Twenty-five years ago today, Alex Ferguson wanted to put his head in the oven. Nearly three years into a trophyless reign at Manchester United, he had just watched his expensively-assembled side be dismantled by Mel Machin's underwhelming Manchester City. In Manchester, it is still simply known as The 5-1.
David White's cross for Andy Hinchcliffe at the far post sealed a sensational victory for the struggling Blues against a United side bolstered by Neil Webb, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince and Mike Phelan. Hinchcliffe, just 20, couldn't resist flashing the five fingers at the Reds that had crammed into the Kippax Stand.
"I think Alex said he felt like going home and putting his head in the oven," Archie Knox, Ferguson's assistant at the time, recalled in 2011. "That’s it. It was a disaster. After games, we were parking our car under the stand and leaving through the laundry and that kind of stuff. There was a bit of that going on. It affected him. He says he became a bit of a hermit and, aye, he went into his shell round about that time. We weren’t maybe as close socially as we had been. I was trying to get him out for a drink but he didn’t want to."
Ferguson would not lose to City for nearly 13 years but that defeat - in the last derby played at Maine Road - trioggered a stream of numbing defeats at Eastlands...