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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Thurs 04 Nov 1999 00:00 GMT
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Another Waltz Kurt? - Personal Match Report by RED KELLY
2. Ask the StatMan -  How do the player train?
3. MEN Report Manchester United 2 Sturm Graz 1
4. SCHMEICHEL CALL FOR FAIR FIXTURES
5. NO KIDDING: BLACKBURN BOSS GETS THE BOOT
6. KEANE: CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE LACKS BUZZ
7. Under-19s world came crashing down in the last minute against Blackburn

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MANCHESTER UNITED DAILY NEWS  Thurs 4th Nov 1999:

Barry Comment:
Headlines: Kiddo sacked at Blackburn, Gary Neville injured again.
Not good headlines - read more in todays digest

Friday Nov 5 EUROSPORT
11.00-12.45 Champions League Draw live

WEB NEWS - www.redissue.co.uk  !NEW!

Manchester United FC Champions League Squad List
 1 Mark John Bosnich      2 Gary Alexander Neville 3 Dennis Joseph Irwin
 4 David May              6 Jakob Stam             7 David Robert J Beckham
 8 Nicholas Butt          9 Andrew Alex. Cole      10 Edward Sheringham
11 Ryan Joseph Giggs     12 Philip Neville         14 Johan Jordi Cruyff
15 Lars Jesper Blomqvist 16 Roy Keane           17 Raimond RJH Van der Gouw
18 Paul Scholes          19 Dwight Yorke           20 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
21 Henning Berg          23 Michael Jamie Clegg    25 Josť Quinton Fortune
26 Massimo Taibi         31 Nicholas James Culkin  33 Mark Antony Wilson
34 Jonathan Greening

FINAL Group D          P W D L  F A  PTS
Manchester United FC   6 4 1 1  9  4  13 
Olympique de Marseille 6 3 1 2 10  8  10 
SK Sturm Graz          6 2 0 4  5 12   6 
NK Croatia Zagreb      6 1 2 3  7  7   5 

Real Audio - Last weeks Daily News Sound Archive:
Click on INDEX at http://www.red11.org/sound

************************

99/2000 fixtures/match reports are at
 http://www.red11.org/mufc/992000.htm

Mark Bosnich's Personal Details 
http://www.red11.org/mufc/bosnich.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

*** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 31/10/99 ***
       Coventry City   4-0   Watford               21,700
          Sunderland   2-1   Tottenham Hotspur     41,904


*** CONDENSED LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 31/10/99 ***

Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
---------------------------------------------------------
 1  Leeds United         13   9   2   2  26  16   10   29
 2  Manchester United    13   8   3   2  31  19   12   27
 3  Sunderland           13   8   3   2  23  11   12   27
 4  Arsenal              13   8   2   3  20  12    8   26
 5  Leicester City       13   7   2   4  23  17    6   23
 6  Middlesbrough        13   7   0   6  18  17    1   21
 7  Tottenham Hotspur    12   6   2   4  21  17    4   20
 8  Chelsea              11   6   1   4  18  10    8   19
 9  Everton              13   5   3   5  22  20    2   18
10  Liverpool            12   5   3   4  13  11    2   18
11  Aston Villa          13   5   3   5  13  15   -2   18
12  West Ham United      12   5   2   5  12  11    1   17
13  Coventry City        13   4   4   5  20  15    5   16
14  Southampton          12   3   4   5  19  23   -4   13
15  Wimbledon            13   2   7   4  19  27   -8   13
16  Derby County         13   3   3   7  13  22   -9   12
17  Newcastle United     13   3   2   8  23  27   -4   11
18  Bradford City        11   3   2   6   9  17   -8   11
19  Watford              13   3   0  10   8  22  -14    9
20  Sheffield Wednesday  13   1   2  10   8  30  -22    5


