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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Sir Bobby Charlton Gets Award From UEFA

sir bobby charlton manchester united old traffordSir Bobby Charlton has been awarded a "UEFA Presidents Award"for his contribution to European football and will be presented with it before Manchester United take on Arsenal in their Champions League semi-final tonight.

UEFA president Michel Platini will hand the award to Charlton in a ceremony at lunchtime at Old Trafford.

Charlton played for United from 1953 until 1973, was named European Footballer of the Year in 1966 and was a member of the United team that won the European Cup in 1968. He also played 106 times for England winning the World Cup in 1966 and still holds his country's international scoring record with 49 goals.

Platini said in a statement: "Sir Bobby represents everything that is good about the game of football; fair play, respect, and true loyalty and he is a good example for future generations, both on and off the pitch."

Oooh how that must pain Platini. He spends his life annoying United and having his little digs as and when he can fit them in.

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Monday, 27 April 2009

From Salford To Tucson And Back Again

From Salford To Tucson And Back Again
By: Robert Carter

The Memories of a Globetrotting Manchester United Fan Provide
An Emotional Roller coaster of a book.

This diehard supporter bases his book on experience, passion,
hopes and fears and reminds us all why we love football.

As a supporter of Manchester United, Robert Carter has seen it
all. He has witnessed the highs, the lows, the false dawns; and
more recently, the unprecedented success of his beloved team.

He has watched the DVD’s, read the autobiographies and studied
the history, but something was missing. He couldn’t find a book
that shared the experiences of the supporter from the terraces.
A book that reminded him why he started to support United in the
first place, and why he still supports them almost five decades

The only solution was to write the book himself.

‘From Salford to Tucson and Back Again’ is the result of almost
fifty years of supporting the Red Devils. It takes us from a
bygone age of terracing and camaraderie to the faceless exper-
ience of the modern football stadium.

It starts in the aftermath of the Munich Air Disaster, takes us
through the glory days of the swinging sixties and then the long
barren years before returning to glory in the early nineties.

Born in Davyhulme near Manchester, Carter spent his early years
in Swinton, near Salford. He has lived and travelled all over the
world, before settling back into his native Manchester in January 2008.

Wherever his travels took him, Manchester United was always close
to his heart. Read about a close encounter with the police in Bangkok,
how United's results affected his own playing style and about the
devotion of following the red devils through thick and thin. On a
famous day in May 1999, while United were winning the treble, this
devotion almost cost him his life.

For fan or foe, the Manchester United story is one of highs and lows,
of excitement, adventure and legends. ‘From Salford to Tucson and
Back Again’ is told through the eyes of an ordinary supporter. It is
not the autobiography of a player yet to reach his prime, or one that
will never be anywhere near as good as his ego lets him believe. It is
not written by a journalist, or anybody with an insider view. All the
stories are true, some joyous and some painful. Like every other United
fan that Carter knows, he lives and breathes football. He cries when
they win and he cries even louder when they lose.


Robert Carter is an author, poet, motivational speaker and wannabe rock
singer. He has visited more than thirty countries on business and led
sales campaigns to around $2.5 billion in new business.

His first book, The Balanced Innovator, Turning Ideas into Reality has
helped individuals and organizations to achieve increased productivity
while improving the process of innovation. He has been the keynote speaker
at dozens of conferences on innovation and is an after dinner speaker.

Robert began his education at Mossfield Infants and Primary School in
Swinton; and at Wardley Grammar school where he attained 8 O’ Level
GCE’s. He also attended North Trafford College and Manchester Metropolitan
University (when it was still called a Poly) before completing his
education with a MBA at the University of Hertford.

He is also a Manchester United fan and his new book, From Salford to Tucson
and Back Again, the Globetrotting Memoirs of a Manchester United Fanatic
is now available from:

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Rafael Gets A New Contract Deal

rafael da silva new contract deal manchester united Rafael da Silva has signed a new two-year contract extension at Manchester United. The deal will keep Rafael at United until 2013. It's a well earned reward for the youngster from Brazil after a great start to his United career. I have been well and truly impressed with the way he has played in his first year. Rafael has made 24 appearances, scoring one goal and manager Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted with his progress.

Sir Alex, speaking on said: "Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional. His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player and we are delighted that he has signed a new contract."

Rafael, who arrived in July last year after being brought up in Rio de Janiero, hopes to have a long association with United.

"It has been a fantastic first year and I have learned from all the players at the club but especially from the defenders. It has been an exciting time for me and I want to be part of this for a long time so to get an extension is unbelievable."

Rafael's professional football career began with Fluminense in Brazil, where he played at youth level.

Rafael and his brother Fábio were brought to the attention of Manchester United by club scout Les Kershaw in the summer of 2005 while playing for Fluminense in a youth tournament in Hong Kong.

Manchester United got in touch with Fluminense and asked permission for the twins to travel to Manchester to train with them in 2005. Shortly afterwards, a scout claiming to represent Arsenal visited the twins and asked them to come to England to train with Arsenal without the permission of Fluminense; however, they were dissuaded from this by their mother, who reminded them that they had been with Fluminense since they were 11, and that they should show the club some loyalty. The twins were also approached by Real Madrid while they were on international duty with Brazil.

Therefore, the twins decided to sign for Manchester United, and a deal was agreed between the two clubs in February 2007. The twins moved to Manchester in January 2008, but were unable to play in matches until they turned 18 in July 2008.

Rafael made his first appearance for the club in a friendly match against Peterborough United on 4 August. He was then registered in the club's senior squad for the 2008–09 season and was assigned the number 21 shirt previously worn by Dong Fangzhuo.

He made his competitive debut on the opening day of the 2008–09 Premier League season, coming on as a second half substitute for Fraizer Campbell against Newcastle United.

