Thursday, 31 July 2008

IS THE PRESS REALLY ANSWERABLE TO ANYBODY?


If there is one man whose name has appeared in the World press more than anybody else, its Cristiano Ronaldo. The player's failure to commit himself to one of two headline making clubs has given the press a field day (well, more of field days). You only need a few lines of words from him to make a story that will appear in every paper, on every site not to mention on every blog(including blogs of rival clubs). Managers, Chief Executives, and even players have had to come out each day to dismiss false reports from the press. Seemingly, the press has made a habit of forging news so as to make news. For instance if I write that Ronaldo has decided to join Real next week, I will almost inevitably be forcing an interview from Sir Alex or at least a club statement to deny the suggested reports in the press, hence getting an extra column for the club's reaction. Such is the rotten-ness of the press today that many people have dis-credited certain papers (like Marca which is now widely known as a stooge for Real). Only last week, Carlos Tevez gave an interview in Spanish (or was it Latin), and was quoted to have endorsed Ronaldo's departure to Spain. A day later and the player denies making the allegations. The journalist must have taken advantage of his ignorance in the English Language to link a slight comment about Ronaldo. The direct translation of that interview told a lot about the level of journalism today. It must have have been in the same week when Fergie was misquoted to have said that he was about to land Berbatov--prompting a strong worded response from Levy-the Spurs Chairman. The crooks(names with-held) later publicly apologised to the fiery Scott(after filling the piggy-bank.). My thinking tells me that half the transfer deals made are initiated by the press. So the question is are they really answerable to anybody?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

"MY BEST MOMENT IN FOOTBALL WAS COMING OFF AFTER THE NEWCASTLE GAME IN 06/07"


Let's dedicate the week to Ole shall we? In the latest INSIDE UNITED issue, Ole points out the his greatest moment in football was coming off after the Newcastle game in the 2006/2007 season. Now many would question his choice because this is a man who can arguably claim to have scored the most important and dramatic goal in the entire history of Manchester United-and we would therefore expect that to be his best moment in his career. Even without reading the magazine and finding out why he left out that Nou Camp goal, or that last minute winner against Liverpool, or the 4 goals against Nottingham Forest and Everton, or the last minute winner against Portsmouth in the FA Cup or even his debut against Blackburn in August 1996,or his comeback appearance and goal after 3 seasons out in a 3-0 win over Charlton in 2006, I've decided to take a good guess. Solsjaer, despite his harmless looks and humble style, has ever been red-carded while playing for Manchester United(hard to believe eh?). United were playing against Newcastle and were being held(well given the run of play at the point, we were holding them.) Newcastle suddenly on counter attack with time running out, catch United flat-footed and in a bid to stop the move, the Baby-faced assassin, for lack of a better word, hacks down a Newcastle player--a two footed challenge from behind to the naked eye in real time, but attempted murder in slow motion replay. The ref duly flashed the red-card and lip readers could tell easily that Ole, on his way off, told David Beckham,

"I had to do it...."

And boy did he have to! The game ended 1-1 but in all fairness that point United gained was down to the selflessness of Ole. He had sacrificed himself for the sake of the team.
Flash forward to 2006/07 season. Ole had returned from a career threatening knee injury but for some reason Fergie started him in the league fixture against Newcastle at Old Trafford. Ronaldo launched one of his bullet efforts at Given but the shot bounced off the post straight to the feet of Ole who didn't need to have his eyes open to score. A few minutes later and Vidic shoots at goal from a corner but the ball takes a telling deflection from Ole's boot and its 2-0 to United. Call it revenge or whatever but he must have felt a bag of satisfaction as he had taken the chance to banish those memories of the red card.
Even after all this narration, some might still feel Ole should have picked the '99 Nou Camp goal-But again we think,

That is Solsjaer, never wanting to shower praise and glory on himself...



A Saint if you ask me...



Monday, 28 July 2008

A CASE FOR SAINT 20LEGEND!


This week, Manchester United embark on preparations for a Testimonial Match in honour of one of their most loved player--Ole Gunnar Solsjaer. Without exaggeration, the character of Ole can be likened to that of a Saint. If I go through all his history with United, I'll get too emotional but every single United fan knows that every time Ole went on to the pitch, he had Manchester United at heart. The player claims to have fallen in love with United at first sight, and it has to be said the feeling is mutual. The Norwegian will always be remembered for his last micro-second goal at the Camp Nou that secured United's second European Cup. Despite being at the club for a decade or so, Ole has never complained of being used as an impact player, and his manager couldn't help but call him, 'A Model Professional'--an understatement if you ask me! A career threatening knee injury for 2 and a half years threatened to put him out of the game, but he fought back to help United win the title in the 2006/07 season. Unfortunately, his knee was never to let up and in August last year, Ole announced his retirement.He was part of that core of United players from whom you never heard of contract negotiations and salary increments(as if they had no families to feed....shame on you Ron....). Now usually, Testimonial match collections are posted on bank accounts of the player in question. Ole, is however more generous than you and me can ever imagine. All the proceeds from the game against Espanyol will be used to construct schools in Angola and Uganda(10 in total)-- to give young kids a chance in life through education.....now I'm crying....

SWEET REVENGE--PART 1.


