Date: 2nd October 2007
Match: United vs AS Roma, Champions League
Venue: Old Trafford
Louis Saha *
Wayne Rooney **
Luis Nani ***
Ryan Giggs (79) ***
Carlos Tevez (66) *
Oliveira Anderson (84) **
Ludovic Giuly *
Daniele De Rossi
Alberto Aquilani **
Alessandro Faiolhe Amantino Mancini ***
David Marcelo Pizarro (61) **
Mauro Esposito (79) *
Mirko Vucinic (74) ***
Ahmed Apimah Barusso
39 mins- Philippe Mexes
Final score: United 1-0 AS Roma
Well, I'm back and a little jet lagged (thought I'd mention this now in case the quality of writing is lacking in this post!). I see that Dan filled in worryingly well when I was gone but I'm afraid you'll have to put up with my ramble once again!!
United vs Roma- the sequel. I have to say that I didn't feel quite the same edge to the build up to the game as last season. Of course that could be put down to a couple of reasons- the game had less importance than the last one and the trouble that had blighted the games last season had faded in the mind a little. Still, there was no doubt that we would be desperate to win the game and Roma certainly would be, in an attempt to avenge the thrashing we gave them in the last match.
When I got to the ground, all seemed very calm- certainly not like last season where Roma fans were causing trouble on the forecourt. In fact, I only spotted one Roma fan as we headed over to see Keith, our program guy. Of course we got our matchday program as well as a fanzine from him and we had a little chat. He confirmed that he was going to Kiev but was hardly enthusiastic about the prospect! Over the road at Bishop's Blaize, the noise coming out from the place was deafening which I hoped would bode well for the atmosphere at the match. And it was at one of the stands by there that I made a momentous decision- I decided to retire my lucky Ole scarf! It seemed a bit silly to keep wearing it now that the great man has retired and I thought that as a new era was dawning, I should invest in a new scarf to go with it and preserve my Ole one. So, I bought a black retro bar scarf and hoped that somehow, the luck from the Ole scarf would transfer into this one. We then headed over to KFC and had a meal there for the first time this season. I saw the usual woman that served me all last season and although she didn't serve me this time, she said hello which surprised me. Couldn't believe she still remembered who I was as I hadn't been in there since May!
We then headed back down to the ground and it struck me as seeming a bit quieter than usual. Got to the turnstile and I started worrying whether or not my season ticket card would work. As we'd always had paper tickets for cup games, I was a bit paranoid that somehow they would have forgotten to update the card to include them all. It did give me a bit of a scare as I had to scan it about 4 times until it worked but it thankfully did eventually! Got into the concourse and looked at the team news on the plasma screen- I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vidic was fit. I went into our seat and had a read of the program before the game kicked off. The pre-match build up inside the ground seemed a little flat. The music played over the tannoy was nothing special- United Road was the only song played that tried to stir the crowd which it did a bit. Had a little look around and saw that Tweed Hat, Royal Mail guy, Jane, and Ian MUFC's mate were all present- there was even a cameo from Bolton Paul (goodness knows what he was doing back in K). The Yorkshires all appeared just before kick off, but minus Drunk Bloke. Have got no idea where he was- maybe still in a pub somewhere!? I noticed a fair few empty seats dotted around the place and wondered whether it was because of the Automatic Cup Scheme. There are bound to be people who've had to take it up who can't go to every match but can't get rid of their ticket. Seems silly really to have an empty seat there because of someone who was forced to buy it instead of another fan being able to buy the ticket and have the seat filled. As for the Roma fans, their end was much smaller than it had been last season. They were all bunched in the usual away section but barely filled half of it. At an estimate, I'd say there was about 1500 of them and the segregation around them was pretty big. Before we knew it, the teams came out to a big cheer and the atmosphere picked up a little.The game kicked off and the start to be honest, was a bit low key both on and off the pitch. The referee however, started quite early in the game to make some puzzling decisions which seemed to become a bit of a theme of the evening. This really got the Shouting Guy behind me going. He constantly shouts at the referee in every game anyway so he was going mental at this guy- I'm pretty sure that he studies the rule book before he goes to sleep every night as he always quotes the most obscure rules during a match!! It was a bit of a strange mix of people in K actually. As well as the