Rafael made his first start for Manchester United on 23 September 2008, playing at right back against Middlesbrough in the Third Round of the League Cup. His first start in European competition was away to Aalborg BK in the UEFA Champions League on 30 September. Selected ahead of Gary Neville and Wes Brown, Rafael turned in an impressive performance, creating problems for the Danish side with his attacking play and two well hit shots before being substituted on 66 minutes due to injury.

He made his first Premier League start in Manchester United's 4–0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on 18 October 2008. His first goal for Manchester United came in the 90th minute of his seventh game for the club, a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 8 November 2008, with a powerful volley from just inside the penalty area. At the end of the season, Rafael and his Manchester United team-mate Jonny Evans were shortlisted as one of the nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

On 19 April 2009, in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, Rafael and his twin brother, Fábio, started a match together for Manchester United for the first time. However, United lost the match 4–2 on penalties

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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Redknapp Jumps On The Moaners Bandwagon

Every football site I go on today is full of the usual nonsense. People up in arms about how Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson bribe the referees and have the FA in their pocket to the extent that the FA bend over backwards to do everything Sir Alex wants. Hey, maybe he is even bribing them too.

Now Harry Redknapp is blaming Howard Webb, yesterdays referee in United's 5-2 win against Spurs. Apparently, it is down to the referee that United went on a five goal spree. If Webb had not given the penalty decision, then United wouldn't have scored five and won. What a load of old horse excrement.

"The referee made a terrible mistake," said Redknapp. "The players can't believe it because it changed the face of the game."

He added: "United were not going to win unless something like that happened."

Redknapp challenged Webb after the final whistle, although he got nothing better than the offer of an apology if the FA Cup final referee had got it wrong.

"You should have technology," he said. "The fourth official should be watching the TV monitor and talking to the referee.

"The guy has not done it on purpose, it is just a bad decision but it was the turning point."
Where were all these moaners and complainers last week when Manchester United were denied a penalty in the FA Cup Semi Final against Everton. That would have seen them get to Wembley for the Cup Final and the quintuple would still be a target for us. Did you hear me moan and complain endlessly because the decision went against us. No you didn't. Shit happens and you have to live with it. Last week we lost out because of a bad refs decision, this week maybe we got a good decision in our favour. We went from the swings to the roundabout.

For Redknapp to declare "United were NOT going to win unless something like that happened" is just plain madness, how does he know?

Unfortunately, we need to stick to the real world and look at things in an equal light. Sometimes you get good decisions and sometimes you get a bad one. One thing never changes though, and that's the continual bickering against United because they are successful. One day maybe Liverpool will win the Premier League title, what a dreadful thought, but they will then face the venom and criticism of everyone. Succes in Britain isn't celebrated, it is decried and every effort is made to find a reason why these successful teams don't deserve their success. People should try enjoying football instead of getting tangled up in jealousy and constant bizarre ideas of corruption and other such shite.

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Kaka To Manchester United As Ronaldo Leaves For Madrid.

I read this on Clubcall and was wondering to myself is there much truth in it? Would this really happen? Is it a possibility?

Manchester United are reported to have held talks with AC Milan star Kaka with a view to wrapping up a summer swoop. Representatives of the Brazilian are said to have met up with United officials on Friday to discuss a possible deal and now the ball is in the club's court according to sources close to the player.

If United are keen they would first have to match Milan's sky high valuation, thought to be in the region of £100m, before agreeing to the Brazilian's personal demands. Whether United are keen remains to be seen but reports are rife suggesting a deal could be on the cards.

"It was a very positive meeting, although nothing was agreed," the source has been quoted as saying. "The player wants a five-year contract and wages of £135,000 a week. He is very keen to join United and these are figures that are within United's pay structure. It's up to them what happens now."

I suppose if Ronaldo were to move to Real Madrid, then it would be a logical move to find someone in the same class to replace him. But why would Kaka want to leave AC Milan? Maybe the fact their team is getting rather old now and their effectiveness in the Champions League seems to have wavered a bit in recent years would be reason enough.

Why would Kaka want to come and play in the Premier League? I think every player in Europe would like to play in the EPL to be honest. Right now it's the best and most successful league in the world.

Surely United wouldn't pay 100 million Euros for a player. The day will come when football has it's first 100 million Euro, or £100 million player, so why not now? I think in the current climate Kaka, Messi and Ronaldo could all be valued at around the £100 million mark. That's not to say they are worth that. Many people criticise Ronaldo and say he is not worth £100 million, but that's irrelevant. People seem to forget that their opinions are worthless when it comes to valuing players. The people who say he is not worth 50, 60, 70 or £100 million are talking through their asses.

The simple fact is.....a player is worth whatever sum of money he commands on the open market. If Ronaldo were to come up for sale, after a fall out with Fergie for instance, and Fergie was determined to get rid of him no matter what, and the best bid was £50 million, then he IS worth £50 million. A players value comes down to the simple fact that he is only worth whatever anyone is willing to pay for him.

AC Milan say they want 100 million euros for Kaka, to them he is worth that much. I agree he is worth somewhere in that region too. Manchester United can afford to pay this money. He is demanding £135,000 per week sources say, and that is within United's pay structure. Add to this the fact Kaka has openly said on many occasions that he wants to play in the EPL and this deal is not as crazy as it sounds.

Personally, I don't think Ronaldo is going anywhere as it happens. If Ronaldo stays then we certainly wont be signing Kaka, not a chance. But, if Fergie were to sell Ronaldo, he does have a habit of quelling the fans displeasure at some of his transfer dealings by coming up with replacements and results that soon make United fans forgive him.

Exit Ronaldo, enter Kaka is a good scenario, and it's the only way either of these players is going anywhere, but would you be happy with this exchange, do you believe it will happen, is it on the cards or is all this rumour mongering a ploy by the newspapers to get us to but their goods, no matter what they write is true or not?

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Reuben Noble Lazarus Trains With Manchester United For Two Weeks

reuben noble-lazarus barnsleyBarnsley player Reuben Noble-Lazarus is currently training with Manchester United for two weeks.

