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Archive for October, 2009

Scholes was the real diamond amongst them, the baby-faced assassin

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 27, 2009

Andy GoramAndy Goram, who landed a shock loan deal with Manchester United in 2001 from Motherwell, in his Biography “The Goalie: My Story”, has revealed how his loan deal happened, and how he hung up on Sir Alex Ferguson thinking it was someone else mocking him!

Excerpt:

When I had three months of my contract left, they let it be known that I wouldn’t be offered another one. I was knackered. Miriam and I were together at the time and she was driving me to training one day when my phone rang. Coisty. It was 9.30am and I thought he must be coming in from a night on the batter. Ally never phones you in the morning. We blethered, and I shrugged it off and went into training.

Then at lunchtime on the way home the phone rang again. Walter Smith. He was manager of Everton at the time and warned me to keep my phone on because someone was going to ring me.

‘What is it, gaffer? You got a job for me?’ I asked. ‘Just keep your fucking phone on,’ he growled.

Now I was starting to wonder what was going on. I suspected I was about to get the piss taken out of me. Two minutes later, the phone rang again.

‘Goalie, it’s Alex Ferguson here. We’ve got Bayern Munich on Wednesday and Liverpool at the weekend. Barthez is injured and Raimond van der Gouw is struggling. I need you to come down on loan until the end of the season.’

I said: ‘Coisty, f*** off’. And put the phone down. Ally could do Sir Alex perfectly. I wasn’t falling for that old one. The phone rang again and I told Miriam to answer it this time.

’Miriam, this is Alex Ferguson, and you can tell that fat bastard he’s got ten seconds to say aye or naw.’

It really was him. I thought I was dreaming. I’d been playing football for 20 years, and there had been many great moments. But I don’t think many come close to that call from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Further, he tells us about his experiences at the club right from the first day and has some interesting words for David Beckham and Paul Scholes.

McClaren took me around and introduced me to the squad, player by player. Here I was in the inner sanctum of the biggest club on the planet. Gary and Phil Neville’s dad is called Neville Neville. He was a lovely man I’d played cricket against in my summers growing up in Lancashire. As a result I knew the family and that was an ice-breaker. And for all of Keane’s fury at my arrival, the rest of the dressing room respected me and accepted me right away.

Jaap Stam changed next to me each morning. He was a huge man, imposing, and some player. He was brilliant with me and helped me through it. Paul Scholes comes from Middleton, where I grew up, so we also had a bond. Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes – they are technicians of football, craftsmen of their trade.

Beckham has earned every penny he has now because he is an unbelievably dedicated athlete. I was his guinea pig on that training ground every morning. We’d stay behind after the session had finished, and he’d practise his free kicks with me in between the sticks. I loved it in the morning when he’d pop his head in after training and say: ‘Right, Goalie, let’s go’. He would stick a wall of plastic defenders in front of him, set down his 30 balls and we were off. Sir Alex had to force him to take days off. I loved working with the guy. Beckham came through the youth ranks with Giggs, Scholes and the Neville brothers, and there was a strong bond between them.

Giggs was the best crosser of a ball while running that I had ever seen – moving at pace and swirling over a killer centre. But Scholes was the real diamond amongst them, the baby-faced assassin. He was a man of few words, but he was well worth listening to when he did crack a sentence or two.

Here is another excerpt, in which he explains how he never got along well with Roy Keane, while all the players respected Keane and were scared of him.

Shark’s eyes. Dead, devoid of emotion, glaring at me. No handshake. Welcome to Manchester United. Roy Keane-style. The man who saw himself as the heartbeat of the Reds was giving me a message. He just looked right through me as the embarrassed Steve McClaren, the United No 2, tried to introduce the new on-loan keeper to his volcanic captain. From that second I knew there was no point in me making an effort with Keane. Roy had things he stood by, things that framed his life, beliefs he clung to with a burning intensity. Well, I had mine. What he did to me on that first morning at work at the most famous football club in the world didn’t faze me. It didn’t send me scurrying into my shell. I just thought: ‘F*** it. He’s not going to stop me enjoying this.’ He was a Celtic man, I was a Rangers man. He didn’t like me. End of story. Fair enough. After all, I’d done enough to make some Celtic fans dislike me in seven years at Ibrox. There was to be no handshake. Ever.

