Tuesday, May 17, 2011
History knocked, Manchester answered.
24 hours before one of the most significant days in Mancunian sporting history and I found myself almost giddy with excitement. A devoted Red since the age of 11, I have always felt the spirited rivalry we have with City keenly, and contentedly joined in with taunts about little Carlos Tevez following their defeat at our hands in last year's Carling Cup semi-final. But from that point onward, and really for many years before, I was certain that City's 'vengeance' would come, and would take some dramatic form.
Though like the rest of the red side of Manchester I had that distinctive sick feeling in my stomach on the day we were knocked out of the FA Cup by our arch-rivals, as I sat in a crowded pub in South Manchester taking in the atmosphere and watching our freak spring sunshine stream in through the doors and windows, I couldn't help but feel the result was something right and just.
City had deservedly earned their place at Wembley, my Blue friends and family members were ecstatic, and the weekend of my 30th birthday celebrations was perfected as United's 2-1 win over Chelsea put us within touching distance of the Premier League title.
As a proud Mancunian, I felt nothing but enthusiasm and exhilaration the day before the FA Cup Final, and the day of a United league game against Blackburn which if we got anything at all from, would mean we'd be crowned champions.
Following the full-time whistle at Wembley, I joined in with the other United fans in the Chorlton pub we were in, cheering our nineteenth title and taunting Merseyside, but also felt a sense of pride and elation on behalf of the Blues who were there, toasting the Cup Final result. Although inevitable, it was as disappointing to see United fans in the pub mocking the celebrations as it had been to hear reports of City fans referring to Munich following their semi-final win.
But I'll leave any negatives aside. It was a wonderful and special day for Manchester, and is forever etched in my memory.