Walking down Wharfside Way* tonight towards Old Trafford, the lights on the East Stand seemed to shine a little brighter than usual. I’m sure it was just an optical illusion but there was a real air of excitement and nervous anticipation tonight for the game and the senses were heightened. Besuited and grizzled old school reds, one or two smoking a stogie were hanging around on the forecourt and the tickets on the black market were coming to figures that could pay for some peoples season tickets. It’s been a while since a match involving United had such a magnitude of excitement in the build up. Even with the corny mosaic and plastic flags left in United Road and the officially sanctioned Manchester United banner without the legend ”football club” being in the crest, the atmosphere in the ground was the best I’ve witnessed since the semi final against Barcelona in 2008. Old Trafford is made for nights and matches like the one we had tonight.
Real Madrid have to play Barcelona twice immediately before the return leg at Old Trafford in three weeks time. I’ve heard it said that Jose Mourinho might shuffle his squad around for those matches, but like United against Liverpool, pragmatism goes out of the window when the el classico is played. Madridistas would, under no circumstances forgive a half cocked effort against Barcelona any more than we would against Liverpool.
Twice in a week, eleven months ago, United were outclassed by a team from Bilbao who didn’t even qualify for this seasons Champions League. On those nights against Athletic Club, United looked light years behind a team that eventually finished 10th in La Liga. Tonight in the Bernabau, in front of a full house and the biggest United none final following since Milan in 2005, United got a very well deserved draw. It could have been so much more Continue reading Lunatics With Semi Military Power – Madrid February 13th 2013