 NEXT MATCHES
---------------------------------------------------------------
06-NOV-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Leicester C  (FA Premier League, HOME)
20-NOV-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Derby C  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
27-NOV-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Sheffield W  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
30-NOV-1999 [20:00] Manchester Utd. vs Palmeiras  (Inter Continental Cup, AWAY)
04-DEC-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Everton  (FA Premier League, HOME)


*** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - 

UNITED Stats v All teams:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix992000.htm
 
First Team Fixtures 1999/2000
All dates/times subject to change
Dates of possible cup ties also shown

Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
15/07/99    Melbourne Australia   pre-season  W  2-0     -    60,000
18/07/99    Sydney    Australia   pre-season  W  1-0     -    78,000
21/07/99    Shanghai  Shenhua     pre-season  W  2-0     -    80,000
24/07/99    Hong Kong South China pre-season  W  2-0     -    40,000

 1/08/99    Arsenal   Wembley Charity Shield  L  1-2     -    70,185
 3/08/99    Omagh Town Omagh Bomb Fund        W  9-0     -     7,000
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly           W  2-0     -    15,000 
08/08/99    Everton                  Away PL  D  1-1    10    39,141
11/08/99    Sheffield Wednesday      Home PL  W  4-0     3    54,941
14/08/99    Leeds United             Home PL  W  2-0     1    55,187
22/08/99    Arsenal                  Away PL  W  2-1     1    38,147
25/08/99    Coventry City            Away PL  W  2-1     1    22,024 
27/08/99    Monaco - Lazio               ESC  L  0-1     -    15,223
30/08/99    Newcastle United         Home     W  5-1     1    55,190
11/09/99    Liverpool                Away     W  3-2     1    44,929
14/09/99    Croatia Zagreb           Home EC  D  0-0     -    53,250
18/09/99    Wimbledon                Home     D  1-1     1    55,189
22/09/99    Sturm Graz               Away EC  W  3-0     -    16,480
25/09/99    Southampton              Home     D  3-3     1    55,249
29/09/99    Marseille                Home EC  W  2-1     -    54,276
 3/10/99    Chelsea                  Away PL  L  0-5     2    34,909
11/10/99    Sir Alex Testimonial     Home F   L  2-4  LEGENDS 54,842      
13/10/99    Aston Villa              Away WC3 L  0-3     -    33,815
16/10/99    Watford                  Home PL  W  4-1     2    55,188
19/10/99    Marseille                Away EC  L  0-1     -    57,745 
23/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     L  1-3     3    36,072
27/10/99    Croatia Zagreb           Away EC  W  2-1     -    30,000
30/10/99    Aston Villa              Home PL  W  3-0     2    55,211
 2/11/99    Sturm Graz               Home EC  W  2-1     -    53,745 

 6/11/99    Leicester City           Home PL   15.00
20/11/99    Derby County             Away PL   15.00
24/11/99    ?     EC
pp 27/11/99 ? Sheffield Wednesday  Away PL *No new date yet
30/11/99    Tokyo  Palmeiras         WCC       20.00
 4/12/99    Everton                  Home PL   15.00
 8/12/99    ?     EC
18/12/99    West Ham United          Away PL   15.00
26/12/99    Bradford City            Home PL   15.00
28/12/99    Sunderland               Away PL   20.00  "live on sky"
 3/01/2000  Middlesborough           Home PL   20.00
****************************************************
 JAN 05-14  Brazil WTC [3-4 games]
----------------------------------------------------
06/01/2000  Necaxa (Mexico)          Neut WTC  16.00
08/01/2000  Vasco da Gama (Brazil)   Away WTC  16.00
11/01/2000  South Melbourne (Australia) N WTC  16.00
****************************************************
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  Home PL   15.00
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            Home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         Away PL   15.00
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                Away PL   15.00
 1/03/2000  ?   EC
 4/03/2000  Liverpool                Home PL   15.00
 8/03/2000  ?   EC
11/03/2000  Derby County             Home PL   15.00
15/03/2000  ?   EC
18/03/2000  Leicester City           Away PL   15.00
22/03/2000  ?   EC
25/03/2000  Bradford City            Away PL   15.00
 1/04/2000  West Ham United          Home PL   15.00
 5/04/2000  ?   EC qf i
 8/04/2000  Middlesborough           Away PL   15.00
15/04/2000  Sunderland               Home PL   15.00
19/04/2000  ?   EC qf ii
22/04/2000  Southampton              Away PL   15.00
24/04/2000  Chelsea                  Home PL   15.00
29/04/2000  West Ham United          Away PL   15.00
 3/05/2000  ?   EC sf i
 6/05/2000  Tottenham Hotspur        Home PL   15.00
10/05/2000  ?   EC sf ii
14/05/2000  Aston Villa              Away PL   15.00
24/05/2000  ?   EC Final

