Aston Villa

Aston Villa slideshow

World record transfer fees – world’s first £100 player

Willie Groves
1893: West Brom to Aston Villa for £100

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Aston Villa captain John Terry shows off £5,425 personalised Monopoly board

Derby day: From one-sided fixtures to tight affairs - how will Merseyside and Manchester clashes play out?

It is a fact not lost on Merseyside that a generation of young Everton fans have never seen their side win at Anfield. More than 18 years have passed since the Toffees last took three points home with them on the short trip back across Stanley Park, with David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all trying and failing to build a side capable of breaking the Anfield curse. It now falls to Sam Allardyce to rekindle the spirit of September 1999, when an early Kevin Campbell goal, created by a young Francis Jeffers, was enough to secure victory in a typically fiery encounter. Jeffers was later sent off, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and they were soon joined by a fresh-faced Steven Gerrard, making just his second appearance in a Merseyside derby. Everton have beaten Liverpool at Goodison Park on just four occasions since then, making their rivalry one of the most one-sided in recent history. Liverpool have dominated Everton in recent years Credit: Getty There has, however, been plenty of competition down the years for the title of football’s most unbalanced derby. In some cases, a local derby serves as an equaliser, when better teams are routinely pegged back by smaller rivals. In others, the derby atmosphere has the opposite effect, causing one side to shrink and another to thrive… One-sided derbies Everton are by no means alone in consistently struggling against their local rivals. Famously, Atletico Madrid did not beat Real Madrid, home or away, for 14 years. When they finally broke that duck, it was in the Santiago Bernabeu in the final of the Copa del Rey. “If you had made the fans an offer in which you had said we won’t win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time, they would have signed up for that,” said manager Diego Simeone afterwards. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona have won 97 of 167 derbies with Espanyol, and have lost just three of the last 41 meetings with their local rivals. It is a similar story in west London, where Chelsea have won 46 games against neighbours Fulham, losing just 11. Although they have not always been in the same division, Chelsea have been defeated by Fulham just once, in 2006, since 1979. Chelsea have had the upper hand over Fulham Credit: Getty Images Over in Germany, Bayern Munich have dominated the Munich derby, winning 104 games against 1860 Munich and losing just 50. And on an international level, it is hard to find a more barren run of form than in the early decades of the USA’s rivalry with Mexico. After the Americans won in their first meeting, at the 1934 World Cup, Mexico went on an unbeaten run against the USA that stretched over 46 years and 26 matches until they were finally defeated in 1980. The anomalies In most of these cases, the results are an obvious consequence of the reflective sizes of the two clubs involved. It is no surprise, for example, that a club of Barcelona’s stature is so dominant over the comparably small Espanyol. But sometimes the derby serves as an equaliser, when the size of the various trophy cabinets has no impact on results. The so-called ‘smaller’ clubs can regularly claim the scalps of their ‘bigger’ rivals, or matches between sides at similar levels can become inexplicably uneven. Just look at the recent history of the ‘M23 derby’, between Crystal Palace and Brighton. Palace have had the upper hand, losing just one of the last eight games between the two. The 'M23 derby' is a fiercely-contested derby Credit: Getty And then there’s the East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City, two sides who, by and large, exist at the same echelons of English football. Norwich have not lost to Ipswich in nine matches since 2009. It is also an odd quirk that Stoke City have gone six matches without victory over Port Vale, and have won just two of the last 13 meetings between the two (that said, they have not faced each other since 2002, so those particular figures can appear misleading at first). What of Birmingham and Aston Villa? Here are two sides that played each other regularly in the Premier League in the 00s and have since faced off three times in the Championship, yet Birmingham have not won a league game between them in 11 attempts. The same applies to Sunderland and Newcastle. Both have generally operated at the lower end of the Premier League for the last five years, yet Sunderland’s record is one you would expect of a Champions League team playing a League One side: six wins in their last seven derbies, and no defeats in their last nine. Oxford United and Swindon Town have a similarly unbalanced recent record, with Oxford winning seven of the last eight meetings and going unbeaten in seven matches, in both league and cup competitions, since 2011. Too tight to call Of course, there are also those derbies that are so tightly-contested it is almost impossible to divide the two teams. For this, look no further than Nottingham Forest v Derby. Forest have won 39 times, while Derby have won 37. Burnley’s record against Blackburn Rovers is similarly tight: Burnley have won 41 while Blackburn have won 42. El Clasico is one of the tighest, high-profile rivalries Credit: AP Fulham may not have had much luck against Chelsea, but it’s a far tighter affair with fellow west Londoners QPR, who they have beaten 16 times but lost on 14 occasions. The ultimate in close derbies, though, is El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 172 times, with Real winning 72 and Barcelona winning 68. There’s also just seven goals between them: Real have scored 280, while Barcelona have scored 273.

Derby day: From one-sided fixtures to tight affairs - how will Merseyside and Manchester clashes play out?

