By Matt Bunner
It is well known that the average fan hates Man Utd, primarily because
everybody you meet seems to support them, despite their dumb look when
you ask them to locate Manchester on the map or challenge them to name
at least five of the current side.
But it doesn't stop there. My old local
in Godalming is the area's haunt for Man Utd fans. Credit to the
landlord - he is longstanding fan and makes the journey, not only to Old
Trafford, but occasionally overseas to watch them play in Europe - but he
is one of the most blinkered and arrogant fans you unfortunately might
meet (he was and still is convinced that Gary Neville played the ball
and NOT the man in THAT Barnsley FA Cup tie a while back!).
during a Monday night football match that he was intentionally or
unintentionally belittling the mighty Hornets, saying that we were a
little club, with little history, no results against bigger club, etc -
it seems the memory only lasts as long as a goldfish for some fans! Of
course that got me going as I referred to early 80's with our FA Cup
Final, finishing above them in the league ("Don't remember that", he
said. What a surprise!) and our good little run in Europe. Okay, we're
never going to be as large as Man Utd, but we DO have pride and history.
Then I struck gold....
I opened with this line, "Did you see Match of the Eighties the other
night, particularly the build up section to the 1985 FA Cup Final
between Everton and Man Utd?".
"Oh, yeah", came the reply. "Of course, that was the game when Norman
Whiteside won it for us".
I countered, "Do you remember the interviews with Ron Atkinson and Andy
Gray talking about the matches BEFORE the Cup Final?".
"Not really", he said. He was now shifting a little uncomfortably.
"It was quite funny", I retorted, "Andy Gray was commenting that it was
criminal that they had to play Rapid Vienna in the Cup Winners Cup Final
3 days before the FA Cup Final, but the response from Ron Atkinson was
very dry, 'We had a much harder game in mid-week against Watford!' ".
"Err, what was the score?", he asked gingerly.
"Oh, only 5-1!", I answered swiftly.
"Yeah, but I bet we had a reserve side out...".
"...no, not really..."
For this mid-week match, we sat where the new Rous stand is now (can't
remember the name!) (Shrodells - Ed) about level with 18 yard area towards the
My vague memory of the game shows that we attacked continuously,
exploiting Man Utd's reluctance to engage in a battle. I can you tell
the teams and who scored (below), but what I don't remember is where and
when! I would also like someone to remind me how the goals were created!
I bought the video showing the season's highlights, but no mention of
this match or the 5-1 drubbing handed out to Spurs! I do have a colour
picture of the Vic Road end scoreboard showing, I think, 3-1 to Watford.
What I do remember most is the incident, I think in the second half,
when Luther chased a through ball towards the Vicarage Road end, managed
to flick the ball around Gary Bailey, but was unfortunately stopped by
the 'keeper's knee colliding with Luther's head. I still remember the
sound it made then to this day. Luther was pole-axed and stayed down for
at least ten minutes. It later transpired that Blissett had a hairline
fracture of the skull, but luckily was back in action soon after.
The reception at the end of the game for the Hornets was amazing. Utd
knew they had been given a pasting, despite the limited excuse of a FA
Cup Final three or four days later.
As you can see from the sides, Man Utd had a good team out, but you look
at our side and it just oozes quality! How many of today's side would
get into that side?
"Do you remember that game?", I asked the fan.
"No", came the blunt reply.
At least he was quiet for the next fifteen minutes.