http://www.red11.org/mufc/match.htm

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


Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
Another Waltz Kurt - Personal Match Report by RED KELLY Yesterday was in no way a usual matchday as I had to attend an afternoon work meeting in the glorious setting of West Bromwich. This meant that my three other travelling companions had the dubious pleasure of an hour or so in a local drinking establishment,. So as I left for the meeting, big Rich, Nigel and his brother Nathan dived into the nearest bar. Although we didn't realise it at the time "dive" was the operative word, but they'd been attracted by the offer of bottles of Bud for 99p - not a bad offer. On my return I was greeted by the trio who were sat at a table on their own and who seemed animated but ever so slightly in shock. The inside of this bar, although spartan was clean, the tables and chairs substantial enough to discourage weight lifting and the other inhabitants a strange mixture more likely to be found in a science fiction film. However the intrepid trio had remained there for the allotted hour or so and had drunk copious pints and eaten their fill so it couldn't have been that bad - or could it? After purchasing a bottle of said amber liquid for a quid I was subjected to an excited barrage of stories which, had I got any, would have made my hair curl. Apparently they had been subjected to three pub singers all loudly singing incomprehensible songs at the same time, a variety of sideways glances of a dubious nature and a bar brawl. Well with pints of beer at 85p what more could you expect? The brawl - totally ignored by the bar staff, had resulted in the man who was pointed out to me as having a huge bald dome of a head with overly long locks hanging off it in a near perfect semi circle at the back, being punched in the face and then as he fell to the ground in an undignified heap, an extra boot was applied - just to make sure. Good place eh? Well, good enough to keep that lot amused for a while anyway, but we felt it would be prudent to leave well before darkness fell, just in case. So we were on our way again around half four ish and back onto the M6. After a stop for everyone to relieve themselves at Stafford Services where we encountered a bunch of Charlton supporters and asked them where they were going, to which they replied, "yes." No - it doesn't make sense to me either, but we eventually found out what they should have said was Crewe! Back on the M6 we were making good progress until the inevitable accident. It's usually around Stafford, but this time it was further up and ironically just after we'd passed the turn for the M56 - but only just past it. Blue flashing lights and a mile long queue, so this had obviously not long happened as the jam builds up very quickly behind us. So we sat there feeling thankful we'd had the foresight to have stopped at the services and we waited as patiently as possible as we slowly progressed to the point where a jack-knifed wagon was the visible cause of the holdup. Slightly weary, we arrived at Bronnington with not a great deal of time left before kick-off. Just enough time to swim against the tide of on-rushing support up to Chester Road and get a can at the offie by Macaris though. I don't know whether it was something about yesterday, but there followed another altercation at the off-license door when a lad tried queue jumping to get inside and was unceremoniously discarded by the bulky bouncer. At least this time he hadn't been punched in the face or booted as he went down, but we could see it coming. In the end, we were glad to get down to the ground where we had a close encounter with Dr Mark's mum who obliged us by giving the said doctor a cuff round the ears just like she used to - nice one, keep the bugger under control we say! Inside the ground the atmosphere was relaxed, which is another way of saying non existent. The Austrians over to our left were all seated like good girls and boys and didn't actually do anything until the last five minutes. They had one flag and a couple of scarves between them and were in stark contrast to every other set of Euro supporters we've come across so far this season. The teams came out and went through the usual rigmoroll of shaking hands with everyone in sight and then got down to the action. I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise after such politeness before kick-off that the players followed on in the same vein during the game, but did our defence really have to be so relaxed. I mean allowing the ball to hit the post direct from a corner with Nev and Bozzy stood there applauding is going too far surely.? The lack of aggression continued with the one exception being Keano who just doesn't know how