It is a fact not lost on Merseyside that a generation of young Everton fans have never seen their side win at Anfield. More than 18 years have passed since the Toffees last took three points home with them on the short trip back across Stanley Park, with David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all trying and failing to build a side capable of breaking the Anfield curse. It now falls to Sam Allardyce to rekindle the spirit of September 1999, when an early Kevin Campbell goal, created by a young Francis Jeffers, was enough to secure victory in a typically fiery encounter. Jeffers was later sent off, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and they were soon joined by a fresh-faced Steven Gerrard, making just his second appearance in a Merseyside derby. Everton have beaten Liverpool at Goodison Park on just four occasions since then, making their rivalry one of the most one-sided in recent history. Liverpool have dominated Everton in recent years Credit: Getty There has, however, been plenty of competition down the years for the title of football’s most unbalanced derby. In some cases, a local derby serves as an equaliser, when better teams are routinely pegged back by smaller rivals. In others, the derby atmosphere has the opposite effect, causing one side to shrink and another to thrive… One-sided derbies Everton are by no means alone in consistently struggling against their local rivals. Famously, Atletico Madrid did not beat Real Madrid, home or away, for 14 years. When they finally broke that duck, it was in the Santiago Bernabeu in the final of the Copa del Rey. “If you had made the fans an offer in which you had said we won’t win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time, they would have signed up for that,” said manager Diego Simeone afterwards. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona have won 97 of 167 derbies with Espanyol, and have lost just three of the last 41 meetings with their local rivals. It is a similar story in west London, where Chelsea have won 46 games against neighbours Fulham, losing just 11. Although they have not always been in the same division, Chelsea have been defeated by Fulham just once, in 2006, since 1979. Chelsea have had the upper hand over Fulham Credit: Getty Images Over in Germany, Bayern Munich have dominated the Munich derby, winning 104 games against 1860 Munich and losing just 50. And on an international level, it is hard to find a more barren run of form than in the early decades of the USA’s rivalry with Mexico. After the Americans won in their first meeting, at the 1934 World Cup, Mexico went on an unbeaten run against the USA that stretched over 46 years and 26 matches until they were finally defeated in 1980. The anomalies In most of these cases, the results are an obvious consequence of the reflective sizes of the two clubs involved. It is no surprise, for example, that a club of Barcelona’s stature is so dominant over the comparably small Espanyol. But sometimes the derby serves as an equaliser, when the size of the various trophy cabinets has no impact on results. The so-called ‘smaller’ clubs can regularly claim the scalps of their ‘bigger’ rivals, or matches between sides at similar levels can become inexplicably uneven. Just look at the recent history of the ‘M23 derby’, between Crystal Palace and Brighton. Palace have had the upper hand, losing just one of the last eight games between the two. The 'M23 derby' is a fiercely-contested derby Credit: Getty And then there’s the East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City, two sides who, by and large, exist at the same echelons of English football. Norwich have not lost to Ipswich in nine matches since 2009. It is also an odd quirk that Stoke City have gone six matches without victory over Port Vale, and have won just two of the last 13 meetings between the two (that said, they have not faced each other since 2002, so those particular figures can appear misleading at first). What of Birmingham and Aston Villa? Here are two sides that played each other regularly in the Premier League in the 00s and have since faced off three times in the Championship, yet Birmingham have not won a league game between them in 11 attempts. The same applies to Sunderland and Newcastle. Both have generally operated at the lower end of the Premier League for the last five years, yet Sunderland’s record is one you would expect of a Champions League team playing a League One side: six wins in their last seven derbies, and no defeats in their last nine. Oxford United and Swindon Town have a similarly unbalanced recent record, with Oxford winning seven of the last eight meetings and going unbeaten in seven matches, in both league and cup competitions, since 2011. Too tight to call Of course, there are also those derbies that are so tightly-contested it is almost impossible to divide the two teams. For this, look no further than Nottingham Forest v Derby. Forest have won 39 times, while Derby have won 37. Burnley’s record against Blackburn Rovers is similarly tight: Burnley have won 41 while Blackburn have won 42. El Clasico is one of the tighest, high-profile rivalries Credit: AP Fulham may not have had much luck against Chelsea, but it’s a far tighter affair with fellow west Londoners QPR, who they have beaten 16 times but lost on 14 occasions. The ultimate in close derbies, though, is El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 172 times, with Real winning 72 and Barcelona winning 68. There’s also just seven goals between them: Real have scored 280, while Barcelona have scored 273.

Derby day: From one-sided fixtures to tight affairs - how will Merseyside and Manchester clashes play out?

It is a fact not lost on Merseyside that a generation of young Everton fans have never seen their side win at Anfield. More than 18 years have passed since the Toffees last took three points home with them on the short trip back across Stanley Park, with David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all trying and failing to build a side capable of breaking the Anfield curse. It now falls to Sam Allardyce to rekindle the spirit of September 1999, when an early Kevin Campbell goal, created by a young Francis Jeffers, was enough to secure victory in a typically fiery encounter. Jeffers was later sent off, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and they were soon joined by a fresh-faced Steven Gerrard, making just his second appearance in a Merseyside derby. Everton have beaten Liverpool at Goodison Park on just four occasions since then, making their rivalry one of the most one-sided in recent history. Liverpool have dominated Everton in recent years Credit: Getty There has, however, been plenty of competition down the years for the title of football’s most unbalanced derby. In some cases, a local derby serves as an equaliser, when better teams are routinely pegged back by smaller rivals. In others, the derby atmosphere has the opposite effect, causing one side to shrink and another to thrive… One-sided derbies Everton are by no means alone in consistently struggling against their local rivals. Famously, Atletico Madrid did not beat Real Madrid, home or away, for 14 years. When they finally broke that duck, it was in the Santiago Bernabeu in the final of the Copa del Rey. “If you had made the fans an offer in which you had said we won’t win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time, they would have signed up for that,” said manager Diego Simeone afterwards. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona have won 97 of 167 derbies with Espanyol, and have lost just three of the last 41 meetings with their local rivals. It is a similar story in west London, where Chelsea have won 46 games against neighbours Fulham, losing just 11. Although they have not always been in the same division, Chelsea have been defeated by Fulham just once, in 2006, since 1979. Chelsea have had the upper hand over Fulham Credit: Getty Images Over in Germany, Bayern Munich have dominated the Munich derby, winning 104 games against 1860 Munich and losing just 50. And on an international level, it is hard to find a more barren run of form than in the early decades of the USA’s rivalry with Mexico. After the Americans won in their first meeting, at the 1934 World Cup, Mexico went on an unbeaten run against the USA that stretched over 46 years and 26 matches until they were finally defeated in 1980. The anomalies In most of these cases, the results are an obvious consequence of the reflective sizes of the two clubs involved. It is no surprise, for example, that a club of Barcelona’s stature is so dominant over the comparably small Espanyol. But sometimes the derby serves as an equaliser, when the size of the various trophy cabinets has no impact on results. The so-called ‘smaller’ clubs can regularly claim the scalps of their ‘bigger’ rivals, or matches between sides at similar levels can become inexplicably uneven. Just look at the recent history of the ‘M23 derby’, between Crystal Palace and Brighton. Palace have had the upper hand, losing just one of the last eight games between the two. The 'M23 derby' is a fiercely-contested derby Credit: Getty And then there’s the East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City, two sides who, by and large, exist at the same echelons of English football. Norwich have not lost to Ipswich in nine matches since 2009. It is also an odd quirk that Stoke City have gone six matches without victory over Port Vale, and have won just two of the last 13 meetings between the two (that said, they have not faced each other since 2002, so those particular figures can appear misleading at first). What of Birmingham and Aston Villa? Here are two sides that played each other regularly in the Premier League in the 00s and have since faced off three times in the Championship, yet Birmingham have not won a league game between them in 11 attempts. The same applies to Sunderland and Newcastle. Both have generally operated at the lower end of the Premier League for the last five years, yet Sunderland’s record is one you would expect of a Champions League team playing a League One side: six wins in their last seven derbies, and no defeats in their last nine. Oxford United and Swindon Town have a similarly unbalanced recent record, with Oxford winning seven of the last eight meetings and going unbeaten in seven matches, in both league and cup competitions, since 2011. Too tight to call Of course, there are also those derbies that are so tightly-contested it is almost impossible to divide the two teams. For this, look no further than Nottingham Forest v Derby. Forest have won 39 times, while Derby have won 37. Burnley’s record against Blackburn Rovers is similarly tight: Burnley have won 41 while Blackburn have won 42. El Clasico is one of the tighest, high-profile rivalries Credit: AP Fulham may not have had much luck against Chelsea, but it’s a far tighter affair with fellow west Londoners QPR, who they have beaten 16 times but lost on 14 occasions. The ultimate in close derbies, though, is El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 172 times, with Real winning 72 and Barcelona winning 68. There’s also just seven goals between them: Real have scored 280, while Barcelona have scored 273.