Noble-Lazarus is still only 15 years of age and has made two substitute appearance for the Barnsley this season.

He has been a regular in the Reserves and also scored a memorable hat-trick against Sheffield United in the Academy side.

Reuben has been with Barnsley Football Club setup from the age of twelve and this season he has played for the Under 16s, 18s, Reserves and First team.

Noble-Lazarus was born 16 August 1993. He can play as an outright striker or on the left, and is renowned for his speed. At 15 years and 45 days old, he became the youngest player ever to feature in a Football League match when he came on as a substitute during Barnsley's 3–0 Championship defeat by Ipswich Town on 30 September 2008.

The previous weekend, Noble-Lazarus had scored a hat-trick for the Barnsley under-18 team, for whom he had played since he was 12 years old, and was selected as a substitute for the senior team's visit to Portman Road. Coming on in the 84th minute of the match to replace Martin Devaney, Noble-Lazarus surpassed the record set by Bradford Park Avenue's Albert Geldard in September 1929, and equalled by Welshman Ken Roberts for Wrexham F.C. in 1951, by 113 days. He was too young to be paid for his appearance – Barnsley manager Simon Davey joked he would be given pizza and a ham sandwich for his efforts – and was due to return to Newsome High School in Huddersfield the following day.

Davey had wanted to play Noble-Lazarus in the League Cup earlier in the season but was prevented from doing so by the competition's rules, which prohibit the selection of players under the age of 15. The club has made an agreement with Noble-Lazarus' school to allow him to train with the club for two days each week. Davey has said that the club will "nurture" Noble-Lazarus by ensuring that he is "...dipped in and dipped back out..." of the team. Noble-Lazarus was included in Barnsley's squad to face Doncaster Rovers the weekend after his debut, making another substitute appearance when he came on for Iain Hume in the 87th minute.

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Fergie Has Never Had One Bid For Paul Scholes

paul scholesManchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed he has never had a single enquiry for midfielder Paul Scholes during his time at the club.

Scholes is set to make his 600th outing against Portsmouth tonight, with only Bill Foulkes, Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs having played more games.

Ferguson said: " We have never had one enquiry for Paul Scholes - because they all know he will never leave."

Scholes was born in Salford and grew up as an Oldham Athletic supporter, but has trained with Manchester United since the age of 14. He then later joined as a trainee upon leaving the Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School, Middleton, Greater Manchester in the summer of 1991. In his final term at school, he was selected to represent Great Britain National Schools in football.

Scholes was not a member of Manchester United's 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning squad that included future senior team mates David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, but he was part of the youth team that reached the final in the following season, alongside Phil Neville . Scholes turned professional on 23 July 1993, but did not make his breakthrough into the senior squad until the 1994–95 season, when he made seventeen league appearances and scored five goals. His debut came on 21 September 1994, where he scored twice in a 2–1 victory over Port Vale F.C. in the Football League Cup. Scholes came on as a substitute in the 1995 FA Cup final against Everton, which United lost 1–0.

In 1995–96, after Mark Hughes moved to Chelsea, Scholes had even more first-team opportunities. He stood in for the suspended Eric Cantona as Andrew Cole's strike partner for the first two months of the campaign. Scholes scored fourteen goals in all competitions as United became the first English team to win the double twice. He picked up another Premiership medal in 1996–97, but was restricted to three goals in sixteen league games.

Scholes moved to the midfielder and forward attack positions in the 1997–98 after Roy Keane suffered a knee injury in late September and did not play again that season. United finished the season without a major trophy, only the second time in the 1990s that this happened.

In 1998–99, Scholes was a key player in Manchester United's Premiership title, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League Treble success. He scored one of Manchester United's two goals against Newcastle in the FA Cup final. He also scored an away goal against Internazionale in the CL quarter-final, but was ruled out of the final victory over FC Bayern Munich through suspension.

Scholes netted a career-high twenty goals in all competitions in the 2002–03 season, a number that dipped to fourteen the next year, despite a career-best four FA Cup goals in comparison to his total of five in his first nine seasons. He was ruled out for the second half of the 2005–06 campaign with blurred vision. The cause of this was initially uncertain, sparking fears that it could end his career. He overcame this problem through the beginning of the year and he appeared in Manchester United's final game of the season against Charlton Athletic. Reportedly, Scholes' vision has not completely recovered.

On 22 October 2006, in the 2–0 Premiership victory over Liverpool in which Scholes also scored, twelve years after marking his Red Devils debut with a League Cup brace against Port Vale, Scholes became the ninth United player to play in five hundred matches, joining Sir Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, Denis Irwin, and current teammates Giggs and Gary Neville.

Scholes was dismissed during Manchester United's 1–0 away victory over Liverpool F.C. on 3 March 2007, for swinging an arm at Xabi Alonso. It marked his first league expulsion since April 2005. A month later, he was sent off in the first leg of Manchester United's Champions League quarter final at A.S. Roma. On 23 August, he was shortlisted for a spot in the National Football Museum Hall of Fame, which ultimately went to Dennis Bergkamp.

Scholes suffered knee ligament damage during a training session the night before Manchester United's Champions League Group F matchup with Dynamo Kiev on 23 October, and was out of action until the end of January 2008. He returned as a substitute in Manchester United's 3–1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the FA Cup. On 23 April, Scholes made his hundredth Champions League appearance in a semi-final 0–0 draw at FC Barcelona, and scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory in the second leg that sent United into the final, during which he suffered an injury and a yellow card after a clash with Claude Makélélé. He returned until he was substituted by Giggs in the 87th minute, and did not take part in the penalty shoot-out that was won 6–5 by United after a 1–1 extra-time draw.

Scholes was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in September 2008. In a December 2008 interview with The Daily Mirror, he said he planned to retire from football completely in two years. "I think I've got two years left at the most. I'm looking forward to finishing and everything that goes with it."

