The Manchester derby over the years has been a one-sided argument but over the last 6 years its been Manchester United’s noisy Neighbours, Manchester City, making their presence felt. United have been below par since Sir Alex Ferguson left and City have gone from strength to strength. Winning back to back titles for the first time since Ferguson’s United did it in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
United had a point to prove this Saturday past, after beating a Mourinho lead Spurs team in mid-week Ole’s men set their sights on the champions, who this season have been far from perfect and started the derby 11 points off leaders Liverpool. Both teams needing the win for different reasons, the game was set to be an absolute cracker. United flew out the blocks early on, taking the game to the champions and grabbing a well-deserved 2-0 lead by half time, courtesy of goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. City’s response after the break was one of the champions, they put pressure on United and dominated the ball. City pulled a goal back from a Nicolas Otamendi header and but for David de Gea might have equalized. United hung on for a huge win in the derby and the game by all accounts lived up to the billing.
Sadly, though this is not how I will remember the game as there was an incident that took the focus totally off football for me. United was awarded a corner and being 2-1 up, United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred took his time about getting to the corner. The City fans didn’t like that and proceeded to throw projectiles on the field, Fred was even struck by one of them. Shocking scenes at The Etihad! This, however, was only half of it as after the game images of a fan doing a monkey-like chant towards players of colour on United’s team came out all over twitter.
The GMP (Greater Manchester Police) arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the images. The man has since been released on bail but the GMP has launched an investigation into the incident. Manchester City has released a statement in which they said, if the investigation reveals the guilty party, they will be banned for life from the stadium and that they have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination. The FA (Football Association) has reiterated its zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.
I am glad that both the FA and City have come out so strongly against this sort of behaviour. I hope that this man will have charges brought against him and if found guilty, I hope he is punished to the full extent of the law. Part of his sentence I believe should be education, education on racism. This man needs to be educated that this sort of behaviour is not okay but he needs to be educated so that he does not pass this toxic trait on to anyone else. Racism is like a disease, if you don’t attack the source it will spread like wildfire. I hope that this man will accept what he has done and learn from this.
Racist incidents in football appear to be on the rise and I am glad that the powers that be in both clubs and federations, at least in England, have taken a stand against it. We need more of this and stronger punishments for these people who think they are better than everyone else. They lack education and that education needs to start at school. There needs to be a subject on race and racism in school where students learn about the atrocities of yesteryear but also dissect recent incidents to bring to light the unacceptable behaviour of a few idiots. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the only way to effectively eradicate racism is through education.