Walking up to Old Trafford brought back some brilliant memories of Arsenal triumphs that I witnessed there, notably the 1990 brawl game, and when the Gunners triumphed three years in a row to get to the FA Cup Final.
The excitement was palpable because this was Hull City coming to Old Trafford to play against the current Champions of Europe, the greatest Club side that the UK has produced due to present achievements and a rich history.
Running into an old mate David from Boothferry Park days we enthused about the surroundings, but he pointed somewhat ominously; “Let’s hope that the players don’t feel like us, otherwise it could be a massacre”.
David’s fears seemed well founded as United came out of the traps as if our famous victories on the road had inspired Fergie’s men to reassert the natural order of things by slapping the Tigers into place.
United were awesome in the first half, passing and moving with magnificent pace, flair and no litttle élan which put City on the back foot and the first signs of disarray this season were present leading into the break.
Despite this we managed to make a set play count and Cousin netted from a Dawson right-sided free kick. We went mental but instead of some insightful comment all I could bluster was; “We scored at Old Trafford!” over and over, much to the amusement of the home support in our mixed disabled section.
At 4-1 on the back of some unbelievable play from Ronaldo, possibly the best player I have ever seen, Berbatov, Rooney and Nani we feared that United could have made it to double figures but, as ever, Brown played a tactical blinder by making attacking substitutions and encouraging us to get forward at every opportunity.
As a result we slowly gained the upper hand and after a magnificent Mendy lob and a penalty from Giovanni, City rattled home nerves to the extent that Phelan could be seen in a manic tactical discussion with Giggs, there was no doubt that United were hanging on.
Rooney lost his head, wildly hacking at Halmosi and Ferdinand looked both flustered and relieved when his striker only saw yellow.
Andy Dawson was our Man of the Match in my book, and he capped an all action performance with a brilliantly timed tackle on Tevez, which prevented the Argentine from testing Myhill from close range. But given the Welsh International’s current confidence any strike would have been repelled.
Dawson came to the Club in 2002, dropping down to the bottom Division to guarantee first team action from Scunthorpe and his story is that of City’s in microcosm as he has grown in confidence and belief.
I said to him in the Summer running into him at a rugby game, “What’s it like to be a Premier League footballer?” and his reply was that he didn’t expect to play unless there were injuries.
He is an absolutely key member of the back four, and the only way he will be displaced is via his own injury problems. He is there on merit and can cut it with the big boys. Sound familiar?
It was a real shame that Ashbee was suspended as we missed his leadership, the only consolation for the Skipper is that it is likely that he can make this trip next season.
This was a fantastic, exciting and open game but I have to say United’s fans just sit there on the whole and we easily out sung them, the cliché about the prawn sandwich brigade coined by Roy Keane, does seem to be the reality.
Having said that, over the barrier into the South Stand was seated a guy a bit younger than me with a kid of about eight. He spent the whole time swearing at the City fans seated above, encouraging the boy to copy his wanker signs.
What on earth can you say to that? Given the expense and scarcity of tickets for United, this cretinous individual can’t be short of a few bob, so what gives? Unbelievable.
Manchester United gets a lot of stick, deservedly, for the price of season tickets, the immense energy devoted to ripping off their fans with endless merchandise advertising and the dodgy debt led deals of the Glazers but when it come to disability issues they are first rate.
Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association (MUDSA) have done a brilliant job of bringing the Board’s attention to the issues and working with them to provide a fantastic match day experience including an exclusive bar and café facility, audio equipment and programme. They work as volunteers and United provided free entry for Pete and myself.
Wonderful and restores a bit of faith that the game at the top level is maybe not as rotten as we all fear.
Hull City: Myhill, McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson, Marney, Hughes (Mendy 59), Boateng (Folan 86), Geovanni, King (Halmosi 63), Cousin.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Barmby, Garcia, Ricketts. Att: 75,398