Old Foes Old Friends 2009: Football Lover

Old Foes Old Friends

For any football lover this must be the dream game to beat all others.
Arsenal and Chelsea have defined attacking football at its best in England and in the past few years, almost everywhere in the world outside of Catalonia. This game invokes so many legends, so many ghosts of past games that it threatens to overpower you with the spirits of battles past. As Ferguson continues well into his 3rd decade at Manchester United, Wenger has now been at Arseal for 13 years. The two are the longest surviving managers in the premiership – another fact which binds them together. The old pros who have outlasted all their peers. Hundreds of managers have come and gone in the time that Ferguson and Wenger have been doing battle. In that time, football has become cosmopolitan and global. Perhaps Wenger was there before Ferguson. And still the only regular Englishman in the Arsenal side is Walcott. Ferguson still believes in an English spine. Rooney, Carrick, Ferdinand, Scholes, at first count. But both are great proponents of youth. It was after all Ferguson, who won things with kids. And Arsene who continues to believe almost blindly in youth. But both have scoured the world to assemble some of the most effulgent young talent going. Today those gifted players are continental, global, professional. They are calm under pressure. They have all been in high pressure situations and know how to deal with them. The game today should be high tempo but fair and played in great spirit. But it wasn’t too long ago that this was the ultimate battleground. A warzone with Keane and Vieira striving for supremacy. Or where Van Nistelrooy went to war with Keown and Campbell. Or even where Phil Neville was deployed to destroy Reyes.
Go further back and you might find even more blood. In the guts and glory days of English football – with Lee Dixon and Gary Pallister or with Cantona and Adams. It’s almost like you can see the battle scenes with canons and gunfire. But times change, and those who change with it stay on top. Like Sir Alex Ferguson. And Arsene Wenger. And as they send their troups out again, you can only doff your hat to both men and say “Thank you! For giving us some of the best memories of our times!”

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