This article originally appeared on VICE US.
The 2019 Premier League season comes to a close this weekend, and what a ride it’s been. Manchester City are favorites to defend their league champion status against Liverpool in a title race that has gone down to the wire and seen both teams accumulate what will be the second and third highest season point totals ever, respectively, if both win their final matches. A little further down the table, there are four teams all trying to secure Champions League spots for next season, even though none of them are playing like they actually want to be in those spots.
But one of the major themes of this season has been the decline of one underachieving team who has already lost out on a spot on Eurorope’s biggest stage, Manchester United. United, who were just a few seasons ago the shining jewels of English soccer, have fallen from grace in spectacular fashion. There have been a number of factors contributing to this moment: Bad managerial appointments, a playing staff lacking chemistry and responsibility, and general incompetence from the top to the bottom of the organization are all to blame. But there is one glaring factor that hasn’t been paid enough attention that has affected their season, and it all comes down to one player. That player is Jesse Lingard, who through his refusal to do the Blueface dance has exposed not only what is clearly his own cowardice, but that of Manchester United Football Club as a whole.
For those of you who may have no idea as to what the hell I’m talking about, let me first introduce you to Jesse Lingard. The 26-year-old Englishman plays across the midfield for both United and his country’s national team and last summer played a significant role in England’s journey to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, having appeared in all but one of the team's matches during the tournament and contributing a goal. As his star has grown, Lingard has gained a reputation for performing viral dances when he scores goals.
For instance, here he is milly rocking:
Here he is trying to do the shoot dance:
He’s also been seen doing the gun lean:
All these dances—including the gun lean, which I still don’t fully understand—are worthwhile in their own right, but they all lack the powerful energy and determination of the bust down dance, two things Lingard probably wouldn’t understand to begin with. The bust down is an all-conquering force, a motion that inspires fear, awe, passion, and respect all at once to any who may witness it. Blueface admits that he was not the first to do it, but he recognized its power well enough to bring it to the forefront of the mainstream. The dance has appeared in Blueface’s videos as early as September 2018, well before Lingard scored his first goal of the domestic season (the milly rock celebration above was that goal), giving him ample time to practice the dance in preparation for another goal-scoring occasion.
Lingard scored five goals in the 2018/2019 season—and to reiterate, he celebrated by doing the bust down dance for zero of them. There was no gyrating, no grabbing of the waistline, no fluid neck motions. Some of his fans may make excuses for him. Why they would want to associate themselves with this lack of internal fortitude on display, I do not know, but none of those excuses are any good.
"Maybe he hasn’t heard of Blueface?" you might say. Who the hell hasn’t heard of Blueface at this point, except for cowards afraid of good music? They also look way too much alike for this not to be the case.
"If he had played more matches he would have scored more goals and then maybe he’d have done it," United fans could protest. Lingard played 26 matches this season. That’s more than enough. The five he scored in all competitions was more than enough. Sure, he got injured and missed some matches, but that’s not an excuse. Maybe if he was more clinical in front of goal then yeah, maybe. But you know what would’ve help him score more? Not being so afraid.
"Dude, you know the English Football Association (the governing body of the sport in the country) would’ve clamped down on him for that," football podcast listeners might object. He literally did a dance called the gun lean and nothing happened. You all saw the commotion around Raheem Sterling’s tattoo of a gun. Lingard did a dance associated with guns and got away with it. I’m sure the FA could’ve survived a few seconds of light hip motions.
No matter how you split it, Jesse Lingard’s failure to perform the best viral dance in recent memory is a blight on Manchester United’s season, not just because it’s embarrassing that he would not even attempt it, but it also makes you wonder what could have been if he did. Would they be in a position to miss out on European competition if he had? Probably not. Would Paul Pogba, by far their best player, be looking to move to Real Madrid (or probably literally any other top club) if Lingard had simply spent three seconds with his hand on his waistline? He wouldn’t consider it. Would Mourinho’s tenure at the beginning of the season have ended so catastrophically? Yeah, he always does this in his third season at a club. They would’ve replaced him with a better manager than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer though.
Man U’s last match of the season is this Sunday at home against Cardiff City, a team that has been relegated back to the second division already and who are managed by Neil Warnock. Lingard is struggling with a knee injury and may not get the chance to appear in this match and correct one of the season’s greatest disappointments. Hopefully he will reflect on his biggest shortcoming over the past nine or 10 months during this offseason and know what he has to do to bring his club back to glory. At the same time I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the chaos over at Man U so maybe hopefully not? Idk. Anyway, let this be a lesson to all of us. Those who cannot recognize and imitate greatness will never achieve it, and will live our days in shame, just like Jesse Lingard, the coward.