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The truth is we didn’t exchange a civil word in the three months I was at Old Trafford. From day one we had arguments on the training pitch and didn’t get on. It was serious stuff. He hated the sight of me. However, I was 36 years old. I’d landed the move of my life in the twilight of my career. Was I going to let one man’s sneering disdain for me wreck the experience? Forget it.

There were clashes between us. One day in training, we were playing a game of eight-a-side, and Keane and Luke Chadwick were up front for my team. I always prided myself on the accuracy of my kicking, on being able to pick out a player from a distance, and that day I half-volleyed a peach right onto Chadwick’s foot. The kid snatched at it and ballooned his volley over the bar. Suddenly, I was the target of a volley of abuse from Keane.

’Hey you, give me the f*****g ball,’ he screamed.

I replied: ‘What, do you get the ball just cos you’re Roy Keane? F*** off.’

The atmosphere was icy from that moment on and on the way off the field Gary Neville collared me.

’Goalie,’ he said, ‘we don’t talk to Roy like that down here. We just don’t.’

It was a telling insight for me. I respected Keane as a player, but I couldn’t have that. As far as I was concerned, the way he spoke to some of the players was bang out of order. Many of them were clearly shit-scared of him.

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Title challenge rolls on as United relinquish lead

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 25, 2009

Nemanja VidicTo be truthful, I’m in a mixed state of emotions after the 2-0 defeat at Anfield.

First, a word on our performance. Rooney’s appearance really should have had more influence on the game, and his lack of match fitness was apparent. But that doesn’t mean he was to blame for the loss. Valencia and Van Der Sar put in a pretty good performance, but their efforts lie in vain. We failed to click as a team and the result seems deserved for the past couple of patchy performances.

Second, the reaction to Liverpool’s win. After ending their worst form in 22 years (yes, hear it again Mr. Jamie Carragher) they finally put it behind them to clinch all 3 points. But what amused me was their reaction to the win. It brings to mind the vast difference in the state of affairs at both the clubs. Liverpool move from 8th to 5th as United stepped down to 2nd from the summit. Sure they have every reason to be happy but it’s still not good enough just winning against us. Like Gary Neville said, I’d take the Liverpool loss if we go on to win the Title. Its remarkable how we manage to grind out results the way we do, and we need to take heart from that.

One loss. Just a blip. We need to regroup and go on another, even better, run like the one after the loss to Burnley in which we won 10 games and drew one to go top of the Premier League table and put one leg in the Champions League knock out stages.

Stamford Bridge, and the opportunity to leapfrog Chelsea to the top, beckon in a fortnight. So there should be more focus on building momentum for that fixture and keeping Evans fit, rather than debate Vidic’s antics for his 3rd consecutive sending off against Liverpool (horrendous, that!).

What’s that you say? Yes. Of Course United are capable of doing it!

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Super Sunday: Trip to Anfield

Posted by united4ever2009 on October 25, 2009

The stage is set for the big battle on Super Sunday at Anfield. It is arguably the most anticipated fixture of the season so far. Sir Alex’s men visit Anfield with aim of crushing Liverpool’s title hopes.  Liverpool are in their worst form since 22 years. United, on the other have been producing good results despite their patchy performances in recent weeks. There couldn’t be a better time for United to play Liverpool. But United have to be aware not to get complacent as they did last season at Old Trafford against Liverpool. A win for United could mean end of Liverpool’s title hopes.United have most of their personnel back albeit Rooney being a major doubt due to a calf strain. Liverpool have injury problems of  their own with Gerrard and Torres being doubtful for the clash.

