It's not a big deal anymore to be late for a Manchester United game. Gone are the days when you could miss an early goal because you had to run off for a quick bathroom break just before kick-off. So it really didn't matter that my mates were 20 minutes late for the game.
Perhaps it's just as well they were because the lovely Patricia, from back in high school, chanced along. It had been long since we last met so whilst Ander Herrera passed to Schweinsteiger to Fellaini to Chris Smalling, to De Gea and repeat, Patsy and I got off to some good old memory lane reminiscing.
We did pause a bit to acknowledge Matteo Darmian's brilliant pass into the feet of Wayne Rooney but as we've come to expect from the captain, it ultimately came to nothing. And just as United got back to passing their way to sleep, so did Patsy and I resume the subject of passing written messages to each other in class. She was amused by the fact that I'm more verbose than 11 years ago. Once upon a time, watching Manchester United play was better than chatting up a pretty lady.
Unfortunately, for me, Patsy had to leave because her take away was ready. Now I really had to watch the football, if only because I needed to have something about the game to blog here today. I needn't have worried though because just then, the boys walked in. Company! It meant we could comfort each other from the hurt that followed Juan Mata losing possession twice in a minute.
It's a comfort that could not be underestimated in the circumstances, for over at the far side of the pub, in a dark corner, a fellow Red sat starring at the screen, cold and coiled by the events being broadcast to him all the way from the M16. There are admittedly bigger problems in this world. Hunger, Poverty, Disease. But for our anonymous colleague in the corner, it seemed nature had dealt him a cruel hand. It seemed so sad for him that it was funny for us!
We did, mind you, pause in our tipsy stupor to acknowledge our first shot on target on the 69th minute! The sarcastic applause inside the stadium got me wondering if the fans who actually paid to watch the game were in a deeper mire than the lad in the corner of the pub. They probably were because Old Trafford started emptying with fifteen minutes still left to play.
When Nigel Adkins got down from his seat to inspire his side to a replay, it finally dawned on us that we had a game of football to watch. The jokes and banter gave way for nervous energy. Odd that we really started following the game in stoppage time. For all of six minutes! Again, you never miss much in between with United these days and so even if you tuned in at the point when Memphis Depay won the penalty, you'd have nothing to regret. Except that at that point, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were off, leaving the captain with a shot back at penalty duties. There was more fear in the room that he would miss it than there was joy after he scored.
Ask Louis van Gaal about the game, and he will tell you that United are in the fourth round of the FA Cup having dominated the game against the opposition. He will probably add that United have a 100% record of wins in the year 2016 and therefore ought to get much more credit than they are getting.
If he asked me what I thought about the game; I'd tell him that I probably wouldn't have much to blog about this week if Patricia had not walked into the pub!