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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Tue Feb 02 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. The RED-Devil's Advocate: "So, What's Happened In '99 So Far?"
2. They'll be singing in the valley (but not me) by Mick
3. Dwight has been a steady scorer since 1995 / The Record Book at Manchester United!


Daily RED Trivia  Tue 2nd February 1999:

2/2/1966: United beat Benfica 3-2 in the European Cup Quarter-Final 1st Leg at Old
 Trafford watched by 64,035. David Herd, Denis Law and Bill Foulkes scored
 the goals. Team was: Gregg, Dunne, Cantwell, Crerand, Foulkes, Stiles, Best,
 Law, Charlton, Herd, Connelly. United won the tie 8-3 on aggregate.    

1980: Nikola Jovanovic made his United debut at Derby County. United's first foreign
 signing, the elegant Yugoslav Centre-back found it difficult to adapt to English soccer
 making 26 appearances and scoring 4 goals between 1980-81, including two goals in
 one game against Leicester City in 1980. 

Barry Daily Comment:

Brilliant REDitorial released at Simplenet today! A summary of the season so far
written by our own resident DMC "The Devil May Care". enjow this excellent article.
feel free to write to DMC at email: 

Previous News:
 Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!

Next games: 
ALL Result/Fixture Index:

3  Derby          (H)  20.00
6  Nottm Forest   (A)  15.00
14 Fulham         (H)  14.00  FAC 5th round 
17 Arsenal        (H)  20.00 
20 Coventry       (A)  15.00
27 Southampton    (H)  15.00

UNITED Stats v All teams:


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds United             Home     W  3-2     2    55,172
05/12/98    Aston Villa              Away     D  1-1     2    39,241
12/12/98    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     D  2-2     1    36,079
16/12/98    Chelsea                  Home     D  1-1     2    55,159
19/12/98    Middlesbrough            Home     L  2-3     3    55,152
26/12/98    Nottingham Forest        Home     W  3-0     3    55,216
29/12/98    Chelsea                  Away     D  0-0     3    34,741
10/01/99    West Ham United          Home     W  4-1     3    55,180
16/01/99    Leicester City           Away     W  6-2     2    22,091
31/01/99    Charlton Athletic        Away     W  1-0     1    20,043

Champions League:
Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Bayern Munich   6  3  2  1  9  6  11   
Man United      6  2  4  0 20 11  10
Barcelona       6  2  2  2 11  9   8    
Brondby         6  1  0  5  4 18   3   

Dec  9 Brøndby         0-2  Barcelona
Dec  9 Man Utd         1-1  Bayern Munich


 Manchester Utd    v   Inter Milan
 Real Madrid       v   Dynamo Kiev
 Juventus          v   Olympiakos
 Bayern Munich     v   Kaiserslautern

 Ties to be played on March 3 and 17

Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Manchester United    23  12   8   3  50  26   24   44
 2  Chelsea              23  11  10   2  34  19   15   43
 3  Aston Villa          23  12   7   4  35  22   13   43
 4  Arsenal              23  11   9   3  24  11   13   42
 5  Leeds United         23   9   9   5  36  23   13   36
 6  Liverpool            23  10   5   8  44  28   16   35
 7  Wimbledon            23   9   8   6  29  33   -4   35
 8  Derby County         23   8  10   5  23  20    3   34
 9  West Ham United      23   9   6   8  25  31   -6   33
10  Middlesbrough        23   7  11   5  32  28    4   32
11  Leicester City       23   7   9   7  25  27   -2   30
12  Tottenham Hotspur    23   7   9   7  29  31   -2   30
13  Newcastle United     23   7   7   9  28  32   -4   28
14  Sheffield Wednesday  23   7   5  11  25  23    2   26
15  Everton              23   5   9   9  13  25  -12   24
16  Coventry City        23   6   5  12  23  32   -9   23
17  Blackburn Rovers     23   5   7  11  22  30   -8   22
18  Southampton          23   5   5  13  23  46  -23   20
19  Charlton Athletic    23   3   8  12  26  37  -11   17
20  Nottingham Forest    23   3   7  13  19  41  -22   16

