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Barry J. Leeming    Digest Prgram by  William McArthur  Canada
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The Devil's Advocate "REDitorial" commentary by Alex Paylor  "RED sky at night UNITED delight!"

The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Thu May 06 05:49:29 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Carling Report
2. Ince wounds United : Guardian
3. My thoughts by  Roland Lee
4. Irish Red: Late Juventus Trip Account; Encounter with Juve Team
5. Norman Whiteside Interview - The Independent


(Real audio files archived at http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99)

Interviews after the game  Liverpool 2-2 UNITED
    1.55m  125k  Alex
    1.05m  71k Ince

Martin Edwards on Alex Fergusons NEW contract:
 http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/martin_edwards_on _fergie.rm
                       224k   3m 26secs 

 **SPECIAL**   25 mins David Beckham profile! pt 1 + pt 2
   Download here:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/david_beckham_profile_99.rm      11m 716k
http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/david_beckham_profile_99_pt2.rm  13m 876k


Daily RED Trivia  Thurs 6th May 1999:

  Shay Brennan was born in Manchester. After a dramatic debut in the first game
  after Munich, scoring twice against Sheffield Wednesday, he won League Championship 
  medals  in 1965 and 1967, and shared  in the 1968 European Cup Final victory. Mainly 
  at Full Back, he accumulated 355 apps between 1958-70. 19 caps for the Republic of

 United clinch their seventh League title with a devastating 6-1 win at West Ham
 United watched by 38,424. Denis Law 2, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Pat Crerand
 and Bill Foulkes scored for the Reds. Team was: Stepney, Brennan, Dunne, Crerand,
 Foulkes, Stiles, Best, Law, Sadler, Charlton, Aston. United finished 4 points clear
 of Nottingham Forest.


Barry Daily Comment:
Two points lost today we have to win the last three now.
We were unluky to lose Denis for licking the ball away?
This gave him his 2nd yellow and he now misses the FA Cup Final! 

That was Alex's 500th League game last night!
His record?

Played 500  W 263  D 142  L 95  Pts:931!
   "RED sky at night Barcelona delight"

QUOTE OF THE DAY from famous Mike Dobbin:
"If United only reach the European Cup Final every 31 years,
 you can't really miss it, even if you spent £1,000 on match tickets this
 would only be equivalent to less than 9 pence a day over the whole period."


Latest sound interviews in Real Audio here: 

Everyone who wants the goal in Real Time Video 300k now thanks to RED CAFE!

FA Cup Semi Final Replay
14 April 1999
Manchester United 2:1 Arsenal
 Villa Park
  Download Ryan Giggs Goal! (Real Video: 300K)
Thanks to the Theatre of Dreams


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

Next games: 
ALL Result/Fixture Index:
If you would like ALL the final fixtures for
UNITED/Arse/Chelsea then go to http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899.htm

Next Games:
9  Middlesbrough (A)  16.00 PL      Live on Sky Sports UK
12 Blackburn (A)  20.00 PL          Live on Sky Sports UK
16 Tottenham (H)  16.00 PL          Live on Sky Sports UK
22 FAC Final Wembley Newcastle  (N) Live on Sky Sports UK
26 European Cup Final Bayern Munich  Nou Camp 

UNITED Stats v All teams:


             Chelsea   1-0   Leeds United          34,762
      Leicester City   1-2   Derby County          20,535
           Liverpool   2-2   Manchester United     44,702
   Tottenham Hotspur   1-3   Arsenal               36,019


Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Arsenal              36  21  12   3  58  16   42   75
 2  Manchester United    35  20  12   3  77  36   41   72
 3  Chelsea              36  19  14   3  53  27   26   71
 4  Leeds United         36  17  12   7  59  32   27   63
 5  Aston Villa          36  15  10  11  48  41    7   55
 6  West Ham United      36  15   9  12  42  47   -5   54
 7  Liverpool            36  14   9  13  65  48   17   51
 8  Middlesbrough        36  12  15   9  48  49   -1   51
 9  Derby County         36  13  12  11  39  43   -4   51
10  Tottenham Hotspur    36  11  13  12  44  46   -2   46
11  Leicester City       36  11  13  12  38  45   -7   46
12  Newcastle United     36  11  12  13  47  51   -4   45
13  Wimbledon            36  10  12  14  40  58  -18   42
14  Sheffield Wednesday  36  11   7  18  39  42   -3   40
15  Everton              36  10  10  16  36  45   -9   40
16  Coventry City        36  11   7  18  37  49  -12   40
17  Southampton          36   9   8  19  33  64  -31   35
18  Blackburn Rovers     35   7  12  16  36  49  -13   33
19  Charlton Athletic    36   7  12  17  37  52  -15   33
20  Nottingham Forest    36   5   9  22  32  68  -36   24


