Carabao Cup final night. All of the sights and sounds you may normally expect, but there was certainly a different feel to this match. A game of major importance to both sides. Manchester United, the eventual winners, would win their first trophy in six years, since Jose Mourinho lifted the "awkward treble" of Community Shield, League Cup, and Europa League. For the losing side, Newcastle United, the wait for a domestic trophy extends to sixty eight years. However, this match felt like more than just a League Cup final, often reserved for second string teams and minor cup upsets. It was the turning point for both these sides, and recurring memories for fans of a certain generations. History repeating itself.

The nineties was a great decade to be a football fan. The transformation from the old First Division to the current Premier League was the equivalent of the constant development of technology at the time. It was groundbreaking, fresh, and something to be a part of. Current younger audiences may struggle to believe this, but going back to this decade wad probably the Premier League at its best. At the heart of this, was Manchester United. The Sir Alex Fergusson revolution, Eric Cantona's flair, the class of 92, this team had it all. If you were a United fan, these were the best years of your life. If you were any other supporter, you despised the Red Devils. And whilst many other teams would put themselves as United's biggest rivals, this decade was very nearly Newcastle's for the taking. Regulars in the Champions League, but always second fiddle to United.

"I will love it if we beat them! Love it!". Kevin Keegan famous words, which turned out to be the Magpies' downfall. This Newcastle side was flamboyant. Over many years they battled the likes of Blackburn, Norwich and Leeds in the Premier League. They very nearly got the better of Manchester United as well. 1996 was a great year for them, despite coming away with nothing. They very nearly won the league, having ran away with the lead of the league. It should have been an easy job to secure the title. However, like many before and after them, they would concede the title to Sir Alex Fergusson's men.

And then it all went wrong. It could have been worse, as Leeds United have found out over the years, but Newcastle sank into mediocrity. The wealth of the big six clubs was too much, and they joined many of the clubs they fought against for titles, in battling against relegation. Of the four clubs I've mentioned earlier, Newcastle have spent the least amount of time in the Championship, but for a while it seemed like away days at Stoke and Millwall would be incoming, whilst Manchester United flew and faltered at the same time. Both sides stumbling after great managers left (the only managers to win trophies with United after Sir Alex: Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Erik Ten Hag) but have recently had a redemption of sorts.

One year can be a long time in football. It can also make the biggest impact. In 2022, Newcastle have been as low as 20th, bottom of the table. They have been as high as 3rd. The Eddie Howe revolution has been immense, aided by the Saudi takeover that sparked so much controversy, but has since proved itself to be the injection Newcastle needed. Despite signing fairly cheap but influential players in Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope, the club has seen a turnaround in fortunes rarely seen since Sir Alex Fergusson for Manchester United. They have spent wisely, with their only two more expensive players Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaeres looking great value for money. They had fears of relegation. They have dreams of Champions League football.

As for Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag has got them in a title race. Smart buys like Newcastle have gotten them in a position to challenge the best, having beaten Barcelona and Manchester City in champions displays. They aren't too far off the pace of Arsenal, having only lost once (to Arsenal) in 21 matches. Marcus Rashford is the striker every fan thought they needed, Casemiro has shown his title winner mentality. The pieces are here. The puzzle master has put them all together.

There are two months of the season to go, but so much to play for. Both teams can make history. Who will take the chance. We will see.