29/06/2014 10:55, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Blog: United fans right to be optimistic

Has there ever been a more exciting time to support United?

That might appear a strange question following the club’s most disappointing season in recent history, with the Reds finishing seventh in the Barclays Premier League and suffering demoralising exits in both domestic cups and the UEFA Champions League, but the answer is arguably "no" for most fans.

As the results continually went sour throughout 2013/14, confirming the prospect of a trophy-less campaign, supporters were often reminded that we had been spoiled for over two decades under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, the most decorated manager British football has ever seen. While that is definitely true, particularly for this 24-year-old writer, it doesn’t extinguish the fire in the belly and that yearning for success. If anything, it only fans the flames. What are we supposed to do, accept defeat? Winning silverware is ingrained into our club and it remains the main objective.

The appointments of Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal and Ryan Giggs as his assistant have galvanised everyone that is emotionally attached to the club, particularly after watching Holland annihilate Spain in their World Cup opener before gleaning maximum points from tricky Group B encounters with Australia and Chile. Though nine points from nine is clearly impressive enough, the manner in which each victory was earned with wholly different tactics has captivated most. Pace and power destroyed the Spanish, guts and determination overcame the Aussies while the Chileans were stylishly picked apart, like a boxer keeping his opponent at bay with a series of jabs before executing knockout blows in the latter rounds. All of this has only whetted the appetite for August and United’s curtain-raising fixture with Swansea.

The questions that followed van Gaal’s hiring have also intrigued the mind. Who will be his United captain, which formation will he favour and just how long can he hold that 'death-stare'? But more importantly, as is always the case in football, which new players will arrive at the club? Thankfully, given that Twitter was about to implode with impatient fans, answers were provided on Thursday and Friday as Ander Herrera and then Luke Shaw signed on the dotted line, kick-starting what is widely viewed as a make-or-break summer.

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