For most people in 2020, Pizzagate is the word used to describe the crazy conspiracy theory that said Hilary Clinton He operated a pedophile and sex trafficking ring from the basement of a popular pizza restaurant in Washington.
The theory is from 2016, but Pizzagate exploded again after Justin Bieber premieres the video of his song Yummy, full of images of pizza and symbols that many interpreted as a confession of the singer who had been a victim of that same network that Donald Trump was supposedly trying to destroy (none of this is true, but many believed it and one man even shot to the restaurant thinking it would save dozens of children).
For the British football fans of 2004, Pizzagate means something totally different, refers to an infamous incident between Arsenal, Manchester United and… a slice of pizza (hence the name).
Pizzagate original happened in October 2004, Arsenal y Manchester United were the teams that dominated the Premier League and each had won two of the previous championships and they were going to face each other in an important match in which not only victory was at stake.
Arsenal had won the 2003-2004 title and they were the first team in nearly a century to achieve that without losing a single of 38 games, which was only possible because Manchester’s Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a penalty the year before, causing a fight that turned the two teams into deadly enemies.
The match, which would take place in the stadium Old Trafford, it was the opportunity to Manchester to redeem yourself and defeat your enemy. On the other hand, if Arsenal won, they would get a record 50 undefeated matches in the Premiere League, which made this an almost poetic showdown.
On game day the tension was in the air Arsenal I didn’t want to play there and Manchester He didn’t want to be beaten at home, especially with thousands of fans watching everything from their seats.
The game started and the tension only increased, and then came a controversial Wayne Rooney penalty that became the first point of the game and the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and ended everyone’s patience. That penalty was followed by a second goal in the last minute that returned some of his honor to the Manchester, and ended Arsenal’s winning streak.
Manchester had allowed the Arsenal reaching 38 games, but they were stopped before reaching 50 and they celebrated it big, and everything was worse because many disputed the legitimacy of the penalty that gave them the advantage in the first place.
Believe it or not, that was not what marked that day in football history, Pizzagate It happened shortly after, when fans started to leave the stadium and head home, and the media did not hesitate to make it the drama of the moment.
The players were changing in the locker room and Arsène Wenger, the manager of Arsenal, he heard that a fight had broken out in the hallways and that someone was yelling at some of the players so he went out and went to talk to Alex Freguson, manager of the Manchester United, and, amid the chaos, a pizza flew out and hit Ferguson right on the neck. Wenger went back into the locker room and the players who were there ran out, according to Wes Brown, one of the players from the Manchester, and there was no sign of the culprit.
Everyone was trying to find who had thrown the pizza, and for years the identity of the player who threw the pizza was a mystery, although many were convinced that Cesc Fàbregas was involved in some way, but, without a clear answer, the story became legend and the legend was dubbed Pizzagate.
It wasn’t until 2017 that Fàbregas finally admitted guilt and that his intention was never to hit Ferguson. Cesc said: “I heard noises (from the tunnel) and I thought, what is happening? So I went out with my slice of pizza and saw Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown … all jostling. I was like, I want to get in but I don’t know how and I threw … I just threw it. Once I saw that he was hitting, like, who was he hitting, which I didn’t want to do, I mean … I apologize Sir Alex, I really didn’t mean to do that! “
Why was there pizza in Old Trafford? We will never know that, but there is a theory that it was a Manchester United trick to provoke the fight. Most ridiculous of all was that the great battle of British football ended in a food fight and we had to wait more than a decade for the truth.