The European DNA has been temporarily ripped out of Manchester United
It seems like a straightforward exit from the Champions League for Manchester United, cushioned by lore that it was a narrow yet 'expected' loss to Bayern Munich--the current Champions League, DFB Pokal and Bundesliga holders--and likely retainers of all three under the strong-willed leadership under Pep Guardiola this time around.
Little to know right now of the full side effects that await of thepost traumatic stress disorder next season, it will only hit the spot when the balls are drawn out and United's name will be nowhere to be seen on a filmsy strip of curled up paper, more so acting as an absence in the most prestigious European cup competition for the first time in two decades.
One of the first categories of symptoms in post traumatic stress patients is the 're-experiencing' of the event. For Manchester United fans of young and old, that may be the goal of Thomas Muller that signed, sealed and delivered the full holiday package of a trip to the Bernabeu for the German giants. Or maybe it leads back to the horror exhibitions of not accumulating full points against Stoke, Fulham, Tottenham, West Brom and Newcastle earlier in the season, thus no place amongst the top four now with only a handful of games to expect all of Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham to drop a sufficient amount of points. In other words, a miracle.
For less than a minute, Patrice Evra did let us dream of a miracle in work over at the Allianz. However short-lived it was, whether it was the huddle or the kiss of the badge that did the trick, the club united to glimpse together into the future of a potential fairy tale ending. But it was not meant to be.
It remains one of the biggest tasks in world football for the timid David Moyes to mountain together a list of troops that can push forward to make what looks the impossible right now possible, making it as strict a squad by 2015 that only the highest calibre of players are competing for places at the club. A bit like our aspirers-to-be Man City, aye Moyesy?
This is the most unlikely of situations turned reality, where a team who have been engraved into the history of the competition, winning it thrice and reaching two other finals in consecutive seasons (only to fall prey to the golden Barcelona team under Guardiola on both occasions) will not be allowed entry to the group stages just one year within Alex Ferguson's retirement.
Some will say that the self destruction button was hit since there was no urge to replace football's bigger names in 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez left Old Trafford, ambitiously (and sarcastically here) replacing the Portuguese with the agile and supersonic Ecuadorian 'mon' from Wigan, Antonio Valencia. Other will say that it happened this summer where a media circus pooled together aroung the gates of Old Trafford to see bids for Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, Leighton Baines et al, fail very badly.
If any silver lining appears on the surface of everything, the current melodrama only reiterates the Scotsman's place as one of the greatest football manager's of all time. (Alex Ferguson, if needs be reminding).
One other symptom of post traumatic stress diorder is the hyperarousal, or in English, to be 'feeling on edge'. This could be by depression, angry outbursts or difficulty of relaxing or concentrating. In reference to football for United fans, the icing on the cake and catalyst for this symptom will be Liverpool's triumph to the league title. A season of lauding the rival's uprise, strength and presence in both English and European football? No thank you, I think I'll take the symptom for lapse of concentration here.
Moyes, Mourinho or Steve Round - The expectancy of real smoothness in transition, post-Ferguson era, was never going to be at the premium Manchester United standard (of competing for the title). But rather, the top four had remained the absolute priority and satisfactory for the time being amongst the majority of supporters. That has evidently failed very miserably, and could quite easily turn from a one year absence from the Champions League to two, to three or more. It must be seen as an essential to life for David Moyes to look and rebuild the squad, taking no hostages slash exceptions for lack of possessing quality this summer. Likeable characters or not, an old case out 'out with the old, in with the new' may not just be applicable to the older soul of Manchester United players who admittedly (a la Darren Fletcher) know that they are playing for their futures at the club in the remaining games of the season.