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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.

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.

Wigan Athletic two-goal hero rushes to make son's birth in full kit after early substitution 

Scoring twice in a 3-0 home victory would normally be the highlight of any League One footballer's week, but no so for Wigan Athletic player Ryan Colclough.  The winger played a starring role in Wigan's win over Doncaster on Tuesday, but was substituted in the 55th minute so that he could dash to the hospital and make the birth of his second son.  Colclough sprinted down the tunnel and arrived in time to see the new arrival, posting a picture on Twitter of him holding the new-born while still wearing full Wigan kit.  Wigan assistant manager Leam Richardson, explained: "At half-time we got the message that his missus' waters had broken, his second child. "As soon as he got his second goal he was off the pitch, because his head was somewhere else. "We're all men, we're all individuals - some of the players wouldn't have gone, they'd be still in the dressing room now! "Others want to get straight out to support their partner, and you respect every individual in what they want to do."  Earlier this season, Swindon Town footballer Olly Lancashire left their match against Barnet at half-time after his wife went into labour.  In rugby league, St Helens prop Alex Walmsley substituted himself in an effort to make the birth of his first child, and like Colclough he posed in full kit with mother and baby. 

ISL 2017: Conor Thomas - Thought Teddy Sheringham's invite to join ATK a prank

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power instrumental to unite the Manchester United fan with his childhood idol in India...

ISL 2017: Conor Thomas - Thought Teddy Sheringham's invite to join ATK a prank

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power instrumental to unite the Manchester United fan with his childhood idol in India...

ISL 2017: Conor Thomas - Thought Teddy Sheringham's invite to join ATK a prank

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power instrumental to unite the Manchester United fan with his childhood idol in India...

ISL 2017: Conor Thomas - Thought Teddy Sheringham's invite to join ATK a prank

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power instrumental to unite the Manchester United fan with his childhood idol in India...

ISL 2017: Conor Thomas - Thought Teddy Sheringham's invite to join ATK a prank

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power instrumental to unite the Manchester United fan with his childhood idol in India...

FA Cup second-round draw: Fylde host 2013 winners Wigan, Boreham Wood sent to Coventry

FA Cup second round draw National League side AFC Fylde will host 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan in the second round of the competition. Fylde, through to this stage of the competition for the first time in their history following a victory over Kidderminster, were paired with the League One side when the second round draw was made on Monday. Fylde's fellow non-League side Boreham Wood will also face former winners of the competition in the shape of Coventry, who lifted the cup in 1987. Coventry will be at home for the tie. There were a total of 12 non-League sides in the draw. National League South Oxford City were drawn away to Notts County. Seventh-tier Hereford, the lowest-ranked side through to the second round, will face either Chorley or Fleetwood after their tie on Monday night. Leatherhead, who are ranked lower than Hereford, would go away to Wycombe if they win their replay against Billericay Town. Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough MK Dons v Maidstone United Newport Co v Cambridge Utd Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay Port Vale v Yeovil Town Shrewsbury v Morecambe Doncaster Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe Slough Town v Rochdale AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic Stevenage v Swindon Town Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley Gateshead v Luton Town Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic Gillingham v Carlisle Utd Notts Co v Oxford City Forest Green v Exeter City Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford Coventry City v Boreham Wood Town 7:28PM There you go Everyone present with 'Mark' Chapman professes themselves pleased with the draw. There's not much more I can add to the raw draw. Enjoy! Thanks for your company.  7:24PM TV picks I would guess would be Slough v Rochdale and Fylde v Wigan. Gateshead v Luton would be worth watching.  7:23PM The second round draw in full Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough MK Dons v Maidstone United Newport Co v Cambridge Utd Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay Port Vale v Yeovil Town Shrewsbury v Morecambe Doncaster Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe Slough Town v Rochdale AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic Stevenage v Swindon Town Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley Gateshead v Luton Town Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic Gillingham v Carlisle Utd Notts Co v Oxford City Forest Green v Exeter City Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford Coventry City v Boreham Wood 7:19PM Tie 20  Coventry City v Boreham Wood 7:19PM Tie 19 Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford 7:18PM Tie 18 Forest Green v Exeter City 7:18PM Tie 17 Notts Co v Oxford City 7:18PM Tie 16 Gillingham v Carlisle Utd 7:17PM Tie 15 AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic 7:17PM Tie 14 Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra 7:17PM Tie 13 Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle 7:16PM Tie 12 Gateshead v Luton Town 7:16PM Tie 11 Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley 7:16PM Tie 10 Stevenage v Swindon Town 7:16PM Tie nine AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic 7:15PM Tie eight Slough Town v Rochdale 7:15PM Tie seven Donny Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe 7:15PM Tie six Shrewsbury v Morecambe 7:14PM Tie five Port Vale v Yeovil Town 7:14PM Tie four Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay 7:14PM Tie three Newport Co v Cambridge Utd 7:13PM Tie two MK Dons v Maidstone United 7:13PM First out Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough 7:10PM Andy Cole and Kevin Davies Will draw the balls.  7:10PM Here we go The BBC hands over to BT Sport 7:09PM The draw will take place in 10 minutes Mark Chapman interviews Saturday's Slough Town heroes who thrashed Gainsborough Trinity 6-0. Everyone displays his/her poppy pinned to a tracksuit top. Chapman has his in his buttonhole. I'm perplexed that Chapman, a Manc, allows himself to be called 'Chappers'. That's a bit rah, isn't it? 'Chappy', 'Chap', 'grizzly' or 'face farm' would be far more Manc 7:03PM Former winners Bradford, Charlton, Blackburn, Wimbledon (oh, yes), Coventry and Wigan are all in the 'hat'. I use the quotation marks advisedly, unless you favour adorning your swede with a jaunty, plastic transparent bowl. And let's face it, who doesn't.   6:51PM Good evening All first-round winners have bagged their £18,000 prize money and set off in pursuit of the £27,000 on offer for a victory in the second round this evening. What, it's not about the money, it's about the glory? Could have fooled me after years of Premier League and Championship numpties fielding scratch sides to concentrate on the consolidation of 12th place.  For years the FA has allowed its Challenge Cup to be abused by myopic, soulless blowhards and yet it still thrives. We shall celebrate it here today as we find out who stands in the way of teams on the next leg of the road to Wembley (for the semi-finals! Gah! See what they've done there? Audrey, the screens!)   6:40PM A second-round FA Cup draw primer What is it? It's the draw for the second round of the 2017 FA Cup. When is it? It's on Monday November 6. - ie today. What time does it start? It will begin after 19.00 GMT - before the Chorley vs Fleetwood match on Monday night. What TV channel is it on? The match and draw will be on BT Sport 1 and BBC 2. Alternatively, you can follow the draw here. What's left of this weekend's action? First-round review Exeter assistant manager Matt Oakley was delighted to progress to round two of the FA Cup after seeing his side see off gallant Heybridge Swifts 3-1 at St James' Park. Two Jayden Stockley goals shortly past the hour mark gave the Grecians a commanding lead, but Samuel Bentick turned in a cross to reduce the arrears and give the Swifts hope. But any hopes of a comeback were ended by Liam McAlinden, whose shot squeezed through the legs of goalkeeper Danny Sambridge, much to the relief of Oakley, who was standing in for the absent Paul Tisdale. "I'm very pleased. It was a banana skin waiting to happen for us, when you see the draw come out," Oakley said. Relief for Exeter as they see off Heybridge Swifts Credit:  PA "I am very pleased with the result, very pleased with the second half performance and pleased to come in at half-time with a clean sheet. "We had a very difficult time at Warrington a few years ago when we conceded after a few minutes and we couldn't break them down after that. It was one of the messages we talked about before the game, so I was very pleased. "They put us under a lot of pressure and probably came out after the first half with a bit more confidence than we did. I thought we started the game really well, I was really pleased with the start, but then we started losing the ball and a few misplaced touches and they grew in confidence and came into it. "They didn't threaten our goal too much, so I wasn't too worried about it. We just needed to tighten up in certain areas and improve our attacking play in wide areas and we did that well in the second half." What are the draw numbers? STEVENAGE  BRADFORD CITY  PORT VALE  NEWPORT COUNTY MORECAMBE YEOVIL TOWN PETERBOROUGH UNITED OR TRANMERE ROVERS     CAMBRIDGE UNITED FOREST GREEN ROVERS AFC FYLDE  LUTON TOWN SHREWSBURY TOWN  HEREFORD GUISELEY OR ACCRINGTON STANLEY  BLACKBURN ROVERS  DONCASTER ROVERS     LEATHERHEAD OR BILLERICAY TOWN  BOREHAM WOOD  MANSFIELD TOWN  OXFORD CITY     PLYMOUTH ARGYLE  AFC WIMBLEDON  ROCHDALE COVENTRY CITY  CHORLEY OR FLEETWOOD TOWN CARLISLE UNITED NOTTS COUNTY  SWINDON TOWN  MAIDSTONE UNITED  WOKING OR BURY     CREWE ALEXANDRA GILLINGHAM MILTON KEYNES DONS  SLOUGH TOWN     WYCOMBE WANDERERS  NORTHAMPTON TOWN OR SCUNTHORPE UNITED     CHARLTON ATHELTIC  WIGAN ATHLETIC GATESHEAD EXETER CITY When will the second round fixtures take place? Weekend of December 2 and 3. What are the latest FA Cup odds? Chelsea - 5/1 Man City - 5/1 Man Utd - 6/1 Tottenham - 8/1 Arsenal - 8/1 Liverpool - 9/1

FA Cup second-round draw: Fylde host 2013 winners Wigan, Boreham Wood sent to Coventry

