United Give to Charity

LOOKING at the Community Shield as a showpiece spectacle has always been a step too far for me. It struggles in the netherworld between pre-season friendly and competition for silverware. It is both and it is neither and the idea is that should your team win it it’s important and if they lose it, well then it never was and never will be. To their credit Manchester United statisticians have always included it in the Pre-season group of statistics, and due to the fact that we lost I’ll happily go along with that.

There are, however, positives to be taken from the game. One Portuguese winger reached world class status thanks to his performances for our team, yesterday Nani stepped up to show that he at least intends to try and do the same. Some fans have questioned his quality and commitment to the side up until now but the stage is his to prove them wrong. What will the future hold, will he be Thriller or Earth Song, David Beckham or Kieran Richardson. He did okay yesterday before his injury, a goal, a lively performance and a little bit of a nap while allowing Chelsea to equalise.

Not Bad for starters.

There is one Smooth Criminal that should indeed have a word with himself today, referring of course to Michael Ballack who robbed Patrice Evra of his pesky need to stand up on the football field and floored him with an elbow to the face. Wayne Rooney had possession, Wayne Rooney lost possession, and Frank Lampard was nice enough to put the ball in the net for a 2:1 Chelsea lead to allow for the debate that would follow.

United players wanted to play on after a previous incident involving Ballack this time on the receiving end. Play was stopped, Ballack jumped up, hickory dickory dock. Chelsea players were not at fault for playing on at all. The fact that Wayne Rooney scored a last minute leveller did little to put the issue to bed. Much like Park, it’s a little firecracker that is going to run and run and run.

Sadly, no-one reminded Ben Foster that he has a history of being good in shootouts; no-one was prepared for the fact that Ryan Giggs might not hit the target and it seems no-one taught Patrice Evra how to take a penalty at all. I’ve not seen a shot that bad since David Seaman versus Peter Schmiechel in the ‘Shield’ of 1993.

All in all Valencia had spark, Owen had a chance, Foster forgot how to kick at times but made up for it with a few decent saves. Nani was in til his shoulder was out, Rooney was lively and Berbatov had some colour in his cheeks (ok so that last bit was a bit far fetched, I know).

There were lots of good things to take away; just not that shield thingy. Until next time… GtS

John Terry: England Captain

CHEAP  shot? Never let it be said that Given to Score is above taking the low ground when it isn’t appropriate, necessary or at the very least, really really funny.


When John ‘Mr Chelsea’ Terry strode forward to take the penalty to win the Champions’ League for his team. Who truly expected him to miss in such spectacular fashion? I certainly didn’t. He should have hit the back of the net, the first European Cup victory should have been delivered by the man who bleeds blue and white.


Something did strike me as odd on the run up for the Stamford Bridge captain. Watch the footage again and you will see on his way to the penalty area, he’s looking determined, his chest is puffed out and he’s pushing his captains’ armband into full view. Moving it round to the front so that the watching world are in absolutely no uncertainty as to who is about to achieve history for this club. He believed it, and he wanted everyone else to believe it as well. Confidence in taking a penalty and believing you will score is one thing. Hyping up the moment yourself is a dangerous game to play because there is every chance that in such circumstance, a person can be hoisted by their own petard.

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Burn Me Out or Bring Me Home

 SILVERWARE should not be the reason someone follows a team. It is accepted that it is the reason some players join a club but at the most basic and important level, that of supporters, it should be something deeper. Make no mistake, however, silverware is the chocolate sprinkles on the icing on the cake.


That thought occurred to me as I cringed watching John Terry stride forward to take a penalty to win the European Cup for Chelsea. He was going to win it, I was hearing as much from my brother who could not have cared less about the result and barely even remembered there was a game for some sort of cup. My brother was whispering that belief as I turned away. So I had to rationalise it in my head. It is not life or death, it really is more important to fans. At that moment I was trying to find something that I could cling to in defeat, and there was nothing. It was about to hurt.


I remembered the tears I cried when Aston Villa beat us to win the Coca Cola Cup final, the one where Les Sealey played in goal for us and Kanchelskis got sent off for a hand ball. That was some third rate cup domestically, THIS was the European Cup for crying out loud. It was going to hurt – no-one should ever believe that football support was rational.


Just as John Terry strode forward I noticed his confidence and I thought to myself that it would be very funny if, given his outward stride, he completely bumbled his effort. Luckily he did and we were still in it. Cut to Nicolas Anelka and completely the opposite happened, he didn’t look confident at all and as Edwin flew across the goal to make the save I jumped the highest on the bed as my Dad and brother sat next to me. I got some major height and I punched the air because we had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Continue reading “Burn Me Out or Bring Me Home”