On Freezing Cold Nights And Days In The Sun – Manchester, 3rd February 2015

Fifty one seconds is all it took for this match to come to life. A poor Daley Blind backpass was seized on by Tom Elliott. The big Cambridge centre forward ran through on goal, beat David de Gea and hit the United keepers left hand post before rolling out safely for a goal kick. I was in the ground watching this comedy so I couldn’t hear what was being said on live television, but I bet my season ticket that Ian Darke, the commentator for BT Sports, was dreaming of his Ronnie Radford moment as Elliott ran clean through. As I write this immediately after the match, I wonder who will rue that miss more, Darke or Elliott.

On Saturday, United went through the motions beating a feisty pub side from Leicester 3-1. Tonight, the visitors from Cambridge gave a far more convincing and credible showing. Like Saturday however, the match was over as a realistic contest by half time. Angel Di Maria played the ball to the ball to the far post for Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian headed down into the six yard box and with the outside of his left foot, Juan Mata hacked the ball into the Scoreboard End net in the 25th minute. Seven minutes later, Marcos Rojo scored his first goal for United. From six yards, the Argentine centre half glanced a header into the right-hand side of the net past Chris Dunn, the pink clad Cambridge keeper, after a brilliant Robin van Persie cross. In the 71st minute, James Wilson made the score 3-0 with a low shot from twenty yards into the Stretford End net. This capped the scoring off for the night and thus, duplicated the score of previous time Cambridge United played at Old Trafford in September 1991, for a League Cup tie.

On freezing cold nights, both eleven nights ago and tonight, Cambridge United football club and their loyal fans, who support their local team and take 6,500 to every away game, have had their metaphorical days in the sun. As I got back to my car near the Abbey Stadium after that shambles in the first game, I found a text from United on my mobile phone. Great I thought, an apology from United for the piss poor effort I’d just witnessed. I was wrong to think that. With a speed and efficiency that the United first team could only dream of, United’s ticket office showed them the way by telling reds that they were to have £30/45 debited from their accounts on Monday for the replay.

Radamel Falcao celebrates putting United 2-0 up against Leicester City on Saturday

In the week following that debacle, the country was in the thrall of yellow snow warnings. United decided they couldn’t be left out of all this and they excelled themselves in the aftermath of that appalling display at Cambridge. In a customer service manoeuvre so crass that it would have Michael O’Leary of Ryanair wincing, United sent out text messages and emails, giving season ticket holders whose card details had expired in the last six months, thirty six hours to pay for this replay or they would have to serve a one match suspension for the Sunderland match on the 28th of February. Most people wouldn’t have got their first post Christmas pay packet until the day after the deadline, but United with breathtaking arrogance were not offering any flexibility. The coup de grace was the imposition of a booking fee on top of the replay ticket for people who had waited, in some cases over half an hour, on hold to United’s ticket office. This is probably the most egregious example of the odious automatic cup scheme, which was first imposed on season ticket holders in 2007.

The D Stand at Old Trafford on 85 minutes

I’m not au fait as to how many people failed to get their payment to the ticket office on time, but with an official attendance tonight of 74,511 most Season ticket holders obviously did (there was nowhere near that many in the ground). Most of those people who begged, borrowed or stole to pay for the ticket tonight, will be falling over themselves to get a ticket for United’s first visit to Preston since 1972. I will be one of them, but with the vulgar way United have dealt with the ticket payments for this replay, I do sometimes wonder why so much effort is to put into it. See you at West Ham

4 thoughts on “On Freezing Cold Nights And Days In The Sun – Manchester, 3rd February 2015”

  1. Had the misfortune of sitting next to the Cambridge lot. Giddy as kids at Christmas at being at a big club.

    These clubs fans must buzz with excitement on the way to the ground. A chance to belt out a load of songs never heard before.

    “You don’t come from Manchester, quickly followed by dirty northern bastards”

    How does that work out then?

    “We support our local team”

    Except on most Saturdays as you’ve averaged 5004 at home games this year, Even less if you factor out the cup games.

    “Worst support we’ve ever seen”

    5004. I’ve been in bigger crowds watching our under 18’s

    “You’re going to win fuck all”

    From a team who’ve had an old 3rd and 4th division title in their 103 year history along with a few amateur trophies.

    “Is this a library?”

    Sorry for not getting too excited for a game against a Division 2 team in which I was forced to buy an expensive ticket on a freezing cold night

    Oh well, back to obscurity for you lot. Hope you enjoyed your big night out.

    As Dan Ashcroft put it, “Once, the idiots were just the fools gawping in through the windows. Now they’ve entered the building.”

    and they’re shouting out at us!

    1. So was I. For the first half, I was sat in the B Stand as United attacked the Scoreboard End goal and Cambridge fans were right next to me in the old L and A stands. The handy thing about last night was that I knew at half time that I would be able to move to the D stand for the second half as United attacked the Stretford End without too much problem. It was like the old days

      Agree entirely with your comments about the travelling Cambridge fans. I ended up listening to their puerile excitement like an indulgent parent would look upon a particularly giddy child. A case of “ah bless”.

      Stephen Kelly, a Liverpool fan, recently said something similar about Leicester City fans when they were at Anfield on New Years Day, when they were reciting similar songs about scousers as to what Cambridge fans were saying about us last night. Basically, they can’t get their heads around how hard it is to get “up” for a game against a load of yokels like them. We should do but it’s hard. When they come out with such generic and half witted excuses for “banter” (whatever that is), you just end up shrugging your shoulders, hope your team wins and look forward to having a few pints after the match when they will be long forgotten.

      1. The FA cup is held as being good for the grass roots of football. Fuckin’ bollox. Why should them twats, be allowed near proper clubs? My idea would be to let every team below the top 16 of last years finishing places, squabble it out amongst themselves and we’ll then see how many glory hunting fuckwits go travelling. We know already. Some bus load, who admittedly do loyally support this crap, would turn up and sing those borrowed songs from the library of Knownowt and then just wither and die. They would then go dog chasing in their silly little pink outfits. Fucking pathetic. Phew, pass me that stirrup cup.

  2. You are all spot on. I had feared an evening of being lectured (boom boom) at by those most loyal of loyalers at their second ever game, and that’s what we got.

    What i did not expect was a contingent from a University town seemingly not knowing the colour ‘yellow’. Unless they were trying to influence the referee, of course, by serenading him with their favourite colour repeatedly. They wear orange. Gold, at a push.

    Thick twats.

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