On 24 January 2009, Scholes scored his first goal of the season against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. His shot from out-side the box in the 34th minute deflected in off Tom Huddlestone to bring the game to 1–1, while United would go on to win 2–1. On 18 February, Scholes scored his first Premier League goal in over a year in a 3–0 win over Fulham, a swerving volley that hit Mark Schwarzer and rebounded in.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Manchester United Forced To Make Concessions On Season Tickets

must manchester united supporters trust glazer automatic cup scheme oft office of fair tradingThe Office of Fair Trading ordered Manchester United to "revise its season-ticket terms and conditions to make them clearer and fairer for fans'' on Monday, prompting supporters' groups to claim a "significant victory'', but it is clear that the fight to stop the Glazers continuing to hike prices is far from won.
A Department for Culture Media and Sport select committee hearing may be the next battleground.

Manchester United introduced the ACS (Automatic Cup scheme) which often compelled season ticket holders to take and pay for mid week Carling Cup and FA Cup games against lowly opposition where the game normally held little appeal to some fans, or they were just not able to attend. Thus passing on the onus of selling tickets to the fans and not themselves. The English and European champions have agreed to ensure season-ticket holders have "upfront transparency on potential costs to a guarantee of a ticket to all home games in all competitions'', according to the OFT, although really such conditions should be a given, not a privilege, in any season ticket.

United fans had expressed concern over commiting for an unknown amount of cup ties against unknown opposition. Some buyers of "one-year'' season tickets found they were not automatically entitled admission to some cup ties, indeed, in some of the bigger Champions League games they were overlooked completely as United used tickets for these games for Corporate packages which bring in far more cash then your average fan would. . Concessions have now been made by United, who are to abandon single-year deals.

How much pressure the OFT action places on the Glazers to freeze prices for next season is debatable. Having recently released annual accounts revealing United's startling debts, there is a need for the American owners to maximise revenue.

The OFT, though, are happy with its investigation. ''We have worked closely with Manchester United and are pleased that the club has amended its season-ticket terms to the considerable benefit of its fans,'' said Mike Haley, OFT head of consumer protection. "These changes greatly improve the protection for season-ticket holders.''

The OFT told fans groups such as the Manchester United Supporters Trust that there would be "ongoing monitoring to ensure [ticket schemes] are operated fairly in future''. United, though, will feel the OFT judgment is a score draw. Fans' complaints about price increases and the Automatic Cup Scheme were not upheld.

Fans insist these are an "abuse of a dominant market position'' under the Competition Act and pledged to fight on. "We have forced United's hand on a few of their ridiculous policies and this is a win for supporters,'' said a MUST spokesman. "Yet it is only the first step and shows what can be done with supporters working together and not letting the club roll over the fans.''

Clearly, the OFT must keep a sharp eye on the Glazers, a point that will doubtless be made at Westminster if fans have their way. "We are hoping for a DCMS select committee hearing,'' added the MUST spokesman. Given the friends the fans' groups have in Whitehall and Westminster, this hearing should definitely take place.

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Saturday, 18 April 2009

Fergie Got Moyes The Everton Job

alex ferguson and david moyesDavid Moyes, speaking with the Daily Mail, has revealed how he could easily have been lost to Everton if he had ignored advice from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in 2000 when a Premier League club came knocking for the then Preston manager.
"I called Sir Alex and he told me to pop down to Carrington to have a chat, I can’t say I really knew him that well. You’d bump into him at games and reserve games and we’d had some dealings, initially when David Beckham came on loan to Preston and I was assistant to Gary Peters. We then went on to sign the likes of Colin Murdoch, Jon Macken and Michael Appleton so there’d been quite a bit of contact. But it was still good of him to give up his time and let me come to see him. We sat there and went through the squad — he knew every one of them — and he advised me not to take it and, instead, stay at Preston. Which is obviously what I did."
Oddly enough, Fergie had already interviewed David Moyes for the vacant assistant managers job at Old Trafford and turned him down, choosing instead to hire Steve McLaren.
"He did tell me someone else was in the frame, and the guy he gave it to went on to manage England, which shows that he gets those decisions right because we’ve both gone on to do OK. But I remember sitting there, jaw open just wanting to get there and start learning. He was telling me what the job would be, and what was expected, and an opportunity to work with him would have been hard for anyone to turn down.
"Even now, I’ll take any opportunity to learn from him. The Scottish Premier League invite Scottish coaches to a dinner every year and Sir Alex comes up and lets the coaches fire questions at him. And I’ll be among those asking him how he’s done things and why. He’s a source of inspiration for us."
Here's wishing David Moyes good luck for the future, but not on Sunday of course !!

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Sir Alex Set To Make Wholesale Changes For Everton

sir alex ferguson fergie fa cup semi final evertonAlex Ferguson is expected to make wholesale changes to the team that beat FC Porto on Wednesday night saying "anyone believing I could play the same side that defeated FC Porto is “off their heads”. I remember last year as he sent a weakened team to Barcelona with the sole intent of coming home with a draw, and remarkably, almost coming home with a win. That was a stroke of genious as far as I am concerned, but on a certain Manchester United forum I was on at the time, they were whining and whinging about Fergie's decision to do that. These same people were there at the end though basking in the glory of another Champions League win.

Despite the enormity of their meeting with Everton, Manchester United will be virtually unrecognisable from the team that started in Portugal. Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick are all expected to stand down, with Edwin van der Sar and Dimitar Berbatov possibly joining them, although some will be on the bench in case of emergency.

The move may not sit well with traditionalists, however Ferguson insists he has no other choice.

“When I pick my team, no matter what it is there will be critics voicing a concern about me not playing my strongest team, not everyone agrees with changes. There are some supporters who want me to play my best team every game. That is impossible. If you look at Wednesday’s game you are off your head to think I could play the same team again."
The sheer energy expended in United reaching the last four of Europe’s number one club competition for the third season in a row means the men asked to do the bulk of the running will not be asked to put their bodies on the line again. It means Rooney is set to miss out on an emotional last four meeting with his former club, with Ronaldo due to sit the game out as well having toiled on his own up front for the last half hour.

