The most anticipated match of the season is just around the corner. The Manchester Derby between the incumbent Premier League champions and the 20-time title holders has rarely been more hyped, with the taste of Sir Ben Kinsley’s words from Manchester City’s recent documentary still lingers
“It is [Pep] Guardiola versus [Jose] Mourinho once more; possession versus defence; attacking football versus ‘park-the-bus’”.
There has been an abundance of classic meetings between Blue and Red, but a time before the two managers up sticks to Manchester produced arguably the most brilliant clashes between the two sides.
On a sunny Sunday in September 2009, Sir Alex Ferguson and Mark Hughes were the men in the dugout. For even the most casual football fan, the match doesn’t need recounting.
At the time, Fergie had slapped the enduring ‘noisy neighbours’ moniker on the recently oil-rich Manchester City, who had been injected with a humungous cocky confidence boost by Sheik Mansour’s billions, money that would eventually allow them to win their first top-flight title in over 40 years.
United had won the league the season before (their third in succession) but the Blue Moon was rising. A back-and-forth game in which Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy scored a brace each for their respective sides, with Wayne Rooney and Gareth Barry also contributing, seemed set for the sides to collect a point each.
Red Devils summer signing Michael Owen had the final say. The new United number seven scored in Fergie time to send Old Trafford into uproar.
Rediscovered footage shows how much the result meant to Sir Alex and his chief attack dog Gary Neville, who was on the sidelines.
Red Nev gallops onto the pitch, and while City’s Hughes is left bereft and frustrated at United having scored so late, Ferguson enthusiastically pumps his arms with pulsating passion, galvanising (unnecessarily) the full stadium to share in the joy. Truly one of the highlights of the Scotsman's latter portion of his United tenure, which still has the ability to send prickles on the back of the neck of a Red Devil.
You can watch the brilliant footage below and Manchester City versus Manchester United takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 11th November at 4:30pm (GMT).