Manchester united in football joy after double win

BY foxsports • May 15, 2011

After Manchester City gained a newfound swagger with cash from Middle Eastern royalty, Alex Ferguson vowed to silence Manchester United's ''noisy neighbors.''

But on Saturday night the rivals were united is noisy celebrations.

Supporters filled Manchester center bars after returning from Blackburn and London - scenes of an unprecedented double-triumph on the same day.

At Ewood Park, United became the most successful club in English league history with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn that secured a 19th league title.

Minutes later at Wembley Stadium, City began the FA Cup final against Stoke that would end in a 1-0 victory to secure its first major honor in 35 years.

''Tonight all the people in Manchester are happy,'' City manager Roberto Mancini said. ''I think it's better like this. Next year I think we can try to play for the top with the other teams, but it's difficult.''

Not all Mancini's players, though, were happy sharing their moment of glory with United's record-breakers.

''I'm annoyed even to say their name today because it's got nothing to do with them,'' City goalkeeper Joe Hart said. ''It's about us, it's about Man City winning the FA Cup, Man City getting in the Champions League.''

City's official website even wipes United from the top portion of the league standings visible on the home page. It starts with Chelsea in second and goes down to Tottenham in sixth with City perched in fourth, having secured Champions League qualification for the first time.

City fans will now be desperate to rip down the banner inside United's Old Trafford fortress that marks the number of years since its neighbor's last major honor: the 1976 League Cup.

The United faithful, though, could reset it to mark the time that has elapsed since City won the last of its two league titles: 1968.

Since then, United won the championship 12 times - with Alex Ferguson masterminding them all starting in 1993.

And Ferguson could not resist reminding City which is the most successful team in the world's oldest football knockout competition.

''With the FA Cup, we have won it more times than everyone,'' Ferguson said of United's 11 to five lead over City. ''And now we have won the Premier League more times than anyone.''

It has taken Ferguson 25 years to overhaul Liverpool's record haul of league titles, helped by its northwest rival failing to win one since the 18th in 1990.

''It was Liverpool's time in the 80s, it's our time now and we always expect them to challenge us and we also expect Manchester City to challenge us,'' Ferguson said. ''The great thing about us is that we accept challenges. It doesn't matter where it comes from.''

The next challenge for United is becoming Europe's top team for the fourth time by beating Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 28 at Wembley Stadium.

That would give United two trophies to carry on the open-top bus that will parade through Manchester on May 30. It was United's first European Cup win in 1968 that upstaged City's domestic title triumph in the same year.

But City will have its own moment in the Manchester spotlight on May 23 when the squad - expensively assembled by Sheikh Mansour's investment of more than $1 billion since 2008 - parades the FA Cup through the streets.

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Rob Harris can be followed at http://twitter.com/RobHarrisUK


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