RBNR ARCHIVE – MAN CITY 3 QPR 2 – Never in doubt!

With literally five minutes remaining of the most pulsating Premier League season in history, Manchester City were on course for the ‘title’ – but not the one they craved after 44 barren years.

The title ‘Typical City’ was set to stick forever as football’s perennial under achievers seemed hell bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against an under siege, undermanned Queen’s Park Rangers.

As the seconds ticked by the sheer horror of what would be the greatest anti-climax – even by City’s own extraordinarily bizarre standards – had enveloped every man, woman and child sporting sky blue.

Gut wrenching agony gripped the cursed City support, tears of anguish were already stinging reddened eyes as the Blue Moon prepared to plummet from its upward trajectory with QPR hanging on to the most unlikely 2-1 lead and with it, their own Premier League survival.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It couldn’t end this way…could it?

City were odds on favourite going into the match. Proud possessors of the best home record in the league, unbeaten in 17 months, on the cusp of finally laying demons to rest and wrenching the biggest prize in English football from their all conquering neighbours.

That they did so with virtually the last kick of the craziest ever PL campaign can surely never be surpassed.

When Edin Dzeko levelled the score three minutes into added time it seemed academic. City had to win to edge past Manchester United and grab the glory on goal difference.

The Cup for ‘Cock Ups’ – once so eloquently articulated by City legend Francis Lee –  was destined for the City trophy cabinet until the 94th minute when Sergio Aquero darted into the QPR box, took a Balotelli pass in his stride and shot City into a sky blue heaven of delirium and disbelief.

It was a goal of seismic proportions with a huge shockwave reverberating from the Etihad to the Stadium of Light. Fergie, Rooney and Co were tentatively celebrating their own incredulous ‘Great Escape’ having seemingly retained their title against all the odds.

The day began in the almost universal belief that this was City’s Day of Atonement – the mesmerizing myriad of twists and turns at the top of the table had finally run its course.

When Pablo Zabaleta put the Champions-Elect ahead in the 39th minute with his first goal of the season it all seemed so straight forward. The fact a Wayne Rooney goal had United leading Sunderland 1-0 was immaterial – all City had to do was win and sky blue ribbons would adorn the aesthetically challenged, but much coveted PL trophy.

Even the loss of birthday boy and powerhouse talisman Yaya Toure to a hamstring injury before half time was deemed an irrelevance as City dominated possession.

The party atmosphere juddered to a dramatic halt courtesy of a howler of a header from the accomplished Joleon Lescott. The insipid glanced touch back towards Joe Hart fell horrifically short and into the path of Djibril Cisse. The QPR hitman buried his shot past the City keeper.

QPR had offered all the threat of a blancmange and yet were now level. Spurred by the prospect of a Bolton win at Stoke, Rangers needed to avoid defeat to preserve their top flight status.

The fact Mark Hughes’ side avoided the drop despite losing this encounter was hardly helped by the football delinquent known as Joey Barton. It wasn’t enough that having been red carded for elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face, Barton then felled Aguero with a snide kick from behind and attempted to head butt City skipper Vincent Kompany.

It was a sickening spectacle but strangely served to galvanise the West Londoners. As City launched wave upon wave of attacks they were exposed by a breakaway attack and Jamie Mackie plunged City into unutterable despair with a scoring header. 2-1 to QPR.

The unthinkable was now becoming a harrowing reality for the overwhelming majority of the record 48,000 Etihad capacity crowd.

Possession – and City had 81% – may rank as 9/10ths of the law but it was getting Mancini’s men nowhere fast as they now laboured without sophistication, infected by the all pervading panic being transmitted from the crushed home fans .

The introduction of Dzeko for Gareth Barry and six minutes later, Super/Mad Mario for Tevez, brought a sharper cutting edge up front and an aerial threat previously missing.

Sure enough it was the big Bosnian – effectively City’s 4th choice striker – who breached QPR’s stoical defence with a clean header from a David Silva corner in the 92nd minute.

