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A glimpse of final victory

2010 December 14
by Paul Vallely

Twenty-six of the 33 rescued Chilean miners turned up at Old Trafford yesterday in red Manchester United shirts ahead of last night’s match between United and Arsenal. Meanwhile down the road another Latin American, Carlos Tevez, who defected from United to their rivals Man City, was trying with his usual indefatigable energy to dig his way out of his contract with the Manchester’s blue team.

Twitter was alive with gags about the miners too defecting down the road if they weren’t too all offered £300,000 a week**. But the mood at old Trafford was far less cynical. One of United’s directors, Sir Bobby Charlton, whose father was a Northumberland miner, told the Chileans: “Congratulations on the luck you had, you were in a position that none of us would have liked, everyone around the world is very proud of you.”

Quite how pride can derives from luck is a splendid piece of footballing logic, but everyone knew what Sir Bobby meant as he tried to put into words something about the warmth of human solidarity. J. R. R. Tolkien once described history as one “long defeat” with “some samples or glimpses of final victory.” Yesterday at Old Trafford we were afforded such a glimpse.


** The Chilean miners have released a statement thanking Manchester United for inviting them to Old Trafford, the spokesman also added that he thanked Manchester City for the offer of visiting the Eastlands trophy room but has sadly declined saying that it was too soon for most of the miners to be visitng another small, empty desolate place. 

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