Date: 13th February 2011 at 6:30pm
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The Manchester Derby has over the years been one of the football world’s key fixtures.

Often, it has been the quintessential miss-match – United, world renowned, European conquerors against City, that other team from Manchester. Arrogance? Or simple facts which are not so much consigned to history, but before the Arab take-over, seemingly pre-written for the future too.

Ever since Manchester City became the richest club in the world tabloid talk, pundit talk and Mike Summerbee have been touting the day was shortly coming when Manchester would become blue – City fans would tell you Manchester already is and always was blue – but once again such claims are stopped in their tracks. Was the game closer? Perhaps so – but this reveals little, City in their true days of being citizens, Uniteds poorer neighbors would often pull off an upset. Occasionally, a thrashing. Such is the nature of derbies.

Such is not the nature of Stars however. City are now much like the footballing worlds own answer to Skoda, once laughed at, now re-branded. Now, for all intents and purposes quite good. However football likes to repeat itself, football loves deja vu. History is not only their to be written in football, but retold and relived.

The game was so very much like those famous seasons in which United and City were interchangeable at the top of the football league. United, conquered Europe and subsequently the hearts of England and it’s football denizens. City later captured the league, their finest moment. It’s polish removed by United’s shine. Yesterday, City, for all their stars, bought with cash they have received so luckily still could not out-shine United.

The game at times was closely in the balance, but United, true to form were still United. City meanwhile were still City, even though they played better than the City of old their mentality remains. To those around the world what does this mean? How can two clubs so close to each other in proximity and league positions be so far apart? It is simply by virtue of United’s superior philosophy. The nature of United is the nature of winning, of giving it all and giving some more. The essence of never surrender.

How easy would it have been for United heads to have dropped? Conceding a goal which was flukey at best. So when the stars don’t shine, when Tevez plays like he would rather have been anywhere else on Earth than inside Old Trafford, when Dzeko encounters Vidic and Toure is not allowed to force his way through players in that fantastic fashion of his, who possibly could step up?

The prodigal son. The Sun of Uniteds blistering attack, returned for a moment, while his star ebbs and flows in the United sky. Sometimes being eclipsed by younger talents, sometimes by older. But still, the most important Star in our sky. How does one wish to define the statement form is temporary – class is permanent? Perhaps watch Rooney’s spectacular goal, over and over again. Preferably with Summerbee in the same room – ’18 times I’ve seen it’ he said. He’ll see it many hundred times more. Quite simply, United and Rooney & Co again illustrated themselves in seemingly the only way they know how: by taking casual statements thrown around willingly and rewriting them. Form is temporary (as is money) – class is immortal (as is United.)

In a single moment, a single flash of sincere brilliance – I say sincere because Rooney connected with that football with every sinew of his body and every string of his soul and for those few, timeless seconds United had once again viciously tore away Cities shine. Placed them back from whence they had come. For all their efforts and all their stars, United’s is the light that never goes out in Manchester.

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