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Most Memorable Manchester Derbies

Manchester City visit Old Trafford later in the month and the prospect fills most United fans with a feeling of dread akin to a starting XI containing William Prunier. After a couple of maulings in recent seasons, some supporters were actually grateful for the penalty shoot-out defeat in the semi-final of the League Cup against Sunderland for fear of embarrassment at Wembley against Manuel Pellegrini’s side. How far we done fell.

In recent years, the Manchester derby has become an event with truly global significance. City, backed by the wealth of Sheikh Mansour, have started to challenge their neighbours’ hegemony, even managing to secure their first title in almost 50 years.

Despite the fact that United had the upper hand for decades, the rivalry was never less than intense. City always tried to ensure that if they could produce one good performance a season it would be against their crosstown rivals.

There have been some memorable tussles between the sides over the years. Here are 10 of the best ones.

March 1968: United 1 City 3
This victory turned the title race in City’s favour, and they were eventually crowned champions in May, two points ahead of their neighbours. Not to be outdone, United won the European Cup the same season and ensured the red half of Manchester had something to shout about.

April 1974: United 0 City 1
Six minutes from time, Denis Law scored a cheeky back-heel against the very club at which he’d achieved legendary status. While his teammates celebrated wildly, the man known as “The King” at Old Trafford seemed aghast at the possibility that his goal might have relegated his former employers.

As it turned out, results elsewhere would have seen United go down anyway but certain City supporters have never let facts get in the way of a good story.

September 1989: City 5 United 1
Alex Ferguson’s side were torn apart at Maine Road, and many felt the Scotsman’s days at the helm were numbered. Mark Hughes scored a stunning goal late on, but it was scant consolation for the United faithful.

Fergie would later describe the game as the “lowest point” of his career, but it was the City manager, Mel Machin, who was sacked a few weeks later. Ferguson stayed, won the FA Cup that season and the rest is glorious history.

November 1993: City 2 United 3
City went in two goals up at the break, but this was Ferguson’s magnificent first double-winning side, and it was never going to be as simple as that.

Two goals from Eric Cantona and one from Roy Keane saw the visitors complete an unlikely turnaround. With players that good in the team, no situation was ever truly hopeless.

November 1994: United 5 City 0
A year on and things were a lot more comfortable for the reigning champions. Eight days after receiving a thrashing at the hands of Barcelona, it was United’s turn to dish out a hiding.

Andrei Kanchelskis scored a hat-trick and inspired his club to their biggest ever derby win. The Russian winger would later play for City and is the only player in history to have scored in each of the Glasgow, Manchester and Merseyside derbies.

November 2002: City 3 United 1
“Feed the Goat and he will score” sang the City fans on a day to forget for Gary Neville and Fabian Barthez. The last ever Maine Road derby saw the home side triumph 3-1, with Shaun Goater scoring twice.

September 2009: United 4 City 3
One of the best Premier League games in living memory, City levelled after falling behind three times on a surreal afternoon at Old Trafford, before finally losing the game at the death.

Craig Bellamy got a brace while pantomime villain Carlos Tevez scored City’s other goal. For all his flaws, Michael Owen did produce one moment of magic in a United shirt. His winner deep into stoppage time will never be forgotten.

February 2011: United 2 City 1
This one was all about the winning goal.

Just months after requesting a transfer and leaving the United fans with the very real fear that he might join City, Wayne Rooney’s stunning bicycle kick was a hugely significant moment for the club. Even the celebration, turning his back on the away support and adopting a Christ-like pose, seemed laden with meaning.

October 2011: United 1 City 6
Days after setting off fireworks inside his house, Mario Balotelli inspired City to a resounding victory, even more significant when one considers they ended up winning the league on goal difference. This was the same day the Italian striker revealed his “Why Always Me?” T -shirt, an afternoon to forget for the home fans at Old Trafford.

December 2012: City 2 United 3
Two early goals from Rooney put United in control, but City fought back in the second half and pulled it back to 2-2.

It looked to all the world as though the home team would grab a winner, but United got a late free-kick and up stepped Robin van Persie, the striker who had been courted by City over the summer. Samir Nasri ducked and the ball curled past Joe Hart’s despairing dive, much to the delight of the away fans behind the goal.


