Friday 15 January 2010

The Most Important Manchester Derby In A Generation

I remember my fleeting phonecall to my Manchester City supporting wife the day it broke that her team had just become the richest on earth.

"oh have they?" she said with little interest.

See, City fans are used to having their confidence built up for it only to blow up in a dirty great big blue mess, in their faces. My missus has seen it all, so this for her was just another false dawn. Id been sat with her the day The Bitters were relegated to Division Three. I remember the tears in her eyes as i refrained myself from dropping to my knees in some sort of silent emphatic delight. It was run of the mill for her to hear of something as preposterous that City were now richer than any couldn't really be true....later that day the club bought Robinho and her ears pricked up.

Despite this next Manchester derby 'only' being the Mickey Mouse Carling Beer Cup it is without doubt for me the most important derby game in memory. Not because of what is at stake..a place at Wembley. To be frank, i couldn't give two craps about that. What is important is its significance and that its played over two legs.

Manchester City are now officially 'Players'.. Yeah i know they have still won sweet FA, but its clear to see that the recent change in manager has cranked things up another notch. And as we enter a transfer window in which we will never EVER be able to compete with them in, its evident that we are now the poorer brother in bank balance, but also in form on the pitch.

With Tevez on fire, Petrov injury free and a supporting cast of impressive proportions, this derby could well be the litmus test of who goes on to dominate this next decade, from a Manchester perspective. The mess with the Glazers doesn't help things, but there is a real feeling with fans that we are walking some sort of footballing tightrope.

A two legged affair allows us to take away the old adage that "well you were at home..course you shoulda won" It gives you 180 minutes of aggregate scoring to see who is the best. As things stand, United lack the engine of inspiration that has carried us through choppy seas before. Confidence is an issue, and despite us still keeping possession of the ball well in a statistical capacity, its what you do with it in the last third that counts.

So will Fergie stick with the kids? I get the feeling he might. Is it worth playing your strongest team with a mounting fixture list, the restart of the Champions league and a worrying treatment room packed to the rafters? Im sure City will go for it. A win in this competition will give them the first bit of silverware they are craving. And if they can say they've slayed United on the way...well, what could be better.

Its not really in my nature to worry about things that haven't yet happened in football. However i can see a big Blue Monster on the horizon and its sharpening its teeth. Never could any of us have imagined (and i include City fans on this) that one day we would be living out this scenario. One where a derby match was more than just bragging rights..but is a watermark on defining and shaping the future footballing landscape. Call me dramatic..but i like my football dramatic!!

So in true supporter style..this is a call to arms. It feels like yesterday that United were the underdogs in almost every big match. And as supporters we loved it. Everytime we played Liverpool back in the day we were underdogs. Everytime we came across a European giant like Barca or Juve we were underdogs. And we would sing 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' in their supporters faces, as we bucked the trend and ripped up the form book time after time. It was part of our fabric...before we started winning absolutely everything from 1993 onwards.

So lets rediscover some of that! We are Manchester United. Both loved and hated in equal measures. Lets stare into the faces of our Blue neighbours and not budge an inch. Yeah, they may wipe the floor with us in this tie, but they will never ever BE US. As every gallon of oil that gets pumped out of the ground in the Middle East makes them stronger, it is our history which makes us unique. A uniqueness that money cannot buy. Roberto Mancini described us as "immortal" this week and he was one hundred percent correct.

We'll never die we'll never die. We'll keep the red flag flying high, cos Man United will never die.

Bring it on City.



  1. You need to rework your banner.. 'Our club is history'

  2. Good article mate and I hope you're right, about us (City) coming out on top in the tie.

    I literally cannot wait for the games, got tickets for both legs and I've been bouncing around in excitement for the past week.

    I know you take the mick out of us for how much we care about beating you, but I don't mind, it really is great when we do and if it takes us to Wembley as well it'll be even more special.