I've been on a terrible hangover lately, so apologies from yours truly for not being as efficient. So what did I miss? I was shocked to learn that United were to play 2 games in 24 hours(insanity if you ask me) so I crawled out of bed to the nearest TV set to catch a glimpse of the game in Nigeria, Abuja against more familiar opponents, Portsmouth. The blue furred sheep were the ones that denied us a Treble last year as they somehow managed to win a game that in all fairness, they shouldn't have. Anyway, football always provides the chance for revenge(more of a case of you can run but you can't hide). So it was satisfying to watch United batter them with a not-so-strong line-up.(speaks volumes eh?). But again it's worth sparing few lines to praise our Academy lads. Chris Eagles, despite missing a couple of golden chances got another goal for himself, while Campbell, despite having one or two problems with his left foot, finally scored on Saturday against Kaizer Chiefs. The young Brazilian Rodrigo Possebon(nice name eh?) also made some brilliant touches that reminded us of his nationality time and time again. It was also good to see Carlitos score his first goal since netting the first penalty in Moscow(and what a cracker). Reports over the weekend suggested that we have permanently signed him for an accumulated fee of 32m pounds.(Trust me, he's worth it!). Next up for United is that long awaited Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer Testimonial match against Espanyol--the lad is a Saint.(more on that later).

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A CASE FOR UNITED'S RESERVES!




Manchester United is a club that takes pride in developing talents through their ranks and promoting them into the first team. However the demands that come with the modern game have made it seem a kind of 'mission impossible' to get into the first team. It's is the transfer market that defines the structure of the first team these days. When a player is out injured , most managers will look forward to the opening of the transfer window. Few will turn to their rookies. While we fans may take pride in the signings of Nani and Anderson, some of those players in the Academy may be cursing their luck. I mean if Paul Scholes gets a three0month injury, who will bet against Anderson taking over instead of Chris Eagles. Worse-still, the demands of the game have given these lads little or no time to showcase their abilities on pitch. Today, for a player to make his mark, he would have to do something like scoring a 30 yard scorcher to beat Arsenal(Wayne...). At Manchester United, Sir Alex, in his tenure, has taken pride in having youngsters develop through the Academy to gain promotion to the first team. The likes of Paul Scholes, Giggs, Neville, Butt, Beckham... owe their careers to the United Academy and Sir Alex who gave them a chance to break through. Even with a very large squad to pick from, the Gaffer chose to go on tour with a string of Reserve team players who he feels have something to offer. Danny Welbeck was the only disappointing absentee but we are all aware that he was given a call up to the senior team towards the end of last season. Otherwise Campbell, Simpson, Lee Martin, Eagles, Foster, Evans and Gibson were among those who made it to the Vodacom Challenge Tournament in South Africa-and they have not disappointed! Eagles weighed in with a goal in the opening fixture again Kaizer Chiefs while Lee Martin got his own in the fixture against Orlando Pirates-with an assist from Fraizer Campbell. Ben Foster, despite being a spectator for long periods did well to keep a clean sheet. All in all it has been a good display from our Academy hot-shots and how I would like them to graduate to senior football. It will be devastating if we lose the likes of Campbell, Simpson and Eagles to other clubs. SO KEEP THEM FERGIE!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

ORLANDO PIRATES VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW.


Our beloved club takes to the pitch again tonight for the second game of their pre-season tour in South Africa-this time against Orlando Pirates. The game at the Absa Stadium is an evening kick-off and should give the European Champions another physical test. Now much as pre-season games have nothing to do with results, I would personally want us to register a victory before we play the final game of the tournament on Saturday. Ryan Giggs has come out to say that he would prefer if United got into the habit of winning their pre-season fixtures so as to start the new season in third-gear. That is what the Manchester United spirit is(Win every game!). Rio Ferdinand who last kicked a ball for United in Moscow, is back in training after a minor injury and should therefore boost our defence. Another run-out for Gary Neville should be on the cards. Now unfortunately Wes Brown has got to return home following the death of his pregnant half-sister. My sincere condolences go to him and his family.

TO STAY OR NOT TO STAY: THAT IS THE QUESTION RON!

If Cristiano Ronaldo had answered one little question posed to him by journalists as early as May, he wouldn't be, for a lack of a better word, complaining!
"What do you want me to tell you, that I'm leaving...?"
And for as long as only God knows his future, he will still be asked the same question till midnight of August 31. What is for sure though is that Sir Alex has already got the answer from God.
"Cristiano will be a Manchester United player next season..."
How we United fans wish that the two were communicating to the same God, or is it god?

