Date: 30th July 2008 at 9:40pm
Written by:

There is no doubt that Edwin van der Sar is United’s best goalkeeper since Peter Schmeichel – though sadly that’s not much, seeing that we had some truly horrible ones.

The papers ran a story about him vowing that he’ll fight to keep the number one shirt despite the emergence of Ben Forest. It was one of those usual things, not much to comment on, really, we get these all the time.

But there was one sentence in one of these stories that caught my eye. I can’t remember which site carried it but it went like ‘Van der Sar will be considered a hero by United fans because of his penalty save from Anelka in Moscow’.

Well, is that true? Is it enough for us to declare him a hero? I don’t know.

Many people, ignorantly, believe that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a legend because of that goal in Barcelona. Of course it’s not due to that only, his loyalty, his personality, his devoted service are taken into account. He’s adored by us but not just because of one goal.

So, one penalty save in itself does not make Van der Sar a legend. But is it enough for us to declare him the hero of the final? Not really.

I’m a big fan of Edwin: his commitment is unquestionable, he’s got a great, commanding presence and he’s a usually reliable keeper. But really, saving one penalty out of seven is not enough to turn someone into a hero: there were many more players who made more heroistic contributions to that game.

Why I feel it important to talk about this? First, I dunno, second, probably because I’m annoyed by the constant media hype which, apparently disregarding that it’s a team sport, always seeks to appoint heroes and villains. As if we were some belching sub-humans who can’t appreciate fine distinctions.