In the last few years, I have watched less and less soccer, which was my favourite sport ever since high school.
The reason was that I had a really enjoyable year back in early high school with many good friends and playing soccer reminds me of that.
Back then, my friend introduced me to Eric Cantona and we all wore our school uniform with collar up.
Recently, I started thinking about why I followed Manchester United. In the end, I concluded it was just simple sports psychology. I related the most to the team that was winning.
People older than me are all Liverpool fans, the ones younger are Arsenal then Chelsea. I don’t know anyone that young now but presumably after that is Manchester City.
I watched soccer in an era still with a lot of passion. I could never forget the 1999 treble. Most people would talk about Munich but to me the most memorable was the Giggs goal against Arsenal.
The turning point was Schmeichel saving the penalty. That was when I felt hope and realised mindset is so important in life. You could sense the Manchester United players playing with determination and belief.
Back in the days, Manchester United was actually the underdog most of the time compared to European Elites such as Juventus, Bayern. But they were a relatively young team and they were determined to prove doubters wrong. Something I could relate to so much in life.
There were so much attachments and emotions as well like Gary Neville ignoring Schmeichel when he switch to Manchester City,
Rafael fighting Tevez when he did the same.
And when Van Persie switched to Manchester United, there were still so much emotions
But then when Sanchez switched to United, I couldn’t feel anything.
Within the team now, Ander Herrera is the only player I feel still play with quite a lot of passion and I think it might have to do with his bring up as a Bilbao player.
Despite its wrongfulness, it was actually kind of refreshing to watch Higuain playing with personal hurt and so much passion and getting sent off the other day.
(Leave a comment below if you think there is a team worthwhile following because of their passion.)
Back when I first started watching soccer, there was actually so much rawness in the matches. It was a lot more pace and determination. The Manchester United games were a lot more about running up and down and fighting for each ball. But nowadays the matches have gone much more tactical and calculating. There were much less risk taking and fighting for the ball you are not supposed to win.
That said, I am actually a big big Pep Guardiola fan. To me, his personal journey is truly inspiring.
People look at his success now but in between 2001 to 2007 (until he returned to Barcelona), he did a few unconventional things including playing at Mexico.
It tells me that genius takes time to shape and has to go through an unconventional path.