Football: Manchester, City of Pride; MUNICH REMEMBERED MAN UTD 1 MAN CITY 2 FROM OLD TRAFFORD BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

The Mirror (London, England), February 11, 2008 | Go to article overview

Football: Manchester, City of Pride; MUNICH REMEMBERED MAN UTD 1 MAN CITY 2 FROM OLD TRAFFORD BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE


Byline: OLIVER HOLT CHIEF SPORTS WRITER

SOME will probably say that Manchester City spoiled the script when they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday.

Don't listen to them.

Because the truth is that City and their fans helped to turn a fittingly solemn occasion into a magnificent tribute to the spirit of a lost age.

Let's not stint in our praise of the City supporters for honouring the minute's silence to remember the 23 people killed in the Munich air crash. Let's not gloss it over just because nothing went wrong. We would have fallen over ourselves to level the very harshest criticism at them if, as many of us feared, they had desecrated the show of respect for the Busby Babes and the rest of those who died 50 years ago.

But far from there being any repeat of the catcalls that scarred the Wembley silence last Wednesday, the 3,000 City fans squeezed into a corner of the stadium observed the minute of commemoration impeccably.

Their dignified behaviour ensured that even a momentous result like yesterday's was overshadowed.

Because if ever an occasion was about more than just winning and losing, it was yesterday's salute to Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Roger Byrne, former City goalkeeper Frank Swift and the rest of the dead of Munich.

Yesterday was about respect for human life, respect for the memory of the dead and the loved ones they left behind.

And it was about the putting aside of old and bitter rivalries if only for the blink of an eye. Rarely has 60 seconds of truce seemed so sweet.

"Everybody connected with the club - the players, the management, the directors - should be very proud of what the fans did today," said City boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

"I have never been part of a ceremony like that before and our fans were not just good. They were perfect. It was beautiful."

There are those who will say, with some justification, that basic human decency demanded that City fans should behave exactly as they did.

But it would only have taken one idiot to shout out and spoil everything. That idiot was nowhere to be found.

It meant that the next days and weeks will not be dominated by another agonised debate about how low football has sunk.

It meant that the 72,000 United fans who were here will not have a sacred memory of an important moment in the history of the club tarnished. And it meant that the city of Manchester could take a real pride in a shared decency some thought had gone forever. …

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