FA Cup second round draw National League side AFC Fylde will host 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan in the second round of the competition. Fylde, through to this stage of the competition for the first time in their history following a victory over Kidderminster, were paired with the League One side when the second round draw was made on Monday. Fylde's fellow non-League side Boreham Wood will also face former winners of the competition in the shape of Coventry, who lifted the cup in 1987. Coventry will be at home for the tie. There were a total of 12 non-League sides in the draw. National League South Oxford City were drawn away to Notts County. Seventh-tier Hereford, the lowest-ranked side through to the second round, will face either Chorley or Fleetwood after their tie on Monday night. Leatherhead, who are ranked lower than Hereford, would go away to Wycombe if they win their replay against Billericay Town. Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough MK Dons v Maidstone United Newport Co v Cambridge Utd Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay Port Vale v Yeovil Town Shrewsbury v Morecambe Doncaster Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe Slough Town v Rochdale AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic Stevenage v Swindon Town Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley Gateshead v Luton Town Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic Gillingham v Carlisle Utd Notts Co v Oxford City Forest Green v Exeter City Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford Coventry City v Boreham Wood Town 7:28PM There you go Everyone present with 'Mark' Chapman professes themselves pleased with the draw. There's not much more I can add to the raw draw. Enjoy! Thanks for your company.  7:24PM TV picks I would guess would be Slough v Rochdale and Fylde v Wigan. Gateshead v Luton would be worth watching.  7:23PM The second round draw in full Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough MK Dons v Maidstone United Newport Co v Cambridge Utd Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay Port Vale v Yeovil Town Shrewsbury v Morecambe Doncaster Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe Slough Town v Rochdale AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic Stevenage v Swindon Town Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley Gateshead v Luton Town Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic Gillingham v Carlisle Utd Notts Co v Oxford City Forest Green v Exeter City Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford Coventry City v Boreham Wood 7:19PM Tie 20  Coventry City v Boreham Wood 7:19PM Tie 19 Chorley or Fleetwood v Hereford 7:18PM Tie 18 Forest Green v Exeter City 7:18PM Tie 17 Notts Co v Oxford City 7:18PM Tie 16 Gillingham v Carlisle Utd 7:17PM Tie 15 AFC Fylde v Wigan Athletic 7:17PM Tie 14 Blackburn Rovers v Crewe Alexandra 7:17PM Tie 13 Bradford City v Plymouth Argyle 7:16PM Tie 12 Gateshead v Luton Town 7:16PM Tie 11 Mansfield Town v Guiseley or Accrington Stanley 7:16PM Tie 10 Stevenage v Swindon Town 7:16PM Tie nine AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic 7:15PM Tie eight Slough Town v Rochdale 7:15PM Tie seven Donny Rovers v Northampton or Scunthorpe 7:15PM Tie six Shrewsbury v Morecambe 7:14PM Tie five Port Vale v Yeovil Town 7:14PM Tie four Wycombe v Leatherhead or Billericay 7:14PM Tie three Newport Co v Cambridge Utd 7:13PM Tie two MK Dons v Maidstone United 7:13PM First out Woking or Bury vs Tranmere or Peterborough 7:10PM Andy Cole and Kevin Davies Will draw the balls.  7:10PM Here we go The BBC hands over to BT Sport 7:09PM The draw will take place in 10 minutes Mark Chapman interviews Saturday's Slough Town heroes who thrashed Gainsborough Trinity 6-0. Everyone displays his/her poppy pinned to a tracksuit top. Chapman has his in his buttonhole. I'm perplexed that Chapman, a Manc, allows himself to be called 'Chappers'. That's a bit rah, isn't it? 'Chappy', 'Chap', 'grizzly' or 'face farm' would be far more Manc 7:03PM Former winners Bradford, Charlton, Blackburn, Wimbledon (oh, yes), Coventry and Wigan are all in the 'hat'. I use the quotation marks advisedly, unless you favour adorning your swede with a jaunty, plastic transparent bowl. And let's face it, who doesn't.   6:51PM Good evening All first-round winners have bagged their £18,000 prize money and set off in pursuit of the £27,000 on offer for a victory in the second round this evening. What, it's not about the money, it's about the glory? Could have fooled me after years of Premier League and Championship numpties fielding scratch sides to concentrate on the consolidation of 12th place.  For years the FA has allowed its Challenge Cup to be abused by myopic, soulless blowhards and yet it still thrives. We shall celebrate it here today as we find out who stands in the way of teams on the next leg of the road to Wembley (for the semi-finals! Gah! See what they've done there? Audrey, the screens!)   6:40PM A second-round FA Cup draw primer What is it? It's the draw for the second round of the 2017 FA Cup. When is it? It's on Monday November 6. - ie today. What time does it start? It will begin after 19.00 GMT - before the Chorley vs Fleetwood match on Monday night. What TV channel is it on? The match and draw will be on BT Sport 1 and BBC 2. Alternatively, you can follow the draw here. What's left of this weekend's action? First-round review Exeter assistant manager Matt Oakley was delighted to progress to round two of the FA Cup after seeing his side see off gallant Heybridge Swifts 3-1 at St James' Park. Two Jayden Stockley goals shortly past the hour mark gave the Grecians a commanding lead, but Samuel Bentick turned in a cross to reduce the arrears and give the Swifts hope. But any hopes of a comeback were ended by Liam McAlinden, whose shot squeezed through the legs of goalkeeper Danny Sambridge, much to the relief of Oakley, who was standing in for the absent Paul Tisdale. "I'm very pleased. It was a banana skin waiting to happen for us, when you see the draw come out," Oakley said. Relief for Exeter as they see off Heybridge Swifts Credit:  PA "I am very pleased with the result, very pleased with the second half performance and pleased to come in at half-time with a clean sheet. "We had a very difficult time at Warrington a few years ago when we conceded after a few minutes and we couldn't break them down after that. It was one of the messages we talked about before the game, so I was very pleased. "They put us under a lot of pressure and probably came out after the first half with a bit more confidence than we did. I thought we started the game really well, I was really pleased with the start, but then we started losing the ball and a few misplaced touches and they grew in confidence and came into it. "They didn't threaten our goal too much, so I wasn't too worried about it. We just needed to tighten up in certain areas and improve our attacking play in wide areas and we did that well in the second half." What are the draw numbers? STEVENAGE  BRADFORD CITY  PORT VALE  NEWPORT COUNTY MORECAMBE YEOVIL TOWN PETERBOROUGH UNITED OR TRANMERE ROVERS     CAMBRIDGE UNITED FOREST GREEN ROVERS AFC FYLDE  LUTON TOWN SHREWSBURY TOWN  HEREFORD GUISELEY OR ACCRINGTON STANLEY  BLACKBURN ROVERS  DONCASTER ROVERS     LEATHERHEAD OR BILLERICAY TOWN  BOREHAM WOOD  MANSFIELD TOWN  OXFORD CITY     PLYMOUTH ARGYLE  AFC WIMBLEDON  ROCHDALE COVENTRY CITY  CHORLEY OR FLEETWOOD TOWN CARLISLE UNITED NOTTS COUNTY  SWINDON TOWN  MAIDSTONE UNITED  WOKING OR BURY     CREWE ALEXANDRA GILLINGHAM MILTON KEYNES DONS  SLOUGH TOWN     WYCOMBE WANDERERS  NORTHAMPTON TOWN OR SCUNTHORPE UNITED     CHARLTON ATHELTIC  WIGAN ATHLETIC GATESHEAD EXETER CITY When will the second round fixtures take place? Weekend of December 2 and 3. What are the latest FA Cup odds? Chelsea - 5/1 Man City - 5/1 Man Utd - 6/1 Tottenham - 8/1 Arsenal - 8/1 Liverpool - 9/1

Sutton and Lincoln crash out of FA Cup as Oxford City and Boreham Wood provide first-round upsets

Last season, it took Arsenal to end Sutton United’s participation in the FA Cup, and a controversy sparked by a hastily eaten meat pie, after a glorious run that saw them reach the fifth round. On Saturday they went out in tamer circumstances in the first, losing 1-0 at 10-man Cambridge United who reached the second round for the fifth consecutive season. There was nothing to compare with the drama of 12 months ago when their great adventure included victories over Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds before the embarrassment of Piegate, which led to a two-month ban from football for reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. His former team-mates know they should probably have done better on Sunday after enjoying a numerical advantage for 50 minutes following the dismissal of George Maris for simulation. The visitors failed to make their advantage pay and conceded on the stroke of half-time when Jabo Ibehre turned home the rebound after Jevani Brown hit the bar. Elsewhere, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, who reached the finals in 2006 and 2010 with West Ham and Liverpool respectively, retain an interest in this year’s competition after Billericay Town drew 1-1 with Leatherhead, a draw that puts the Isthmian Premier League side in the second-round draw for the first time in their history. “It was a great game. I’m proud of my boys, they dug in and I’m pleased to be in the hat,” said Billericay owner-manager Glenn Tamplin. Former winners Charlton Athletic (1947) and Coventry City (1987) are definitely though after seeing off Truro City 3-1 and Maidenhead United 2-0 respectively.  Truro were making their debut in the first round as the first Cornish side there since 1969 but conceded to Ben Reeves after 10 minutes and seldom looked likely to pull off the shock their 996 fans had travelled so far to see. Charlton comfortably saw off Truro Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images Jordan Ponticelli scored both Coventry goals in a straightforward win while elsewhere Swindon Town brushed off National League South side Dartford 5-1 with Timi Elsnik scoring twice. Guiseley were more than happy with their afternoon’s work after holding League Two high-fliers Accrington Stanley to a goalless draw but the other non-league hopefuls Heybridge Swifts and Solihull Moors fell to Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers respectively. The final first-round game on Monday sees League One side Fleetwood Town travel to Chorley, who are in the first round for the first time in 27 years. The teams last met competitively in 2006 in the Northern Premier League Division One and Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler warned his players “to do the business on the day”. On Saturday, Oxford City from the National League South beat Colchester United, who are 56 places above them, 1-0 to reach the second round for only the second time. Boreham Wood provided the other big first-round shock against Blackpool Credit: Harry Murphy/Getty Images The day’s other shock came from Boreham Wood, 10th in the National League, who came back from a goal down to beat 1953 winners Blackpool 2-1 at home with the goals coming from substitutes Blair Turgott, on loan from Stevenage, and Dan Holman. Another non-league side Maidstone, of the National League South, won 4-2 at the League Two side Cheltenham. But Lincoln City, who lost at Arsenal in the quarter-finals last season, lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon.

Sutton and Lincoln crash out of FA Cup as Oxford City and Boreham Wood provide first-round upsets

Last season, it took Arsenal to end Sutton United’s participation in the FA Cup, and a controversy sparked by a hastily eaten meat pie, after a glorious run that saw them reach the fifth round. On Saturday they went out in tamer circumstances in the first, losing 1-0 at 10-man Cambridge United who reached the second round for the fifth consecutive season. There was nothing to compare with the drama of 12 months ago when their great adventure included victories over Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds before the embarrassment of Piegate, which led to a two-month ban from football for reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. His former team-mates know they should probably have done better on Sunday after enjoying a numerical advantage for 50 minutes following the dismissal of George Maris for simulation. The visitors failed to make their advantage pay and conceded on the stroke of half-time when Jabo Ibehre turned home the rebound after Jevani Brown hit the bar. Elsewhere, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, who reached the finals in 2006 and 2010 with West Ham and Liverpool respectively, retain an interest in this year’s competition after Billericay Town drew 1-1 with Leatherhead, a draw that puts the Isthmian Premier League side in the second-round draw for the first time in their history. “It was a great game. I’m proud of my boys, they dug in and I’m pleased to be in the hat,” said Billericay owner-manager Glenn Tamplin. Former winners Charlton Athletic (1947) and Coventry City (1987) are definitely though after seeing off Truro City 3-1 and Maidenhead United 2-0 respectively.  Truro were making their debut in the first round as the first Cornish side there since 1969 but conceded to Ben Reeves after 10 minutes and seldom looked likely to pull off the shock their 996 fans had travelled so far to see. Charlton comfortably saw off Truro Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images Jordan Ponticelli scored both Coventry goals in a straightforward win while elsewhere Swindon Town brushed off National League South side Dartford 5-1 with Timi Elsnik scoring twice. Guiseley were more than happy with their afternoon’s work after holding League Two high-fliers Accrington Stanley to a goalless draw but the other non-league hopefuls Heybridge Swifts and Solihull Moors fell to Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers respectively. The final first-round game on Monday sees League One side Fleetwood Town travel to Chorley, who are in the first round for the first time in 27 years. The teams last met competitively in 2006 in the Northern Premier League Division One and Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler warned his players “to do the business on the day”. On Saturday, Oxford City from the National League South beat Colchester United, who are 56 places above them, 1-0 to reach the second round for only the second time. Boreham Wood provided the other big first-round shock against Blackpool Credit: Harry Murphy/Getty Images The day’s other shock came from Boreham Wood, 10th in the National League, who came back from a goal down to beat 1953 winners Blackpool 2-1 at home with the goals coming from substitutes Blair Turgott, on loan from Stevenage, and Dan Holman. Another non-league side Maidstone, of the National League South, won 4-2 at the League Two side Cheltenham. But Lincoln City, who lost at Arsenal in the quarter-finals last season, lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon.

Sutton and Lincoln crash out of FA Cup as Oxford City and Boreham Wood provide first-round upsets

Last season, it took Arsenal to end Sutton United’s participation in the FA Cup, and a controversy sparked by a hastily eaten meat pie, after a glorious run that saw them reach the fifth round. On Saturday they went out in tamer circumstances in the first, losing 1-0 at 10-man Cambridge United who reached the second round for the fifth consecutive season. There was nothing to compare with the drama of 12 months ago when their great adventure included victories over Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds before the embarrassment of Piegate, which led to a two-month ban from football for reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. His former team-mates know they should probably have done better on Sunday after enjoying a numerical advantage for 50 minutes following the dismissal of George Maris for simulation. The visitors failed to make their advantage pay and conceded on the stroke of half-time when Jabo Ibehre turned home the rebound after Jevani Brown hit the bar. Elsewhere, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, who reached the finals in 2006 and 2010 with West Ham and Liverpool respectively, retain an interest in this year’s competition after Billericay Town drew 1-1 with Leatherhead, a draw that puts the Isthmian Premier League side in the second-round draw for the first time in their history. “It was a great game. I’m proud of my boys, they dug in and I’m pleased to be in the hat,” said Billericay owner-manager Glenn Tamplin. Former winners Charlton Athletic (1947) and Coventry City (1987) are definitely though after seeing off Truro City 3-1 and Maidenhead United 2-0 respectively.  Truro were making their debut in the first round as the first Cornish side there since 1969 but conceded to Ben Reeves after 10 minutes and seldom looked likely to pull off the shock their 996 fans had travelled so far to see. Charlton comfortably saw off Truro Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images Jordan Ponticelli scored both Coventry goals in a straightforward win while elsewhere Swindon Town brushed off National League South side Dartford 5-1 with Timi Elsnik scoring twice. Guiseley were more than happy with their afternoon’s work after holding League Two high-fliers Accrington Stanley to a goalless draw but the other non-league hopefuls Heybridge Swifts and Solihull Moors fell to Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers respectively. The final first-round game on Monday sees League One side Fleetwood Town travel to Chorley, who are in the first round for the first time in 27 years. The teams last met competitively in 2006 in the Northern Premier League Division One and Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler warned his players “to do the business on the day”. On Saturday, Oxford City from the National League South beat Colchester United, who are 56 places above them, 1-0 to reach the second round for only the second time. Boreham Wood provided the other big first-round shock against Blackpool Credit: Harry Murphy/Getty Images The day’s other shock came from Boreham Wood, 10th in the National League, who came back from a goal down to beat 1953 winners Blackpool 2-1 at home with the goals coming from substitutes Blair Turgott, on loan from Stevenage, and Dan Holman. Another non-league side Maidstone, of the National League South, won 4-2 at the League Two side Cheltenham. But Lincoln City, who lost at Arsenal in the quarter-finals last season, lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon.