*** FIXTURES ON 03/02/99 ***
   Manchester United  v  Derby County

*** FIXTURES ON 06/02/99 ***
         Aston Villa  v  Blackburn Rovers
             Chelsea  v  Southampton
        Leeds United  v  Newcastle United
      Leicester City  v  Sheffield Wednesday
           Liverpool  v  Middlesbrough
   Nottingham Forest  v  Manchester United
   Tottenham Hotspur  v  Coventry City
     West Ham United  v  Arsenal

*** FIXTURES ON 07/02/99 ***
        Derby County  v  Everton

Leading English premier league scorers 
 13 - Michael Owen (Liverpool) 
 12 - Dion Dublin (Aston Villa, 3 for Coventry), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United) 
 10 - Andy Cole (Manchester United), Hamilton Ricard (Middlesbrough), 
      Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United)


Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: The RED-Devils_Advocate: "So, What's Happened In '99 So Far?" www.red11.org REDitorial written by DMC Published: Jan 31st 99 http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate So, What's Happened In '99 So Far? It started with a kiss and some hot chocolate when Posh gave Becks a new motor and Becks made up with the bald beefy bruiser from the Kings Road. Barmy Blatter wants a World Cup every two years and Rupert says he wants one too. What Rupert says and what Rupert means of course are two entirely different things as Fartin will eventually find out. What Rupert really wants is a World CLUB Championship every two years and for Sky TV to have the exclusive rights. Well the Italians seem to have given him the elbow so let's hope the government and the MMC show some balls and kick him out too. Kiddo's time in yonnerville seems to be going OK at the moment, but isn't it always this way when a new boss arrives and the players suddenly start to play again for fear of losing their places. I'm sure he will manage to keep them in the Premier League if only by the way that teams such as Everton, Southampton and Charlton in particular seem to be hell bent on self destruct. But he seems to like strikers doesn't he! What about the poor scousers down the wrong end of the East Lancs? Aaaaaaaaaah!! Ex Ranger, Walter doesn't seem to be able to get the Toffees out of the sticky mess they're in down at the basement and the French mickey has a minnie rebellion on his hands with Macmanamanamanamanan on his way to Spain and the nasally retentive Fowler wanting a king's ransom or he's off as well. Fowler by nature than by name eh. And what can I say about Ole, except that he has obviously recovered from his severe childhood illness that prevented him from recognising the only true red and thus was temporarily compelled to follow the dirties. Now fully rehabilitated and returned to his rightful mind he can rest assured we fully understand he was obviously inflicted with the "mindwarpus scousus" virus, a wicked bug which prevents the inflicted from recognising the hideous reality of 'life' on Murkeydive. There's uproar in Saudi - Fergie's gone as mad as Glenda and tipped United to win a fifth Premiership title. What are we to do? But will Fergie follow Hoddle and waddle off into the stratosphere to become a white dwarf, or is he destined to become a true red giant? Some say he already is, but some say he needs to emulate Sir Matt by carrying off the Euro crown. I say he now has a team who look as capable of doing just that as the 93-94 team did. The difference now is that he is at liberty to play them all in European competition at the same time. The difference between the team of last season and this is very simple. This team has a strong spine and for the want of sounding too obvious, they are all a year older with that much more experience. But it is the spine of the team which is the all important difference. Not forgetting Schmeichel (I'll come back to him later), we have two new additions and a rebirth. Stam, Yorke and Keane, three players we didn't have last season. Keano has been with us for a while now and his value to the team has increased during that time. He is the natural choice for captain. Yes - it would have been nice for Peter to have retained the armband for his swansong season, but there is no way he could have the influence on the team that Keane has. Peter's stuck between his posts, except when he's venturing forth on a last ditch ram-raid into the opposition box that is, and so he is too divorced from the main action. Even his foghorn from Valhalla isn't loud enough to reach past the halfway line and in any case how could you allow anyone with a goatee as daft as Peters to wear the coveted back armband. So Keano is a major player who's power and influence is felt all over the