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

This Issue:
1. WE DIDN'T WANT BLAME - FERGUSON
2. FA backed United into corner', say fans
3. South Melbourne hopes for a game worth giving up the Cup
4. FA CUP TAINTED - TAYLOR
5. FA cup thingy
6. The FA Cup/World Club dilemma
7. SPECIAL ON THE GREAT FA CUP OPT-OUT 

++++++=========+++++++========+++++++++========++++++++


Daily RED NEWS Fri 2nd July 1999:

Barry Daily Comment:
INFO: Anyone who has or knows a pub/friend with MUTV
      the final is broadcasted tomorrow & Saturday

Friday, July 02, 1999 - 23:30
MASTERFAN - FINAL
 Quiz Show

It doesn't get any tougher. Stephen Airley, Jerry
McDonagh and Paul Hinson battle it out for the ultimate
accolade MUTV MasterFan. Quizmaster Antony Wilson
makes sure it's hard but fair. Specialist rounds include
United in the FA Cup 50's; Sir Matt Busby; United's 93-94
season.


REPEAT BROADCAST
Saturday, July 03, 1999 - 18:30

Hope some of you in UK can see it!
http://www.red11.org/mufc/masterfan.htm


Beckham is to be married in Ireland on Sunday.

There is a Daily News Survey running for those with www:
Fill in the form at 


 Its the presentation of the European Cup at Nou Camp
  Video including sound   57secs  1.5 meg  Real Video  Use Real Player Plus G2
   Free at www.real.com
http://www.real.com/R/HPplay-1R/www.real.com/products/playerplus/index.html?src=990611home_5

Latest MUFC Squad song is now available in stereo at www.red11.org
Stereo Sound: REAL AUDIO:  607k 4mins "stereo"
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/lift_it_high.rm  
 MP3  4.6meg  4mins "stereo"
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/mp3/lift_it_high.mp3  

RED sky at night BARCE' delight
 More fun here: http://www.red11.org/mufc/barcedance.htm
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


MANCHESTER UNITED STATS v ALL teams on the Web
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats.htm

Previous News:
 BSKYB Takeover news/pics at http://www.red11.org/mufc/bskyb.htm
  Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
   http://www.iol.ie/~redcafe/kidd.htm
 Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/news/schmeichel.htm

---------------------------------------------------------------
 NEXT MATCHES
---------------------------------------------------------------

01-AUG-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Arsenal  (FA Charity Shield, AWAY)
08-AUG-1999 [16:00] Manchester Utd. vs Everton  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
11-AUG-1999 [20:00] Manchester Utd. vs Sheffield W  (FA Premier League, HOME)
14-AUG-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Leeds U  (FA Premier League, HOME)
22-AUG-1999 [16:00] Manchester Utd. vs Arsenal  (FA Premier League, AWAY)

Friendlies:
August 3rd Omagh Town, St Julian's Road ground
August 4th Wigan Athletic

****Pre season tour details JULY 1999 ***

Melbourne  Sydney  
Thu 15/7 MAN. UNITED V SOCCEROOS evening in Melbourne 
    at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground- capacity 90,000.) kick off 20.00hrs.
- Melbourne Cricket Ground 5 minutes from the city. Good transport available
 Tickets available - starts from $60.00 - behind the goal -next up is $90.00,
   $130.00 and $150.00

Sun 18/7 MAN. UNITED V SOCCEROOS STADIUM AUSTRALIA, Olympic Boulevard,
    Homebush Bay, Sydney  NEW SOUTH WALES  15.00 local time 
     Tickets for Sydney game try here:
 http://www.ticketek.com.au/frame.asp?url=search/search.asp
   then type MANCHESTER in the search field.

   + Far East

Wed 21/7 Shangai first time ever!!!
 This match will be watched by 80,000 fans 
  The game has sold out with the Shanghai Star reporting the home side's
  chairman Yu Zhifei as saying: ''It is unprecedented that the tickets
  should sell out for a match five weeks in advance." 