How to Watch Arsenal vs. Norwich City: Game Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Norwich City travel to Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Arsenal defeated Everton 5-2 over the weekend and sit in fifth place on the league table with five wins in nine matches. The Gunners advanced to the fourth round of the cup after defeating Doncaster Rovers of League One 1-0.

Norwich City defeated Ipswich Town 1-0 on Sunday and are in sixth place in the EFL Championship. The Canaries defeated Swindon Town, Charlton Athletic and Brentford to advance to the fourth round.

Find out how to watch the match below.

How to Watch:

Game Time: Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2:45 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN 3

Live Stream: WatchESPN

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Manchester United 4 Crystal Palace 0: Marouane Fellaini hits brace as rampant United hit four again

Still without a goal, let alone a point, and never looking close to claiming either at Old Trafford, the worrying thing for Crystal Palace is their predicament could get a lot worse before it gets any better. Chelsea are their next opponents, and while the international break might give manager Roy Hodgson some welcome pause for thought, Palace will have no hope against the Premier League champions if they prove as anaemic as they were here against a completely dominant Manchester United. It was boys against men, very large, very hungry ones. Wayne Hennessey might have hoped he would deny Jose Mourinho’s rampant side from running up their sixth four-goal haul in 11 matches when he made an excellent save to frustrate substitute Anthony Martial ten minutes from time. But the Palace goalkeeper’s net was breached for a fourth time soon after when Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku converted Martial’s cross for his 15th goal in 12 matches for club and country this season. It added some extra gloss to the scoreline after two goals from the towering Marouane Fellaini, following Juan Mata’s early opener, which had put United firmly on course for their sixth win in seven league games. For now, Palace will just be thankful they do not have to return to Manchester in the competition again this term, having been thumped 5-0 by City a week earlier, although whether they will be back here next season is hard to say. Yes, Palace were severely weakened, with Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, Scott Dann and Ruben Loftus-Cheek among the absentees, but even with them Hodgson will have his work cut out. “At the moment, we fear we’re the boxer who is fighting in the wrong weight class he is not able to handle,” the Palace manager said. “We are going to take the blows to the chin and get knocked down but I don’t think we stayed on the canvas, I think we tried to get back up. Juan Mata scored early on  Credit: Reuters “These two [United and City] are getting good results against almost everyone they play against so if we can keep the players positive and stop them doubting themselves too much, you never know, we could look back on this terrible patch at the end of the season and say it helped us build the character to stay in the league.” Palace did not even given themselves a chance. With confidence so low, it was imperative they at least got a foothold in the game but all that work on the training ground this week was undone inside two and a half minutes when Mata claimed another early United goal. Palace are not exactly on the small side but they could not live with United’s sheer physicality. Don’t get me wrong, United were the team playing the football, but it must be deflating for rugged opponents such as Palace that they are not just at a serious technical and mental disadvantage here but a physical one, too. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal United’s second and third goals, both scored by Fellaini, derived from excellent balls swung into Palace’s penalty area where a mob of man-mountains were waiting to gorge themselves. But it was the same story at the opposite end of the pitch when United had to defend the odd corner. Lining up to head the ball clear were Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and Phil Jones, imposing figures all. Mamadou Sakho did win one of those duels, heading over from six yards out, but United barely give an inch in those aerial battles. Bullied this side will not be. Marcus Rashford tustles with Joel Ward Credit: Getty images They can play, too. Just ask Joel Ward. The Palace right back was turned inside out by Marcus Rashford in the lead up to United’s opening goal, the England striker skipping away to the left by-line before passing to Mata to score. It looked a long way back for Palace at that moment and so it would prove. Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Paul Pogba’s injury was “long-term” but Fellaini is revelling in the Frenchman’s absence. The Belgian and Matic dominated Palace’s five-man midfield and, behind them, Jones exuded authority and composure in defence. Fellaini celebrates his second Credit: Reuters Fellaini is not always the easiest on the eye but he is very effective. He also likes getting on the end of crosses from Ashley Young, who is starting to make the left back slot his own. Young’s ball for Fellaini’s first goal was a peach, whipping a cross to the far post where Fellaini steered home a controlled volley to make it 2-0. Game over? It most certainly was when United got their third, winning a free-kick on the left edge of Palace’s penalty box. Rashford stepped up and swung in a venomous ball straight on to the head of Fellaini to score. “Marouane is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride and I am really pleased I have helped him to reach this level and change the perception the fans have now,” Mourinho said. “He is a strong character who resisted the difficulties here.” Palace were a lost cause. Bakary Sako had momentarily stung David De Gea’s hands but that was about it. This was a mismatch in every department. 4:58PM More of the same Another 4-0 win for Manchester United, their fourth of the season already and the sixth time they've scored four in a game, and this was every bit as comfortable and easy as the scoreline suggested. Palace, without a win or a goal in six games prior to this, were forced to start without a recognised striker and ended up being swept aside by Jose Mourinho's side without them ever really getting out of third gear. Two for Marouane Fellaini of all people tells its own story, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata slightly more predictable goalscorers, Martial and Lukaku could have made it more convincing still. On this evidence, and with the fixtures coming up, it's hard to see where the form of either of these two teams is going to change any time soon. Easy day at the office.   4:50PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:50PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 4:50PM Full Time Man Utd 4 Palace 0 Everything we thought it might be and more. 4:48PM 90 mins Three minutes of stoppage time seems unnecessarily cruel. 4:48PM 88 mins It's the Palace fans you can hear, but it's United doing all the attacking. They hunt a fifth from a free kick after a foul on Martial but Hennessey catches the delivery at the far stick. 4:44PM GOAL!!!!! MAN UTD 4 Palace 0 There it is. Lukaku gets his goal and covers the spread. The Belgian flicks on an initial long ball then advances into the area to receive the return pass from Martial and side-foot into the net from six yards out with absolutely no Palace player anywhere near him. Lukaku belatedly makes it eight consecutive scoring appearances for club and country. 4:43PM GOAL! A goal from Romelu Lukaku for Man Utd makes the score 4-0. Man Utd 4 - 0 Crystal Palace (Romelu Lukaku, 86 min) 4:40PM 80 mins Martial's turn to go close. Tremendous through ball from Herrera gives Martial a clear sight of goal in the right channel. Credit Wayne Hennessey for a great save. Fellaini is sniffing a hat trick as the corner drops his way but Palace muscle up and survive. 4:36PM 77 mins A foul by Fellaini gives Townsend a chance to send a cross-shot right the way through the six-yard-box and wide with de Gea covering it comfortably enough. 4:34PM 75 mins Mata, excellent first half, quiet second, heading for the baths. Ander Herrera on his way to join us. 4:34PM 74 mins Swing and a miss One of Palace's subs, Riedewald, just found the ball flying right at him in the centre of the Unied penalty box but his attempted first time volley - completely fluffed - rather betrays a centre back playing in midfield. 4:33PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:33PM 73 mins Sako's long, tiring, thankless, fruitless afternoon is over. Here come's Margate's Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Four goals in ten starts and five sub appearances on loan at Shrewsbury, three goals in 15 starts and three sub appearances in a similar stint at Oldham last season. 4:30PM 71 mins Martial immediately going at Ward, who's suffered enough this afternoon, and crosses for Lukaku but Delaney gets there before him. 4:30PM 70 mins Not quite sure how it's not 4-0 but it's not. Lingard fouled on the edge of the box but Dean plays a great advantage for Lukaku to run clear in the area, sit Hennessey down and then very surprisingly side-foot wide of the post with the goal gaping. Rashford is replaced by Martial, whose arrival was delayed while he took all his jewelry off. Killing various fantasy teams this afternoon.   4:28PM It's been a mismatch at Old Trafford so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to six from Crystal Palace so far. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 4:28PM 69 mins Palace chance United seem to have but the cue on the rack, though they are about to bring on Martial. Ward crosses for Sako to hit a first time volley over. 4:26PM 67 mins Cabaye lashes one over from 25 yards. Here comes James McArthur for Jeffrey Schlupp. That'll do it. Puncheon also going off, Riedewald (a centre half) coming on. 4:24PM 65 mins Mkhitaryan off Mkhitaryan going off for Lingard. He's been pretty anonymous here against limited opposition. Personally think it's a shame Lingard doesn't get more game time but he's got 25 minutes to fill his boots here. 4:23PM 63 mins Rashford injury A trailing arm from Sakho as he goes down in the tackle catches Rashford in his gentleman's area. Palace have a corner in more remarkable news. Caption competition. 4:21PM 62 mins Delaney robbed by Lukaku, tries to set up Rashford, Delaney gets back and recovers. 4:20PM 59 mins A quite bizarre passage of play here with Sako receiving the ball on the corner of the penalty box, stopping, looking up for a target to cross to only to realise it's meant to be him, and then just sort of standing there while first van Aarnholt, then Townsend, try and make space and United just sort of stand and watch him. Eventually, after what seemed like an age, United win the ball back. Hodgson is readying 24-year-old Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Career to date: East Thurrock (the best of all the Thurrocks), Colchester, Woking, Nuneaton, Kidderminster, Margate, Oldham and Shrewsbury. 4:17PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:14PM 55 mins Goodness I thought Palace were going to score there. Well, not really, but still Schlupp tries a diving header from 12 yards out, dead centre, from a Sako cross but it's nowhere near. 4:09PM 50 mins Roy Hodgson watch - he's now slumped in the front row of the dug out, peering over the top of the wall, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head.  4:08PM 49 mins Schlupp optimistically appeals for a penalty under minimal contact from Smalling at the Stretford End. Plan D? 4:06PM GOAL!!! MAN UTD 3 Palace 0 Oh Palace. The most inevitable goal in the history of football. Only a brave block from Ward stops a defensive calamity leading to a goal for Rashford but with the back line still absolutely all over the show a free kick is conceded and Fellaini gets his second of the game, heading home Rashford's set piece unmarked. Great delivery, but you'll never see an easier goal scored. Simple as that. 4:06PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has put Man Utd into a commanding 3-0 lead. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 49 min) 4:04PM 46 mins  Meet the second half, same as the first half. Rashford straight away toasting Ward for pace as he's done all afternoon and crossing for Lukaku but his shot is deflected behind for a corner. That's cleared. 4:02PM Second half Palace jogging back out now. Man Utd ambling behind them. Second half about to begin. 4:00PM Failure to prepare Mike Dean, giving his penalty awarding finger a stretch just in case. 3:59PM Bleaker Honestly, it's difficult to see exactly where this is going to end for Palace. Where the win is coming from. Where the goal is coming from. Where hope is coming from. It's not just an unusually cruel run of fixtures that has them against Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea at exactly the wrong time. With Benteke injured medium term, you just don't know how they're even going to trouble the league's lesser lights. I can't fault Sako's first half efforts as a lone striker here, he's a game boy, but it's not his position, and Ray Lewington is on the touchline talking him through the game play by play, telling him where to go, where to stand and what to do like he's got him under remote control. I usually cover myself after musings like this by saying "probably win 3-2 now I've said that" but, seriously, at the moment, they're more likely to fly to the moon on the team bus. Had better days. 3:50PM Half Time Man Utd 2 Palace 0 Only another 45 minutes to endure for those of a South London persuasion. Palace have had their moments, even forcing a sort-of save from an opposing goalkeeper when Sako 'tested' de Gea at his near post, but they're now without a league goal in six and a half games this season and well on their way to a seventh straight defeat. Mata, who has been sublime, scored after two minutes with the equally brilliant Rashford claiming an assist. You'll struggle to find a better cross than Ashley Young's for the second goal, scored during Palace's best spell in the game by Fellaini from close range. Drinks now while we discuss when United might declare and put the tourists into bat. Shelling peas. 3:47PM 45 mins Marouane Fellaini doing ball juggling tricks in open play is probably as good a place as any to call it a day and in a minute's time we'll be doing exactly that. 3:47PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:46PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 3:45PM 42 mins Rashford strikes the post United swarming all over Palace now. Rashford is the spare man at the back post as Lukaku moves Mata's cross on one more. He takes a touch, time enough to do a decent oil painting of the chance, drives it near post and strikes the metalwork.  