“In the modern game we’d fly to Newcastle, so it’s not the same burden as it was a few years ago. But we usually get ourselves to the New Year in a good position and that’s where we want to be.”
Asked to recall some of his favourite festive fixtures, Sir Alex pinpointed an epic 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day, 1992. “If you go back, you’ll remember that great game when we went to Sheffield Wednesday,” he said. “It was a lunchtime kick-off and we were 3-0 down and came back – Eric Cantona scored and Brian McClair scored two. I always remember the interview at the end of the game, when Steve Bruce said, ‘We need to remember that games start at three o’clock, not 20 past three’ And the interviewer says, ‘Well, it was a lunchtime kick-off today'!
“That was one, and another would be when we beat Oldham 6-3 on Boxing Day,” he added, referring to 1991’s clash with Latics in which McClair and Denis Irwin each scored two, with Ryan Giggs and Andrei Kanchelskis also chipping in. At the rate United are going this season – with an average of 3.76 goals a game - there’s every chance fans could be in for equally high-scoring games this Christmas.
Sun 23 Dec - Swansea (A)
Wed 26 Dec - Newcastle (H)
Sat 29 Dec - West Brom (H)
Tue 1 Jan - Wigan (A)
“For years they used to send us up to Middlesbrough or Sunderland around Boxing Day or New Year. This time they’re giving us a bit of clemency, forgiving us for our previous sins!"
- Sir Alex Ferguson