I never write much about the travails of teams other than Arsenal, but what occurred in today’s Manchester Derby was hard to stomach despite my inherent dislike of both clubs.
Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy brought his club level with a brilliant goal in the 90th minute, and that’s when the Old Trafford Effect was set in motion.
4 minutes of added time was announced. Where they got that much was a bit of the mystery as there had not been much in the way of stoppages. I recall only one minor pause for an equally minor injury, and three substitutions.
4 minutes pass. 4 and 1/2 minutes pass. Mark Hughes is understandably a bit concerned and is is tapping his watch to indicate to the 4th referee that perhaps a blowing of a whistle is forthcoming. No surprise said referee is having none of it.
What comes next is both shocking and yet completely unsurprising to anyone who’s ever supported a club that has played Manchester United at Old Trafford. Time as we know it, does not exist at the so-called “Theatre of Dreams”.
Some 5, possibly 6 minutes or more later, United scored the winner, as anyone watching knew they would. Only then did the full-time whistle blow, and Manchester City’s manager can only fume as he watches Manchester United’s manager, Alex Ferguson, enjoy a laugh, his arm around the fourth official, as if they were the oldest of friends.
Since their purchase by an United Emirates private equity company, there has been a lot of talk about Manchester City Football Club being the next likely candidate to break into the top four of the English Premier League. Today, they were given a timely (pun intended) reminder that the the current “Big Four” are well aware of, few if any teams get a fair shake at Old Trafford.