3:43PM 40 mins Rashford and Mata particularly enjoying this, both having excellent games. Palace's attempts to play out form the back end up with Andros Townsend passing the ball straight out behind the goal for a corner. Smalling powers a back post header wide from the resulting delivery. Rashford running the show. 3:40PM 37 mins It looks like Juan Mata is about to go clean through on goal before Lukaku inadvertently flicks the pass out of the path of his team mate. 3:36PM GOAL!!!! MAN UTD 2 Palace 0 Well that'll learn me. United deliver a sucker punch just as their visitors seem to be getting a foothold in the game. A move which involved a cheeky pass off the top of his shoulder by Marcus Rashford ends with a goal for Marouane Fellaini, volleying in Ashley Young's brilliant cross at the back post. A sizzling three-yarder. 3:35PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 2-0. Man Utd 2 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 35 min) 3:34PM 31 mins Palace shot Actual shot. Sako, 15 yards out, difficult angle, de Gea beats the ball away at the near post. Unlikely to score from there but the Eagles are steadily working their way back into this. They've had much the better of the last five minutes or so. 3:33PM 30 mins Good work from Andros Townsend down the right wins another corner with a back post cross that Valencia heads behind. Good spell for Palace this, can they make this set piece count? No. Fellaini, unchallenged, bullets the Cabaye cross away. 3:31PM 28 mins Sako hasn't started any of Palace's last 47 league games but he's a game runner and he's worried another corner out of Smalling here. Given the balance of play, they have to make these set pieces count, but again Cabaye's delivery is headed away and then Sako is offside as it comes back in. Waste. 3:31PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:30PM 27 mins  Jason Puncheon, four yellows already this season, penalised for deliberate handball wide on the left touchline. Mata to take the free kick... Hennessey claims pretty easily. 3:28PM 24 mins Palace attack Best moment of the game so far for the visitors. Matic gets caught in possession, play is worked up to Sako on the edge of the area who tried to play Cabaye through, but it's cleared behind for a corner. That's headed straight back behind so they'll get a second go from the other side... Smalling heads away. 3:26PM 23 mins Roy has wibbled his way down to the touchline himself, surveying the situation finger to his lips. United not overly impressed with Damien Delaney's aggressive handling of Fellaini under their corners, but nothing doing from Mike Dean at the moment. Plan C? 3:24PM 21 mins Bit of a slack pass out from the back looking for Valencia is, briefly, gloriously, intercepted by Schlupp on the halfway line. Valencia, however, wins it straight back and United come forward again, winning a corner off a slack touch by Andros Townsend. Townsend gets a receipt with that one. 3:20PM 15 mins The basic pattern of this game is very much like an ice hockey power play situation. Palace are very deep, and very narrow. United are setting up with width and numbers all around the penalty box and working the ball and players in all directions looking for an opening. Palace cannot get out, and in the brief, fleeting moments they do have the ball it's punted up to Sako, who's completely isolated, and not a striker, and not looking much of a bet as a point man in this game. Ray Lewington, Palace's assistant manager, couldn't be any closer to the action without being on the pitch and his barked instructions are all you can hear over a typically subdued Old Trafford atmosphere. Cue Palace equaliser... I'll claim an assist. Plan B? 3:16PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far. Man Utd have had 170 touches of the ball compared to 80 by Crystal Palace. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:15PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:13PM 11 mins A nervous moment for David de Gea who is hurried into a rushed clearance by Sako, the ball goes straight to Puncheon but his cross is cut out. 3:12PM 10 mins Flowing move from United, sweeping right through the middle of Palace, Matic shoots over. Rashford is giving Ward a torrid time down the Palace right in these early stages. 3:11PM 8 mins Half a penalty appeal Fellaini hits the deck in a crowded penalty area but our referee this afternoon says no. Safe to say if penalty enthusiast Mike Dean doesn't think it's a spot kick it almost certainly isn't. United attack again immediately, Rashford seeing a cross cut out at the near post this time. 3:09PM 7 mins Palace chance Set pieces could offer one way back into this - United struggled with Stoke's dead balls earlier this month. Joel Ward overlapping down the right wing is fouled, Cabaye swings over the free kick, Sakho up from the back heads over. Decent chance. 3:07PM Crystal Palace have their first sight of goal Crystal Palace respond to the earlier Man Utd effort with their first shot of the game. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 3:07PM 5 mins Difficult to really know what the Palace plan is now. United continuing to dominate the ball, already 1-0 up, visitors struggling to get a foot on the ball at all. As Townsend does win the ball back briefly, Ashley Young snaps in and takes it back off him. 3:05PM GOAL! MAN UTD 1 Palace 0 Took two minutes. Rashford skinning his man wide on the left, cut it back looking for Lukaku but it's actually Juan Mata stealing in behind him to slam in the first goal of the afternoon. Juan Mata opens the scoring after two minutes. 3:03PM 2 mins Man Utd enjoying all of the early possession, Palace do almost free Puncheon into the left channel with their first attack. 3:03PM GOAL! 1-0! Juan Mata strikes to give Man Utd the early lead. Man Utd 1 - 0 Crystal Palace (Juan Mata, 3 min) 3:00PM 15.00 Teams out Usual round of hand shakes before they all start trying to con penalties and free kicks out of each other and then we'll be underway.  2:47PM Kick off approaching Crawling towards our 15.00 start time. Players out there warming up.  Bets of luck lads. Romelu Lukaku going through his paces/the motions. 2:34PM Bleak Roy Hodgson is 70 years old. You really have to wonder whether he needs to be doing this to himself. Six defeats from six games, Man Utd away today, Chelsea the other side of the international break, only striker injured... The former England manager has walked into a club that has suffered from muddled thinking, failure to learn from previous mistakes, and perhaps a deal of arrogance as well. Much was made of Alan Pards Pardew's more attractive, expansive style of play (Newcastle fans must have missed that one) when he was brought in after the more pragmatic approach of Tony Pulis had kept Palace up against the odds. When that started to fail, there was all the usual talk of "back to basics" when Big Sam Allardicci was summoned to rescue the situation. All fine. Except they then went for Frank De Boer and starting giving it the old "attractive, expansive style" chat again. And having done so, they then deemed four matches sufficient time for De Boer to turn a Sam Allardyce team into a Dutch-style, total footballing, passing machine.  I mean, when you go back through the Palace managers of the last 30 years there are 24 permanent ones, 22 Englishmen and two Scots (one very brief ill-fated spell for Atillo Lombardo not included), two Neil Warnocks, four Steve Coppells, two Alan Smiths, Dave Bassett, Iain Dowie, Allardyce, Pulis, Ian Holloway... It really is impossible to believe that De Boer wasn't able to get them playing like Ajax inside three months. This is already looking like a long old season. Selection headache. 2:22PM No rest for Lukaku, well not this week... Much of United's early season dominance has been based on the form of Romelu Lukaku who has 14 goals in 11 appearances for club and country already since a £75m move from Everton in the summer.  Only Leicester have kept the Belgian scoreless so far this season but with Paul Pogba out until November, Marcus Rashford covering elsewhere and a return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic still some way off there's been no temptation for Mourinho to rest his main hitman. There is, however, a chance for Belgium to leave him out of their forthcoming qualifiers given that they've already booked their place in Russia next summer. Not that Mourinho would lean on Roberto Martinez to do that at all, of course. “Look, without Zlatan, we cannot rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions. So until the moment we have Zlatan we cannot think about giving rest to our No 9, the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that. Belgium is Roberto’s responsibility and it’s his decision to play him or not to play him. I cannot, professionally speaking, say, ‘Do this or do that’.” But, you know, do that if you want. Got this. 2:07PM Palace team Crystal Palace have responded to this afternoon's challenge, and the injury to Christian Benteke, and the failure to land the mighty Carlton Cole on a short-term deal, by collecting up all the wingers the club has fielded over the past five seasons and picking them all at once in the same team. Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Sakho, Delaney, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, Cabaye; Schlupp, Puncheon, Townsend; Sako. Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Riedewald, McArthur, Mutch, Lee, Ladapo. 2:04PM Martial on the bench Manchester United will line up like this. Palace fans look away now... Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Fellaini; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Darmian, Herrera, Lingard, Martial Anthony Martial, ready for a big afternoon of sitting down. 1:53PM Hello, good afternoon, and welcome... ...to our live coverage of Manchester United's exciting 4-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace. Both these teams have been in ominous form this season. United have five wins and a draw from their six matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two. They've won 4-0 on three occasions and 4-1 twice in all competitions already and come into this game on the back of five straight wins: 3-0, 4-0, 4-1, 1-0, 4-1. Palace, meanwhile, will soon be troubling Premier League records set by 1993/94 Swindon Town, 2012/13 Queens Park Rangers, and about half a dozen Sunderland teams. They are played six, lost six, scored non, conceded 13 in the league and are back in Manchester just seven days after a 5-0 walloping at City. You can get 18s on them winning here and, frankly, if they do, I'll give you the money myself. We'll have team news for you around 14.00. 1:36PM Preview What is it? It's another Premier League game between Jose Mourinho's Manchester United and Roy Hodgson's (this really happened) Crystal Palace. Second vs bottom!  When is it? The game takes place on Saturday the 30th September at Old Trafford. What time is kick-off? An unusually traditional 3pm for Man Utd. What TV channel is it on? Nowhere in the UK unfortunately, what with it being a 3pm kick-off, but various broadcasters around the world will be showing it in venues and on screens away from these shores. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in United's 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday Credit: REUTERS What is the team news, who is injured and suspended? Man Utd's injury list got a little bit longer in their midweek win over CSKA Moscow as Anthony Martial was taken off with a slight thigh injury. He is a doubt for the visit of the Eagles (not the band) and joins Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones as a likely absentee.  Antonio Valencia didn't travel to Russia with the rest of the squad but should return for this match. This all means that the most likely lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Marcus Rashford taking Anthony Martial's left-forward role after picking up that knock in Moscow. Ander Herrera will probably start alongside Nemanja Matic, while Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Romelu Lukaku in attack.  Mourinho must decide who plays at left-back and can choose from either Daley Blind or Ashley  Young, who came off early in the midweek game, which might indicate that he is first choice. Man Utd XI vs Crystal Palace Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham are all injured for Palace while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a doubt. Timothy Fosu-Mensah isn't allowed to play because he's on loan for United. Hodgson has a dilemma on his hands as Palace might go into this game without a recognised striker - they've genuinely been linked with Carlton Cole as a potential short-term option. Imagine you were a youth team striker at Palace and heard they were going to sign Carlton Cole instead of giving you a chance? Livid. Anyway, they don't have any strikers. Crystal Palace XI vs Man Utd What are they saying? Jose Mourinho speaking after the 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow: Jose Mourinho applauds fans after victory in Russia  Credit: EPA “[Romelu Lukaku is] having a great record. We know that he’s a very good player, he can score lots of goals and playing in a team surrounded by quality players, [it is] even easier to do that. But I have to admit that he’s scoring really important goals and almost every game. For me, the important thing is not [how much he cost] but the important thing is two matches, six points and a good position in the Champions League. Four more matches to play but we start really strongly and we are almost there.” “I didn’t see that [PlayStation football] as much, just a little bit of relaxation, a reaction by the home team with the normal pride to try to score, to try to have a different result and we just relaxed a little bit. We had a couple of good chances but I think it’s normal. We have a game on Saturday. Liverpool are luckier than us, they play Tuesday and Sunday, we have to play on Wednesday and on Saturday at 3pm. So I think it’s normal, a little bit of relaxation.” Roy Hodgson: Hodgson is yet to conduct his pre-match interview but told Sky Sports upon news of his appointment that he was looking for passion from his players: "What I always look for in every game is character, I am looking for desire and people who share your passion and enthusiasm," he said.  "You are also looking for people who at least give the impression they are trying to do what the team wants them to do. "At the moment, I think we have a lot of work to do for me to feel fully confident that every player fully understands with his role what I am looking for and what I would like him to do. "I want to see a team that shows the fans that they really care." What does the table look like?  What are the odds? Man Utd to win 1/6 Crystal Palace to win 14/1 Draw 6/1 Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What's our prediction? Crystal Palace have been woeful so far, are missing key players and there's no way Man Utd will take their foot off the gas at Old Trafford. After some tough defending by Hodgson's team, they'll concede a silly header from a set piece late in the first half and go on to lose by a few more. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 4 Crystal Palace 0: Marouane Fellaini hits brace as rampant United hit four again