Sat 24/7 Hong Kong  Repeat of the 1997 game
 "ALL matches will be shown "the same day" om MUTV.

UNITED Stats v All teams:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/

*** FINAL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 16/05/99 ***
Pos Team                  P  W  D  L   F   A   W  D  L   F   A   GD  Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1  Manchester United    38 14  4  1  45  18   8  9  2  35  19   43   79
 2  Arsenal              38 14  5  0  34   5   8  7  4  25  12   42   78
 3  Chelsea              38 12  6  1  29  13   8  9  2  28  17   27   75
 4  Leeds United         38 12  5  2  32   9   6  8  5  30  25   28   67

Here are the first matches in the coming season 1999/2000 fixture list:
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899.htm
 
15 July Melbourne pre season Australia
18 July Sydney pre season Australia
21 July Shanghai pre season Shenhua
24 July Hong Kong pre season South China

1 Aug Wembley Ch Sh Arsenal
  4 Aug Friendly Wigan Athletic
8 Aug away  PL Everton
11 Aug home PL Sheffield Wednesday
14 Aug home PL Leeds United
21 Aug away PL Arsenal
25 Aug away PL Coventry City

27 Aug Monaco ESC Lazio UEFA Super Cup in Monaco
              at Stade Louis II, kick off 8.45pm.

 THE FANTASTIC TRIPLE WAS WON!!
Personal stories here: http://www.red11.org/mufc/barcelona.htm

