Monday, 10 January 2005

Manchester United 0 Exeter City 0

FA Cup 3rd Round
Old Trafford, Manchester
Att. 67,551

Thought while I'm in the North West, I had better get to Old Trafford at some stage, but I always wondered how I'd manage to get in. I was intrigued by the thought of Man U taking on a Conference side and thought if any game at OT was likely not to sell out this would be it. I got my ticket, but I was wrong, 67,551 packed in for yer genuine David/Goliath clash.

Sadly, I took several pictures of Old Trafford and the Exeter players doing a lap of honour but my camera decided to despatch them to the ether before I could get 'em on here. A great pity.

So what of it, chose a pretty good game to visit Old Trafford you'd think and yeah, it was nice to witness a surprising result, but apart from one shot which Tim 'Woof, Bark, DONKEH' Howard had to punch out, Exeter never looked likely to win. That said, neither did Manchester United and 0-0 was as fair a result as they come.

Man Utd fans will blame Fergie playing a weakened squad, but lets examine that. Bellion, Howard, Gary Neville and Wes Brown are fairly regular first teamers, while Liam Miller recently cost them £2 million from Celtic. A reasonable price and a pretty reasonable former club. Djembe-Djembe is certainly no slouch, and so thats over half the team accounted for as being 'quite good, actually'. You'd think, from the way people talk of Man U weakened sides, that the other 5 were straight out of the boozer, Sunday league doggers (not the new meaning of that, by the way) to a man.

When it comes down to it, Fergie wasn't capable of rousing his troops to play a Conference side. Even with Alan Smith, Paul Scholes and Christiano Ronaldo introduced, there was no walk-over, a couple of half chances, but no substantial extra quality for all the starriness attached to their names.

Fair play to Exeter, and I'll slap the first to call them 'plucky' as they played reasonable football, and were never under the cosh. Aside from the result, a forgettable game, but I am very glad that I was there.

Being sat jammed next to the players tunnel, I also noticed prior to kick-off Sir Alex gesturing down the tunnel for his glasses in a manner that brought to mind Eric Morcambe's spectacle shuffle. The notion of Fergie yelping 'ARSENAL' amused me greatly.

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