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Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd

Sunday started very badly when I woke up and saw the headlines about Stam leaving for Lazio. I dismissed these as yet another space filler by the papers and got ready to head for Birmingham. The journey up from London was surprisingly easy and we were soon parked up near Villa Park in bright sunshine. Ten minutes later, having left our jackets in the car, we were in stood in the pouring rain and realised our seats were uncovered! We went for a walk around the stadium and luckily the weather cleared up. A steward told us that the United team were late as their police escort had not turned up to their hotel, and we entered the ground. There was subdued atmosphere in the United end before the game, and I was told that Kenyon had just confirmed that Stam was leaving. For the first time I actually believed the big Dutchman would never be seen in a United shirt again. What I found incredible was the blind faith people have in Sir Alex. Although there was not one red was happy about the Stam deal, equally there was not one red who publicly aired that they did not trust his judgement.

The game itself was a very disappointing performance. As expected lately, United conceded within minutes of the silence for Les Sealy, and Villa had the better of the first half. United did not have their usual rythym and when the half time whistle blew there was silence in amongst the reds. It had been a long time since United had played so badly in a competitive fixture. Strangely Fergie swapped Silvestre for Phil Neville at half time, which was peculiar when we were losing considering Solskjaer, Yorke and Cole, were also on the bench. United still looked under par throughout the second half and it was also a poor performance by the United fans. The Villa fans were taunted with chants of ’ Where are you when we’re not here’ and ‘part time supporters,’ and in typical fashion they replied with cries of ‘support your local team’. The United fans also taunted Paul Merson with renditions of ‘Merson, takes it up the nose’. Tributes to Peter Schmeichel were minimal but in any case it was great to see him again even if he was on the wrong side.

United typically equalised at the death having played well for the last 5 minutes and Villa’s cup final was over. The Brummies cried their way home and we headed back to London. Overall it was a much of a non event on and off the field, and both the performance and atmosphere had much to be desired. At least we are still unbeaten unlike the Scousers!

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