Monday, 21 July 2008

POINTS THAT WON UNITED THE TITLE--SEASON REVIEW 2008/2009


To many people, this article may appear a little out-dated given the fact that the new league season is upon us. Worse-still, many fans would rather get the latest news about Cristiano Ronaldo than remind themselves of a season that ranks second-best in the club's history(which is quite a shame). The season behind us is one that really taught me and (Arsene Wenger) how long a season can be. It should be synonymous to readers of this blog that I had personally written off Man United's chances of defending the title after our draw with Portsmouth.(the result after that game backed me). The good thing about being pessimistic is that you're very happy when you are wrong, when your expectations are the complete opposite. While Arsene Wenger will look at last season as a title they lost rather than one United won, I'll disagree in no more than 10 reasons.
10.SUNDERLAND-H
United got their first win of the season against Spurs(that goal!) but the pressure of winning was still well on us given that our rivals got off to flying starts. Roy Keane's Sunderland(to be fair) was battered for the best part of an hour but worryingly, the scores were still level. Louis Saha's goal was celebrated like a last minute winner because for all who counted our chances against Reading, Pompey and the Bitters City, it meant that we had finally got our luck back. Win number 2 meant a lot to me and that is why it features.
9.BOLTON-H
It seemed a rather comfortable win didn't it? United headed into this game knowing that victory would put them 3 points clear at the summit as it was a game in hand-and that was the very problem. For all i know, games in hand are never straight forward no matter how easy they appear on paper. Arsenal had a game in hand on us earlier in the season against Newcastle but were held to a draw(thank heavens). And what do you know? They lost momentum from there on, so I had my worries. Ronaldo ably captained United to victory. Advantage United.
8.LIVERPOOL-H&A.
It's always delicious to beat the Dippers(especially do a double) but this fixture was part of a so called Grand Slam Sunday whereby defeat automatically is an advantage to your opponents. Arsenal and Chelsea had to play on the same day intriguingly it was this fixture that kicked off first on both occasions. We had to play without the comfort of knowing that a draw isn't that bad and given the situation at the top, they were more or less must win fixtures. United incredibly won both-the latter comfortably. This meant that while our rivals picked 3 points from those fixtures, we picked 6! Advantage United.
7.EVERTON-H.
While the away fixture was an equally tough one, United quite simply didn't have their rivals where they wanted them and therefore dropping points was not an option. Arsenal were leaders by four points following their earlier Saturday victory. An early Cristiano Ronaldo goal seemed to point to only one result but Tim Cahill equalised before the break to restore the nerves. United have scored many late goals in their history but there are times when even the most optimistic of fans just can't imagine a goal to salvage our blushes. That is why i couldn't believe our luck when Piennar clumsily brought down Giggs in the box. The force was surely with us. We were playing catch-up with Arsenal and WE WERE CATCHING UP!
6.DERBY-A.
While non of us couldn't imagine a difficult game at Pride Park-especially when you looked at Derby's defensive record, it's exactly what United got. Somebody could easily have won the book fortune if Ben Foster had been a half a second late to get down and make 2 good saves to deny Derby something to defend(record has it that we have done poorly against teams that play defensively;Reading at home, Bolton away, Portsmouth in the Cup...). United got their only goal 15 minutes from time. What a relief! little while later later Arsenal drew with Boro at the Emirates. Advantage United!
5.ARSENAL-H
By the time the Gunners dared to visit OT, we had new rivals for the title-Chelsea. However, a victory against us would put Arsenal back in the reckoning for the title. Shamelessly, Adebayor contrived to score with his hand when using his head seemed easier. After thwarting us twice the season before and denying us a victory at the Emirates, United had to respond quick or else lose their cushion at the summit. William Gallas handled in the area and luckily for us, was spotted by the ref Howard Webb. Ronaldo had to beat Lehmann twice from the spot before the scoreboard read 1-1. One of the moments of the season was that curling Hargreaves free-kick that salvaged the points for United. We were really close now...
4.MIDDLESBROGH-A
A traditionally tough fixture for United but the form we were in had no respect for such records. Besides, Ronaldo quickly dispatched even the slightest of nerves. But somehow, United found themselves 2-1 down and could have fallen further behind if it were not for Edwin van der Sar. Wayne Rooney rescued a point for United but just when it seemed a bad result, Fergie came out to praise our performance in a way that suggested he wouldn't have minded a defeat. Another vital point collected!
3.BLACKBURN ROVERS-A
Now, there are games in a season that a club is supposed to lose simply because it's not their day.(take for instance Bolton away, Portsmouth in the Cup...). Last season however Manchester United defied that logic when they collected a point from Ewood Park when it 'was not their day'. In a game that we should have won at least 4penalties our opponents were gifted a goal by a lucky bounce and Friedel made his season debut after being AWOL earlier in the campaign. Defeat would have put the destiny of the title back in Chelsea's hands as we had to play them the following week. A late late header from Carlos Tevez ensured above all that United kept Chelsea at arms length with 3 games left. The title was still ours to lose even on the back of 3 difficult games. Advantage United.
2.TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR-A
The joy of getting our first win of the season against Spurs back in August could not be compared to that we had at White Harte Lane when after playing so poorly, we salvaged a point right at the last. After losing to Citeh the week before, defeat would have put the gap between United and Arsenal to 6 points. And even if one point didn't reflect much of a difference,it did in May when we were talking about winning the title on goal difference. Vital Point!
1.WIGAN-A
Many a United fans will not admit it but I was very nervous before and during this fixture even though on any other day, it should be a straight forward one. The 1995 heart-break was bad enough but for some reason, this was going to hurt more. Now you know who jumped highest when Giggs slotted in the title-winner!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

