Those would be the brave and victorious boys in red, The Best Team Ever, Manchester United, lifting the Premier League Trophy for the third year in a row (the second time they've won three years in a row) and for a record 11th time (since the top flight has been called the EPL).
This is a great picture as it shows my three favourite players. Holding the trophy is Ryan Giggs. He is the leaven of this team, showing the young whippersnappers how to conduct themselves on and off the pitch as gentlemen. On our left is Nemanja Vidic: fearless and totally dedicated Serbian international who doesn't seem to think he's doing his job unless he's got cuts and bruises or a concussion or two. On the right is Rio Ferdinand, a composed, steady presence on the team, and sometime captain. Ferdinand alongside Vidic in defence is almost impenetrable. Giggs makes a good pairing with Cristiano Ronaldo, and my hope is that Ronaldo will model himself on the older man; he can't go wrong if he chooses that path.
There is still one game left in the season, but the way the math worked out, United only needed one tie from their last two games in order to take the trophy. And such they did today at Old Trafford against Arsenal. I guess the EPL was prepared for that outcome, as the presentation took place today immediately following the game. That means everyone can relax and enjoy the very last game of the 2008-09 season before crying in their beer that it's all over for another year.
Today's game wasn't exactly brilliant. It was fast-paced -- neither side was going to concede points to the other. The atmosphere was fantastic with over 75,000 people in the stands. I understand why people sometimes say this is a boring game: if today you hadn't been emotionally invested in either team or the outcome, it wouldn't have been all that interesting as the scoreboard remained the same from beginning to end. It was an exciting game nonetheless because neither team was willing to give up, give in, or give over. It may not have been glorious or particularly beautiful football, but it was the game that engraved the name of Manchester United on the Premiership trophy.
United will defend their Champions League title against Barcelona in Rome on May 27. I have this cough developing...I think it's going to be something very serious in just over a week's time which may cause me having to stay home from work...what with swine flu and all. If I happen to be home that day, I just might check in on the game once or twice. For moral support, you understand.