The story behind when Man United lost title on the final day to City

‘We saw the podium being brought on to the pitch… then it suddenly went into reverse’: Sir Alex Ferguson’s trusted goalkeeper coach reveals the story behind when Man United lost the title on the final day to rivals City

  • Manchester United sickeningly lost out on Premier League to rivals City in 2012
  • Sergio Aguero won City the league title with one of the last kicks of the season
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s side suffered ultimate heartache after beating Sunderland
  • Eric Steele has now recalled the dramatic final moments of the 2011-12 season 

Manchester United’s former goalkeeper coach Eric Steele has recalled that sickening moment they lost out on the Premier League title to neighbours City with one of the last kicks of the season.

The 2011-12 season threw up the most extraordinary of finales ever seen in the Premier League thanks to Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp strike against Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad.

City went into the final game of the season knowing they needed to beat QPR to be crowned champions for the first time in 44 years, while United lurked in the background.

Manchester United suffered the ultimate heartache as they lost out on the title in 2012 to City

Sergio Aguero scored with one of the last kicks of the season to seal the title for City

Eric Steele, who was United goalkeeping coach for five years, has recalled that sickening day

United beat Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light but moments before the final whistle, City were losing 2-1 at the Etihad against QPR, who were trying to beat the drop.  

However, Edin Dzeko equalised for Roberto Mancini’s side to make it 2-2 in injury-time just before United’s players and fans anxiously waited inside the stadium to find out whether they would be celebrating yet another league title. 

As the wait went on and the hope grew stronger for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, they ended up suffering the ultimate heartache as their noisy neighbours scored with one of the last kicks of the game through Aguero, who slotted past Paddy Kenny, to ensure the Etihad erupted into madness.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had done their job, beating Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light

United players and Ferguson react after finding out City clinched the title right at the death 

And Steele, who was goalkeeping coach at United between 2008-13, has recalled those hugely dramatic final moments and how they reacted at Stadium of Light.  

Steele told the Athletic: ‘Wayne had scored the winner at the Stadium of… we’ll have to rename that one, and we’d finished so early. Just two minutes of extra time.

‘We actually saw the podium being brought on to the pitch. There was one with us and one at Man City. Then it suddenly went into reverse. That’s when we knew. We went, “Oh my god”. Sky told us. They were on constant link to the Etihad.

Aguero wheels away in celebration after scoring the all-important last-gasp goal at the Etihad

The Etihad erupted into madness when Aguero wrapped up the Premier League title 

‘I took Paddy Kenny to task. How can you let that in at your near post from Aguero? “I didn’t expect him to hit it with that much pace.” I still went mad anyway because when you look at it from the kick-off after the equaliser, all QPR had to do was keep the ball. What did they do? Smash it down. They played it forward and then Martin Tyler took over. The voice. Ugh.

‘That was the longest five minutes in the dressing room, when we all got back in. Everyone sat down. I think the gaffer went out the room and eventually came back in. He needed a personal moment. 

‘Then he just said, “This won’t happen again.” If he was thinking about leaving I think it was changed very quickly. Then we won the league by 11 points. And people say we handed over an ageing team.’

Then City manager Roberto Mancini runs onto the pitch as he celebrates Aguero’s strike

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