pitch. I certainly wouldn't want to be facing up to one of his hard steely stares, would you? Even his goal celebrations are hard. It's more likely he'll come up to you and either belt you round the head or kick your arse when you score than give you a nice hug like the rest of the chaps do. Keano's the one who has taken over the Robson role and is looking every bit as good as the great man, and if Fartin doesn't sort it out and negotiate a proper deal, Manchester United will be the poorer for losing him - Keane that is, not Fartin. I wouldn't mind losing Fartin, but that's another story. I'm not getting into the wage debate here, but I wish I earned somewhere close to the amount the top players earn for playing a game. Dream on! Behind Keane is Stam. I was filled with dread when I heard that Pally was leaving in the summer because I felt he was the best centre half I ever saw playing for United. Martin Buchan comes a close second, but the Dolly and Daisy combo was tops. How could this man Stam be worth the huge amount of money Fergie was willing to pay, and how could he fill Pally's boots? Well, after a very short period of settling in, he has been my man of the match on more occasions than anyone else. For a man who hails from the flatlands he is a veritable mountain, an giant of a man who dominates the penalty area like no-one I have ever seen before. He can even out-legend Pally in time. His skill on the ground and his distribution are superb. The way he dispossesses an opposition forward is stunning. As they approach his lair he seems to lean on them mentally and when they're under his spell he picks their pocket and comes away with the spoils. There's no fuss, or bother, just simple football. So to the last of the trio - Yorke. He has been a revelation to me, and I was one of the ones who thought he would be good for United, but not this good! I hesitate to say this, but he seems to be another Eric type catalyst. He isn't Mr Invisible, ghosting around the pitch, like Eric did, but he certainly finds space where you don't expect him to. His vision has impressed me more than anything. I didn't notice him that much when he played for Villa, but how can anyone shine bright in the dullest of shirts. Put the crimson red of United on his back and he suddenly becomes a star. His link up play especially with his soul brother is a gift from heaven for Andy, so be of no doubt that the Wizard has pulled off another master stroke here. Yorke's magic has sparked the team. His attitude is contagious, even Giggsy smiles the smile now and then! So with these three in the team I believe Fergie has the possibility of achieving absolute immortality, and the one thing that they have got in common is that they are without question already "RED TO THE CORE". They are nearly as Red as we are. They are United players in the time honoured tradition of Law, Charlton and Best and naturally of those who went before and those who came after. As supporters of Manchester United we demand a certain flare with our football. we don't want the methodical Liverpool approach or the defensive Arsenal approach, we want skill, flare, charisma and devotion and the greatest of these is ................... eeeer, all of them! So, back to the daft Dane between the sticks. Some have said he is losing his touch, that he is dropping more bollocks than Glenda, but in truth he has always dropped them. Ever since Fergie pillaged him from Brondby he has made the odd gaff, every goalkeeper does, but Schmeichel is so good, we tend to notice it more. He had a short period after he announced he was going on an extended sunny beach holiday at the end of the season, but he's over that now and back to his brilliant best. Anyway, how did you expect him to react after coming to the conclusion he should leave us? It takes courage to decide to leave United because despite what the "good time Charlie" says, there's only one way out of United, and that's down. Sir Matt said that and that's good enough for me. Peter Schmeichel is far and away the best keeper we have ever had, but who knows the secret of the Wizard's Black Magic Box, he may have another lined up just as Jaap replaced Pally and Dwight replaced Eric. We live in hope and expectation. This team is recreating another aspect of true United tradition and that is to play until the whistle sounds at the very end of the game. I expect there will be more people still in their seats at the final whistle than normal from now on. Even the fanzine sellers will stay until the last kick and maybe even some of the execs and trippers will too. The fighting spirit is back - back with a smile at the front, a snarl in the middle and a cool