Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mammy Ferdinand and Daddy Vidic: Minding the Current Crop of United Babes

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic's partnership is about to resume full service, and that can only mean one thing. The title is heading back to Manchester this year.

The best defensive pairing in the league compliment each other perfectly, and they provide the foundation for United's dominance over the last couple of seasons.

Every team that Alex Ferguson has ever created were based on strong leadership from central midfield. Roy Keane, Brian Robson, Gordon Strachan, Paul Ince—all leaders in their own right.

Except with his current team, that leadership comes from the defence.

Players like Michael Carrick, Anderson, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs, provide guile, experience, and great leadership off the pitch, but on the pitch they listen to Vidic and Ferdinand.

The duo have formed an almost perfect relationship in Manchester United's back-line. Rio Ferdinand has taken on the role of the caring mother, nurturing his fellow team-mates, giving advice, making all the calls, and guiding the youngsters through games.

Nemanja Vidic on the other hand has taken the father's approach. Being the main bread-winner, scoring goals, putting his head in where others fear to put their heads, leading by example, and cajoling his team mates to victory.

Ferdinand does the sweeping, cleaning up, and positioning, while Vidic does all the hunting, gathering, and tackling.

Together they form the best central defensive partnership in Premiership football, and quite possibly European football.

And while they are in the family, their children have all performed much better. Petulant Ronaldo, impulsive Rooney, and lazy Berbatov, have all threatened on separate occasions this season to derail United's run in.

But under the guidance of their parents they have usually remained focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, even though like most families, there have been slip ups.

The tonking they took at the hands of Fernando Torres remains a low point in an otherwise successful season.

Last season was hailed as Rio Gavin Ferdinand's best ever. After years of threatening to finally turn into a world class defender, he seems to have done so. And all it took was Sir Alex to find his perfect complimenting partner.

In the superb Serbian Nemanja Vidic, Alex Ferguson has found the player to stand side by side with Rio in the trenches of Premiership warfare and bring the very best from his talented defender.

When the two of them are on the pitch, United always have a strong chance of keeping a clean sheet. Like the best of parents, they lead by example and always keep a clean household. Passing on the simple message to their children that once the house is clean they will always have a chance of winning a treat for their good behaviour.

The newest players to the United back-line, brothers Fabio and Rafael, have grown under the stewardship of the two experienced duo, particularly Rafael. He has seen himself become the most viable contender for the right full berth next season after a string of eye catching performances.

John O'Shea has also improved immensely as a player over the last two seasons, so much so that he has become an integral part of the squad when it was beginning to look like his future was away from the home of Old Trafford.

As I mentioned earlier, some children have threatened to ruin the harmonious household this year. Ronaldo has pined for a holiday in the sun, Wayne has become frustrated while his other brothers did not put in the same effort, and the newest child to the family Dimitar thinks he knows everything already, and that he is the latest incarnation of a child from yester-year, Eric Cantona.

The usual family squabbles have threatened the home into taking their eyes off the one thing that all parents want, graduation from school with full honours.

Last year, the club had their second most successful season of all time, and for the vast majority of this season they threatened to bring in the most successful season in English football history, only falling at the final hurdle.

Like most families, they will take the good with the bad. Get up and dust themselves off, think about what could have been for a while and then look to the future. No point in dwelling on the past.

With good parents like Rio and Nemanja, and an old Grandad like Alex, this family won't dwell too long.

twitter / WillieGannon