Life is a game of fine margins. A cohabitation in which certain minor swings of the scale of chance yield cataclysmic repercussions. In essence, small stones falling from a cliff trigger an avalanche.
In football the burning hatred for the opposition by which fandom is oft defined is an altogether unstable emoticon. If the dye had set slightly differently, if chance had played his hand in a contrary style, the reality would have reversed.
The catalyst for our emotions, hatred, love, loathing and adulation is the shirt. Nothing more nothing less. Yet the shirt is a façade, a unifier of the patronage, but one that can be changed hands at the idle whim or casual transfer request of a spoilt pre-Madonna.
Hated rivals can become treasured heroes just as the club’s talisman can turn into a despised pariah. Rarely does emotion transcend the barriers of the shirt.
With that in mind I thought it might be interesting to look at individuals for whom fate nearly contrived a different path. The men who nearly became part of Manchester United during the Sir Alex Ferguson era:
And what a roll call it is…