Yes, the desperate City fans cheered, but it was an exultation tempered with resignation that it was just too little too late. United had already won 1-0 and were two points clear at the top.

At the other end of the table Bolton had been held 2-2 and a jubilant QPR bench and supporters celebrated. Win, lose or draw they were staying up.

From the restart Rangers inexplicably hoofed the ball deep into City territory like a rugby team seeking to get downfield and gain territorial advantage. Not so with the round ball game and back came City surging forward in search of their Holy Grail.

Deep into the 94th minute and De Jong nudged a ball through to the irrepressible Aguero 30 yards out from Paddy Kenny’s goal. 

The Argentine pocket rocket – thigh muscles pumping like pistons – fired a quick give and go to Balotelli, powered into the penalty area, eluded a desperate tackle and unleashed the goal of goals to send City into frenzied, untamed bedlam.

Typical City – no more!

Incredible, unbelievable, beyond the wildest imaginings – Manchester City had snatched the title in dramatic fashion beyond compare.

28 Comments

  1. February 27, 2013  8:58 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    A superb reminder of a truly memorable day, one that will never be forgotten by City fans. A tale to be passed on to future generations. Thank you, David.

    • February 27, 2013  9:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      My pleasure Graham - my absolute bloomin pleasure!

  2. February 27, 2013  9:07 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Beautifully written David, reading this filled me with the cathartic warmth I felt on the day it happened. My personal joy was increased by viewing the real time dismay on the faces of Baconface & Rooney, 2 really ugly slapped arses! Aguerooooooooo

    • February 27, 2013  9:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      NEVER EVER tire of watching that match on Sky Planner, DVD etc - If we never win it again - but of course we will - they can never ever ever take that away from us #utopia #perfection #unbeatable #thebestforeternity Aguerooooooooooooooooooooooooooo indeed - drink it in...

  3. February 27, 2013  9:30 pm by Cathie Hunter Reply

    Still sends a shiver down my spine!!! Brilliantly written David, lets hope you can write another one like it at the end of this season....:)

    • February 28, 2013  3:08 am by David Walker Reply

      Oh, I do so wish that will be the case ...

  4. February 27, 2013  9:45 pm by carol main Reply

    aww Davy brings a tear to the eye, amazing just bloody amazing!

  5. February 27, 2013  10:09 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    I've relived that day many times and still when i see things like this cracking piece of yours David the emotional but happy lump in throat makes a welcome return so cheers for that pal.

    • February 27, 2013  10:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      Never will we experience the sheer unadulterated joy of that day - truly amazing and remarkable.

  6. February 27, 2013  11:41 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Good things come to those who wait

    • February 28, 2013  3:03 am by David Walker Reply

      Such as a beautiful PL title win!

  7. February 28, 2013  12:29 am by art spedding Reply

    Superb reminder of the best best ever day I've experienced in over 50 years of watching football........... .....a real emotional roller-coaster of an afternoon.....and to complete the day I went straight from the ground to watch my all-time guitar hero Duane Eddy in concert at Royal Northern College of Music ! Oh, and then back home to watch the whole drama unfold again on MOD.................. " Just a Perfect Day ".

    • February 28, 2013  3:12 am by David Walker Reply

      Yes, a day beyond all measure - simply the best - Aguerooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

  8. February 28, 2013  9:29 am by Evelyn Spence Reply

    Such a wonderful way with words. Superbly written. You gave me goosebumps remembering that day. Texting my lifelong 'City' friend, he had given up; telling me it 'had all gone wrong'. I told him there was still time yet!!! Thank goodness for the incredible turn of events. So many people all over the UK wishing for that incredible goal to happen. Very poetic, loved it.

  9. February 28, 2013  12:27 pm by David Walker Reply

    Just the best feeling - almost as good as sex -maybe even better? Maybe I'm doing it wrong! Only joking - fabulous moment in the life of every #MCFC supporter x

  10. February 28, 2013  8:03 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    If I ever had to visit a psychiatrist and he said take me back to the happiest point of your life. I would read him this. I appreciate you have a talent with words, but this combined with your obvious passion for MCFC is what makes your blogs stand out amongst the rest.