“I am in a difficult position because we have got so many hard games coming up, Somewhere along the line I have to make changes. The speed of the game has changed. Look at how fast the Premier Division is. The intensity of the matches is the reason English teams have a head start in Europe.”
Yet Ferguson also denies he is devaluing the FA Cup. Replacements such as Park Ji-sung, Darren Fletcher and Carlos Tevez are all senior internationals who have been integral figures in United’s pursuit of an unprecedented quintuple this term. It is easy therefore for Ferguson to reject the theory he is playing a weakened team.

“Hand on heart, the FA Cup is important, we don’t want to have a defeat at this time of year. No matter what the defeat is, we have to answer for that.”
There is also the little matter of Ferguson’s impeccable record in semi-finals, which dates back to 1990 and currently stands at eight. Nevertheless, United will not start quite the red-hot favourites they were expected to be, with their manager placing his trust in a defence which, with Rio Ferdinand back alongside Nemanja Vidic, kept its first clean sheet in six matches on Wednesday night.

“Defensively we did really well on Wednesday, we were back to something like our best which is what we need now. We can take encouragement from it but we can also take the understanding of what that partnership at the back means. ”
As individuals, Ferdinand and Vidic are outstanding, both on the six-man short-list for the PFA player of the year award. However, as a pair they are even better, standing alongside Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister as the best partnership of Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford.

“Experience is important at this time of year, it allows you to be composed under pressure and gives you a presence. But it is more than that. It is the partnership. I keep on about Bruce and Pallister, who were together for seven years and hardly missed a game. Through that they got a consistency and an understanding and knowledge of each other’s capabilities. Now it is the same with Ferdinand and Vidic.”

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Friday, 17 April 2009

Fergie Points Out Rafa's Arrogance

Sir Alex has once again had a swipe at The Fat Spanish Waster, Rafa Beneathus. Rafa seems to think he and his team are a cut above the rest and showed complete disrespect and contempt toward Sal Allardyce and Blackburn Rovers last Saturday. Rafa really needs to think before he speaks as on several occassions this season he has made himself and his club look like a bunch of amateur clowns to be perfectly honest. His attempts at 'mind games' are baffling, often resulting in bad results for his team. He really should learn to button it from now on and let his team (try) and do the talking.

Fergie spoke about David Moyes and his excellent Everton team who are a challenge for anyone as they play at the moment.

"Moyes has a young squad that will get better. The young players he has in the team, allied to the ones he has brought in, have a good future. He’s done a great job. Moyes has been there for five years now and he has built a good football club. Irrespective of what Rafael Benitez says – he called them a small club – they are a big club. But that just points to [Benitez's] arrogance. There’s one thing about the arrogance he has shown. But one thing you can’t forgive is his contempt for [Blackburn Rovers manager] Sam Allardyce last week. When Liverpool scored their second goal against Blackburn; he made a gesture which suggested the game was finished. It was absolute contempt and I don’t think Sam Allardyce deserved it. Sam is a guy who has worked so hard for the League Manager’s Association and looked after young players in the game. He didn’t deserve that. He had to play a team that was weakened, and to get that kind of contempt… I don’t think any other Liverpool manager would have done that."

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Carrick Loves The Pressure

It seems to me now that every day I wake up we are never more than two days away from the last game United played or the next one. It is a ridiculous situation to be in. They are currently in the middle of having to play 5 games in 14 days! But Micheal Carrick says their season schedule has been "relentless" - and he wouldn't have it anyother way.

"It is relentless, we are on course to play the most number of games we could possibly play in one season. That is the aim. There is a game every three or four days now and they are all going to mean so much. That is what you want. It is great to be part of it. We are in a good position. Fingers crossed we will succeed."

Carrick is wary of an in-form Everton side ahead of Sunday's FA Cup clash, with the likely absence of former United striker Louis Saha hardly making a dent in their confidence given the number of times they have won matches with no forwards at all this term.

"It will be a tough game, Everton have improved an awful lot as the season has gone on. They have had injuries, especially at centre-forward, and proved they can cope."

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Carrick Warns: “Everything Is Looking Great Again”

For all those still standing in the Champions League, FA Cup and fighting for the Premier League title, Michael Carrick is warning them all that Manchester United are back to their best.

Carrick01 For a team who previously went 15 games without conceding a single goal, the last five games have all produced a score for the opposition.  That run of five games has seen United’s title credentials called into doubt and the defence of their Champions League crown was looking shaky to say the least.  But Sir Alex Ferguson's team became the first English team to beat Porto on their own patch as they booked a semi-final meeting with Arsenal.

When you have a couple of bad results people start questioning you," Carrick said yesterday. "But we have always known what we are capable of and last night we got back to what we do best. We defended well as a team and looked really solid. All of a sudden everything looks great again.

Carrick understands, though, that the picture can change depending on how individual results go. A meeting with Everton in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley offers its own challenge, although for now the talk is of Arsenal and a renewal of the rivalry between Ferguson and his Emirates counterpart Arsène Wenger.

Carrick knows the two-legged tie, the first in United's history against another English club, will be eagerly anticipated.

Obviously, we know each other inside out, sometimes, you can have quite a cagey affair, on other occasions it can open right up, as it did between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. I am sure they will be great matches for the neutral to watch, but hopefully we will come out on top.

cristiano_ronaldo_757022 Cristiano Ronaldo's match winner kept United on course for the quintuple.

It is relentless," Carrick said. "We are on course to play the most number of games we could play in one season. That is the aim. There is a game every three or four days now and they are all going to mean so much. That is what you want. It is great to be part of it. We are in a good position. Fingers crossed we will succeed.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Ronaldo’s Wonder Strike Sends United Through Against Porto

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Cristiano Ronaldo's wonder strike that delivered Manchester United a Champions League semi-final showdown against Arsenal.


