In A Day – Manchester 23rd of March 2014

In a day when Arsene Wenger celebrated his one thousandth game with a record equalling defeat at Stamford Bridge; in a day where Andre Marriner made a refereeing mistake that will give him indefinite sleepless nights; in a day when Daniel Sturridge bravely shook off the national vilification for his disgraceful antics last week with a goal at Cardiff (waddya mean you’ve heard nowt about it?), Wayne Rooney equalled, then surpassed Jack Rowley’s scoring tally and stole the headlines with a goal from 58 yards at the Boleyn Ground. It’s hard to say which is Rooney’s best ever goal and it can obviously only ever be a matter of opinion anyway, but it’s comfortably the furthest goal he’s ever scored. The goal has been constantly compared to David Beckham’s goal against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in August 1996. Personally, I think it’s more akin to Nayim’s fantastic goal for Real Zaragoza against Arsenal in the 1995 European Cup Winners Cup Final in Paris (shown below). Like Andre Marriner, West Ham United keeper Adrian will have a few sleepless nights coming up. Even with admiring the brilliance of Rooney’s initiative, a keeper should never be beaten from that distance (unless you’re David Seaman)

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Not Nineteen Forever – Manchester 22nd of April 2013

City’s not entirely unexpected defeat at White Hart Lane yesterday meant that t-shirt printers were frenzedly printing up champions t-shirts from this morning, ready for the baying masses at Old Trafford tonight. After the final whistle, listening to the United fans trying to reach the high bits of We Are the Champions by Queen still brings a wry smile to my face. The post match celebration on the forecourt near the statue of the Holy Trinity was one that I will remember for a long time. Flags were flying high, there was a football being kicked high and wild into the celebrating crowd and a joie de vivre amongst reds that was infectious. Even the coppers, not usually people to encourage a good time, were laughing. The swagmen were walking round doing steady business and the fanzine sellers were trying to sell me a fanzine I’d already bought when United played City a couple of weeks ago. Over the years United fans have at certain times been a bit blasé about winning the title but tonight was not one of them occasions. It obviously takes a despised rival winning the league to remind us just how special it is. We can only be grateful that Liverpool haven’t won the title since 1990, that would be unbearable. It is even sweeter that the scousers blew a good chance of winning the league in 2009. City won the title deservedly last season even if the circumstances were a little bit painful, there’s no doubt in my mind that the right team won it. It meant that I’ve not wanted a league title as badly as this since 1993. This season, the right team again have won the title, it nearly always is. (Blackburn in 1995 being the obvious exception).

Scoreboard tells everybody in the ground who wasn’t aware that United are now champions (Photo courtesy of Gareth Jones)

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