The Unforgotten Hulk – Remembering Manchester United’s Greatest EPL Goal Poacher

At work when some random people discuss football saying goal scoring is so difficult nowadays and yet some players do it for fun. The leagues differ and all that trash talking goes on. I got with the thought was goal scoring that difficult ? No, it was easy but what made it difficult was 75000 people’s dreams , someone’s money , some young fellow’s banter, a club rivalry, a club history, a player’s career, a place to the club folk lore. How funny.. A single goal contributes to so much different aspects which are somewhere intertwined in our life.

But there was a certain player who played for my club and he was above most of these mentioned things. He knew only one thing as commentators simply puts it ‘ He knows how to be RUUD’ oh Boy dint he give those goose bumps to the Old Trafford faithful and the away crowd and not to forget the Arsenal fans as well (insult intended).

I must admit to the fact I hated him when we signed him up. I used to tell my friends that the gaffer has gone bonkers. It was a very unrealistic move for Manchester United. In modern generation if you need to compare it is same as Radamel Falcao. There is absolutely no denying Radamel or RUUD’s talent but isn’t it risky to fork out £19m, a then club record signing for a striker’s whose Knee is a liability for himself than for the club.

Events were getting dramatic way back in 2000. PSV and United decided to cancel the transfer on the first instance over concerns about his fitness, having not played for a month due to problems with his knee. The transfer was then cancelled after PSV refused to agree to further medical tests, and the next day he suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate knee ligaments during a training session, leaving him injured for a year. He downplayed United’s £19 million investment to reporters, saying “The price is not heavy for me – it lifts me up because it means United have big confidence in me”. Typical Dutch man, he has to have an opinion for everything and anything in world.

Johan Cryuff called RVN as ‘Goal poacher’. He said in an interview that ‘RVN is a great goal scorer but poor footballer.’ It was not what Arsene Wenger meant by his ‘falling down’ techniques. Cryuff being a beautiful and an artistic footballer he found this kind of football completely new and was not something he could binge on.

Superficially, football is about scoring goals isn’t it ?. The man who scores the winning goal is the MVP of the night (if you are not David De Gea of this season). TV-commentators will shout his name. Fans inside the stadium will chant his names. His image will grace next morning’s newspapers.

RVN lived this image. He was the ultimate fox in the box. Powering header, blast of pace, and an unerring shot made him lethal. 150 goals in 219 Appearances with EPL’s best defenders at their peak. I am not comparing him with his like to like peers namely Henry, Fowler, Alan Shearer. All of them were good no disrespect to any of them but Henry and RVN made defence splitting movement a quality which was new at that time in EPL being a physical league Man to man marking should have sufficed it. But RVN got into your skin with trash talking or with his physique or pace or whatever the means be. He did his job in style be it good or bad we as fans or even pundits can’t judge it.

But behind that facade of attention and stardom, there’s something missing. And even the greatest of goal scorers know it. Like Van Nistelrooy, they crave to be seen as more than just a goal poacher. To be valued for more than just tapping a ball over the line.

I am no one to judge the great Cryuff. I have a simple thought for him it is because of such Goal poachers many countries never win the world cup. They arrive in the box by the time you could get your position the job is done. Cryuff lost a place in final in the world because of a certain Goal scorer named ‘Gerd Muller’.

The battle of Old Trafford as it was called the happiness of Martin Keown hurt a lot of United fans. RVN’s missed penalty rubbed salt on their wounds. But a funny fact of life is Karma has no menu you get served what you deserve. Martin Keown you can Youtube it, add it to your timeline whatever virtual world you want it’s an emotional stick and you can inhale it mate that penalty wasn’t a penalty for us it was a shot to your history ending a 49 name Invincible tag. The ultimate feeling and joy of watching your most ferocious striker’s ecstasy, a sense of relief and most importantly his hunger to win again.

You may have left us for greener pastures and when you left somewhere as a 19 year old boy I cried not because you left us but as an innocent soul back then my concern was who would be the next RVN? Life goes on and moves on.

Guest Blog from thefootymadworld