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.
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
In alphabetical order, a review of the teams United have played this season.
Two days after the 6-1 defeat to City, United played Aldershot Town. The timing of the game was a godsend bearing in mind what had happened 48 hours earlier. Any outside hope that Aldershot would have had by pulling a shock off were evaporated by the City result. League Cup or not, there was no way Sir Alex Ferguson was going to tolerate a defeat to Aldershot in the aftermath of the City match. Everything went alright on the night. Travelling United fans weren’t extorted on the ticket price, United won 3-0 without getting into third gear and 4,000 loyal, salt of the earth and local club supporting Aldershot fans went to their first and last match for ten years.
A mock up picture of Sir Alex Ferguson outside Aldershot’s Recreation Ground
At 11.15 Monday night, I got a text off a friend of a friend in Brighton, telling me there was three tickets available for the match at Craven Cottage on Wednesday at £50.00QPR apiece. I accepted at once and having made plans to go down to Fulham, I got a pretty underwhelming text off the same kid, telling me the tickets had actually been sold last night before he’d texted me, but he didn’t know this at the time. I could’ve gone down on spec, like I’d done for the game at QPR, but there’s a massive difference between going to London at the weekend without a ticket and all the hassle and mither of going there on a Wednesday night ticketless (going straight from work, Wednesbury at rush hour, getting home at 3am and up for work three hours later, etc).
This is the first United match this season that I’ve either not watched in the flesh or live on the television, SKY sports had decided tonight to show the goalless draw between Wigan Athletic & Liverpool live, I believe so as to get one of their quota of crap matches out of the way, satisfy a contractual obligation with the Premier League and maintain a veneer of equality. Having failed to get any kind stream on the internet showing the match, I kept in touch with the match via the very old fashioned method of listening to the commentary on Talksport for the first half. By half time United were 3-0 up with Danny Wellbeck, Nani and Ryan Giggs scoring. Giggs scored his first league goal of the season and also by doing that, scored for the 22nd consecutive season.
Listening to the match on the radio is definetly more stressful than watching it on the telly or in the ground as you can obviously only use your imagination to picture what’s going on. In my formative years of being a United fan, in the 1980s, there wasn’t the saturation television coverage of football that we get now, we’d get something like five/six games a season live on television, seven or eight in a good year. Myself and fellow reds of my age were at the mercy of Piccadilly radio’s United correspondant , Tom Tyrell. A man so biased that he makes Paddy Crerand sound like Bob Wilson, he’s the only man I’ve ever come across who could induce heart failure in an eleven year old boy. With United running rampant by half time, there was none of the heart stopping moments that radio commentary gives you and by sixty minutes, I’d managed to find a stop/start stream of the match and United were in cruise control. On 88 minutes, Wayne Rooney let fly with a scorcher of shot, the kind a striker plays when his team’s winning 3-0. It was, to then, easily the best goal of the night and it was a nice way to wrap up a comfortable win. Dimitar Berbatov though had other ideas when a couple of minutes later, he backheeled an Antonio Valencia cross in the bottom left hand corner of the Fulham net to score a goal very similar to the famous one Denis Law scored for City in front of the Scoreboard End of Old Trafford in 1974.
The only other thing I can remember from tonight of significance was when Phil Jones was clobbered by Clint Dempsey’s elbow in the second minute. Having seen the replay, I genuinely think it was an accident. Dempsey is an honest lad, he looked pretty gutted to have done what he’d done. Jones, hard bastard that he is, played on for twenty minutes but was obviously not right, I’m just hoping it won’t cause his absence from the United team for too long. With the physios room at the moment at Old Trafford resembling the M62 rush hour, he’ll be badly missed if he’s out too long.