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Man United's Ugly Night in Northern France

European Football Manchester United
by scorchio (U3084398) 21 February 2007
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It was European Football from the 1960's. A Psycology more recognizable to Ian St John or Denis Law than twenty one year old Wayne Rooney.

Even before the game the French were trying to unsettle United. Neither team trained on the bone hard pitch. A pitch that remained un-watered before the game. As the game kicked off we watched as the ball bobbled about amid an intimidating atmosphere.

But after fifteen minutes there was a real panic. Too many United fans were in the away enclosure. The French Police response ? Fire tear gas into the crowd ! For a few minutes the scenes were reminiscent of St Etienne in 1976, when the French taunted Utd fans by throwing bread at them. ( There was a bread strike on in England at the time ). Eventually order was restored as the authorities opened up a section of the stand.

On the small, tight pitch all was not good. The French were closing down impressively and stifling United's play and a dull first half drew to a close.

There was little improvement in the second and the partizan crowd became even more hostile following a dissallowed goal for a push on Vidic.

With seven minutes remaining United were awarded a free kick about twenty yards out. Giggs asked the ref if he could take it quickly, the ref said yes, the French defenders were legs akimbo and BANG ! United were one nil up and the French were beside themselves. Players surrounded the referree, Manager and coaching staff waved arms and rolled eyes. And then the incredible happened.

From the kick off the ball was unceremoniously booted out of play and the Lille players were waved off by their coach. Pandemonium ! After a few minutes of lunacy the `game' re-started too a cocophony of whistles, boos and missiles.

Thankfully the referree blew up for full time. Manchester United had endured a truly ugly European excursion and come home with a win.

Tremendous !

Latest 10 comments

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posted Feb 21, 2007

ferguson was not moaning about the free kick, or foul, he was moaning about their threat to boycott the match, and rightly so.

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posted Feb 21, 2007

All in all, typical of English football. The time is surely coming for another blanket ban.
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"Another blanket ban"? You are aware that the post-Heysel hiatus for English clubs in Europe was REQUESTED by The F.A.? cf. Times Online March 20, 2005.

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comment by Wash (U2126937)

posted Feb 21, 2007

Why should the Utd players wait around for the frogs to organise their wall."

Because everyone with a common sense of sportmanship does it! You mean if the free kick was the other way around, the Man United players would not have protested? You bet!!!




With due respect, taking the free kick quickly restores the advantage to the attacking team. Why should Man U be penalised because Lille concede a free kick on the edge of their own box, thereby disrupting the attack and giving the defending side chance to regroup and prevent a possible scoring opportunity?

I am fed up with teams being penalised through no fault of their own- wait for the whistle before taking a free kick, players being fouled and having to go off for treatment whilst play goes on therby reducing them to ten men, and so on. At the end of the day, it was a perfectly good goal (although so was Lille's disallowed one) and Lille will have to deal with it.

Having said that, I cannot help but admire the arrogance of Sir Alkie in complaining about Lille intimidating the ref. This from a man whose team wrote the book on it!!

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posted Feb 21, 2007

I don't see a problem with a quickly taken free kick as long as it has the ref's go ahead, which Utd's did have, as for a sense of sportsmanship in the game of football, it was lost a long time ago, when players decided to start diving , rolling around in agony after every tackle and waving imaginary yellow cards at referees after bad tackles. Better to go on and try and snatch an equalizer than to throw the rattle out of the pram and walk off the pitch. They may have felt hard done by for having their goal disallowed but it happened and they should have sucked it up and moved on instead of throwing tantrums with the referee.

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posted Feb 21, 2007

quick free kicks have been going on for years, T Henry loves them.

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comment by tom (U2147958)

posted Feb 21, 2007

As a begrudging liverpool fan, I saw nothing wrong with Giggs' free kick. Vidic went down like a fairy, but there was a definite contact so I guess 1-0 is fair enough.
However, I got flashbacks to Hillsborough when I saw the crowd surge. how can UEFA allow a game in that stadium. did they learn nothing from Heysel, which was another dilapidated stadium.
And just like Heysel and Hillsborough before, the police caused more problems than they helped. I think this is a real issue. Macho idoits so geared up for a fight, they see the crowd not as innocent people but as a baying mob, and they think they're in some kind of cops and robbers movie.
i think its time for stadia to have their own internal security staff, and stop paying overtime for police and instead let them do their job, ie. directing traffic to and from the match.

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comment by U3909751

posted Feb 21, 2007

Nantes is central France!

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comment by Tom (U1846931)

posted Feb 21, 2007

If there is a tradition in France of players waiting for the next break in play to complain to the ref, why were they protesting after the goal was allowed? I don't see how they can argue that this was the case considering the previous protests. Furthermore, kicking the ball of the pitch is one thing, but having a coach calling the players off the pitch is another thing entirely.

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posted Feb 21, 2007

Nantes is central France!
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it may be. but the match was played in Lens.

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posted Feb 22, 2007

Not too sure about the mess in the stands but whatever happens in a football stadium it should be handled better than it was.
Also the ref on the whole had a good came. Vidic was a foul, even thought he went down easily. The Lille striker had no chance of getting to that cross first unless Vidic was out of the way so he puts him out of the way. A foul.
The Utd goal was fine. Nothing wrong at all. You can see Giggs conversing with the ref; asking if he can take the kick. The ref obviously says "ok" he tells Rooney to put the ball down and strokes it into the net. What's the problem? The only time the ref blows the whistle at a free kick is if the attacking team is taking ages about it and he wants the game to continue. As soon as Saha was fouled he could have picked the ball up and taken the free kick, before any Lille players even thought about a wall. A free kick is a free kick regardless of where on the field it is.
People on here who are ranting about cheating and a whistle being blown obviously don't know much about football and haven't played the game.
As for Lille's reaction, well i haven't seen that even in A sunday league game! It was like kids in the park. It's my ball and i don't want to play anymore..Ha! Are they meant to be professionals?

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