And so in a flash of Robin van Persie’s left boot, of Shaun Maloney’s set-pieces, of Luis Suarez’s nutmegs and of Santi Cazorla’s passes it was all but gone. The 2012/13 Premier League season has nearly finished.
In terms of games played and of goals scored it might not be remembered as a vintage one, but it will always be recalled as the last campaign of the greatest old campaigner of the lot.
Sir Alex Ferguson has called it a day at Manchester United, something that will not perhaps hit home until we see David Moyes sat in his fellow Scotsman’s seat in the dugout when the new campaign begins in August.
United without Ferguson is a little like salt without pepper, like eggs without bacon and like Ant without Dec. It doesn’t look right, it doesn’t feel right and we don’t necessarily want to consider one without the other.
Typically, Ferguson bowed out with a Premier League title success which was as serene as any of the 12 he’d won previously, something in part down to the lack of a credible challenge put up by others but largely due to the remarkable consistency shown by his team.
With Van Persie leading from the front and thriving on the proper title challenge that he had left Arsenal for, United never really looked like letting the lead slip once they took it in November, and there have been few more worthy champions.
Previous holders Manchester City were never quite so convincing, with their failure to mount an impressive enough challenge ultimately seeing Roberto Mancini fall upon the sword which had been dangling nearer and nearer to him following yet another failed Champions League campaign. Next season promises to be an interesting one for a new look City.
But then the same can be said for United, Everton, Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and quite possibly Wayne Rooney. It’ll be more than just the kits that have changed come 2013/14, it’ll be the men wearing them too.
They, as ever, will be the focus of so much drama, glory, outrage and expectation.
Suarez, Gareth Bale, Juan Mata, Christian Benteke, Michu, Rickie Lambert. There were so many stars that lit up this campaign that it was hard to keep track of them.
You always knew where QPR and Reading were throughout their seasons, but that they have been joined by Roberto Martinez’s Wigan in being demoted to the Championship is a great shame.
Just 72 hours after completing one of the greatest stories in modern English football the Latics set a rather unwanted record. They are the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season.
Yet their Wembley success as well as that of Swansea City – and indeed League Two’s Bradford City, their beaten opponents in the Capital One Cup final – has shown that the potential for glory is there whoever you are. Perhaps we’ll see more teams grasp the nettle and go for broke in the Premier League next season as a result.
With United, City, Everton and Chelsea all in somewhat of a transitional stage – although Chelsea have one of those every six months – perhaps this could be a time for Arsenal, Tottenham and maybe even Liverpool to shine?
All have impressed at various points throughout this campaign and all can do so going into the next, when they’ll be joined by promoted Cardiff City, Hull City and one of Watford and Crystal Palace.
Such talk is for another day though, a day when we can really look forward to the new campaign as we put the old one behind us.
That day will come on Sunday, about 30 seconds after the final whistle on a season which sadly brings an end to the careers of men as distinguished as Ferguson, Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher.
They’ll be gone but not forgotten, just like this season will be too.
See you in August for the next one.