When Nemanja Vidic lifted the Community Shield with David Moyes back in August following the defeat of Wigan, it was all smiles as Man United looked to reassert their dominance following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
For the first time in a long time Manchester United were not considered favourites for the title. Nonetheless, with a team that has dominated English football for a long time, they were expected to remain at the forefront for many years to come as they had a unique blend of youth and experience carrying them.
Fast forward a few months and the rosy picture painted earlier in the season has been tainted by several mishaps and misdemeanors - none as big as Nemanja Vidic's revelation that he will leave Manchester United.
This news would come as no surprise to regular readers of Scoop on the City. We recently ran article stating that Vidic was proactively rejecting any contract renewals forthcoming from Manchester United as he was disillusioned with the current situation at the club.
Furthermore, his agents had met up with Inter Milan to try and secure a deal for the player on a bosman transfer. It is also thought AC Milan and Juventus are waiting in the wings to make a the player a deal.
Vidic announced his imminent departure on the Manchester United official website last night:
"I'm not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United."
"I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies. However, I have decided I will move on at the end of this season. I want to challenge myself again."
"I have had eight wonderful years here,"
"My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career."
"I will certainly never forget that fantastic night in Moscow [when United beat Chelsea to win the 2008 Champions League], memories that will live with me and the fans for ever."
Since joining United from Spartak Moscow in 2006, Vidic has been nothing short of outstanding for the Premier League club. In his 8 years at the club he has made 284 appearances scoring 19 goals. His best period during the club occurred between 2006 and 2011 where he formed an impenetrable center back pairing with Rio Ferdinand, making them the best world at that point. At their very peak, the Manchester United defence created a record (which still stands) for the longest time a team has gone on without conceding a goal: 1,334 minutes during the 2008/09 season.
However, in 2011, Vidic sustained an injury that would see him only play 6 matches in the 2011/12 season. Since then he has not been able to play a full season and his departure comes as no surprise from a purely footballing perspective.
On the other hand, with Sir Alex Ferguson gone; Vidic leaving; the contracts of Evra, Ferdinand and Giggs yet to decided and the future's of Rooney, van Persie and several others up in the air, it feels as though an era is coming to an end.