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The Europa League final can gift ultimate bragging rights, but to who?

Manchester United are a big club, correct. Manchester United have taken part in many cup finals, correct. Manchester United have taken part in many cup finals where if they win their season has been a success but if they lose, it’s been one of almost total failure… false. Of course arguing that the Europa League final is the biggest final they have ever been involved in would be difficult, but few could argue its importance. For a win gives the players the chance to well and truly silence their critics. While a loss will allow their critics to shout louder and more harshly than ever before.

Now success is in the eye of the beholder, some picture success as lifting the world cup trophy with their beloved country. For others, the ability to taunt their friends when their favourite team loses is enough success. It’s something that every fan loves about football and in moderation, it should be. It’s why so many people support the teams they do and it’s why social media blows up everytime there is the slightest controversy. Nobody wants their peers to have the upper hand in the bragging department. Especially at this time of year, fans who’s teams haven’t performed particularly well know, that this summer, their friends are going to take full advantage of this. Fans know that their friend’s clubs cannot redeem themselves over summer in pre-season tournaments (unfortunately for Arsenal fans), it is simply no risk bragging.

Fans of Manchester United do not want this to happen to them this season. Two out of the last three summers they have had to do the quiet wait. Missing out on the Champions League has allowed rivals to pipe up and brag, and they have not held back, they have waited years for United’s Premier League dominance to slow down and they are loving it. So how have United tried to avoid this? Well, they spent and they purchased players who can make a difference. They removed a manager questioned for his playing style and replaced him with a manager who is almost as successful and controversial as Manchester United themselves. But these replacements did not come cheap, they came at a high price, a price that was always going to be lauded if it didn’t work.

Any United fan will argue that the football has improved, that there has been simply no luck this season, that decisions have gone against them. However, this is now all irrelevant. The season is more or less over now, emphasised greatly by United’s approach to their last few Premier League games. The Europa League final is the only game United have left that gives their fans the right to brag. A win will gift them Champions League football, they will have won two trophies in Mourinho’s first season and with some new additions, will be somewhat feared again next season. A loss will allow the media and opposition fans to grab their finest of toothcombs and continuously highlight United’s low points of the season. The draws, the money spent, their position in the league, the fact they will once again be playing in Europe on a Thursday rather than a Tuesday/Wednesday, the list goes on.

Manchester United fans want something to brag about this summer, at the start of the season the target was Champions League football. Hitting that target could be the biggest springboard that United could wish for, but (maybe) most importantly it will give the fans something to brag about.

Written by Anthony Withington

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