  3. Great to have a derby that means something other than local pride and it will only happen more and more with us having so much money to play with.

    Dare i say that it'll improve your club just as much as ours to have that way... maybe less prawn eaters and more real utd fans will come out and the passion and rivalry will be back in this city/derby for real...

    In the 4-3 at OT, despite losing, there were alot of blues with a little smile on their faces afterwards... because despite losing, it was so obvious that this is now the future of derby day, it'll never be easy for you again.

    That same smile was on my face when we drew you in the cup, because we'll also be playing you in latter stages of competitions alot more....

    I cant wait :-)

  4. Your team was built on money & greed
    Sow & you shall reap. The chickens have come home to roost. So Rooney & Ferdinand & just doing it for the shirt.Nonsense.

  5. Quite good until the last couple of paragraphs. Oh dear.

  6. Wow, a sensable red, what's the world coming too!

    As a bitter, i actually enjoyed your write up...

  7. You haven't made history since our players started making money CTID

  8. Tick....Tock......

  9. we just have a different history to you, you shouldn't forget you've spend a lot of money year after year to keep success. We've had a rocky ride, but we're now in the position to challenge you, i cant wait till tuesday.

  10. yes you are correct, City will wipe the floor with you.

    alaways look on the bright side, if you still have one

  11. I get butterflies thinking about these two ties and in fact all our future games. Don't get me wrong I always have butterflies before we play, but recently these butterflies are more of a fear that we might not win!

    I hate feeling like it and know we can and should be playing better.

    City certainly are the form team and the money behind them will quite probably make them big title favourites for next season (let alone this season).

    I would love Sir Alex to play the kids and we still win!

    For now 3 points at the weekend would be fantastic! If only for my nerves :-)

  12. As a City fan, I would first like to congratulate you on a well written piece. Football should be about passion and drama and I am sure there will be plenty of both over the two legs!
    I do, however, think that this semi will only serve as the first of many over the coming years. Whichever team starts to dominate these high profile cup ties, as well as league matches, over a period of time, will show themselves as the dominant force. I hope (and believe) that City will come out on top, over the next few years, but football is a funny game. May the best team win!

  13. tick tock tick tock,ohhhhh get used to this sound,were coming to get ya

  14. History? Are we talking since 1993 as you mention in your piece? Or, no surely not, you don't mean since 1958!

  15. Actually a decent read that mate.
    I'm a blue and a couple of my red mates are happy to see us up there with you. I couldn't help but feel that Derbies were going the way of 'just another game' a few years ago. They are beginning to mean something to both teams once again, and its brilliant. I'm well looking forward to this Derby, and I've still got the usual sicky nervous feeling that we're gonna get whooped too. I reckon we'll do you though.
    As you say, bring it on.

  16. An interesting blog post Rob....

    I agree this is the most anticipated derby match for years; I remember really looking forward to the Derby after the 5-1 thinking maybe there was a suggestion that we were starting to compete on a more even footing (It was the one that finished 3-3 at Maine Rd - McClair scoring late on - and was just at the start of Ferguson's winning stuff) but history since then shows it was another one of those false dawns :-)

    This to me feels like a different kettle of fish and some might argue City are on the verge of something - not a dissimilar position to the United back in 1990... I can't see us dominating the next decade but certainly being up there challenging...I still keep expecting the bubble to burst but am more than happy to ride and take a place in the Sun whilst it shines

    As for next weeks games, I think the past has shown that typically with derbies the form goes out of the window, the strength in depth of the City side and the current poor form of United make me more confident than any other derby but I won't be celebrating or claiming victory until the final whistle at your place...then there is a small matter of Villa (Probably in the final)

    So here's a question for you...

