Thursday, 20 December 2012

United We Stand

Many people ask me how did I come to support Manchester United?

I guess it goes back to 22nd May 1968 when as an 11 year old I watched mesmerised as George Best waltzed round the Benfica keeper to score the 2nd goal in United’s 4-1 victory in the European Cup final. Bestie was from East Belfast, the ultimate in ‘coolness’ before the word was invented – and used to drop in occasionally as a kid with my Aunt Jessie (who has lived in the same house in Cregagh estate for nearly 70 years). He became my hero that night.

At that time I was wearing the no 11 shirt for Lowwood Primary School in North Belfast and trying my utmost to perfect the Bestie swivel of the hips. But from then on it was to be United, not Liverpool and definitely not Chelsea. Even now I still live in hope of getting the call from Sir Alex to help out this weekend. Some chance!

Since that night there have been highs and lows, joys and sorrows, I remember them being relegated – sunk by a goal from Denis Law of all people, who had transferred to City (why Denis why?) and then the early struggles of Sir Alex (or plain Alex as he was then).

He nearly got the sack in 1990 and his job was saved by a late goal by Mark Robins in the FA Cup 3rd round. How big doors swing on small hinges! What if.....? Then the joy of the treble in 1999 - what a night against Bayern Munich – Sheringhgam and Solskjaer immortalised in red history for ever with those wondrous late, late goals in the Champions League final.

Football is both glorious and terrible. It can lift you high and drop you down. I try to think of it as a harmless hobby and not to get too involved until it gets down to the business end of the season. We are usually there or thereabouts and then it gets serious. Anyone care to doubt that. Oh Bestie rounding that keeper has a lot to answer for!

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