 
++++++=========+++++++========+++++++++========++++++++


Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: WE DIDN'T WANT BLAME - FERGUSON Sir Alex Ferguson claims Manchester United have ditched the FA Cup because they do not want to be blamed if England's 2006 World Cup bid fails. The Old Trafford boss realises that United's participation in the inaugural FIFA World Team Championship is vital to England's hopes of staging the tournament and that is why they have taken up the Football Association's offer to opt out of the competition. The United boss feels this is clearly the lesser of two evils and he does not want the club to bear the wrath of the nation if they refused to go to Brazil and England's bid failed. United announced their withdrawal from the FA Cup after much soul searching and Sir Alex said: "We had to think about the situation regarding England hosting the World Cup, that was paramount." He added: "No-one wants to see them not getting it and the criticism we would have received if they had not got it and we had refused to go to Brazil would have been unthinkable - and that's a Scotsman talking! "From our point of view we couldn't win and we're getting criticised anyway because all of a sudden everyone is putting the FA Cup above everything else. "We know that and we understand that, but we've been brave enough to make this decision." Sir Alex claimed he was disappointed to be robbed of the chance of defending the Treble before the season has even started. He sympathised with the fans, who are naturally upset by their decision, but he claimed the club had no option because they cannot compete in the eight-team tournament in Brazil in January on top of their existing heavy commitments. The silver lining to this grey cloud, though, for Sir Alex was the chance to be crowned the first club champions of the world. "I'm disappointed and the FA Cup is very special to me because it's the first trophy I ever won, but we have no option," he said. "We can't go for them all and we can't play in Brazil and go for the FA Cup. But now we have the opportunity to be, without question, the world champion club team."
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: 'FA backed United into corner', say fans By Ken Lawrence Thursday, July 1, 1999 Manchester United faced a backlash from furious fans after pulling out of the FA Cup to play in January's World Club Championship in Brazil. United insisted the decision was forced on them to help England's bid for the 2006 World Cup Finals but their announcement, after 72 hours of heart-searching, created a huge wave of disappointment among the supporters who believe the FA Cup should be the club's priority. Leading the protest was John Lee, a representative of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, who said: 'I am disgusted. This is the most disgraceful stunt the FA have ever pulled, backing United into a corner as they have done. 'They have devalued the oldest cup competition in the world, we are denied the chance to retain the trophy and the team everyone wants to knock out won't be entering.' The announcement that United would take up the FA's offer of a one-year exemption from the FA Cup was made at an Old Trafford news conference by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, club chairman Martin Edwards and FA executive director David Davies. Fans gathering outside reacted in horror. One of them, Steve Walsh of Stretford, said: 'The World Club Championship is just a stunt. 'The supporters wanted United to defend the FA Cup which is, after all, part of their unprecedented Treble. We all feel very let down by this.' Ferguson insisted there was no way out for his club, saying: 'I hate to think what the reaction would have been had we not taken this decision.' Sir Bobby Charlton, a United director and president of the World Cup bid, said: 'I will be as sad as any fan that our name won't be going into the hat but we need to make progress and it would have been an insult to turn down FIFA's invitation.'
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: South Melbourne hopes for a game worth giving up the Cup Patrick Mangan Wednesday June 30, 1999 Instead of competing in the FA Cup next January, Manchester United could be playing a team containing a furniture upholsterer, a laboratory technician and an accountant once rejected by Manchester City. South Melbourne may be a powerhouse of the Oceania region, but they can hardly hold a candle to the game's biggest and brightest. Yet, despite an annual turnover just a tickle above Mark Bosnich's monthly pay packet, they will enter the much-maligned world club championship on an equal footing with United, Real Madrid and others among the world's richest clubs. Traditionalists in England may be up in arms about the impact United's involvement in the tournament may have on the game - in particular the credibility of the FA Cup - but at the other end of the planet, the mood is decidedly more upbeat. South players celebrating their second successive Australian championship victory last month in a nightclub deep within Melbourne's garish casino struggled to come to terms with their achievement. The prospect of facing Ryan Giggs or David Beckham in competition was considered with disbelieving smiles. Speak to a South player after the game and the Aussie accent is as broad as Bass Strait. Cock an ear to the spectators, however, and you discover the heart of the club. Greek immigrants established the club 40 years ago as South Melbourne Hellas and the chant on the lips of the