As good as United were in the opening twenty minutes of the match, so too were they awful in the second half when they allowed West Brom to equalize through a myriad of mistakes. Many of United’s gaffs were easily avoidable, Patrice Evra’s botched clearances and Edwin van der Sar’s bobble which allowed the Baggies to equalize should never have occurred, yet no one in Old Trafford on the day could fault West Brom for earning a point by continuing to stay positive in their approach.
From a fan’s perspective it was an incredible day out and a shoddy result, but ultimately a day I’ll commit to memory for some time. It was also an important day in my life; one can only see the club they support for the first time once, an obvious statement in and of itself, but often an overlooked joy in the life of a football supporter who watches from abroad.
The day before the match we had ventured to Old Trafford to take the tour and check out the mega store so we knew our way around quite well. As the pubs around Old Trafford started to fill pre match bellies with lager, fish and chips, and sausages, we too made our way off the Altrincham train for a wander and a meal then towards the stadium that would hold 70,000+ for the Premier League encounter.
Upon picking up our tickets, we joined the hoard of supporters headed to OT to find their seats just before the 3:00 PM kickoff. Our seats were incredible, just a number of rows up from the Stretford End goal we sat in amazement as all four goals scored on the day occurred just before our anxious eyes.
Although the match itself ended in a draw and two points dropped for United, the one thing I took away from the match the most is just how intriguing live football is compared to watching from television. Don’t get me wrong, there are positives involved with both mediums, but nothing can now replace the feeling of watching your favorite club live and in person. Truly an experience I should have ventured to undertake long before this trip.
United and Brass Tacks
Something is dreadfully wrong with Manchester United this season. Their ability to congeal in small portions of matches and score multiple goals only to then concede later or late on and drop points is not a sign of League Champions or League runners up. United almost seemed to sashay through segments of the second half as West Brom easily stepped into their passing lanes to spark multiple counter attacks.
United’s squad looked to be fit on the day which leads me to believe their eventual capitulation was a result of mental strength failing while it remains obvious that eleven players must still find their cohesive best in an early yet maturing season.
United’s central midfield pairing of Michael Carrick and Anderson were often times erased from the match while the front two, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov, linked well together to create multiple chances in the first half. United really should have been 3 or 4-0 up as the interval approached.
While the Wayne Rooney saga continues to frustrate England and Manchester United fans, his form currently being displayed on the pitch cannot be argued. He’s quite poor at the moment. A shell of his former self who impressed for club and country last season (minus the dreadful World Cup), Rooney remains an enigma as it pertains to his stature as one of the world’s best. A form player who’s currently out of, Manchester United’s hopes of Premier League glory or advancement far into Europe rest on Rooney or another United player’s shoulders who will step up as Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs fade with age.
While Sir Alex Ferguson and Co attempt to fix the problem that is Manchester United and to plug those leaky holes, I’ve returned South to London. As gutting as it now is, this post will be the last in this short series of my exploits abroad. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I’ve been forced to cut my trip in the UK short and will be heading back stateside soon.
If you’ve taken anything away from these blog posts, I hope it would be enough inspiration to plan a trip of your own soon to see some live football in the Premier League or any of the other leagues in England. It’ll at times be a trial, tribulation and a test of patience, but will ultimately prove itself to be nothing short of a treat when the whistle blows at 3:00 PM for kickoff.