My Favourite Game: Manchester United 5 – 0 Manchester City, 10 November 1994


By Matthew Bird.

For me, being asked to write about your favourite game is a quandary. How do you pick? I mean really, out of all we’ve seen and won how do you pick? I decided on a few parameters. For it to be in the criteria, I have to have been there. As I’ve have lived in America for the past 12 years, it cancels a lot out. And as I spent my foremost years watching at Old Trafford in the 80’s when we were crap also cancels a lot of games out. We can all pick the 99 final in Barcelona, or a recent win over Liverpool. I wanted something a little different, a little more personal to me.

I gave it some serious consideration. I had to narrow it down somehow and my initial choice was a New Year’s Day 3-1 win over Liverpool. We all know Manchester United and New Year’s Day. We don’t mix well. I remember once on New Year’s Day when I was a kid the team running out of the tunnel and Gordon McQueen falling over right out of the tunnel, I was there for Dennis Bailey and the QPR fiasco. The Liverpool game in 89 however for me was the turning point in the fortunes of the teams, they would go on and win only one more title, we’d go on and make history.

I also thought about the 1992 Rumbelows [league]Cup semi final at Old Trafford second leg against Middlesborough. It went to extra time, and the 10,000 plus smoggies that came down for the game made for a cracking atmosphere, added to the fact we won and went off to Wembley, Leeds were also getting smacked at QPR giving us an edge in the title race. However a night that was, we never did go on to win the title and the game itself was rubbish, it was just the fans that made it so special.

So I give you this, and it’s not often that a favourite game will start the Monday morning after a 5-1 thrashing at Maine Road, but there you go.

At Sale Boys Grammar School that particular morning, you could see it in the eyes who were United fans, all downbeat, quiet and trying not to mention what had happened that weekend. I dreaded geography as my teacher, Mr. Davies was a big City fan and I knew he’d rip into us. He was a great teacher, a real quality bloke, whom after 20 years after I remember fondly. When it came to football however, the teacher / pupil relationship went out the window. And did he ever stick it to us reds that day. One lad said “wait ‘til we get you back to Old Trafford” to which he replied, “and what?”

Well Mr. Davies, this one was for you. Yes, we’ll wait ‘til we get you back to Old Trafford. We gave it a few years while we assembled the best team ever constructed by Ferguson, and on that night, in front of the Sky cameras, you had what was coming to you.

Giggs and Scholes were prodigious young talents. Cantona was well…… Cantona. Bruce, Pallister and Irwin were as solid a foundation as any George Graham back four with Keane filling in at right back. However my favourite player of that era was the winger Andrei Kanchelskis. Who doesn’t look back at him now and not smile.

This was his game and I was lucky enough to be sat in the main stand as he and Cantona tore Manchester City apart. It all started in the 23rd minute, it could have been earlier, we were all over them and it was just a matter of time that eventually came when a Hollywood ball over the midfield was pinpoint to Eric who lost Brightwell, pulled it down deftly and slotted past Simon Tracey (who??)

Cantona turned provider for Andrei’s first two goals either side of halftime, the first being a simple square ball to his right leaving Kanchelskis to hammer in off a City heel, and his second a Schmeichel long kick out to Cantona to flick on and Andrei was away. His speed was killer, his dribble sublime. Tracey got something on the first shot but was on the deck and had no chance on the rebound. 47 Minutes gone, 3 up and cruising. The crowd was in raptures and the bitters had to just sit there and take it.

Hughes added a fourth with twenty minutes to go. The move was quintessential United of that era. Old and new combined as Keane forayed from the back curling in a low cross to Hughes. If there was one thing he could do it was win a ball and then know what to do with it. He tangled with City defender, got off his backside and cool as you like poked it home.

We were sensing blood and revenge at this point. The crowd wanted 5. Selfishly for bragging rights, to wipe away the horror show that was the 5-1 massacre of 1989. And then it happened.

Cantona received the ball from Kanchelskis after Schmeichel threw him the ball from a City corner. Andrei using his famous speed pegged it three quarters the length of the field. His hattrick goal again had an element of luck like his first two goals as Tracey again got something on the shot. We weren’t to be denied however. Not tonight. The rebound went in and we went to heaven.