About Darren Richman

Darren's work has appeared in The Independent, The Guardian and The Daily Mirror. Follow @DarrenRichman on Twitter.

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87 Comments

  1. Mark Reid says:

    @Martin Thomas cheers for sharing that Tommy Doc quote funny.

  2. Fletch™ says:

    Bit harsh on Tom Cleverley?!

    Get over to MEN and vote for his new deal people!

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/tom-cleverley-manchester-united-deal-6800622

    Silly polls will destroy a decent footballer at this rate.

  3. Tommy says:

    @Fletch

    While I am not a fan of Cleverley, these petitions and polls I find pathetic, Its not the lads fault hes not got the required ability, its those that keep picking him, do these people really think Moyes will listen to a petition or a poll?

  4. Tommy says:

    Anyone see tonights match? Arjen Robbin was an embarressment, If that was Ashley Young, his cheating would probably have got a mention on prime ministers question time

  5. Fletch™ says:

    Tommy Spot on and Spot on again.

    On Clevereley in MEN
    I voted that he should get a new contract and it popped up that 100% had voted the other way. Taking the p*ss and make no mistake!

    On Robben diving:
    When Robben dives for Bayern it’s tactical genius.
    When Young trips over his shoes at United, hearings open at the FA & in Houses of Government. :roll:

  6. Tommy says:

    @Fletch

    You cant really take those polls seriously mate, Fand from all clubs can vote, so its not a fair way to gauge peoples opinions anyway. On Robbin, he really does wind me up whilst Young does go down easily, I never feel he goes looking for it, Tonight Robbin 3 or 4 times was looking for a penalty, hes the same every match I see him, I think hes the bigges6t cheat in football, he really does wind me up, I would be embarssed to do what he does, ok most players go down easy but nothing like him, im sure he sets out to get penalties before the game kicks off. Shame really because hes a talented player

  7. m09538061 says:

    We are linked with Dante of Bayern Munich.
    He seems very slow to me.
    In fact he looks like a Shit Jimi Hendrix !

  8. Fletch™ says:

    Tommy, Couldn’t agree more about Robben. Worst of the lot and that says a lot!

    Don’t know how they put up for it in Germany where there is a culture of staying on your feet.
    I just heard that a German player talked the ref out of a penalty in a recent match after admitting that he had go down without contact and was applauded by the other team for it.

    Bet the likes of Jamie Redknapp will be all over young, but if an LFC player was awarded a pen then admitted no foul Jamie would be on his back saying it was up to the Ref to call it.

    Two Faced!

  9. Tommy says:

    @Fletch

    I would be surprised if the german press put up with it, they come accross as an honest nation, You dont really see too many Germans diving, would be interesting to hear how their press view Robbin. Greame Souniss is a terrible pundit for being 2 faced, against Cardiff in the 2 2 draw, Rooney could of got sent off and then in the free kick leading up to their equaliser, Medal punched Fellani this was how souness saw both incidents “the rules are u kick out u should be off.” and then he said “medel gives left hook he’s done his job” You couldnt make it up saying Rooney should be off and defending a punch, terrible from Souness

  10. Fletch™ says:

    Greame Souniss? Piece of work he!

    Arjen Robben? United sorted him out. Secret weapon by the name of Wes Brown! :twisted:

  11. kevk24 says:

    @Fletch, I dont think he continued after that, he limped out though we lost the match to a Drogba goal. Wasnt it the FA cup final?

  12. Blacksocks says:

    Oops – my bad regarding berbatov and his hat-trick. I’m getting old!!! To make ammends who remembers the 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup in 1999. Solkjaer and Yorke in the dying seconds!!!

    On a different topic, diving is almost accepted practice on the continent (the press termed it the ‘continental disease’ when we started to see more of it here) and until UEFA/FIFA change the rules to punish those who dive retrospectively it will always be a problem.

  13. Tommy says:

    @Blacksocks

    Thats horrible mate, and we think our owners bad, How do FIFA allow a club be used as a feeding club for one of his other clubs, They need to stop these foreign owners buying our traditional football clubs!

