Quite a day in windy Manchester on Monday. Souvenir sellers downtown with Blue Moon flags, scarves, hats, T shirts and noise makers as the blue half of the city prepared for a reception at City Hall, then an open top double decker bus ride parading the F.A. Cup past adoring trophy- starved fans to Eastlands, the City of Manchester Stadium, a mile away.
I took the 10 minute tram ride to Old Trafford for the F.A. Youth Cup (under 18's) Final 2nd leg. Man Utd, who had won it 9 times, had tied 2-2 at Bramall Lane in front of 30,000 fans a week ago. The Blades first team had been relegated to the third tier recently, and over 6,000 of their fans were coming to The Theatre of Dreams to support their Young Blades. and about 23,000 was the attendance.
Arriving early and walking down Sir Matt Busby Way to the stadium, the front was plastered with Champions 19 times, and lots of giant photos of the current and past stars and team photos since 1908. Under the main stand is The Munich Tunnel, with a history and of the sadness and triumphs from a century past.
There was a decent crowd with tickets priced at only £5.00 for adults and £2.00 for kids and seniors. It was pretty even for the first half hour or so until the home team drilled the first past George Long in the Blades goal in front of their many fans, with Ravel Morrison doing the damage and described in the programme as a 'mercurial and wonderfully talented forward, capable of both creating and scoring goals from nothing.' The Blades most talented player was probably Jordan Slew.
Just on half-time The Blades conceded a penalty and it was 2-0, converted by Will Keane as the teams went down the tunnel for the break. The second half belonged to Man Utd who increased the lead to 3-0 with Ravel Morrison's second of the evening. Each side scored a goal, Will Keane again and Joe Ironside, for a 4-1 win and a 6-3 aggregate victory, to add yet another trophy. On Saturday the big boys take on Barcelona at Wembley for the Champions League trophy (Big Ears). Tuesday 24th at Old Trafford is Gary Neville's testimonial match vs Juventus.
I think I would rather fly through the volcanic ash cloud in an open biplane or go to the dentist thank you very much!!