'Casemiro almost winded me – in a good way!'

Monday 16 January 2023 13:15

United fans were in dreamland after Saturday's heroic comeback against Manchester City – the team's 10th straight win at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag and numerous players paid tribute to the atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams after the match, while videos of the celebrations that followed Marcus Rashford's winner went viral across social media.

At the time of writing, the match highlights video has garnered 7.5 million views on the club's YouTube channel, in a game that is being talked about all over the world.

But what was it like for the 70,000-plus Reds inside Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon? We caught up with four season-ticket holders to get their reaction to one of the most memorable derbies in recent history... 
Pete Boyle sings along as United's fans milk the moment after beating City.

Everything about Saturday was brilliant – the performance and the result. The crowd were really up for it. I didn't hear the City fans, to be honest, until they scored. Naturally, that took the stuffing out of the crowd, who got nervous for five to 10 minutes, but then we started to urge them on again.
When we score, it's my natural reaction, because of where I sit, to run to the front of the stand. So when Rashford scored, I ran down with Georgie and Bella, my son and daughter, and Casemiro's just to my left and he was hugging the kids! I grabbed the corner of his shirt – like the big kid I am! – then Casemiro gave me this big bear hug! What a strong guy by the way – he almost winded me, in a good way! It was a real Boyle hug too, because Georgie had one side of his shirt and Bella had the other! I've watched the video about 10 times a day since, and smile every time.
The crowd carried us over the line at the end and you've got to give a lot of credit to TRA [the Red Army section], for what they've achieved with the atmosphere.  They've been consistent at all games, even at games like the Europa League, when it's maybe not been a capacity crowd. They're consistently singing. You can even go back to the humiliation against Liverpool last season. There's video of non-stop singing 20 minutes after the game: 'Man United, Man United, We'll support you evermore...' What they've done is brilliant, and I'm just proud to join in from the sidelines.

– Pete Boyle


“It’s the sharp intake of breath, followed by the guttural roar. From the first time I felt it, to the latest – on Saturday afternoon – it’s a buzz you just cannot replicate. 
"The build-up to the winner was a complete blur – I was still recovering from the frantic fist-pumping and jubilant rejoicing that followed Bruno’s equaliser, and suddenly Garnacho had the ball, and in the blink of an eye, Rashford… Get in!
"Cue utter bedlam – hugs with siblings, mates, complete strangers. Those moments unite us all, players and fans alike. Ten Hag wanted to rebuild that connection, and in those joyous moments, Fred, Casemiro and Varane saw to that, literally!
"Nothing makes time pass by slower than an agonising wait for a final whistle, but then it came. Manchester was Red, life was good.”

– Nathan Thomas
Access All Areas: United v City Video

Access All Areas: United v City

Access All Areas | Take a look behind the scenes with exclusive footage of our thrilling derby win...


“If the pandemic taught us football fans anything, it’s to try to appreciate the very best days while they’re happening. This was one of the great days and, with that lesson in mind, I [and I think many others] relished it for every last drop of glory, euphoria and celebratory beer. It really doesn’t get much better.
"This was the first derby I’d gone into with even a hint of confidence since March 2020. Thankfully, it had the same outcome. How does one describe the scenes at Old Trafford for each of the goals and at full-time without descending headfirst into a thesaurus? How does one do it justice when there are so many different moments and angles to pick out? 
"Our Brazilian midfield duo Casemiro and Fred diving into the Stretford End; Raphael Varane’s fist-pumping orchestration of J Stand; Manchester boy Marcus Rashford’s guttural roar in front of his home. 
"But there is one image which will endure for me. I hope it remains seared onto my brain well into my old age, because it felt like heaven and euphoria had been reached. The celebrations for United’s second goal were, or at least will be in the future, the stuff of legend. A 70,000-strong ocean of diving bodies, embraces and roars that leave your body deprived of oxygen. In that moment, all I saw were mates and strangers alike, all Reds, experiencing the very peak of joy. 
And then I needed a breather. Just a second to get some air before starting all over again. And I stood in my position in W208, the lower tier of the Stretford End and looked around me. On a typically dark grey Mancunian day, out had come the sun to bathe at least a little section of Old Trafford in its light, and I looked up at my end’s upper tier, across to the Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton Stands, and to J Stand in the opposite corner, and to East Stand, and then all around once again. A sea of movement. Scarves twirling, hands directed skywards [for you know not what else to do with them in that moment], grandparents jumping with delight as if they were kids again.”

– Harry Robinson


“It might be too premature to say United are back, as a title-contesting force in English football. But one thing is for certain: Old Trafford is back.
"We suspected it after the wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. After nine wins in a row heading into the derby. But the nature of victory over City confirmed it. This was the kind of improbable, never-say-die comeback Alex Ferguson's teams used to conjure. And it clearly stunned Pep Guardiola's team, who were in a tailspin once the crowd kicked into overdrive after Bruno's controversial equaliser. The intensity thereafter was feverish and City couldn't cope. They can argue all they like about our first goal – and I have sympathy for them – but where were their defenders for Rashford's winner? Brains had well and truly been scrambled by the Stretford End.
"But what will stay in my memory is not just those two dramatic goals, from Fernandes and Rashford, but the scenes after full-time. All corners of Old Trafford on its feet, with 70,000-plus joyously singing: 'We love United, we do.' The players taking it all in, celebrating a monumental feeling of togetherness. Fans beaming from ear to ear, their weekends made. 
"I went to the pub after for a celebratory pint, and it was exactly the same. Joy, everywhere. Tactical analysis and praise for Erik ten Hag is valuable and important, of course, but Saturday was all about simple, unalloyed happiness for us fans. When the team is going in the right direction, with Old Trafford right behind it, we really do feel near unstoppable. And how wonderful it is to get just a sense of that once again, after a difficult decade since Sir Alex retired.”
– Joe Ganley