20 September 2009


4-3 is a thrilling scoreline under any circumstances, but "thrilling" does not do justice to this game.

One of these days United is going to make me have a seizure....

I am in Singapore for work and was going to miss watching this game because I was to be on the flight back to Bombay. Decided to extend my trip for a day and "thank you thank you, god" that I did.

My friend ramballs and I went to watch the game at Chijmes, seemed to be a great place to watch and we watched the first half there. There were quite a few United fans there and many anti-united ones too. United scored first but a defensive error allowed City to equalise. Why do we do this to ourselves?

At half time we decided to quickly go across to Boat Quay to the Manchester United Cafe Bar (yes, such a place exists). Unfortunately, we couldn't find a cab easily and by the time we got there it was already 2-2. We had been in the lead twice and been pegged back twice. Annoying to say the least, the blue losers should have been left well behind.

The Manchester United Cafe is a really cool place with lots of club memorabilia and signed t-shirts and posters on the walls. There were a good 100-120 united faithful in there. Singing United songs and chanting. It was a bit funny with their distinctive accents. But it was really passionate and I felt 'at home'.

We missed a few good chances and some of the fans were less than charitable towards Berbatov.

Michael Owen came on for Berbatov. A few years back, I didn't think I would live to see United fans welcome Owen onto the Old Trafford pitch in the Red devils shirt. (Football, bloody hell!).

The famous United Supporters spirit was there.. Everyone believed we would score the winner. United always scores. Everyone believed. And we did score - Fletcher ghosted into the box to head in the goal, the bar erupted like we were all there at Old Trafford... High fives all around. No high fives for the two of us - the primarily chinese crowd was still trying to figure us out. I seemed to be a United faithful but they obviously hadn't seen me before at the bar. And my friend was quite obviously a neutral (he's a Liverpool fan but didn't dare wear his shirt to this bar!).

And the bar was a happy happy place.. Singing 'we love man united, united we love you'. And many more songs which I can scarce repeat the language of here. Suffice to say, they were disparaging towards our so-called rival clubs.

The clock ticked over to 90 minutes and we were just waiting for the final whistle to blow so that we could go home happy. Rio made a mistake, silly mistake. Sir Alex's hair dryer treatment is gonna get him for sure. City scored and it was like we were in a funeral home at the bar.. Dead silence. I had that terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and a hammer blow to the head. All we had needed to do was hang on for a couple of minutes but it wasn't to be... Or was it?

I had to muster up a lot of spirit within me, Come on United, come on boys... and I could see around me, 5 or 6 United fans doing the same. "We could still win this" - more in hope than expectation. There were a few cries of 'remember 99'. The players tried a couple of times but the attacks died without a threat on the goal.

.......Giggs on the ball, outside the box. Calm as ever. Strokes the perfectly weighted pass into Michael Owen's path. Owen looks up quickly and mentally judges the speed of the ball, the pace of the oncoming goalkeeper, the angle towards the bottom right corner of the goal. He may well have seen the flash of a blue t-shirt out of the corner of his eye of the defender's tackle coming in. He measured all this in under 1 second. Gently stroked the ball home.

Goal. Winner. Instant Legend.

The bar went crazy. It was like each of us had scored that goal. There were people piled on each other. Strangers hugging me, 4, 6, 10, maybe 15 of them.

Yessssssss. Goalllllllllllll. Unitedddddddddddddd.

We didn't know each other but we celebrated extreme joy and elation together. Screamed myself hoarse, could barely stand after. And then it slowly sunk in. We'd won, we'd really won. 95th minute winner - by Michael Owen. Hahahaha. Never ever dreamt I would see THAT.