Terrace Talk: Man United - Revelling in the glorious spectacle of City tears

The ‘noisy neighbours’ were back, but this time all we could hear were their sobs.

Yes, of all the images and sounds zooming around the internet on Saturday night, those TV screen captures of Manchester City fans blubbing in their Wastelands seats were easily the most well-‘liked’ in the red three-quarters of town.

For there can be no pretending from the Blues that this was one just to shrug off as they march ever onwards; they hurt, and how.

We used to get to sing “crying on the telly / we saw you crying on the telly” at opponents a lot in the Good Old Days, of course. Not so much now, it has to be said.

Frankly, in 2012 and at certain other subsequent moments, it’s been us on the verge of coming down with a case of the sniffles.

We’ve never quite cracked, though.

But City, bless ‘em, still don’t know how to behave at the adults’ table. Being a top team is still all so very new to them and their gauche nouveau riche owners.

Naturally, the rest of the weekend was spent in full-on revelling, and looking for Blues to taunt.

The spirit of that picture of a roaring Muhammed Ali towering over a prostrate Sonny Liston was being replicated all over Manchester.

The whole shebang took on the air of a victorious cup final weekend; I cannot recall such ecstasy among Reds after a single league match in years.

Doubtless, some Bitters will be sneerily muttering from the safety of underneath their beds about us overdoing it but, in truth, it was City and their never-learning fans who had set this one up as such a Final-manqué.

Not since Caligula and his emetic orgies has a party been so prepped for pooping.

I’d been surprised to hear from the Blues I maintain diplomatic relations with in the run-up to the match that they were making such a historic event out of the occasion.

One of them, a veteran senior journalist, told me it was going to be “right up there with 2012”.

I’d expected some attempt at classy hauteur, some disdain, some contempt for United’s obvious season-long inferiority; instead, they’d gone Full Giddy Goater.

They had even had a firework display installed for afterwards. Fireworks! Well, they got them on the pitch at least, the presumptuous plonkers.

The tale of Saturday evening’s bout will eventually become as familiar and well-worn as that of its predecessor derby, 25 seasons ago, when a United side just beaten in Europe came back from two-down to provide Roy Keane with one of his greatest moments in red.

Indeed, Saturday’s was obviously the greater achievement, given the quality of the City team.

In both of these derbies, a key United Frenchman scored twice — Cantona in 1993, Pogba in 2018 — but in very different personal circumstances.

Eric’s legend was already eternally secure by November 1993, even though he’d only been with us a year. Pogba’s been here longer — and this is his second OT stint — yet his position is anything but secure.

In fact, at half-time on Saturday, you couldn’t move for insults flying through the air about him. So much for Pep’s claims about Raiola offering him for sale upsetting us. And yet 10 minutes later...

Will that immortal double now mark a watershed for him — and will Sanchez’s assists similarly resurrect his faltering OT career? Indeed, will the whole team — and its often bus-driving manager — realise that that second half was the kind of fiery buccaneering display we have been waiting for and demanding since, well, since Fergie left? And what’s more, that they can be quite good at it, too?

Surveying the bottle-strewn wreckage in the cold light of Monday morning, we can now all look up to the wall calendar and hug ourselves with delight at the reminder therein, because there’s yet more potential pleasure to come tomorrow night.

Before the derby, we’d already had days of merriment after City’s sensational collapse at Anfield, which ended up reigning as The Season’s Highlight for mere days.

Many Mourinho-sceptic Reds had long argued City are there for the taking by any team prepared to risk an all-out attacking approach; they have bemoaned Jose’s cringing caution against them in previous derbies.

Liverpool have now twice proved their point this season; they deserve to finish the job tomorrow night.

There may thus be tears before bedtime again for some Blues — but they’ll never shed enough to get that well-bitten pillow as sopping wet as it was on Saturday night.

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