Worst 90 minutes of my life and the best three

As mentioned in my “Name on the Trophy” blog on 21st September, where I’d recently discovered three e-mails from 26th May 2004 from my old work e-mail address in London to my hotmail account. It was something that I had completely forgotten I’d done, but now so glad I had as it has been a fascinating read that I’d like to share with you.

The e-mails were entitled “Name on the Trophy!!! 26/05/1999 (1), (2) and (3)” and it was a load of quotes from the world of TV commentary from the day, as well as various newspaper reports from the days after the event. Below is one of those reports and I have many more to come, enjoy reading them. I certainly have.

MANCHESTER United’s jubilant Red Army began a huge victory party in the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona last night as the final whistle sounded. At precisely the same moment, the team’s home city dissolved into giddy celebration. 

As despair turned to ecstasy in a few tumultuous minutes, hardly a soul showed any sign of leaving the Barcelona stadium as the final leg of the historic treble was completed. The end of the match was the signal for the 45,000 United fans who managed to get tickets to go wild. “Champions of Europe” they chanted, as their disbelief faded. 

The Nord Gol area of the ground, where the United fans were grouped, became a seething mass of red and white. Victory, snatched from defeat, completed an unbeaten run of 33 games and brought United their third trophy in 11 amazing days. 

Long after the game had finished and the opposite end of the stadium had emptied of the 30,000 Bayern Munich supporters, the United players remained on the pitch to receive the deafening acclaim of their fans. As each hero in turn lifted the trophy, there was another huge cheer. 

The hundreds of pounds that supporters had spent on the black market to obtain their tickets now seemed like the bargain of the century. 

David Wilson, 33, of Salford, summed up the feelings of every United fan: “It’s going to be the best night of my life. I thought the treble was gone – I can hardly believe it. We are going to have a massive party.” His ticket cost him £275. “It was worth every penny.” 

Ignoring announcements that coaches were about to leave for the airport, the fans chanted for Alex Ferguson, the United manager. Only when the players finally trooped off the pitch, more than 45 minutes after the game ended, did the first few gaps begin to appear in the stands. 

Back home in Manchester, pubs and bars that moments earlier had been mired in gloom erupted into uncontainable joy as victory dawned. Fans streamed towards Old Trafford and the city centre driven by the drama of the night. 

Car horns blared, banners flew and every player in turn was serenaded in song. Streets that for the best part of three hours had been almost silent came alive with red-shirted revellers, many of whom simply could not believe the scale of what had just happened. “Amazing, just amazing,” said Martin Smith, 26, on Deansgate. “Never seen anything like it. The worst 90 minutes of my life and the best three.” 

A fan who answered to the name of Keeno said: “We’ve done it. Ferguson is the greatest ever. He knew how to swing it and he did it.” 

When the clock ticked to 90 minutes, the atmosphere at the Trafford Centre, where about 5,000 fans had packed in to watch the action on the giant screen, was more wake than carnival. Then pandemonium. Fans who had been urging their team forward with exasperated desperation leapt for joy, jumping into a decorative pool and embracing everyone in sight. Seconds later, it happened all over again. 

Children who had spent most of the second half in tears were grinning. Staff were swallowed up in hugs. Once Manchester has got over its hangover, half a million fans are expected to welcome the heroes home today.

#3 ‘Worst 90 minutes of my life and the best three’ _ THE TIMES

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