Football often throws up some delicious ironies. They often happen when least expected with not just one coincidence, not even two or three but as in the current season, a hard to believe FOUR times – and that’s only if I happened to overlook any other instances. Just imagine what the betting odds would have been back in August for the following combination of winners to happen simultaneously. Perhaps every one of them was simply written in the stars.
Age old club rivalries are part and parcel of the game, almost one of its lifebloods, so when the following results occur in Scotland as well as the three major competitions in Europe, it becomes difficult not to think of the word ‘destiny’.
SCOTLAND – The fanatical rivalry between the two Glasgow giants is well known so it’s no surprise that Rangers won the League while Celtic lifted the Cup. The only question was whether one or the other could have won both but as it turned out, they each took something out of their season – Rangers the League, Celtic the Cup.
SPAIN – Nothing is bigger in world football than when Barcelona clash with Real Madrid. Despite the millions Real splashed out on their new Galacticos, Barca again won La Liga with some comfort and brushed aside their rivals in the Champions League but guess what? They were defeated in the Spanish Cup Final by Jose Mourinho’s Real – Barcelona the League, Real the Cup.
ITALY – Inter Milan won everything there was to win last season but when Mourinho went to Madrid, everything started to fall apart. Fierce City rivals AC Milan meanwhile got their act together to win their first scudetto since 2003. All is not lost for Inter however as they are overwhelming favourites to defeat Palermo in the Italian Cup Final next weekend. The odds are therefore AC Milan the League, Inter Milan the Cup.
ENGLAND – A historic record 19th title for Manchester United left their cross city rivals with the challenge of winning some sort of trophy for the first time in over three decades in order to justify their huge spending. Manchester City managed to do just that by defeating United in an FA Cup semi before brushing aside Stoke City in the final. One last irony is the fact that City’s last FA Cup winning goal scorer Neil Young passed away earlier this year. Was it fate? United the League, City the Cup.
Destiny or a huge coincidence! We may never know. Just a final thought. The only highly predictable outcome which proved to be absolutely correct was that bitter Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton will both end up empty handed again – and that’s precisely what they did.
Was Uniteds FA Cup defeat by City always destined to happen?