Still without a goal, let alone a point, and never looking close to claiming either at Old Trafford, the worrying thing for Crystal Palace is their predicament could get a lot worse before it gets any better. Chelsea are their next opponents, and while the international break might give manager Roy Hodgson some welcome pause for thought, Palace will have no hope against the Premier League champions if they prove as anaemic as they were here against a completely dominant Manchester United. It was boys against men, very large, very hungry ones. Wayne Hennessey might have hoped he would deny Jose Mourinho’s rampant side from running up their sixth four-goal haul in 11 matches when he made an excellent save to frustrate substitute Anthony Martial ten minutes from time. But the Palace goalkeeper’s net was breached for a fourth time soon after when Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku converted Martial’s cross for his 15th goal in 12 matches for club and country this season. It added some extra gloss to the scoreline after two goals from the towering Marouane Fellaini, following Juan Mata’s early opener, which had put United firmly on course for their sixth win in seven league games. For now, Palace will just be thankful they do not have to return to Manchester in the competition again this term, having been thumped 5-0 by City a week earlier, although whether they will be back here next season is hard to say. Yes, Palace were severely weakened, with Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, Scott Dann and Ruben Loftus-Cheek among the absentees, but even with them Hodgson will have his work cut out. “At the moment, we fear we’re the boxer who is fighting in the wrong weight class he is not able to handle,” the Palace manager said. “We are going to take the blows to the chin and get knocked down but I don’t think we stayed on the canvas, I think we tried to get back up. Juan Mata scored early on  Credit: Reuters “These two [United and City] are getting good results against almost everyone they play against so if we can keep the players positive and stop them doubting themselves too much, you never know, we could look back on this terrible patch at the end of the season and say it helped us build the character to stay in the league.” Palace did not even given themselves a chance. With confidence so low, it was imperative they at least got a foothold in the game but all that work on the training ground this week was undone inside two and a half minutes when Mata claimed another early United goal. Palace are not exactly on the small side but they could not live with United’s sheer physicality. Don’t get me wrong, United were the team playing the football, but it must be deflating for rugged opponents such as Palace that they are not just at a serious technical and mental disadvantage here but a physical one, too. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal United’s second and third goals, both scored by Fellaini, derived from excellent balls swung into Palace’s penalty area where a mob of man-mountains were waiting to gorge themselves. But it was the same story at the opposite end of the pitch when United had to defend the odd corner. Lining up to head the ball clear were Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and Phil Jones, imposing figures all. Mamadou Sakho did win one of those duels, heading over from six yards out, but United barely give an inch in those aerial battles. Bullied this side will not be. Marcus Rashford tustles with Joel Ward Credit: Getty images They can play, too. Just ask Joel Ward. The Palace right back was turned inside out by Marcus Rashford in the lead up to United’s opening goal, the England striker skipping away to the left by-line before passing to Mata to score. It looked a long way back for Palace at that moment and so it would prove. Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Paul Pogba’s injury was “long-term” but Fellaini is revelling in the Frenchman’s absence. The Belgian and Matic dominated Palace’s five-man midfield and, behind them, Jones exuded authority and composure in defence. Fellaini celebrates his second Credit: Reuters Fellaini is not always the easiest on the eye but he is very effective. He also likes getting on the end of crosses from Ashley Young, who is starting to make the left back slot his own. Young’s ball for Fellaini’s first goal was a peach, whipping a cross to the far post where Fellaini steered home a controlled volley to make it 2-0. Game over? It most certainly was when United got their third, winning a free-kick on the left edge of Palace’s penalty box. Rashford stepped up and swung in a venomous ball straight on to the head of Fellaini to score. “Marouane is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride and I am really pleased I have helped him to reach this level and change the perception the fans have now,” Mourinho said. “He is a strong character who resisted the difficulties here.” Palace were a lost cause. Bakary Sako had momentarily stung David De Gea’s hands but that was about it. This was a mismatch in every department. 4:58PM More of the same Another 4-0 win for Manchester United, their fourth of the season already and the sixth time they've scored four in a game, and this was every bit as comfortable and easy as the scoreline suggested. Palace, without a win or a goal in six games prior to this, were forced to start without a recognised striker and ended up being swept aside by Jose Mourinho's side without them ever really getting out of third gear. Two for Marouane Fellaini of all people tells its own story, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata slightly more predictable goalscorers, Martial and Lukaku could have made it more convincing still. On this evidence, and with the fixtures coming up, it's hard to see where the form of either of these two teams is going to change any time soon. Easy day at the office.   4:50PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:50PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 4:50PM Full Time Man Utd 4 Palace 0 Everything we thought it might be and more. 4:48PM 90 mins Three minutes of stoppage time seems unnecessarily cruel. 4:48PM 88 mins It's the Palace fans you can hear, but it's United doing all the attacking. They hunt a fifth from a free kick after a foul on Martial but Hennessey catches the delivery at the far stick. 4:44PM GOAL!!!!! MAN UTD 4 Palace 0 There it is. Lukaku gets his goal and covers the spread. The Belgian flicks on an initial long ball then advances into the area to receive the return pass from Martial and side-foot into the net from six yards out with absolutely no Palace player anywhere near him. Lukaku belatedly makes it eight consecutive scoring appearances for club and country. 4:43PM GOAL! A goal from Romelu Lukaku for Man Utd makes the score 4-0. Man Utd 4 - 0 Crystal Palace (Romelu Lukaku, 86 min) 4:40PM 80 mins Martial's turn to go close. Tremendous through ball from Herrera gives Martial a clear sight of goal in the right channel. Credit Wayne Hennessey for a great save. Fellaini is sniffing a hat trick as the corner drops his way but Palace muscle up and survive. 4:36PM 77 mins A foul by Fellaini gives Townsend a chance to send a cross-shot right the way through the six-yard-box and wide with de Gea covering it comfortably enough. 4:34PM 75 mins Mata, excellent first half, quiet second, heading for the baths. Ander Herrera on his way to join us. 4:34PM 74 mins Swing and a miss One of Palace's subs, Riedewald, just found the ball flying right at him in the centre of the Unied penalty box but his attempted first time volley - completely fluffed - rather betrays a centre back playing in midfield. 4:33PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:33PM 73 mins Sako's long, tiring, thankless, fruitless afternoon is over. Here come's Margate's Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Four goals in ten starts and five sub appearances on loan at Shrewsbury, three goals in 15 starts and three sub appearances in a similar stint at Oldham last season. 4:30PM 71 mins Martial immediately going at Ward, who's suffered enough this afternoon, and crosses for Lukaku but Delaney gets there before him. 4:30PM 70 mins Not quite sure how it's not 4-0 but it's not. Lingard fouled on the edge of the box but Dean plays a great advantage for Lukaku to run clear in the area, sit Hennessey down and then very surprisingly side-foot wide of the post with the goal gaping. Rashford is replaced by Martial, whose arrival was delayed while he took all his jewelry off. Killing various fantasy teams this afternoon.   4:28PM It's been a mismatch at Old Trafford so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to six from Crystal Palace so far. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 4:28PM 69 mins Palace chance United seem to have but the cue on the rack, though they are about to bring on Martial. Ward crosses for Sako to hit a first time volley over. 4:26PM 67 mins Cabaye lashes one over from 25 yards. Here comes James McArthur for Jeffrey Schlupp. That'll do it. Puncheon also going off, Riedewald (a centre half) coming on. 4:24PM 65 mins Mkhitaryan off Mkhitaryan going off for Lingard. He's been pretty anonymous here against limited opposition. Personally think it's a shame Lingard doesn't get more game time but he's got 25 minutes to fill his boots here. 4:23PM 63 mins Rashford injury A trailing arm from Sakho as he goes down in the tackle catches Rashford in his gentleman's area. Palace have a corner in more remarkable news. Caption competition. 4:21PM 62 mins Delaney robbed by Lukaku, tries to set up Rashford, Delaney gets back and recovers. 4:20PM 59 mins A quite bizarre passage of play here with Sako receiving the ball on the corner of the penalty box, stopping, looking up for a target to cross to only to realise it's meant to be him, and then just sort of standing there while first van Aarnholt, then Townsend, try and make space and United just sort of stand and watch him. Eventually, after what seemed like an age, United win the ball back. Hodgson is readying 24-year-old Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Career to date: East Thurrock (the best of all the Thurrocks), Colchester, Woking, Nuneaton, Kidderminster, Margate, Oldham and Shrewsbury. 4:17PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:14PM 55 mins Goodness I thought Palace were going to score there. Well, not really, but still Schlupp tries a diving header from 12 yards out, dead centre, from a Sako cross but it's nowhere near. 4:09PM 50 mins Roy Hodgson watch - he's now slumped in the front row of the dug out, peering over the top of the wall, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head.  4:08PM 49 mins Schlupp optimistically appeals for a penalty under minimal contact from Smalling at the Stretford End. Plan D? 4:06PM GOAL!!! MAN UTD 3 Palace 0 Oh Palace. The most inevitable goal in the history of football. Only a brave block from Ward stops a defensive calamity leading to a goal for Rashford but with the back line still absolutely all over the show a free kick is conceded and Fellaini gets his second of the game, heading home Rashford's set piece unmarked. Great delivery, but you'll never see an easier goal scored. Simple as that. 4:06PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has put Man Utd into a commanding 3-0 lead. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 49 min) 4:04PM 46 mins  Meet the second half, same as the first half. Rashford straight away toasting Ward for pace as he's done all afternoon and crossing for Lukaku but his shot is deflected behind for a corner. That's cleared. 4:02PM Second half Palace jogging back out now. Man Utd ambling behind them. Second half about to begin. 4:00PM Failure to prepare Mike Dean, giving his penalty awarding finger a stretch just in case. 3:59PM Bleaker Honestly, it's difficult to see exactly where this is going to end for Palace. Where the win is coming from. Where the goal is coming from. Where hope is coming from. It's not just an unusually cruel run of fixtures that has them against Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea at exactly the wrong time. With Benteke injured medium term, you just don't know how they're even going to trouble the league's lesser lights. I can't fault Sako's first half efforts as a lone striker here, he's a game boy, but it's not his position, and Ray Lewington is on the touchline talking him through the game play by play, telling him where to go, where to stand and what to do like he's got him under remote control. I usually cover myself after musings like this by saying "probably win 3-2 now I've said that" but, seriously, at the moment, they're more likely to fly to the moon on the team bus. Had better days. 3:50PM Half Time Man Utd 2 Palace 0 Only another 45 minutes to endure for those of a South London persuasion. Palace have had their moments, even forcing a sort-of save from an opposing goalkeeper when Sako 'tested' de Gea at his near post, but they're now without a league goal in six and a half games this season and well on their way to a seventh straight defeat. Mata, who has been sublime, scored after two minutes with the equally brilliant Rashford claiming an assist. You'll struggle to find a better cross than Ashley Young's for the second goal, scored during Palace's best spell in the game by Fellaini from close range. Drinks now while we discuss when United might declare and put the tourists into bat. Shelling peas. 3:47PM 45 mins Marouane Fellaini doing ball juggling tricks in open play is probably as good a place as any to call it a day and in a minute's time we'll be doing exactly that. 3:47PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:46PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 3:45PM 42 mins Rashford strikes the post United swarming all over Palace now. Rashford is the spare man at the back post as Lukaku moves Mata's cross on one more. He takes a touch, time enough to do a decent oil painting of the chance, drives it near post and strikes the metalwork.  3:43PM 40 mins Rashford and Mata particularly enjoying this, both having excellent games. Palace's attempts to play out form the back end up with Andros Townsend passing the ball straight out behind the goal for a corner. Smalling powers a back post header wide from the resulting delivery. Rashford running the show. 3:40PM 37 mins It looks like Juan Mata is about to go clean through on goal before Lukaku inadvertently flicks the pass out of the path of his team mate. 3:36PM GOAL!!!! MAN UTD 2 Palace 0 Well that'll learn me. United deliver a sucker punch just as their visitors seem to be getting a foothold in the game. A move which involved a cheeky pass off the top of his shoulder by Marcus Rashford ends with a goal for Marouane Fellaini, volleying in Ashley Young's brilliant cross at the back post. A sizzling three-yarder. 