Manchester United Pipe Dreams

March 3, 2009

Whenever great teams look as well-oiled as the current Manchester United squad, fans start dreaming big. Unfortunately, those dreams are fueled by team passions, rather than objective reasoning. As a result, fan wishes tend to verge on the impossible, such as this year's absurd notion of Manchester United winning all five championship trophies.

Without a doubt, such a feat would be hands-down amazing. No team in the history of the sport has ever accomplished this level of success, and even Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is “keeping his feet on the ground” about the prospects.

It is true that Manchester United looks like the team to beat at this stage, and by season’s end may likely have multiple trophies to add to the clubhouse. However, most would agree that winning all five championships is as impossible in soccer as it would be in any other sport where five legitimately sought after trophies are competed for in any given year.

Having a championship year in any sport is tough enough, so one can only begin to imagine what winning five would require. Furthermore, in soccer, all it takes is one bad call, one sleeping linesman, a bad bounce, a deflection off of someone’s backside, or a bump off an uneven pitch, for everything to go wrong. As the saying goes, “the best team doesn’t always win.” This holds true in soccer perhaps more than any other sport.

In the Champions League, Manchester United would have to take care of Inter Milan at home on the second leg, then win in the quarters, then in the semis, then survive a battle in the final, all while likely having to win on penalty kicks somewhere along the way. In addition, they must do all of this while simultaneously chasing the English Premier League Cup, England’s FA Cup, the Carling Cup, and then winning the FIFA Club World Cup.

Moreover, as is the case for most super-clubs, many of Manchester United’s players have important roles on their national teams. Because 2009 marks the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, it is expected that some players would have to leave the club temporarily to help their national teams.

Even more astonishing are the Vegas lines, which are currently paying 10-1 odds for winning the 5 championships! No thanks. Putting your money here is like squirting lemon juice mixed with salt onto your recession-depleted retirement accounts.

What this screams to the ever-so-prevalent, bandwagon and blind-faith Manchester United supporters in North America is, “Stay away from this bet if you like your money!" Essentially, Vegas is throwing its lines out there in the hope of catching the big fish.

As for the remaining minority of genuine North American soccer fans who actually understand the game, but are for some reason thinking about playing these odds: Do not take the bet. In the end, such odds can only favor the house.

Either the bookies this side of the Atlantic have completely given up on actually figuring out the game of soccer, or they are in the process of implementing a brilliant scheme to help themselves through the recession by completely ripping off soccer loyalists. Fans would be better off finding another venue to place their bets, such as a European-based book that is sure to pay more.

By Adrian Yeung
Staff Reporter for

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