23 October, 2011

End of era and end of aura perhaps for World's biggest football brand whilst World's biggest rugby brand finally delivers on the biggest stage:

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All Black Head Coach Graham Henry after World Cup win
"Inner peace for the rest of my life," - All Blacks Head Coach when asked what winning the Rugby World Cup means to him 

                   On an amazing day for the two biggest brand names in the World's two biggest sports (football and rugby); their fortunes could not have been more contrasting.
THE FINGERS SAY IT ALL: Man. United 1-6 (Yes, SIX) City
           23rd October 2011 could well be looked back on as the day that the Manchester United aura ended as only a converted try separated them from Manchester City(!); whilst it will be one of the happiest days in the life of a generation of New Zealanders as their beloved All Blacks lifted the Rugby World Cup Webb Ellis trophy for the first time in 24 years.              On the flip side of the coin; 23rd October 2011 could well be looked on as the day of the passing of the torch across Manchester as the Blue Moon rose over Old Trafford with City's multi, multi-millionaires absoluting battering the home side.  The league champions (and with 19 Titles; holding the record number of League crowns); had started the season well, most notably with an 8-2 thumping of Arsenal.  However, in recent weeks they had gone off the boil somewhat.  Eventhough United had a player (Johnny Evans) sent off at the start of the second-half and three of City's goals were scored in injury-time; Man. City were good value for their win, even if a goal difference swing of 10 goals was harsh on the home side.                
               Whilst Liverpool have been traditionally United's greatest rivals and the biggest  "derby"  in England; Man. City's Etihad Stadium is after all just four miles across the river from Old Trafford and it looks like United will have to overcome their nearest rivals if they are to hope to retain their Premier League crown.  This viewer doesn't see that happening over the next few seasons and a seismic change appears to sweeping across Manchester.
             Mention deserves to be made here of David Silva who was simply sensational today and looks well on his way to becoming the Premier League (and possibly Europe's) Player of the Season.  He could in fact dominate the game at the highest level for years to come and will have a big say in Spain's defence of their European Championship crown next summer.
               On the other side of the world; there won't be many who will begrudge the world's greatest rugby brand; the New Zealand All Blacks a second World Cup crown.  Whilst this observer feels that France deserved to win the Final today, the Blacks held on to win 8-7 and after a turbulent year for the Kiwi nation, today will be a chance for some celebration after so much misery in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.
BRILLIANT BLACKS: A nation celebrates at end of traumatic year
               When asked what this victory means to him; New Zealand Head Coach Graham Henry stated:  "Inner peace for the rest of my life."  It's a feeling which will be replicated by many Kiwis - though four years time the nation that has provided most to the game of rugby will be looking to add another World Cup crown to their trophy cabinet.  Whilst there are those who will state that the All Blacks can only win rugby's greatest prize when they play at home - one imagines that the majority of those would be Australian. 
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