head at the back! DMC. ***************************************************************** Comments/Email to: The RED-Devils_Advocate at REDitorial Guestbook Sign http://jupiter.guestworld.tripod.lycos.com/wgb/wgbsign.dbm?owner=reditorial REDitorial Guestbook View http://jupiter.guestworld.tripod.lycos.com/wgb/wgbview.dbm?owner=reditorial N.B. by emailing or adding an entry to our guestbook you are granting us permission to quote you in part or in whole in any future articles. --- The www.red11.org Web Team --- http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: They'll be singing in the valley (but not me) by Mick There is one thing I constantly winge about at games and vow that I would never do - until yesterday that is, and dont I regret the decision. You see on the train home I phoned my dad to find the Arsenal score to be greeted with "you lucky b......s" - what do you mean dad ? "scoring in injury time again son" cam the reply - Doh ! Richard and myself had committed the cardinal and left before the final whistle had blown. The train service from Charlton (which comes close to being the arse end of the world) runs one every half hour back to Waterloo and Charring Cross, the combination of a train leaving Charlton at 5.55 (the station being next to the ground) and the fact that the game had been poor with neither side looking like they would score and that the valley does not deserve premiership status (too little space for 2000 reds to leave) were instrumental in our decisions to leave before the red army and Charlton statuesmade their exits. The day started with my brother in law picking me up for the short drive to catch the train into London - one jib (and 2 qtr pounders / cheese) later we met up with Dr Mark and Richard with their pals near to Charring Cross for several beers and more food. There had been a rally in Traffalger Square yesterday and the pub filled up weird characters dressed up Cavalier / Roundhead style, the 'kings army' had been celebrating something (I assume that the invasion, pillaging of another peaceful nation had something to do with it) - still the threat of a 15 foot sharpened pole being surgically inserted up my rear end had me mumbling anti Cromwell statements into my beer. The train trip to Charlton takes circa 25 minutes and was very eventful ! On the platform a mass of bodies rushed the train as it approached in order to gain a seat - it was only when a quick chorus of Manchester la,la,la and Red Army went off did you realise that it was full of Utd fans -Oh how I miss the footy specials, for the entire journey the train rocked with song after song. With every new station we approached came the sound of Red Army, Reds are here and Manchester, Manchester, Manchester, those who had seconds before were queuing waiting for the train doors to open, found themselves looking for a quiet carriage as sanctuary from the blood thirst pagans - why do we carry such a reputation, after all are we not the best behaved supporters in the land.............. when we win ? Inside the ground you had no space to swing a cat, both on the concourse and pitch side, it's a small ground with facilities worse than those at Leicester (and less space to move around in) ! The fans started going from the off with a couple of new songs to add to the memory banks - firstly for a good 5 minutes there was a tribute to our baby faced assassin himself, an old song from the seventies was dug up and the tribute to Lou was rekindled for Olé. 'Who put the ball in the scousers net, Who put the ball in the scousers net, Who put the ball in the scousers net, Olé Gunnar Solskjaer'. Great old song, new version, very catchy and was picked up instantly - as was a reworked version of the Macmanaman, Macateer song - 'Sold Macmanaman sold Macateer, Sold Macmanaman sold Macateer, Sold Macmanaman sold Macateer, Still F***ing queer'. I had the pleasure of having a United legend sat in front of me - Petrol / Paraffin Pete, off his head (as per the norm) singing (howling, screeching) out of tune, beat in fact he was on most occasions singing different songs (much to our amusement). The game it self was very poor, Kerry has promised to do a full match report seen through his eyes. This should be an interesting and colourfull read considering the state of him before, during and after the game. Kerry has started a new relationship - having dumped Stella he has now found companionship with Smirnoff and they appear inseparable ! Charlton sporting a five man defense did well to snuff out Cole, Yorke and later Olé - well for the 86 minutes that I saw ! Utd had a number of chances most falling to Nicky Butt with a good chance in each half, and