Ronaldo's early 40-yard strike earned Ferguson's side a 3-2 aggregate victory as United became the first English side to win in Porto.

"It was unbelievable. A magnificent hit," Ferguson said. "It took them by surprise and the keeper had no chance.

"To do it at that point gave us a real platform to go into the game."

Ronaldo struck after six minutes and Ferguson, who became the first manager to reach a sixth Champions League semi-final, said the early goal was a huge bonus.

ronaldo celebrates 01

"We wanted to start the game quickly with good tempo ... but to get a start like that, no-one can expect it, no-one can expect that type of goal," added the United boss.

Ronaldo himself described the goal as the best of his career, admitting he could not wait to watch it again.

"It is the best I have scored," he said. "It was a fantastic strike and I can't wait to see it again on DVD. I am very happy with it."

Porto rarely looked like breaking through as United kept their first clean sheet since 11 March, having conceded 11 goals in their last five games.

And Ferguson, who was taking charge of his 150th Champions League clash, admitted Rio Ferdinand's return after a three-game absence had made a huge difference.

"Rio coming back was a major part of our success," said the United boss.

"He and Nemanja Vidic have a partnership that goes back three years. They have a great understanding of the game and there is a good balance between them.

We are two good footballing sides, so it should be a terrific semi-final against Arsenal

Sir Alex Ferguson

"We defended very, very well and that was the key to it really, because if we get back to that foundation of not giving away goals then we can do well.

"They had to chase. That early goal had them on the back foot. I don't think they made any chances in the match."

United have now stretched their unbeaten run in the Champions League to 23 games, winning a second leg away from home for the first time since the 1999 semi-final triumph in Turin against Juventus.

"We tried to change and spread the team around the field and hope Manchester would make some mistakes," Jose Gomes, who replaced suspended Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira, said.

"We feel very bad. You can understand our emotions. We feel that wasn't a very just result. They scored one goal and it was scored by the best player in the world."

United's semi-final with Arsenal will be the first time they have met English opposition in a two-legged European tie.

Arsenal beat United 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season, and Ferguson is predicting another classic encounter.

"It would be tough no matter who we played but the fact it is another English side gives a different type of spice to it," said Ferguson.

"We are two good footballing sides, so it should be a terrific semi-final. Our game earlier in the season was fantastic. It was the way football should be played and we will look forward to it.

"The first leg is at home, so 1-0 would be perfect for us. But it is not going to be easy."

Cristiano Ronaldo Rocket Goal Against Porto Video

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

They'll Never Walk Alone

Just one post from me today. Liverpool out Of the Champions
League, Chelsea through to face Barcelona in the semi final
and tonight Manchester United play Porto in their second
leg match of the last 8 needing to win to get through, but
do you know what? Who cares? Who really cares about all
of this when we remember that today, Wednesday
15th April 2009 is 20 years since Hillsborough.

That day 1000s of people attended a game to watch the
team they love, Liverpool, play in the Cup Semi Final at
Hillsborough football ground, Sheffield. Ninety six of
them never returned home again.

One day justice will be done for the families of those who
lost their loved ones that day. It's been a cover up of huge
proportions and it is still going on now.

The sad fact is the Hillsborough stadium should never have
been used in the first place, as the ground did not hold a
valid safety certificate. The FA moved games from
Hillsborough for six years after 38 Spurs fans suffered
crush injuries during the 1981 semi final against Wolves.

In the inquest after the accident Lord Taylor had also
documented evidence of crushing in the Leppings Lane
End pens during the 1987 and 1988 semi finals. Liverpool
football club had objected about being allocated Leppings
Lane after complaints of crushing the previous year.

Well, here's news for Lord Taylor and all those involved in
the enquiries, people want the truth; just give us the truth
and clear the Liverpool fans’ names because people
around the world still think the Liverpool fans caused the
disaster, when they were the heroes that day.

These people didn’t just die in an accident, they died through
lack of care, lack of care from the police, and they were all saveable !!

There is no way on God's earth a Liverpool badge would ever
be published on this blog, it would get me blasted by United
fans worldwide. But on the 15th April every year I'm sorry,
but that badge will be here and it will be BIG.

Ninety six people lost their lives that day and they will
never be forgotten.....and THEY WILL NEVER WALK ALONE !!!!

The Justice Bell

A schoolboy holds a leather ball
in a photograph on a bedroom wall
the bed is made, the curtains drawn
as silence greets the break of dawn.

The dusk gives way to morning light
revealing shades of red and white
which hang from posters locked in time
of the Liverpool team of 89.

Upon a pale white quilted sheet
a football kit is folded neat
with a yellow scarf, trimmed with red
and some football boots beside the bed.

In hope, the room awakes each day
to see the boy who used to play
but once again it wakes alone
for this young boy's not coming home.

Outside, the springtime fills the air
the smell of life is everywhere
violas bloom and tulips grow
while daffodils dance heel to toe.

These should have been such special times
for a boy who'd now be in his prime
but spring forever turned to grey
in the Yorkshire sun, one April day.

The clock was locked on 3.06
as sun shone down upon the pitch
lighting up faces etched in pain
as death descended on Leppings Lane.

Between the bars an arm is raised
amidst a human tidal wave
a young hand yearning to be saved
grows weak inside this deathly cage.

A boy not barely in his teens
is lost amongst the dying screams
a body too frail to fight for breath
is drowned below a sea of death

His outstretched arm then disappears
to signal thirteen years of tears
as 96 souls of those who fell
await the toll of the justice bell.

Ever since that disastrous day
a vision often comes my way
I reach and grab his outstretched arm
then pull him up away from harm.

We both embrace with tear-filled eyes
I then awake to realise
it’s the same old dream I have each week
as I quietly cry myself to sleep.

On April the 15th every year
when all is calm and skies are clear
beneath a glowing Yorkshire moon
a lone scots piper plays a tune.