Derby day: From one-sided fixtures to tight affairs - how will Merseyside and Manchester clashes play out?

It is a fact not lost on Merseyside that a generation of young Everton fans have never seen their side win at Anfield. More than 18 years have passed since the Toffees last took three points home with them on the short trip back across Stanley Park, with David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all trying and failing to build a side capable of breaking the Anfield curse. It now falls to Sam Allardyce to rekindle the spirit of September 1999, when an early Kevin Campbell goal, created by a young Francis Jeffers, was enough to secure victory in a typically fiery encounter. Jeffers was later sent off, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and they were soon joined by a fresh-faced Steven Gerrard, making just his second appearance in a Merseyside derby. Everton have beaten Liverpool at Goodison Park on just four occasions since then, making their rivalry one of the most one-sided in recent history. Liverpool have dominated Everton in recent years Credit: Getty There has, however, been plenty of competition down the years for the title of football’s most unbalanced derby. In some cases, a local derby serves as an equaliser, when better teams are routinely pegged back by smaller rivals. In others, the derby atmosphere has the opposite effect, causing one side to shrink and another to thrive… One-sided derbies Everton are by no means alone in consistently struggling against their local rivals. Famously, Atletico Madrid did not beat Real Madrid, home or away, for 14 years. When they finally broke that duck, it was in the Santiago Bernabeu in the final of the Copa del Rey. “If you had made the fans an offer in which you had said we won’t win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time, they would have signed up for that,” said manager Diego Simeone afterwards. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona have won 97 of 167 derbies with Espanyol, and have lost just three of the last 41 meetings with their local rivals. It is a similar story in west London, where Chelsea have won 46 games against neighbours Fulham, losing just 11. Although they have not always been in the same division, Chelsea have been defeated by Fulham just once, in 2006, since 1979. Chelsea have had the upper hand over Fulham Credit: Getty Images Over in Germany, Bayern Munich have dominated the Munich derby, winning 104 games against 1860 Munich and losing just 50. And on an international level, it is hard to find a more barren run of form than in the early decades of the USA’s rivalry with Mexico. After the Americans won in their first meeting, at the 1934 World Cup, Mexico went on an unbeaten run against the USA that stretched over 46 years and 26 matches until they were finally defeated in 1980. The anomalies In most of these cases, the results are an obvious consequence of the reflective sizes of the two clubs involved. It is no surprise, for example, that a club of Barcelona’s stature is so dominant over the comparably small Espanyol. But sometimes the derby serves as an equaliser, when the size of the various trophy cabinets has no impact on results. The so-called ‘smaller’ clubs can regularly claim the scalps of their ‘bigger’ rivals, or matches between sides at similar levels can become inexplicably uneven. Just look at the recent history of the ‘M23 derby’, between Crystal Palace and Brighton. Palace have had the upper hand, losing just one of the last eight games between the two. The 'M23 derby' is a fiercely-contested derby Credit: Getty And then there’s the East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City, two sides who, by and large, exist at the same echelons of English football. Norwich have not lost to Ipswich in nine matches since 2009. It is also an odd quirk that Stoke City have gone six matches without victory over Port Vale, and have won just two of the last 13 meetings between the two (that said, they have not faced each other since 2002, so those particular figures can appear misleading at first). What of Birmingham and Aston Villa? Here are two sides that played each other regularly in the Premier League in the 00s and have since faced off three times in the Championship, yet Birmingham have not won a league game between them in 11 attempts. The same applies to Sunderland and Newcastle. Both have generally operated at the lower end of the Premier League for the last five years, yet Sunderland’s record is one you would expect of a Champions League team playing a League One side: six wins in their last seven derbies, and no defeats in their last nine. Oxford United and Swindon Town have a similarly unbalanced recent record, with Oxford winning seven of the last eight meetings and going unbeaten in seven matches, in both league and cup competitions, since 2011. Too tight to call Of course, there are also those derbies that are so tightly-contested it is almost impossible to divide the two teams. For this, look no further than Nottingham Forest v Derby. Forest have won 39 times, while Derby have won 37. Burnley’s record against Blackburn Rovers is similarly tight: Burnley have won 41 while Blackburn have won 42. El Clasico is one of the tighest, high-profile rivalries Credit: AP Fulham may not have had much luck against Chelsea, but it’s a far tighter affair with fellow west Londoners QPR, who they have beaten 16 times but lost on 14 occasions. The ultimate in close derbies, though, is El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 172 times, with Real winning 72 and Barcelona winning 68. There’s also just seven goals between them: Real have scored 280, while Barcelona have scored 273.

Derby day: From one-sided fixtures to tight affairs - how will Merseyside and Manchester clashes play out?