several others of Chocky quality that had the Charlton fans donning head gear. Giggs had a couple of volleys on target saved well by the keeper and Keane hit a trade mark thunder bolt on target, but some soft sod got in the way of it, bloody defenders (hope it hurt). Well the game dragged on with plenty of singing - the volume magnified with the low roof in the away end - the two new songs plus all the favorites got plenty of airing, Hello, Hello we are the Busby boys : For ever and ever : From the banks : We're Utd supporters : Kippax : Olé Olé : You are my Solskjaer - the 'Who put the ball in the scousers net' given most passion - wonder why ? And so that fateful decision to make our leave and curse spending £25 to watch a pile of pants in a poor ground miles from civilization. Still 3 points is 3 point - United top of the league - with wins over Derby and Forrest we will go through next weekend top of the league and in the qtrs of the FA Cup (cough) and the Champions league, and we haven't really played that well yet. Man of the 86 minutes - bearing in mind I missed the goal, Keane played his usual solid self and compensated for the dreadful game that Butt had. Yorke played deeper to get space and was fluid in his movement (one of the few that tried to find space), but that big solid centre half takes it again, snuffing out any threat coming his way - the guy is just a colossus and gets better and better. Oh and finally while on the subject of Jaap. we did reserve another new song just for him - sang to the Charlton fans ' We've got Jaap Stam bigger than your ground ' Copyright © 1999 by Mick. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: Dwight has been a steady scorer since 1995 / The Record Book at Manchester United! Goal scoring run: 4 all / 3PL Villa 1995-96 48 25 0,5 1996-97 43 20 0,5 1997-98 38 16 0,4 1998-99 1 0 Manchester United 1998-99 25 16 0,6 With a possible 24 games left this season that's 14 more could be a total of 30! Prolific Scorers? Who was the last to score 30 at OT? Your right Choccy 31 in 87/88 (24 Div1) Eric managed 25 in 93/94 Dwight looks like catching these two! Ar the beginning of the 1951-52 season, Jack Rowley scored 14 goals in seven games, incl. three hat-tricks! Total for season was 30. ALL TIME RECORD for a season IS "DENIS LAW" 46 goals in 63/64!! Any Old farts want to revive some of these LAW "THE KING" games? [Linda Harvey, Pete Hargreaves, DA, David Marshall, Bruce Barnes, Paul Hogan, Dudley Upton, Kenny Thomas, Seamus Gallen, Eddie Stevenson, Clive Halliwell, Eric King, Roger Southall] Reminders: 31/08/63 Everton L Div 1 (H) 5-1 Law2, Chisnall2, Sadler 03/09/63 Ipswich L Div 1 (A) 7-2 Law3, Setters, Moir, Chisnall, Sadler 19/02/64 Bolton L Div 1 (H) 5-0 Herd2 Charlton1 Best2 25/02/64 Sp.Lisbon ECWC 3R 1st leg (H) 4-1 Law3 Charlton1 15/03/64 " " 2nd leg 0-5 REDS went out 4-6!!! 11/11/64 B.Dortmund EUFA 2r 1st leg (A) 6-1 Charlton3 Law1 Best1 Herd1 Last person to score 6 in succesive games was David Herd in 5 L + 1 FAC Eric Cantona did it in the LEAGUE 95/96! Come on Dwight just BREAK THOSE RECORD BOOKS!!!! Dwight Yorke Wherever You May be You are the king of pornography You stuck two fingers up to John Gregory And Now You play for MUFC Tune: Lord of the dance http://www.red11.org/mufc/songs.htm
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: CHARLTON 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 1 Alex Ferguson's men are back at the top of the Premiership as Dwight Yorke produced a last-minute header to deny Charlton a precious point at the Valley after they had battled every step of the way in search of their first win in 12 Premiership games. But there was no way back once substitute Paul Scholes crossed for Yorke on the back post to nod the ball past the despairing dive of Simon Royce, in off the post, to claim his 18th goal of the season. Charlton are now just a point ahead of rock-bottom Nottingham Forest and relegation is looming. Alan Curbishley's team of triers had started confidently in a game which took time to wake from its Sunday slumbers. Both teams enjoyed spells of possession in midfield, but the goalkeepers did not have to earn their corn until the last 10 minutes of the first half. First, Charlton's Royce saved well from Ryan Giggs before reacting quickly to turn a Denis Irwin cross behind after more good play from the Welsh winger. The Addicks produced some neat pockets of football, but goal attempts were limited, Mark Kinsella dragging a 25-yard effort wide. Referee Gary Willard then turned down two Charlton penalty appeals in first-half stoppage time, Martin Pringle collapsing under a Henning Berg challenge before the referee sharply spotted that