Battle between Manchester City and United proves big games can be played at night

As pleasant as lunchtimes can be they’re hardly the most exhilarating part of the day. The addition of some French mustard in your ham sandwich might be as far as you dare to push the boundaries of excitement.

Similarly midday football is rarely a cauldron of atmosphere, where fanatical and raucous support adds to the occasion and spectacle of football.

Weary from the previous nights celebrations that the weekend brings, fans are usually groggy and haven’t been given time to whip themselves up into boisterous jubilation at the prospect of another game of football.

For the past few years though games of local importance, or those of significance to league position have been left marooned in the delectable prawn sandwich lunchtime slot.

This is largely due to the benefits of policing a game when fans haven’t been given the opportunity to get lagered up beyond belief and start systematically provoking and attacking the oppositions supporters instead of watching the evening’s entertainment.

As a Villa fan, trouble has been has been experienced at such evening games of importance, particularly after Peter Enckleman’s cheeky back-heel handed Birmingham victory a few years back.

However, despite what the scare-mongering Daily Mail might think football fans aren’t one entity that share the same thoughts and are not hell bent on thuggery that would make the cast of the Football Factory wince, as fans watching the Manchester derby will testify too.

The game itself was drab, lifeless and ultimately boring.

The support however was anything but. It was a wholly more entertaining spectacle that what was unfolding on the pitch, as if the atmosphere inside the ground had a life of its own.

Complete with continental flares, both sets of supporters traded chants and created an intense atmosphere that could be intimidating to a neutral.

Thankfully this boisterous vocal behaviour inside the ground didn’t spill over into violence outside, probably because protesting students missed their train to Manchester.

The game will largely be forgotten, but the fact that a big game of enormous local significance was supported without incident or interference from the police was a testament to both sets of fans and proof that big games can be played with the accompaniment of a few beers under floodlights.

Sky Sports must be salivating into a bucket at the thought a return to evening games and not having to hype lunchtime kick-offs to a hung-over audience.

Tags: Manchester City, Manchester United

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