It wasn’t quite as straight forward as Manchester United fans would have liked it to be, but today the boys got what they needed at Ewood Park to claim a 19th top-flight title, to finally overhaul Liverpool’s once-proud record.
Credit must go to Blackburn today who got what turned out to be a very useful point in their battle to survive relegation, especially when you consider that Blackpool and Wolves both won today. Steve Kean may not be the most popular manager Rovers have ever had, but with the pressure of the Indian owners, he’s done all that can be asked of him, so credit to Kean there.
United started the game the brighter and could have gone ahead inside four minutes when Nani’s header inside the box struck the bar with Paul Robinson well beaten. It was a huge slice of luck for Rovers but they overcame that and began to press forward as Junior Hoilett began to come into the game.
With Sir Alex Ferguson deciding to rest Edwin Van Der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak got a rare start in goal. It’s fair to say that Tomasz looked nervy throughout particularly in the first half, in what could prove to be his final apperance for the club.
Jason Roberts was almost presented with an open goal when Tomasz hesitated whilst receiving a Michael Carrick back-pass intended for Rio Ferdinand. It was only due to the quickness of our captain Nemanja Vidic that prevented Roberts from scoring.
Not long after Rovers took the lead after a quick move caught United out on the break. Again Tomasz was at fault as after failing really to gather a cross from Brett Emerton, he could only palm the ball out to the right to Martin Olson.
There was a sense of predictability coming when Olson after a quick one-two with Hoillet crossed the ball into the box where Emerton on the half-volley stroked the ball home past Tomasz who had dived the wrong way. Johnny Evans perhaps was at fault for his positioning but Emerton’s finish was sublime.
Encouraged by the goal, Blackburn began to look more confident and despite United’s wide-men and Fabio da Silva all getting time to cross the ball into the box, United failed to create a real clear cut chance. It could have been worse for us when Kuszczak’s nervous clearance got charged down by Hoilett with the ball thankfully bobbing wide of the goal much to the relief of the United fans behind the goal.
After half time, things began to get better for United with the likes of Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney all seeing more of the ball. Still though the host’s backline were doing well to keep us out with Phil Jones in particular working hard, doing well to block a Giggs shot inside the area from a Valenica cross.
Seconds after Paul Scholes came on, Blackburn almost doubled their lead when Brett Emerton pounced the ball of Jonny Evans only for Martin Olsen’s brilliant header at the back post to hit the post and come out to safety.
It was a pivotal moment in the game as around five minutes later, United attacked and Robinson brought down Javier Hernandez after United’s Mexican controlled a long Ryan Giggs ball and headed down on goal.
Referee Phil Dowd awarded the spot-kick after consulting with his linesman and Rooney kept his cool to confidently put the ball in the top right corner to get the title celebrations started for the fans and everyone connected with the team. It was Rooney’s 11th goal of the season and a priceless one for United’s Number 10.
With 17 minutes left, there was still time for either side to win the game. Nani should have won the game for United four minutes after our equaliser but he dragged a shot wide from close range from a Rooney cross much to his frustration.
The final 10 minutes saw the game played at a snail’s pace as with both sides happy with a point, there was no need for either side to risk attacking only to concede at the other end, both sides just kept the ball.
At the scene of the final whistle, United fans celebrated regaining the championship at the Darwen End of the ground with the United players and staff joining them seconds later to join in the festivities.
Despite Manchester City going on to win their FA Cup final over Stoke bravely managed by Tony Pulis, it had been an historic day for United fans, players and staff.
With a final day fixture to fullfil at home against Blackpool where we’ll be awarded the Premiership trophy and a Champions League final to follow Barcelona, there’s still alot to look forward to before the season ends.
Star Man: Whilst all the United players did well – aside from Tomasz – it was the United fans who get this award as throughout the game, they sung their hearts out and deserved their moment of celebration at the end when Sir Alex and the boys celebrated in front of them after the final whistle.
By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87