Quote of the week: 100 000 Manchester United Flags for sale - almost new, only waved for 9minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!-Ary Moosa
Secondly I want to thank my crew for their support and its always sublime to watch a game with the lads and the chics. Thanks to the members who were present from Day 1. The atmosphere is always great when you have nice company
The game itself was not the most explosive, But Barcelona were the better team,The MANCS didnt play. Barcelona had the most of the chances and their attack was potent. Messi came big on the night and was constantly causing the MANC defense problems. But United were not at their best on the night. It was plain for all to see. They had a few chances but were not explosive or the United we know them to be. When Xavi hit the bar we felt as though the ghosts of Munich would cruelly intervene and spoil a great night for the anti united contingent, And when Messi rose and headed Barca in front by two clear goals, not even the ghosts of Munich could help.
Credit to Sir Alex as he got as far as the final. Perhaps another time but in Rome, It was Barcelona that won the epic battle of two footballing Gladiators.
The question still remains on everyones lips.Will Penaltino GO?
And this epic battle wraps up the end of a great season.Its off to the Confeds Cup now!
Atmosphere was great with the crew
Ole Ole Barcelona
As tradition on the blog. A gutted Mamoo after the MANCS lost. Always great to see his face
THE AFTERMATH AT NESCAFE
THE ATMOSPHERE AT NESCAFE
Forever In Our Shadow
"Are you watching Merseyside" the assembled United masses sang before the game in Rome last night. Yes, we are. And how we enjoyed it.
The United fan base have this unhealthy obsession with Liverpool, with everything they do being measured against our own achievements. They cannot play a single game without their fans singing about Liverpool. Everything they strive for exists at the other end of the M62. The odd blog from myself does not constitute hypocrisy on that front. We go to the game to support our own side and very rarely sing about others unless we happen to be playing them. The hatred and jealousy United fans have for us doesn't allow them to do that.
After living in our shadow for so long, they can now see the sun blazing down just a few steps away. Just a couple more strides and they'll walk from that shadow and cast one of their own as the most successful club in the land. They can see the light, and last night missed a huge opportunity to take another huge step away from that darkness.
Alex Ferguson postponed his retirement a number of years ago for one reason only; to win more European Cups.
He has continually stated himself, that to be classed as a truly great side you have to win at least 2 European Cups with the same group of players. You have to win the big one more than once. Thus far he has managed to win it twice, but with each being almost a decade apart. Last night was his chance to achieve his dream and allow self congratulation of drawing alongside the man that casts a constant shadow over him; Bob Paisley.
Ferguson will not rest until he's equalled or surpassed the European Cup haul of Sir Bob. No matter how many league titles he wins, it's the European Cup that really matters, and the trophy that is still the holy grail for all, no matter what anyone says. It may be becoming a tedious competition, with the repetitive nature of playing sides from your own country time and time again, but it's still the one that sets apart the good sides from the great sides. Alex Ferguson will tell you exactly the same.
Arsenal and Chelsea have won the league in recent years, but neither of them have a European Cup to their name. Alex Ferguson has 11 league titles under his belt, but only 2 European Cups; and that hurts him. It also highlights just how special those European successes are.
There are 14 managers that have won 2 European Cups; Alex Ferguson just remains a name amongst that 14, with only one manager standing over the rest having amassed a collection of 3 European Cups. That man is Bob Paisley.
Ferguson might not admit it publically, but he knows that Bob Paisley is the greatest manager of all time. He knows that what Bob achieved in his time at Liverpool will never be surpassed.
Paisley - 6 league titles and 3 European Cups in 9 years
Ferguson - 11 league titles and 2 European Cups in 22 years
If Paisley had another 13 years in charge of Liverpool, giving him a 22 year reign, imagine how many European Cups he could have brought home.
He won the equivalent of 1 European Cup every 3 years. Ferguson has 1 every 10 years.
He won the league 2 out of 3 seasons. Ferguson has won it 1 in 2.
It's not even a contest.
Barcelona last night exposed the lack of "greatness" about this current Manchester United side. The majesty of Iniesta and Xavi in midfield making the axis of Carrick and Anderson look second rate. That's £35m worth of Carrick and Anderson by the way.
£70m rated Ronaldo, £30m purchases Rooney and Berbatov and a £30m striker in Carlos Tevez all on the field for the last half an hour and could do nothing to even threat the Barcelona goal. £160m worth of attacking talent that offered hardly anything. A side put together for vast amounts and completely outclassed by Barcelona.
Where does Ferguson go from here? Open the cheque book again?
This summer is absolutely massive for both Manchester United and Liverpool. We are both level on 18 league titles and as closely matched on the field as we have been in decades. The moves made in the transfer market this summer by both clubs will be crucial in who takes the advantage come next May.
But one advantage I'm convinced Alex Ferguson will never hold, is the one that really matters when separating success from greatness; European Cup glory. We're staying on our perch Alex.