to play in any other way except for whole hearted and aggressive. If Martin and the gang don't realise this man's worth then they should not be in charge of our club, it's as simple as that. The defence were handing round the cakes and ice cream as though it were an end of season party. More a testimonial than a football match and if the Grazers hadn't been so pathetically wasteful with the chances they were presented, we could have been a couple down by half time. But they were wasteful, then so were we as the game deteriorated into a comedy of errors in each six yard box. We stood there and laughed at it all and actually enjoyed it as an absurdity rather than dwelling on the debatable football on offer, although there were some nice touches here and there. Andy in particular was as usual giving his all and was unlucky on a few occasions. Ole too did well as we would have expected, and showed his class and adaptability by linking up with Andy as though he was another soul brother. the most amusing aspects of the first half tended to centre around the most tender regions of the male anatomy as one after the other the Austrians went down clutching their schnitzels. They were most adept in the dying swan routine and by the non reaction of their supporters, who were more inclined to applaud the dramatics rather than shout obscenities at the opposition, it's probably what they expect to see from their footballers. They would have been more at home handing around the Ferrero Rocher than on the pitch pitted against the likes of Keano - they were only too happy to avoid him I can tell you! doesn't even wear long sleeves - I ask you - can't be proper now can it? So we saw no goals down at our end and went off at half time feeling more pleased with the fact the sky was clear and there was no sign of rain than anything else. A quick visit to the toilet was in order and as I stood next to Steve waiting my turn the lad the other side of me started tugging on his dad's jacket while his dad was pointing at the porcelain. Unfortunately his dad looked around accusingly at me rather than his son who was eminently missable being considerably smaller than me. I tried hard to convince him that it hadn't been me whilst those all around, including Steve, pissed themselves. Well, I suppose if you're going to piss yourself, you may as well do it there than anywhere. I got the impression that even when he found out his son was behind him he was still slightly unsure of the situation, but there was little I could do about it! We'd stood for all but five minutes of the first half so we'd persuaded Eliza to join us instead of going back from whence she came so we were all together for the second half which started in the same vein as the first had finished, although we didn't have the man who has to be one of the worst keepers ever to appear at Old Trafford in front of us. I expect big Rich would argue otherwise as Bozzy was now in 'our' goal - he's got a real downer on our lad from down under. The Graz keeper was butter-fingers personified though and was saved on one occasion by his defender on the line when the ball had hit him in the nethers and bounced straight out and into the keeper's hands. Half the crowd around us were taking their time to return so exiting had been the game, that we thought they'd retired to the pub. Had we been in West Bromwich I think I know of at least one person who might have taken that option - yes you've guessed it - big Rich the Bozzy basher! The ballet on the pitch continued with the ref getting more involved. He was joining in with the posturing by acting out his own dramatic moves, becoming more and more demonstrative as time wore on. He'd get down to elaborate gestures and even joined in with the play now and again. His pointing for fouls whilst on one knee appealed to me the most. Everything seemed to change with the introduction of Phil Nev in midfield. I prefer to see him in this position than at fullback where his defensive qualities worry me slightly! He was apparently told to liven things up and put himself about and that's exactly what he did. So rather than "another waltz Kurt?" it was more rock and roll. And it was Ole who took up the call first and after the ball had been pinging back and forth around the box it fell to his left foot. A sweeter volley you'll never see as it flew into the net past the goalkeeper who could only wave and blow a kiss at it as it went past. Next in on the act was Keano who blasted the second goal and that was the end of the Austrians, or so we thought. Our lot dropped off to sleep and we knew what to expect. We've seen it all before - it's that Manchester United thing - get on top and as soon as the crowd start to leave the ground smiling, put the sh.ts up them by giving away a