Over Land And Sea And Stretford

City 0-2 United (sigh). Well, it was always expecting too much to think we could manage a hat trick of home wins against the Reds. I don’t really think we deserved to lose, but I am 100% biased, so don’t take my word for it. If only McManaman and Fowler had finished better with their clear chances it may all have been very different, but football is full of “if onlys”. Never mind.

So I am indebted to my wife, again, for presenting me with an unintentional Valentine’s gift; a print of an email she was handed at work. My apologies to anyone who has already seen it, and for any errors I haven’t spotted from my OCB scanning of the document. Also, to make it plain, I make no claim to being the author of the following piece; my thanks to the writer, and I apologise for any copyright infringment. It made me smile, and cheered me up.

Spurs v United – The Rematch
Man Utd graciously agreed to a rematch after Tottenham’s disallowed goal on the 4th of January.The Super Reds went ahead just before the kick-off when Giggs was sent away down the left wing. His cross was handled on the half way line by a Spurs defender and a penalty was awarded for this cynical foul. Paul Scholes stepped up to slot the ball home for United’s 33rd penalty of the season. It was no more than United deserved.

The 15th minute saw the Super,Smashing Reds go two up after Michael Carrick was penalised for coughing just outside the area. Christiano Ronaldo’s resultant free kick was slightly miss-hit, but even if the keeper was not being pinned to the floor by Roy Keane, he would not have saved it. 2-0. It was no more than United deserved.

The 21st minute saw more trouble for Spurs when Erik Edman was sent-off for enquiring about the referee’s Man United shirt. However two minutes after the interval Spurs struck back after an amazing piece of good fortune. The referee’s assistant could only parry Pedro Mendes’ shot and Robbie Keane thumped the ball home. Confusion reigned for 10 minutes as the entire Manchester United squad surrounded the referee, arguing that the referee’s assistant had been fouled 15 minutes earlier. The referee grudgingly had to give the goal even though he racked his brain for a reason to disallow it. Alex Ferguson was furious and rushed down from his seat in the stand to the dugout, knocking over a number of blind, disabled pensioners in wheelchairs on the way down. Fortunately, things settled down again as Paul Scholes took a long-range shot, which deflected off the corner flag but had clearly crossed the line, 3-1. It was no more than United deserved.

Just after the restart, unsportsmanlike Nourredine Naybet was dismissed for making ridiculous claims for a penalty after Roy Keane had nearly decapitated Robbie Keane. The referee and his assistant missed the incident as they were both asking Ryan Giggs for his autograph, but replays showed that Keane’s flying kung-fu kick, followed by a forearm smash was clearly unintentional. Ten minutes later Ferguson took off Giggs and replaced him with Alan Smith, Eric Djemba-Djemba and the suspended Wayne Rooney. Wonderful, wonderful Man United’s 4th came shortly after. Robbie Keane was caught off side just outside the Spurs penalty area and Rooney’s free-kick thundered in after deflecting off the underside of the floodlights. It was no more then United deserved.

The super, marvel, wonder Reds kept the pressure on until the bitter end. In the 98th minute Ledley King conceded a free kick just outside his own area for blatantly glancing at the referee. Ronaldo stepped up and proceeded to chip the ball right into the referee’s path and he made no mistake from 10 yards.Goal number 5 and it was no more than United deserved.

Scholes slotted home number 6 from the penalty spot after Gardner went down with a broken leg. Fortunately Roy Keane was nearby when it happened and, after running 50 yards, he was able to bring the incident to the referee’s attention. Unfazed by Gardner’s cynical tactics, protruding bone and spraying blood, the referee sent him off for diving (and time wasting) and awarded United the penalty. Scholes cheekily chipped the ball over the keeper and the crossbar, but the referee decided that it was a goal, because based on past records, Scholes rarely misses.

When the final whistle went after 33 minutes of injury time, Spurs traipsed off with their heads low, having been taught a footballing lesson by what is by far the greatest team the World has ever seen. As the losers hit the showers, a superb flowing movement by United culminated with a fine diving header by Alex Ferguson and it was 7-1. However the referee decided that it was such a good goal, it should count double. 8-1 then; and it was no more than United deserved.

(If you can’t remember the Roy Carroll blunder that lead to this replay, here is some recent footage which perhaps explains why the linesman gave the wrong decision.)