Paul Scholes, Thank You

Posted: May 31, 2011 in News

It was a day we all knew was coming and if I’m honest I was expecting it sooner or later but in no way did it hurt any less. The 20 year career of Paul Scholes is over. I read the announcement this morning and it still hit me just like it had come out of the blue.

As a kid growing up I was always fed stories of the Busby Babes from my enthusiastic Granddad telling me the tales of the exciting kids he used to watch all those years ago at Old Trafford and I also remember the joy it gave him to watch the class of 92 try and succeed to emulate the Babe’s and break into the first team but for him  and most of the older reds at the time there was always one of the group who’s star shone out more than the rest and his name was Paul Scholes. At a young age he was showing all the potential of being a real star player for the future.

 And rightly so, as he has gone on to become one of the most gifted players England has ever produced and so many players and fans have called him one of the best ever seen on these shores. Still I do think a lot of people didn’t appreciate him enough or didn’t realize just how good he was. Was it because he didn’t have his name in the papers and his celebrity status was that of an A listers? Absolutely. He was so good at going about his actions as quietly as he could he has successfully managed to avoid the public glare for 20 years, he may be one of, if not the last breed of player who actually seems like the older generation of footballers that would live their life like any other type of working class man, a family man. Other players have said they rarely see him outside of matches or training, preferring to turn his phone off after training and back on just before the next day’s session.

Always dedicated to United’s cause, sometimes too much where rash tackles with a quick rush of blood to the head left himself with a bad reputation of somewhat a dirty player. If you ever mention one of Scholes’s goals someone else would mention one of his horrendous tackles. He is the third most booked player in premiership history whilst being the most booked player in Champions League history. But that’s what helped make him the player he was. Take that away from him and he would have lost that competitive edge that speared his drive. The fiery side to him was such a contrast to the quiet life he lived.

Did he retire too early from England duty? I feel he did, but fair play to him for not wanting to play out of position, on a diamond formation, where he felt he wasn’t showing the real Paul Scholes and others who were less talented played in his preferred role. Also wanting to spend his last years in the game solely concentrating on his club again showed his dedication.

Uneducated people in football would watch a match he played in and never take in just how Scholes controlled a game, his passes were perfect even immense, the way he ghosted in between defences was always a joy to see and those powerful driving shots of his, I’m sure none of us will ever forget them. Zidane, Xavi and Davids are just a small handful of greats who have made the statement that Paul is one of the best they have seen never mind play against. Just look at how on Saturday the Barcelona players drew straws to see who would be swapping shirts with Scholes.

 It’s hard to believe that an eye injury very nearly meant he had to retire prematurely in 2005 and United missed him so much when he was out, proving to many people just how important he was to the team and fans started to seriously wonder who could replace him but Scholes showed his character and bounced back even better producing some his greatest ever performances in the Red shirt in his later years. I believe he was still debating the contact that was on the table for next season but if one game finally made his mind up, it was the semi final against City. That was the game when he realized he wasn’t playing at the high standards he always expected of himself, and on the journey home that day a lot of us had predicted he would retire at the end of the season.

David Beckham, Gone. Phil Neville, Gone. Nicky Butt, Gone. Gary Neville, Gone. Paul Scholes, Gone. The 92 youth cup win and emergence of those youngsters seems another lifetime ago. The kids are now retired men. Just a over a week ago, Manchester United won the FA Youth Cup again, with possibly one of the most gifted set of kids since 1992, so how fitting would it be that the season after the last original kid retired, the new batch started their big break through and who knows what we’ll be saying about them in 20 years?

He ended his career just how he played it. Quietly, on his own terms and with minimal fuss.

 So thank you Paul. Thank you for that crucial goal against Inter in the 99 quarter. Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice against Juventus in the semis. Thank you for always seeming to score against Newcastle. Thank you for THAT goal against Aston Villa and THAT goal against Bradford.  Thank you for the strike which helped us to the European Cup final (You’re nine years of hurt ended right there) Thank you so very very much for that last minute header against Manchester City. Thank you for never giving anything less than 100% in all of the 676 games you played in no matter who it was against. Thank you for proving yourself as the best midfielder in the world and I feel privileged to have watched you in person as much as I have.  Thank you for all the memories Paul that will never fade and without a doubt the Old Trafford faithful will always sing your song for many years to come, “He Scores goals galore, he scores goals, Paul Scholes, he scores goals”

“I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do, to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honor. To have been part of the team that helped the club reach a record 19th title is a great privilege. I would like to thank the fans for their tremendous support throughout my career; I would also like to thank all the coaches and players that I have worked with over the years. But most of all I would like to thank Sir Alex (Ferguson) for being such a great manager. From the day I joined the club his door has always been open and I know this team will go on to win many more trophies under his leadership.”

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