  14. wayne barker says:

    Although slightly different in North America Baseball and NHL clubs all have farm teams that make up the minor leagues,were younger players developing,players coming back from injury,players off form etc would play.AAA Baseball and minor league hockey has a decent following and a much cheaper form of entertainment than the pro leagues although the quality is just a little below pro level.Lot’s of times it’s more entertaining because players are trying to prove themsevles.So i personally don’t see ‘feeder’ clubs as a bad thing the way it’s done over here.Realistically out of all the pro clubs in England what percentage are ever going to make it to the prem. I think the loan system is a bad idea and the reserve league a poor set up so i think if it was done in a similar way would be a lifeline to a lot of struggling clubs
    Let’s face it lads a large percentage of clubs are feeder clubs

  15. Tommy says:

    @Wayne

    The way a feeder club should work is you buy the lower clubs best players for decent money and in return they can have some young players out on loan to gain experience, In an ideal world that would be good for all concerned, but the way this Charlton owner is doing it is hes planning on taking Charltons best players and giving them for nothing to his other team Standard Liage and replacing them with conference standard players, Now hes replaced club legend Chris Powell as manager with one of his mates from Belgium, Something has to be done about these owners

  16. Mark Reid says:

    @Wayne I agree I often to to the aaa games here in PA entertaining and cheap good beer too.Unlike the big leagues you’d be raped for a slice and a beer.Feel bad for Charlton though as a fan I’d be bummed.

  17. Mark Reid says:

    So it makes a mockery of the league cup in a way when you draw Charlton your basically playing a Belgian B Side whats the FA got to say?

  18. wayne barker says:

    Tommy didn’t read the bit about giving them away for nothing,just read would be sold,of course if decent talent is going to be given away then something has to be done about it,just saying if done right it can work.
    Mark i know mate the difference in ticket prices considering it’s just one step down from the pros is crazy,no longer AAA up here,but hockey Calgary Hitmen tickets prices are about 15% of Calgary Flames

  19. Xyth X says:

    I experienced both, a very high and very low at Manchester derbies. I was there when Owen scored that injury time goal. What a match, what a finale.

    I also was there for that dreadful match when we literally performed a hara-kiri . After beating Arsenal 8:0, expectations were really high. Still cannot believe how we allowed them to humiliate us. This was surely one of Fergie’s worst matches as United manager. The return match at Westland in the same season was even more disappointing. With title at stake, we did fuck all, not a single shot on target and they went on to steal the title.

    We can regain some pride by beating both Looserpool and Shitty this month!

  20. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Xyth X – I am hoping Moyes makes a statement with his team selections and drop guys RVP, who’s body language is just not right. If Moyes really wants to convince allot of the doubters, myself included, he needs players who are totally focused, not giving less because they’er mind is elsewhere. I am hoping he plans ahead for season 2014/15. Make tweaks to his tactics, maybe try and see if kagwa mata and janazaj can all play in the same team, or give welbeck a run in the team. These are interesting options which may see some some positive steps in the right direction.

  21. Blacksocks says:

    @ Tommy & Wayne

    In theory a feeder system can work but remember, in US sport there is no promotion, an NFL team doesn’t get relegated if it finishes bottom of its group. This means there is a permanent seperation of clubs into different tiers, something not present in European Football. I’ve no problem with big clubs establishing links with other smaller teams as long as it benefits both parties. I don’t think clubs should be able to loan players to other clubs in the same league either.

    In the case of Charlton, they clearly have an owner who does not care for the club, its part of a sporting empire designed to benefit only Standard Liege. How the hell did this guy pass the ‘fit and proper’ ownership test???

    In my opinion, a person or business should only be able to own one football club. To own more than one, wherever they are geographically is a conflict of interests as far as I am concerned.

  22. Martin Thomas says:

    I (fortunately) didn’t see the infamous 5-1 in September 89: I was in Valencia, Spain for a Stone Roses gig. When we heard the score, a lot of us (including the three reds in the band) thought it was a wind up… There were shouts of ’5-1′ from some of the crowd (there were/are blues in the Roses camp: Reni, Cressa and a lot of the road crew are City fans), and I remember Mani saying something rather colourful back to them.