side's 8,000-strong faithful at the Bob Jane Stadium is still "Hellas, Hellas". With the club acting as a magnet for successive generations of Greek/Australians, it is little wonder the song is passionate. It is also, unfortunately, no surprise that South attracts little interest from fans of other ethnic extraction. But support is sufficient to maintain South Melbourne - who must complete the formality of a Pacific qualification tournament in Fiji in October to confirm their place at the world party - as one of the best supported and most stable clubs in Australia's National Soccer League. And there are some handy players within their semi-professional ranks. Young Michael Petkovic has been tipped as the next Aussie goalkeeper to follow in the footsteps of Bosnich, Middlesbrough's Mark Schwarzer and Blackburn's John Filan. White-booted wing-back Goran Lozanovski has been trailed by the German club Arminia Bielefeld. And leading the line will be Paul Trimboli - an accountant in his spare time - who was lauded by Alan Ball in 1996 for his subtle skills, before the then-Manchester City manager rejected him for a lack of Lancashire grit. South officials, who have trodden the fine line over the years of attempting to attract more "mainstream" (ie non-Greek) Australians to the club while not alienating the traditional supporters, see the world club championship as a means of tempting fans away from Australian Rules football. The home-grown code, which enjoys blanket media coverage on the back of the 70,000-odd fans who regularly flock to matches at the MCG and elsewhere, has long had a stranglehold on the sporting affections of the local public. Australian soccer supporters are optimistic that, as well as enabling the game to snatch a few more column inches, the world club championship may help staunch the flow of Australian footballers towards Europe, especially Britain. Fifteen years ago, Liverpool's Craig Johnston was a lone crusader. Nowadays, Australia is behind only the Scandinavian nations as an exporter of players to the English league. And the quality of the NSL has suffered accordingly. The world club championship could go some way to improving the sport's credibility. And nobody - not even in England, surely - could begrudge it that.
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: FA CUP TAINTED - TAYLOR Players Union boss Gordon Taylor has hit out at Manchester United's decision to quit next season's FA Cup. Negative reaction continued in the aftermath the Football Association-inspired move which sees United exempt from the competition in order to play in the World Team Championship next year. But now FIFA have derided the move anyway, saying that Englands bid has 'as much chance as Luxembourgs." And Professional Footballers Association chief executive Taylor said: "This might be dressed up as a one-off but it is the first crack in the dam. One of the great domestic trophies has been diminished. It is tainted. I hate it, it is horrid, ugh, smash it up, I hate it." Taylor is being given stress-related treatment at a private clinic after his favourites have opted not to take part in the oldest competition in the world. UNITED CALL FOR FIXTURE REDUCTION Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has called for a smaller Premier League to prevent "killing" players by asking them to play too many games. United have reluctantly accepted the Football Association's offer to withdraw from next season's FA Cup to enable them to compete in FIFA's inaugural World Team Championship in Brazil in January. They claimed they had no alternative to the controversial one-off move because they needed to reduce their fixtures, while they also did not want to jeopardise England's 6006 World Cup bid. But Edwards underlined his concern for the players' wellbeing by claiming that in the long term, the only solution was a reduction in the Premier League from 20 teams to 18. "I think fixtures should reduced to help players perform better through the season - about 30 minutes each way is my suggestion" he opined as Liverpool and Arsenal supporters carried him joyously around Old Trafford.
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: FA cup thingy We should stay in the FA cup and sod the World Club Cup as when was the last time the FA helped us? Man Utd come first, second and third in my book. Two years ago when we wanted an extension to the season, the FA told us to piss off, we should do the same to them this time round. The World Cup bid is going to Africa anyway and us appearing in the World Club Cup won't swing it one way or another. The bastards just want to knacker our players so that some other team can win the Premiership. What will we achieve by going to Brazil? To win a trophy which is relatively meaningless, in my opinion. We gain nothing by going to Brazil - possibly jet-lag, tiredness and some rotten disease no doubt!! Heard on the radio that we are expected to withdraw from the competition and that would be a great shame. If we go to Brazil, what will the FA do for us? Let us forfeit the FA cup, some favour that is!! The FA cup has given us loads of pleasure in the past, none more so than this season and it makes me angry that we haven't the balls to say "See my middle finger? Stick it where the sun don't shine!" Thats my 2 pence worth of opinion. Berni
