Dear Manchester United,
I know it is over and we can never go back to the way things were, but I wanted to get in touch, and let you know how I feel about you, and how I always will.
Ever since I left, I can’t stop thinking about you.
Everywhere I look I see something that reminds me of our time together, whether it be a Harry-shaped articulated lorry struggling to reverse into a narrow alleyway, or a dog chasing a ball around the park that looks just like Fred.
I have loved you from the moment we met.
I was little more than a schoolboy when we first got together and the warmth I felt from you was like nothing I had experienced before. You made me stronger.
We conquered the world together and I was the happiest I have ever been in my life.
As time went on, I knew I had taken a backseat in your life. I was no longer as important to you as I once was.
Countless other men took my place at the forefront of your mind. First there was Ruud, then Wayne, you even preferred giving your time to Diego than me for a while.
But I didn’t mind, I remained loyal and even though I had others trying to tempt me away from you, I would never leave.
I remained committed to you and our relationship. I did all I could for you and made sure I was always there for you.
When you first told me I was no longer needed, a piece of me died forever, but I held on to the hope that one day we might be together again.
The time we spent apart was tortuous. Even though we weren’t together, I watched on from afar, making sure you were OK.
Losing such an influential figure was always going to be tough for you and I know you hit some low points. It tormented me as I saw other men mistreating you.
I know your desperate state left you open to be used and abused. Some were only interested in being with you for their own gains. There are too many Louis and Joses out there and you are worth so much more than that.
That’s why I was so thrilled when you got in touch and asked me back. I hoped we could grow and become great together once more.
It was a rocky road to start with but working together we did get back to some good times.
First, we had to get rid of some of the people who you had let into your life that were no good for you.
Alexis never cared about you; he was just out for what he could get. While the likes of Marouane and Daley were simply not good enough for you.
I helped you drop some of the bad people you had let into your circle, and we began to thrive again.
A magical night in Paris, and I thought we would be together forever.
Time went by and I thought we were on the right path, we weren’t achieving our goals together, but we were getting close.
Surely given more time we could make it.
Then people started gossiping behind my back. I heard rumours that you planned to dump me for someone more exciting, someone with a bigger CV.
I hate to admit it, but my insecurities got the better of me and I checked your phone when you were in the shower.
My heart sank. Countless messages to different men, from all around the world.
“Zinedine, are we gonna do this or what?”
“Mauricio, I can’t wait forever, are you in or are you out?”
“Erik, when are you going to bring those sweet moves over here?”
I knew our time together was coming to an end, but still I didn’t have the heart to walk away.
I needed to stay to protect you, as together we suffered humiliation in front of our noisy neighbours, and those mouthy lot from down the road.
They were laughing at us, but I never let you take the blame. I took the brunt of it to protect you.
To keep you safe for the future so some other man can make you happy again.
And I would do it all again. Despite everything, I still want the best for you. I am just sorry it couldn’t be me to make you happy.
I am not bitter, we had some great times together, and it is those I will choose to remember.
All my love always,
Lifelong fan of the Premier League, looking on from the outside since 1999 waiting for Forest to return to the top table where they belong. Probably get promoted this season.