It was a sad finale for a side who've done so much
growing up in the Champions League this season and a disappointment for English
football that the Reds won't be in Greece. In 1999 United went to Turin on the
wave of hope from most football lovers that the free-scoring United entertainers
wouldn't suffer the injustice of falling at the final hurdle. Value for money
alone they deserved their place in the Nou Camp.
Eight years on and it's something of a travesty of
similar proportions that the team who've enriched the knockout stages are to
miss the Athens extravaganza.All the more galling too for United fans that,
while they've provided thrilling fare, bitter rivals Liverpool had booked their
place in Greece playing methodical football more likely to drive fans away from
The Anfielders and Chelsea had done little over 210 of
minutes mind-numbing tactical negativity to promote the English game. The
hierarchy at the Premier League must have been hoping that at least Fergie's XI
would be a welcome advert to the multi-million global audience in three weeks
instead of Rafa Benitez's robots.