It was an afternoon that provided all you could ever want. Provided all you could ever want was scrappy football, Joey Barton going mental and Man City players giving a verbal middle finger to anyone who ever accused them of being under-motivated money-grabbers.
It was an afternoon that swung one way, then another, then spent a long time with Manchester United before swinging back to City in the most amazing fashion. It was like the stuff of Disney. If Disney wrote fairytales about billionaires instead of fairies, princesses and strangely articulate animals. Here’s how the odds went on the most breath-taking final day of the season.
3pm: As the games begin, it’s City who are holding all the aces. All they need to go is beat a QPR team with the worst away record in the league and hope Manchester United don’t beat Sunderland by about 10 goals. The odds: 1/9 City 7/2 United
3.15pm: City make a bright start to the game, but are somewhat thwarted by QPR’s refusal to roll over and have their bellies tickled. Over on Weirside, Manchester United are being dominated and playing poorly, which is generally a sign that they’re about to score.
3.30pm: Collective amnesia amongst the Sunderland players about how to defend a mildly threatening cross allows Wayne Rooney to head Manchester United into the lead. With City still struggling to break through the massed ranks of QPR players, The defending champions leapfrog to the top of the ‘As It Stands’ table. It didn’t change the odds too much though: City 1/5 United 3/1
HALF TIME: After a lot of huffing and puffing, City have finally blown the ball in. Pablo Zabeleta is the unlikely scorer. Well, that’s the nerves settled, surely it’ll all be a cakewalk from here on in. The odds: 1/20 City 8/1 United
4.15pm: The news that Bolton are winning means QPR are going to have to snap out of the most defensive performance we’ve seen since Rupert Murdoch was at the Levenson inquiry. They duly oblige, via the medium of Joleon Lescott’s forehead, as Djibril Cisse puts the Rs level. Joey ‘The Pacifist’Barton then decides to give peace a chance by landing an elbow on Carlos Tevez, kicking Sergio Aguero and then trying to headbutt Vincent Kompany. QPR are down to 10 men, but United are back in pole position as things stand. The odds: City 4/11 United 15/8
4.30pm: Just when everyone’s expecting QPR to batton down the hatches and hang on to the draw that would keep them safe, they break quickly. Armand Traore sprints down the left wing and tees up Mackie who puts the Rs 2-1 up. With about 25 minutes of the season to go, we’ve reached the ultimate in squeaky bum time. United become favourites for the title. The odds: City 11/10 United 4/7
4.45pm: City keep hammering at the door, but Paddy Kenny is playing like a man promised a truck load of pies. He repeatedly stops City. With about ten minutes to go, it looks like the Master of the Mind games will be celebrating another Premier League crown at the Stadium of Light. The odds: City 5/1 United 1/10
4.50pm: Stoppage time rolls around and City are given a Fergie-like 5 minutes to salvage their season. They won’t though. We all saw Chelsea at the Nou Camp. Sometimes crap gets results. We close our live betting with United 1/33 to win the league and City 10/1.
10/1? You might as well throw your money in the fire. Wait a minute … we’ll just watch this corner …