Sunday, 18 December 2011

Fletcher Should Be Remembered As More Than A Mortal

History has a horrible way of forgetting the human stories.

It wipes away feats of mere mortals preferring to concentrate on the gallantry of the remarkable few. 

Football is no different. The men who held together Manchester United's midfield when the Holy Trinity grabbed the glamour are marked only in record books and not in our memories. 

The name of Ferenc Puskas' strike partner for the Mighty Magyars has faded just like the black and white photos of the time. 

And can anyone remember who set up all those goals for Nat Lofthouse or benefitted from the passing ability Johnny Haynes.

Sadly it looks like Darren Fletcher is going to be added to 
the lengthy list of support acts.

Men who were heroes in their own dressing room but failed to earn their own terrace chant.

Fletcher this week announced he was taking a breather from the game having contracted a particularly nasty bowel condition called ulcerative colitis, that causes the sufferer to endure diarrhoea and pass blood.

Remarkably Fletcher was able to manage the disease for long periods of time and play on in the past few campaigns.

Astonishingly he still took to the field despite the condition's weakening affects on the body and humiliating affect on the mind.

Fellow sufferer Lewis Moody, the former England rugby captain, spoke traumatically about his battle to cope. 

For a member of the general public it would be hell. For a sportsman in a closed environment where personal problems are bait for the merciless mickey takers, it sounded the ultimate embarrassment.

Because of the condition there is a very good chance Fletcher will not return to action. It's a blow everyone at Old Trafford is struggling to come to terms with.

The Scotland skipper is a gent in an era where old fashioned courtesies like manners and politeness have left the game. 

A first in, last out advocate of training and someone who never sought or complained about the celebrity status that comes as par for the course of a leading player at Manchester United.

And as a major player is how Fletcher should be remembered for his eight years service at Old Trafford.

No doubt, in time his determined efforts will be forgotten as fans rave over the thrills and spills left on television footage by Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But those two probably profited the most from Fletcher's work-rate in the midfield battlefields across Europe.

From his early days when his own supporters felt he was only in the side as a result of being Fergie's secret love child, Fletcher has faced adversity.

Once Roy Keane quit, he blossomed into the most modern day of midfielders. One who could break up play, pick a pass and score the odd goal - including his underplayed strike against Manchester City.

Typical that for Fletcher. A rare chance for glory thanks to a brilliant goal coming on the day United fans are desperate to forget.

He won't have minded. He was just doing his job. Doing it more effectively than many around him - as always.

There is hope Fletcher can return. But if his best days are behind him, this is one man who's achievements should not be allowed to wash away on the waves of time.

No comments:

Post a Comment