On the 9th of November 2002, for one glorious day, Shaun Goater was the undisputed king of Manchester. Two goals and an assist, the Goat ate well that day but let’s contextualise this game quickly…
You’d be loath to describe United’s team that season as one of Sir Alex’s best vintages (Barthez, Blanc, Veron) but in typical Fergusonic fashion they somehow overcame a talented Arsenal side to win the league. City meanwhile were newly-promoted and while the team contained genuine quality (Anelka, Berkovic, Foe) and were playing at home (the last derby to be played at Maine Road), United were clear favourites going into the game.
And yet Goater waded through the United defence with all the ease of cranberry farmer during harvest season. He ripped off Laurent Blanc’s back pocket and forced it down the Frenchman’s throat. Gary Neville, infamously, gifted Goater his first goal but the marauding Bermudan was so cataclysmically unplayable that game he would have taken it himself eventually anyway.
So here’s to Shaun Goater – legend of Maine Road, conqueror of The Red Devils and for one glorious day King of all of Manchester.