Peter Schmeichel had got a hand to the ball as he raced from his line to beat Kinsella to a long pass. The big Dane was less convincing when he made a hash of the resultant corner. He flapped at Kinsella's kick and watched thankfully as Neil Redfearn smashed the loose ball over the bar from 12 yards. After the break Andy Hunt squandered a good chance when he chose to go it alone and ignored his better-placed teammates. The experienced United goalkeeper plucked a good chance from Hunt's head moments later as the Addicks striker shaped to finish a sweeping move. The initiative then switched to United, and Curbishley's men had to soak up a lot of second-half pressure as they turned up the heat in search of a winner. Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Giggs all crashed shots over, and Royce survived under a barrage of corners and crosses. The pressure built up, and finally the Addicks defence snapped as they left Yorke unmarked to head home Scholes' cross. The only good news for Charlton on another miserable day came when their on-loan Swedish striker Pringle said that he would like to join the Addicks on a permanent basis, and might even stay with the club if they go down into the Nationwide League. Pringle is only committed to the Addicks until the end of the season after finding himself out of favour at Portuguese club Benfica, but he has made it clear he would like the move to be a less temporary one. ''I don't think Benfica have a place for me any more. They bought two new strikers - why I don't know,'' said Pringle. "I asked Graeme Souness at the start of the season what his plans were for me and he told me he was counting on me this year. Then suddenly he bought two new strikers. I have been in Portugal for two-and-a-half years, I speak the language and it's quite difficult to leave. You become stable in one place, but that's the way football is. ''Benfica might want me back but I would love to stay here. My future at Charlton doesn't depend on the club staying in the Premiership. It depends on whether or not they want me. That's the big question.''
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: NO PROBLEM WITH IRWIN CONTRACT INSIST UNITED Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards insists contract talks with Denis Irwin are still on track. Irwin, whose current deal expires in the summer, has yet to put pen to paper on a new agreement despite months of talks with the club. The 33-year-old Republic of Ireland international needs just one more season at Old Trafford to qualify for a money-spinning testimonial and there is growing disquiet over the failure to reach agreement. But Edwards has insisted negotiations with Irwin are on course and he was confident the matter would be resolved soon. ''Everything's fine,'' he said. ''Denis is under contract until the end of the season and we are still talking to him.'' United boss Alex Ferguson echoed Edwards' claims when he said: ''There's nothing to worry about. Sometimes these things just take time.''
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: CURBISHLEY BACKS UNITED FOR TITLE Dejected Charlton boss Alan Curbishley cast an envious eye at Manchester United's substitutes' bench after the 1-0 home defeat yesterday. Curbishley said the options available to Alex Ferguson within his star-studded squad had been a vital factor in the outcome and could play a part in the destination of the championship. ''We've played Arsenal twice and Manchester United twice. I just think United have got the ability that when one angle, or one side of the pitch, is blocked up, they can quickly move it to the other side,'' he said. ''They prodded and poked a lot today. I know, when we played Arsenal, they had Vieira sent off - but you just felt with Manchester United, in the two games we've had, that they've been the better side. ''When you look at the size of Manchester United's squad and look at that bench today it's quite frightening. ''Perhaps Arsenal and Chelsea haven't got that size of squad. Chelsea have got a few injuries. ''It's a long season; wins are so important, and I think Manchester United - in the run they're in at the moment - are picking up plenty of wins.'' Curbishley has seen his side lose narrowly to United, Arsenal and Chelsea now this season but knows Charlton must quickly rediscover the winning way if they are to avoid a rapid return to Division One. He said: ''It was a big disappointment, but we've got to take great heart from the way we performed and the character we showed. ''But we've got to get some wins. I think the Wimbledon game now becomes vitally important for us.''
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

