Date: 27th October 2007
Match: United vs Middlesbrough, Premier League
Venue: Old Trafford
Edwin van der Sar
Rio Ferdinand *
Owen Hargreaves **
Oliveira Anderson ***
Gerard Pique (73) *
Ryan Giggs (78) ***
Darren Fletcher (66) **
Lee Cattermole *
Jeremie Aliadiere **
Tuncay Sanli ***
George Boateng (91) *
Lee Dong-Gook (80) ***
Ben Hutchinson (56) **
75 mins- Lee Cattermole
85 mins- Fabio Rochemback
Final score: United 4-1 Middlesbrough
Nani, Rooney, Tevez (2) Aliadiere
After a painful evening watching Kiev vs United on TV in midweek (only because I wasn't there, not because of the result obviously!), I was very happy to be a matchgoing red once again and at our very first 3pm Saturday kick off of the season. I find it unbelievable that it has taken so long to have one, and I am beginning to really miss the tradition of a regular kick off time every week.
On our way to the ground, we broke from tradition and instead of listening to Vernon Kay, we listened to Radio 5 Live which was being broadcast from The Lowry. It was really interesting actually, as they had a terrific interview with Rooney as well as chatting to some United fans some of whom were locals, and some of whom were members of supporters clubs (Isle of Man, Holland and South Africa if my memory serves me correct). I know from this board that there are many fans who are abroad but are still incredibly passionate and knowledgable which was exactly what the fans being interviewed were like. It made me feel that we are all hoping and feeling the same things which gave me a warm, fuzzy glow!! When we arrived, we headed over to see Keith who sorted us out with a couple of programs from Kiev which we obviously hadn't got before, as well as the matchday program. I asked him how the Kiev trip was and he said 'fine'. He wasn't very forthcoming in telling us what it was like so it seemed that we didn't miss much! After that, we had our usual wander to The Lowry for our lunch. Had another change from the norm and tried a Harry Ramsden's instead (not as good as Lou Macari's but still!) whilst watching a bit of Charlton vs QPR on the big screens there. The place was full of reds and it seems to be getting a very popular place to go before a game. From there, we went straight into the ground and hung around in the concourse for a little while, waiting to see the team line up. Generally, everyone was very pleased, especially to see Hargreaves back in the team although we were a little disappointed that Evra hadn't made it. We then went up to our seats and I had a read of the program in a desperate effort to block out the pre match music. Unfortunately, it didn't work. I know I have moaned about Alan Keegan's choice of music many times in here but the garbage he was playing almost made me pine for Dirty Old Town. It was a horrible mess of 'We are the Champions', 'Simply the Best' and 'We Will Rock You'. It was like we had regressed 10 years back to the Keith Fane era and it did absolutely nothing to encourage the crowd and build up the atmosphere. In fact it was so uninspiring that when he got around to playing 'Take me home United Road' and a genuinely great song in 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', nobody much joined in. All I'm saying is ALAN KEEGAN- SORT IT OUT!!!! Thankfully we didn't have to listen to much more of it as 'This the One' started up, followed by the Fanfare which heralded the appearance of the teams from the tunnel (and if I was being really picky, I would say that the Fanfare wasn't played loud and intimidating enough, but that is just if I'm being picky).