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: The FA Cup/World Club dilemma To the board at Manchester United PLC: The basic problem, as we all know is too many fixtures in the season. As I see it, United have all the aces. If the Government and the FA want the club to take part in the World Team Championship then concessions must be made. Nobody actually believes that either of those parties care about Uniteds interests, their involvement in this debate is purely to help Englands bid for the 2006 World Cup. This bid could be dead in the water already for all we know. If United were aloowed to play 2 Premiership fixtures on dates allocated to International fixtures, with no call-ups to affect either side, there would be minimal fixture congestion. FIFA have the power to sanction this, after all, it is their competition that is causing the dilemma. If England et al cannot select a team without utilising the squad at Old Trafford the game is in serious trouble. What of the clubs interests? Taking part in such a massive competition may mean large sums of revenue, and world prestige. However, what are the possible drawbacks. The travelling across the globe, the internal flights from game to game, the playing of matches in intense heat, these could all affect domestic ambitions. We have all heard about Holland's illness-stricken visit recently, when a half-time break had be extended whilst players with the runs queued for the toilet. Another factor is injuries. If Jaap Stam or Dwight Yorke breaks his leg, or is crudely injured by say, South American-style defending. Will a trophy held high in Rio be consolation for subsequent failure in Europe? We can earn big money by beating South Melbourne, Real Madrid, Vasco de Gama etc. But isn't there a real danger that our prospects in the Premiership and the Champions League may be jeopardised in so doing? The 1999-2000 season may leave us empty handed, is flying the flag for England more important than defending our hard-won treble? As the poll on your website shows, 72% of the voters DO NOT want Manchester United to withdraw from the FA Cup. Does the opinions of the fans matter in all this? If we start badly in the League, and have already agreed to forfeit our place in the FA Cup, will anyone have egg on their faces? Success in the Champions League cannot be guaranteed once again. There is a school of thought that a 'Super League' involving the best of Europe, and even the world, may be the future. But in the here and now, with a 20-club Premier League, plus the oldest competition in the world, the FA Cup, plus the newly enlarged demands of the Champions League, is it right to have to make sacrifices like our FA have suggested? The reality is this, for the sake of the 'global' expansion of our game, the Premier League MUST be reduced to 16 or 18. As far as the big clubs are concerned the Worthington Cup has to be confined to history. If that happens we can easily take part in World Team Championships in the future. A spin-off would also be less games for players in the England squad. In the meantime, if FIFA and the FA cannot help United fulfil their primary obligations, which must be domestically and in Europe, then perhaps the one-off game against Palmeiras in Tokyo for the World Club Championship should be the limit of our ambition for now. Paul Hinson
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Subject: SPECIAL ON THE GREAT FA CUP OPT-OUT All The Reaction, News & Views On Manchester United's Historic Decision FERGIE DIDN'T WANT TO BE THE SCAPEGOAT Alex Ferguson claims Manchester United have ditched the FA Cup because they do not want to be blamed if England's 2006 World Cup bid fails. The Old Trafford boss realises that United's participation in the inaugural FIFA World Club Championship is vital to England's hopes of staging the tournament and that is why they have taken up the Football Association's offer to opt out of the competition. The United boss feels this is clearly the lesser of two evils and he does not want the club to bear the wrath of the nation if they refused to go to Brazil and England's bid failed. United announced their withdrawal from the FA Cup yesterday after much soul searching and Sir Fergie said: ''We had to think about the situation regarding England hosting the World Cup, that was paramount. ''No-one wants to see them not getting it and the criticism we would have received if they had not got it and we had refused to go to Brazil would have been unthinkable - and that's a Scotsman talking! From our point of view we couldn't win and we're getting criticised anyway because all of a sudden everyone is putting the FA Cup above everything else. We know that and we understand that, but we've been brave enough to make this decision.'' Ferguson claimed he was disappointed to be robbed of the chance of defending the Treble before the season has even started. He sympathised with the fans, who are naturally upset by their decision, but he claimed the club had no option because they cannot compete in the eight-team tournament in Brazil in January on top of their existing heavy commitments. The silver lining to this grey cloud, though, for the United boss was the chance to be crowned the first club champions of the world. "I'm disappointed and the FA Cup is very special to me because it's the first trophy I ever won, but we have no option,'' he said. ''We can't go for them all and we can't play in Brazil and go for the FA Cup. But now we have the opportunity to be, without question, the world champion club team.'' United chairman and chief executive Martin Edwards echoed Ferguson's arguments. ''The last thing we want to do is disappoint our fans and we hope they understand this decision,'' he said. ''We had to consider England's 2006 World