Even as a neutral I couldn’t fail but be taken in by the Premier League Manchester derby on Sunday. As both City and United gave everything in a match that will no doubt be \’Sky Classic’ before you know it.
Even the build up was entertaining, with Sparky becoming ever more vocal about his nouveau riche teams chances. The ultimate compliment you can pay to the Blue half of Manchester is that Fergie paid them some attention and took huge offence when a journo questioned whether City would soon go into a derby as Premier League betting favourites. \’Not in my lifetime’ Ferguson scoffed. Were his closest rivals, so often slipping under the radar, finally getting under his skin?
It certainly felt like it as United started like a house on fire – Rooney’s early goal adding to United’s determination to put City in their place.
Craig Bellamy, of course, was one of the star performers, grabbing two spectacular goals. But once again he spoilt things by cuffing a pitch invading supporter. Why do it? The guy was being flanked by two stewards and wasn’t going anywhere. But Bellamy, sensing his chance to get in a cheap shot, wandered over and slapped the defenceless man in the face, like one of those guys who only start fights when flanked by two massive bruiser mates. He doesn’t need to get involved in such things.
For a neutral it was great, end to end stuff with great goals and mistakes but even I couldn’t quite believe the final few minutes, with Mikky Owen finally showing us he can still score with a last gasp finish in something like the 9th minute of four minutes stoppage time.
The one thing Fergie hasn’t perfected in his time at United is celebrations. Somehow Fergie can’t quite break into a run, instead hoping around like a doddery old man. Though I have to admit I thought his clenched fists would change into rather more offensive hand gestures when he swung them up and down towards the City supporters. He then had a good old jolly with the fourth official just to kick Hughes while he was down.
In the end the old stager came out on top but the Sky Blue new pretenders didn’t go quietly. And as the frustration at the manner of the defeat continues to simmer away, I suspect they are counting down the days before the re-match.