Whilst watching Man Utd’s incredible collapse against Everton today at Old Trafford, I was reminded of a scene from the hit movie “Top Gun”, when, following a practice flight where Lt. Pete Mitchell, call sign “Maverick” had run his training officers ragged with his flying skills.Lt. Cmdr. Rick Heatherly, call sign “Jester”, walked into the locker room and barked at the young pilot,“that was some of the best flying I’ve seen yet, right up until the point you got killed”, and so it felt today watching this absorbing game. Man Utd had roasted Everton with some of their best football of the year to take a 3-1 lead and then even a 4-2 lead, only to give it all up as Everton scored two goals in the last seven minutes to tie the game at 4-4 and rob United of 3 points. Man City’s 2-0 win over Wolves puts them only 3 points back now and firmly back in the driving seat to win the title.
I recall my first game watching United back when I was about 9 years old when they entertained Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. That was back in the days of Best, Law and Charlton or “The Holy Trinity” as they were called in later years. I think it was a 2-2 tie (my memory isn’t good for details that old) but I do remember how the match was pulsating end-to-end stuff. Later on, I watched them from the Stretford End during my days at college in Manchester and the sight of United’s woeful defending, week in week out, gave us all fits, but it was the most entertaining football around. I don’t think the club would have it any other way. Why do things the easy way when it’s much more fun to do it the hard way ? Yeah, right !
Today’s game was no different as Everton never gave up the ghost almost as if they knew that United would sit back like a lion who had just just finished a meal, and at that point, Everton proved good enough to score twice as complete panic set in with United’s defenders. It’s the price we pay for being United fans and the draw today coupled with the Wigan defeat might be enough to hand City the title. However, knowing Sir Alex Ferguson’s methods, United are just as likely to spank City in the derby match at The Etihad next Monday night as they are to get hammered themselves. This season has been a roller coaster ride for both clubs and we’re not finished yet. The fact that Ferguson has already labelled next week’s clash as “the most important derby game of his career” shows how much is at stake.
..and so the pendulum swings back and forth.