3:35PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 2-0. Man Utd 2 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 35 min) 3:34PM 31 mins Palace shot Actual shot. Sako, 15 yards out, difficult angle, de Gea beats the ball away at the near post. Unlikely to score from there but the Eagles are steadily working their way back into this. They've had much the better of the last five minutes or so. 3:33PM 30 mins Good work from Andros Townsend down the right wins another corner with a back post cross that Valencia heads behind. Good spell for Palace this, can they make this set piece count? No. Fellaini, unchallenged, bullets the Cabaye cross away. 3:31PM 28 mins Sako hasn't started any of Palace's last 47 league games but he's a game runner and he's worried another corner out of Smalling here. Given the balance of play, they have to make these set pieces count, but again Cabaye's delivery is headed away and then Sako is offside as it comes back in. Waste. 3:31PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:30PM 27 mins  Jason Puncheon, four yellows already this season, penalised for deliberate handball wide on the left touchline. Mata to take the free kick... Hennessey claims pretty easily. 3:28PM 24 mins Palace attack Best moment of the game so far for the visitors. Matic gets caught in possession, play is worked up to Sako on the edge of the area who tried to play Cabaye through, but it's cleared behind for a corner. That's headed straight back behind so they'll get a second go from the other side... Smalling heads away. 3:26PM 23 mins Roy has wibbled his way down to the touchline himself, surveying the situation finger to his lips. United not overly impressed with Damien Delaney's aggressive handling of Fellaini under their corners, but nothing doing from Mike Dean at the moment. Plan C? 3:24PM 21 mins Bit of a slack pass out from the back looking for Valencia is, briefly, gloriously, intercepted by Schlupp on the halfway line. Valencia, however, wins it straight back and United come forward again, winning a corner off a slack touch by Andros Townsend. Townsend gets a receipt with that one. 3:20PM 15 mins The basic pattern of this game is very much like an ice hockey power play situation. Palace are very deep, and very narrow. United are setting up with width and numbers all around the penalty box and working the ball and players in all directions looking for an opening. Palace cannot get out, and in the brief, fleeting moments they do have the ball it's punted up to Sako, who's completely isolated, and not a striker, and not looking much of a bet as a point man in this game. Ray Lewington, Palace's assistant manager, couldn't be any closer to the action without being on the pitch and his barked instructions are all you can hear over a typically subdued Old Trafford atmosphere. Cue Palace equaliser... I'll claim an assist. Plan B? 3:16PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far. Man Utd have had 170 touches of the ball compared to 80 by Crystal Palace. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:15PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:13PM 11 mins A nervous moment for David de Gea who is hurried into a rushed clearance by Sako, the ball goes straight to Puncheon but his cross is cut out. 3:12PM 10 mins Flowing move from United, sweeping right through the middle of Palace, Matic shoots over. Rashford is giving Ward a torrid time down the Palace right in these early stages. 3:11PM 8 mins Half a penalty appeal Fellaini hits the deck in a crowded penalty area but our referee this afternoon says no. Safe to say if penalty enthusiast Mike Dean doesn't think it's a spot kick it almost certainly isn't. United attack again immediately, Rashford seeing a cross cut out at the near post this time. 3:09PM 7 mins Palace chance Set pieces could offer one way back into this - United struggled with Stoke's dead balls earlier this month. Joel Ward overlapping down the right wing is fouled, Cabaye swings over the free kick, Sakho up from the back heads over. Decent chance. 3:07PM Crystal Palace have their first sight of goal Crystal Palace respond to the earlier Man Utd effort with their first shot of the game. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 3:07PM 5 mins Difficult to really know what the Palace plan is now. United continuing to dominate the ball, already 1-0 up, visitors struggling to get a foot on the ball at all. As Townsend does win the ball back briefly, Ashley Young snaps in and takes it back off him. 3:05PM GOAL! MAN UTD 1 Palace 0 Took two minutes. Rashford skinning his man wide on the left, cut it back looking for Lukaku but it's actually Juan Mata stealing in behind him to slam in the first goal of the afternoon. Juan Mata opens the scoring after two minutes. 3:03PM 2 mins Man Utd enjoying all of the early possession, Palace do almost free Puncheon into the left channel with their first attack. 3:03PM GOAL! 1-0! Juan Mata strikes to give Man Utd the early lead. Man Utd 1 - 0 Crystal Palace (Juan Mata, 3 min) 3:00PM 15.00 Teams out Usual round of hand shakes before they all start trying to con penalties and free kicks out of each other and then we'll be underway.  2:47PM Kick off approaching Crawling towards our 15.00 start time. Players out there warming up.  Bets of luck lads. Romelu Lukaku going through his paces/the motions. 2:34PM Bleak Roy Hodgson is 70 years old. You really have to wonder whether he needs to be doing this to himself. Six defeats from six games, Man Utd away today, Chelsea the other side of the international break, only striker injured... The former England manager has walked into a club that has suffered from muddled thinking, failure to learn from previous mistakes, and perhaps a deal of arrogance as well. Much was made of Alan Pards Pardew's more attractive, expansive style of play (Newcastle fans must have missed that one) when he was brought in after the more pragmatic approach of Tony Pulis had kept Palace up against the odds. When that started to fail, there was all the usual talk of "back to basics" when Big Sam Allardicci was summoned to rescue the situation. All fine. Except they then went for Frank De Boer and starting giving it the old "attractive, expansive style" chat again. And having done so, they then deemed four matches sufficient time for De Boer to turn a Sam Allardyce team into a Dutch-style, total footballing, passing machine.  I mean, when you go back through the Palace managers of the last 30 years there are 24 permanent ones, 22 Englishmen and two Scots (one very brief ill-fated spell for Atillo Lombardo not included), two Neil Warnocks, four Steve Coppells, two Alan Smiths, Dave Bassett, Iain Dowie, Allardyce, Pulis, Ian Holloway... It really is impossible to believe that De Boer wasn't able to get them playing like Ajax inside three months. This is already looking like a long old season. Selection headache. 2:22PM No rest for Lukaku, well not this week... Much of United's early season dominance has been based on the form of Romelu Lukaku who has 14 goals in 11 appearances for club and country already since a £75m move from Everton in the summer.  Only Leicester have kept the Belgian scoreless so far this season but with Paul Pogba out until November, Marcus Rashford covering elsewhere and a return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic still some way off there's been no temptation for Mourinho to rest his main hitman. There is, however, a chance for Belgium to leave him out of their forthcoming qualifiers given that they've already booked their place in Russia next summer. Not that Mourinho would lean on Roberto Martinez to do that at all, of course. “Look, without Zlatan, we cannot rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions. So until the moment we have Zlatan we cannot think about giving rest to our No 9, the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that. Belgium is Roberto’s responsibility and it’s his decision to play him or not to play him. I cannot, professionally speaking, say, ‘Do this or do that’.” But, you know, do that if you want. Got this. 2:07PM Palace team Crystal Palace have responded to this afternoon's challenge, and the injury to Christian Benteke, and the failure to land the mighty Carlton Cole on a short-term deal, by collecting up all the wingers the club has fielded over the past five seasons and picking them all at once in the same team. Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Sakho, Delaney, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, Cabaye; Schlupp, Puncheon, Townsend; Sako. Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Riedewald, McArthur, Mutch, Lee, Ladapo. 2:04PM Martial on the bench Manchester United will line up like this. Palace fans look away now... Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Fellaini; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Darmian, Herrera, Lingard, Martial Anthony Martial, ready for a big afternoon of sitting down. 1:53PM Hello, good afternoon, and welcome... ...to our live coverage of Manchester United's exciting 4-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace. Both these teams have been in ominous form this season. United have five wins and a draw from their six matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two. They've won 4-0 on three occasions and 4-1 twice in all competitions already and come into this game on the back of five straight wins: 3-0, 4-0, 4-1, 1-0, 4-1. Palace, meanwhile, will soon be troubling Premier League records set by 1993/94 Swindon Town, 2012/13 Queens Park Rangers, and about half a dozen Sunderland teams. They are played six, lost six, scored non, conceded 13 in the league and are back in Manchester just seven days after a 5-0 walloping at City. You can get 18s on them winning here and, frankly, if they do, I'll give you the money myself. We'll have team news for you around 14.00. 1:36PM Preview What is it? It's another Premier League game between Jose Mourinho's Manchester United and Roy Hodgson's (this really happened) Crystal Palace. Second vs bottom!  When is it? The game takes place on Saturday the 30th September at Old Trafford. What time is kick-off? An unusually traditional 3pm for Man Utd. What TV channel is it on? Nowhere in the UK unfortunately, what with it being a 3pm kick-off, but various broadcasters around the world will be showing it in venues and on screens away from these shores. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in United's 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday Credit: REUTERS What is the team news, who is injured and suspended? Man Utd's injury list got a little bit longer in their midweek win over CSKA Moscow as Anthony Martial was taken off with a slight thigh injury. He is a doubt for the visit of the Eagles (not the band) and joins Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones as a likely absentee.  Antonio Valencia didn't travel to Russia with the rest of the squad but should return for this match. This all means that the most likely lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Marcus Rashford taking Anthony Martial's left-forward role after picking up that knock in Moscow. Ander Herrera will probably start alongside Nemanja Matic, while Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Romelu Lukaku in attack.  Mourinho must decide who plays at left-back and can choose from either Daley Blind or Ashley  Young, who came off early in the midweek game, which might indicate that he is first choice. Man Utd XI vs Crystal Palace Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham are all injured for Palace while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a doubt. Timothy Fosu-Mensah isn't allowed to play because he's on loan for United. Hodgson has a dilemma on his hands as Palace might go into this game without a recognised striker - they've genuinely been linked with Carlton Cole as a potential short-term option. Imagine you were a youth team striker at Palace and heard they were going to sign Carlton Cole instead of giving you a chance? Livid. Anyway, they don't have any strikers. Crystal Palace XI vs Man Utd What are they saying? Jose Mourinho speaking after the 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow: Jose Mourinho applauds fans after victory in Russia  Credit: EPA “[Romelu Lukaku is] having a great record. We know that he’s a very good player, he can score lots of goals and playing in a team surrounded by quality players, [it is] even easier to do that. But I have to admit that he’s scoring really important goals and almost every game. For me, the important thing is not [how much he cost] but the important thing is two matches, six points and a good position in the Champions League. Four more matches to play but we start really strongly and we are almost there.” “I didn’t see that [PlayStation football] as much, just a little bit of relaxation, a reaction by the home team with the normal pride to try to score, to try to have a different result and we just relaxed a little bit. We had a couple of good chances but I think it’s normal. We have a game on Saturday. Liverpool are luckier than us, they play Tuesday and Sunday, we have to play on Wednesday and on Saturday at 3pm. So I think it’s normal, a little bit of relaxation.” Roy Hodgson: Hodgson is yet to conduct his pre-match interview but told Sky Sports upon news of his appointment that he was looking for passion from his players: "What I always look for in every game is character, I am looking for desire and people who share your passion and enthusiasm," he said.  "You are also looking for people who at least give the impression they are trying to do what the team wants them to do. "At the moment, I think we have a lot of work to do for me to feel fully confident that every player fully understands with his role what I am looking for and what I would like him to do. "I want to see a team that shows the fans that they really care." What does the table look like?  What are the odds? Man Utd to win 1/6 Crystal Palace to win 14/1 Draw 6/1 Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What's our prediction? Crystal Palace have been woeful so far, are missing key players and there's no way Man Utd will take their foot off the gas at Old Trafford. After some tough defending by Hodgson's team, they'll concede a silly header from a set piece late in the first half and go on to lose by a few more. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 4 Crystal Palace 0: Marouane Fellaini hits brace as rampant United hit four again

