MANCHESTER'S TRIUMPH: In Memory Of Red U's
With apologies to Poet Laureate Andrew Motion's `In Memory Of Ted Hughes'
Friday 28 May 1999
and Darren, who was with me, didn't have a clue
how our spun-out last minute miracle double
would be the best ones we'd get. We had been stitched
up before, that I did know, and dribbling from one side
of your mouth the Stella Artois stained your away shirt.
"It's goals did it," you said afterwards, passing one big can
over the punters to me and wiping the froth off the edge
"You can't have too few goals or you find the whole
shebang goes crash." It was a small front bar
where we were squeezed together jammed in
between the pool table and a large pile of chairs
which was alright if everyone kept still
but wobbled whenever the action went down the
German end. And threatened to fall down altogether
when Basler drove the ball, possibly through Babbel's
legs, inside the far post with Peter Schmeichel still
standing with his mouth open like a fivepenny flytrap
we sat down again, the place so tight in fact
that each of the stacked-up tables now shuddered
every time that anyone so much as lit a fag or pulled
another ring tab. That "goal," drawn out, five-foot screen
in slo-mo was dismal, a low moaning growl broke out
then one or two of the lads had to nip off for a slash
in short they swivelled then fall silent and stared
before the interval and Darren ordered two more Stellas
as well as mine, and went back to his seat chastened.
Ten minutes into the second half, after a lot of pressure
United almost got a goal, Blomqvist steering a deep cross
from Giggsy just over the bar. You dropped your cheese roll,
urging them not to waste time. I might almost have thought
it was over and we were lost to the world then but crucially
we saved it. When Teddy whacked that equaliser into the net
then Solskjaer won it, a game of two corners essentially
the whole bar up in the air, Darren and you kissing each other
the pile of chairs and pints going over, takin' over, Barcelona.
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