Over the last two/three days, there’s been a steadying increase in received text messages received from friends of mine offering me tickets for tonights match “at face value”, which is real decent of them. As a season ticket holder, I no longer need to get a ticket for European games thanks to the Automatic cup scheme, introduced by our beloved custodians in 2007 which done away with the inconvenience of having to go to the stadium to pick up the tickets by having a compulsory direct debit attached to our season cards/tickets, tonights match cost me £42.00 to witness. Gee, thanks guys.
When all’s said and done, a win’s a win and with the present malaise around Old Trafford, a third win on the bounce was more than welcome, no matter how scrappy it was. The other match tonight in group C, between Benfica and Basle ended in 1-1 draw which means, if I’ve worked things out correctly, all United have to do is draw in Basle to be safely through to the next knockout stages. Judging by tonights performance, what happens when United end up facing a decent side could be quite a sobering experience.
Antonio Valencia scored from Phil Jones cross on eight minutes to calm a lot of nerves around Old Trafford. Anybody expecting the floodgates to open were in for a tedious surprise. There was no onslaught for Otelul Galati to contain, just a disjointed United team performance which had to make an early substitution due to thigh strain suffered by Michael Owen, replaced by Javier Hernandez. The fact that United went in at half time winning was due to the poor calibre of opposition than any other factor, with one notable exception, when David De Gea made a brilliant save from a shot from Ionut Neagu which took a deflection off Rio Ferdinand.
Half time and most of the second half passed by in a catatonic blur. I saw two young lads posing in front of a banner with the United crest on it whilst the match was in play, I saw a young couple who’d decided to get more familiar with each other and there was a flurry of text messages I received from people watching the match both in the ground and at home telling me in Anglo Saxon language what they thought of the game. Up to the 87th minute, the most exciting thing to happen in the second half was the very welcome news from my sister, via text, that Leeds United were losing 5-0 at home to Blackpool. It was just one of those nights. To finish off any faint fears that Otelul Galati could throw a spaniard in the works, Wayne Rooney had a pop from twenty yards and it took a wicked deflection off Sarghi.
I don’t wish to be too disparaging because I don’t remember any of their players or fans doing or saying anything out of order but Otelul Galati have got to be the worst opposition side I’ve seen United play since Pecsi Munkas in 1990. Walking away from the ground tonight, there was one thing that I was pondering heavily on the way home, I was wondering how the hell humanity had ever coped without mobile/cell phones. The match just witnessed, had faded into the haze of the humid Mancunian night.