Manchester City have done it!!! League champions for the first time in 44 years after a thrilling final day to the season today.
I’m not a huge football fan to be honest but City do hold a special place in my heart and to watch them win the league today has been really special. I listened to the first half on the radio until my neighbour took pity on me and let me in to watch the second half at his house (we don’t have Sky Sports). Oh my word…
The state of the league before this final match was that City were tied at the top of the league with Manchester United – HUGE rivals – and they had the same points. The only thing that separated them was goal difference and it meant that City were slightly ahead of United. Both teams were playing today and it meant that City had to match the result of United, or better it, to take the league title. Or for United to score 9 or more goals which meant that regardless of the points their goals scored would have been more than City and so they would win the league. Confused? Yeah, me too.
Basically, City had to win the final match of the season today to win the league title.
They were playing Queens Park Rangers (QPR) at home so it should have been a straightforward match. City are having the best season for…well, 44 years… and have not lost a home match all season. They have beaten United at both matches in the league this season (6-1 and 1-0 get in there!!) and QPR have not won an away game for the past 8 months. They were battling it out for survival in the Premiership today so they couldn’t just hand the match to City on a plate because they had to win it to survive too. High drama indeed.
So, 3pm and the games start. City at home to QPR and United were away at Sunderland (another team who are struggling but still had pride in themselves enough not to just hand the match to United).
After about 20 minutes United scored a goal and the news reached the crowd at the Etihad stadium where City were playing. It meant that if that score line stayed for the remainder of the match then United would win the title.
A bit later on in the match, City scored and therefore were back on track to win the title again. It was nails bitten down to the quick to make sure that United didn’t score again but before we could blink QPR did the unthinkable and equalised against City.
A bit of argy bargy later on and QPR had a man sent off so they were down to 10 men. It should have made it easier for City but they just closed ranks and defended defended defended themselves into the match. 90% of the play was around the goal mouth and City had about 25 attempts on goal but they just couldn’t break through the QPR defence.
Total disaster happened with QPR got a counter-attack going after yet another attack from City and they scored again. It was the stuff of horror movies – they had had 3 attempts on goal and had scored on two of them.
To watch it was absolutely awful. The last time City won the league title was, as I say, 44 years ago. They went into the last match tied at the top with Manchester United (coincidence number 1), they were ahead on goal difference (coincidence number 2) and it all went down to the last match of the season. Back then, United were playing Sunderland away (coincidence number 3). There were just too many coincidences going into this to be comfortable…
Anyway, the clock was counting down to the 90th minute and the dream was about to die on its feet when all of a sudden City got a bit energetic and out of (desperation? luck? the gods of football pointing their fingers??) they scored. Wow!! We were drawing with QPR but it wasn’t over yet. We had 5 minutes of extra time to play because of the argy bargy when the QPR player got sent off and it was in the dying minutes of extra time when – can you guess? – City managed to get that dreamy finish and scored again. 3-2 and not only winning the match but winning the league as well. And in “Fergie Time” which makes it all the sweeter!!!
You just couldn’t script it really!
So. It’s victory parade time in Manchester, and for once, the streets will be BLUE!