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United back to winning ways in cagey battle

It almost felt like cup final day at Wembley; Chelsea and United, the sun shining and a stadium half full of neutrals. After 90 minutes of dull football it felt even more like the last cup final! However, when United walked up the steps to the Royal Box this time it was not collect runners up medals but instead to lift the Community Shield.

As I did not get to a report on the cup final, due to site technical problems, it seems as good a time as any to discuss the new stadium. In terms of infrastructure, transport, facilities and size Wembley is impressive. There are lots of clean toilets, corporate suites and food stalls too. But is it really a football stadium? Personally I think it could be but is not being used as it should. The stands are close to the pitch, they are steep, the noise is contained and the architects have done a great job. But by ridiculous ticket distribution, pricing and an entire corporate tier dividing the lower and upper tiers of each team’s support, they have well and truely ruined it. The Cup Final had 26,000 fans from each team in a stadium with 90,000 seats and today was no different. It meant the atmosphere was not that much better than the game in May, and perhaps memories of Wembley Way full of colour, flags and banners are well and truely gone forever.

The game was fairly dull. United had the most chances but Chelsea also had some good opportunities and the scores were level at full time. Sensibly (a word unusually used in the same sentence as ‘The FA’) extra time was scrapped and the game went straight to penalties. Up stepped Pizarro for Chelsea, but VDS pushed it over. Rio showed him how to do it and buried the ball in the corner. Next was fat Frankie Lampard who bottled it for Ingerland and bottled it for Chelsea too- VDS saves again. Carrick slotted home with ease and next was Shaun Wright Phillips, who also put it in saving distance for VDS. A hatrick of saves and, after Rooney, netted, a 3-0 victory for United. A clear message to Ben Foster!

Does the match matter? Not really. But it was a great day out in the sunshine, a chance to see the lads back after a long summer, and even a glimpse of new signing Nani. United celebrated the Shield calmly, enjoying it but also knowing it was not retribution for the FA Cup nor a sign of who will win the title this year. The roar when Alex Ferguson lifted the trophy was loud and sends a clear signal of his continued adoration. Rio Ferdinand, who deserves credit for his recent work with HIV infected children in Asia, climbed into the crowd to give his shirt to a young child. I am the first to slate Ferdinand so credit where it is due, perhaps he has grown up a little.

Well done Reds, it has been a while since we left a final with a trophy, even it is one without any handles! Football is back and bring on the new season.

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  1. Dave :: August 6th, 2007 1:39 pm

    It was a friendly but still nice to get our hands on some more silverware. Having said that, United should be much more confident going into the new season with Hargreaves, Anderson, Tevez, Scholes and Neville to still come back into the squad.

    Nani looked promising when he came on and was surprising not to see Evra at left back with Ronaldo on one wing and Nani on the other but it shows that we certainly have a number of options.

    Chelsea on the other hand look like they’ll be starting the season with a few injuries, Terry and Drogba will be the key men they’ll miss so it’ll be crucial that we get off to a quick start and put a bit of space between us and Chelsea.

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