usual faces, I think there were a fair few that might not have been to many matches before and they didn't seem too sure of the right protocol at the game. For example at pretty much every European home game rightly or wrongly, we're almost always stood up. Some people seemed unaware of this and kept sitting down. So it created a bit of a musical chairs situation as nobody seemed too sure if they should be up or down! The first half passed largely without incident and Tall Bloke spent most of the first half talking to me about all kinds of stuff- if I had a good time in New York, what he thought about Nani, stuff about his work, his plans for going to Kiev etc. Can't say it wasn't entertaining!! As the half time whistle went, we all sauntered down to the concourse nobody seemingly in a rush to watch the half time highlights! As soon as I got to the bottom of the steps, I walked straight into a group of stewards and a couple of blokes having a big argument. Me being a typical woman, I was a bit nosey and wanted to hear what it was all about! I wasn't 100% sure what was going on but the general gist of it appeared to be that the guy had *allegedly* 'jibbed' in (which means he got into the ground without a ticket). It sounded as if it might be an ongoing problem with this particular individual and I also heard how it was done but it would be morally irresponsible of me to repeat that method on here! The argument all got rather heated and I was so engrossed in what was going on, that I totally missed the highlights of the first half!!
We then headed back up to our seats for the second half which turned out to be a lot more entertaining than the first. As United pushed on their attacks, the crowd volume also rose. The continuous play acting and time wasting by the Roma players was beginning to get on everyone's nerves and the whistles and boos that echoed around the ground was fierce and at times, deafening. We all continued to roar encouragement to the lads and we barely heard a murmur from the travelling Roma fans for the majority of the match. Part way through the second half, a few stewards started to appear in our block which seemed a bit strange. Next thing we knew, they swooped down on Ian MUFC's mate and his wife and they were swiftly ejected from the ground. I don't know exactly the reason for it- whether it was one thing or a myriad of things but one that I knew for sure was that they were both smoking. This is not only against stadium regulations but is also illegal and the way in which they flouted these rules quite so blatently, I don't think they could have any complaints. Don't know what had got into the stewards that night but they seemed to adopt a bit of a zero tolerance policy towards any rule breaking of any kind- it was almost more interesting watching what was going on in the stands than what was going on out on the pitch! I will look with great interest to see whether Ian MUFC's mate will be back for the Wigan game on Saturday or not! Back to things on the pitch and Saha was substituted for Tevez to warm applause and shouts of 'Argentina'. Tall Bloke then bet me the princely sum of a £1 that he would come on and score which I took him up on! Shortly afterwards, Rooney cracked a terrific shot to put us in front and the ground erupted- the joy was obvious. Neither I or Tall Bloke cared at that moment who it was that scored as we hugged each other and did a little dance! Later in the half, Rooney was subbed to a standing ovation and not long after was the worrying head injury to Ronaldo. Because it happened a little way away from us, we couldn't see what the injury was to start with. We did assume it must have been something bad though as the Roma player who was on the ball immediately put the ball out of play which isn't usual. As soon as we saw Ronaldo walking around the perimeter of the pitch and towards the tunnel holding something to his head, we knew it must have been nasty. Of course this meant we had to see out the remainder of the game with 10 men as we'd used all our subs which we nearly paid for right near the end when Roma had a shot that just squeaked past the post. I could actually feel the intake of breath and deathly silence until the shot went wide and the sigh of relief was like a small breeze wafting around the ground! The last couple of minutes were tense as we were all screaming at the ref to blow for full time and when he eventually did, the panic was replaced by joy. We had won 1-0 yet again which put us at the top of the table. Just before he left, Tall Bloke got £1 out of his pocket and offered it to me as I had won our bet but me being the lovely person that I am, let him keep it!
As I walked out of the ground, I felt a warm glow inside- I was happy to be back at Old Trafford again after my break. I just wondered how happy my nerves would be if we kept winning our games 1-0!!
*Credit to Skysports.com for match stats
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