Manchester united in glory – and sore heads

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The city of Manchester awoke yesterday to a double football hangover after its bitter rivals secured league and FA Cup success on the same day.

Hours after Manchester United notched up a record 19th Premier League championship, Manchester City were celebrating the end of their 35-year wait for a trophy at Wembley.

It all made for a wild night in the pubs and bars of the city, with reports of rare camaraderie between the red and blue tribes, and sore heads for some of the 40,000 entrants to yesterday morning's Great Manchester Run.

"We were geared up for a busy night but this was even busier," said Glen Kelly, landlord of Cheers Bar in Crumpsall. "It was like a derby day, when people only leave when they're asked to leave, run out of money or collapse on the floor. Usually it's a bitter rivalry, but last night there was no animosity. It was a double celebration with a massive feelgood factor."

Police drafted in hundreds of extra officers but there were no reported arrests. With replica shirts an obstacle to getting into most town centre bars, most football colours were spotted in the provinces, where Manchester City season ticket holder Nathan Atkinson partied until 2am.

The 34-year-old, who lives in Stretford, directly behind Old Trafford, said: "I certainly celebrated. I think it was more special for the City fans to be honest. My hangover is well worth it."

There was a bonus for some Manchester City fans on Saturday evening when the players boarded their train home at Watford, with the FA Cup in tow. The squad, who sat in their suits in the first class area, sent a club official bearing the trophy through the carriages for supporters to pose with.

"It was a great way to cap it off," said 31-year-old Andy Long, who lives in Didsbury. "Nobody was expecting it. The whole day was brilliant."

The City contingent arrived from Wembley at around 10pm, joining the celebrations their rivals had started that afternoon. Council leader Sir Richard Leese, a City fan, praised United's "historic achievement" and described the cup triumph as a "joyous occasion".

Manchester United fan Anthony Moss, 25, from Ashton-under-Lyne, said: "City and United fans were celebrating together which was a lovely thing to see. There was no hostility in the air at all. All you could see was happy looking guys in both City and United shirts with their arms around each other singing 'Champione' and 'We won the cup'. It was as if any differences between the two clubs had been healed."

By 2am most of the pubs had shut and only nightclubs remained open, but fans remained, singing and dancing in the street, many still clutching flags from the matches. United's players, who secured the title with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn, descended on Rio Ferdinand's Rosso restaurant, and used Twitter to express their delight.

Wayne Rooney, scorer of the vital penalty that eclipsed Liverpool's total of 18 titles, posted a picture of himself with the number 19 shaved into his chest.