Despite an extensive and prolonged media effort, last nights top of the table clash turned out to be a slightly underwhelming nil-nil draw, of the type that makes well adjusted football fans shrug philosophically and Alan Green explode in self-righteous fury.
"I can't believe it," said one senior football executive, a trained accountant and therefore, terrifyingly, seemingly now qualified to comment on such matters, "all the stops were pulled out. In the seven days leading up to the match, everybody, and I mean absolutely everybody was asked about it in interview, up to and including a clearly perplexed David Bowie."
TV company runners had been dispatched to interview all the legends who had played for either club, if, by "legend", you mean anyone who played for them at least once, now has an alcohol problem and needed a quick five hundred quid, that is.
Bigwigs are also baffled because Tim Lovejoy was on constant standby, and never shut his hole once, not that anyone noticed the difference.
When the crunch came, and it was really looking as if the game would finish scoreless, Clive Tyldesley was hastily bused in to excitedly yap clearly pre-scripted inanities whilst viewers was just trying to watch the bloody game with their teeth clenched. But astonishingly, this had no impact whatsoever on the quality or outcome of the match.
Insiders at Sky, the Premier league and FIFA are increasingly concerned that evidence is pointing to the dire conclusion that what makes a football game great is not the amount of noisy drivel generated by moneyed pricks in suits, but unpredictable and fiscally unviable elements such as the talent of the players, the passion of the backroom staff, the atmosphere from the crowd, and that little random factor, luck, which makes a great game such a rare and special thing.
Concern is rising amongst the footballling powers that be, that what keeps people coming back to the game is that special mercurial element which means that a special night at the football can't just be dialled up by some corporate bellends on demand, but appears, like a fickle mistress, sometimes, granted at Old Trafford on a "magical sodding European night", but equally, sometimes at Bradford Park Avenue.
Televison executives have already responded to the setback with next weeks's Chelsea game in mind. Industy insiders reaveal they've lined up a fifteen minute montage of Frank Lampard celebrations, an endless tracking shot of what used to be the Shed End, a rentagob quote from Tony Cascarino and at least 6 whole hours of interviews with fat crewcut idiots in tight replica shirts. "There is no way the game won't be absolutely fucking great after that lot, is there?" said some bloke from Sky.
When asked for comment, anyone who actually liked and understood football was either playing or managing local football on a Saturday afternoon or else watching non-league, just to get away from the sheer fucking awfulness of it all.