To be honest – I can’t see any extraordinary cruelty in Manchester United losing the title in the last seconds of the season, after emerging from the dead about 45 minutes earlier.
Cruel defeats are those the haunt you for life. I happened to speak to Nigel Short, the English chess Grand Master, a few days ago, about his 1993 defeat to Gary Kasparov. The defeat has haunted him to the extent he did not find the strength to examine the games – a regular chess procedure – for 18 years.
In chess there is no luck, no weather, no “hit the cross bar”, no bloody ref. You were undone by your own actions. You are entirely responsible.
United were not even on the field when City made it’s comeback. They did lose a decisive Derby – but lost it having been outplayed. Nothing cruel in that.
United did their job yesterday by beating Sunderland. Unlike any other team in a major European League completed a remarkable achievement: They have been in the title frame in every game for six consecutive seasons. Having lost two of these titles by the grand total of one point. That is breathtaking competitiveness.
I hope Sir Alex Ferguson told his players yesterday that they have done well this season. Enough to win a title in most scenarios.
Beyond that, you are sometimes victims of a situation. Call it good or luck or extreme improbabilities. That is not cruelty. Actually it’s a reason to smile.