Was over in Manchester at the weekend for my first United game of the season, and my word, I picked a cracker, taking in the Dimitar Berbatov inspired 3-2 win over Liverpool.
It was the first time i’d taken in a United game against Liverpool since 1994, which was a rarity in this fixture, a Saturday 3pm fixture.
I’d actually turned down the chance to see United play Liverpool in April 2004. That game clashed with Linfield’s final day title showdown with Glentoran, there was only going to be one winner.
United lost, Linfield won (the game, and title) so it turned out to be the right decision. Incidentally, that game I turned down the chance to see was the last Saturday 3pm kick-off between United and Liverpool.
Shocking weather travelling over, it didn’t get much better on matchday, getting totally drenched, killing off any chances of dandering into Manchester City Centre.
It was strange, as the third Weekend in September in recent years always seemed to be gloriously sunny.
In 2007, I took advantage of Linfield not playing to go and check out some murals on the Shankill Road.
In 2008, I took advantage of Linfield playing, on the seaside, to see a 5-0 win at Bangor. Big crowd (in a small ground though), sunny weather and a 5-0 Linfield win, what’s not to like?
Last year, I spent this weekend at perhaps the greatest Manchester derby of all.
So, this game, had a lot to live up to.
The match itself was unremarkable for 40 minutes until Berbatov headed United in front.
His overhead kick for the second had to be seen to be believed. I was behind that goal, in a low seat, and once he hit it, you knew it was going to be a goal.
Unfortunately, rather than witnessing a routine and comfortable (But enjoyable, United beating Liverpool is ALWAYS enjoyable) win, United’s new found ability this season to self-destruct defensively saw it being a more exciting game than it should have been.
The reflief, when Berbatov scored was clear for all to see. I managed to capture a photo of it, which has become my most active post on my fledgling Tumblr account.
Now, Berbatov could do no wrong, a stark contrast from the reaction of fans after the last United game I was at, at Blackburn in April, when he was singled out for an ineffective display leading the line in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney.
Berbatov was signed to deliver in the big and important games, and he didn’t at Ewood Park (That game, rather than the defeat to Chelsea the week before, was the one that cost United the 2010 title) but made up for it big time on Sunday,
It also meant I kept up my proud record of never having seen United lose at Old Trafford in person, although I did see United lose a fiendly to an International XI at Winsdor Park in 1995, and a league game at Ewood Park in 2006.
My next United game will be the game against Spurs at the end of October (I’ve actually got a bit of a record of missing out on seeing Spurs, but i’ll save that for the photoblog of that game) but until then, i’ll have to make do with the hustle and bustle of the Irish League (with a corproate view of Northern Ireland v Italy inbetween)
Having been to the second biggest game in British football, my next football match will be the biggest game in British football (possibly even World football)
For once, when Sky introduce a match as “Live, from the greatest league in the world”, they can actually justify it.
You shouldn’t really have to ask what it is.
So, when thinking of the three greatest hat-tricks in football history (Glenn Ferguson v Glentoran 2005, David Healy v Spain 2006, Dimitar Berbatov v Liverpool 2010), I can say, I was there.
What beating Liverpool means. Check out the guy in the red hat, he is loving it.
Beatles related graffiti in North-West Belfast. Exact location unknown.
Linfield fans at Bangor in 2008
YES!!! Wayne Rooney scoring against Manchester City in 2009
Old Trafford, September 1994
Ryan Giggs, September 1994