The start of a new season has come and gone once again, all that waiting in the summer and it’s over in no time at all. Now we’re waiting on our next game at Villa Park already. The anticipation and excited whatever your age is always there and it certainly was on Saturday in the couple of hours leading up to kick off for the opening day.
I can still remember where I was the last time we met Spurs on the opening day way back in 1997. In a pub in Sherwood, Nottingham watching it with a mixture of non-United fans. I can still remember Nicky Butt’s finish too in the game at White Hart Lane, it was probably one of his best finishes and certainly a favourite of mine from him.
Not forgetting the one he got against L**ds a year later and more memorably the opener against the scousers in 95 in Eric’s return match after his ban. With Cantona himself creating the goal for Butt that day after only four minutes.
Anyway, not many similarities at all between our opener v Spurs in 1997 and Saturday’s game except we won both games and both via an own goal, Kyle Walker this time and Ramon Vega eighteen years ago. Back then was the old experienced heads that had been winning at United for years mixed in with the ever growing youngsters from The Class of 92. Oh and not forgetting a certain few signings from the summer of 1996.
This time around, we had two old heads in Rooney and Carrick, possibly Ashley Young as well, mixed with five new summer signings and a few lads that were only brought in this time last year as well.
In years gone by Spurs games were always great and memorable occasions, we’ve had many. The first one I can really remember was in 1983 and we won with two goals each from the unlikely sources of Kevin Moran and Arthur Graham. Spurs had the likes of Ardiles, Hoddle, Brazil and Falco, with the latter two being their scorers that day.
Then you’ve got our incredible come back from 3-0 down to win 5-3 in 2001, I actually watched that in a North London pub not far from White Hart Lane itself. It was rammed with Spurs fans and at half time they couldn’t contain themselves with joy. However, things soon changed in that second half, but I was unable to really celebrate cos of where we were. I just looked at my mate Andy and we both just smiled at each other and took another sip of our beers as the goals went in one after another after another.
Back to this weekend and it wasn’t the best, in fact it was quite dull at times but no complaints, I’d take three points on the opening day ahead of any actual performance every season. Spurs had good early and late chances mind, most of them to Christian Eriksen. His first one looked well over the bar from my seat behind the goal in the Stretford End but having seen the replay on TV since, it was only inches over the bar. I think a draw would definitely of been a fair result.
Considering the signings we’ve made though and how they’ve all now turned out at some point, has probably helped in the long run. As they’ve all now got their initial home debut and welcome to the fans out of their system. I didn’t agree with the initial line up and some of the changes, I felt van Gaal was just giving all the new players a run out. It could of easily back fired and some will say we were lucky it didn’t. Darmian looks to of settled the most so far, with Romero being a little too over confident, espeicially with his goal kicking. Sure he’ll be fine though.
However, points in the back and a clean sheet. Hey, we could of played brilliantly and lost. Onto Villa we go this err Friday now.