>
My tribe

The GOON is back! Why buzzing Man Utd fans expect Rashford derby heroics

"United are back", that was the cry from supporters as they made their way out of Hull City's KC stadium after a dramatic 93rd minute winner by Marcus Rashford.

The celebrations in the stands and across the car park outside resembled more than an expected victory over Hull, it was the way in which the team didn't give up, attack after attack of football, before eventually a late, late winner was found. That was the United of old, the United under Fergie, the United that knew they'd always score. United fans demand that and it had been missing from the team in recent years. There was a time when late winners were routine, the fans expected them and the opposition expected them too, knowing that despite all their valiant efforts in defence and time wasting, eventually United would find a way to score.

The United fans who packed out the away end at Hull had that expectation, as the clock ticked past the 90 minutes not one of them had left the stadium. As Rashford found the net the scenes in the away end were manic, "The goon" was in full force. For those who don't know, "The goon" is that moment of celebration where all control of the body and mind is lost. Bodies are flying down stairs and seats, fans embrace and the moment of euphoria is up there with anything the Hacienda's finest could offer.

Fans spilled onto the pitch and the delight in the winner was celebrated in the same manner by the United players, as if they'd won the cup final. Amongst the melee, one United fan broke their arm, but I'm sure they'd consider that a small price to pay for the feeling the moment of celebration brought!

It wasn't just the United fans that sensed the club are back, the images of United scoring a late, late goal would have been noted by the rest of the Premier League. The fear factor that United installed would have been planted in the minds of opposition players and fans. The United players themselves now have that never say die attitude returned to their mindset, something that was missing under the previous two regimes.

Attention now turns to the weekend's derby game. United v City, Jose v Pep, Red v Blue, Zlatan v Aguero....(oh! actually not). The hype has returned as the world's media has descended on Manchester in what could be the season's biggest test.

The Manchester derby hasn't always been the biggest club game in British football or even to the red half of the City. United fans will often tell you that Liverpool is the bigger game, the bigger enemy and their real derby. The timing of this season's game could be a key marker in the campaign and influence the final outcome of the Premier League race. The duel between the managers will be watched worldwide, grabbing as many headlines and viewers as the Spanish El Clasico draws - many want to see the battle between the managers as much as the battle on the pitch. Both teams will want to set down a marker for the season, a season where the big games could influence the title.

Late United winners have played a part in derby games over recent years. In September 2009, Michael Owen grabbed a late winner in the league at Old Trafford. Paul Scholes' late header gave United victory at the Etihad in 2010 and Robin van Persie's injury time winner won the game in December 2012. Supporters still bare the scars on their arms and legs from the goons in the crowd on those days, whilst City fans will never forget the late Aguero goal that won them their first Premier League title and denied United at the death.

This week's hype and build up has also centred around Marcus Rashford, still only 18 and just out of school, his stock is rising. Scorer of the winner in the last Manchester derby at the Etihad, his late effort at Hull and a hat-trick for England Under 21's has propelled him back into the spotlight.

The only one not caught up in all the fuss is Marcus himself. A level headed local lad who's influenced more by his mum than he is fame and fortune, a fresh faced oasis in the middle of today's modern game cash and fame generation.

As calm as he's remained, he still found himself in the middle of the United goon at Hull, let's hope it's the beaming braced smile that's once again on show come full time on Saturday.


Andrew is the co-founder of Stretford End Flags, an independent fans group set up to improve the atmosphere and colour within Old Trafford. SEF provide the famous Stretford End banners. Visit stretfordendflags.com for more information - and to get involved.

Follow Stretford End Flags on Twitter: @sef_Mufc

Andrew Kilduff
About the author

Andrew Kilduff

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?