    • May 9, 2014  11:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      Well if we're doing sincerity - thanks Alan.

  11. February 28, 2013  8:10 pm by Etta Gregory Reply

    SUPERB! Brought back that day so clearly. I was stood in front of the TV tearing at my hair, crying my eyes out thinking..... Not again, please God not again........better half kept saying, we are going to win this..... I couldn't see it......AND then.... Agueeeeeerooooooooooooo, and I couldn't stop crying with happiness.... What a FABULOUS day. Thanks for, as usual a top read!

    • May 9, 2014  11:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      My pleasure.

  12. March 1, 2013  6:10 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Brilliant timing David, with all the negativity around in some quarters of our Fan base, this is a great article to get us all focused for the quarter of the season and hopefully a big final push again. Lets all still believe !! #Together

  13. May 9, 2014  8:43 pm by Bill Glas Reply

    You had me holding my breath all over agaiin with that piece, David. As I left the ground (eventually), it began to dawn on me that I would never ever again experience anything quite like that. I would probably never ever forget the performance I had witnessed; a game of football that had cast us all down into the pit of despair and despondency, and then in the space of three short minutes had us all soaring to the heights of delirious joy. What a day!

    • May 9, 2014  9:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      We could die happy after that!

  14. May 13, 2017  12:06 pm by Derek Tidswell Reply

    I've still got Martin Tyler's commentary for the goal as my ring tone and for when I get a new text. It will never be changed. Impresses the crap out of rag supporters when they hear it!! Ironically, this moment started the downfall of "the quiet ones" as it meant Purple nose hung on for another year and left at the same time as Gill which meant that the new manager then didn't get a year to bed in with Gill...happy day for more reason than one...

  15. May 13, 2017  8:09 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Beautiful written David about a day every City fan will never ever forget. I wept like a baby that day. & I'm not ashamed to admit it. Thanks Dave for a brilliant tribute.

    • May 14, 2017  9:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      My pleasure Doug. I'm glad I captured the moment even before Read But Never Red existed.

  16. May 14, 2017  7:04 am by Chris McGrane Reply

    Nice piece on a truly memorable day.
    On 85 mins I was leaving the stadium, City had done it to me again ! From my search I made my way onto the concourse, frustrated, angry, despairing, City were going to pull the proverbial rug out from under my feet, again ! I went to the toilet and when I left I leant on the rail at the top of the spiral at entrance Road, lost in my own desperation. I was looking down on the Memorial Garden, there was a young lady sat in the garden with a bloke, she had her head on his shoulder and I could actually hear her crying. I don't know if she was crying for a lost loved one or at City managing to shatter our dreams once again. " it's still my club, they've frustrated me for 40 years" I thought to myself " I've never walked out on them before, I'm not going to start now " so made my way back to my seat. Just as I came through the short tunnel into the stand, Silva delivered the corner for Dzeko to head home and level the score. Cue muted celebration around me, a dozen other Blues were stood in the tunnel area with me, a draw was on the cards, there wasn't enough time to win the game, we're the comments. Then the ball fell to De Jong, who passed it to the Argentine Assassin, touched on to Mad Mario touched back into Aguero's path, collective breath held all around, then the little Argentine buried it ! MAYHEM !!!!!!! I've never experienced emotion like it in my life. Blues falling over rows of seats, hugging strangers, tears shed around me, euphoria, bedlam ! They'd only gone and done it !!!!! They'd tried their best to make a balls of it , to put us all through the wringer and managed to shred the nerves of every Blue in the stadium, watching on tv, listening on the radio, wherever they followed coverage of the game, wherever they where in the world. What a day , depths of despair to euphoria in 5 minutes, a day I will never, ever forget, the best day in the 49 years of my life, my 40 years of watching City. I'm so glad I didn't follow through on my thought of leaving the stadium that day !

    • May 14, 2017  9:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      Beautifully put fella - I was with you every step of the way!

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