BY ALESSANDRO SCHIAVONE
Former Manchester United keeper Raimond Van Der Gouw admitted that the rise of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea precipitated the demise of Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary team in the early 2000s.
The Old Trafford boys had won eight of the 12 Premier League trophies at stake before the Russian bought the Blues in 2003.
Thanks to his spending powers, Abramovich ended a 50-year drought for the title by leading the success-starved west Londoners to back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
A CV the size of a telephone directory, Van Der Gouw won English football’s top division on four occasions during the club’s greatest era of domination between 1996 and 2002 as Peter Schmeichel’s understudy.
Sandwiched in between was the famous 1999 Champions League win over Bayern Munich in Barcelona. But Chelsea’s hegemony meant that the days when United looked down on the rest of the land were over.
The 60-year-old told South London Press: “In our time, we had Chelsea, who came with a new owner with a lot of money.
“The media at the time were saying: ‘You cannot buy the league’.
“But after four, five years, they won the league, so that was a turning point. Our biggest arrivals were Arsenal at that time and, of course, Liverpool.
“But then Chelsea came…”
The Dutchman is the goalkeeper coach at Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem, where former Blues academy star Mason Mount honed his skills on loan during the 2017/2018 season.
For Van Der Gouw, Chelsea’s loss is United’s gain, claiming that the attacking midfielder is the real deal.
He said: “Mason is fantastic. I saw him here at Vitesse and from the start, you could see the quality and the mentality, which were both really good. He’ll fit in the Man United squad.”
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