Oh Oh Oh It’s Carrick, Hard To Believe It’s Not Scholes…. Manchester 24th of February 2013

QPR last beat United on New Year’s Day 1992 in a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, the day after Sir Alex Ferguson’s 50th birthday. It was a match that nobody who was present at will ever forget. At no point yesterday did they look anywhere near repeating that feat. On 22 minutes of what was, until then, a cagey game, Ryan Giggs robbed Adel Taarabt in midfield to feed Robin Van Persie, whose shot was parried by QPR’s Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César. Rafael followed up with a first time shot from 25 yards which has to be a contender for goal of the season. It was a goal that reminded me of his compatriot Éder Assis. If he had been wearing his native colours of Yellow and Blue instead of the Red and Black of United, we would be seeing that goal every fifteen minutes on SKY Sports with something like Black Magic Woman by Santana playing in the background.

QPR had Bobby Zamora and Chris Samba starting yesterday, not necessarily players I’d want at Old Trafford but I’ve seen both have great games against United in recent times. Even though Zamora was taken care of by an imperious Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, I was pleased when he was substituted on 60 minutes to be replaced by QPR’s recent signing from Olympique de Marseille, Loïc Rémy. As for Samba, he didn’t look fully fit to me. The most surprising thing about the home team was how little heart or fight was demonstrated, especially with players like Samba and Zamora in the side. Teams playing for their survival in the Premier League normally raise their game to some degree when playing a team at the top of the table but QPR played with no urgency whatsoever. On 80 minutes, Ryan Giggs scored for the third time in four games to calm any lingering anxiety of the 2,500 travelling support in the School End.

After having a few pints in a very efficiently staffed Walkabout bar next door to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the walk down Oxbridge Road Road towards Loftus Road had a small police presence due to a gang of a dozen pissed up young Reds marching down the road singing loudly. Once inside the ground, I was pleasantly surprised to find beer on sale at £4.00 a pint – not something you can take for granted at away grounds. At half time, stewards were panicking as a massive crush ensued on an ill equipped concourse. There was gridlock amongst fans coming in from the terrace, coming in and out of the toilets and trying to get food and drink. I’ve no doubt that QPR will try and lay the blame at the door of United fans for anarchic behaviour. (That’s assuming they acknowledge it at all). The truth is that if it wasn’t for the calm heads amongst the travelling Reds we could have had a major incident in that stand yesterday. Anybody who thinks the Hillsborough disaster couldn’t occur in this day and age due to all seated terraces is living in cloud cuckoo land. Loftus Road may be a quaint old stadium in one of my favourite parts of London but if that ground is holding a full house, as it was yesterday, it’s a death trap. To say you’re close to the pitch in the Lower School End of Loftus Road is an understatement. In a stand that’s very similar to the lower tier of the Bramhall Lane stand at Sheffield United, it’s reminiscent of being stood on Fog Lane Park on a Sunday morning; the only real difference being that Fog Lane is a far better layout.

United fans were in good boisterous voice yesterday; the old songs were out as well as the new. Five minutes before half time, about twenty yards to my right, ten to fifteen lads started singing a song about Michael Carrick to the melody of Magic by Pilot. It was infectious and by the midpoint of the second half, the entire stand was singing it. I’ve since come across a few people moaning about it due to the apparent blasphemy of comparing Carrick to Scholes (please see below…) There’s two things I can say to that: first, it’s a million times better than that ‘Kicking a Blue’ shite (to the melody of Tom Hark by The Pirhanas) and secondly, these too-cool-for-school Reds need to get over themselves or maybe come up with something better if they’re not too busy being cool to do so.

“Whoa whoa whoa, it’s Carrick, you know, never believe it’s not Scholes, it’s Carrick, you know (repeat ad infinitum)

8 thoughts on “Oh Oh Oh It’s Carrick, Hard To Believe It’s Not Scholes…. Manchester 24th of February 2013”

  1. You’ll be surprised to hear I quite like the Carrick chant. Shame the oh oh oh part isn’t kept in it though. In fact I’d change it to “Oh oh oh it Carrick, you know. Never believe its not Scholes. Its Carrick you know, except he doesn’t score many goals. Oh oh oh…” ;o)

    There was a similar crush in the upper tier as half time as well and as you correctly point out all seated grounds haven’t taken that possibility away…just sanitised the experience in the stadium itself when watching the match. Something I discussed with some older QPR fans after the match as it wasn’t just their team that seemed to have lost its spirit. I’ve not heard a quieter home support..ever! That’s saying something with some of Old Trafford’s performances over the recent years.

    1. The QPR fans I come across on the Central Line on the way back to Perivale had a pretty resigned demeanour about them. I basically said that if anybody could keep them up, it was Harry as he’s got a track record to rival St Jude. He’d do well to maintain that this season though.

  2. Madrid they sold out of beer, QPR they sold out of pies, don’t they no its not so we’re northern guys? All in all a good trip and back home in record time, I’m waiting for the 3 points for that

  3. I have a guilty suspicion that I may have been among that “gang of a dozen pissed up young Reds marching down the road singing loudly” on the way to the ground. I blame accelerated excited beer consumption in the wake of finally getting tickets sorted! Glad we all got sorted in the end though mate.

    Rafael, Welbeck and Carrick the outstanding performers for me on Saturday. Class is becoming simply expected of Rafael these days, and Danny is increasingly combining good awareness and quality passes with his work rate. I’m sure the goals will come for him. Carrick must have appreciated the never-ending chanting of his name behind that goal, great to see our whole end bouncing to that.

    There are no more superlatives for Giggsy, the man’s just on another level.

    1. Fully understand the excitement on getting a ticket leading to a boisterous sing-song and why not? ’twas hard work geting a brief on Saturday so fair play. Near the security cordon at the turnstiles on Ellerslie Road were a load of reds looking like rejected puppies at Harpurhey dogs home, I ain’t laughing at them, I’ve been in that position but I hope they found some way into the ground. Good day all round

  4. Satisfied with the performance on Saturday. Seen on a stop start stream, better than nothing I suppose. Also, dare I say, not too disappointed that Chewcee got nout yesterday. The possibility of The Shirts putting the spoilt brats to the sword at the ‘ Theatre’ would be a nice way to wrap things up. Hope the young Reds didn’t risk getting nicked. We need them lads in the ground, not in the chokey. Plenty time to get nicked after eh lads. Keep doin’ it. Good read Murph. And good pickies too.

    1. I was hoping Chelsea got a result on Sunday but when I saw Lampard run up to take that penalty, I just had a bad gut feeling about it. All said, United are in a pretty healthy position, reminiscent of the one in 2000/2001 when they had the title matematically won by Easter Saturday. After last seasons collapse though, I’m taking nothing for granted

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