Celebrating reds on the scaffolding on Deansgate (Photo courtesy of Sarah Moss)
Whilst there was no real feeling of trepidation, there was a real feeling of there being the end of an era at Old Trafford yesterday. It was no great surprise that Sir Alex Ferguson had decided to retire as United manager but the way the news broke on Tuesday, through the medium of Twitter was a typically cack handed way that United handle media matters. By sheer coincidence, the revelation of Wayne Rooney’s second transfer request in three years came out the following day. With the announcement of Ferguson’s retirement and in recognition of the era ending implications of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, United put a defiant montage up on the front of the Scoreboard End (shown below) which was dripping in unintended irony. Wayne Rooney was at the fore of the image, the likelihood of him being part of that continuation is hanging in the balance. We all know that David Moyes will become United manager from July 1st, that’s the same David Moyes who succesfully sued Wayne Rooney for libel in 2008. The image was hastily taken down overnight from the East Stand so when United’s Champions parade commenced, the image had in great Stalinist fashion, vanishedYesterday was a rain soaked day of celebration and reflection. United were lifting the Premier League trophy and Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Scholes were both involved in their last matches at Old Trafford for their incumbency. With Scholes not playing a full game for United since just after Christmas, his second and final retirement was also no surprise. Everybody had a flag waiting on their seats at Old Trafford. Swansea fans were left with flags acknowledging their League cup final win in February and they along with their players got into the spirit of the occasion by giving good respect to Sir Alex Ferguson. The match was no classic. On 39 minutes, Javier Hernandez seized on an Ashley Williams mistake to put United in the lead. Four minutes into the second half, Swansea equalised with a brilliant goal from Michu and there was a phase of Swansea pressure for ten minutes after that where they should’ve took the lead. On 87 minutes, Rio Ferdinand became the 20th player to score for United this season and also scored his first goal for United since January 2008 when he slammed the winner into the Stretford End net.
A year ago today, the world seemed a very different place. After the rising of the blue moon and all the hot air that came off the that rising, we were repeatedly told that we were on the cusp of a new era of blue dominance. City backed by an incomprehensible amount of money from oil rich benefactors looked set to rule our H20 rich metropolis for the foreseeable future. On the Saturday just passed, City deservedly lost the FA cup final to Wigan Athletic. The build up to the game was hilariously Cityesque. Only City could have their manager answering questions on his imminent dismissal in the pre-match press conference for an FA cup final and then sack him on the first anniversary of them winning their first title in 44 years. It’s the same modus operandi which occurred when Mark Hughes was sacked, prior to a home win against Sunderland and Sven Goran Eriksson’s dismissal, which came in the wake of an 8-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on the same day United won the title in 2008. Where City and their beloved if slightly trigger happy sugar daddies go from here is anybody’s guess but with United, being champions again and City crassly handling a managerial departure, there’s a real feeling of plus ca change. No matter how much money gets pumped into City or whoever owns the club, there’s something in their DNA which means that they handle important scenario’s like the replacing of a manager with a ham fisted stamp which would embarrass a Sunday league pub side. The following night, Carlos Tevez infamously held up a cardboard placard claiming “R.I.P. Fergie”. Tevez wasn’t the first person to prematurely write Sir Alex Ferguson off but he was by some distance, the biggest dickhead to do it. Tonight, the elements gave us some mercy for the title celebrating parade after something approaching a tropical storm threatened it’s happening three hours before it commenced. Albert Square was fenced off but the fence was ripped down on Mount Street with an ease that would have had a guard on Checkpoint Charlie shaking his head in disbelief. In Albert Square, United fans were serenaded by The Courteeners with their modern classic Not Nineteen Forever being played to the crowd. We even had Paul Scholes addressing the crowd. What more could we ask for?
United bus at White City (photo courtesy of Sally Beswick)
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