Club Bruges – Europe, but not as we know it

United 3:1 Club Bruges

Line up: Romero, Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Mata, Januzaj, Memphis, Rooney

Subs: Schweinsteiger for Carrick, Chicharito for Januzaj, Fellaini for Rooney

TUESDAY night saw the return of European football to Old Trafford, we got the theme tune, the line up debates and a glorious night overall. Romero continued in goal, LVG seemingly resisting the temptation to play David De Gea, leaving him cuptied for any potential (and increasingly inevitable) switch to Real Madrid. That would have been evil but a bit funny.

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WHEN United played Barcelona a few years ago in the European Cup final at Wembley, there was an air of inevitability about the result before anyone kicked a ball in anger. Many a United supporter had the feeling we’d be destroyed by them and that was one thing, there was also the United fan who sounded almost grateful to be on the same pitch as them and that no matter how United did in the game, it was an honour just to be in the same stadium. How nice of Barcelona to delay collecting the trophy in order to have a kick around with us!

That did not sit well with me, although it was men against boys on the night and a lot of predictions came true, the fact that almost all of the United fans I spoke to had absolutely no belief in anything other than that we were just there to make up the numbers was hard to handle.

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Get Down and Get With It

GIVEN TO SCORE makes no apologies for joining the thousands of voices that proclaim tonight’s game with Real Madrid one of the most exciting encounters in our recent history, at least potentially. Given the epic build up on television, in print and in fan voice, there’s a chance that it could fail to deliver; but it’s a small chance so let’s just sit back and think of what is to come.

Ronaldo is good but he still shits and wipes his arse. He is still human.

The Manchester United team are saying all the right things, pointing out that we have waited for a night like this since the disastrous European adventure last year. The team let themselves down last year and in voice at least they seem determined to right that wrong. We have long memories, we know how last season’s European failure hurt and we can only hope it was felt by each man in red but further back than that was Munich, Milan, those hurt too.

I know it’s easy to analyse when you are safely behind a notebook. You can be proper brave with a pen in your hand and as I sit here looking out of my window at snow, Madrid feels like a zillion miles away but for those about to step out and attempt to do the business for Manchester United, there’s reasons to be positive.

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While Nostradamus Gently Weeps

WHAT in the blazes of Glazer financed hell has been going on recently? Predictions are being thrown about, we lost on home turf and Patrice Evra is being… Patrice Evra.

Patrice Evra in ‘action’ against Cluj. A journo should doorstep him and repeatedly ask if he can actually defend.

Anyone who watches Manchester United on a regular basis will probably agree that last year we were lucky to be winning the challenge for the League title for as long as we were. At few times last year were we the team that struck fear in the hearts of rival teams. At some points we were turned over, and at other points it looked like we were more confident scoring ‘one more’ goal than the other team after their seemingly inevitable goal,  than we were keeping them out at all costs and doing the business. Luck ran out and the title went somewhere else, lost on goal difference. When Sir Alex Ferguson tells the word that such a thing would never happen again, we believe and we go into the new season excited and ready.

September’s gone now and that allows us to say it’s not very evident that the hangover has yet left us. Clearly there is an epic case of beer shits still in our system from the ‘last night’ that finished up with us in tears in Sunderland.

Everton caught us cold, put in a good shift and beat us. We did just enough against Fulham and Southampton and we mullered Wigan but there was enough in all of those performances to suggest that Saturday’s result against Tottenham was going to happen at some point. Glass half full types can point out that it’s better to have happened now than at the business end of the season, but Spurts was the second time in two months and if it happens many more times we won’t need to worry about the business end of the season because we won’t be involved in it.

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Geordie Sure For United

Things We Knew We Knew Before The Galatasaray Game (But That Were Underlined By the Galatasaray Game).

PENALTIES – We couldn’t hit a barn door in a field

Manchester United cannot convert penalty attempts for love nor money at the moment. Giving the latest attempt to Nani was probably ill-advised, we have contacted Manchester United to see if Nani’s selection to take it was the result of Mickey P having a sweepstake on us not converting all season. Manchester United are yet to respond to our e-mail even though we used all capitals.

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This Is Not Here

THE match reaction from GTS included comments from Michael Owen made to Rollin Reds magazine and as such the article has been taken down because Given to Score “is not always presented in the way that the club would want us to behave as their representatives of MU disabled supporters so it will need looking into.”

We are currently in contact with the editor of the magazine to see if we can put the material back up but people have spoken and for now it is gone.

We sent the article to the staff of the magazine. Two days later, MUDSA confirmed it was better to “err on the side of caution” and pull the use of the Michael Owen comments. We have decided not to re-publish the article without them. It’s a fast paced world and though the article was good and deserved to be read, it’s yesterday’s news and we can and will write better in the coming months.

All that remains is this lovely view of the Stretty End from my seat inside the Theatre of Dreams. This picture is now the most viewed thing in the history of Given to Score – thanks to you all and especially Claire.


GTS Team

Photography © C. Lindsay 2011. Used by permission.