Owen’s return to Anfield

All eyes will be on Michael Owen and the reception he gets at Anfield. Sir Alex has hinted Owen might start if Rooney doesn’t play the game. “Michael’s got a chance [of starting],” said Sir Alex on Friday.

“When he came on against CSKA he did very well. His movement really started to trouble his opponents. I was pleased with that contribution, even though it was only 30 minutes.

“He has been doing very well and has been an excellent professional for us.”

It’s that professionalism plus his wealth of big-match experience that should see Owen through Sunday’s acid test – the first time he’s faced his former supporters in the colours of their arch-rivals.

“He had some great years at Liverpool, so it’s difficult to say what reception he’ll get,” pondered the boss.

Mid-field is the key

The midfield is the key for United. Sir Alex is spoilt for choice in the midfield. Fletcher and Scholes/Carrick are expected to start in the central midfield. Giggs and Valencia have been superb so far and they will try to exploit the full backs of Liverpool to the maximum extent. Sir Alex could either go with the formation he usually adopts in the CL or he could go with the traditional 4-4-2.  If Gerrard and Torres do play, Vidic and Ferdinand will have to be at their best and any mistake could prove fatal.

Possible starting Line-ups:

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Agger, Mascherano, Benayoun, Lucas, Kuyt, Babel, Torres.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Giggs, Scholes, Anderson, Valencia, Owen, Berbatov.

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Happy Birthday Wazza!!

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 24, 2009

Wayne_Rooney_23

This day in 1985, Wayne Rooney was born in Croxteth, Liverpool (how cool is that!!! He must be one of Liverpool’s biggest exports since The Beatles!) and grew up an Everton supporter. Signed for them on schoolboy terms at the age of 10, and the rest is history! Read the rest of this entry »

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Hitler reaction to Liverpool vs Sunderland

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 20, 2009

Whoever edited this is a genius!!

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United back on top after Bolton win

Posted by united4ever2009 on October 18, 2009

Manchester United 2-1 Bolton

Zack Knight looks on helplessly as United took an early lead through an own goal by him

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will no doubt have been buoyed by Aston Villa’s 2-1 home win against league rivals Chelsea at Villa Park.

They began the game in true Old Trafford fashion and on 5 minutes they were rewarded for their early efforts when they took the lead thanks to a fortuitous own goal from centre back Zat Knight.

A cross into Michael Owen was headed into the Bolton defenders path and he was left helpless when the ball cannoned off him into the net to make it 1-0 to the Red Devils.

Just a minute later, Ryan Giggs produced some superb wing play to gift an opportunity to defender Johnny Evans, only for the centre back to head straight into Jaaskelainen arms with the goal gaping in front of him.

Manchester United continued to heap pressure on Gary Megson’s men who were struggling to cope with their rampant attacking play. Wave after wave of attacks left Bolton overwhelmed at The Theatre of Dreams.

On 13 minutes, Dimitar Berbatov connected with an Antonio Valencia cross, but his volleyed effort unfortunately deflected off Michael Owen to safety.

Having survived the barrage of attacks, Kevin Davies will be kicking himself for missing a guilt edged chance on 14 minutes. A superb cross from Matt Taylor was sent into the box only for the Bolton man to miss-time his jump and prod wide.

It was Matt Taylor’s turn to try and find an equaliser but he failed to produce a successful effort despite having three opportunities to do so in the space of three minutes.

A resulting counter attack on 33 minutes from Man Utd proved costly for Bolton as Antonio Valencia played a neat one-two with Gary Neville before smashing a right foot effort into the back of the net from 10 yards to make it 2-0.

It was the Ecuadorian’s first goal for the club and he fully deserved it after an impressive opening half hour.

The strike came as a huge blow to Bolton who were just starting to have an influence on the game.

In the second half, Bolton started to show a fighting spirit which was absent in the first half. Gary Megson clearly has a few choice words for his troops at half time.

Despite this, it was Michael Owen who carved out the half’s earliest opportunity when he latched onto a superb touch from Berbatov only to slice his effort wide.