It is a fact not lost on Merseyside that a generation of young Everton fans have never seen their side win at Anfield. More than 18 years have passed since the Toffees last took three points home with them on the short trip back across Stanley Park, with David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all trying and failing to build a side capable of breaking the Anfield curse. It now falls to Sam Allardyce to rekindle the spirit of September 1999, when an early Kevin Campbell goal, created by a young Francis Jeffers, was enough to secure victory in a typically fiery encounter. Jeffers was later sent off, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and they were soon joined by a fresh-faced Steven Gerrard, making just his second appearance in a Merseyside derby. Everton have beaten Liverpool at Goodison Park on just four occasions since then, making their rivalry one of the most one-sided in recent history. Liverpool have dominated Everton in recent years Credit: Getty There has, however, been plenty of competition down the years for the title of football’s most unbalanced derby. In some cases, a local derby serves as an equaliser, when better teams are routinely pegged back by smaller rivals. In others, the derby atmosphere has the opposite effect, causing one side to shrink and another to thrive… One-sided derbies Everton are by no means alone in consistently struggling against their local rivals. Famously, Atletico Madrid did not beat Real Madrid, home or away, for 14 years. When they finally broke that duck, it was in the Santiago Bernabeu in the final of the Copa del Rey. “If you had made the fans an offer in which you had said we won’t win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time, they would have signed up for that,” said manager Diego Simeone afterwards. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona have won 97 of 167 derbies with Espanyol, and have lost just three of the last 41 meetings with their local rivals. It is a similar story in west London, where Chelsea have won 46 games against neighbours Fulham, losing just 11. Although they have not always been in the same division, Chelsea have been defeated by Fulham just once, in 2006, since 1979. Chelsea have had the upper hand over Fulham Credit: Getty Images Over in Germany, Bayern Munich have dominated the Munich derby, winning 104 games against 1860 Munich and losing just 50. And on an international level, it is hard to find a more barren run of form than in the early decades of the USA’s rivalry with Mexico. After the Americans won in their first meeting, at the 1934 World Cup, Mexico went on an unbeaten run against the USA that stretched over 46 years and 26 matches until they were finally defeated in 1980. The anomalies In most of these cases, the results are an obvious consequence of the reflective sizes of the two clubs involved. It is no surprise, for example, that a club of Barcelona’s stature is so dominant over the comparably small Espanyol. But sometimes the derby serves as an equaliser, when the size of the various trophy cabinets has no impact on results. The so-called ‘smaller’ clubs can regularly claim the scalps of their ‘bigger’ rivals, or matches between sides at similar levels can become inexplicably uneven. Just look at the recent history of the ‘M23 derby’, between Crystal Palace and Brighton. Palace have had the upper hand, losing just one of the last eight games between the two. The 'M23 derby' is a fiercely-contested derby Credit: Getty And then there’s the East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City, two sides who, by and large, exist at the same echelons of English football. Norwich have not lost to Ipswich in nine matches since 2009. It is also an odd quirk that Stoke City have gone six matches without victory over Port Vale, and have won just two of the last 13 meetings between the two (that said, they have not faced each other since 2002, so those particular figures can appear misleading at first). What of Birmingham and Aston Villa? Here are two sides that played each other regularly in the Premier League in the 00s and have since faced off three times in the Championship, yet Birmingham have not won a league game between them in 11 attempts. The same applies to Sunderland and Newcastle. Both have generally operated at the lower end of the Premier League for the last five years, yet Sunderland’s record is one you would expect of a Champions League team playing a League One side: six wins in their last seven derbies, and no defeats in their last nine. Oxford United and Swindon Town have a similarly unbalanced recent record, with Oxford winning seven of the last eight meetings and going unbeaten in seven matches, in both league and cup competitions, since 2011. Too tight to call Of course, there are also those derbies that are so tightly-contested it is almost impossible to divide the two teams. For this, look no further than Nottingham Forest v Derby. Forest have won 39 times, while Derby have won 37. Burnley’s record against Blackburn Rovers is similarly tight: Burnley have won 41 while Blackburn have won 42. El Clasico is one of the tighest, high-profile rivalries Credit: AP Fulham may not have had much luck against Chelsea, but it’s a far tighter affair with fellow west Londoners QPR, who they have beaten 16 times but lost on 14 occasions. The ultimate in close derbies, though, is El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 172 times, with Real winning 72 and Barcelona winning 68. There’s also just seven goals between them: Real have scored 280, while Barcelona have scored 273.

Championship: Fulham win; Millwall hold Aston Villa; QPR, Brentford lose

Championship: Fulham win; Millwall hold Aston Villa; QPR, Brentford lose

Sam Johnstone saves Aston Villa in goalless draw against Millwall

Aston Villa’s Keinan Davis shoots at the Millwall goal – in the end the spoils were shared at a frozen Villa Park.

Sam Johnstone saves Aston Villa in goalless draw against Millwall

Sam Johnstone saves Aston Villa in goalless draw against Millwall

West Ham Winger Responds Hilariously After Chairman Admits His Kids 'Begged' Against Transfer

Aston Villa loanee Robert Snodgrass may not be the biggest fan of West Ham chairman David Sullivan after the 68-year-old admitted that his kids advised him against signing the Scotland international last January. Sullivan also said that his children gave him further warnings about completing a £8m move to sign Southampton veteran José Fonte last season. However, in response to Sullivan's comments, Snodgrass sarcastically thanked the West Ham chairman for his continued support. Everyone tagging...

West Ham Winger Responds Hilariously After Chairman Admits His Kids 'Begged' Against Transfer

Aston Villa loanee Robert Snodgrass may not be the biggest fan of West Ham chairman David Sullivan after the 68-year-old admitted that his kids advised him against signing the Scotland international last January. Sullivan also said that his children gave him further warnings about completing a £8m move to sign Southampton veteran José Fonte last season. However, in response to Sullivan's comments, Snodgrass sarcastically thanked the West Ham chairman for his continued support. Everyone tagging...

Aston Villa Fan View: 5 bits of food for thought

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Six of One - Iconic Manchester derby pictures ... and the stories behind them

