Friday 24 February 2017

Even on dark days, Old Trafford remains a theatre of dreams

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

Emmanuel Adebayor rises above Chris Smalling to open the scoring for Spurs at Old Trafford REUTERS
Emmanuel Adebayor rises above Chris Smalling to open the scoring for Spurs at Old Trafford REUTERS

We were in the family section of the Stretford End for the Manchester United-Tottenham game on New Year's Day. The atmosphere was sporting, boisterous and friendly. Mostly. We had our people stationed in three different parts of the ground. The verdict was unanimous. There were no nightmares in the Theatre of Dreams, yet there was a sense of anger at sections of those present. This is not Disneyland.

Emmanuel Adebayor stood to attention at the corner flag and saluted the fans in the Stretford End. He had just scored a spectacular headed goal, rising vertically from 0 to 3 metres in one second. Spurs were one up at Old Trafford and the mock salute didn't go down at all well. But Adebayor was responding to standard racial and personal abuse. Adebayor's humour and spectacular goal was the perfect example of the Jesse Owens method of beating the bigots.

The Spurs supporters down to our right were ranting about Sol Campbell, who wasn't even playing. Campbell left Spurs for North London neighbours Arsenal and was branded a traitor by the Spurs fans at Old Trafford. By the way, Campbell left Spurs for Arsenal only the bare 13 years ago.

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