It was common knowledge, at least to those who visit United websites like Red Issue or Red News, that there was going to be a huge anti-Glazer protest before today’s game. Very funny it was too – thousands of reds walking at a snails pace at the top of Warwick Road, waving their Not For Sale banners, holding up traffic, handing out leaflets and singing their hearts out. There were just four mounted police trying to control the crowd – so much for criminal intelligence. 🙄
The protest continued down Sir Matt Busby Way and ended in a mass “flashmob” of the Megastore – dozens of protesters playing five-a-side inside the shop, singing, handing out anti-takeover cards and throwing merchandise on the floor, etc. It was supposed to be a peaceful protest, designed to gain publicity and bring the issue to the attention of United’s major sponsors, but it kicked off outside and there were a few arrests. It seemed to have the desired effect though: TV crews covered the whole thing and, after the game, the megastore was closed and surrounded by hundreds of police.
The game itself was a tense affair. Arsenal came for a draw, it seemed, and were happy to let the clock tick down by wasting time and arguing after every single stoppage. Phil Neville was thankfully preferred over John O’Shea in central midfield and didn’t let us down. Heinze and Ferdinand, in particular, gave it everyting. The Greatest Player in the World â„¢, Thierry Onrrreeeeeee, on the other hand was anonymous throughout. 😛
Apparently the penalty decision was a bit iffy, but the referee had been shocking all day and he really spoiled the flow of the game. Ruud Van Nistelrooy stepped up to make amends for last year’s missed penalty – no mistake this time, sending Lehmann the wrong way. The crowd went mental, urging the team on, but 20 minutes is a long time to hang on to a one-nil lead.
We should have been awarded a second penalty a few minutes later when Ronaldo was hacked down in the box. Smith came on for the last 15 minutes and gave it 100%, tracking back, challenging for everything – take note Ryan Giggs. Smith’s unselfish layoff allowed Rooney to make it 2-0 in stoppage time. 😆
The heavens then opened and we were absolutely drenched by the time we got back to the car, but at least we were happy on the way home, listening to Wenger’s comments and the bitter Arsenal fans ringing in to whinge about how they were robbed of their unbeaten run. 😀
Edit: It looks like the protest has had the desired effect.