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United 1 Zenit 2

I wrote before Friday’s Super Cup that it was not of much importance to United supporters, and it seemed the players felt the same. I have no problem watching a decent Russian side lifting a trophy that is essentially the result of winning a glorified friendly, but I am concerned by the lack of creativity and penetration that United had. It is pretty much agreed that Berbatov or another striker is needed, and the last few games have only served to bump his price up even further. As United and Spurs negotiated in Monaco on Saturday morning still, I was on my way home for a wedding.

We flew out to Monaco on the Friday morning and it was clear on arrival that this was being taken far more seriously in Russia than England. There were thousands of ticketless Russians offering silly money for a brief, whilst pretty much any Red who had wanted to travel got sorted well in advance. Both Nice and Monte Carlo were full of blue and white shirts and flags, and the main square in Monaco was home to the wealthy Russians cruising around in Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins, many of which were decorated with painted on Russian and Zenit flags.

Arriving at the ground it was clear that, whilst United and Zenit has one end each, the two neutral stands were pretty much all blue and white. But the United fans made most of the noise before kick off, as the big screens showed replays of the route to Moscow, the loudest cheer of course coming as John Terry slipped and missed his crucial penalty. An England captain made in England, but bottled in Russia. The match itself was pretty decent if you were a Zenit fan- they are a great side, fully deserved their win and will cause real problems for Madrid and Juve in the Champions League.

We did not stay to watch them lift the trophy, but instead were locked inside a boiling hot and rammed train station where no train appeared for an hour. If they wanted to have a special train service, they should have timed it to coincide with the times of the match. All that happened instead was that, as we were trying not to pass out, the thousands of Russians who had stayed behind caught us up and also invaded the same platform. What a jolly train ride that turned out to be.

I flew back home for a wedding on Saturday, full of Reds who had not been able to go to Monaco due to the occasion. The tables were names after United greats, but comments about United’s performance in France were not so great. A lacklustre showing- United that is, not Julian’s wedding- but as long as the boys go out at Anfield in two weeks time and do the business then no one will care.

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  1. trubbelman :: August 31st, 2008 2:19 pm

    I can’t agree with this. I know plenty of United fans who wanted to win this trophy and I know Fergie wanted to win it also. It can never be acceptable for the highly paid footballers of United to decide they’re not interested in this match or that. Presumably the World Club Championship will be just another ‘glorified friendly’. Should the team even bother showing up then? It seems some United fans are spoilt by success. I wonder where they were in the 80’s. No wonder we’re called arrogant at times!

  2. Oli :: September 7th, 2008 9:24 am

    You say Fergie really wanted to win this (rather than just haveing to say the right thing in the press conf when asked if he cared) but actions speak louder than words. He took Fletcher off when we losing despite him being our second best player on the park. He started with Neville despite him not being remotely match fit. And replaced him with O’Shea rather than an attacking option. He brought on Park, again not match fit, as fitness was more important in this game than the result.

    And yes, the games in Tokyo will be the same- Ferguson has already said he may not take the full squad out there. Come May people remember the 3 major trophies, not these glorified friendlies which are only given any attention because Uefa/ Fifa promote them so much for marketing and revenue purposes. Like the Community Shield, they are great to win, but not at the expense of anything else.

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