KAIZER CHIEFS HOLD MIGHTY UNITED


Manchester United have opened their South African tour with a rather entertaining 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs at the Newlands stadium. The match report is in detail at http://manutd.com/ so no need to get that far. For starters, it was good to see Chris Eagles command a starting role and as fate would have it, he got the goal for us. Sir Alex chose a pretty strong team with Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, Nemaja Vidic, Ryan Giggs, and Captain Gary Neville all featuring from the start. United were not quite united in the opening half and duly conceded a penalty just before halftime. Gary was guilty of bringing down the rather speedy Siphiwe Tshabalala(hope i got that right). Jonathan Quartey sent Kuszczak the wrong way and frankly, that did wake United. Carlos Tevez(my man-of-the match) missed a couple of glit-edged chances before setting up Chris Eagles to nod in the equaliser. Sir Alex will be pleased that his side has got a competitive energy sapping game under their belts as it only improves the fitness of his squad. Gary for instance felt the difference 18 months out of football can have on a player. The more he faces such opponents, the better for him and us. Otherwise it's good to have the captain back. Roll on Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night.

Friday, 18 July 2008

KAIZER CHIEFS VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW.


Being a United fan, i was expecting a mid-week fixture following the game on Saturday against Aberdeen....and how frustrated i was when i realised it was only pre-season. We dread fixtures in a proper season and yet we yearn for them in the off-season. Why doesn't anybody talk about fixture congestion in the summer? Anyway, United arrived in South Africa today at 8a.m for their tour which basically involves participating in the Vodacom Challenge Cup against Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. We begin against the Chiefs on Saturday afternoon. It's good that Sir Alex has taken a strong team as well as a handful of rookies. The only blemish on squad selection is probably Danny Welbeck who many thought would be given his chance in the first team on this tour. The good news though is that Fraizer Campbell will take part.(he only has the small matter of displacing Tevez and Rooney!) Kaizer Chiefs, for their part , had a below par season, by their standards last year and will therfore look to restore some of their glory by beating the European Champions(GOD FORBID!)

WELL, WELL, WELL...SO HE'S STAYING AFTERALL...EH?


I will ignore the news that Christiano Ronaldo has snubbed Paris Hilton and go straight to a story that has even appeared on The Liverpool Post. Apparently, it seems that Christiano will be at United next season despite all the yap yap yatta..yatta that the press has been publishing over the last 2 months. Reports suggest that Sir Alex met with the player last week and they sorted out a saga that at one point seemed bigger than the club-quite absurd indeed! But it has to be said, in my lifetime, i have never heard or read of a transfer saga that had the UEFAPresident, FIFAPresident, FA(lawyers), and the at least 3 continents of people having a say on the matter(as if their opinions counted...and yes i mean you too Blatter!). I only realised how big this saga had grown when Rodger Federer(can you believe it) gave his own opinion. Anyway, whilst at a press conference in South Africa to open the club's pre-season tour, Sir Alex made it clear to everyone that "Ronaldo will be with us next season." Now if there is one thing i know about the Gaffer, its that he lets no opinion influence his thinking. Here is a man who will do things in his own way-which he thinks is good for the club. Many a United fans will question his decision to stick with Ronaldo even after the player has dragged the club's name through dirt. What seems certain though is that Fergie realises the contribution that Ronaldo will make in the club's bid to defend their status as Kings of Europe next season(and he wouldn't trade it for 100m). I ,like the readers of this blog, am a fan so i will dwell more on that side. We fans of have great affection for those players who have the club at heart and are willing to break a leg for the shirt(Gary Neville, Rio, Scholes, Giggs.....legends Cantona, Bobby, Lou Macari,Best,Law,Ole...) But when it comes to the Ronaldo kind, we usually dump them out as soon as they dump us. We shall see if that is the fate that awaits Ronaldo. Sir Alex has chosen to reap the fruits he sweated for when he signed Ronaldo within 12 hours of doing a demolition job for Sporting Lisbon against United. While he is sure that Ronaldo will leave United at some point, he feels that now is not the time. Do you share Fergie's view?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

SNEIJDER: WARRY OF RONALDO?


Real Madrid midfield starlet Wesley Sneijder has come out today to talk at length about the positive and negative implications of Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer from United to Real. On a day when Real's puppet newspaper(whatever the name... Marca or Murcia) came out and proclaimed the Glazer's willingness to do business with Real, we have something of an opinion from one of Ronaldo's potential team-mates next season. The Dutch man obviously states that Cristiano would be a major improvement to the Real side, BUT, if one reads the full interview given to AS on http:skysports.com, they would agree with me that he was more worried than happy about the whole deal. For starters, the 7m pound annual salary of the new signing would cause unrest among other players who earn far inferior salaries and yet rate themselves highly(remember why Makelele left Real for Chelsea?). Compare that reaction to the one at United where Hargreaves or Rio do not give a shit if Ronaldo has a bigger account. Sneijder goes ahead to point out that Madrid are already a stable ship that can only get better, but could sink if afew drastic changes are effected. For example, he points out the contribution of Robinho to the team(he has a telepathy kind of communication with Raul-assisting the striker 5 times clean through last season). He goes ahead to dismiss the idea of Robinho 'disappearing' in the big games by pointing out that Ronaldo disappears too!(who told him that? I thought it was a secret!) He has alittle bold to say some of the things he ha said and let us not forget that yesterday, Fabio Cannavaro(another potential team-mate) told Ronaldo to honour his contract at United.(it still has 4 years left). So one wonders, will Ronaldo really be welcomed at the Santiago Bernabeau? What do you think?

