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How Brilliant Was That By The Way?

11 years ago

The win over Man United meant so much in terms of optimism, relief, the exercise of a few demons and an important 3 points after a difficult period, and all done with a certain degree of style. Even Alex Ferguson gave credit for our first 2 goals!

However, I must confess to an element of disappointment in the coverage that preceded and followed the game. It seems the presence of the legendary Phillipe Albert (working for Belgian TV) has invoked yet another series of hark backs to the famous Howay 5-0 thrashing of 1996.

I was at that match and it was incredible, it will live long in the memory. I bought the video the next week and I still have the programme. I feel I have to cringe a bit though, at the regularity with which it has been brought up since.

To recap, since that game we have played Man United on 32 occasions in all competitions and only managed 2 wins, both aided to a degree by the sending off of the odious Roy Keane. This record is probably comparable with most Premier League stalwarts, given the dominance of the red menace, but it is tinged with a bit of sadness I think.

Back in 96, a win over Man Utd was vital, given that we were competing with them for the big prizes. Our appalling record versus them since, maybe serves as an illustration of our fall from grace, with Bobby Robson presiding over the 2 wins mentioned as we threatened to recover our previous status under him.

Is it wrong to say that I would have preferred 5 one-nil wins over Manchester than that glorious five-nil? I don’t think it is.

I hope that under Alan Pardew we will build to be competitive on some level once again.

That Ba and Cabaye are not remembered for their one great goal THAT day versus Man U, as Albert and Ginola are, but for the fact that they did it many times.


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