Back in 1999 when United won it, the only British team to have done so I might add, the competition was a one match competition between the best of South America and the Champions of Europe. But now, nine years after United last won it, the cup has taken the form of a seven team knockout tournament.
By the time Manchester United first step out onto the pitch, Waitakere United from New Zealand should be back home in New Zealand already, along with two other teams.
Sepp Blatter is really keen to make this tournament work but swathes of empty seats have not helped FIFA's case in former competitions and Thursday's curtain raiser between Waitakere and Adelaide United in Tokyo hardly sets pulses racing.
"We're the only British team to have won it," said United manager Alex Ferguson, whose side face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at the weekend before jetting to the Far East.
"I consider that to be one of the club's greatest achievements."
Ecuador's LDU are likely to be United's biggest threat after becoming the first team from their country to win South America's Libertadores Cup.
Fergie's boys, currently six points adrift in the Premiership, start their campaign on December 18th in the second semi-final which should, in theory, be against Gamba Osaka of Japan and a defeat against them is unthinkable for Fergie!
Barring a rather odd result in the other semi-final United should meet up with Ecuador's LDU in the final. They became the first side from Ecuador to win the Coa Libertadores hence their participation in the competition.
The form book says this is a win for United but as we all know, things can go wrong in a big way with these trips to Japan......Back To Home Page...