goal. This time it was Giggs who got far too friendly with their captain whatever his name was. Down he went and the ref delighted in doing several back flips before pointing to the spot. The penalty was dispatched, the Austrian fans woke up and there followed the usual five minutes of hell. Why do they have to do this to us every time - there's no need is there? Maybe some bright young medical student somewhere should write a dissertation on the effects of watching Manchester United over the years - it may reveal some interesting statistics. It was therefore with much relief we heard the final whistle and trooped out of the ground to more noise from those over to our left than at anytime during the game itself. And when they heard that the Croatians had drawn in Marseilles they celebrated like never before. It was nice to see Gary Nev and David May back from injury though. They played pretty well before they fell asleep, but need some more games under their belts before they get fully settled back into the ways of top flight football. They still showed signs of class though and one May tackle in his own penalty area was superb. Our journey home was a great deal easier than the one on the way up, listening to ecstatic QPR fans on Talk Radio. But we did have a bit of a fright as two headlights seemed to be bearing down on us when we were bombing along in the middle lane. It's a bit disconcerting when this sort of thing happens on the motorway - you know, when you spy yet another jack-knifed vehicle facing the wrong way. One of those nights I suppose!! Copyright RED KELLY 1999
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Ask the StatMan - How do the player train Date: Friday, October 29, 1999 Time: 1:15 AM EST Submitted by: Bill F O Email address: bfo@kichimail.com Ask the StatMan visitor_country: indonesia visitor_age: 18 question: How do the player training? ============================================================================ They normally train for around 2 hours on a non-matchday, I don't have details but it usually consists of ball-work, stamina, weights, and possibly five-a-sides. The Goalkeepers have their own coach and their own routines, whilst people like Beckham will spend additional time on free-kicks and crossing. The main fitness work is done in the pre-season, with the number of matches played during the English season, training is to keep in peak fitness, apart from the players returning from injury.
Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
MEN Report Manchester United 2 Sturm Graz 1 By Chris Bailey MEMORABLE and vintage it hasn't been, but I bet Arsenal wish they'd been drawn in Group D instead of Manchester United. Reds fans and observers were drunk on the intoxicating delights of last season's European Cup opening section - this time around it just came close to driving us all to drink. Twelve months ago we were all drooling over two sensational matches with Barcelona, lapping up goal avalanches against Brondby and gripped by heart-stopping matches with Bayern Munich. It was too much to expect a repeat, especially in a group which barely ignited the imagination. However, Arsenal meanwhile have tasted glamour bouts with buoyant and brilliant Barcelona and they've feasted on seeing Fiorentina's goal machine Gabriel Batistuta in the flesh. But we're just three days into November and the Gunners' flirtation with the Champions' League is over. United will still be savouring it late into next March at least. Admittedly, European Champions United would have had more Euro nous to cope with another group of death than Arsene Wenger's comparative novices and by the Reds' own admission such an exhilarating group may have sparked a better response. But it is better to be safe than sorry and United could do no more than qualify as top seeds and group winners. The past two months have been humdrum rather than a humdinger and the fact United have operated in second gear, lost a match and still qualified with 90 minutes to spare last week says as much about their true power as the weakness of their group opponents. With the potential excitement to come of the next phase already occupying much of the pre-match talk, it was hardly surprising that this final game fared no better in terms of spellbinding entertainment. The UEFA Cup carrot dangling in front of Graz was enough, though, to spur the Austrians into an adventurous opening. Graz captain Ivica Vastic arguably deserves a better stage than the UEFA Cup platform he'll now grace and he almost rocked the Reds in the second minute when thundering in a corner kick which caught near post guard Ryan Giggs by surprise and his effort struck the post. Vastic then took advantage of a penalty box mix-up between David May and Jonathan Greening in the eighth