Cup bid and that may have been at stake. But we also have the opportunity to be the champions of world club football in the inaugural competition. The winners of this competition will be the first club champions of the world and that makes it very prestigious.'' The FA will hold talks with sponsors AXA Assurance, who have voiced their concerns about the implications of United's withdrawal. However, FA executive director David Davies insisted the competition had lost none of its magic. ''The FA Cup will still be a tremendous competition next year and don't think there won't be giant-killers next year,'' he said. ''We at the FA care desperately about the FA Cup, its history, its tradition and its excitement. That's our heritage and we won't sell it short. We've had to think the unthinkable, but we still cherish the FA Cup and we're going to keep on cherishing it.'' Davies' message to United's despondent fans was that their club now had the chance to make football history. ''Your club can make history in the same way another great United team made history,'' he said. ''We have to look outwards and we have to play our part on the world football stage. Whether people like it or not, there's going to be a World Team Championship and now England has the choice, does it want to be part of that or not?'' FIFA have yet to announce the prize money for the inaugural tournament and United and the FA have not discussed compensation for missing out on a potential lucrative cup run. United will have earned around 6m from last season's FA Cup win, however Edwards insisted: ''This is not about money''. Instead, he is satisfied that United's gruelling fixture schedule has been lightened. Including the Charity Shield, United can now play a maximum of 68 games in seven different competitions. But one feat they cannot repeat next season despite all this possible silverware is the Treble. Alec McGivan, the director of England's campaign to host the 2006 World Cup, welcomed United's decision to compete in the FIFA-championed event. He said: ''This is a huge boost for our campaign. An English club will be present at the first ever club world championship and this demonstrates England's commitment to the world game. For Manchester United to represent Europe on the world stage is a great honour for everyone involved in English football.'' UNITED FANS SEE RED OVER PULL-OUT News of Manchester United's withdrawl might have had them grinning at Lancaster Gate and Downing Street, but it was not greeted with enthusiam from the club's fans. Lee Hodgkiss, spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, said: ''My reaction is one of total disappointment and I think it's an absolute tragedy. I put the blame firmly with the Government and the FA. I think it is tragic that they are about to sell the jewels of English football down the pan in the slim hope, and it is a slim hope, of us getting the World Cup. They were damned if they did and damned if they didn't. If they stayed at home then it would have been our fault if England didn't get the World Cup. ''Going means that fans are deprived of their team taking part in the oldest, most traditional domestic trophy in the world. We may never get the chance to defend the Treble again. There is a lot of anger among supporters most of whom aren't going to be able to go to Brazil. Fans enjoy watching the FA Cup because it is a relief from the league. It is a competition that last season gave us a lot of happy memories. I feel sorry for the team that wins the FA Cup next season. What a hollow victory it will be knowing the greatest team in Europe weren't taking part. ''For me,'' Hodgkiss continued, ''the solution is quite simple - United don't go to Brazil. The announcement is incredibly disappointing. I think the people's government, the custodians of the people's game, have sold the people's game down the river. But I must make it clear that I don't think United are in any way to blame.'' His sentiments were echoed by the National Federation of Football Supporters Clubs, who said in a statement: ''The NFFSC is bitterly disappointed by Manchester United's decision to withdraw from next season's FA Cup. It is simply not true that (as chairman Martin Edwards stated) there is no alternative.'' Monica Hartland, deputy chairman of the NFFSC argued that United were capable of fielding two very strong teams, one for Brazil and one for the FA Cup. She also asked: ''Why does the FA emphasise that it is for this season only that this will happen? How is next year going to be any different? ''No, there is, of course, another agenda here. As one of several leading clubs which has failed to have the Premiership 'streamlined' in order to play fewer matches, this could force that particular issue, especially as they now have the backing of the game's governing body. And for what? To play fewer league games in order to play minimally double that amount to comply with Champions Cup directives and now the world club championship!'' Hartland claimed that football clubs - meaning boards and not necessarily managers and players - were proving that they could find the time to play for whatever provided their financial interests, citing United's forthcoming trips to Australia and Hong Kong. She added: ''It is another nail in the coffin of those clubs outside the privileged few and certainly not 'for the good of the English game', as United suggest.'' The decision was also met with disappointment by many of the supporters visiting Old Trafford on Wednesday. ''I think it's the wrong decision. They