The tune rings out the justice cause
then blows due west across the moors
it passes by the eternal flame
then engulfs a young boys picture frame.

His room is as it was that day
for thirteen years it's stayed that way
untouched and frozen forever in time
since that tragic day in 89.

And as it plays its haunting sound
tears are heard from miles around
they're tears from families of those who fell
awaiting the toll of the justice bell.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Manchester United To Bid £22 Million For Victor Valdes

victor valdes manchester united target Who would pay £22 million for a goalkeeper. Well, it would seem Fergie is prepared to do so. Manchester United are preparing a £22 million bid for Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

The People says Sir Alex Ferguson is desperate to sign a long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar with Ben Foster still considering his future at Old Trafford. The United boss sees Valdes as a top quality replacement and cannot, yet, offer Foster the first-team football he craves in his bid to make England's World Cup team. The Barcelona keeper's current deal finishes in June 2010, and, having rejected the chance to open talks on a new contract, Fergie hopes the lure of Premier League football can snatch him away from La Liga.

Valdes is a product of the Barca youth system. In the 2003–04 season, he emerged as first-choice goalkeeper, and in the 2004–05 season, he played in almost all of Barcelona's matches helping Barcelona to their first league title in six years. He also won the Zamora Trophy for the best goalkeeper in Spain.

In the 2005–06 season, he helped Barça to the double. He played a big part in Barca's UEFA Champions League 2005–06 title and in the final against Arsenal, he denied Thierry Henry twice from point-blank range. His efforts saw him singled out for praise from Coach Frank Rijkaard. The "Zamora" title however eluded him as Víctor came third after Santiago Cañizares and the winner José Manuel Pinto.

On 17 June 2007, the last round in La Liga, Valdés matched a goalkeeping record of Barcelona legend Andoni Zubizarreta. The record held by Zubi is that he went all season long, all 38 rounds in La Liga without leaving the starting line-up nor getting substituted. It has never been matched, by any Barça goalkeeper, until Valdés.

Valdés set the FC Barcelona club record for not conceding a goal in European competition with a clean sheet against Rangers on 7 November 2007, which saw him re-write the Barça record books after not conceding a goal for 466 minutes. Unfortunately Valdés was beaten twice by Lyon's captain Juninho through a 45-yard free kick then a late penalty at the Stade de Gerland.

On 1 April 2008 he made his 250th appearance for Barça. Despite being a regular in the squad, he has never played for Spain, with Iker Casillas of Real Madrid and José Manuel Reina of Liverpool the preferred goalkeepers.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Macheda To The Rescue Again

federico machedaI wouldn't believe it if it were fiction. Italian Federico Macheda came to Manchester United's rescue for a second successive time in the Premier League as the 17-year-old scored the winner in a 2-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday.

Second-placed Liverpool had earlier piled on the pressure with a 4-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers and champions United once looked set to be overhauled at the top of the table when Kenwyne Jones cancelled out Paul Scholes's opener.

Macheda, however, turned in Michael Carrick's wayward shot with his first touch seconds after coming on in the 75th minute.

Thanks to his decider, United restored one-point lead over nearest rivals Liverpool, who have 70 points from 32 games.

Chelsea nearly threw away a four-goal lead at home to Bolton Wanderers but hung on for a 4-3 win which saw the visitors pull three goals back in nine minutes.

Guus Hiddink's side retained third with 67 points, six clear of Arsenal who won 4-1 at Wigan Athletic.

Tottenham Hotspur moved up to eighth and boosted their hopes of qualifying for Europe after overcoming West Ham United 1-0 at home.

In the other end of the table, Newcastle United gave Alan Shearer his first point as manager, but remain in the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.

Middlesbrough recorded a rare league 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Hull City while West Bromwich Albion let a lead slip in drawing 2-2 at Portsmouth.

Considering next Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal second-leg tie against Porto, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rested Edwin Van der Sar, Patrice Evra and Cristiano Ronaldo at Sunderland.

Scholes gave United a 19-minute lead, heading Wayne Rooney's fine cross into the far corner before Jones bundled home from close range to equalize 10 minutes after the restart.

Macheda came off the bench, in place of Dimitar Berbatov, to turn home the winner on 76 minutes to claim a priceless three points.

Chelsea maintained their title challenge in dramatic fashion.

They seemed to have secured a victory after an hour by opening up a 4-0 lead through Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba with two and a Frank Lampard penalty.

But Bolton took advantage of their defensive vulnerability and they were suddenly trailing 4-3 as Andy O'Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor each scored from 70th to 78th minute.

Although the visitors went on to threaten to draw, Chelsea held their nerves and Petr Cech kept out any further goal.

Friday, 10 April 2009

MUFC - For The Love, Not The Money

mufc love not moneySir Alex Ferguson has been out defending the Glazer family after the latest financial statement from Manchester United's parent company revealed debts of almost £650m. According to some fans, this is a sign of a club in crisis but that seems a little excessive to me personally.

However, Ferguson has never had any complaints about the Americans, who have backed him in the transfer market and have stayed out of the spotlight and, while he accepts debt was a major factor in the Glazer buyout almost four years ago, the United boss does not feel anything is likely to change as a result of Thursday's announcement.

''Their support has never changed, 'I do not know what these figures tell you. 'There has always been debt since Malcolm Glazer took over the club. Most buyouts are like that. But there is no change as far as I am concerned.''

For all the criticism their financial structure has attracted, the Glazer family have never given any indication they are concerned at the amount of debt hanging over United. They still return vast profits on their business dealings, with wages still well under 50% of turnover.

I'm still waiting for this 'crisis' some fans go on about. I don't see it happening any time soon and this is right in the middle of a credit crunch. Malcolm Glazer began his business career with a van and $300 in his arse pocket and is now worth well in excess of $1 billion so I would assume from that he has a rough idea of what he is doing. Some fans just need something to moan about maybe. Or one day they might be proved to be right, in which case I'll eat some humble pie. But for now, enjoy what is and we'll see what the future holds....Back To Home Page...Bookmark and Share

Manchester United Wage Bill Is Now Huge

If you want the best in football then you must invest plenty of cash and no one can accuse Manchester United of not doing that, their wage bill is now a stunning £121 million.

