As I peer out the window, I see another typical Manchester day – a dark morning of clouds and spitting rain.
But this is like no other day in Manchester; this is the day of the most anticipated Manchester derby in a long time. Manchester United versus Manchester City in the semi-final of a cup competition, can get any bigger for both set of respective fans? I don’t think so. I can feel the tension as I type.
Where to begin? There are so many interesting factors surrounding this match – an anti-Glazer demonstration? Carlos Tevez’ return to Old Trafford? And Mancini’s vow to tear down the banner located at Stretford End mocking Manchester City’s lack of success.
On Saturday January 23 during a 4-0 victory of Hull City, we saw the first strong signs of an anti Glazer demonstrations since the initial outcry on arrival of the Glazer family.
“Green and Gold till the Club is Sold!” is the cry. Harking back to the original colours of Newton Heath.
The debt is worrying. I myself, admit have stuck my head in the sand thinking we’ll be okay; we are Manchester United, perhaps this has been arrogant… However the latest prospectus set a few alarm bells ringing.
Against Hull, a number of the fans armed with yellow & green scarfs were in full voice, singing anti-Glazer songs virtually for the full ninety minutes. Fergie, recently made the following comments regarding tonight’s match asking for unity:
“It will be different” he said. “The occasion is so much more important to them. Fans are entitled to voice their disapproval about this or that. There’s nothing wrong with supporters complaining.
“[I appealed for unity] because we don’t want a divisive club. We want the supporters behind the club all the time because we’re coming to the important part of the season. Everything is down to what we do as a team.
“The team, always the team, is the most important thing. We should never lose sight of that — and we will see that. All I’m interested in is that everyone buckles down to make sure we are successful — players, staff, but the supporters in particular.
“When our supporters are in full voice, they are fantastic. Hopefully, we can produce that against City.”
I can understand Fergie asking for unity especially in such a big game but many united fans are not happy with the current financial state of the club. A non violent demonstration at the ground is the perfect chance to show our frustrations and fears. Tonight, I think once the match starts us fans will get behind the team and Glazer’s will be put to the back of our minds for the time being.
“Fergie, sign him up. Fergie, Fergie sign him up” was the chant every time Tevez scored for United. Now the chant is being used to mock us.
Tevez will not receive a warm welcome tonight, which is a shame considering his contribution to recent success at United. However, since his departure Tevez has made one or two unnecessary comments in my opinion. So is hardly surprising United fans have turned against him, least not forgetting he now plays for one our bitter rivals
When Tevez scored twice in the first leg his delight was there for all to see. His second goal celebration (cupped ears) looked to be directed towards Fergie. This was a real classless act in my opinion. From my recollection, Fergie has never publicly made derogative remarks towards Tevez. So I’m not quite sure where Tevez’ disrespect comes from?
His first goal saw (for me) a funny spat between Tevez and Gary Neville. A few hand gestures and boot licking stories later and everything has built up perfectly.
Will Neville start tonight? I’m unsure. Now Rio is unlikely to play (Brown was an option at right-back and now is likely to play at centre back), perhaps Fergie will opt for the experience of Neville over Rafael. Neville’s now lack of pace is a worry up against the speedy Bellamy and high energy of Tevez. Neville will have to use every ounce of experience gained throughout his career.
If Neville starts, the confrontation with Tevez will be superb. It’s what football is all about, each man giving everything for their club. Respective fans will love it.
Banner tearing tonight?
Roberto Mancini has vowed to tear down the Old Trafford banner mocking Manchester City’s lack of success, thirty-three years and counting as it stands (ha ha). Mancini said: “We will take the banner down! It is the last year it will be up, for sure.”
Will the banner be torn tonight? Nah, I don’t think so. I’m very confident about tonight’s outcome; I fancy a 3-0 victory.
I hope Fergie plays a 4-4-2 formation; we play far better with two men upfront in my opinion, rather than a lone striker, normally Rooney. Where he tends to be isolated and often looks frustrated and our general flow of play suffers as a result.
This game is huge for both sets of fans. Plenty of bragging rights are at stake. The rubbish media talk of a power shift in Manchester can be shoved down a few throats. Plus the small matter of united preventing city from reaching a wembley final.
Will there be clashes between both sets of fans? No doubt! Will there be arrests? Of course! The atmosphere is going to be electric, whether it is anti-Glazer chants, anti-Tevez chants or both sets of fans trying to get one over each other. This is the biggest match of the season so far, 8pm cannot come soon enough; I’ve been waiting for this match since the final whistle of the first leg. and the dark drizzly skies of Manchester will not deter my excitement.
There is one thing left to say…. Come on United!!!