    The 3-2 at Maine Road in 93 was great. Turkish Delight bars raining down on us (Blues revellling in our Istanbul misfortune). Quinn gets two for the Berties in the first half, and they are full of it at half time…. Second half King Eric drops deep and then controls the game. Eric gets two himself, and then Keano busts a gut to get the winner, and then hangs Lee Sharpe upside down in the celebration…

  23. Martin Thomas says:

    Cleverley shouldn’t even bother to wipe his arse on this so-called ‘petition’. A bunch of knuckle dragging, England supporting inbreds who aren’t happy unless they’ve got someone to pick on.
    Let’s not forget how these gurning imbeciles treated Becks after France 98, and the stick Phil Nev got for giving away that penalty in the Euro tournament. Thick scum like that shouldn’t even be allowed near a computer or social networking sites. Mind you, at least when they are on there they won’t be hanging effigies from lampposts and setting fire to them…

    Robben is a diving get… He reminds me of Francis Lee (still the greatest diver of all time!).

  24. Tommy says:

    @Blacksocks

    Totally agree, its a conflict of interests, the Charlton owner has 4 or 5 clubs and the aim is to improve Standard liage, Dont even thin the FA bothers with this fit and proper testing that they like to say everytime a football club gets bought, United have kind of some unoffical feeder clubs with the likes of Birmingham, Lecister and Carlistle in where they have loaned 4 or 5 of our young lads this season and I am sure if they had a really talented young lad who they are looking to cash in on and United showed an interest our relationship with those clubs would help us

  25. m09538061 says:

    @Martin Thomas.
    Totally agree that Francis Lee was the biggest
    diver of all time.
    I remember one game when he accused George
    Best of diving,when it was a foul.Which the ref give.
    Then he sarcastically dived behind the ref to make
    a point.
    What a prick.

  26. m09538061 says:

    I’d be delighted if the cunts started a petition v all the united players – particularly Rooney.
    It is my dream that all united players tell the fa bastards to fuck off

  27. Martin Thomas says:

    @m09538061.

    I also wish that no United players represented England. How can I cheer any team that has John Terry or Steven Gerrard as captain? I also remember us losing Stevie Coppell: because a terrible tackle he received while on England duty. Webb was also never the same after he was also crocked playing for England. I don’t know why Wayne wastes his time with the England set up… The FA victimize him whenever they get the opportunity (such a lengthy ban for saying the F word near a TV camera!). Yet they want him on call for their crappy national side.

    I can see it now: if England fuck up in Brazil (and, rest assured, they will!) the press, the FA and those England supporting fuckwits will probably blame a United player if they can. I bet someone is already making Rooney, Wellbeck, Cleverley and Jones voodoo dolls and hanging effigies as I write.

  28. Matthew Fairclough says:

    Love United but hate Moyes? Yes, we managed a 3-0 win against struggling West Brom, but if you feel that he’s massively under-achieved and you want to see a new manger at the club please sign this petition now!

    https://www.change.org/petitions/manchester-united-and-david-moyes-manchester-united-must-sack-david-moyes-at-the-end-of-the-season

  29. Martin Thomas says:

    The world – and football – has gone mad…

    No manager should be sacked after nine months. Every manager (with the possible exception of Frank O’ Farrell) has been given time at Old Trafford. We are not Chelsea, City (thank God!) or Spurs. We are Manchester United: we don’t shit ourselves at the first sign of trouble and we do things better here….

    Those wetting themselves about missing out on a top four place? I’ve never seen anything like it!
    Even if we do somehow scrape 4th place, what hope have this current team of winning the Champions League anyway? So what does it matter if we don’t get a top four place this season? The way there are some desperately baying and dropping their keks for a fourth place spot (not first, fourth!) shows a lack of dignity that doesn’t become MUFC and their true supporters. Why is it that the Champions League is the be all and end all for some? We are Manchester United! Our priority should be reclaiming our Premiership crown. Not pissing about, desperately grabbing for fourth bloody place!

    To challenge for the title again, we obviously need some new (and top class) players. But regaining the league is surely the priority before any Champions League activity? It has to be done like Fergie did it: rebuild the side, play the United way, hopefully get some silverware here and there and then reclaim our title. Get back on top on the domestic front before even thinking about Europe.

