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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Gary Nev post Liverpool


"I WOULD love to talk only about our victory over Liverpool on Sunday, about how we battled through a tough game to secure a dramatic late win, but it seems that something negative always has to intrude these days.

The build-up to every big match we play seems to revolve around the idea that, if we lose, it will be the end of the world for Manchester United and, even if we win, you can be sure that someone will say that it doesn’t hide our failings. But it was a new one for me to hear people saying that I had celebrated too vigorously on Sunday.

Let us put it in context. Since I was a four-year-old, one of my dreams was to score a last-minute winner against Liverpool. When I was a kid, they were United’s fiercest rivals and, even now with the success that Arsenal and Chelsea have enjoyed, that remains the case.

That makes it the biggest domestic match of the season for us and the stakes are raised even higher when, in the week before, all you hear is people saying that Liverpool are the coming force, ready to shove United down the pecking order. Players listen to that kind of talk. They don’t just switch on when the match starts.

So then you battle through a tough match and, just when it looks as though it will end with a frustrating, but fair, draw, Rio Ferdinand scores a fantastic headed winner, a goal that has come out of nothing after 90 minutes of massive tension. What are you meant to do? Smile sweetly and jog back to the halfway line?

You are caught up in the moment and, yes, for a few seconds you can go bananas. I laughed when I heard someone say that it was not the behaviour of a 30-year-old because they are probably the same people who have accused us of lacking passion in recent games.

No disrespect to Liverpool was intended. I would have been apologetic if I had run up to one of their players and tried to belittle them, but this was a celebration.

Last week, I had to put up with a Liverpool lad taunting our fans during the Manchester derby, but at no point did I even consider that Robbie Fowler should be punished. The stick is part of the game. One week you take it on the chin, the next you give it out. That is how local rivals have always been — and always should be.

I had two plasterers in last week who insisted on wearing Manchester City hats and making a comment every time I walked past, but I don’t sack them for it. I have to put up with Liverpool fans singing plenty of songs about me, none of them tasteful, and I struggle to believe that I have caused them any grave offence with an exuberant celebration.

Increasingly people seem to want their footballers to be whiter than white and there are calls for sanctions over every little incident. Do they want a game of robots? If I was a Liverpool fan, my big upset would be losing the match. I have enough perspective on football to say that they didn’t deserve to and they will have come off wondering how on earth it happened. They have become a solid, consistent team with a real work ethic and some good players. That made it extra pleasing to win, but while my celebration may have caught the eye, people should also know that I was already thinking about the next game by the time I returned to the dressing-room.

Whatever people say about our attitude to the Carling Cup in recent years, we want to win that trophy. The second leg of our semi-final against Blackburn Rovers tomorrow is a massive game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, welcome to sports in the new century. Unfortunately with all these corporations running professional teams across the globe there is some sort of new mandate that players take it on the chin period.
It happens not only in England, but all over, checkout the college scene in the States, I feel for those kids, universities make millions off them and they barely get an education in most cases. Lord help them if they make a buck on the side or step out of line in a bar.
BTW I'm a big time Liverpool fan so I'm sorry you won but you did it in fine fashion and hell I would be still dancing in the streets if I had scored the winner!
Congrats Mate

1:17 am, January 26, 2006  

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