The Sun says United's wage bill has increased from £92 million per year last year to £121 million now. This is an increase of 30%.

The rise comes after improved deals for Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

United’s Premier League and Champions League Double last season saw them splash £13.3m in bonuses, compared to £8.6m the previous year and now Chief executive David Gill is United’s best-paid non-playing or non-coaching employee on £1.7m a year.

The champions are still second in the big spenders table with Chelsea’s bill at £148m — a rise of 12 per cent.....

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Fergie: Two More Champions Leagues Then I Quit

alex ferguson manager manchester unitedAlex Ferguson has won everything, several times over, but what he most craves now is more European glory. He has now stated that that he will almost certainly retire as manager of Manchester United should he lead the club to the Champions League trophy in 2009 and 2010.

Speaking with CNN he said:

"I'd love the club to win more European trophies than they have done and I think I've made this point a few times over the years. I don't think we've won the number we should have won. There have been years when we've been unlucky and years we've been disappointed, and there've been years when we've thrown games away, and that sort of gives a kaleidoscope of what football's like. If we could win a couple more European trophies I then would definitely quit.".....Back To Home Page...Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Martin O'Neill In Hot Water

martin o'neillASTON Villa coach Martin O'Neill has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his behaviour after his side's 3-2 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

Not surprising really as too many managers these days seem to lose their heads and go charging out to the ref to complain about decisions that have already gone, we can't rewind the clock and change anything. Why oh why don't they bide their time and write about it in their many column inches they seem to have or voice their opinions in press conferences?

The charge relates to O'Neill's conduct towards referee Mike Riley following the final whistle in the Premier League game at Old Trafford. The Northern Irishman was angered by the amount of stoppage time that Riley added on at the end of the 90 minutes.

'What was it? Five minutes added time? I'm sure we wouldn't have got it at Villa Park,' he said after Federico Macheda's 93rd-minute winner.

O'Neill also complained about what he saw as an unpunished foul on Villa winger Ashley Young in the build-up to Macheda's goal, as well as several earlier decisions.

'The officials also got three offsides wrong,' he said.

O'Neill has until April 27 to respond to the charge.....Back To Home Page...Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

We Must BELIEVE And The Players Must BELIEVE!

champions league logoLast month Sir Alex came out on several occessions and played down any talk of the quintuple saying it was a pipe dream. Many thought he was just playing it all down, trying to take the pressure off his players. At the time United were on a run of 26 games undefeated and another run of 15 games without conceding a goal, so I was a bit unhappy with his scepticism.

But watching United play over the last month, they look they have reached the 'wall' that marathon runners talk about. One minute they were running along at the the head of the field looking fine and then suddenly, WHAM, they hit the 'wall' and their legs have gone, their heads have dropped and they seem incapable of that explosive, quick fire football that enabled them to break records and go weeks without a hint of defeat.

Against Porto last night, they got caught out by the elctric start the Portugese made. Porto charged at them like men posessed and nicked an early goal. For 20 minutes I was praying for half time to come so Fergie could work his magic.

The game finished 2-2 and now United must break another record to advance further in the Champions League. No English team has beaten Porto away from home in 16 attempts but now that is the mission facing United.

It is not impossible, far from it, but it's going to be so very hard. For a start, we need our defence to be intact and we must field Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra and maybe, just maybe the golas will stop leaking in.

In midfield we need Anderson back, he has boundless energy, there are no goals from him yet but he can bully players and lend his stregth to the cause. Paul Scholes is a living legend, some say he is too old but still I have 100% fath in him, he too must play. Alongside these two guys must be Ryan Giggs, there are no more experienced players in the world than Giggsy and for this game we need his steadying influence. Ronaldo is an automatic choice, but please God someone tell him not to be so lazy like he was against Villa, he never once tracked back to help Neville who was being killed by Carew and Agbonlahor. Up front we NEED Berbatov, desperately. You can call him lazy, uninterested or whatever else you like but that's simply not true. He is as cool as cucumber under pressure. He can hold the ball up, he can make great innovative passes and he is agreat playmaker and he scores for fun!! Alongside him is the lovable Wayne Loony. This guy is my hero. No matter how lost the cause may seem, no matter how low the players around him are, he will always give 100% and will run and run and run.

Having wrote this now, I actually feel better myself. These guys are our heroes and we love them all. They NEVER let us down and this team I have selected here CAN and WILL go to Portugal and do what no other English team has ever done before them.

The tiredness and body language of the guys last night makes it seem impossible. But we must have faith and BELIEVE.

At the end of this season, no matter what United win, someone somewhere MUST look at the fixtures situation for the Prem League. As can be sen by the sudden demise of 'invincible' United, this fixture pile up is just not good enough. United are currently beginning a run of 5 games in 14 days. No one else in the Champions League is having to face that!!!

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Lazio Accuse Manchester United Over Macheda Deal

lazio home shirt sexy football babesFederico made his Manchester United debut on Sunday and it turned out to be the thing dreams are made of for the youngster as he came off the bench and scored a stunning winner against Aston Villa. But now United have been accused by Lazio of snatching away their star youngster.

Lazio, who first groomed the young striker before he moved to Manchester, have been angered by the loss of Macheda.

"All these players are robbed as a matter of course by this club," Lotito told Tuesday's Daily Mail. "They are always outside what is normal in terms of etiquette. They go to the parents and give them money and important jobs. These are boys who come from poor families. The families base their choices on economic interests. It's not moral. It is like a cattle market. The young players are treated like cattle."

Macheda himself seems more than happy at Manchester United though as he described his debut as "the day of my dreams". Surely it is the welfare of the young players that counts most, and Macheda seems more than happy with his lot.....Back To Home Page...Bookmark and Share