Luck deserted Manchester United on that sensational last day of the 2011/12 season. And in quite spectacular fashion.
It will be talked about for years to come how the pendulum swung from the blue to the red side in the Premier League’s all-deciding matches, one of them played in Sunderland, the other at The Etihad, where Man City play their home games. It ended with City winning the title with the help of the latest of late goals.
A great Democrat mate of mine, Gerry Prendergast, presently engaged in the mother of all battles – and we’re praying for him - believed that one of ours, as he put, wasn’t at his brilliant best in allowing a Man City shot get by him.
Paddy Kenny, an understudy to Republic of Ireland goalie, Shay Given, got beaten at the near post, or somewhere near it, and the goal he conceded counted for more than any of the others City scored in the competition. Up till then the lucky tag belonged to United.
This season has just about rubbed the sleep from its eyes, but already there are signs City haven’t seen Lady Luck turn her back on them. They were out last week against a very exciting Borussia Dortmund side in the Champions League, and when it was odds-on about them dropping all three points, the referee gave them a penalty, which, in the strict interpretation of the hand-to-ball rule should not have been awarded.
Mario Balotelli, who went some of the way towards shedding his enfant terrible tag he’d earned for himself in the summer’s Euro 2012, was nonchalant as he slotted the ball home, giving his side an undeserved draw,
Could it be that not only has the league title, but also the most valuable of ingredients, switched sides?
One thing that’s still Man U’s preserve, though, is their manager’s prize-winning griping. After the recent 3-2 defeat by Tottenham, Sir Alex complained that the referee hadn’t played enough injury-time, this after the arbitrator had allow the game to run for four extra minutes. Maybe it’s all part of the strategy, but you wonder does this kind of behaviour have an influence on the yobs in the stands, whom the Scot rightly admonished for their chants at recent matches.