    Field the kids and let City have a shot at winning the League Cup (and the potential springboard that might provide) in order for you to focus on the League and breaking the BinDippers record


    Field a strong side and deny City that opportunity but maybe at the expense of the League

    I thought before the Leeds game it was the former, then the latter after Leeds but who knows now

    Either way I look forward to that Banner coming down...if not 1st March then some day soon :-p

  17. So your one of the season ticket holders that have been fleeced, robbed by a Jewish American consort.

    How proud you must be to be a united fan and line the pockets of a man that has almost ruined the pathetic club you so arrogantly support.

    Obviously you wife is not amungst the die hard City fans and have to say from your account, she probably does not even care much for football either. Does she even attend matches with an attitude you paint her with?, probably not which means your little idle story about her means absolutely nothing.

    If history pans out as it should, your club will be knocked out of the League Cup by Manchester City FC and you wont be winning the League title either.

    Then how proud will you be?, its time you United fans got what you deserved.

    An almighty slice of in your face humble pie, your only hated for your arrogance and the amount of abuse you have thrown at other clubs.

    Look at you all with hollow council house and trophey cabinet jokes, your a disgrace and need to learn to respect your opponents no matter what.

    Thats what sets us City fans apart from you United fans, we respect your club for what they have achieved but you dirty our club with your arrogance and bitter hatred.

    True we hate you United fans with your arrogant mouthes but we also pity you too.

    The humble bus is coming, dont forget to jump on now.

  18. already making exuses for when you lose

  19. PMSL you're all worried about the rise of City and the inevitable demise of United brought about by the Glazers. It's never been boring being a City fan, but it's also never been so brilliant!

  20. Where you flying that red flag from? Will you're new landlords (whoever may buy your ground and lease it back from) allow you to fly the flag from their property?? I bet you're starting to regret all the "council house" taunts now aren't you?
    Blue Carlos CTID

  21. Steve Heywood - Bluemanc10015 January 2010 at 14:31

    nothing more powerful than the sea...........

    The tide has turned boys

  22. Tick.tock.tick.tock

  23. "A uniqueness that money cannot buy"??? Thats rich (no pun intended) coming from the club who have perenially been the richest on the planet. You bought success and never complained, so don't complain when others board the gravy train. May the best team in Manchester win (and we all know there's only one of them!) Cheers

  24. ...before we started winning absolutely everything from 93 onwards.
    You failed to point out that this was after UEFA decided to slant the already near vertical playing field even more in your favour by making it even easier for you to qualify for the European moneygoround that is the 'Champions' League every year. They clearly realised that despite having a huge financial advantage over all your domestic rivals, you still couldn't overcome the likes of Liverpool in order to get into their blue ribbon event, which you had failed to even qualify for for the 26 years following your initial success. Your fabled 'greatest' manager only started dominating once that financial advantage became a chasm, and even then, whenever anybody competed on an even playing field (Dalglish @ Blackburn, Mourinho @ Chelski) he was found wanting. Sir Alex's success is down to the one thing he likes to rant against others United have bought success just like Blackburn, Chelsea and soon Citeh. The only difference is you have done it by spending your trillions (earnt with that assist from UEFA because they wanted to get a European Super League by the back door)long term, whereas the aforementioned trio spent theirs short term in an effort to bridge that unfair advantage Utd have enjoyed for so long. In terms of greatest managers Ferguson falls well short of Clough who is clearly the greatest and considerably short of Shankley who is a close 2nd. Even Ferguson's contemporary at Arsenal has more of a shout at being better as he too has had to work with a stacked deck. As for Clough and Shanks, they both succeeded despite the odds, especially Clough who took what really amounted to little better than a pub team to the pinnacle of European football 'twice' on a shoestring, and, as with Shankley, during a period when the English 1st division was competitive and not simply the four horse race in which your side have flourished since 1993. You can never match Forrest or Liverpool's success in the European Cup as it no longer exists. You will forever tie with Villa and Celtic so get over it. As for Champions Leagues, Congratulations you are ahead of the scousers 2 - 1. Which brings me nicely to History, I believe you actually meant success, as History refers to time and specifically the past. As City are older than UTD, they therefore have more history, albeit sprinkled with less success. But as mentioned, now that they have a financial advantage over all their competitors, (including foreign) that is about to be redressed.

