International football has interfered with momentum built up over the past couple of weeks with the usual bad smell surrounding the small town, meatheaded inbreds that follow the England side. Despite looking forward to the return of Premier League football, I hadn’t given the small time watered down Geordies that United played today too much thought until last night. Then last May came back to me and with the memory of the glee of the ‘sunlan’ (sic) fans in reaction to Aguero’s goal, I wanted United to give them a thrashing today at their pretentiously named stadium. That didn’t happen but a 1-0 win which temporarily put United eighteen points clear is a very acceptable second prize.
Sunderland, like United’s other recent opponents Norwich and Reading, are a feisty but poor side. Sunderland haven’t beaten United since March 1997 and it quickly became apparent today that barring a balls up like the one that occurred at Wigan Athletic just under a year ago, that particular statistic was going to stay intact. United should have been more than 1-0 in front at half time but hesitancy in front of goal coupled with two chronically out of form wingers (Valencia in particular) playing with no confidence meant that Sunderland had something to aim and play for in the second half. Sunderland definitely had the better of the second half but it wasn’t exactly a backs to the wall performance from United which kept them from scoring. United seemed serenely content to let Sunderland have the midfield, in full confidence that their forwards couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo. This week, Sunderland lost top scorer Steven Fletcher and skipper Lee Cattermole for the relegation battle ahead of them. Whilst hardly world beaters, United could’ve come unstuck today if them two players were available to Sunderland, particularly in the second half. United now go into the derby match a week on Monday fifteen points clear, needing ten points to mathematically wrap up the title. In the meantime, United have to go to Stamford Bridge to play them well known anti racists, Chelsea for the right to play the mustachioed Stopfordian masses in two weeks time in the FA cup semi final. There’s no reason for United not to be able to qualify for the semi but I guarantee one thing, they’ll have to play a hell of a lot better than they did today.
The Sunderland fans sat around their nearly full ground with a weary resignation that I hope ends up being well founded. Maybe the early kick off affected the atmosphere amongst them or maybe, and this I think is more likely to be true, Sunderland fans are as self aggrandising and deluded as their true Geordie compatriots at St James Park. United fans were in a happy and boisterous mood in the upper tier of the North stand. The Michael Carrick song (to the tune of Magic by Pilot) got another airing early in the game and then “We’re having a party on Derby Day” (to the tune of Tom Hark by The Pirhanas) which rang out sporadically throughout the second half. Towards the end of the match, We’re gonna win the league came out from United fans, four days earlier than it did last season at Ewood Park. Then, even though United were in a powerful position, I thought it was too soon. This year, United are in such a strong position that even they can’t nause this one up. After the final whistle, coming out out of the ground into the industrial wasteland that surrounds Sunderlands stadium, their stewards seemed determined to cause an aggravated incident by creating an unnecessary crush and in one instance, spitting on a United fan. It’s a miracle there wasn’t a riot as the traveling reds exited the stadium. This season, United fans have faced extreme provocation at the Bernabau, White Hart Lane and Villa Park (amongst others) from people who are primarily employed to keep the place safe. There will be no report of that in the press but should there be a serious incident (like there could have been today) then United fans would be drowning in clueless condemnation by people in the press bleating on about out of control football fans. For all that, Sunderland is a shithole, with an identikit cloned ground staffed and populated by neanderthals who would be more ideally dwelling in a zoo. The sooner they get back to where they truly belong, along with their smoggie neighbours in the lower tier, the better it would be for the equilibrium of mankind.
Thanks to Lee Thomas for his help in writing this blog