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Issue 345
23 October 2011
Updated Weekly
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Boro was United's 9/11

OLD BAG: This is an archive story from Issue 117 - 31 Oct 2005
Edwin Van Der Saar

Seconds before the carnage

Man United fans

Fans witness the horror

Rio Ferdinand

Never be the same again

Millions grieve at Red carnage

10/29 - A day that will live in infamy. It was supposed to be another great day in the history of Manchester United FC. Instead it became a day that shook the very foundations of the football world. What should have been a celebration of the 1000th premiership goal for United became a vicious unprovoked and devastating attack on United by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

Gruesome spectacle

From out of nowhere they came. Four of the most destructive goals ever devised each one deadlier than the last. The world watched it happen on television, as though it were some sort of cruel game, and struggled to comprehend the events unfolding before them. The only thing anyone can be certain of is that the world will never quite be the same.

The scene outside the stadium was one of devastation. People were sobbing uncontrollably, some called out for their loved ones. Others looked to manager Sir Alex Ferguson for guidance, but he himself was too grief stricken to make an appearance, choosing instead to share a few private moments of consolation with his players.

Shoulder to shoulder

Meanwhile at Old Trafford, countless fans walked the streets as though in a daze. Scarves and flowers with messages of sympathy and solidarity were laid at the foot of Sir Matt Busby's statue. They kept asking themselves how could it have happened? And why? What could our friendly, family run football club have done to deserve such savagery? Life long supporter Johnnie Barleycorn from Exeter was one of the many who travelled to Manchester from all over the UK to show support to the club in their most desperate hour. "I just had to come," he told The Onion Bag. "I'm totally devastated. My life is so empty."

FA Chairman Brian Barwick was one of the first on the scene to oversee the fallout from the disaster and re-assure clubs supporters and investors that the world had not come to an end. "The emergency services have been magnificent."

Schadenfreude

Already though there are those who believe that an attack like this was inevitable and despite the devastation are actually quite glad it happened. Professional pinko Les Dyke thinks she knows why. "For years, United have got rich and powerful off the backs of other people's misery. They have shown no concern for the plight of those they exploit. If you ask me they had it coming."

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Also in Issue 117