September 2, 2013. Deadline day. Manchester United had just had a change in manager in almost 26 and a half years. Manchester United fans dreamt and were promised of signing top class players like Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc. So, when deadline day came, there was no hope signing such names.
Everton had a Belgian powerhouse named Marouane Fellaini who had a release clause of 22m that ended on August 20th. Manchester United’s new manager came from Everton and he knew what Marouane Fellaini would bring to a football club. So, he persuaded Ed Woodward, the then new chairman to churn out 27m for his first Manchester United signing.
Which fanbase would not be angry when they were promised Ronaldo and Fabregas to sign Fellaini and Fellaini only and that too on deadline and by overpaying by 5m Great British Pounds. Manchester United fans were rightfully disgruntled at the club’s transfer activity. But, that didn’t turn into an anger against Owners. It, in fact, turned Marouane Fellaini into a PUBLIC ENEMY NUEMERO UNO.
Marouane Fellaini didn’t shine in his first season for Manchester United resulting in the sacking of David Moyes and Manchester United finishing 7th.
Louis Van Gaal was then appointed the manager of Manchester United. Louis, who was seen as a man known for possession based football, a style of play which won’t suit Fellaini by any means. Fans thought that would be the end of Marouane Fellaini. Louis played possession based football.
But, guess what? The fighter, the warrior in Fellaini stayed on succeeded into being one of the most key players in Louis Van Gaal’s first season. Marouane Fellaini scored 6 goals in 2014-15 which lead to Manchester United finishing in 4th place.
Next season, Fellaini was still a match winner. Scoring one of the most crucial goals in Louis’ Manchester United reign. Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring in the FA Cup semi final against former club Everton which sent Manchester United on the way to their first piece of silver post the Sir Alex Ferguson reign.
Fellaini scored the opener vs Everton in the FA Cup semi finals. One of his 3 semi final goals in all competitions for Manchester United.
Louis Van Gaal’s job could not be saved as he finished below the minimum league requirement of Top-4.
On May 26, 2016 Jose Mourinho was appointed as Manchester United manager. He was known for his ruthlessness. So, fans again thought that would be the end of Marouane Fellaini.
Again, Marouane found a way out of such a situation. He then went onto be a crucial goalscorer for Jose Mourinho too.
He scored two of the most important goals for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United:
The first one was a very crucial second goal in the first leg at Old Trafford in the league cup semi finals against Hull City. Manchester United then went to the final on an aggregate of 3-2 and went onto win the League Cup.
Fellaini scored a crucial 87th minute, 2nd goal at home in the first leg of League Cup Semi final against Hull City.
Come May, Manchester United took a 1-0 lead to Old Trafford against Celta Vigo in the Europa league semi-final. Marouane Fellaini then scored a 17th minute header to give a 2-0 lead on agg to Manchester United. Celta then pulled one back. If not for Marouane Fellaini scoring that goal, Manchester United fans should’ve had to endure another extra time and maybe penalties. So, another match winning moment for the PUBLIC ENEMY NUEMERO UNO.
Fellaini celebrates the goal that would end up to be the match winner.
In Mourinho’s second season, Mourinho scored crucial goals in Manchester United’s best league campaign since Sir Alex retired. Most notably, the goal versus Arsenal the most memorable of them.
Fellaini scored a late winner in Arsene Wenger’s last game as Arsenal manager at Old Trafford.
When Fellaini’s contract was out in the summer, manager Jose Mourinho wanted him to stay. And had assured him that Manchester United would only sign another midfielder if he left. Manchester United fans, including me, finally thought it was over. I won’t say I was sad he was leaving. When he signed, I was angry. He signed a new 2 year deal on June 30th. But, since then, this season, he has won us games. Young Boys at home the best example.
All the manager’s he’s played for right from national team managers in Marc Wilmots and Roberto Martinez and club managers like David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all rated him.
He may not be a Pogba or Messi or Ronaldo or Neymar and doesn’t have the fancy skills. But Fellaini will always be a Fellaini type of player.