minute. A bouncing ball broke loose and Mark Bosnich's jump and block was vital. United's first show of strength came in the 16th minute with Roy Keane's long probing ball picking out May at the far post. The defender headed back across goal for Andy Cole. Equalling Denis Law's European Cup record looked a dead cert as the striker pounced but somehow he managed to poke the ball wide. Vastic again was an inspiration when he back-heeled into Schopp's path. The full back crashed his low shot just wide. Law's record lived a charmed life when Gary Neville's searching cross was fumbled by Schicklgruber, Solskjaer dug the ball out and Cole struck. This time the alert Strafner came to Graz and the Stretford End King's rescue by kicking off the line. Kocijan and Vastic both came close to embarrassing the European Champions in a flurry of activity. Kocijan smacked a terrific shot against Bosnich's bar and it returned so quickly that Vastic could only lash over with his reaction shot. Cole set up Solskjaer in the 26th minute with an excellent cross from the left. The Norwegian just wasn't quite precise enough with his guided header which floated just over the bar. This ten-minute burst of goalmouth action at both ends at least raised the atmosphere slightly but it soon slipped back to a morgue-like level as United and Graz failed to develop that promise. It was a long wait before the crowd could gratefully enjoy such heights again and it wasn't until the 54th minute when Cole opened up Graz with a ball to Solskjaer that the tempo increased. The Norwegian's ferocious drive was like his earlier header - well struck but not accurate enough. Clearly he was just finding his range after so long kicking his heels on the subs' bench this season. Two minutes later the hero of Barcelona volleyed in a spectacular strike from the edge of the area to finally end the tedium. Graz had had, you thought, their moments of glory and didn't look capable at this point of winning their UEFA Cup spot on their own merits at Old Trafford. Their fans thoughts no doubt were already drifting to what was happening in Marseille when Keane put United further ahead in the 69th minute. May, who had such an impressive comeback in his first start this season, deserved a goal when his header rapped the bar from Giggs' corner but Keane made sure the defender was at least credited with an `assist' when he drove in the rebound for his third goal in seven days. Giggs could have increased the Reds' tally but headed another accurate Cole centre wide in the 74th minute. However, the Welshman handed Graz a consolation trophy of a goal at the home of the champions with two minutes to go. Giggs misjudged a bouncing ball whilst acting as a covering left back and subsequently wrestled Vastic to the ground to concede a penalty. The Austrian captain slammed in his spot kick. The gasp of horror around Old Trafford when the UEFA official held up the overtime board to signal four extra minutes showed just how much the crowd feared the embarrassment of Graz gaining a late equaliser. The concern wasn't over-stated as the Austrian's staged a stirring late revival and typically the Reds had to put everyone through the mangle. Two saves from Bosnich to keep out substitute Reinmayr saw United stumble their way to victory and into that precious Pot A in Geneva on Friday morning. Match facts: Shots on: United 5, Sturm Graz 4 Shots off: United 7, Sturm Graz 8 Goals: Solskjaer (56), Keane (69) for United. Vastic (88 pen) for Sturm Graz Bookings: Wilson for United Attendance: 53,745
Click On pic - for latest pics from OT
SCHMEICHEL CALL FOR FAIR FIXTURES By David Anderson, PA Sport Peter Schmeichel has called for football's governing bodies to sit down together and work out a fixture list which is fair on the players. Schmeichel left Manchester United in the summer because of the rising number of games and the burden has increased further this season because of the expanded Champions League. The Dane welcomes the changes to the Champions League, but claims the game's administrators should not forget about the players. Schmeichel believes the increased fixture burden is taking its toll on several clubs around Europe and that FIFA, UEFA and the various national associations need to act. Several of United's players looked like they could do with a rest after they struggled to beat Sturm Graz in their final Champions League group game last night. "I could foresee this that the games would be non-stop," said Schmeichel. "Also internationally with the European Championships and the World Cup there will be more games as well because there are more countries in the qualification groups now than there were 10 years ago. "All this means more games and I think what has to happen now is that everybody has to