Previously: February 2nd 2010. A sad day.
The man who gave hope to red-heads all over the world has retired.
It was hardly a surprise considering his loss of form, the media coverage over the last few weeks, the fact he has a testimonial match in August and the autobiography release lined up for later in the year.
But still, sad news. And any sad news gives me an excuse to post a tangential story from my childhood, some amusing pictures, enlightening external links and a snazzy video.
For reasons I still don’t really understand we were without BBC for random periods in the mid 90s. Our local transmitter had decided to stop sharing the stations (no joke, one day UTV was actually replaced with live camcorder footage of a piece of paper on a table saying “this service has been stopped due to lack of funding“) and so we eventually got a massive aerial which meant we could pick up signals from the Hill of Tara or the Mourne Mountains or something. My brief tenure as a 2-channel-child was at at end.
For this reason I didn’t see Paul Scholes’ league debut or his first goal against Ipswich on September 24th 1994.
But it’s a double away to QPR (a 3-2 win over QPR on December 12th 1994) which came a few months later that sticks in my head. I have great memories of watching Match of the Day (the Des Lynam era) the night after Scholesy scored the two goals thinking… this guy didn’t really look like your traditional footballer… there’s hope for us all!
I remember Lynam said something typically smooth along the lines of “aaaand looks like Fergie’s got another one of these special kids on his hands. Where are they coming from Alan?”
And here we are, seventeen years later, and he’s called time on his career. He sits fourth in the all-time appearances list (676), joint ninth in the all-time goalscorers list (150) and leaves behind an astonishing legacy as one of the greatest players of the Premier League era. Status as Manchester United legend now set in stone.
I thought he had a phenomenal start to the year, making my fantasy Premier League team for the first month or so of the season. I’m sure this meant a lot to him. This sunshine period included PFA player of the year talk, a Premier League player of the month award and a number of man of the match performances, including a sublime showing in a 3-0 win against Newcastle. But he never really got going after a return from injury after Christmas.
I love that he’s on holidays in Spain somewhere with the news breaking via a short statement on manutd.com. It comes the day after United’s parade through the streets of Manchester when most players would have allowed themselves a little self-indulgence and made the announcement publicly. But that’s not the Scholes way I guess.
Anyway farewell and thanks little ginger ninja. There’s a wealth of tributes being paid your way but you probably don’t give a shite.