“I’ll see you out there!”, words that are engrained in the history of our rivalry with Arsenal.
8 years ago today Manchester United travelled to Highbury to face Arsenal at a time when the two sides were still fiercely competitive. The previous match had been explosive, with United ending Arsenal’s unbeaten run at 49 games amidst claims of rough and unjust play by United as well as a dive by Rooney to get the ball rolling in United’s victory.
After the match, an incensed Arsenal side partook in what became known as the ‘Battle of the Buffet’ with Sir Alex getting caught in the firing line as food was thrown by each side.
During that game, it was felt that the Neville brothers were particularly harsh in their challenges on Arsenal’s Spanish starlet Jose Reyes. Captain Patrick Vieira wasn’t going to let this happen again, so on their way to the pitch to warm up Vieira tracked down Gary Neville and attempted to have a stern word with the right back, letting him know that such things wouldn’t be tolerated this time round.
For all his faults, Roy Keane was a proper captain, always willing to stick up for a team mate so as the sides headed towards the pitch for the game and Vieira tried to reiterate his point, Keane came to Neville’s defence. Players, officials and security split the two up and whilst words were exchanged the lingering memory will be of a finger pointing Keane, exclaiming:
“I’ll see you out there!”
News of the bust up meant the game was explosive, played in a cauldron of anger between the sides and fans but it was Arsenal who had allowed the event to get to them.
It was Vieira that handed Arsenal the lead, but a United side inspired by a more combative than normal Roy Keane fought back with 10 men to win 4-2, with the result rounded off by a delightful chip by John O’Shea.
The event is part of United history, and will be remembered fondly by United fans whilst for Arsenal and the timid looking Vieira, it is an episode that can’t be forgotten quick enough!