AMONG long suffering fans of teams other than Manchester United, there was widespread glee earlier this week as Louis Van Gaal’s team was dismantled by Milton Keynes Dons.
The League One side’s 4-0 hammering of English football’s longstanding dominant force in the second round of the Capital One Cup is one of those results that will be looked back on with disbelief in coming years, when United have bounced back from current travails.
I must admit to a broad smile of glee too at seeing the Old Trafford side being humiliated, but alas it was not as wide as the occasion demanded.
And that I fear, is because the humiliation was being applied by MK Dons, a club born from the ashes of the former Wimbledon, unceremoniously plucked from its south west London home 12 years ago and plonked down in Milton Keynes because its directors saw no future for the club in the capital.
In the intervening years of course, a new club, AFC Wimbledon, has filled the Wimbledon-sized hole left in London by that upping of sticks.
MK Dons’ current chairman Pete Winkelmann, also involved in the original Wimbledon’s move, has even had things to say about how he thought that AFC Wimbledon’s creation was not good for football, while his club has meanwhile settled into a steady existence in English football’s third tier, in a modern stadium that for the Manchester United match was packed to the rafters.
AFC Wimbledon of course rose through the ranks of non-league football in less than a decade and is now in League Two, a good old fashioned tale of the underdog to warm the cockles of a traditionalist football fan’s heart.
The rancour that exists between (at least) the fans of AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons will be enough to keep both sides of the unfortunate story of the move to Milton Keynes alive for decades.
As for a mere neutral however, I cannot help thinking that mighty Manchester United’s demise would have tasted a lot sweeter had it been administered by AFC Wimbledon. In Weekenderland, the wholesale shifting of a football club from one part of the country to another with no subsequent penalty does not feel right.
Ironically, AFC Wimbledon played MK Dons in a feisty Capital One Cup first round tie just two weeks ago, for the then unknown right to play United in the next round, losing 3-1.
Given MK Dons’ slightly greater resources and more talented playing staff, I suspect they were better equipped to undo United – but I wish it had been AFC Wimbledon that had earned the right to give it a go.
It was worth it however, to see the range of expressions on Van Gaal’s face as his side capitulated.
Dug-out watching is a national sport in itself in these days of social media and instant replays, and Van Gaal is already supplying a wonderful array of images.
GIVEN the divisions and suspicion with which Welsh rugby is rife at the moment, there still feels like plenty of time for something to go wrong in relations between the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union, before the Guinness PRO12 kicks off next weekend.
I must confess to giving up several months ago my attempt to understand the tortuous threads of arguments from both camps about participation agreements and the like.
It is what happens on the pitch that should matter most, and there were times last season - and not just in Wales - when one wondered what, if anything, the fixture lists for the 2014/15 season would look like.
Good sense has prevailed in terms of European club competition, though goodness knows how, after the rancour of the last12 months. Money in the end talks loudest, I suppose.
And one can only hope that there enough of that good sense left over to enable peace to finally break out between regions and WRU.
The latest spat involves English Premiership clubs threatening to play on through the next Rugby World Cup unless they get something in the region of £14 million in compensation for lost revenue for shutting up shop during the tournament. They've been offered about £8m, so there's plenty of scope for disagreement there.
On the pitch, it is time the Guinness PRO12 lived up to its hype as bearing comparison with the English Premiership, and closer to home, it is also time for Newport Gwent Dragons to fire again.
If both of those things happen, that will translate into excitement on the pitch, where it matters, in the process setting mouths watering for the 2015 World Cup.
Fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong before next weekend.