    Does anyone really think that if we do finish in 4th that it will make anything better for next season?! All this fourth place hysteria shows how things have changed… MUFC has survived air crashes, near bankruptcy and relegation, yet this season is still seen by some as United in peril! United haven’t had the greatest of seasons, but this is not a crisis or a time for drastic measures. Not yet anyway…

    And as for anyone who won’t play for United if they aren’t in the Champions League: They can fuck right off! This so-called ‘crisis’ will weed out both fairweather players and fans: and that’s got to be a good thing…

  30. Tommy says:

    @Martin Thomas

    Your right mate, too much is made of the top 4, Chances are it will be years before a british side wins the competition, sure we all love champions league, but the sides in England are years behind the best in europa, Tak this seasons competition, the best 6 sides in the competition are in no particular order, Bayern Munich, Barcalona, Real Madrid, PSG, Athletico Madrid and Dortmund. This “I dont want Europa league” is a very much arragant view point, if united finish 5th or 6th its what we deserve, I even heard people on here say they didnt want United to win thr FA cup or league cup because it would mean Europa league, Also next season winning the europa league is better than coming 4th, winners of europa get automatic entry to the champions league next season whereas 4th place have to qualify, in fact you could say winning Europa is better than any place other than league champions next season because you get a trophy and qualify for champions league, Footballs about winning trophies, not doing an arsenal who count finishing 4th as a major trophy

  31. Martin Thomas says:

    Spot on, Tommy. The way some see 4th place like it is actually an honour (like Arsenal do!) is simply not United style… I believe there are those who think that the Europa League is nothing more than a bargain basement Champions League. The silly name that UEFA gave the Europa doesn’t help (they should have stuck to calling it the UEFA Cup). But such snobbery shows how spoilt and arrogant a lot of the post-93 brigade really are…

    I also loved the old ECWC: that night at OT vs Barcelona and Maradona (Robbo walked with the gods that evening!), that crazy and heartbreaking night in Turin (the heroic Paul McGrath up front!), right up to Rotterdam and Sparky in 1991. Some great moments. I would also love to see United win the FA Cup again (more great times: 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990 etc). Sure it’s great to win the top trophies like the title and the European Cup, but at United it has never been just about winning: It’s also about glory and doing things our way. The United Way… For me those Scousebusting games of 1985 (Liverpool in the FA Cup semi than Everton in the final) are as sweet as any title or European Cup win. Those who look puzzled when they see us ‘old school reds’ reveling in old Cup glories are probably the same ones who don’t want us to win the Cup or play in the UEFA Cup. These clowns do not have a clue…

  32. Tommy says:

    @Martin thomas

    Exactly mate, the europa would also complete the set, the only trophy we have missing, and with the added incentive of champions league qualification to the winners, expect to see all teams fielding strong side in it next year

  33. Martin Thomas says:

    Bit of interesting news:

    Eric Cantona has been cautioned by police in London for common assault.

    Probably some mouthy twat: who gobbed off, the King gave them a slap
    and then the soft bastard goes crying to the police as the victim.

    Just like what happened last time some southern ponce fancied their chances with Eric…

  34. Martin Thomas says:

    All these polls and petitions are just an embarrassment to United and the hardcore supporters…
    I may be showing my age here, but hasn’t all this online and social networking stuff turned a lot of football fans thin skinned and as soft as shite? It seems that the Twitter brigade and the petitioners are now replacing the post-93 armchair fan phone-in fuckwits who claimed to be ‘Man U’ fans, yet just showed up true supporters… Like a kid chucking a Rubik’s Cube across the room because they can’t do it, these people throw their toys out of the pram if United aren’t always winning and if success isn’t instant. It is totally absurd: Sign this if you don’t like Cleverley. Sign this if you don’t like the Old Trafford meat pies. Sign this if you don’t like Moyes. Sign this if you don’t like De Gea’s sideburns. It shows a lack of dignity, it shows a lack of class, it shows a lack of guts and it makes United supporters look like whinging knobheads.

    Whatever happened to roll your sleeves up, dig in and get on with it?! Can you imagine if one of these petitioners went up to one of the (in)famous Red Army in the 70s? ‘We’ve just gone down: Sign this if you want Docherty sacked!’ They would probably shove the petition down their throat (or up their jacksy!). There is nothing wrong with proper protest if required (I remember ’3 years of excuses and it’s still crap! Ta Ra, Fergie!’). That was valid: because it had been three years (and it was crap!). But petitions will achieve nothing (somebody should tell those MUST buffoons that!) and they just make things worse. Petitions attacking a new manager after less than a year in charge? Petitions singling out players? It is taking the absolute piss, and these wankers give all true reds a bad name..

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