On 55 minutes, Valencia was convinced that he should have been awarded a penalty, however, replays showed that J’Lloyd Samuel had got a toe on the ball and the referee made the correct decision.

Two minutes later, Berbatov again tried an acrobatic effort from another Valencia cross but this time he was denied by the quick witted Jaaskelainen.

With 15 minutes remaining Matt Taylor offered a glimmer of hope for the Bolton side when he beat Patrice Evra in the air at the back post following a good cross from Kevin Davies.

With the score now at 2-1, Bolton sensed the possibility of an equaliser and United seemed to be cautious going forward.

Gary Megson’s men were working harder than their opposition who were visibly concerned about conceding as Bolton began piling on the pressure.

The Trotters’ direct style of play was troubling United, and a flurry of long balls has Fergie’s men well and truly on the back foot.

Ivan Klasnic may feel he should have done better with his effort on 89 minutes, he was teed up by Kevin Davies on the edge of the United box only to see his effort gathered comfortably by Van Der Sar.

Then, with 92 minutes on the clock, Zat Knight failed to make amends for his early own goal when was unable connect appropriately to a header at the back post despite being unmarked and unchallenged.

Bolton’s misery was compiled in the 94th minute when Gary Cahill missed a fantastic opportunity from a long ball, the centre back could not supply the finishing touch as Bolton leave without any points despite a courageous second half performance.

Gary Megson should not be too disheartened by his sides defeat against the champions, although Fergie will be delighted to record the win which sees them leapfrog Chelsea as Premier League leaders.

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United we stand against Cancer

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 17, 2009

sir_alex_killing_cancer-001

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Ljajic watch

Posted by united4ever2009 on October 7, 2009

If you remember, United signed Adem Ljajic along with Zoran Tosic from Partizan Belgrade. While Tosic has already joined United,  Ljajic is set to join United in January. From many of the videos of him playing for Partizan, he looks to be a very impressive player and under SAF’s guidance, he is surely a star for the future. Here is a video of his performance against Shaktar Donetsk which includes a cool finish by him.

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Disappointing draw, SAF asked to explain comments and VDS up for reserve action

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 6, 2009

What a disappointing night for the champions Saturday was. I don’t even know where to start. Danny Welbeck and Johny Evans started the game and the opening minutes were utterly disappointing for us, not that they are to be singled out for it. The midfield failed to click, everyone tried to outdo the other in losing the ball and Sunderland were bang into it. We failed to break down their defence, let alone terrorise it. The defence was about the only thing that looked comparatively in shape, though significantly below our usual standards. Don’t think I need to say much about anything, but hope we don’t repeat such performances.

After the game, Sir Alex Ferguson made no bones of admitting the fact that we were pathetic, before ranting about the referee being pathetic too. It doesn’t mean he blamed the ref for losing, but he really was pathetic in the game. Bardsley received a booking the third time he committed a foul, which he should have received on his first itself. Ref took ages to book players and was nowhere near the United box when Jones elbowed Foster to head that second goal. But he went on to book a protesting Darren Fletcher. Pathetic. The FA has asked Sir Alex to explain his comments today, and he faces a touchline ban if they don’t find it convincing enough, which I doubt they will.

van_der_sarAmid all the criticism as well as encouragement for giving Foster his much deserved match experience, our No. 1 has been picked for the reserves’ game against Everton tonight and this comes as great news for all the fans. Not so good news for Big Ben, though, who has iterated repeatedly that this is his most important season. I think the situation is tricky here. To be fair, he needs some match experience and 8 premier league games is not exactly enough. But then again, this is the top level and we can’t afford mistakes being made and concede goals. Whatever it is, Sir Alex is the perfect guy to decide how things should work and he will surely not let us down. To Van Der Sar!!

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Manchester United vs Sunderland:Preview

Posted by united4ever2009 on October 3, 2009

Venue: Old Trafford.

