All my footballing friends know that
I have an abiding passionate hate for Manchester United.
And yet when they ask me why, the reasons I put forward
sound quite pathetic.
It may have started when they beat
us in the F.A.Cup in 1965 with the help of an offside
goal by George Best (For new readers, we lost 1-2 after
leading for an hour). Things werent helped by
the fact that we were all left on Old Trafford Station
to wait for our train back to Chester in the pouring
rain. When eventually the train did come it was postal
carriages that we were all packed into, standing, dripping
wet, nose to nose for our sorry trip back home.
Then, again it could also have been
not long afterwards when I went to work in Manchester
for three years. I got quite tired of working with
people who thought they were supporters of the only
team on the planet. They treated my support of Chester
FC with abject derision. I very quickly became a sympathetic
Manchester City supporter.
My dislike of Manchester United has
hardened over their last few successful years (Which
I dont begrudge them, incidentally). Its
the sheer arrogance of the club and their supporters.
Look at the faces of their fans when an opposing team
has the affront to score against them. Its a
look of total disbelief, as if to say, How dare
Not only that, but the fielding of
under-strength sides in cup matches because of their
obsession with winning the League at all costs and
the chase to win as many title s as Liverpool. Its
I could go along with fellow Manchester
United haters and say that its very hard for
opposing teams to get decisions at Old Trafford. Fifty-fifty
decisions always go Man Uniteds way at home,
and the referee always finds extra injury time if United
are drawing at home. But Im not quite as bad
as that. Suffice to say that I wont watch any
match that involves them on TV. I tape record Match
of the Day and fast forward their game unless, of course,
they get beaten in which case I whoop with delight
as the ball enters the net and stick two fingers up
at Alex Ferguson when hes interviewed. Pathetic
and sad really but one of the few joys of my life!
Did you know that Ferguson has banned
Radio 5 from being given interviews at Old Trafford?
Why? Because the greatest of all commentators, Alan
Green, called Roy Keane A lout. You couldnt
make it up could you?
Im afraid that after their
recent match against Newcastle there is no chance of
me changing my attitude. Gunnar Solskjaer hacked down
Robert Lee in full flight in a one-to-one on the United
goal. The cheers from the sycophantic home supporters
were akin to those that acknowledge the kill at a bullfight.
Ole! So-called professionalism rules OK! Yet, sadly,
in playgrounds all around the country there are going
to be tears as impressionable youngsters mimic their
Premiership favourites and haul down certain scorers
on the tarmac. Its whats expected will
argue the young assailants. For Solskjaer and United
it denied Newcastle victory and kept Fergies
side in with a chance of snatching three crucial points
at the death.
I still play five-a-side football
twice a week, and had that happened in such a game,
the player would have been rebuked in no uncertain
terms that it was unsporting behaviour and that he
risked losing his place in the game. But of course
at Premier League level it is all about money. The
desire for success consumes any last vestige of sportsmanship.
A sending off and a free kick to was no use to Newcastle.
The goal chance had gone. I personally think that this
rule has to change that the punishment should
be a penalty.
To make matters worse, as Solskjaer
left the pitch he was given a pat on the back from Posh
Boy Beckham and then refused to apologise after
the game. He did it for the team, he claimed. No
apology from the manager either (No surprise there).
No apparent concern for the negative image this gives
of the game. It seems that SELF-image is all important
instead Alex has started dyeing his hair!