Liverpool 5-3 Man Utd
Forever In Our Shadow
Thanks Fuster for the piece
James Lawton: Beautiful Barça strip the fallen of their crown
To call Barcelona the champions of Europe this morning is to give them their lesser title. The one they demand, unquestionably, is champions of football.Champions of the game that can, even in this high-pressure age of super athleticism and grinding work assignments, still be exquisite. The margin of victory was two goals but the gap between the ambitions, and the execution, of the two teams touched on infinity.In the end the goals of Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, who outshone a petulant Cristiano Ronaldo quite utterly, merely scraped the surface of Barcelona's superiority. Those of us who doubted the iron content of their constitution, could only watch with a degree of awe – and book ourselves a little stint of self-mockery.United, we believed, were filled with confidence. They had a plan and the steel, but long before the end the plan was in ruins and the steel might have been another form of plastic. Sir Alex Ferguson came here an emperor in search of another coronation. But he left a wiser man – and one still more appreciative of football's capacity to cause both enchantment and shock. The crown, certainly, belonged this night to his young and idealistic and marvellously vindicated rival Josep Guardiola. It will, a neutral football world must hope, be worn for some time.Confirmation of Dimitar Berbatov's exclusion from the starting line-up was the anticipated statement of Ferguson's hard intent: ground-devouring force before languid skill. Berbatov had spent some time explaining that he really is passionate about the cause, but plainly his manager on this occasion preferred his own reading of body language. The roar of Rooney's lung-power and the legs of Park Ji-Sung and Anderson were the old wolf's banker investment on this balmy night beside the Tiber.Of course there was also Ronaldo, in a now familiar brooding mode as he entered the stadium with his status as the world's best footballer never having been so directly challenged. Messi, the gilded contender, also seemed deep in his thoughts when he arrived shortly before Eusebio, the great Benfica player who in 1968 came so close to beating United in their first European Cup final. "Are you a United fan now," he was asked and he replied, with a face as solemn as the one he had when he left the Wembley field all those years ago, "No, I like United and I like Barcelona, but I'm a fan of football and this should be a great match."It should have been indeed, and in some respects it unfolded that way but after just 10 minutes all the confidence Ferguson brought here, all his belief that he had the stronger legs, the stronger hearts and an almost infinitely stronger defence, was critically undermined.It was the work of Andres Iniesta, Barça's saviour at Stamford Bridge a few weeks ago, and Eto'o, who on the same occasion was scarcely visible anywhere near the trenches.Here he exploded into them so ferociously he might have been armed with a hand grenade. Iniesta did the donkey work in the style of the thoroughbred he has been impersonating for some years now – after Michael Carrick, entering a first-half nightmare that would be imposed with increasing touch and confidence by the network of Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Messi, lost control of the ball. Iniesta ran 40 yards, with ever-increasing assurance, before slipping the ball to Eto'o.The rest was a grim formality for United as Eto'o went by Nemanja Vidic as though he didn't exist and coolly beat Edwin van der Sar at the near post. You could see so much life draining away from United at that moment of devastation. For a few minutes Ferguson's plan had shown every sign of working as United went at Barça in waves. The effect on the men who had been enchanting so much of the football world for so long was so disconcerting Guardiola found it necessary to rush into the technical area with cries of reassurance.He put them away quickly enough, though, when Iniesta and Eto'o manufactured their tranquilliser. Merlin couldn't have done better. The whole balance of the game was changed. Messi's presence became a little more apparent with each new moment. United sucked in their breath each time he took possession of the ball and by half-time Ferguson's face was harrowed by concern.He was supposed to have the superior defence and the stronger runners but what he didn't have was Barça's capacity to perform outright artistry under the closest attention.It meant that at half-time Ferguson had to do rather more than rally his troops. He had to redefine their point – and their purpose. He also, not too surprisingly, decided he had to bring on Carlos Tevez, in place of the ineffectual Anderson.Tevez, naturally, responded with huge effort and one pass that sent Rooney away along the right was United's most penetrating moment for a good half-hour. However, the worry was that Barça, who saw Xavi's free-kick smack against a post early in the second half, had by now just found too many reasons to believe in themselves.It was a concern heavy enough for Ferguson to dismantle much of his original strategy with 25 minutes to go. Berbatov, earlier judged too passive for the assault that United had planned, came on for the pure runner Park. It seemed like a last throw and there was reason enough to believe it was when Xavi, noting that almost the entire United defence had gone missing, sent a towering cross into the path of the 5ft 7in Messi. It was not the greatest shock of the night that the Little Big Man met it beautifully to arch the ball past Van der Sar.It would be comfortable to say the champions of England were beaten. Unfortunately, though, it ran a little deeper than that. They had been undressed and outclassed by the most beautiful team in all of football.
Thanks Feroz Ebrahim for the article