UNITED TO BEGIN SEASON WITHOUT AFEW GOOD MEN.


Besides the formidable task of facing all our title rivals away from home before the mid-November, Manchester United may have to do so without a number of club members. For starters, we have already lost former deputy Carlos Queiroz to the Portuguese National team(good luck to him). If Fergie does indeed 'take his time' to appoint a new assistant we might as well start the season without a recognised deputy manager. That aside, even if (by some miracle) Ronaldo stays at United next season, he is not expected back in action till October. That effectively rules him out of ties against Chelsea, Liverpool and Zenit St Petersburg, but to mention afew. The Olympic games spared Park but we shall lose Anderson for at least August(here's hoping he returns fit). Many might have forgotten this but Nani has yet to complete a three match suspension he only started last season. He will thus not feature in our opening two games. And then i recently read an article suggesting that the FA are planning to carry out an investigation that is 'aimed' at charging Rio Ferdinand for kicking a female steward following United's defeat at Stamford Bridge in May(we all recall he apologised and she shrugged it off as "nothing") SAccording to that article, Ferdinand is to serve match ban in addition to paying a hefty fine of 200,000 pounds.(Be sure that if the FA have it their way, he will get it). So, when you come to think of it all, United's squad for the opening of the season could be predictable. Sir Alex may have to do without afew "good" men when the Champions begin the defence of their League and European crowns. Now there is no need to despair because this is United we are talking about...Manchester United.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

WILL BERBATOV MAKE THE GRADE?


Press reports indicate that Manchester United are in the hunt for Tottenham's striker Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian hit-man has lit the Premier League with his blistering goals since joining from Bayer Leverkusen two years ago. However, he has made his desire to play Champions League football a public secret and according to his agent, Manchester United are the ideal club for him. After being linked with a number of strikers over the past few weeks, it seems that it is the attack that Fergie will strengthen after all. Berbatov,unlike Rooney and Tevez, is an out and out striker who will essentially give United what they have been missing from Saha. Some critics think that United will revert to the "give Ruud the ball " style at the expense of sharing the goalscoring burden style,that was adopted when Ruud left. Others have gone ahead to point out his weakness-lazy on pitch. I think that that is his strength. He easily explodes into life when in possession and that catches defenders in a slumber. His age(28)however,does not befit the hefty transfer that Spurs are asking for (28m pounds) because United are likely to get 2 or 3 good seasons out of him. But who knows, he could be worth it! Having said all that, United are yet to sign him!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

WHO'S NEXT AFTER QUEIROZ?


On Saturday morning, Carlos Queiroz officially left Manchester United to become coach of the Portuguese National side. This has left Sir Alex with the task of finding a suitable replacement to help him defend the club's League and European crowns. The British media did not waste a second in throwing names to succeed the departed but speaking at a post-match conference on Saturday, Sir Alex said that he will take his time to find a replacement. As we ponder his choice, keep in mind the role of Carlos in the transfer market(Nani, Anderson, Ronaldo....) as well as his ability to handle the press such as the BBC (Sir Alex swore never to give an interview to the BBC, so Carlos always stood in for him.). It will take a leap of faith from Sir Alex to entrust the job with the inexperienced Eric Cantona, Laurent Blanc, Brian McClair, and the like. The spotlight is on the Gaffer.

IS BLATTER A MADRID FAN?


This is a pic taken from that clip on Real Madrid TV i talked about showing Blatter and Calderon. That small connection could be the one causing the FIFA President to back Calderon's shameful acts in the transfer market.

WINNING START FOR UNITED'S PRE-SEASON


Manchester United made a winning start to their pre-season campaign on Saturday, beating Scottish side Aberdeen 0-2. The game was arranged to mark 25 years since Sir Alex led Aberdeen to a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 1983 against Real Madrid. I wasn't around to follow the game so you can expect no match report from me but http://manutd.com/ has a full match report. It was nice to hear that Michael Carrick took a penalty and scored, sending the keeper the wrong way. And some circles(http://therepublikofmancunia.com/) are agitating for penalty duty to be given to Carrick as he has taken quite a number when called upon -and he has never missed, and who knows, we might not have Ronaldo next season. So that is open to debate. Wayne Rooney got the other goal(with his head), but according to reports, he could have had more. I was pleased to hear that Chris Eagles got to play--which is good considering that he is being tempted to exit OT for regular football. United's next trip i to South Africa for the Vodacom Challenge Cup. They will play Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and a third game against one of the two sides.

Friday, 11 July 2008

IS SCOLARI FERGIE'S WORST ENEMY ALREADY?




Lewis Felippe Scolari is one of those most successful managers in world football, having made it to the top level on the national stage. He led Brazil to their 2002 World Cup triumph and has led Portugal to the Euro 2004 final, World Cup semifinal 2006 and Euro 2008 semifinals.(SOME CV!) However, he recently gave up his post as coach of Portugal to take charge of manager-less Chelsea.(Chelsea have now had 3 different managers in the space of 12 months). Scolari has however booked himself a place in Fergie's bad books even before the two begin on field battles for honours. The Brazilian is allegedly reported to have urged Christiano Ronaldo to transfer to Real while the two were at Euro 2008. Though he recently denied it in a press conference, Fergie must have taken it personal! He then went on to vacate his post as Portuguese manager--a move that Sir Alex would not have appreciated because it leaves his Assistant Manager position wanting(Carlos Queiroz....). One can already see that the meeting between Chelsea and United in September will not be a dull one!

