Everyone’s talking about the title race and whether the Reds can win the league, so it only seems fair to pay tribute to a United side who have already been crowned as champions before the season is over.
Warren Joyce’s Reserves proudly paraded the silverware around Old Trafford before Sunday's senior match against Everton, having clinched the trophy in spectacular style six days earlier.
The Reds kicked off against Newcastle last week knowing that if the match was won, then the league would be won too. Simple? Well, within 32 minutes, United were 3-0 down. Some uncharacteristically suspect defending and some dubious decisions from the officials conspired to gift the Magpies what looked like an unassailable lead. But you can never rule any Manchester United team out. Two goals in a minute before the break gave them hope and then they steamrollered the home side in the second half with a further four unanswered strikes.
It was an epic title-winning comeback displaying grit, determination and real quality, a blend which has been evident all season. The Reserves have lost only three league matches this term, and each of those three defeats was followed by a win. Thirteen wins in nineteen outings is an impressive record, particularly because no fewer than 40 different players have been selected by Warren Joyce this season. These have included youth-team graduates, reserve-team regulars, first-team household names, and new signings who all required game time for different reasons.
It's been a complicated jigsaw puzzle in that respect for coach Joyce. He has had to try and play the right players at the correct times in order to aid their development and help them climb the footballing ladder. He’s masterminded sweeping demolitions of Swansea, Newcastle (both 6-0) and Liverpool (4-0) but there have also been some gritty one-goal wins against Fulham, Bolton and Blackburn. Joyce has been quick to point out the lessons learned by the boys in defeat too, in particular from the damp dingy night in the North-East when an experienced Sunderland outfit hit the back of our net six times.
It’s been a campaign full of great goals¸ big scorelines and most importantly of all experience for the young lads. This is a talented group of players who may not all grace the hallowed Old Trafford turf on a regular basis in the future, but have all represented the club with dignity and respect this term and have played football in 'The United Way.' It’s not meant to be all about winning trophies at this level, but you trying telling that to the young Reds. With the National Reserve League Play-off and the Manchester Senior Cup final around the corner, they’re hunting down the treble.