Andy Gray column: Man Utd players had every right to celebrate derby win

Whatever people say, football is an emotional sport and we should never lose sight of that fact, writes Andy Gray

By Andy Gray
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Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin as he celebrated United's winner on Sunday Photo: The Sport Review

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To anyone who says that Manchester United’s players shouldn’t be celebrating an injury-time winner in the Manchester derby against the champions of England, I would simply say: get real.

People who think like this obviously aren’t sports fans at all. They aren’t people who love sport that’s played competitively, and understand what it means to everyone involved.

Of course the United fans and the players should celebrate – they’ve just won the local derby with just about the last kick of the ball after conceding a two-goal lead.

What do you expect them to do – just shake hands with each other and walk back to the half-way line?

This is an emotional sport and we should never lose sight of that fact.

We need to deal with some idiots who upset the game and threaten it from time to time, but we should never lose the passion that makes this game what it is – and that’s the best sport in the world.

We live in a nation where we would rather accentuate the negative than the positive and that’s the way it’s always been – the media are particularly guilty of that.

It’s a shame that what happened in the aftermath of the match, with the coin-throwing and the fan going onto the pitch, should stain what was a magnificent game of football.

It was brilliant spectacle to watch, with two giants of the Premier League locking horns.

United were quite brilliant in their counter-attacking football policy of the first half when they shot into the lead.

And then when Manchester City got away with what could have potentially been a three-goal deficit they came bouncing back magnificently well like champions do.

But then for United to get a winner through Robin van Persie, a player City thought they might have signed themselves in the summer, was an extraordinary way to end the day.

It’s just a shame that aspect didn’t make every back page of every newspaper in the country.

It’s a pity it took the headlines away from what was a fantastic day of football but it needs to be addressed – I understand all of that completely.

We have to deal with these idiots who do what they did last weekend and the sooner we identify them and ban them from football then the safer our grounds will be.

It was a great win for United but I don’t think it was a significant blow in the title race – it’s a blow but not one that City can’t recover from.

They’re six points behind now and there are more than 20 games left in the season – that’s bags of time for them recover.

What they wouldn’t want to do is go further behind. City have a tough game at St James’ Park and if they lose that and United beat Sunderland, as I expect them to do, then the gap will be nine points.

That’s when City could start to get worried but as long as the gap doesn’t go much more than seven, then I think City won’t panic.

But if it gets to nine and 10 it’s going to be very difficult for City to close the gap on a team like United.

Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store.

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