A large EMPTY limousine pulled up at Old Trafford-and out stepped the Glazers!!! They have the dress sense of Charlie Chaplin, the charisma of cold porridge, and are as welcome in the red half of Manchester as the bubonic plague!
Anyway, enough of financial woes and let's concentrate on the beautiful game. I can't remember when I was as excited about a Carling Cup match-ever. The competition in its previous life has been the Milk Cup, Littlewoods Cup, Rumbelows Cup, Coca-Cola Cup, Worthington Cup, but THIS semi-final second leg between the light blues and reds of Mancunia had set the world alight.
We had the first leg at Eastlands going to the home team with two goals from Carloz Tevez and a spat between Gary Neville from the sidelines, and in his weekly column of the Maltese Times. In the pre-match televised inteview Sir Alex Ferguson was asked why he had left club captain Neville on the bench for tonights return fixture. "Because I pick the team", was his brusk reply.
The first half was rather mundane-at least as local derbys go. Five miles separates the two stadiums, ten times as far as the distance between the two Liverpool clubs. 'Paul Scholes Scores Goals' is one of the Old Trafford chants. He probably gets more cards than goals, but when he scores it counts. He opened the score and then a clinical strike from Michael Carrick put the Reds in the driver's seat until that back-heel flick from Carlos Tevez past Edwin van der Sar brought City back 3-3 on aggregate and extra time loomed.
Wayne Rooney came riding to the rescue two minutes into injury time as he rose high and mightily to the task to send the defending Carling Cup winners back to Wembley to play against Aston Villa on February 28th. The match was marred when the brilliant Welsh attacking midfielder Craig Bellamy was struck on the head by a coin as he was about to take a corner. For a club with debts of £716 million and huge pay outs to the Glazers in Tampa, money is something that should not be wasted.
Of course City now have loads of Arab money to wallow in, a big difference from the days when Niall Quinn used to call them 'A hole-in-the-sox sort of club'.
Half the home fans wore green and yellow Newton Heath FC (1878) coloured scarves as red and white one. Some fans wore a T shirt with the lines:
"United's soul is never sold/ We'll never wear the famous red/ 'Til Glazers' gone or even dead/ So raise our ancient standard high/ By green and gold we'll never die/ That day will come again for sure/ When we can wear our red once more". !! They are sold on the street and no income for the Big Red Store.
On the balcony of the stand at The Stretford End still hangs the banner, 'City, 34 Years and No Trophies'!