Subject: FERGUSON READY TO REJOIN BATTLE WITH GUNNERS Alex Ferguson is priming himself for another championship showdown with Arsenal after a last-gasp win at struggling Charlton. The Manchester United boss reckons the Premiership battle could soon become a two-horse race, and no one is betting against the Reds or the Gunners after their wins yesterday. Dwight Yorke pounced in the last minute to send his team to the top of the league with a 1-0 win at The Valley, and Dennis Bergkamp's eighth of the season gave Arsenal the points against Chelsea. Championship pedigree could prove vital, Ferguson believes, as the pressure mounts in the home straight. He knows his own team are easing into top gear and champions Arsenal are starting to find their rhythm again after a stuttering start to the campaign. Ferguson said: ''It's tight at the top of the league and it's been that way for a few weeks. ''You get to the turn of the year and see the shape of the league. The teams who have come through December and are still there or thereabouts, particularly teams with tradition and experience of being there, you can expect it to remain that way until the end of the season. ''I think Chelsea, Arsenal and ourselves will definitely be there. Villa are having a rocky spell, but everyone gets them and they may still come back. ''At the moment it's looking tight. But by March, or the end of March, it may turn into the usual two-horse race, who knows?'' United's win at Charlton moved them one point clear of Chelsea and Aston Villa at the top of the Premiership with Arsenal creeping ominously into the frame thanks to their win at Highbury. Bergkamp's strike inflicted Chelsea's first Premiership defeat since the opening day of the season. Ferguson, however, knows his team have only to keep reproducing their best form and they won't be far away at the finish. He said: ''The important thing is that your team is playing well and you've got a good squad and you keep away from injuries, which we have been doing just now. ''The important thing is to look after your own form and results, and that takes care of everything else. It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing.'' United weren't at their most fluent against Charlton but they proved too strong for the south London strugglers, who have now gone 13 Premiership games without a win. The visitors piled on the pressure and, just when it seemed the Addicks had ground out a crucial point for their survival fight, up popped Yorke to nod home a Paul Scholes cross at the far post. Ferguson said: ''It was a good result for us because I think in the context of going for the championship there are games when you have to dig them out and find a result somehow. That was one of them today.'' But the United boss insisted his team were worth the points. He said: ''I think we deserved to win the game simply because we were in charge of possession. We kept a good tempo and flow to our game, although I couldn't see us scoring. ''Give credit to Charlton. I think they have defended very well. The three centre-backs have handled our two strikers as well as anybody has this season. ''They sat deeper, so there was no space behind them and we had to try and find a way to win the match.'' Ferguson threw on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Scholes, and his gamble worked when the England star provided a telling cross for the goal. Dejected Charlton boss Alan Curbishley said the options available to Ferguson within his star-studded squad had been a vital factor in the outcome and could play a part in the destination of the championship. ''We've played Arsenal twice and Manchester United twice. I just think United have got the ability that when one angle, or one side of the pitch, is blocked up, they can quickly move it to the other side,'' he said. ''They prodded and poked a lot today. I know, when we played Arsenal, they had Vieira sent off - but you just felt with Manchester United, in the two games we've had, that they've been the better side. ''When you look at the size of Manchester United's squad and look at that bench today it's quite frightening. ''Perhaps Arsenal and Chelsea haven't got that size of squad. Chelsea have got a few injuries. It's a long season; wins are so important, and I think Manchester United - in the run they're in at the moment - are picking up plenty of wins.'' Curbishley has seen his side lose narrowly to United, Arsenal and Chelsea now this season but knows Charlton must quickly rediscover the winning way if they are to avoid a rapid return to Division One. He said: ''It was a big disappointment, but we've got to take great heart from the way we performed and the character we showed. ''But we've got to get some wins. I think the Wimbledon game now becomes vitally important for us.''
Andy Playing at Toon! (Peter Beardsley Testimonial Last week)

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