QPR last beat United on New Year’s Day 1992 in a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, the day after Sir Alex Ferguson’s 50th birthday. It was a match that nobody who was present at will ever forget. At no point yesterday did they look anywhere near repeating that feat. On 22 minutes of what was, until then, a cagey game, Ryan Giggs robbed Adel Taarabt in midfield to feed Robin Van Persie, whose shot was parried by QPR’s Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César. Rafael followed up with a first time shot from 25 yards which has to be a contender for goal of the season. It was a goal that reminded me of his compatriot Éder Assis. If he had been wearing his native colours of Yellow and Blue instead of the Red and Black of United, we would be seeing that goal every fifteen minutes on SKY Sports with something like Black Magic Woman by Santana playing in the background.
Due to us knowing who’s been drawn in the next round, tonights match actually felt like a replay at the first time of asking. Bearing in mind the logistics, if ESPN really must show a match on a Monday night, couldn’t they have arranged for Everton’s match at Boundary Park for it instead. Season ticket holders all got begging texts the other day from United asking us if we wanted to bring a relative, friend or even an enemy and since the final whistle, we have been informed that the money for the next round is to be deducted from our accounts forthwith with an admirable speed. You’ve got to admire the efficiency of the United ticket office in sorting this out, an efficiency which nearly always induces a strong response when discussed by reds who have the fortune to deal with them. Many times in recent years, I’ve moaned about the atmosphere at Old Trafford but tonight was in comparison with recent matches, a reasonably good one, certainly in the East Lower (Scoreboard end for old school) where I was tonight for a change of scenery. The Stretford End were making a decent racket. As for Reading fans, they were like every other half witted collective of Southerners who’ve polluted our palatial stadium with their presence this season. I’ll give the Scousers one thing, they hate us with a hatred that is unique, it’s when you come across the wasters that support these Southern teams (Tottenham excepted) that you appreciate that. They all sing the same songs/chants in an attempt to rile United fans into a reaction and then get all sour when a bored United crowd can’t be arsed engaging. The usual generic shite about supporting their local team (when they appear to be doing everything but) and about how all United fans are cockneys. Half the time, I’m there thinking “ahh bless” the way you would indulge a crowd of children who are having a bit of harmless fun. They must think that we have never heard this “banter” before or failing that, they are doing what Southerners are famously good at and strangling the life out of a half decent joke ad infinitum.
Real Madrid have to play Barcelona twice immediately before the return leg at Old Trafford in three weeks time. I’ve heard it said that Jose Mourinho might shuffle his squad around for them matches but like United against Liverpool, pragmatism goes out of the window when el classico is played. Madridistas would, under no circumstances forgive a half cocked effort against Barcelona any more than we would against Liverpool.
Electronic sign outside the Bernabau informing us that the match was a sell out (photo courtesy of Pete Barry)
We’ve had an eight day break from domestic football with an England friendly against Brazil thrown in to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the FA. In the days preceeding the match, this gave ITV an opportunity to show pretty bikini clad girls walking alongside the Copacabana Beach even though the game was in a freezin’ cold London. To my eyes, the most important thing about the game was that no United players came back injured. Continue reading Giggs will tear you apart again and again and again… Old Trafford 10th of February 10th 2013
The success United enjoy in modern football commenced in my eyes against todays opponents, Fulham in August 2006. That day, United went 4-0 up in the first twenty minutes, of the first game of the season at Old Trafford, a match United ended up winning 5-1. Later on that season, United nicked a slutchy 2-1 win against the same opposition at Craven Cottage with a last minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo which induced a celebratory dance from Sir Alex Ferguson which has gone down in United folklore. The results of that seasons fixtures nicely encapsulate the matches between United and Fulham in recent times. In March 2009, United murdered a terrible Fulham team 4-0 in the FA Cup quarter final, only to go there two weeks later and lose 2-0 to the same side. Last season just prior to Christmas, United won 5-0 at Craven Cottage, later on in the season, United stole a 1-0 win against Fulham at Old Trafford with a goal from Wayne Rooney, just like today in fact.