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United We Stand PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Anderson   
Monday, 16 October 2006

Them and Us?

I was a nine year old in Rhodes, Greece. The build up had been like nothing I’d witnessed and the game itself passed with barely a chance. It was very late on and the ball some how bounced out. Cantona shuffled his body and hit the ball through a crowd of players and it went straight into the net.

I’m sure there were grown men who shed tears as well but that hurt. Before, I’d always knew about the disliking of Manchester United, even three years previously when I uncontrollably danced round the house when Ruddock completed the famous comeback.

But I can honestly say it was Cantona’s Cup Final goal, which made me hate our friends from down the East Lancs. It was that stomach wrenching feeling which I’ve witnessed only twice since. The first was the FA Cup in 1999, when once again United robbed us in the dying seconds. And the other was when the second goal went in at the Ataturk. But still we know what happened next.

Eight Premiership titles, four FA Cups, one European Cup, one League Cup, Five Charity Shields, and one Intercontinental Cup. It would be fair to say Manchester United have ruined my growing up.

In 1999 the hatred was so that I flew a Bayern Munich scarf out of my window in hope of celebrating their defeat. Looking back it was a bitter move, but the hatred had reached its pinnacle. I was still learning but they were about to be European Champions. Something I would never see. Or so I believed.

It was only really in 2001 when I thought we would overhaul them Houllier seemed to have us in line and United were on a downward spiral since Ferguson announced he would be retiring. I always believed if we finished ahead of United we were there. The Holy Grail. The Premiership. Number 19. In 2001/2002 we did finish above United, but Arsenal didn’t lose a game all season. It’s always been a case of ‘ifs buts and maybes’ as far Liverpool winning the Premiership is concerned.

Arise Sir Rafael. In his first year he was working with a squad consisting of the previous regimes deadwood, but he converted them into European Champions. Under Benitez the focus of United has been switched to Chelsea, but don’t be naïve neither Chelsea nor Everton come close to the feeling of putting one over United.

The fact there’s mutual respect, both clubs have been there and done it with periods of domination. Who’s the greatest? United were the first English team to win the European Cup, but Liverpool have five European Cups, maybe it’s the fact United have dominated the modern game. Maybe it’s the fact Liverpool done it consistently for two decades. One thing that is for sure is that during both clubs period of domination the other was on a downward curve. Whilst in 1974 Liverpool were coming to the end of Shankly’s reign and sublimely beating Newcastle at Wembley, United legend Denis Law was back heeling them into the second division. But then of course there’s the moment in 1994 when The Kops Last Stand was hijacked by a man called Goss. A few weeks later United completed their first Double beating Chelsea 4-0 at Wembley.

So in modern times it has been Liverpool who have been in decline whilst United ran riot on the trophy front. Until now that is. Of course this season hasn’t started the way Kopites would have hoped, but with Rafael Benitez at the helm one thing is for sure, were in safe hands.

Sunday will be the benchmark of our season, go to Old Trafford and come away with 3 points and Reds all over the country will be restored with belief. It shouldn’t take that. Ask Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher if they think the titles gone, not a chance. We are Liverpool Football Club, in times of adversity we stick together. We’ll come through. There won’t be a podium at Old Trafford on Sunday, but I believe there is more chance of Steven Gerrard standing on it than Gary Neville come May.


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