Looking around, I noticed quite a few absentees- the guys in front of us, the annoying people next to hubby and Shouting Guy behind me were all nowhere to be seen which was strange. Royal Mail guy was in attendance though (I think he must have ditched his Royal Mail jacket) as was Tweed Hat and the Yorkshires. I got shouted at by the Yorkshires for not going to Kiev (they said they were looking for me when they were there and were outraged that I hadn't gone!) but then Tall Bloke confided in me that it was probably best that I didn't go. He said there was trouble the day before and the day of the game. Apparently the night before, Bolton Paul had been jumped by a couple of guys and had his coat stolen off him which contained his wallet and passport. I don't think he was badly hurt but nobody knows how he got on after that. At the ground before the game, there were apparently Kiev hooligans waiting there with big knives. Tall Guy said he was genuinely frightened but at that moment, a coach came through so they turned their attention to that and started throwing things at it so he slipped in. The ground by all accounts, was very basic and the only toilets there were port-a-loos. He said that you couldn't just go to them though- you had to wait until a group of people needed to go and then be escorted to them by police! As he was telling me this, I was beginning to feel less and less guilty about not going! Anyway, the game kicked off and barely a couple of minutes had registered on the clock before Nani put us in front with an absolutely amazing shot. It left us all stunned but jublilant obviously and he got a huge cheer when he did his backflip celebration!! The delight most certainly was NOT evident on the face of Fergie though because he was clapping and cheering when Nani scored but as soon as he did the backflip, he stopped dead! Think we can assume that Fergie will be having another word about it! The goal definitely highlighted the need for some new songs for our new players though as I felt like we should be singing a song for Nani after such a terrific goal. Come on Boyley, get inventing! The joy was short lived however, when Aliadiere equalised very shortly afterwards. This took the wind out of everyone's sails a bit as the noisy singing petered out a little. The small section of Middlesbrough fans that had turned up (1500 at best I think), took that opportunity to sing the 2 songs in their repertoire (one of which was the yawn inducing 'We support our local team' which brought the usual, unrepeatable retort from all of us!) and that was all we heard from them the entire time. They may as well have not been there to be honest. From then on, the half got a little bit tight. Middlesbrough even had a shot which squeaked past the post and we were all a bit nervous that they would shut up shop and we wouldn't be able to get a breakthrough, which has happened many times with Middlesbrough over the years! However, today wasn't going to be one those days. Rooney continued his fantastic goal scoring form to put us in front and the roar of 'Rooney' around the ground was immense. Soon, half time approached and we all went down to the concourse, clamouring for a good view of the replay on the plasma screens. The first half highlights made pleasant viewing so we all settled back into our seats very happy, and expectant for the second half.
The second half started with a bang as Rooney nearly scored within seconds of the restart and it seemed clear then, that we wouldn't be sitting back but going all out to carry on attacking. The second half was ours as the lads had total control the entire time and Middlesbrough barely got a sniff. We were soon 3-1 up through Tevez after some fabulous play between him and Rooney and things felt comfortable then really. I had a little chat with Tall Bloke about Drunk Bloke as he seemed not to be glowing as much and wasn't swaying at all! He said he was being a lot calmer now, and more sensible. So it made me think that I may have to rename him if he carries on like this! Maybe I could start calling him 'The Artist Formerly Known As Drunk Bloke'?! The rest of the half was a joy to watch really, which was capped off by another goal from Tevez, after some searing attacking play. The final whistle went (unfortunately to a partially empty stadium- it never stops getting annoying seeing people get up and leave before the end) to a delighted cheer from us who remained and enthusiastic applause for the lads for yet another terrific performance and another 4 goals.
The cheer got even louder when the other final scores were shown on the scoreboards. Alan Keegan told everyone to look at the scoreboards as there was an 'interesting' scoreline and as soon as Chelsea 6-0 City came up, the place erupted! Tweed Hat and Royal Mail Guy did a little jig and everyone was cheering. Soon, the songs started up- 'This is how it feels to be City', 'City are back' etc which carried on all of the way out of the ground and back on Sir Matt Busby Way! We got back to our car park and whilst we were waiting to be let out, I heard a bit of commotion going on over by the catering vans. Turned out a couple of lads from Middlesbrough (clearly attention seeking and immature), started up singing a load of abusive songs about United and a couple of United fans (Manc, and clearly clued up), thought it would be an opportunity to make these Boro muppets look a bit stupid. Although I can't repeat all that was said on here for obvious reasons, it's fair to the say that the United lads wiped the floor with them verbally and made them look very small. The muppets rapidly ran out of clever retorts and resorted to singing 'You fat *******' to one of the guys, despite the fact he wasn't fat! They then started throwing bits of their burger at him and he looked very amused and said, 'Ok, if I'm fat why don't you aim those bits at my mouth?'. And unbelievably despite the fact they were stood no more than a couple of feet away from the guy, they missed every time!! That was their 'crowning glory' as after that they shuffled off and left, much to the mirth of all reds who had been watching this altercation with great amusement. After what happened with the Sunderland fans earlier on in the season, I'm beginning to think there's something with football fans in the North East that makes them act stupid and irrational- a superiority complex?! Nevertheless, all of this was just a side show compared with the amazing performance that the lads put in on the pitch- and long may they continue!
*Credit to Skysports.com for match stats*
"We all agree, K-Stand is better than J-Stand"