Yesterday truly was Super Sunday - with all twenty clubs playing their final fixture on the last day, it is always going to be an exciting watch. But throw in the fact that two champions league places were still undecided, the final relegated club was yet to be confirmed and of course the race for the title was going to go down to the wire, it was definitely a day of football to sit back and revel in - or rather to sit shifting uncomfortably, biting your lip, feeling sick and texting your friends what you thought about each inidividual development.
It was truly a "crazy finish to a crazy season" in the words of Italian manager Roberto Mancini, and indeed it was a sensational finish that could not have been predicted by any, could not have been made up and that is now hailed the most sensational final day of a season in football history. Of course it seemed certain that City would lift the trophy; City had capitalised on United's tremendous slip against Wigan and even more drastically when United failed to retain their 2 goal lead against Everton, and having beaten, admittedly shakily, United one nil at the Etihad, their triumph seemed an absolute cert. But of course nothing is ever certain in football, and the most crucial of 90 minutes presented fans and spectators alike all over the world with tremendous and heart-renching surprises throughout the match.
As a die hard Manchester United fan (who has, incidentally, supported them my entire life, through the good and the bad) i slumped into the kitchen to watch the match, resigned to the fact that City were probably about to break my heart and lift the trophy, but, as a true fan and yet still a realist, i did carry the torch of hope, praying that QPR may snatch something from the blues. When Rooney scored and it had officially been confirmed that City had yet to, i celebrated mildly, happy my team were winning, and that little bit extra excited because Rooney was in my fantasy football team. But although City were yet to score, i did not get overly excited. Lets be honest, the best defensive record in the league were playing the worst away record team in the league, and that kind of heartbreaking irony speaks for itself.
When City scored in the 39th minute, i felt that the worst, but also predicted, was happening. It didn't make me feel any more dejected than when i begun watching the game, but it still made me flinch when the commentator announced it. Despite the word 'revenge' being thrown about regarding Hughes' involvement in his sides match against City, it turned out that at half time, one nil down, they had their own concerns when the news that Bolton had suddenly edged ahead of Stoke meant that QPR were, in theory, about to be relegated. Half time came and went, but not as quickly as the announcement Djibril Cisse had scored to equalise - suddenly my hand started to tap nervously, my cup of tea began to shake and i could feel the excitement rising up - or that might have been a warning i was about to vomit with hope. Either way, when the announcement flashed at the bottom of my screen that QPR had scored AGAIN i was an absolute reck. My nerves were no longer held, and i confess to texting a few loved ones that i feared i was no longer for this world as i foresaw a heart attack. Anyone who survived that day without nearly throwing up, collapsing or crying with either devastation or jubilation is not human.
I had decided to only concentrate on United's game, after having had the option of watching both matches side by side; United are my team, and really you should be supporting one team, not two (i.e QPR). But, although I wanted to watch all my team's match and enjoy their last game of their season with them, come success or failure, i still desired the news of the other teams' fates. I was in awe of the other score updates that constantly kept popping up at the bottom of the screen, seeing Tottenham and Arsenal exchanging places at the top, and delivering the shocking news that Newcastle, a team who i have enjoyed watching all season, were losing their final match. But every time that little box popped up i prayed it wasn't to deliver the news that City had done the thinkable and yet unthinkable, by staging a heroic comeback. It was the most exciting and tumultuous 90 minutes i have faced in a long time, if not ever - football, it seems, is just that important.
Watching my side hit the bar i don't know how many times, have the lion share of the possession and have shots denied left right and centre by a sensational Mignolet had my heart in my throat, and every other ten minutes or so Sunderland were charging towards De Gea, a man i admit to only having 50% confidence in, and it was enough to see me curl into a corner of the couch, knees up and watch through my t-shirt.
When that final whistle blew at Sunderland i was perching on the edge of the couch, chewing my nails and clutching my cup of tea staring at the screen like a woman crazed. More than half of me knew that it just seemed too good to be true to win the title, and horrifyingly ironic as it is, when it was announced that in Fergie time the club i despise more than the scousers had achieved the come back i feared, i sank down, dejected, and did shed quite a few tears. I cried for the daunting revelation that my city now has two top dogs, the realisation that United need more top calibre players but may not have the funds to attain them, and because my team had had hope, and had to face the news in the most cruelest of ways - by hearing Sunderland cheer, and even then they were unsure. Sir Alex Ferguson's face when he heard was a picture i will never forget - one that mirrored my own: pure devastation.
I am happy for those City fans that have been there through the 44 years when City have been nothing but an average team, with an average expenditure - i am also happy for players like Kompany, who seem genuinely interested in the club, and want to fight for their club and their fans. Not players like Tevez, who exile themselves and come back only on the cusp of glory. I wonder if he would have stayed had City not won? I also wonder at Aguero's commitment - will he be lured away by step-father Maradona to join Real Madrid? It seems that with big bucks come players only interested in that, money - and that when the next highest bidder comes calling, they will be disappearing. But who knows, only time will tell.
I have to congratulate City - they have played some spectacular football, but its nothing more than i would expect considering their team is jam packed with world class players. I do admit that United is nowhere near the calibre of old, and even though young players like Smalling, Jones, Welbeck and Cleverly are an exciting prospect, they are not, and probably will never be, deemed world class players. We seem to have lost the generations of the Beckhams, Scholes, and Giggs', and it is a sad thought.
There is a part of me that sees an opportunity in the face of defeat - there were times this season that i was infuriated with United; they were not playing well, communicating with each other or playing with conviction and determination. They seemed to give up when the game wasn't going their way, which is something United certainly aren't associated with, and even when they won 5-0 they did not play particularly well. I found myself watching their games with a sense of dread and nervousness - which i just wasn't used to: i have been used to watching my team knowing deep down that they will come out on top no matter what, but this confidence has gone this season.
When i watched City at times i saw pure talent, fantastic play and sensational goals - what looked like world class play, and even though United are the most famous team in the world, they did not look like a world class team for the majority of this season. Therefore, i am hoping it will give them a stark but harsh realisation that more is needed from them - a better standard of play and conduct is expected. I am hoping the younger players come back with more confidence from the experience they have acquired, and play on a level of standard that is expected from United players. I hope De Gea hits the gym and bulks up so that he can have some sort of presence in the box, and learn a little bit more English so he can command his defence.
However, if United can title challenge when they have not played that well or consistently throughout the season, with the most injuries than i can remember to key players, without the status of 'world class players' or the funds to secure them and with a new goal keeper who is making his debut in English football, then i am confident my team can come back and reclaim their trophy next season.