It goes without saying that the humiliation we suffered at the hands of our lazer blue rivals from across Manchester will take some getting over. The media made a lot of fuss over the Aldershot game, billing it as United and Fergie’s first steps to redemption. It was far from it as the routine win did nothing to banish the anguish and inevitable wind ups that every red had to suffer that week. So it was on to Everton and again all eyes on United to see whether in fact the City result was just a one off, or we were indeed in the ascent of one mighty, mighty ‘wobble’. Inexplicably the game was made a midday kick off and with no Sky or TV coverage you have to wonder the thinking behind this. If it’s in an attempt to reduce the drinking that both sets of fans would do before the game then it’s fair to say they failed, or as a member of our travelling party put it, “I’ll just start drinking earlier”.
Much of the pre game talk between the reds and blues in the pub we holed up in was quite humble, bordering on the self depreciating. Everton fans spoke of their threadbare squad hampered further by injuries and they could forsee nothing more than a four or five goal win for United. United fans were a little more grounded of our chances with our insipid form in October at the forefront of our mind, with opinions seemingly happy with United getting a win, any sort of win. We headed out from our base near Lime Street station towards Goodison in the gloomy scouse sky. Goodison Park is quite a place, one of the last traditional English football grounds. Sat in amongst a housing estate, the facilities and state of the stadium are no doubt in decline and whilst a move to a newer stadium would benefit the Toffees financially, you can’t help feel that you would miss the old metal and wooden structure of Goodison.
We find our way to our seats in time for kick off to unfortunately find that one of the supports for the stand above us is perfectly blocking our view of the goal opposite. The teams come out and the sight of Vidic and Cleverley back in the team is a most welcome well. Especially our Captain Vidic who we have sorely missed since August. The nearby scousers revel in counting six on their hands to the United faithful and there’s plenty of singing and banter flowing back and forth. There’s a lively start to the game with both sides going close before Javier Hernandez pops up, doing what he does best, putting United 1-0 up…although the aforementioned post stopped us from fully seeing the goal!! The United end erupts with bodies and limbs flying everywhere! We’d hoped United would kick on from the goal but the first half finished with Everton pressing, and almost getting, the goal they desired. Down into the concourse at half time with our section crammed in between the slope of the above terrace and the rise to the steps above.
The second half was quite disappointing with Everton making most of the play and having most of the possession but lacking the cutting edge required to get the equalising goal. Full time is blown and whilst this certainly was not United back to the sparkling early season form, a win is a win. You still only get three points whether you win 1-0, 3-0, or 1-6 as it happens! We find our way back to one of the pubs near Goodison to see Arsenal beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge which was met with cheers from both Everton and United fans alike. We find a cab back into Liverpool centre to continue our planned celebrations (definately not football related!) with a most entertaining cab ride with one of the funniest taxi drivers ever to set up the rest of our day.
This early morning jaunt into Liverpool did not supply the perfect antedote to the City debarcle. But it’s a start.