were blackmailed into it by the FA,'' said Karen Lee, 18, of Hertford. ''It's a political move and nothing to do with football.'' John Wilkins, 46, from Taunton, Somerset, said: ''We didn't have a choice. No matter what we would have done it would have been wrong. We could have stayed in the FA Cup and not gone to Brazil but if we had lost the chance to host the World Cup, then it would have been our fault. The Government put us in a Catch-22 situation. I think it was unfair of them to put us in such an impossible situation, but other teams should be happy as they might now have a chance of winning.'' But Anthony Riley, 42, a shopowner from Middleton, Manchester, said: ''I think they should pull out because they can't commit themselves to everything. Somebody said it was a 'Mickey Mouse' tournament, but I think it is worth going into it, as Matt Busby did with the European Cup.'' Why Do We Need The World Cup In England? There is currently all this fuss about Manchester United going to Brazil because the FA and the government want the World Cup, but why? What is THE most important thing to you lot about football? For me, it's my club. Paul Kopite ...We must do what is right for the interest of the country. The World Cup in 2006 will be great if we can get it. A solution to it is to allow United a bye to the fifth round and to skip the "worthless" cup. Father Jack ...If we can't get the World Cup ahead of Germany with its crappy grounds and South Africa with its crappy everything then FIFA are just a corrupt institution that we should avoid anyway. Paul Kopite ...Sorry to say, Paul, I'd take loyalty to the national side over the club. My rationale for this is that any fecker can join or leave your club at will - the national side is the only one that is truly "ours". For richer, for poorer, etc. Agree with you though about the current fiasco - the FA have behaved disgracefully since the 2006 bid was announced. Selling even their own tradition now, in the faint hope of getting a few FIFA votes. Supersub --------------------------------------------- 365 DAVID DAVIES AND TONY BANKS HAVE LET US ALL DOWN By Iain Spragg & Sarah Winterburn MANCHESTER UNITED, their own fans, supporters from every other club across the country and the FA Cup have all been betrayed by the Football Association. United's reluctant withdrawal from the oldest club knock-out competition in the world at the behest of Lancaster Gate is a complete disgrace and for once all fans, whether they love or hate the men from Old Trafford, should be united in outrage. Ultimately, the FA's obsession with United competing in the inaugural World Club Championship left them with no choice. The wishes of the club and the fans as well as the interests of the game in general were unashamedly trampled into the ground as the FA clamoured to placate FIFA and its president. Alex Ferguson's disappointment was clear for all to see when news of his team's enforced opt-out was announced yesterday. The competition which gave him his first piece of English silverware has now been declared off limits - for a season at least - and with it the chance to defend the club's historic Treble. A dejected Sir Fergie said: "We can't go for them all. We can't play in the FA Cup and the World Club Championship. That would be impossible. We're in a no-win situation here. The criticism we would have received if we hadn't gone would have been unthinkable." Even the Red Devils' usually diplomatic chairman Martin Edwards admitted they had been "persuaded" to compete. United were simply left with no alternative. The FA's reluctance to give them a bye into the fifth round of the cup forced the Mancunians into a corner with only one way out. It is no coincidence that the words 'no-win situation' have been repeated like a mantra within Old Trafford over the last few days. David Davies, the FA's interim chief executive, and Tony Banks, the Minister for Sport, pushed and cajoled United until they got exactly what they wanted - an English representative in Brazil. Their obsessive desire for United to represent UEFA and allegedly boost England's chances of hosting the 2006 World Cup has changed the face of domestic football, perhaps forever. Not once, however, have either Banks or Davies produced one iota of real evidence that Manchester United's participation will help the 2006 bid. The most likely result of all this pressure will be Fergie's boys enjoying a two-week break in sunny Brazil and South Africa still getting the nod to host the finals. What is certain is that there will be a long list of losers, including the small clubs who can no longer hope for a lucrative FA Cup clash with the biggest club in the country. The competition itself has been devalued, perhaps terminally, and fans of all persuasions have been deprived of what is rightfully theirs - a full-strength and meaningful competition. And last, but not least, the eventual winners of the next season's final will forever be plagued by the question... what if?
Cklick On Nick Oldham to see his work!"

Pic Link today is http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/nick_oldham/

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Singalong Calypso available here: mp3

          If ever they are playing in your town
          You must get to that football ground
          Take a lesson come to see
          Football taught by Matt Busby
          Manchester, Manchester United
          A bunch of bouncing Busby Babes
          They deserve to be knighted

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