It said something of the sport we all love – irrespective of whether we’re fans of Liverpool, United, Arsenal or lesser clubs like Leeds or Chelsea – that, in this age of commercialism and brand hegemony, football still has the capacity to make men like Gillett and Hicks, owners of sporting clubs the world over, feel humbled at the sheer spirit that breathes life into the game.
The Anfield crowd celebrating before, during and after the loss to Barcelona
Liverpool aides however were heard to have been scrambling around and about the Anfield directors box on Tuesday, thinking about what to say to their puzzled bosses who stood in disbelief wondering why the rapturous Kop crowd celebrated a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona.
Who will tell the Americans?
Those barging Argies
On field skirmishes in England (Lampard vs. Fabregas, Arsenal vs. Chelsea, Scholes vs. Alonso) have been increasing in frequency of late, but none of them could have hoped to compare to the scale and drama of the 2nd leg of the Valencia and Inter Milan game.
And what a gang-fight it was! Those Argentines were at it again: Burdisso, Ayala, Zanetti, Crespo, Cordoba, Cruz and even Esteban Cambiasso (who wasn’t even on the pitch, mind you) were all in the thick of it, as was the infamous Marco Materrazi (suprise, suprise!).
They eventually caught the bloke who was stupid enough to steal their lunch money
Had this been Fenerbache or Galatasaray you could have been sure the powers-that-be from UEFA would have been stirred into action, commissioners would have been woken up from their beds to compose reports, and the continent’s aristocrats would undoubtedly be certainly be clucking their tongues, happy and eager to hand out generous bans to the infidel clubs.
Surely we can’t expect the same retribution for Inter Milan and Valencia. The watching mob of industrialists American billionaires with football clubs on their summer shopping lists will be puzzled indeed, and nobody wants to buy a club on the throes of a serious knuckle rapping from the authorities.
Who's going to explain all this to them?
Believe me, it ain’t over!
... at least not until the fat lady sings. She may be gargling her throat and indulging in a bit of a sing-song in the shower (oh, the fright of that scene), but she’s not quite ready to belt out the hit that would sink the adversaries of my beloved Manchester United.
Not yet. Not by a long mile. Not when the fixtures are showing some really tricky home (Bolton, Blackburn and Middlesborough) and away appointments (Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea) still to go.
And certainly not when the crock list at Old Trafford seems to be getting longer and longer with each passing day. Saha, Solksjaer, Evra and now Silvestre (not that he really mattered anyway) have all been given sick-notes by the club doctor.
Add that to Rooney’s sputtering form, Scholes’ upcoming suspension, the nagging uncertainty behind Ronaldo’s future, Larsson’s journey home and, err... Michael Carrick, and it all means that the Devils’ camp can’t really be in the high spirits that many have said surrounds it.
The Glaziers however are the sort of gullible folks who like to believe their own press, and United have been at the sharp end of the media coverage of late. The Old Trafford lackeys will certainly be working overtime to make sure their bosses believe every word of it.
"Daddy will be so pleased! Next year I'm asking for Leeds United."
But there’s something amiss, and I have a sneaky feeling all this recent good fortune will come undone in no time at all. I shudder at the possibility.
And when that happens, what do we tell the Americans?