WILL THE RONALDO SAGA HURT UNITED'S 2008/2009 SEASON?




Christiano Ronaldo may not be aware but he is slowly but surely running out of time. If he keeps up his decision procrastination, he might find himself as a registered Manchester United player for next season's Champions League. That aside, one wonders the extent of damage the Madeira twat has caused Manchester United. Besides dragging the club's name in dirt and denying the club a good summer after their second most successful season, he might have cost United utmost concentration in the transfer market. It appears that potential transfer activity has been put on halt because attention has been turned to the Ronaldo saga--a topic that has surely attracted a European if not World audience. After agreeing with Sepp Blatter's 'slavery' comments, one wonders why Ronaldo is not coming out like Abebayor or Hleb or Flamini to demand for a transfer request or buy out the remaining 4 yrs of his contract. Ideally his decision delay might work against him because staying at Old Trafford does not seem an option anymore. Even he cannot repair the damage that he has done. The only prayer for Manchester United fans should be that this bull-shit of a saga does not interfere in a season when they will be the team to beat all around Europe, and probably in the world if they add the world club cup to their collection.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

PRE-SEASON PREVIEW/ ABERDEEN MEMORIES FOR FRERGIE.




Forget Blatter, forget Madrid, its time for business. Our beloved club Manchester United will officially start their pre-season tours this weekend. Apparently, this week marks 25 years since Sir Alex won the European Cup Winners Cup with Aberdeen in 1983 against REAL MADRID and what better way to celebrate the feat is there than a fixture between Aberdeen and Manchester United. The game kicks off on Saturday at three o'clock British Summer Time. Live text commentary at http://manutd.com/ or the full game on MUTV. The club has also announced a pre-season friendly with Juventus at Old Trafford on August 6 but more importantly, fans will get to see the team show off the Champions League trophy and the Premiership trophy hours before kick-off. That should do our fans good as they missed out on an open-bus celebration in May when Rangers fans ruined the show. The pre-season tour in detail is defined by The Vodacom Challenge Cup in South Africa and an exhibition match against Portsmouth in Nigeria followed by the eagerly awaited Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Testimonial Match on August 2. The above mentioned Juve match will follow and then the Community Shield on August 10 and a week later, United will begin a second consecutive League season as Defending Champions. COME ON UNITED!

EVEN BLATTER HAS OPENED HIS ARSE-HOLE!


If there is anything that Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved in this saga of Real or United it is fame. So many a souls have heard about or given an opinion about his situation that he could easily be the most famous name in World football right now. SKYSPORTS NEWS sent shock waves down in Manchester when they ran an interview with the FIFA President Sepp Blatter giving his own opinion about the Ronaldo saga. Now its synonymous that Blatter is one of those against the development of English football but more-still one of those ABUS(Anyone But United Supporters). It's also synonymous that Blatter is well known for his controversial decisions(6+5 rule, abolishing draws in football,...). Unfortunately for United fans, the Swiss pig has let his ignorance flow into their star player's business. He claims that clubs of today(Man United) practice modern day SLAVERY and that Man United should let Cristiano go if he is no longer comfortable in Manchester. How stupid can the President get? Scott puts it better(click the link) http://therepublikofmancunia.com/. Who wouldn't want to be a slave working for 120,000 pounds a week for just kicking a ball. Secondly, Ronaldo has signed three contracts at Manchester United and I'm yet to hear that he signed any of them on gun-point! In case Blatter is not aware. Ronaldo is yet to come out and publicly say that he is 'not comfortable' in Manchester, so how does he know? So sad that we have an arse-hole of a FIFA President...An absolute arse-hole. There is a common clip on Real Madrid TV showing Blatter congratulating Alfredo Di Stefano for some achievement, maybe now it's all clear to who is behind all this... but you really have to give it up for Real Madrid--they do have CONNECTIONS! Any other club would have given up by now BUT NOT MANCHESTER UNITED! IN YOUR FACE BLATTER!

Monday, 7 July 2008

GOODNESS ME! CALDERON THINKS MAN UNITED IS STOKE CITY




With all due respect to all who are associated with Stoke City, Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon thinks that Manchester United is as small a club as Stoke City or Barnsley. The pig head has said that United should be happy to sell Ronaldo to Real because they would be involved in the transfer of the century. Fair enough, Ronaldo can leave United if he wants to but United are not the type of club to feel proud because their star player is wanted by Real. We hold our own and are not fazed by the achievements of others because we feel that we are just as big and successful as anyone else. If i were Calderon, i would mellow and handle this business professionally or else Sir Alex will flex one or two muscles. Real Madrid are not any bigger than United....or maybe Calderon needs to be reminded who the current European Champions are, but just for to emphasise IT'S NOT REAL MADRID!

FORGET RONALDO, WHAT ABOUT QUEIROZ?


