Fast Forward to Circa 2011 AD—The English Premier League Season 2011-2012 about to kick off. The Manchester United line up does not include the likes of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar.
Scary thought, isn't it?
These stalwarts have been ever-present in the successful years at Manchester United FC. Recently, there has been a lot of talk that these guys are past it, its about time that they hang up their boots.
OK, they're not the same force they used to be 5-7 years ago, but they still have something very important to offer to this great club—experience.
Manchester United's success relies on a right mix of youth and experience. Let's be honest about the fact that experience is something nobody's born with, you have to earn it. The experience of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville (in a limited role) and Edwin Van Der Sar was instrumental in United winning the prestigious double last season.
Fittingly, it was Ryan Giggs' goal at Wigan which helped them to secure the League Title last season, and he scored the winning penalty in the Champions League Final against Chelsea.
Paul Scholes was outstanding in the latter part of last season, passing the ball around and dominating the midfield. He capped an impressive season by scoring a sensational 30 yard winner against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League Semi-Final at Old Trafford.
And, it was Van Der Sar who saved Anelka 's penalty in the Champions League Final to hand United the Champions League trophy.
Ferguson is well aware of the impact of this quartet, but he'll have to play his cards right. This decorated quartet still has a lot to offer, opposing teams still consider them a threat and will need to respect their qualities. They are all match winners on their day, and have proved this time and again.
Ryan Giggs is a perfect role-model for young footballers across the globe. He has looked after his fitness, never seems to be in the press for the wrong reasons and is a top professional, apart from being the most decorated player in the history of British Football of-course.
Ferguson is a master at building teams which last for generations. But his "mantra" for success is to build a team, comprising of a core which lends balance to the exuberance of youth.
And today, the core comprises of Giggs, Van Der Sar, Scholes and Neville. This 'fantastic four' will have a pivotal role to play for United in the coming seasons, in their never-ending quest for silverware. The hunger is there, and these "old-boys," I feel, will be honest enough to jump ship when this hunger does fade away.
Untill then, just sit back and admire!