Kick-Off:17:35 GMT

A former United stalwart returns to Old Trafford this weekend (along with a few other familiar faces), bringing along with him a Sunderland team that have endured something of a yoyo start to the season. Yes Steve Bruce skippered the Reds to three Premier League titles once upon a time but he will be desperately hoping to outwit his former mentor in the opposing  dugout come Saturday.

To get the ball rolling, the Black Cats haven’t won at the Theatre of Dreams in some 41 years. With eight wins on the bounce for the Reds heading into the game, anything but victory would surely be deemed a disappointing result.

Following the hard fought triumph over an aesthetically pleasing Wolfsburg on Wednesday, three points at home in the Premier League is certainly a must in order to keep things ticking over. Sunderland, on the other hand, were 5-2 winners against Wolves in their last outing, a deceptively flattering scoreline as I’m sure those who witnessed the encounter will testify.

The main bits of team news from a United perspective refers to opposite ends of the pitch. After putting in a steady shift without covering himself in glory against the German champions, Tomasz Kuszczak will have to settle for a place on the bench as Ben Foster resumes as Edwin van der Sar’s Premier League deputy. Michael Owen’s latest injury, meanwhile, will keep him out of action for the forthcoming round of international fixtures next weekend.

At the back you would envisage little change with Ferdinand and Vidic at centre-back and Patrice Evra and John O’Shea on either side of them.

Ryan Giggs’ cameo on Wednesday evening brought about his 150th career goal for United and the landmarks are coming around thick and fast as a strike against Sunderland will see him notch up his 100th Premier League goal. Your guess is as good as mine as to who Fergie may decide to play on Saturday (you’ve probably a better chance of predicting the lottery results in fairness) but given the current rotation policy and that we should be afforded plenty of space, expect Scholes and Fletcher to possibly start with Nani and Valencia on the flanks as Park remains doubtful with a virus.

That leaves Rooney and Berbatov to head up the attack, a partnership that is showing signs of flourishing and should come to life against the frailties of a Sunderland defence that is hardly up there with the best in the league.

The big decision Steve Bruce will have to make is whether to sit back and soak up pressure or attack United from the off and hope for the best. Whatever tact the one-time United captain decides to go with, Darren Bent will undoubtedly start having scored eight in his last nine Premier League starts.

Speaking to the media, Ferguson explained that he is hardly relishing the task of picking his team with so many players fighting fit and on top of their games at the moment.

“We’ve a strong squad. The problem with having everyone fit is picking the right team,” he is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Our two central midfielders – Michael Carrick and Anderson – were fantastic against Wolfsburg, and I thought Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes were outstanding at Stoke. It is giving me a real headache.”

The United boss went on to praise the managerial work of his former player and that he expects Sunderland to achieve big things with Bruce at the helm.

“He’s had experience of the other side, from down there scrapping at Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Birmingham, and the job he did at Wigan in his second spell there last time was fantastic, almost getting them into a European place,” Ferguson added.

“Now he’s had the chance to spend some money and he’s looking good. Steve’s galvanised the club already, and you can see something great happening there. Hopefully not against us on Saturday.”

On the other side of the fence, Bruce paid tribute to Ryan Giggs, a player he labels one of the greatest to have graced the Premier League.

“He started in 1993 and where are we now, 2009? Jesus. And to play at the level he has been doing, he has to be the greatest ever player to have played in the Premier League” he is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

“Not just because of his longevity but because he is playing for Manchester United and still getting man of the match awards.

“For me he is their best player, at his age as well.”

Saturday’s match will be the 13th time that Bruce has gone head-to-head with Sir Alex with the Scot possessing a record of ten wins and two draws to date. The former Birmingham City manager may fancy his chances more than ever before considering the form of Darren Bent but the likes of Vidic and Ferdinand haven’t been in opposition before now.

Anything but a comprehensive result will clearly be frowned upon and bar  a woefully poor United showing, a comfortable victory should prove the final outcome and put further pressure on Chelsea needing to gain a positive result against Liverpool the day after.

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