Welcome to Six of One, our series in which we pick six of the best examples of a theme and contrast them with half a dozen others. This episode's theme is inspired by the Manchester derby and its rich history. Instead of the usual format of taking six outstanding things and balancing them with six execrable ones, here we have opted for six great photographs centred on United and six on City and try to tell the stories behind them.  As in the past it is obviously very much a subjective evaluation so please feel free to nominate your own favourites in either category in the comments section or tell your own stand-out derby stories.  Manchester United photographs 1. Alex Dawson 1960-61 Manchester United endured a torrid start to the 1960-61 season, losing 10 of their first 18 matches including defeats by Everton, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Aston Villa. It is often forgotten that they finished second in 1958-59, the season after the Munich Disaster, and seventh in 1959-60 but by mid-November 1960 they were 17th and looking in desperate need of fresh blood. That month Matt Busby bought the stylish Noel Cantwell from West Ham for £29,500, a record fee for a full-back, and the charming, erudite Irishman would go on to captain United and become a profound influence in the club's renaissance over the next eight years. His immediate impact was none too shabby and United swept through December, defeating Preston, drawing 4-4 with Fulham and beating Blackburn. The Christmas double header against Chelsea was overcome with a 2-0 away victory on Christmas Eve followed by a 6-0 thrashing at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in which Alex Dawson scored a hat-trick, Jimmy Nicholson two goals and Bobby Charlton one. By the time of the home derby on New Year's Eve 1960, United were in far ruder health and had climbed to 11th while City, eighth six weeks earlier, were on a dreadful run of six defeats in seven games. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images That's Dawson in the dark shirt in the picture, framed against the Stretford sky, arching his body to flick the ball on and captured by the photographer dead in the middle of the floodlight pylon on the left corner of the Scoreboard End. Romantics can imagine the smoke from a passing steam train adding to the hazy ambience but the season and hour are likely to be more responsible for the oystery murk. Dawson scored his second hat-trick in successive matches in this game and Charlton, from the left-wing, hit two more past Bert Trautmann. Only Colin Barlow could reply for Manchester City and any Blues would be excused by the 5-1 defeat for telling first-footers' calling on them later that night to stuff their lump of coal where the sun doesn't shine. Dawson was a broad bullock of a centre-forward who had unforgettably scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final against Fulham in 1958 during United's emotional charge to Wembley. He scored 45 league goals in 80 appearances and suffered City fans adopting the Camptown Races melody to assail him thus: "Who's that fella with the big fat a---? Dawson, Dawson." He had many qualities but not the exhilarating flair that Busby coveted so highly and he was sold to Preston in 1961 where he became known as 'The Black Prince of Deepdale' and bagged more than a hundred goals over six seasons of frisky service. Deliciously, to the right of the photograph in the City No10 shirt and adjusting his body perhaps to launch himself acrobatically at the ball, is Denis Law, a forward with all the class and spirit Busby desired. It would take the United manager another 20 months to get his man.   2. Eric Cantona 1994 On March 19 1994 Manchester United, the champions and league leaders went to the County Ground to play their only top-flight match against Swindon Town who were 47 points below them and not so much at the foot of the Premiership but at the bottom of its Mariana Trench. But Swindon, by virtue of two equalisers, held on for a point and United were left with 10 men when Eric Cantona was sent off for stamping on John Moncur's solar plexus. A little over 72 hours later on March 22, United were again pegged back after twice taking the lead at Arsenal and Cantona was sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Ian Selley, the second two minutes later for wild swipes at Nigel Winterburn and Tony Adams. For his sins Cantona was given a five-match suspension and defeats by second-placed Blackburn and Wimbledon in his absence left United still leading Rovers at the top of the table but solely on goal difference though they had played one match fewer. Cantona returned for their 38th game of the 42-match season, the Manchester derby on St George's Day and may have read, on the morning of the match, a warning from City's full-back Terry Phelan, who pledged that his team-mates would "wind Eric up left, right and centre" and rotate the opportunity to "take a bite out of him" because he "doesn't like it when you get him at it" which must rank as one of the worst psychological assessments in recent memory.  Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT/Getty Images In the end Phelan did not make the starting XI and City's attempts to rile the Player of the Year were faced, at least initially, by the rarely seen "other cheek" of United's No7. In the five minutes before half-time he scored twice, tapping in an Andrei Kanchelskis centre from a yard and then sweeping a right-foot shot under Andy Dibble when the keeper thought he was going to be chipped. Kanchelskis had a peculiar way of using his arms when running that suggested forgetting to extract the coathanger before putting his shirt on but was devastatingly direct and quick and he stands in the background, about to be embraced by Lee Sharpe, one winger acutely aware that the other deserves most praise for the opening goal. Yet it's the central figure of Cantona that dominates and by contrast to the near identical pose of Michel Vonk, appealing vainly for offside, he smiles with something of the radiant pleasure he could still demonstrate. For the remaining three seasons of his career, more so after Selhurst Park in 1995, Cantona sometimes seemed to be wedded to an image of himself wearing a crown of thorns and often posed messianically after scoring, not so much in 'redemption' mode as with a confrontational attitude of there-will-be-a-reckoning-for those-who doubted-me.   Here, though, there is joy still unconfined, an elation that burgeoned over the next three weeks after United's 2-0 victory. In their five remaining games they wrapped up the Premier League title by eight points and defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final to earn their debut Double.  "No matter what the tempo is Eric's got the ability to compose himself on the ball," said Alex Ferguson after the match, burnishing the divine mystique. "In the maelstrom of League football that in itself is a miracle."  3. Roy Keane 2001  One should not forget that Roy Keane’s vendetta against Alfie Haaland was provoked by a word not a deed. In September 1997 at Elland Road, Keane injured himself fouling Haaland, then playing for Leeds, severing his own cruciate ligament when his studs caught in the turf and put himself out of the game for 11 months’ of gruelling rehabilitation. In his first autobiography Keane claims that Haaland and his team-mate David Wetherall stood over him and accused him of faking the injury, an act of slander so defamatory to his professional code, so uncharitable, that Keane stoked the embers of his grudge for almost four years. The fact that Haaland may have been responding in the moment after 85 minutes of rancour between the two, that Keane’s fall was in the penalty area at the end of a game Manchester United were losing 1-0, or that he could be excused of savouring the irony that someone who had tried to hurt him had succeeded only in hurting himself did not diminish Keane’s festering resentment. Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien In Keane’s absence, Manchester United eventually blew an 11-point lead in the championship race and Arsenal won the Double but by April 2001 and the Old Trafford derby, Keane was well on course to raise his third successive Premier League title as club captain. It was a drab match - Steve Howey had scored the equaliser with seven minutes to go after Paul Scholes had missed a penalty before Teddy Sheringham converted one - until Keane exploited the proximity of Haaland in the 86th minute to lunge right-foot first, studs up, into the side of the City midfielder’s knee. Haaland had just executed a forceful clearance and had his leg off the turf in his followthrough when Keane hit him with the full weight of his body driven through his lunge, tipping his victim up so that he slammed shoulder-first into the grass. Paul Hayward, who was there for The Telegraph, takes the story up in his live report: Keane by name, and manically keen by nature, Manchester United's captain struck Alfie Haaland with a tackle so vindictive that it would have aroused the interest of the constabulary had it been made in an ale-speckled pub that Saturday night. 'Gotcha!' is what Keane apparently said to his old enemy as Haaland clutched his leg to make sure all the components of a limb were still there. Blackjack dealers have delivered cards less swiftly than David Elleray did in reaching for red. In his 2002 autobiography Keane revealed the key message he delivered was two letters shorter than ‘Gotcha’. "I'd waited long enough. I f------ hit him hard," he wrote. "The ball was there (I think). Take that you c---. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there's some for him as well." While there is no denying that it’s precisely what he meant, he would have had to rattle through it like Michael O’Hehir on amphetamine sulphate to deliver it verbally in the two seconds he spoke before leaving the pitch. Ever since, seemingly depending on the likelihood of legal repercussions for his words, Keane revels in it but see-saws on whether he meant irreparably to harm Haaland, who would play only 48 minutes more in his professional career during various comebacks but retired mainly because of an injury to his left knee. Some Manchester United fans see Keane at this moment as a kind of warrior avenging angel and his critics as a mad dog but the stark beauty of the photograph captures a man chillingly in control achieving, in his eyes, brutal restitution for a violation of his honour. It’s how Keyser Soze must have looked when wiping out one of the Hungarian mafia. 4. Michael Owen 2009 United had all but thrown away the home derby in September 2009 when they conceded three equalisers, the last in the 90th minute when the quicksilver Craig Bellamy made Rio Ferdinand look like a carthorse after the England centre-back played a casual pass straight to Martin Petrov. Carlos Tevez’s transfer to City in July provoked the summer of “the noisy neighbours” and Ferdinand’s posture after being gulled by Bellamy, head in hands behind the shaky Ben Foster and muttering expletives, betrayed his concern about letting his team-mates down and the wrath from a volcanic Sir Alex Ferguson that was about to engulf him. But he was about to be saved by the free transfer signing Ferguson had brought in to replace Tevez, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner, Michael Owen, whose giddy progress had been hobbled at Newcastle United by a cruciate-ligament injury and recurring hamstring, thigh and groin problems. Owen was a serious, dedicated professional yet Newcastle fans had not taken to him, finding it difficult to embrace someone who was frequently absent from the field and refused to live among them. It is fair to say that United fans were barely exhilarated by his signing either. They had completed a hat-trick of titles the previous May but had been forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and decided to let Tevez go in the summer without reinvesting a credible portion of the profits. Credit: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images But cometh the hour or, as City fans would put it, ‘cometh the sixth minute of Fergie time’, cometh the substitute Owen to sidle behind Micah Richards. It took a cute pass from Ryan Giggs to find him and even after so many injuries Owen plus space plus a gap between him and the goalkeeper was an equation with only one likely outcome. Shay Given spread himself as best he could without reward. Owen took a touch then dinked the ball into the far corner with an expert flick of the toes. The special thing about the photograph is how it destroys the perception of Owen as the dull master of his emotions and by that stage of his career as someone who cared more about thoroughbreds than goals. “Just look at his face”, as Barry Davies once instructed the audience when Frannie Lee scored against City after leaving Maine Road to win the title with Derby, and his delight is palpable. For City there was a sense of being mugged again in the familiar fishy circumstances by Ferguson, the Time Lord, yet the picture of Owen resonates more than the ones of desolate and angry players in blue. It conveys his elation but also his optimism, like someone who has emerged from a long nightmare. 5. Gary Neville and Paul Scholes 2010 Once you know that 1950’s ‘Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville’ by Robert Doisneau was staged, it removes some of the sheen from the quintessential Parisian portrait of uninhibited young love. One trusts, for Paul Scholes’ sake, that the photograph taken during the April 2010 Etihad derby, was a more spontaneous ‘Kiss’ that required no laborious and possibly unsavoury rehearsal. United were second, trailing Chelsea by four points with four matches to go and City fifth, two points behind Spurs in the last Champions League qualifying plce, as they embarked on their game in hand at Eastlands. Sadly the game was nothing like the firecracker at Old Trafford earlier in the season and was littered with anxiety-ridden wayward passes, midfield stagnation, shouts for penalties from both sides and all too rare opportunities that were squandered. Once again the clock had passed 90 minutes when Gabriel Obertan slipped past Patrick Vieira, rolled the ball down the left for Patrice Evra to cross and Scholes met it before the penalty spot and cushioned an unstoppable header inside the far post. Like Owen across the city seven months earlier, Scholes ran behind the goal but by contrast threw himself into the arms of United fans. Credit: AP Photo/Tim Hales When he extricated himself from the melee he was approached by his captain and friend, Gary Neville, who held him tenderly by the cheeks, puckered up and kissed him on the lips, at that moment finding him irresistible like a young Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones. “A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City,” said Scholes. “Gary’s emotional and it was an important goal. Gary’s kissed a few in his time. David [Beckham] was probably his favourite but that’s the way Gary is.” John O’Shea had a more arresting interpretation, one that perhaps explains the nakedly theatrical exaggeration of the gesture with the placement of his hands. “I don’t think it was for Scholesy’s benefit,” he said. “I think it was to make the City fans feel that little bit angrier.” United won their last three games and so did Chelsea which left them runners-up by a point while this loss followed by the home defeat by Tottenham kept City out of the Champions League for one last year. For Neville it would be his last derby and one sealed with a loving kiss. 6. Wayne Rooney 2011 After missing out on the league title in 2010 despite a hat-trick that preceded it, Sir Alex Ferguson announced the following October that Wayne Rooney had asked for a transfer because he felt that the club’s investment in new players was inadequate and he wanted to play for a club that matched his ambitions. It did not take long for Ferguson to knock him back nor for whispers to emerge that he was trying to engineer a move to City. “I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney confirmed when outed by Ferguson. