To mark the 10th anniversary of RoM today, there will be several articles remembering some of the best moments for Manchester United fans over the past decade. Anthony Wilson has spoken about one of his favourite memories.
I was still a bit wet behind the ears when I went to Barcelona so the size of what we achieved in 1999 hadn’t registered as much to me as it did with my father, who had endured some slightly bleaker times.
The morning of the flight to Domodedovo Airport the terminal was awash with noisy Reds fuelled with hope and alcohol ready for the journey ahead.
My most enduring memory of the arrival was how grey and sombre the skies of Moscow were. Being a Manchester lad I didn’t think anywhere could be as miserable, and I was wrong!
We all piled onto coaches that looked like they were from a bygone era, a bit like most of the buildings and scenery we passed through as well.
We finally arrived in Red Square and settled into a bar off the beaten track where there was a mixture of Chelsea and United fans drinking and chatting amicably. Within a couple of hours a few ‘burly’ chaps wandered in wearing Chelsea shirts and it become apparent they were Russian KGB and they wanted to have some fun! Before long they were on the tables singing, dancing and waving Glocks above their heads! We quickly decided to make our way towards the stadium passing a number of angry looking army personnel with equally angry looking Alsatians.
The game was a blur, perhaps my vodka intake didn’t help. United took the lead with less than half an hour played, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo. Given the season he’d been having, it was no surprise that he was on the scoresheet. Wes Brown whipped in an inch-perfect cross and Ronaldo rose high above the Chelsea defence, leaving Petr Cech with no chance.
Before half-time, Carlos Tevez could and probably should have scored a further two goals for United, with Michael Carrick also denied by Cech.
Then, against the run of play, after the ball deflected off not one, but two United players, it fell at Frank Lampard’s feet. Edwin Van der Sar slipped on the drenched turf and Lampard levelled the score.
Chelsea hit the woodwork in the second half, and again in extra-time, while Ryan Giggs was denied from scoring the winner when John Terry cleared his effort off the line.
Then a moment which was probably as key as Terry’s slip in the penalty shoot-out. There was a bit of a scuffle between the two teams, which ended with Didier Drogba slapping Nemanja Vidic. With four minutes remaining until the end of the game, Drogba was sent off, meaning he could no longer take the fifth penalty as planned.
During the shoot-out, I genuinely thought twice it was over for us but as we all know it was a night for the annals, and I absorbed every single second this time.