International football has interfered with momentum built up over the past couple of weeks with the usual bad smell surrounding the small town, meatheaded inbreds that follow the England side. Despite looking forward to the return of Premier League football, I hadn’t given the small time watered down Geordies that United played today too much thought until last night. Then last May came back to me and with the memory of the glee of the ‘sunlan’ (sic) fans in reaction to Aguero’s goal, I wanted United to give them a thrashing today at their pretentiously named stadium. That didn’t happen but a 1-0 win which temporarily put United eighteen points clear is a very acceptable second prize.
We live in strange times. Last weekend, the coldest one this year thus far, there was no sign of any of those blue and white scarves that were so ubiquitous last season. Perhaps those scarves like the team they showed an allegiance to is, to use the vernacular of the fashion fraternity, “so last year”. Fashion is a fickle thing and that trait is something that dovetails beautifully with our mustachioed blue cousins. The noisy neighbours have suddenly gone very quiet. You may not have seen any City fans for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. You may feel that they’re now truly doing a Poznan and singing We’re Not Really Here but fellow reds, it’s our duty as decent people and neighbours to knock on their doors or call their phones. Ask them if they want a paper, maybe some shopping or suchforth. Whatever you do, call them, remind them of the fifteen point gap constantly and laugh your fuckin’ head off. After the gloatathon (sic) of last summer, it’s the very least we can do. With City’s defeat/moral victory at Goodison Park, a very good day was compunded by the Leeds scum and Liverpool losing. It’s always a joy to hear both of them have lost no matter how far they’ve slipped down the footballing pyramid. Liverpool had recently enjoyed a couple of decent results. This meant that they’d had their 79th resurgence since they last won the title 23 years ago. I’ll repeat that, 23 YEARS. Rodgers must stay!
They were former team mates at Nottingham Forest but Roy Keane and Alf Inge Håland were never friends. The real trouble started at Elland Road in September 1997 when a Roy Keane foul on Alf Inge Håland resulted in Keane acquring a career threatening cruciate ligament injury. Soon after with breathtaking callous indiference, Håland stated that Roy Keane had deserved the injury that he’d acquired at Elland Road that day, a sentiment like this was not going to be forgotten. After Roy Keane had made his infamous comment regarding some United fans and prawn sandwiches after a fraught European Cup victory over Dynamo Kyiv at Old Trafford in November 2000, Håland couldn’t help but stick his oar and criticise Keane for comments made that had absolutely nothing to do with him, the club he was skipper of or the fans of that club. Talk about pulling the tigers tail? City fans mistakenly and conveniently blame Roy Keane for ending Alf-Inge Håland’s career for that “challenge” in the Old Trafford derby in April 2001. When Keane done Håland, whether he meant to or not, he struck a blow for all United fans that afternoon. Håland had in his days as a Leeds United player, referred to Manchester United as “Munichs” and “scum” on his own personal website. When Håland joined newly promoted City in the summer of 2000, he was described as “articulate” by the easily impressed City correspondent, Chris Bailey in the Manchester Evening News (he who’s now head of PR at City). I can only imagine that anybody whom is bi-lingual is articulate in Bailey’s eyes.
Roy Keane in the process of injuring Alf Inge Håland so badly that Håland gets up two minutes later and finishes the game. Håland retired from football two years later with an injury to his LEFT knee
Twice in the first eleven minutes Petr Cech was caught badly out of position to allow United to run up a quick 2-0 lead. When Javier Hernandez was found by a perfect Michael Carrick cross in the third minute I was convinced the ball was going over the bar, so was Peter Cech as it looped over his head and into the net. Eight minutes later after a foul by Victor Moses on Nani, Wayne Rooney floated the resultant free kick into the Chelsea box and past a crestfallen Cech to make it 2-0. United looked like running rampant here, by thirty minutes Hernandez had nearly made it 3-0 and then Petr Cech reminded me why I think he´s the best keeper in the Premier League by making an incredible double save to stop a David Luiz own goal.
Walking down Wharfside Way* tonight towards Old Trafford, the lights on the East Stand seemed to shine a little brighter than usual. I’m sure it was just an optical illusion but there was a real air of excitement and nervous anticipation tonight for the game and the senses were heightened. Besuited and grizzled old school reds, one or two smoking a stogie were hanging around on the forecourt and the tickets on the black market were coming to figures that could pay for some peoples season tickets. It’s been a while since a match involving United had such a magnitude of excitement in the build up. Even with the corny mosaic and plastic flags left in United Road and the officially sanctioned Manchester United banner without the legend ”football club” being in the crest, the atmosphere in the ground was the best I’ve witnessed since the semi final against Barcelona in 2008. Old Trafford is made for nights and matches like the one we had tonight.