The Manchester derby has become one of the fiercest in England since the first Manchester derby on November 12, 1881 and is one where the city support is still roughly 50/50 with residents in the eastern part of the city supporting The Citizens and the west side singing their allegiance to the Red Devils.
Despite United’s recent domination in the derby, the fixture has taken on new meaning since 2008 when Manchester City was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group. The Middle Eastern group has been willing to splash the cash to build City into an English and European power and now boast a side loaded with talent.
The Manchester derby is best described as bad tempered with the memorable moments frequently not from play on the field.
Some memorable moments:
1970/71 – United’s George Best breaks Glyn Pardoe’s leg.
1971/72 – City’s Francis Lee accuses Best of diving and jumps to the ground in attempt to illustrate his point.
1973/74 – City and United have Mike Doyle and Lou Macari, respectively, red carded and both players refuse to leave the pitch. The referee forces both sides back to dressing room until the players leave the pitch.
1992/93 – Eric Cantona makes his Manchester United debut.
2000/01 – Keane’s knee revenge tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland
2009/10 – Sir Alex Ferguson declares that year’s first derby match as ‘probably the best derby of all time.’ United went on to win 4-3 with a Michael Owen winner in the 95th minute.
As of 20 September 2009, there have been 152 competitive meetings between the teams. United have won 62 and City 41, the remaining 49 games finishing as draws.
Old Trafford Stadium is the home of Manchester United. The football ground was opened on February 19, 1910 and currently seats 75,797. The pitch measures 114.8 x 74.4 yards.
The stadium was used as a military depot during World War II and subsequently bombed. The damage required major reconstruction which forced United to play ‘home’ matches at Maine Park, City’s home ground at the time, from 1941 until 1949.
City of Manchester Stadium is the home of Manchester City. The ground was opened on July 25, 2002 and was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. After the games it was converted to a football ground with City moving from Maine Road in 2003 after signing a 250-year lease.
The stadium also known as COMS or the Eastlands holds 47,726 and the pitch is 340 x 220 ft.
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