To mark the 10th anniversary of RoM, there will be several articles remembering some of the best moments for Manchester United fans over the past decade. Mark Payne, the founder of Mark is the founder of The Devil In Me, has spoken about one of his favourite memories.
The shadow of the Glazer takeover has loomed over Manchester United ever since the deal was finalised in May 2005. The moment the ink dried on that deal a split formed in the club’s support. The formation of FC United of Manchester in protest at the deal saw many turn their backs on the club and schisms are still found around the congregation.
Sir Alex Ferguson stuck fast to the new owners and, despite the spending constraints he was newly under, set about doing some of his best managerial work. For the first time though, the distance between the fans, the club and players started to grow and unity felt in short supply.
Fast forward to 2010 and United drew AC Milan in the Quarter Finals of the European Cup. This was the final burning embers of a great Milan side who had lifted the trophy twice in recent memory and whose midfield contained former United fan favourite David Beckham.
Anti-Glazer protests reached a fever pitch on the night with ‘Love United, Hate Glazer’ banners unfurled around the stadium and a sea of Green and Gold protest scarves seen all around the ground.
Even though Milan were able to field Ronaldinho, Huntelaar and Pirlo, United were a class apart on the night and were three nil up by the hour. The stage was set for Beckham to take the pitch and not threaten his former side with anything as serious as Champions League elimination.
He replaced Abate on the 64 minute and a joyful homecoming saw a club in civil war unify in acceptance for one of their own. Beckham went close with an ambitious volley from outside the area as the match closed out, but couldn’t score the goal even United fans were desperate for.
At the end of the game United’s former number seven applauded the crowd and approached the Stretford End. One fan threw a Green and Gold protest scarf his way. Beckham picked it up and hung it around his neck.
Truly he was one of us.