Shinji Kagawa scored in injury time of a dreadful first half to calm a nervous Old Trafford crowd. From where I was in the ground (B Stand/South Stand), there was a split second delay in reaction to the goal as we all thought it had hit the side netting. The reaction of the rest of the ground is what alerted us to the goal. It was one of relief as both teams had looked clueless up until then. Rarely has a final score of a match and the players who scored the goals in that match given such a misleading impression. A couple of minutes before Shinji Kagawa scored his and United’s second of the afternoon, Tom Cleverley came on for Anderson. The fella next to me was calling for Kagawa to be brought off as we saw Cleverley waiting on the sideline. There wasn’t much disagreement either from me or anybody near me to his wish. I have never seen a player score a hat trick and have such a poor game. When Kagawa completed his hat-trick on 87 minutes, we exchanged wry smiles at what we’d just witnessed. Wayne Rooney, who three minutes later scored the kind of goal that a team scores when winning by three goals, didn’t have a much better game himself. He did improve once a subdued Robin Van Persie was substituted for Danny Welbeck on 66 minutes but Rooney is due a showstopping game for United, this coming Tuesday is a good time to have it.
Due to us knowing who’s been drawn in the next round, tonights match actually felt like a replay at the first time of asking. Bearing in mind the logistics, if ESPN really must show a match on a Monday night, couldn’t they have arranged for Everton’s match at Boundary Park for it instead. Season ticket holders all got begging texts the other day from United asking us if we wanted to bring a relative, friend or even an enemy and since the final whistle, we have been informed that the money for the next round is to be deducted from our accounts forthwith with an admirable speed. You’ve got to admire the efficiency of the United ticket office in sorting this out, an efficiency which nearly always induces a strong response when discussed by reds who have the fortune to deal with them. Many times in recent years, I’ve moaned about the atmosphere at Old Trafford but tonight was in comparison with recent matches, a reasonably good one, certainly in the East Lower (Scoreboard end for old school) where I was tonight for a change of scenery. The Stretford End were making a decent racket. As for Reading fans, they were like every other half witted collective of Southerners who’ve polluted our palatial stadium with their presence this season. I’ll give the Scousers one thing, they hate us with a hatred that is unique, it’s when you come across the wasters that support these Southern teams (Tottenham excepted) that you appreciate that. They all sing the same songs/chants in an attempt to rile United fans into a reaction and then get all sour when a bored United crowd can’t be arsed engaging. The usual generic shite about supporting their local team (when they appear to be doing everything but) and about how all United fans are cockneys. Half the time, I’m there thinking “ahh bless” the way you would indulge a crowd of children who are having a bit of harmless fun. They must think that we have never heard this “banter” before or failing that, they are doing what Southerners are famously good at and strangling the life out of a half decent joke ad infinitum.