United Down Pompey
I was looking forward to this match perhaps more than any other this season because it was the first one back after injury, for my usual match day companion, my Dad. For the first time this season he was able to go to the Theatre of Dreams and that was more than enough reason to look forward to this game. The magic of the cup and all that was also there, we were all hoping that it would be a lot easier than the last outing in the competition when Ole saved us. Everything was ready; Dad had even provided sarnies on good bread and the old favourite a flask full of coffee. It was just like the first full season I was lucky enough to have a place on the match rota, before for convenience we took to buying meat and ‘tater pies. With the introduction of the American Chipmunk, the takeover of big business and our crash from being our own club to merely a pawn in a finance portfolio I have refused to buy any pies or match day refreshment at all. Not that Glazer will be worried about the loss of my particular one pound plus but that really is not the point, it’s a stand made by me and others against the regime.
Rebelling with a cause means I was happy to take Dad’s homemade food. I’m only sorry the United lads didn’t put on a better performance for his return.
I figured that with David ‘Calamity’ James in goal and Portsmouth being something of a retirement community for those footballers on their last legs, we might be okay. David James and I have a deal, you see. Years ago I went to the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium thinking that it would be a hell of a day, one to remember, if it went our way. I would hate to make that journey for us to lose. Luckily, thanks to old Calamity’s ability to knock the ball to Lord Eric of Cantona, I didn’t have to find out how bad it could have been. James has gone on to embarrassingly represent a lot of clubs. He makes mistakes, he also happens to pull of fantastic saves when he plays against Man United. When United are comfortably in the lead the weather makes no impact, so I was hoping that we would be four nil up and it would feel likeJamaicathere.
All these aspects were going to come together in the world’s greatest cup competition. Unfortunately no-one told the players. Our team looked strong on paper but seemed to struggle to make any kind of breakthrough. We knew we were in for a long day when we were looking at every single cross into the Portsmouth box easily blocked by Linvoy Primus and Sol Campbell, all of a sudden Primus was soddin’ Paulo Maldini and he and Sol Campbell kept the United boys at bay. Ji Sung Park ran his socks off today and for the record, it happened right in front of me and it should have been allowed. The match was so uninspiring at times I was more entertained watching this fat bloke in blue in the row one down from me closer to the pitch; he kept turning round and growling some undetectable nonsense towards the Pompey fans and David James. As I write I have not seen the highlights on match of the day so I don’t know whether this loud mouthed wide-load achieved his goal of being seen on camera but he was most definitely heard (not quite understood though). If you watch match of the day, east stand (old scoreboard end, opposite the Stretford End), any time in the first half whenever David James was taking a goal kick…feel free to spot either the vocal fan (or myself in the wheelchair section).
In the event the team got going about quarter of an hour into the second half, I had figured out about a thousand places where the Portsmouth trumpeter could stick that bloody instrument he was attempting to play. To be honest, it’s great whenever loud visiting fans sing but when you have heard an out of tune version of the Great Escape for the millionth time it begins to annoy you. I had lost the feeling in my legs and we had opted to open the flask of coffee. Me and the United ‘keeper were obviously on the same page as I was constantly distracted from the action at the other end of the pitch Tomas doing exercises along his area and pretending to save and gather up invisible footballs. The thing’s that goalkeeper’s do when they are cold and bored eh?
I couldn’t do the exercises so all of a sudden these daft questions entered my head. Since when have Portsmouth been, according to their song, “Portsmouth City FC’? They added the City part so they could sing the song?
Also, if you have brought your child to Old Trafford, perhaps for the first time, you go to the Megastore. Fair enough, I can’t be bothered to tell people the million and nine reasons why those purchases are not good. What I can’t figure out is why the hell leave with ten minutes left to go? If you come to Old Trafford to spend money on the shirts and leave early to ‘beat the traffic’ then why bother coming to the match at all? For some people I think that the actual match gets in the way!
My annoyed little inner rant at the intricacies of football was over pretty quickly and to give the interlude a full stop Wayne Rooney decided he’d score a few goals and put this one to bed. I will remember this game especially for three brilliant reasons, the first I’ve talked about and the other two are that second goal from Wayne Rooney and the sight of Tomas doing his airplane celebrations when the goal went in, absolutely unforgettable images, both of them.
Portsmouth did manage a consolation goal, scored by Mendes. It’s a little bit ironic that we have a ‘did the ball cross the line’ debate today. Wasn’t the scorer of the Portsmouth goal the same player that scored the infamous goal that was never given for Spurs? Maybe I am wrong, perhaps someone will let me know. Football eh? Bloody hell.
Andrew ‘don’t call me Andy’ Cole was welcomed back to Old Trafford but the game belonged to one of the modern day United strikers. Here’s hoping that the goals in the brief spell that Wayne Rooney had today will see a return to the form we are more used to seeing from him. Today’s game ended happily for us, two goals wasn’t a bad haul despite the fact that we had another two perfectly good goals chalked off. It is nice to have a break from the Premiership every now and then, all together now…
“Que sera sera! Whatever will be, will be…”