From the day that Luis Felippe Scolari announced his departure from the Portuguese Federation, I've always had a feeling that we may have seen the last of Carlos Queiroz at Manchester United. He is probably only second to Mourinho when it comes to bright Portuguese managers, so given his position at United, he was an obvious target for the National team of Portugal. Reports today indicate that while Christiano Ronaldo may stay at United, Sir Alex is already resigned to losing his assistant. It's quite difficult to turn down such an offer if you are Carlos especially if it is your country that is calling but being United and we selfish fans, sorry Carlos, we would almost feel cheated if you left. Queiroz has been vital to United especially in the transfer market so it will be a major blow if we are to lose him, let alone lose Ronaldo. Having said that, some coaches are better no.2s than no.1s. His spell at Real should have taught him something close to what Steve Mclaren learnt when he left United to be a head coach. How would the departure of Queiroz affect United?

Sunday, 6 July 2008

HAVE YOU IMAGINED RONALDO PLAYING IN UNITED COLOURS NEXT SEASON?


Its July but the transfer saga that started at the final whistle of the Champions League final is yet to be put to bed. Apparently, Christiano Ronaldo is still in the mood of being talked about by every soul interested in football. He must actually be disappointed that Gareth Barry and Emmanuel Adebayor are spoiling his show with their own headline making divorce stories. Ronaldo's sister has come out to state that the player will be staying in Manchester despite the advances of Real MUD-rid. After all the embarrassment, and trouble that Ronaldo has put United through, one wonders if the most popular name at United will retain its status if he doesn't get a change of address. Ronaldo, once asked a similar question by a journalist said that another haul of goals will restore the love shown to him by the fans. Hasn't the lad got it all wrong? At United, its all about the goals one will get but rather the service and LOYALTY shown by the player. That is why the names Ole, Giggssy, Scholsie, Gary and the like will be sang at Old Trafford for ages to come. Just for the record, there is no such thing as Loyalty is a thing of the past because Rio and Wayne will surely stay at United until they are no longer needed, and aren't these among the players of today? So quite simply, Christiano will have to do more than score goals to redeem himself. Otherwise, the secret he probably doesn't know is that
After United, there is only one way and that is Down!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

TOUCH OF KLAAS FOR UTD?


News coming out today suggests that Manchester United are making a bid for Dutch International forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar. Sir Alex struck gold when he signed Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven. Mourinho exchanged millions of dollars for sand in Mateja Kezman. Such is the unpredictability of the Eredivise that one doesn't know just what to expect from its signings. I won't go into his goalscoring record because you would probably have to halve it to get a more sincere picture of the lad but he did register a goal at the Euros even when he was restricted to just one appearance. It remains to be seen what truth is in this speculation but could this be the one signing that Fergie promised us? Would you want Huntelaar at Old Trafford next season alongside Wayne or Carlos?

SHOULD WE BE LINIENT TO UNITED NEXT SEASON?

Manchester United, by far performed extremely well last season--defending the league for the 5th time and winning the European Cup. A squad that was likened to the heroes of '99 because of its strength in depth bore fruit. Gary Neville, in an exclusive interview with MUTV said that the current crop of players can go on to win the Champions League even more times as age is still on their side. However, given the demand of success in this era, is it fair to demand more success from United within a short space of time?

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

FERGIE TO MAHE ONLY ONE SIGNING.....


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson returned from his summer holiday in France straight to his office at Old Trafford. The first news coming out of his office has rocked many a United faithful. Apparently, the gaffer has promised a rather quiet summer of transfer activity for the League and European Champions. Many had predicted at least three new signings to strengthen the full-back situation, increase the attacking options and belatedly, replace the uncommitted Ronaldo in midfield. It now seems that only one of those areas will be strengthened in a season when United will be participating in every competion club football has to offer.(pre-season, community shield, league, carling cup, champions league, super cup, FA Cup, World Club cup...etc). As i blogged earlier, if United are to compete favourably in all thosse competions, they will have played ovwe 70 games by May 30 (the date of the FA Cup final) One would therefore have expected the gaffer to bolster his squad in Abramovich style(can you believe Belletti is going to bench next season to give way for Bosingwa!)

Unfortunately for United fans, Sir Alex is one of those managers whose decisions are rarely questioned because of the many times he has thrown pie in the face of his critics. I mean who would have defended his decision to off-load Ruud van Nistelrooy almost for free to Real MUD-drid and sign a replacement in the shape of Michael Carrick? Where the hell were goals supposed to come from? Incredibly it's in the season of Ruud's departure that United out-scored the rest of the League and ended the Premiership's 4-year absence from Old Trafford. What about shipping Manchester United god David Beckham at a dumping price of 25m pounds?(i bet Real

recovered that money in one season of shirt sales with the number 23.) This gog was to be replaced by a certain untested, under-age Madeira villager carrying one of the names worshipped in football-Ronaldo.(the rest is history). So what could Fergie be cooking this time round round? Besides the hefty transfer fees that have made him market-shy, could he have been swayed by Gary Neville's return from injury coupled with Silvestre's desire to stay put as understudy to Patrice Evra? What about his opinion on Ronaldo-he expects him at Old Trafford next season. So why replace him? And then there is the usually forgotten fact that United have already signed a target-man in MANUCHO! That coupled with Louis Saha's descission to stay and fight for his place would raise the questin; Why sign another striker? And even if all the above theories are wrong, could it be that Sir Alex does not want to destroy the momentum of a young winning team that is yet to peak? What do you think?