Still without a goal, let alone a point, and never looking close to claiming either at Old Trafford, the worrying thing for Crystal Palace is their predicament could get a lot worse before it gets any better. Chelsea are their next opponents, and while the international break might give manager Roy Hodgson some welcome pause for thought, Palace will have no hope against the Premier League champions if they prove as anaemic as they were here against a completely dominant Manchester United. It was boys against men, very large, very hungry ones. Wayne Hennessey might have hoped he would deny Jose Mourinho’s rampant side from running up their sixth four-goal haul in 11 matches when he made an excellent save to frustrate substitute Anthony Martial ten minutes from time. But the Palace goalkeeper’s net was breached for a fourth time soon after when Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku converted Martial’s cross for his 15th goal in 12 matches for club and country this season. It added some extra gloss to the scoreline after two goals from the towering Marouane Fellaini, following Juan Mata’s early opener, which had put United firmly on course for their sixth win in seven league games. For now, Palace will just be thankful they do not have to return to Manchester in the competition again this term, having been thumped 5-0 by City a week earlier, although whether they will be back here next season is hard to say. Yes, Palace were severely weakened, with Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, Scott Dann and Ruben Loftus-Cheek among the absentees, but even with them Hodgson will have his work cut out. “At the moment, we fear we’re the boxer who is fighting in the wrong weight class he is not able to handle,” the Palace manager said. “We are going to take the blows to the chin and get knocked down but I don’t think we stayed on the canvas, I think we tried to get back up. Juan Mata scored early on  Credit: Reuters “These two [United and City] are getting good results against almost everyone they play against so if we can keep the players positive and stop them doubting themselves too much, you never know, we could look back on this terrible patch at the end of the season and say it helped us build the character to stay in the league.” Palace did not even given themselves a chance. With confidence so low, it was imperative they at least got a foothold in the game but all that work on the training ground this week was undone inside two and a half minutes when Mata claimed another early United goal. Palace are not exactly on the small side but they could not live with United’s sheer physicality. Don’t get me wrong, United were the team playing the football, but it must be deflating for rugged opponents such as Palace that they are not just at a serious technical and mental disadvantage here but a physical one, too. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal United’s second and third goals, both scored by Fellaini, derived from excellent balls swung into Palace’s penalty area where a mob of man-mountains were waiting to gorge themselves. But it was the same story at the opposite end of the pitch when United had to defend the odd corner. Lining up to head the ball clear were Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and Phil Jones, imposing figures all. Mamadou Sakho did win one of those duels, heading over from six yards out, but United barely give an inch in those aerial battles. Bullied this side will not be. Marcus Rashford tustles with Joel Ward Credit: Getty images They can play, too. Just ask Joel Ward. The Palace right back was turned inside out by Marcus Rashford in the lead up to United’s opening goal, the England striker skipping away to the left by-line before passing to Mata to score. It looked a long way back for Palace at that moment and so it would prove. Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Paul Pogba’s injury was “long-term” but Fellaini is revelling in the Frenchman’s absence. The Belgian and Matic dominated Palace’s five-man midfield and, behind them, Jones exuded authority and composure in defence. Fellaini celebrates his second Credit: Reuters Fellaini is not always the easiest on the eye but he is very effective. He also likes getting on the end of crosses from Ashley Young, who is starting to make the left back slot his own. Young’s ball for Fellaini’s first goal was a peach, whipping a cross to the far post where Fellaini steered home a controlled volley to make it 2-0. Game over? It most certainly was when United got their third, winning a free-kick on the left edge of Palace’s penalty box. Rashford stepped up and swung in a venomous ball straight on to the head of Fellaini to score. “Marouane is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride and I am really pleased I have helped him to reach this level and change the perception the fans have now,” Mourinho said. “He is a strong character who resisted the difficulties here.” Palace were a lost cause. Bakary Sako had momentarily stung David De Gea’s hands but that was about it. This was a mismatch in every department. 4:58PM More of the same Another 4-0 win for Manchester United, their fourth of the season already and the sixth time they've scored four in a game, and this was every bit as comfortable and easy as the scoreline suggested. Palace, without a win or a goal in six games prior to this, were forced to start without a recognised striker and ended up being swept aside by Jose Mourinho's side without them ever really getting out of third gear. Two for Marouane Fellaini of all people tells its own story, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata slightly more predictable goalscorers, Martial and Lukaku could have made it more convincing still. On this evidence, and with the fixtures coming up, it's hard to see where the form of either of these two teams is going to change any time soon. Easy day at the office.   4:50PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:50PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 4:50PM Full Time Man Utd 4 Palace 0 Everything we thought it might be and more. 4:48PM 90 mins Three minutes of stoppage time seems unnecessarily cruel. 4:48PM 88 mins It's the Palace fans you can hear, but it's United doing all the attacking. They hunt a fifth from a free kick after a foul on Martial but Hennessey catches the delivery at the far stick. 4:44PM GOAL!!!!! MAN UTD 4 Palace 0 There it is. Lukaku gets his goal and covers the spread. The Belgian flicks on an initial long ball then advances into the area to receive the return pass from Martial and side-foot into the net from six yards out with absolutely no Palace player anywhere near him. Lukaku belatedly makes it eight consecutive scoring appearances for club and country. 4:43PM GOAL! A goal from Romelu Lukaku for Man Utd makes the score 4-0. Man Utd 4 - 0 Crystal Palace (Romelu Lukaku, 86 min) 4:40PM 80 mins Martial's turn to go close. Tremendous through ball from Herrera gives Martial a clear sight of goal in the right channel. Credit Wayne Hennessey for a great save. Fellaini is sniffing a hat trick as the corner drops his way but Palace muscle up and survive. 4:36PM 77 mins A foul by Fellaini gives Townsend a chance to send a cross-shot right the way through the six-yard-box and wide with de Gea covering it comfortably enough. 4:34PM 75 mins Mata, excellent first half, quiet second, heading for the baths. Ander Herrera on his way to join us. 4:34PM 74 mins Swing and a miss One of Palace's subs, Riedewald, just found the ball flying right at him in the centre of the Unied penalty box but his attempted first time volley - completely fluffed - rather betrays a centre back playing in midfield. 4:33PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:33PM 73 mins Sako's long, tiring, thankless, fruitless afternoon is over. Here come's Margate's Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Four goals in ten starts and five sub appearances on loan at Shrewsbury, three goals in 15 starts and three sub appearances in a similar stint at Oldham last season. 4:30PM 71 mins Martial immediately going at Ward, who's suffered enough this afternoon, and crosses for Lukaku but Delaney gets there before him. 4:30PM 70 mins Not quite sure how it's not 4-0 but it's not. Lingard fouled on the edge of the box but Dean plays a great advantage for Lukaku to run clear in the area, sit Hennessey down and then very surprisingly side-foot wide of the post with the goal gaping. Rashford is replaced by Martial, whose arrival was delayed while he took all his jewelry off. Killing various fantasy teams this afternoon.   4:28PM It's been a mismatch at Old Trafford so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to six from Crystal Palace so far. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 4:28PM 69 mins Palace chance United seem to have but the cue on the rack, though they are about to bring on Martial. Ward crosses for Sako to hit a first time volley over. 4:26PM 67 mins Cabaye lashes one over from 25 yards. Here comes James McArthur for Jeffrey Schlupp. That'll do it. Puncheon also going off, Riedewald (a centre half) coming on. 4:24PM 65 mins Mkhitaryan off Mkhitaryan going off for Lingard. He's been pretty anonymous here against limited opposition. Personally think it's a shame Lingard doesn't get more game time but he's got 25 minutes to fill his boots here. 4:23PM 63 mins Rashford injury A trailing arm from Sakho as he goes down in the tackle catches Rashford in his gentleman's area. Palace have a corner in more remarkable news. Caption competition. 4:21PM 62 mins Delaney robbed by Lukaku, tries to set up Rashford, Delaney gets back and recovers. 4:20PM 59 mins A quite bizarre passage of play here with Sako receiving the ball on the corner of the penalty box, stopping, looking up for a target to cross to only to realise it's meant to be him, and then just sort of standing there while first van Aarnholt, then Townsend, try and make space and United just sort of stand and watch him. Eventually, after what seemed like an age, United win the ball back. Hodgson is readying 24-year-old Freddie Ladapo for a Premier League debut. Career to date: East Thurrock (the best of all the Thurrocks), Colchester, Woking, Nuneaton, Kidderminster, Margate, Oldham and Shrewsbury. 4:17PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 4:14PM 55 mins Goodness I thought Palace were going to score there. Well, not really, but still Schlupp tries a diving header from 12 yards out, dead centre, from a Sako cross but it's nowhere near. 4:09PM 50 mins Roy Hodgson watch - he's now slumped in the front row of the dug out, peering over the top of the wall, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head.  4:08PM 49 mins Schlupp optimistically appeals for a penalty under minimal contact from Smalling at the Stretford End. Plan D? 4:06PM GOAL!!! MAN UTD 3 Palace 0 Oh Palace. The most inevitable goal in the history of football. Only a brave block from Ward stops a defensive calamity leading to a goal for Rashford but with the back line still absolutely all over the show a free kick is conceded and Fellaini gets his second of the game, heading home Rashford's set piece unmarked. Great delivery, but you'll never see an easier goal scored. Simple as that. 4:06PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has put Man Utd into a commanding 3-0 lead. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 49 min) 4:04PM 46 mins  Meet the second half, same as the first half. Rashford straight away toasting Ward for pace as he's done all afternoon and crossing for Lukaku but his shot is deflected behind for a corner. That's cleared. 4:02PM Second half Palace jogging back out now. Man Utd ambling behind them. Second half about to begin. 4:00PM Failure to prepare Mike Dean, giving his penalty awarding finger a stretch just in case. 3:59PM Bleaker Honestly, it's difficult to see exactly where this is going to end for Palace. Where the win is coming from. Where the goal is coming from. Where hope is coming from. It's not just an unusually cruel run of fixtures that has them against Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea at exactly the wrong time. With Benteke injured medium term, you just don't know how they're even going to trouble the league's lesser lights. I can't fault Sako's first half efforts as a lone striker here, he's a game boy, but it's not his position, and Ray Lewington is on the touchline talking him through the game play by play, telling him where to go, where to stand and what to do like he's got him under remote control. I usually cover myself after musings like this by saying "probably win 3-2 now I've said that" but, seriously, at the moment, they're more likely to fly to the moon on the team bus. Had better days. 3:50PM Half Time Man Utd 2 Palace 0 Only another 45 minutes to endure for those of a South London persuasion. Palace have had their moments, even forcing a sort-of save from an opposing goalkeeper when Sako 'tested' de Gea at his near post, but they're now without a league goal in six and a half games this season and well on their way to a seventh straight defeat. Mata, who has been sublime, scored after two minutes with the equally brilliant Rashford claiming an assist. You'll struggle to find a better cross than Ashley Young's for the second goal, scored during Palace's best spell in the game by Fellaini from close range. Drinks now while we discuss when United might declare and put the tourists into bat. Shelling peas. 3:47PM 45 mins Marouane Fellaini doing ball juggling tricks in open play is probably as good a place as any to call it a day and in a minute's time we'll be doing exactly that. 3:47PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:46PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 3:45PM 42 mins Rashford strikes the post United swarming all over Palace now. Rashford is the spare man at the back post as Lukaku moves Mata's cross on one more. He takes a touch, time enough to do a decent oil painting of the chance, drives it near post and strikes the metalwork.  3:43PM 40 mins Rashford and Mata particularly enjoying this, both having excellent games. Palace's attempts to play out form the back end up with Andros Townsend passing the ball straight out behind the goal for a corner. Smalling powers a back post header wide from the resulting delivery. Rashford running the show. 3:40PM 37 mins It looks like Juan Mata is about to go clean through on goal before Lukaku inadvertently flicks the pass out of the path of his team mate. 3:36PM GOAL!!!! MAN UTD 2 Palace 0 Well that'll learn me. United deliver a sucker punch just as their visitors seem to be getting a foothold in the game. A move which involved a cheeky pass off the top of his shoulder by Marcus Rashford ends with a goal for Marouane Fellaini, volleying in Ashley Young's brilliant cross at the back post. A sizzling three-yarder. 