Sick as Parrots
So it’s all over – the much hyped clash of the titans, the best footballers in the world, the two best teams in the world, the game the world has been waiting for – and Manchester United didn’t even turn up in the end.
Old Trafford was a buzz of activity yesterday – stalls, usually only out on match days, selling flags, t-shirts and Eric ‘God’ Cantona banners, were doing swift trade, the pubs around the ground were heaving and the Travel Lodge at the end of the road had flags and scarves flying from many of its windows.
I can’t help but be intrigued by the apparently blind devotion with which some people follow their football team. The people on the news yesterday who spent enormous amounts of time and money getting to Italy and staying near to Rome who didn’t even have a ticket and were, apparently, happy to just watch the game on a TV in a bar (which wasn’t serving beer by then). I appreciate there is a heightened sense of atmosphere in such places – Old Trafford and Rome last night - but still, it’s just a football game on a TV, isn’t it?
Anyway, if it keeps them happy then good luck to them. Needless to say the city is in a sombre mood today, the flag stalls gone and their owners no doubt cursing the lack of victory parade through the city streets. Old Trafford stands defiant but without the red-shirted devotees who were present yesterday. When I passed today, a man had taken advantage of the lack of people and was playing with his remote controlled car on a piece of waste ground out the front that would, had the trophy returned to Manchester, have been filled with burger vans, scarf sellers and beery, jubilant fans. Instead of the sound of thousands singing victory songs in unison, the air around Old Trafford today was filled with the pathetic buzz of a tiny motor; perhaps an equally fitting tribute, given the circumstances.