Article By Steve Johnson
So……it finally happened!
After what was possibly the best two weeks of football I can remember in my lifetime we were brought back down to with …….well not just a bump
For those who were there on Saturday it was more like being brought back down to earth in a blazing zeppelin screaming for your life with your eyes bulging out of your head
I have put off writing this article as the results of the last couple of weeks kept getting better and better-and I didn’t want to jinx anything
There’s no worries on that one now
It all started with the Chelsea 2-1 at OT
I mean call me a bitter blue or whatever, but seeing united outplayed, outclassed and outmuscled on their home turf nearly brought a tear to my eye
For years the big games at OT are the ones where they really turn it on and end up destroying their closest rivals and ‘ho-hum’ there’s the league title handed to them yet again
But not this time, their inferior players were taught a footballing lesson by a team who were basically better than them in every department
But it gets better……..On the same day we destroyed Burnley 6-1!!!!
6-1!! Our best top flight result EVER!
Before this game I genuinely thought it’s the kind we mess up, the kind city make hard work. But no, we went out confident in our ability to beat teams that are inferior to us, and My God did it happen. We actually battered a team we are capable of battering……..I’m sorry readers but this is not the city I know and love!
Now days do not get better than this when it comes to football, for once it seemed that united were losing their dominant grip on English football whilst ours tightened on the holy grail of 4th place. There was always hope I would see this eventual shift of fortunes happen throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, but I don’t think I ever truly believed it would happen. I prayed for the day united would become inferior or average and city’ greatest asset, their fans passion, loyalty and true love for the club would be rewarded with actual results and achievements on the pitch
I know it was only one game but this time it felt different, the amount of games they had lost already, the pedestrian way they had been playing, the old guard actually looking old!
Was I getting ahead of myself I wondered???
As always, the golden rule with city is NEVER EVER count your chickens…. don’t even count on your chickens once they have hatched, survived, and picked their team-such is our ability to mess things up on a grand scale
………But then came the following week
The Man U vs Bayern game started with united doing ‘what they do’ at OT
Battering teams into submission, because they are united and this is Old Trafford
Bayern couldn’t handle the intensity of their play and duly capitulated
For what seemed like the 538th time I sat and watched in disbelief as the team I genuinely thought would struggle to get a result, completely pulverised one of the giants of European football
……but again, for the second time in a few days something strange happened
United spectacularly messed it up…..AT HOME
United don’t do this, they don’t mess things up-that’s city’s job
So unbelievable and out of character was the entire spectacle that I sat and duly awaited the inevitable last minute United goal.
….But that didn’t happen, it never came, and for the first time in a long time united looked distinctly average
My mind was racing- They are a one man team, they do rely on teams bottling it against them, they are now not that great when people stand up to them.
It seemed that this season finally there is something different going on in Stretford
When they came up against teams who actually came and gave them a go, and were not scared of their reputation, they were being shown up as an average side
It’s impossible to imagine how many teams who come up against them are already beat before they even get on the coach
Their last min goals, the total capitulation of teams and staggering score lines must be the only explanation
Love him or hate him its down to old red nose and what he instils in the players, that and the fact that some of them have been there for years doing it week in week out.
But now, at last, it seemed the beginnings of the crumbling empire were starting to show
In these 2 short weeks they were being exposed as weak in certain areas, and certainly not as good as the reputation that’s precedes them.
Onto the Sunday and all my thoughts of their downfall are still with me
A 0-0 against Blackburn, without Wayne Rooney again, showing they are not capable of winning without him
How many teams of old would have gone there and battered them with 2 or 3 players out – not this time though.
Fergie’s rants were becoming all the more bizarre and senile too, only adding to the enjoyment of it all
Apparently if you’re a sir you can call a team of multinational professional football players ‘typical German’s’
The next minute he’s talking about not buying established 27 year olds due to their re-sale value……I’m sorry Fergie, I thought you were the manager, not the financial director????
It was getting better by the day and then we only go ahead and bloody beat a ‘hard to break down’ Birmingham 5-1!!!
What the hell is going on??
Are we really going to do it this time?
Are we going to actually achieve something tangible?
Are we going to beat united, cement 4th and derail their title hopes???
We now all know the answer to that one
Yet again they do ‘what they do’ with literally seconds left in the game-I blame myself really for writing them off.
What annoys me most is the way we approached the game and the fact that the last minute goal is symptomatic of what I have been ranting about
We afforded them far too much respect, I’m convinced if we went for them like we did against Burnley or Brum we would have beaten them soundly
When I saw their team sheet I thought that this was genuinely the worst team they have had in a derby for years, O’Shea, Gibson etc and the reliance on their 35 year old veterans.
But we did what so many teams have done over the years and well and truly bottled it against them
I thought this time was going to be different but not so, we let the occasion get to us and they didn’t.
The worst thing about it is that they are right back in the title race with the worst side they have had in years, and that’s our fault right now
Every bloody time they pull it out of the bag against us
I’m sure they have a pact with Satan-they even have him emblazoned on their badge!
So back to earth, back to reality
We managed to mess up what was one of the most important derbies in years in spectacular fashion
I thought we were losing the typical city tag and our fortunes were turning around but Saturday put us right back there in the worst possible way
We have put united right back in it and most galling of it all is that I have to cheer them on against spurs this weekend
Why, oh why, oh why do you do this to me city!!!!!
So here we are today and it’s still in our hands
4th looks incredibly difficult at the moment but if we win all 4 remaining games we are in the Champions League-FACT.
But you can see it now though can’t you? We will need a point against West Ham on the last day of the season after winning all of our games and we’ll balls it up in spectacular fashion allowing Spurs to get in on goal difference.
Let’s hope we really have turned a corner and the typical city tag is on its way out
I want to believe but there’s always going to be a part of me waiting for us to mess it up.
But I guess that’s what 30 years of ‘typical city’ does to you!
Good luck blues, lets do it for the long suffering fans
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