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

SO WHO WRITES THE MANCHESTER UNITED SCRIPT?

Admittedly, it is at times sickening to be a Manchester United fan. There are times when i wonder as to why it had to be United that captured my heart. The good news for United fans though is that the club we love to support always provides us with that antidote to cure our sickness.
Red Mancunians have always had a popular adage that states that
Manchester United like to do things the hard way.
Such is the agony and ecstacy of being a Manchester United fan.
The club made it to its first European Cup final in 1968 under the leadership of Sir Matt Busby. Such was the strength of the United side then that many fans expected them to run-over their opponents Benfica. The Red-Devils unceremoniously had other things in mind. The great Portuguese Eusebio equalised to send the game into extra time. United, inspired by Bobby Charlton, Padddy Crerand, and George Best went on to score three times in extra-time to lift Britain's first European Cup. That dramatic performance perhaps set the tone for many decades to follow because United were gradually becoming late-show performers. From last minute-winners in the league to Hollywood-like finishes in the European Cup-United just never knew when they were beaten. The 1998-1999 season is probably still regarded as Manchester United's finest ever season because of the come-back nature of almost every game we played in. The Champions League Final show probably comes to many people's minds but how about the FA Cup games against Liverpool and that Semi-final against Arsenal when Ryan Giggs scored THE GOAL! Many also forget that we secured the league title on the final day of the season because Arsenal were threatening to do the impossible-defend the league....
So in the space of 2-weeks, we had to win back our league, win the FA Cup, and of course make that small matter of a journey to Barcelona.
After cursing United's luck in each of those competitions, fans all over shed tears of joy. Why? BECAUSE IT WAS SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE! It has taken Manchester United 9 years to produce a season that can be compared to the 1999 success. Last season Manchester United dramatically won their 17th league title and finally re-claimed the title KINGS OF EUROPE.
Truth be told that they would have won the FA Cup as well but for dubious refereeing and bad-luck.(it was simply Portsmouth's year). Nonetheless United went on to capture a league and domestic double that any team on the planet would be jealous of. Unfortunately, United had to do it the traditional HARD-WAY. Manchester United started the 2007/2008 campaign in the most shocking fashion. United failed to score against the now-relegated Reading at home on the opening day of the season. This meant that right from the start of the campaign, we were playing catch-up as our title rivals were cruising. As if that wasn't bad enough, Portsmouth held us to a draw in our second-game-with the then important Christiano Ronaldo being sent off by Steve Bennet. Two games played, and United were already 4 points behind(needless to add that i personally wrote them off, and anybody who knows how many points Mourinho drops in a season will back me) So surely it can't any worse-we thought...
United headed into Derby-day with the "BITTERS" still looking for their first win of the season. As if to mock our lack of appreciation for the draws we were getting, City beat us. Just to clarify the situation more, United went into their fourth game of the season against Spurs 19TH IN THE LEAGUE STANDINGS. By this time many a United faithful would have taken a third place finish in the league come May. (somewhere in-between, Coventry-City knocked us out of the Carling Cup). It was really beginning to look all bleak because even when we started winning, the team that is also known for its attacking play could not see beyond one goal against Spurs, Sporting Lisbon, Birmingham........(the list is embarrassing). Rather surprisingly United went on a winning run that surprised we pessimists. United went on to win even the games we would have forgiven them for losing. Fast-forward to April and United are in their customary position of winning the title.(so why the misery at the start of the season) Unfortunately for all those with heart problems, the script was not yet completed. United led Chelsea by 5 points with 5 games left, but a draw at the Riverside hauled Chelsea back in the race and yet we still had to go to the Bridge. Brad Friedel put on his usual award winning performance when we visited Blackburn and it took a last-gasp Carlos Tevez goal to keep United just above Chelsea-but only just. Michael Ballack did the damage at the Bridge to make it a nervy finish. Victories against West Ham and Wigan did eventually keep the League title at Old Trafford for yet another summer. (but how many still had their shirts on when Ferdinand appeared to handle in the area against Wigan on the final day of the season). This title was even sweeter than the previous according to Edwin van der Saar.
And then there was the small matter of a Champions League title to be won in the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. When Wes Brown crossed for Ronaldo to score against Sporting Lisbon back in September, little did we know that it was the same combination that would get us the goal in the Champions League final. How about Paul Scholes getting us the goal to take us to Moscow after missing the '99 Hollywood Show. Who would have predicted that we start the season by beating Chelsea in the Community Shield on penalties and end the season by beating them in the Champions League Final on penalties. What about Nicholas Anelka scoring the winner against United for Bolton in November and then missing the penalty for Chelsea that hands United the European Cup. And then Ryan Giggs? He scores the goal that wins United the League title to make him Britain's most decorated player....breaking the appearances record for United held by Bobby Charlton in the Champions League final..... SO WHO WRITES SUCH A DRAMATIC, ENTHRALLING, HEART-STOPPING, SCRIPT?