Archive for January, 2002
Bolton is not the most exciting of places to visit, let alone on a cold tuesday night. We got into the ground early and the atmosphere started building up. The Bolton fans reminded us off their 2-1 win at Old Trafford earlier in the season, seeming to be blissfully unaware that those 3 points will not keep them in the premier League.
The game started brightly for Bolton and United’s defence backed off allowing them a few half chances. But only ten minutes later Ruud set Giggsy off down the left wing and he squared to Ole who slotted it in the net. The Bolton fans’ chants of “Who the f**k are Man United?” were quickly silenced.
After the first goal the game opened up and United took control. Fluent passing ripped Bolton’s defence apart and the home fan’s optimism was soon defeated when Ole headed home from a corner. By half time the match was wrapped up.
The second half started exactly where the first left off. Within a few minutes Giggs had crashed a shot against the post and Ruud had fired over. Bolton became more aggitated as Ole soon completed his hatrick.
United’s forth goal sent Bolton fans over the edge. They threw coins into the away section and sang songs about the Munich aircrash. Their bitterness was nothing but sad, and we left their inbred town with all three points, a clean sheet and four points clear at the top of the league.
The journey up to the Riverside was just the beginning to a very bad day. Hung over we set off at 9am and it was not too long before I had been pulled over and handed 3 points and a £60 fine for speeding. Arriving at the overcast bleak stadium we thought things could only get better.
The highlight of the day was the pre match training where Ruud smashed every effort into the net whilst Yorkey failed to score once in a 20 minute shooting session. Every strike from Ruud was greeted with a cheer by the travelling faithful.
The game started in a surreal atmosphere. The part time Boro fans failed to show up and the stadium was barely half full. Songs from travelling reds echoed against the stands as United passed the ball around fluently and we were confident of a victory.
With 5 minutes left and the boredom mounting I opened up the programme to look for details of a reply. Typically as soon as I looked down Boro were one up and United’s brief cup run was over. A second goal minutes later wrapped the game up.
We left the ground pissed off at the score, the traffic, the weather, the atmosphere and the crap food. But most frustrating thing all day was the patheticness of the stewards and police who wanted to strictly enforce the no standing policy. To state it clearly, THERE IS NOTHING DANGEROUS ABOUT US STANDING. If anyone has any doubts please contact me on this issue or visit safestanding.com.
All in all a bad day. Out the cup, speeding fine, and all hopes of another Treble over. Could be worse, we could all be City fans.
I am not sure if this match will have any bearing in the championship but either way it was still a horrible night.
I have been unlucky enough to be at all 5 of our consecutive defeats to our most hated rivals, and last night left a bad taste in my mouth.
I genuinely thought we would hammer them. They have been playing so badly against weak sides and United have been on a role, so it could not have been a better time to play them.
The atmosphere was red hot as for the first time in a few years it was not a morning kick off. Old Trafford was as loud as it has been for a long time, but the game never lived up to expectation. There were few chances, and United, for all their hard work and passing, never really tested Dudek. Liverpool played it brilliantly in terms of tactics; they rarely allowed us to get the ball into their area and played on the counter attack which in the end led to their winner.
In a night when everything went wrong it was fully expected that there would be awful roadworks on the way home. But let us just hope that in May the roads will be clear and United will be clear at the top of the table too. And just remind any Scousers that 6 points won’t win them the league.
I have clear images in my mind of Liverpool fans celebrating the title in November, they seem to forget that the important trophies get handed out in May. As the Scousers held on to gain a valuable point at home to Southampton, (and storm into fifth place!) United were widening their lead at the top of the Premiership.
The headlines will no doubt be all about Ruud van Nistelrooy. Scoring in 9 games in a row he has made a huge impression in such a short space of time, and apart from his spectacular bicycle kick that crashed against the cross bar today, its hard to think of him missing a clear chance.
But there was more to today’s game than Ruud, although in all fairness not too much. Keane was outstanding as usual and it was fitting that he scored the winner. It gets repetitive highlighting his hunger and desire every week, but it is a crucial and ever present factor in United’s winning runs both now and in past seasons. Also of note was Veron getting slightly more involved than in other matches and showing promising signs of improvement.
Both the atmosphere and game were poor today. United were shaky and seemed distracted, almost as if they already had their minds on the Liverpool game. Blackburn, for all their efforts, are not especially threatening on the ball, although they fully deserved their goal. Andy (sorry, Andrew) Cole received a fantastic reception and applauded the Stretford End later commenting it brought a tear to his eye to hear the loyalty from the reds. Equally loud was the reception for Mark Hughes when he came on in the second half; he will always be a king to the red half of Manchester.
An average performance but three more points making it 24 out of 24. They have won the last two games without playing well, have shown they can come back from being a goal down, and have also clearly beaten title rivals Newcastle. The United of old are well and truly back, and they have a score to settle with the Scousers on tuesday. It promises to be a big game and as it is not a morning kick off the atmoshere should be electric.
Form is temporary, class is permenant. We’re back and out for revenge, the rest had better beware.
They say the true test of a championship winning side is to play badly and get results anyway. The first half today was a perfect example of United going in at half time winning when they deserved to be losing. Poor marking had gifted the Saints an early lead and thanks to the cross bar and post United only conceded one in the early stages.
Yet it only takes a second to score a goal and Ruud was on hand to equalise sending the travelling fans wild. The Dutchman has been an awesome signing and scores consistently when he plays. One chance, one goal, and United were back in the game.
On the stroke of half time, and against the run of play, Becks showed why we love him so much. First free kick in range for him and it flew into the net silencing the home fans.
On the subject of the home fans, I have to admit I was impressed by their atmosphere. Very often when you go to a new stadium the crowd are part timers who never went to football until the new shiny stadium opened. And when you consider then this stadium had at least 10,000 more than the Dell you have to wonder where the extra fans came from. Yet we seem to be placed next to the Southampton hard core who did well to make a bit of noise in the first half. United as usual drowned out the home crowd with all the usual taunts including ‘you’re just a small town in Portsmouth.’
The second half started brightly and United started to pass the ball around a lot better, even Veron who had a terrible first half started getting involved. Eventually a great move involving Ruud (of course!) led to Solskjaer getting the third and after that the flood gates opened. United flowed forwards wonderfully ripping the Saints apart and were close to scoring a few more.
The final whistle went and no one could complain about the result. In the end United had shown their class and we left more than contented.
I should also mention the paranoid stewards who were terrified of a pitch invasion following the Villa game. They lined up in ridiculous numbers fearing the worst to which we all sang ‘now every single on eof us is going on the pitch’ to their horror! But it was all just a laugh and we left peacefully in time ot get back to the car and hear the scousers drop more points.
Are you watching merseyside?!