sit down around the table and negotiate the right format for the domestic leagues, the Champions League, the European competitions and the World Cup so that everybody gets the right format. "Because it might be right for the Champions League, but not right for the domestic leagues. "Even in Portugal it's difficult for teams that are in the Champions League. "They are having to play a lot of games like Boavista, who are a very, very good team, but who are suffering at the moment for being in the Champions League. "We've seen AIK Stockholm, who have been dominant in Sweden for years, and they have just faded away. "They were seven points in front when they started playing in the Champions League and they have ended up third in their league. "It all has to be worked out and it takes time. "I remember when the Champions League first started and it took two or three years to find the right format and then it was perfect. "We'll just have to see how this year goes, but the format now guarantees that most of the top teams in Europe are there." The likes of United have learnt to cope with the crippling fixture list by assembling huge squads, but Schmeichel feels this has a down side. "United and AC Milan started it about 10 years ago and they have two teams now," he said. "In many ways that's a shame because it takes some of the quality of the domestic leagues away. "Teams take players away from other teams to have as cover players or whatever you want to call them." Schmeichel, who was in Manchester promoting his new autobiography, believes another way to help the players would be to harmonise each country's domestic season as far as possible to provide proper breaks. "I've said many times that the Premiership should synchronise the starting point and finishing points of the season to the rest of Europe because that would help so much," he said. "It would give players an actual break during the summer and would fit in with the European Championships and the World Cup. "I remember before Euro 96 we finished the season and then we had a month before we played our first game and that was a month wasted. "I think for all players it's important that you get breaks at the right time. "It's a question of communications and the domestic leagues need to sit down with the domestic FAs and UEFA and FIFA and find out a way of fitting it all in."
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NO KIDDING: BLACKBURN BOSS GETS THE BOOT Blackburn Rovers manager Brian Kidd has had his contract terminated by the club, less than a year after taking charge at Ewood Park. Kidd joined Blackburn 11 months ago and was unable to stop them being relegated from the Premiership. They were installed as pre-season First Division title favourites but have struggled to find any form. Despite bringing in around £20 million worth of new players, Blackburn find themselves lying 19th, with only 3 league wins this season. 'It is a sad day for me particularly and for everyone connected with the club,' said club owner Jack Walker. 'Brian is a first class honest man and we so wanted it work out for him. But at the end of the day I have to put the club first. Results have not been good enough and in the end it's as simple as that.' Walker is reported to have stormed into the dressing room following Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by QPR. The only time he had been so furious, said one player, was just before previous boss Roy Hodgson was sacked. Former Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear is already being linked with the vacancy. He has now recovered from the heart attack which forced him to stand down from leading the Dons, and is known to want a return to top-flight management.
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KEANE: CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE LACKS BUZZ By David Anderson, PA Sport Roy Keane freely admits he has not got the same buzz from the Champions' League when compared to last season's victorious campaign. Although Manchester United finished top of Group D, they have hardly played a decent 90 minutes during their first six matches of the revamped competition. Just like the fans, the players have struggled to motivate themselves for the likes of Sturm Graz and Croatia Zagreb whereas a year ago they were playing Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The Champions' League has lost much of its intensity because UEFA have watered down the tournament and expanded it in a bid to make sure the best teams progress. Keane admits United have not been at their best because of this and he vows they will improve in the second-group phase. "I think the buzz hasn't been the same this year and the intensity has not been there," said the United skipper. "That's because of the fact