Posted: 11/2/2011
Title: MAN OF THE MATCH

Blog:                                                                                                                         

        It was the first home match since the 6-1 thrashing at The Theatre of Dreams from the Blue Half of Manchester.

        Champions League Nights are always a special occasion for me, and the visitors, FC Otelul Galati from Romania are no push overs. United were happy to come away from Bucharest's new National Stadium with three points and a 2-1 victory a fortnight ago. Galati is 118 miles from Bucharest and the stadium in the capital was not full by any imagination. Benfica Lisbon are battling Sir Alex Ferguson's team for top spot in the division, and we had a near full house of 75,000 on hand. Benfica are the next Champions League visitors.

      I always like to pat the noses of the mounted police horses and I had a chat with the mounted policewoman on a grey cally Ellie. Old Trafford is ringed by hundreds of unlicenced stalls selling souvenirs, burgers with fried onions, hog roasts, sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and more. Inside the Official United Store it was a mad house with hundreds of items with the licensed logo, jerseys, Christmas gifts and videos.

        It looked as if it could be an easy task as Antonio Valencia slotted in Phil Jones' square pass in the 8th minute for what might have been the start of a rout. It was not that easy however. Michael Owen went off three minutes later with a thigh injury and was replaced by fan favourite Javier Hernandez.  Despite a work rate to die for in midfield from Man of the Match,No 10  Wayne Rooney, the result was in doubt until 2 minutes from time. His manager was full of praise for his most expensive player.

        The blue and navy striped visitors played like Inter Milan and their small band of devoted followers, numbering only about 200, never gave up. It was a shot from Rooney, diverted by a defender near the end signalled a mass exodus, including yours truly, back to our parked car after a night to forget. Later the second goal was announced as an own goal by Cristian Sirghi, rather than Rooney.

       Wayne was playing a deep lying midfield role and his short passes, penetrating long balls and persistent chasing opponents down, combined with his peripheral vision and enthusiasm was a joy to behold.  United were workmanlike not wonderful; comfortable but unconvincing.

       This week marks the 25th anniversary of Ferguson arriving from his previous position at Aberdeen. How many other managers have come and gone, not to mention popes, presidents and prime ministers during his happy(mostly) and glorious reign?. Look at the new microsite. www.Manutd.com/saf25 which launches Sunday 6th.

     

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