The last few days have to be the best days the bookies have had in recent memory with football scores. All weekend, shock after shock results occurred with QPR and Norwich getting beaten at home by lower and none league opposition respectively. Sunday continued the surprises with a clean sweep of shock results. Chelsea drawing away at Brentford, Tottenham losing away at the Leeds scum and the magnificent game and result at a three sided Boundary Park where Liverpool were knocked out of the cup by (come on) Oldham. That afternoon, Brendan Rodgers brief tenure as Liverpool boss reached a new depth as he gallantly blamed the young players in the Liverpool side for letting them down as opposed to his team selection and a choice that he made to leave Steven Gerrard on the bench. United and City both went through with almost mundane efficiency. On the Sunday night draw, United were for the eigth consecutive time, drawn against Premier League opposition in the FA Cup by drawing Reading at home. City were a different class to Stoke and it was only a matter of time before they got a deserved winner, which was scored by the excellent Pablo Zabaletta. That performance was replicated by City last night when they went to Loftus Road and murdered a QPR side 0-0. Another banker gone up the wall and I have rarely been so happy to see a result make a town halls of my fixed odds coupon as I was to see that draw of City’s last night. Tonight, both Liverpool and Chelsea surrendered two goal leads, Chelsea succumbed at Reading to add another fixed odds upset and Liverpool threw away a two goal lead to disrupt recently reached quadragenarian Brendan Rodgers plans to have Liverpool in the top two at the seasons conclusion. United were hot favourites tonight to beat Southampton but United were very, very lucky not to be joining all the other teams previously mentioned in the shock results.
United sent out text messages on the Wednesday just passed to season ticket holders, members and, in some cases, even lapsed members trying to entice them into buying tickets for yesterday’s match. Like the Sunderland game pre-Christmas, it was obvious that the touts were going to have a quieter day than usual. In the pre-match build up, with previous United cup final records being interspersed with Fools Gold and This Is The One by The Stone Roses, Alan Keegan informed the Old Trafford crowd that United, having won the FA cup 11 times, were the most succesful club in cup history three times in ten minutes. It was nice that United’s 1948 cup winning goalkeeper, Curzon Ashton president and Hulme old boy, Jack Crompton, was a guest of honour at yesterday’s match. Crompton is also a regular at Altrincham’s Moss Lane ground when United’s reserves are playing a home match; I sincerely hope he’s also guest of honour when he turns up there too. Continue reading Reading into the 5th round – Manchester 27th of January 2013
If you told me immediately after the match against Tottenham last September that come the final whistle on the return game, United would be five points clear at the top of the table, I wouldn’t have believed you. United now have Liverpool, Newcastle and Tottenham completely out of the way and have played Chelsea and City away from home. Only a fool would ever take anything for granted, especially after the way last season concluded (just in case we didn’t already know) but looking at the respective fixtures both United and City have, give me United’s any day. Out of the teams in the top seven, United only have to play away at Arsenal.
Clint Dempsey equalises in the 2nd minute of injury time
A freezing cold night, a shite atmosphere and Old Trafford being stewarded by people that our visitors tonight would colloquially call a shower of “berks”. As much as nights like the one we all had at Stamford Bridge three months ago emphasise the privilege it is to be a red, nights like tonight are as much bad as that night was good. The irony is that United lost that night at Stamford Bridge but we all came home jubilant having taken the piss out them frauds that pollute that stadium. Tonight, United won but never has the old pun, “cold Trafford” been more appropriate. I sometimes read the K stand top left section in UWS fanzine and wonder if I’m living in a parallel universe to the fella writing it. The self mythologysing K Stand were silent for almost the entire match, outshouted by roughly 1600 traveling West Ham fans but worse were the fuckin’ stewards. Whilst the West Ham fans were stood up for almost the entire match (no skin off my nose, just as long as they don’t cut our allocation there for the same reason), Three lads just behind me in the B stand walked out after being mithered by a steward when trying to get an atmosphere going. My guess is that they probably went to the Bishops, which they might as well have been all night for the contribution they were ALLOWED to make to the atmosphere. There was another fella in the K stand in a white coat who was kicked out of the ground for the same reason. I’ve seen uprising in our proud old stadium before against these goons. The first time I saw it was the J stand in the summer of 1991 when them busy bastards that Michael “Ned” Kelly employed got a good slapping when they tried kicking out reds making an atmosphere during a match against Luton Town. Maybe Old Trafford has been stealthily neutered over the years, as a lot of people believe but I know of enough rum lads who still regularly go for that idea to be rubbish. The problem is, they’re all scattered around the stadium. The idea that was mooted last season about a singing section, where lads can gather together in a prominent part of the stadium, can’t come to fruition quickly enough in my eyes.
A returning Wayne Rooney scores the winning goal on eight minutes after brilliant work by Anderson
Atmospherically, United against Liverpool is never going to be the Woodstock festival but passing by the Liverpool fans today on the forecourt, about quarter of an hour before kick off, both sets of fans were baiting each other, divided by police lines. It may have been a lot of hot air, the ‘hold me back’ bollocks that occurs when traditonal enemies see each other and want to put a bit of a show on. I didn’t recognise one person in amongst the crowd who were ‘firm’. The last time I saw Old Trafford this moody was in January 2002 when Danny Murphy scored a late winner for Liverpool in the Stretford End. That was post match but today, it was all pre-game. The corresponding match last season was played in the wake of the furore of the Suarez/Evra affair and a pretty sickening FA Cup defeat at Anfield two weeks prior. The atmosphere that day outside the ground was nowhere near as lively then as it was today going in. By United/Liverpool standards, the atmosphere in the today during the game was quiet subdued. Maybe it was the kick off time or maybe it was the freezing weather but after the pre match bravado outside, once inside people seemed more concerned with keeping warm than creating the raucous atmosphere we normally get at this fixture. A couple of minutes into the game, Liverpool fans made a statement of intent when a smoke bomb went off in the middle of their stand. Apart from the Scousers displaying their legendary self celebrated wit with songs about Bryan Robson having VD and implying Gary Neville’s relationship with his mother had not progressed past the oedipus complex, this was the sole contribution they made to first half atmosphere.