the past two years could all of a sudden turn into a machine that wins every single game, It’s a process. One that will hopefully lead to a proper title challenge. Even if my nerves won’t be able to handle it.

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