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.” Because he was articulating some of the suspicions of United supporters that the demands of the Glazer family’s leveraged buy-out of the club had restricted its scope in the market, Rooney was not as vituperatively condemned as an everyday ‘wantaway’ player. Nonetheless he did alienate many United fans among them a balaclava-clad posse who protested outside his home in Prestbury with a banner that read, “If you join City you are dead”. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super One suspects Fergsuon’s dead body would have had to be surmounted for any deal to go through and the manager played hardball in public while the Glazers eventually enticed him to stay with a staggering new offer. It took Rooney more than a year publicly to express his regrets and claim that he would never have joined City. Ferguson welcomed him back into the fold much sooner and United’s title campaign gathered momentum through the winter though Rooney scored only three goals in 11 Premier League matches after signing his new contract. United took the lead in February’s Old Trafford derby through Nani before David Silva equalised jammily when hit on the back by Edin Dzeko’s shot 20 minutes into the second-half. Rooney, toiling alone up front, could not get into the game yet continued to run the channels hard to try to elude the irritatingly adhesive Vincent Kompany. In the 78th minute Nani floated a cross into the box that was behind Rooney. He had stationed himself by the penalty spot with the intention of sowing doubt about which post he would attack but the trajectory of the centre forced an adjustment. He swivelled and jumped horizontally, back to the floor, head down and thumped a bicycle-kick volley past Hart whose mouth flapped agape in surprise. It was a classic wonder goal, one that made you appreciate the extraordinary agility, anticipation and execution of a world-class player. He is commonly derided now after five years of slow decline from his 2011-12 peak but back then Rooney’s outstanding talent was in full bloom. Which is why Ferguson fought so hard to keep him, why United’s fans embraced him again and forgave his rebellion. And half a dozen of the other ... Manchester City images 1. Matt Busby and Joe Mercer 1939 This photograph, taken shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, shows three sergeants of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Joe Mercer on the left, Matt Busby in the middle and Charlton Athletic and England’s Don Welsh. Mercer, then of Everton and England, went on to manager City for six thrilling seasons from 1965 while Busby, then of Liverpool and Scotland, had played for City from the age of 18 in 1928 for eight seasons, winning the FA Cup in sky blue in 1934. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images What’s terrific about this picture is that it shows a fine City player and a great City manager, one with his City days behind him, the other with them many years ahead in the future. At the time of the photograph they were cross-city rivals as players and 26 years on would become cross-city rivals as managers but as is plain to see by the smiles, they never let partisan hostility infect their outlook. Their sense of duty and gentlemanly warmth is the foundation of what is best about both clubs and City were blessed to be served and influenced by the two of them.   2. Two Georges 1968 On the morning of the midweek Old Trafford derby on March 27 1968, United were second behind Leeds in the table on goal average and City two points back in third. United took the lead in the first minute through George Best but City gradually built momentum to dominate the match, equalising with a Colin Bell goal on 16 minutes. Bell was mesmerising that day, thrashing the ball past Stepney then giving United’s midfield the runaround. John Hollins of Chelsea says that Bell’s stamina made him seem as if he had an extra lung and he used his physical dynamism and acute positional sense to cause havoc. Francis Burns fouled him to concede the free-kick from which George Heslop headed City ahead and the raw United full-back hit him with another dreadful tackle late on when Bell was rounding the keeper and sure to roll in the third. That honour was left to Francis Lee from the penalty spot while Bell was being stretchered down the touchline and City wrapped up a convincing and deserved victory to put them level with United and Leeds on 45 points.   Credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images For Malcolm Allison, Mercer’s assistant and the Puckish strategist behind City’s rise, everything panned out as he had envisioned it. Before the game he had told the City players to walk to the Stretford End to applaud the United fans, knowing it would needle them and sharpen the atmosphere. Best, brilliant, sometimes unstoppable, scored though it did not puncture City’s confidence and here in this photograph we see George Heslop, City’s centre-half, time a sliding tackle to perfection and rob Best in full flight. Heslop, his blond combover a match for Bobby Charlton’s, was the pivot in City’s defensive system who allowed Tommy Booth and Mike Doyle the positional flexibility to support and switch with Tony Coleman, Bell and Mike Summerbee. Here, momentarily left exposed, and confronted by the greatest player in Europe in his mercurial, high summer peak, Heslop uses his experience and skill to stymie all that talent. It’s one of the standout action shots of the Sixties, the expanse of vacant green grass around them is where Best thrived but Heslop, his gigantic thighs a contrast to the sleek, supple Best’s, fairly and elegantly bars his way. “Years of humiliation had been, if not wiped away, at least eased,” Allison later wrote. “It was one of the great nights of my life.” Greater still were to come. Although they lost at Leicester the following week, City won five of their next seven games before victory at St James’ Park on the final day earned them their first title for 31 years by two points from United.  “I think we will be the first team to play on Mars,” Allison said on the morning after winning the title following only an hour’s sleep. "We have had more courage than the majority of teams in the League. The courage to play this game.” Mars would prove to be a stretch too far, but who needs Mars when you’ve been taken to heaven?   3. Denis Law 1974 Maxwell Scott’s advice from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has proved seductive over the years for those writing about Denis Law’s backheel in the 83rd minute of the derby at Old Trafford in April 1974. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” said Scott, appropriately enough a newspaper editor. And so the myth that Law, a year after leaving United to return to City on a free transfer, sent United down took flight. In truth, though, Birmingham City in 19th held their fate in their own hands. Victory for them over Norwich, who had already been relegated, and United were down come what may. United fans knew what was happening at St Andrew’s and invaded the pitch at Old Trafford both before and after the news that Bob Hatton had put Birmingham ahead. The third and final invasion came four minutes from the end, three minutes after Law had put City in front with a larcenous, impulsive backheel. Sir Matt Busby addressed the crowd over the Tannoy in an attempt to persuade them to retreat “for the sake of the club” to no avail and the match was abandoned as a City victory. Birmingham’s 2-1 win rendered the last four minutes inconsequential. Credit: PA Before all that, though, Law had gone off, looking utterly disconsolate, even though City fans then and during the drawn-out melee were eagerly attempting to corral him into their celebrations. Look at his face and you see a perfect definition of “crestfallen”, a bigamist unmasked and tormented by the consequences. Law’s 37th and final goal for City (to add to his 237 for United) may not have relegated the neighbours at all but the legend endures because the twist of the player’s identity and allegiance enhance the element of City supporters’ schadenfreude to an exquisite pinnacle. “In that moment you saw the two sides of his character,” the City winger Dennis Tueart told the Daily Mail in 2012. “You saw the instinctive, goalscoring predator, the man who was a privilege to play with and train with and learn from. Then - when he realised what he had done - you saw the man himself, the gentleman who didn't want to hurt his old club. A sense of reality hit him.” 4. Ian Bishop and Paul Lake 1989 The 6-1 thrashing of the champions at Old Trafford in 2011 takes some beating but for City fans of a certain age the 5-1 victory at Maine Road in September 1989 will always be an imperishable memory. Because of City’s relegation, derbies in the Eighties were rare and City had not won one since February 1981 when Alex Ferguson took his beleaguered, expensive United team to Moss Side. It was the season of Michael Knighton in replica kit juggling the ball on the Old Trafford pitch to advertise his impending takeover before the opening match - a slick 4-1 victory over the champions Arsenal. The bloom of a summer spree - Gary Pallister, Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince snapped up for a staggering outlay of £6.25m - wilted as quickly as Knighton’s credibility when United were beaten by Derby, Norwich and Everton in successive matches. Beating Millwall 5-1 before the trip across town was trumpeted as the end of the teething troubles but they left Maine Road looking toothless and covered in bite marks. Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images City were a vibrant, young team, newly promoted and built around a core of five special homegrown players - Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Steve Redmond, David White and Ian Brightwell - who seemed to personify the city’s youth culture that was in the midst of a glorious, hedonistic ascendancy. Just after kick-off a fight on the terraces escalated into a mass brawl that spread so quickly that some supporters understandably climbed over the perimeter fences to avoid a braying or an even worse fate. The referee suspended the game for eight minutes and on resumption City tore into United, scoring twice in the 12th minute after a mistake by Pallister, Britain’s most expensive defender, let in David Oldfield and another lax response to a developing crisis left Jim Leighton exposed after an impressive double save - and Trevor Morley rammed the ball past him. In the 36th minute Oldfield skinned Pallister and crossed for Ian Bishop to score with a diving header. He is the subject of our image, caught in the arms of Paul Lake as they celebrate City’s third. The photographer freezes them in a moment of ecstatic revelry with just a hint of charming disbelief in Lake’s eyes, fixed on the lens. It’s a great shot of City’s blend of youth - Lake - and the more experienced Bishop, a cut-price playmaker with cheek, vision and an inventive pass, the kind of player that always steals supporters’ hearts. Mark Hughes grabbed one back with a wonderful scissors kick that would be better known but for the result before Lake ripped United apart down the right to set up Oldfield’s fourth and Hinchcliffe made it five on the end of a slippery, sweeping move. Chants of “Ferguson out” from Reds were answered in raucous glee by the Blues with “Fergie must stay”. He did stay, of course, and recovered from a defeat he called “the most embarrassing of my career” while the terminally myopic Peter Swales, City's chairman, sacked Mel Machin in November and appointed Howard Kendall. Nothing wrong with that, City were bottom after all, but allowing him to dismantle such a promising squad, fill it full of Evertonians and sell many of the heroes of that day makes the 5-1 somewhat bittersweet. 5. Shaun Goater and Gary Neville 2002 A companion to No5 in the United section, this photograph shows Gary Neville at his greatest moment of derby despair. The elder Neville brother saw himself as more than a symbol for United fans, more the embodiment of their deepest desires and prejudices so there was no stopping City fans basking in his moment of nemesis in the last match at Maine Road. Credit: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images The score was 1-1 when Eyal Berkovic swept a pass from right to the left of the United penalty area over Neville’s head. He turned, with Shaun Goater in pursuit, and first tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick but changed tack when he realised it lacked the momentum. He hesitated for a moment and then attempted to pass it back to Fabien Barthez instead. Whether he didn’t see Goater between him and the keeper until it was too late or whether he had the chutzpah to think he could nutmeg the City forward is not known. Either way he fed the Goat who indeed scored, having careered in from the touchline and arrowed the ball around Barthez to score his 99th City goal. Credit:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images For the rest of the match the England right-back  was serenaded by “Gary Neville is a blue, is a blue, is a blue” and it followed him around for a fair few months. Goater went on to bring up his century in the second-half with a wonderful chip over Barthez and ended Maine Road’s days as a derby venue in appropriately carnival mood.   6. Mario Balotelli 2011 The first derby of the 2011-12 season took place on Sunday, October 23, 13 days before Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that anyone needs an excuse for a fireworks party any more: over the past 15 years the UK has turned positively Cantonese in its embrace of pyrotechnics. On the Friday before the match, Mario Balotelli and four friends were together at his new house in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire when one or more of them - the number is still in dispute - decided to treat the neighbours to an early morning chorus of explosions and illuminate the sky over their houses with fireworks. Perhaps it was cold outside or maybe just tired but someone decreed that the launch pad should be Balotelli’s bathroom. Someone got their calculations wrong as well as their aim and set fire first to some towels and then the house. One of them raised the alarm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and the fire service eventually extinguished the blaze. Balotelli checked into a city centre hotel, arrived on time for training the next morning and went into conclave with the kit man before returning to his hotel. Credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images The story hit the newspapers on the morning of the match though Roberto Mancini still named Balotelli, who had scored in the three preceding games, in his starting XI. He rewarded his manager with an excellent performance, scoring twice, the first a deftly-placed side-foot shot from 16 yards. As soon as the ball went past David De Gea, Balotelli lifted his shirt over his head to reveal ‘Why always me?’ written on his vest. It earned him a booking and it might well have been worse if Les Chapman, City’s kit man, hadn’t dissuaded him from his other two ideas for slogans, both of them provocations to United fans. In addition to his two goals in the 6-1 victory, he elicited a foul from Jonny Evans that had the United defender sent off and he provides us with an image of engaging, prodigal insouciance. “That day it was as if Mario was great, an adult amongst children,” said Roberto Mancini. “I would have loved to have always seen him like he was at that derby.” Routine was never for Mario. He would not be half as frustrating without his uncommon skill nor half as endearing without his unaffected nonchalance.

Which Premier League winning streaks are statistically the most impressive?

Liverpool's Pepe Reina makes a save against Aston Villa

Shay Given wants Newcastle to sign Alexis Sanchez if club is handed transfer funds after expected takeover

Shay Given wants Newcastle to sign Alexis Sanchez if club is handed transfer funds after expected takeover

Shay Given wants Newcastle to sign Alexis Sanchez if club is handed transfer funds after expected takeover

After evidence of bullying at Aston Villa’s academy, why has the FA gone silent?

After evidence of bullying at Aston Villa’s academy, why has the FA gone silent?

Kevin MacDonald, an Aston Villa academy coach, pictured in 2015. The club said it was clear the FA has found ‘no concerns over the welfare of children’ in its academy.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes