The battle lines have been drawn, and for about 90 minutes today, large parts of the world are likely to come to a halt.
It’s always a big occasion when Manchester United and Liverpool go head-to-head. It’s not called the Big One for nothing.
The two towns in England are 56 km apart, roughly the distance between Atlantis and Cape Town’s CBD.
Their rivalry is one of the most celebrated in the world, with nearly 700 million people around the world watching each time.
Today’s Premier League clash in Manchester is the one-day headline dubbed Super Sunday, with a few other notable fixtures in Spain, Italy and France to close a fun afternoon of football.
But most of the attention will be focused on Old Trafford.
And while the UK may be in a different and quite distant time zone, Cape Town fans here are also gearing up to cheer on their respective teams on their TVs.
Think of the local families who support opposing teams, and there are many of them in the city. Like the Pontacs of Strandfontein. His wife Beryl is a longtime Manchester United supporter, while her husband Deon is a Liverpool fan.
“We keep the jokes in my house on game days very courteous,” Deon admits. “But I especially like when Man United are beaten or lose points, especially on a weekend where my team are winning.” Beryl is optimistic and believes she will go to bed winning on Sunday. “I’m a little frustrated with my team’s performance so far. But I also know that Man United always bring their A-game when they play for Liverpool. I’m excited and anxious, and I still believe in my team. “
Liesle and Heinrich Hans of Mitchells Plain are another case of the attraction of opposites.
“My husband has been a Liverpool fan since the 80s and I have supported Man United my whole life,” Liesle said. âGame day in our house is a bit crazy. We wake up with our playing faces. We don’t even talk to each other. We’ll be throaty all the time. But it’s actually a lot of fun,â she adds. .
The first competitive match between the two clubs took place in the late 1800s.
At the time, United were known as Newton-Heath, and Liverpool had just gone it alone, having parted ways with Everton football club.
Lance Santos, a South African sports correspondent for UK-based TRT World television channel, has covered numerous derby matches. He tells Weekend Argus that the game has always been a “hit match.”
“They are the two most successful teams in British football history.” he says. âRight now it looks like Liverpool have the upper hand. They’ve been in scintillating form. Manchester United are at a crossroads under coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. This could be the end. Because. let this great derby match against Liverpool start a series of very important games. A win for Liverpool will be a huge punch for manager Jurgen Klopp. “
Neil Ruiters, chairman of Liverpool’s official supporters’ club in Cape Town, said he had “mixed feelings” about today’s game. “This game is really unpredictable every season. And it’s always the fit team that loses the game that day. I have no doubts about Man United’s ability to give Liverpool a really tough game, which we’ve seen so many times over the years. “
Ricky Van Wyk, life member of the official Manchester United Supporters’ Club of Cape Town, and who has been at the forefront of United’s matches at Old Trafford several times, said: “As far as current performances are concerned, I am not sure of Sunday’s game. But again with the United team we have, you never know. It’s a big derby with Liverpool so anything can happen. We can surprise anyone because of it all. the stars we have on our team. “
The outcome of this game will likely affect the future of United boss Solskjaer in the spotlight, Santos says. “Yes, Ole is a legend at Manchester United, but how long will the fans put up with him? United fans are very well informed. They faced the best of the game with Alex Ferguson. They are used to this kind of level. managerial skills How long will the fans be silent in the stadium The reality is Ole is not an elite level manager If Ole were sacked tomorrow which Premier League clubs would line up for him? Ole seems like a walking dead man, especially if they lose hard to Liverpool. There is so much at stake. “