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. Jay Mottershead has spoken about one of his favourite memories.
It says a lot for the faith, belief, or stupidity of United fans that many of us travelled to Munich in 2014 believing that we could actually progress past the all-conquering Bayern side. Under David Moyes we had virtually nothing to cheer about. We were regularly beaten by our rivals, had the embarrassment of being constantly reminded we were arguably the worst-ever reigning champions, endured horrible football and insane comments from our so-called manager and turned more corners than a drunken formula One driver. It was a season of terror under the Hapless One, but for one minute in Munich it was actually all very beautiful.
Many of us in the Allianz Arena that night had been in Athens several weeks earlier to witness Olympiakos trudge over the carcass of the United team. That 2-0 loss had been overcome thanks to a Ryan Giggs inspired 3-0 win in the return leg at Old Trafford. Somehow Moyes had managed to get United to the Champions League quarter finals and even more surprisingly he’d managed to engineer a draw at Old Trafford in the first leg against Bayern Munich. Logic told us we’d be battered in Germany, but then again logic told us we’d never recover from the Munich air crash, we’d never win anything with kids and twenty titles was a pipe dream. United and logic don’t mix.
It with all that in mind many of us stood in that magnificent stadium in Munich believing that the impossible could happen, as the Reds weathered the early Bayern storm and it was level pegging going into the second half.
Patrice Evra’s goal, in the 57th minute can be broken down into the seconds the euphoria lasted. As the ball flew in to the net, the first few seconds were spent with my breath held, looking down onto that pitch seeing the United players celebrating and wondering if the strike I’d just witnessed from one of my favourites had actually just happened. Evra had his fair share of critics, both inside and outside of Old Trafford but for many of us, the defender who ‘got’ United, fought the good fight against Liverpool’s racism and had been part of one of our best-ever sides, was a shining light in a sea of dross under Moyes.
The next few seconds after the initial disbelief were followed by the obligatory fit of wild celebration. It was happening, United were winning, in Munich, against Bayern, with David Moyes as manager. It was happening and Evra, my wonderful Patrice had scored. Maybe, just maybe, our season wasn’t over, maybe we could defy the odds once more, maybe even with the Beleaguered One in charge United could conquer Europe, then the home side equalised.
It may be looked back upon as a minor footnote in United’s history now, but for me those 72 seconds were amongst the finest I’ve ever experienced as a Red. Almost everything since has been amongst the worst…