Last weekend, Manchester United was trounced by Manchester City 6-1. It was such a big thing, even Mirinda was amazed. Such things just don’t happen. A lot of Aldershot hearts were gladdened by the result. And the excitement for tonight’s 4th round match was mounting as a result.
Nicktor heroically queued for two hours in order to secure the precious tickets and tonight we met in Aldershot, the crowds and streets at fever pitch. The queue for the East Bank stretched for miles while the overflow from the Crimea, sang songs of defiance aimed at any Man U fans that may have been wandering by. By the time we found the end of the queue for the Slab, we’d walked about half a mile.
Normally when we go to the football, it’s a leisurely affair involving a pre-match pint (or two), a wander across to the ground, a visit to the shop and then we take our places with five minutes to go before kick-off. All very civilised. Particularly given that we stand up for the duration of the game.
Tonight, however, things were a bit different. We ended up being on the Slab an hour and a half before kick-off. This is the equivalent of standing up for two complete games of football. Pretty hard on the feet. Still, we managed to get a pretty good spot down by the touch line.
The atmosphere was also very different from the usual game. Sky was televising it so there were cameras everywhere, including a touchline steady-cam guy who really annoyed Nicktor by standing directly between him and the action with impolite regularity. Another annoyance was the electronic advertising boards bought in especially. But I shouldn’t complain too much as it all means extra revenue for the club.
We even had some ‘entertainment’ before kick-off with half of Chas & Dave singing under a tent. And at half time we had a drum band from the army to keep us amused.
Finally it was 7:45 and the game started. It was always going to be tough. The chances of being embarrassed were very high. And although Man U fielded a less than full world class team (there was no Rooney or Ferdinand for instance) they were still a few degrees higher on the skill-o-meter.
Aldershot played out of their skins. They didn’t give up. Not once. The hunger to win was strong and never left them. It was a night to be proud of our local team. Sadly we didn’t win.
Manchester United put three by our keeper with clinical efficiency. We managed to threaten their goal a few times and we defended very well but that was it. 0-3. The end of our Carling Cup dream. For this season anyway.