Thursday, September 11, 2008

I hate Manchester

Fooking Walcott! He's too fooking weak, the bastard! Weak fooking Arsenal bastard!

- the Mancs at the bar, moments before the first of Walcott's three goals

I hate Manchester.

It's not a personal thing. I actually think the city's remarkably pretty - it's all red brick and glass and steel. It's an amazing rejuvenation of a city of the Industrial Revolution. The architecture is really well done. The city's small enough to walk around in, and big enough to contain everything you'd want. The pubs and bars and clubs are, according to those in the know, well good.

It's just that Manchester is where Man Utd come from. There's something decidedly sinister about being in the Red Devil's city, like I'm invading foreign territory or something. It's stupid, because I'm not normally partisan. I'd like to believe that I'm a football fan before an Arsenal fan, and that I can appreciate great football on any level. I admire Man Utd's skill, pace and tenacity. And I consider Ferguson to be a great manager.

One of my objectives in this Grand Tour of mine was to visit the homes of all the great football clubs in the world. Man Utd's one of them. But when I was leafing through the brochure for a tour of Old Trafford, I felt a horrible twisting sensation in my gut, and I couldn't do it. I didn't want to step into Man Utd's home ground. It just felt wrong.

Theo came of age last night. Three goals in a 4-1 victory against Croatia. Bloody brilliant. All three were absolutely clinical, and watching the last goal was like watching Theirry Henry again. Theo's a natural finisher - maybe the one we've been waiting for. Maybe he's the one who'll provide the goals from midfield this year. Maybe we can win it this year. Maybe.

I love Theo Walcott.

And as luck would have it, I'm only minutes away from Blackburn, where we're playing on Saturday. Might pop over to Ewood Park to see the Arsenal. I'm sure there'll be tickets available.

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