What happened next was absolutely surreal, and the stuff of United and Manchester derby legend. There’s little point rehashing the details here – I’m sure, like me, you’ve all watched the highlights over and over again. All I’ll write is: Pogba, Pogba, Smalling. Oh, and it’s always worth mentioning Herrera’s chested assist for our first goal – so good that Kompany seemed to get an electric shock from just watching it float past.
Within no time at all, we’d gone from head-in-hands-humiliation to sheer delirium, with bodies cascading down the stairwells in the away end. Weirdly, the City fans went silent. They were still just two goals from the title, with 20-plus minutes remaining. The game wasn’t up.
But bar David De Gea’s late save from Aguero and a penalty claim, United were relatively comfortable. The fans to the left of the away end were stone-faced. Bamboozled. The whole stadium – bar a giddy, security-ringed pocket in the South Stand – was spooked.
By full-time, Blues were in tears. Consoling each other in the stands as the stadium emptied. Away from the prying TV cameras, club officials were reboxing the unused fireworks. Months later, Jose Mourinho suggested he’d seen t-shirts with ‘We did it on derby day’ ready to go in the players’ tunnel.