City will point to further derby wins like the 4-1 when Keegan was in charge. I’ll point to them getting hammered at Edgeley Park against Stockport too. They never mention that, or their hiatus in the Auto Windscreens Cup or Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. We just went on and won trophies. Lots of them.

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  1. I agree with most of this, but citeh fans would probably mention that dark day in October before any other, where they completely outclassed us 6-1 with a far superior team

  2. 5 nil to United when it was 11 v 11.

    Hardly far superior either, couldn’t even finish a single point above an injury ravaged united, despite spending a billion of someone elses money.

    Forever in our shadow.

  3. I don’t blame United fans for looking back to past glory;s especially against City because it does not look like there will be many more in the coming years against City or anybody else.

  4. pretty typical red(thousands of miles away) tripe. ‘my favourite game’ and spends most of the space bleating about the real manchester club.

    stick to traffordness, matty. don’t worry about ickle ciddy (we certainly aren’t worrying about you shower’o’shi-ite.

    so many reds claim city are obsessed with trafford town and then produce bollox like this. give it a rest, get over the recent humiliation and concentrate on your big game against mid table loser pool.

    my favourite game ? (no, not that one) 5-1 machins marvels vs fergies wallet was pretty good but i think I’d probably go for blackburn away 2-4 or arsenal at the etistad 3-0.

  5. seaside blue on

    as most mancunian families have blues and reds in them articles like this are why both clubs hate out of towners you just dont get the manchester scene at all city and united will be up there for honours again this season and its post like this that makes decent united fans look like idiots im a blue and could post about both derbies last year but thats gone now both sets of mancs look forward now to december NOT BACK IN ANGER

  6. Was at OT for the 1992 Rumbelows [league] Cup semi final . Cracking atmosphere, Fergusons red an white army all second half and extra time. Even main stand was rocking.

  7. I watched the Maine Road Massacre in 89 during my OE while living in the great city of Manchester. Living there in Sunnybank and going to the games i fell in love with MCFC. Though the 5 1 kicking was brilliant, the 1 6 derby fell on the same night as the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup so thats my pick. For anyone that thinks fans from overseas don`t love the club, i`d like to know how many Manchester locals would get up at 3am every weekend to watch City or United?? Being a New Zealander, I for one do. CTID

  8. Sam….. You say City spent someone elses money.

    Whose money have United spent over the years?

    The money a club generates belongs to the owner as does any money the owner has from elsewhere, truth is the clubs don’t have any money.

    If City’s owners want to spend their money on City that’s OK just as if United’s owners want to spend their money propping up their failing USA businesses.

    But I know what you are really saying. You are saying United generate all their money themselves but did they?

    United have always been a bigger club than City but not by much. Then Sky came along pouring money into football at a time when United were at their best so they benefited the most.

    This money allowed them to pay and keep their home grown players when they might have left and buy other teams best players strengthening United and weakening the competition. That’s how the huge gap between United and City grew’ thats how United became the best team for the last couple of decades.

    Don’t kid yourself, Uniteds money came from Rupert Murdock, from TV money that was just not available to other clybs 20 years ago.

    What if Sky TV had come along 30 years ago. Liverpool would be where United are now.

    So here is the future.

    Citys owners are going to keep pouring loads of money into the club and the team is going to get better and better. Citys owners have started building one of the best training facilities in the world, plans are underway to extend the stadium and the land around the stadium is going to be redeveloped with hotels casinos etc all of which will make it the destination to visit in Manchester.

    Citys online presence is growing fast, true its miles behind United but you only have to look at how fast its growing compared to similar size clubs like Spurs. City have more than doubled their facebook likes from a similar starting point and does any club in the land have as good a website as City????

    United seem to be standing still. True its a great position to be standing still at but standing still is moving backwards.

    Does anyone care where City’s money came from? Know one seems to care or even remember United’s money came from Sky. Will anyone care where City’s money came from in a few years time.

    I know its hard if you are under 35 and have grown up only knowing United as the top club but get used to the change, other clubs have regrouped City. Chelsea, Arsenal and eventually Spurs and Liverpool are about to redress the balance of English football.

    Get ready to miss out on a champions league place.

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