  25. Recent history has shown that most succesful and stable clubs have a ten to twenty year cycle of success at the top.Liverpool had theirs and United have now had their turn.

    A few factors contributed to create United's cycle of success.

    Firstly the board held their nerve as the clamour grew to sack Ferguson,he got a bit of luck and never looked back.

    Secondly you had an unusually high amount of quality players make the grade from the youth team to the first team.The Neville's,Giggs,Scholes,Beckham etcetera.

    Thirdly,just as this team was starting to take off,the premier league and then the champions league was formed.This allowed the lucky clubs in pole position at that time to maintain their iron grip at the top due to the extra revenue they generated.Everybody else was playing catch up from that point in a race they couldn't hope to win,until the influx of owners with lots of money to spend levelled the playing field a little bit.

    This derby isn't as important as you think.Both clubs will be below strength due to injuries.Whatever the result it will have no bearing on the future of either club.That is going to be played out in the next few years as events unravel and play out.

    The biggest problem you have is the Glazers.They have conned their way in with no money and saddled you with huge unsustainable debts that just cannot continue indefinately.Something has to give soon.

    Your next problem is old father time is catching up with your manager and team.Giggs Scholes and Neville cannot go on much longer.It is only the lack of quality coming through from the ranks and no money to spend that they are still not only at the club but playing on a regular basis.Add to that that Ferdinand is on his last legs,Vidic wants to leave and Rooney will have to be sold and you have big problems.Ferguson is sixty eight and will have to retire soon,as with all these problems mounting up the pressure will be just too much for him to cope with.

    You were nine when you won the FA cup in 1985.You have only known success on the whole so all this is going to hit you hard when it comes.

    I started supporting City in 1967.In five glorious years we won the league,the FA cup,league cup and the European cup winners cup.We were the top team in manchester and used to win every derby home and away.Due to appaling management it has all been downhill since until recently,even sliding down to the old third division.But in adversity comes strength.....and humour.

    You are with a football club for life and in spite of all the dark awful days we stuck with it and retained our dignity as we were derided and mocked from all angles,even suffering a mocking sketch on that moronic Chris evans show,lol!

    It will be interesting to see how much support and loyalty United retain should you ever slip to such dark depths. may think that all this has us blues jumping for joy.To an extent you would be right.It is always nice to see arrogance get a bloody nose.Everyone likes to see the school bully get a beating and United have been bullying for a bit longer than most.

    But....we are not without compassion and understanding.Moron's like the Glazers have to be stopped otherwise United's today could be our tomorrow.Plus the premier league needs United,we need the local rivalry and banter.So good luck in dealing with them and maybe if the **** really hits the fan we can put rivalry aside and work together to beat them?

    On a last note can you stop carping on about 'history?'

    You were formed in 1878 and City in 1880 so we have both been around for almost the same amount of time.We have both accumulated a fair amount of history in that time,United have just won more trophies,the majority of these in the last twenty years.Don't forget it is also in your 'history' that it took you 28 years to win the league when Liverpool ruled the roost,or has this been wiped out of your 'history',lol?

  26. Rob,

    i wonder if your views are shared by other united fans because i can assure you they are shared by most of us City fans, the teeth are sharp and we just can't wait.

  27. sky made your history mate and are still backing you, what chance that we do not get any decisions at your place again,the history we have is being first and foremost a manchester club, who we all love a lot more than your lot love yours, what you have is a load of glory hunters who would not even look in your direction if you was manufactured into being the premier club of the country by a greedy company called sky,you and the other big three have been living off the champions league money for the past 18 years so the rest of us have been picking the scraps of the premier league handouts,well sorry lads things are about to change get used to it like we have had to since that company who beleive you are their darlings called sky?