3:35PM GOAL! Marouane Fellaini has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 2-0. Man Utd 2 - 0 Crystal Palace (Marouane Fellaini, 35 min) 3:34PM 31 mins Palace shot Actual shot. Sako, 15 yards out, difficult angle, de Gea beats the ball away at the near post. Unlikely to score from there but the Eagles are steadily working their way back into this. They've had much the better of the last five minutes or so. 3:33PM 30 mins Good work from Andros Townsend down the right wins another corner with a back post cross that Valencia heads behind. Good spell for Palace this, can they make this set piece count? No. Fellaini, unchallenged, bullets the Cabaye cross away. 3:31PM 28 mins Sako hasn't started any of Palace's last 47 league games but he's a game runner and he's worried another corner out of Smalling here. Given the balance of play, they have to make these set pieces count, but again Cabaye's delivery is headed away and then Sako is offside as it comes back in. Waste. 3:31PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:30PM 27 mins  Jason Puncheon, four yellows already this season, penalised for deliberate handball wide on the left touchline. Mata to take the free kick... Hennessey claims pretty easily. 3:28PM 24 mins Palace attack Best moment of the game so far for the visitors. Matic gets caught in possession, play is worked up to Sako on the edge of the area who tried to play Cabaye through, but it's cleared behind for a corner. That's headed straight back behind so they'll get a second go from the other side... Smalling heads away. 3:26PM 23 mins Roy has wibbled his way down to the touchline himself, surveying the situation finger to his lips. United not overly impressed with Damien Delaney's aggressive handling of Fellaini under their corners, but nothing doing from Mike Dean at the moment. Plan C? 3:24PM 21 mins Bit of a slack pass out from the back looking for Valencia is, briefly, gloriously, intercepted by Schlupp on the halfway line. Valencia, however, wins it straight back and United come forward again, winning a corner off a slack touch by Andros Townsend. Townsend gets a receipt with that one. 3:20PM 15 mins The basic pattern of this game is very much like an ice hockey power play situation. Palace are very deep, and very narrow. United are setting up with width and numbers all around the penalty box and working the ball and players in all directions looking for an opening. Palace cannot get out, and in the brief, fleeting moments they do have the ball it's punted up to Sako, who's completely isolated, and not a striker, and not looking much of a bet as a point man in this game. Ray Lewington, Palace's assistant manager, couldn't be any closer to the action without being on the pitch and his barked instructions are all you can hear over a typically subdued Old Trafford atmosphere. Cue Palace equaliser... I'll claim an assist. Plan B? 3:16PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far. Man Utd have had 170 touches of the ball compared to 80 by Crystal Palace. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:15PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace 3:13PM 11 mins A nervous moment for David de Gea who is hurried into a rushed clearance by Sako, the ball goes straight to Puncheon but his cross is cut out. 3:12PM 10 mins Flowing move from United, sweeping right through the middle of Palace, Matic shoots over. Rashford is giving Ward a torrid time down the Palace right in these early stages. 3:11PM 8 mins Half a penalty appeal Fellaini hits the deck in a crowded penalty area but our referee this afternoon says no. Safe to say if penalty enthusiast Mike Dean doesn't think it's a spot kick it almost certainly isn't. United attack again immediately, Rashford seeing a cross cut out at the near post this time. 3:09PM 7 mins Palace chance Set pieces could offer one way back into this - United struggled with Stoke's dead balls earlier this month. Joel Ward overlapping down the right wing is fouled, Cabaye swings over the free kick, Sakho up from the back heads over. Decent chance. 3:07PM Crystal Palace have their first sight of goal Crystal Palace respond to the earlier Man Utd effort with their first shot of the game. Man Utd vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 3:07PM 5 mins Difficult to really know what the Palace plan is now. United continuing to dominate the ball, already 1-0 up, visitors struggling to get a foot on the ball at all. As Townsend does win the ball back briefly, Ashley Young snaps in and takes it back off him. 3:05PM GOAL! MAN UTD 1 Palace 0 Took two minutes. Rashford skinning his man wide on the left, cut it back looking for Lukaku but it's actually Juan Mata stealing in behind him to slam in the first goal of the afternoon. Juan Mata opens the scoring after two minutes. 3:03PM 2 mins Man Utd enjoying all of the early possession, Palace do almost free Puncheon into the left channel with their first attack. 3:03PM GOAL! 1-0! Juan Mata strikes to give Man Utd the early lead. Man Utd 1 - 0 Crystal Palace (Juan Mata, 3 min) 3:00PM 15.00 Teams out Usual round of hand shakes before they all start trying to con penalties and free kicks out of each other and then we'll be underway.  2:47PM Kick off approaching Crawling towards our 15.00 start time. Players out there warming up.  Bets of luck lads. Romelu Lukaku going through his paces/the motions. 2:34PM Bleak Roy Hodgson is 70 years old. You really have to wonder whether he needs to be doing this to himself. Six defeats from six games, Man Utd away today, Chelsea the other side of the international break, only striker injured... The former England manager has walked into a club that has suffered from muddled thinking, failure to learn from previous mistakes, and perhaps a deal of arrogance as well. Much was made of Alan Pards Pardew's more attractive, expansive style of play (Newcastle fans must have missed that one) when he was brought in after the more pragmatic approach of Tony Pulis had kept Palace up against the odds. When that started to fail, there was all the usual talk of "back to basics" when Big Sam Allardicci was summoned to rescue the situation. All fine. Except they then went for Frank De Boer and starting giving it the old "attractive, expansive style" chat again. And having done so, they then deemed four matches sufficient time for De Boer to turn a Sam Allardyce team into a Dutch-style, total footballing, passing machine.  I mean, when you go back through the Palace managers of the last 30 years there are 24 permanent ones, 22 Englishmen and two Scots (one very brief ill-fated spell for Atillo Lombardo not included), two Neil Warnocks, four Steve Coppells, two Alan Smiths, Dave Bassett, Iain Dowie, Allardyce, Pulis, Ian Holloway... It really is impossible to believe that De Boer wasn't able to get them playing like Ajax inside three months. This is already looking like a long old season. Selection headache. 2:22PM No rest for Lukaku, well not this week... Much of United's early season dominance has been based on the form of Romelu Lukaku who has 14 goals in 11 appearances for club and country already since a £75m move from Everton in the summer.  Only Leicester have kept the Belgian scoreless so far this season but with Paul Pogba out until November, Marcus Rashford covering elsewhere and a return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic still some way off there's been no temptation for Mourinho to rest his main hitman. There is, however, a chance for Belgium to leave him out of their forthcoming qualifiers given that they've already booked their place in Russia next summer. Not that Mourinho would lean on Roberto Martinez to do that at all, of course. “Look, without Zlatan, we cannot rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions. So until the moment we have Zlatan we cannot think about giving rest to our No 9, the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that. Belgium is Roberto’s responsibility and it’s his decision to play him or not to play him. I cannot, professionally speaking, say, ‘Do this or do that’.” But, you know, do that if you want. Got this. 2:07PM Palace team Crystal Palace have responded to this afternoon's challenge, and the injury to Christian Benteke, and the failure to land the mighty Carlton Cole on a short-term deal, by collecting up all the wingers the club has fielded over the past five seasons and picking them all at once in the same team. Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Sakho, Delaney, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, Cabaye; Schlupp, Puncheon, Townsend; Sako. Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Riedewald, McArthur, Mutch, Lee, Ladapo. 2:04PM Martial on the bench Manchester United will line up like this. Palace fans look away now... Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Fellaini; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Darmian, Herrera, Lingard, Martial Anthony Martial, ready for a big afternoon of sitting down. 1:53PM Hello, good afternoon, and welcome... ...to our live coverage of Manchester United's exciting 4-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace. Both these teams have been in ominous form this season. United have five wins and a draw from their six matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two. They've won 4-0 on three occasions and 4-1 twice in all competitions already and come into this game on the back of five straight wins: 3-0, 4-0, 4-1, 1-0, 4-1. Palace, meanwhile, will soon be troubling Premier League records set by 1993/94 Swindon Town, 2012/13 Queens Park Rangers, and about half a dozen Sunderland teams. They are played six, lost six, scored non, conceded 13 in the league and are back in Manchester just seven days after a 5-0 walloping at City. You can get 18s on them winning here and, frankly, if they do, I'll give you the money myself. We'll have team news for you around 14.00. 1:36PM Preview What is it? It's another Premier League game between Jose Mourinho's Manchester United and Roy Hodgson's (this really happened) Crystal Palace. Second vs bottom!  When is it? The game takes place on Saturday the 30th September at Old Trafford. What time is kick-off? An unusually traditional 3pm for Man Utd. What TV channel is it on? Nowhere in the UK unfortunately, what with it being a 3pm kick-off, but various broadcasters around the world will be showing it in venues and on screens away from these shores. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in United's 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday Credit: REUTERS What is the team news, who is injured and suspended? Man Utd's injury list got a little bit longer in their midweek win over CSKA Moscow as Anthony Martial was taken off with a slight thigh injury. He is a doubt for the visit of the Eagles (not the band) and joins Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones as a likely absentee.  Antonio Valencia didn't travel to Russia with the rest of the squad but should return for this match. This all means that the most likely lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Marcus Rashford taking Anthony Martial's left-forward role after picking up that knock in Moscow. Ander Herrera will probably start alongside Nemanja Matic, while Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Romelu Lukaku in attack.  Mourinho must decide who plays at left-back and can choose from either Daley Blind or Ashley  Young, who came off early in the midweek game, which might indicate that he is first choice. Man Utd XI vs Crystal Palace Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham are all injured for Palace while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a doubt. Timothy Fosu-Mensah isn't allowed to play because he's on loan for United. Hodgson has a dilemma on his hands as Palace might go into this game without a recognised striker - they've genuinely been linked with Carlton Cole as a potential short-term option. Imagine you were a youth team striker at Palace and heard they were going to sign Carlton Cole instead of giving you a chance? Livid. Anyway, they don't have any strikers. Crystal Palace XI vs Man Utd What are they saying? Jose Mourinho speaking after the 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow: Jose Mourinho applauds fans after victory in Russia  Credit: EPA “[Romelu Lukaku is] having a great record. We know that he’s a very good player, he can score lots of goals and playing in a team surrounded by quality players, [it is] even easier to do that. But I have to admit that he’s scoring really important goals and almost every game. For me, the important thing is not [how much he cost] but the important thing is two matches, six points and a good position in the Champions League. Four more matches to play but we start really strongly and we are almost there.” “I didn’t see that [PlayStation football] as much, just a little bit of relaxation, a reaction by the home team with the normal pride to try to score, to try to have a different result and we just relaxed a little bit. We had a couple of good chances but I think it’s normal. We have a game on Saturday. Liverpool are luckier than us, they play Tuesday and Sunday, we have to play on Wednesday and on Saturday at 3pm. So I think it’s normal, a little bit of relaxation.” Roy Hodgson: Hodgson is yet to conduct his pre-match interview but told Sky Sports upon news of his appointment that he was looking for passion from his players: "What I always look for in every game is character, I am looking for desire and people who share your passion and enthusiasm," he said.  "You are also looking for people who at least give the impression they are trying to do what the team wants them to do. "At the moment, I think we have a lot of work to do for me to feel fully confident that every player fully understands with his role what I am looking for and what I would like him to do. "I want to see a team that shows the fans that they really care." What does the table look like?  What are the odds? Man Utd to win 1/6 Crystal Palace to win 14/1 Draw 6/1 Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What's our prediction? Crystal Palace have been woeful so far, are missing key players and there's no way Man Utd will take their foot off the gas at Old Trafford. After some tough defending by Hodgson's team, they'll concede a silly header from a set piece late in the first half and go on to lose by a few more. Man Utd 3 - 0 Crystal Palace

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