that if you lose a game you always have a chance of getting back into it, whereas before if you lost a game you were straight out. "Sometimes when you play the lesser teams you lack concentration and give the ball away too easily because you know you will get it back again quite quickly. "That maybe has been in the back of our minds during these games. "You have to raise yourself against the better players because you know that you will get pushed and I think with the next stage, the intensity will come back. "The so-called big boys will be meeting each other and hopefully that will get the players up for it. "With no disrespect to the teams in our group we've struggled against them and against Zagreb at home and Marseille at home it was hard to get going. "I think the fans are looking forward to playing some of the so-called big boys and so are the players." Of the big boys among the remaining 16 teams, Keane is most wary of Barcelona. He has noted Barcelona's serene progress through the first stage. The Spanish champions finished top of Group B, which contained Arsenal and Fiorentina, with 14 points. Louis van Gaal's side recorded four wins and two draws in their six games and they also scored an impressive 19 goals. Keane has watched Rivaldo and Co on television and he admits he cannot see a weakness. "Without a shadow of a doubt they will be there or thereabouts and they seem to be hitting top form," he said. "If you get a chance to watch the other Champions' League games on television you do to try and pick up a few pointers. "But from what I've seen, Barcelona don't seem to have any weak points at the moment." Keane has also identified Lazio as another serious challenger to United's title, although they will avoid the Italians for the moment because both teams will be among the top seeds in Pot A for Friday's second-phase draw in Geneva. While Keane respects Barcelona and Lazio, he maintains that he fears fear no-one. "Lazio are another good team and they played quite well when we played them earlier in the season, but that was a different competition," he said. "Barcelona will be one of the favourites, while you've got Lazio and ourselves so there are a lot of good teams left in. "With us being seeded we should avoid the likes of Barcelona and Lazio, but if we have to play them, then we will have to play them. "It wouldn't bother us if we had to play them and hopefully they would be happy to avoid us, but eventually we will have to meet them. "There are a few teams there or thereabouts, but we will just concentrate on our own performances because that's all we can do." © PA Sporting Life
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Under-19s world came crashing down in the last minute against Blackburn 02-NOV-1999 Late goal downs kids Manchester United's Under-19s world came crashing down in the last minute against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend. The lads were heading for a 1-1 draw late in the game, thanks to a goal from Danny Webber, but Jonathan Douglas struck late on to win it for Brian Kidd's men. Read Cliff Butler's match report here. http://www.manutd.com/news/feature.sps?from=latest&id=1642984 LATE GOAL DOWNS KIDS Tuesday, November 02, 1999 15:42 A goal less than a minute from time sentenced United's Under-19s to defeat against Blackburn Rovers at the Ewood Park club's Brockhall training centre. The teams had been involved in a rumbustious match, which looked set to end with the points being shared. But with time ebbing away Rovers made one last foray into the United penalty area, which resulted in Jonathan Douglas scoring from Peter McCann's cross. Rovers had claimed the lead in the 25th minute when Gary Hamilton rounded Reds' keeper Paul Rachubka before shooting into the unguarded net. United drew level, eight minutes before the break, with a brilliant goal scored by Danny Webber. The young striker finding the net with a perfectly directed strike after taking a fine through ball from Wayne Evans. United completed the game with ten men after Bojan Djordjic had been red-carded after getting involved in an incident with two Rovers players. He'd been on the field for just seventeen minutes after replacing Michael Rose. Two other players, United's Michael Stewart and Rovers' Marc Richards, also found their way into the referee's notebook. Meanwhile, on another of Brockhall's beautifully manicured pitches just a few dozen yards away, the Under-17s slipped to a similar 2-1 loss. Alan Tait scored for Neil Bailey's team, but they slid to their second successive defeat. That's the first time that the Under-17s have lost in consecutive matches since United's Academy teams entered the new FA competition at the beginning of last season.
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