EVEN a cynic like me couldn’t help but be stirred by the swirling display of anti-Glazer green and gold at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The fans deserved their five-goal reward: at last, they had stood up to be counted. Of course, it remains to be seen how many of those happy to take the easy step of putting on some colours will eventually be prepared to take the only step that truly counts — to hit the Glazer income streams.
That means boycotting: at the very least, refusing to purchase any kind of MUFC product, especially in the ground on matchday; and at best, refusing to renew season tickets.
Moves are under way to mount a non-renewal campaign, and some key assurances have already been obtained from parties involved in planning the Glazer endgame to protect those who are brave enough to take such a step.
Of which more in due course as we approach April; for now, keep spreading the green and gold gospel.
Pompey were always going to get stuffed on Saturday, with United fans predicting three, four or five-goal margins, although after 39 minutes you could’ve been forgiven for wondering if we’d been too cocky. But rarely have we seen visitors afflicted with such bad luck, and such poor returns for what was, on their part, a mighty effort.
One almost felt sorry for their travelling faithful, many of whom impressed us with their willingness to get involved in our protests. They join a short list of away contingents we have taken our hats off to, such as Everton on 1994’s Busby Day, and City’s visitors for the Munich 50th.
Hats off too for that unlikeliest of Lazaruses, Senor Nani, who has now racked up four decent displays since his pre-Christmas ranting meltdown, although there are still plenty of Reds muttering that the player will need to keep this up for several more weeks before they recant.
As for the Messiah himself...well, Rooney, rightly, continues to dominate all our thoughts and headlines. Nevertheless I was pleased to see Sir Alex take a moment beamingly to laud Berbatov for his scintillating goal too.
The Bulgarian is now second in the Opta striker stats, for those who like to put faith in such things, and the anti-Dimi hysteria of a few weeks ago seems to have abated. For now, anyway.
You would hope crafty, technically-gifted opposition like Milan will give him the chance to showcase his higher form of football intelligence, and finally get the eager-to-bite media off his back for a while.
However, as the case of Wenger has demonstrated again this week, there’s nothing an English meat ‘n’ potatoes hack likes better than laying into foreign fancy-dan artistry, so I’m not holding my breath.
Fabio Capello, unusually being a foreigner more in the mould of a 1942 English sergeant-major, is much more to the British media’s taste, naturally, and he is being lionised this week for his dismissal of Terry, and for his role in Rooney’s resurgence. Intriguingly, Wayne has gone out of his way to credit Fab for making him a better player this season, which the suspicious might take as a coded ‘told you so’ to Old Trafford staffers who’d been making him play on the wing, or too withdrawn, for the past two years.
As for Terry, a much loathed figure at OT, there are no tears being shed, although some have noted the irony of a serial offender such as Rio getting the nod, given the circumstances.
Tonight we go to Birmingham where, if successful, we would neatly put the closing parenthesis on this midwinter period. It was Villa’s stunning 1-0 win at OT that kick-started United’s festive malaise, and to beat such a good opponent now would seal a triumphant turnaround. Then we’d be back on the old familiar Noughties track: eyeball-to-eyeball until the finishing post with the Stamford Bridge beasts. Lock up your wives, and may the final battle begin.
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