Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughYou’re only as good as your last derby - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough You’re only as good as your last derby - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

You’re only as good as your last derby

The dust has settled but the grin remains in the aftermath of Monday’s second successive derby win at Old Trafford for Manchester City.

Unfortunately – where the league title is concerned anyway – that masterful Sergio Agüero match winner will be put down by many as a mere consolation, as the gap is still 12 points with just seven games to play. But does that really mean we can’t still claim the bragging rights? To quote my Dad as the full time whistle went and we ordered a celebratory pint:

“Remember son, you’re only as good as your last derby.”

In other words, OF COURSE we can confidently claim the bragging rights, even when you do take into consideration the (almost) inevitable destination of this year’s Premier League trophy. This season, like the last, has been between the two Manchester clubs, we got the double over United last year, and on Monday night we achieved the Old Trafford double. (In fact, of the 10 goals scored in both the latter games, only ONE came from a United player!)

Yes, it has been a disappointing title challenge this year, and we should have shown Monday night’s energy, determination, and togetherness at Everton, Southampton, Sunderland and QPR. But, despite dropping silly points and not looking the side we were last year, we are still second in the league and are this Sunday playing in a Wembley semi-final of an FA Cup United have been knocked out of. They should win the league though, and if we can overcome Chelsea this weekend, we should win the FA Cup. Add to that this season’s Community Shield, last year’s Premiership title, and the FA Cup the season before, and that’s 4 trophies in 3 years. If United win the title next month, they’d have won 3 in the same period. Plus, of the 9 derbies that have occurred in the past 3 years, both teams have won 4 each, with one draw.    

Even the most diehard reds would be hard-pushed to argue that City are definitely not the one or two season wonders they had hoped we would be – we are here to stay and Monday night’s victory was just another purposeful confirmation of that.

Before the match when I informed the wife I’d be going to the pub for the derby, I was met with a previously unheard of: “Okay, good luck, and have a nice time.”  

It threw me completely off guard and when I asked her why she was being so nice, she came back with something that truly haunted me. She explained that she didn’t worry about me going out, drinking and getting in a right mood if we lost anymore. The reason for this? Because she was there to see my tearful face when Sergio scored against QPR last May. She reckoned she could tell from that colossal emotional outpouring of pure elation, relief and triumph that no matter what happened from then on, and how low things got, I’d always have that memory to cherish.

I smiled and left, troubled that maybe she was right. What if everything City from now on was dampened because of one of the greatest moments in my life? Then, a short walk, a few pints and 79 minutes later, Agüero – in a carbon copy of that title-winning goal in May – seized Yaya Touré’s pass, quickly dodged three United players with balance, power and a little trickery, then thumped his shot into the roof of David De Gea’s net……and I went absolutely flippin’ mental.

I was more than just relieved – it didn’t feel at all like a dampened emotion to me and it certainly never felt like a ‘consolation’.  One night or not, we played like the true Champions we are and will definitely be again. United will be fighting with us of course, as the last 3 years has proved there is now very little between us.

But – where both my Dad and the bragging rights are concerned, now more than ever before – you’re definitely only as good as your last derby.

Simon Culley