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
03/02/99    Derby County             Home     W  1-0     1    55,174
06/02/99    Nottingham Forest        Away     W  8-1     1    30,025
17/02/99    Arsenal                  Home     D  1-1     1    55,171
20/02/99    Coventry City            Away     W  1-0     1    22,596
27/02/99    Southampton              Home     W  2-1     1    55,316
13/03/99    Newcastle United         Away     W  2-1     1    36,500
21/03/99    Everton                  Home     W  3-1     1    55,182
03/04/99    Wimbledon                Away     D  1-1     1    26,121
17/04/99    Sheffield Wednesday      Home     W  3-0     1    55,270
25/04/99    Leeds United             Away     D  1-1     2    40,255
01/05/99    Aston Villa              Home     W  2-1     1    55,189
05/05/99    Liverpool                Away     D  2-2     2    44,702

*** FIXTURES ON 08/05/99 ***
         Aston Villa  v  Charlton Athletic
    Blackburn Rovers  v  Nottingham Forest
        Derby County  v  Coventry City
             Everton  v  West Ham United
      Leicester City  v  Newcastle United
 Sheffield Wednesday  v  Liverpool
           Wimbledon  v  Southampton

*** FIXTURES ON 09/05/99 ***
       Middlesbrough  v  Manchester United


HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 27/02/99 - Southampton (55,316)
LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE:  15/08/98 - Leicester City (55,052)
BEST WIN:                06/02/99 - Nottingham Forest (8-1)
HEAVIEST DEFEAT:         20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)
BEST HOME WIN:           17/10/98 - Wimbledon (5-1)
HEAVIEST HOME DEFEAT:    19/12/98 - Middlesbrough (2-3)
BEST AWAY WIN:           06/02/99 - Nottingham Forest (8-1)
HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT:    20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)

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  2 v 0  Inter Milan
 Real Madrid     1 v 1  Dynamo Kiev
 Juventus        2 v 1  Olympiakos
 Bayern Munich   2 v 0  Kaiserslautern

**DYNAMO KIEV      2 v 0  REAL MADRID         (Agg:3-1)
OLYMPIAKOS         1 v 1  **JUVENTUS          (Agg:2-3)

Semi Finals 
Manchester United v Juventus  4-3agg 1-0 [1-1]
Bayern Munchen v Dynamo Kiev  4-3agg 1-0 [3-3]

Venue Camp Nou (Estadi FC Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain 
Date Wednesday 26 May 1999 Kick-Off 20.45 CET (19.45 GMT) 


Paul is now RED TV Masterfan 1999: Click on pic for details!

Subject: Carling Report Liverpool (0) 2 Man United (1) 2 FT Redknapp 69 (pen) Yorke 23 Ince 89 Irwin 56 (pen) Paul Ince scored the goal that could just stop his old club from winning the championship. Two minutes from time the former Manchester United skipper scrambled Liverpool's equaliser over the line for a goal that struck like a dagger through the heart of his old employers. Liverpool had been outplayed for well over an hour, but in a sensational comeback they pulled a two goal deficit back. For Ince it was a sweet, sweet moment. Back in '92 he had been a United player at Anfield when Liverpool had stopped Alex Ferguson's men from winning the title on the last day of the season. That day he had to listen to Liverpool hordes chanting ``You've lost the league on Merseyside.'' That anthem battered the ears of United and their fans again tonight, but this time Ince was a cavorting, air punching demon. He'd been branded a `big time Charlie' by Ferguson recently, and at the end the Kop fans were howling his name in delight. United are now three points behind Arsenal, who won at Tottenham. They must still be marginal favourites with a game in hand, but it's going to be a mighty close run-in now. For Liverpool it was the night their haunted stars found their pride. At two down they were dead, and outclassed. But the red card for Denis Irwin in the 75th minute was a critical point. It gave Liverpool the belief that they could finally hurt bitter rivals who had passed and overtaken them in the last decade. Now it could be the third time in eight seasons that United's title dreams have died on Merseyside. First there was '92, then in '95 and now '99. We will know in a 11 days time. United had looked so assured. Back came Jaap Stam, Roy Keane and Andy Cole for United, but Liverpool - so stripped of anything like a quality strikeforce - reverted to a five at the back to counter a fearsome United front line and left Karlheinz Riedle up front on his own for long spells as they fought to contain United's machine. The injuries and suspensions have made things far worse, but there can never have been a time when there was such a gulf between these sides, so comfortable did United look. Liverpool responded to the ferocious wall of sound created by their fans, they chased, worked and battled. But where they had effort and commitment, United had class, calm and composure. Nobody could question Liverpool's heart, certainly in the first half, but you wondered how long they could keep up the toil needed to contain a team who had gone 27 games without defeat. Paul Ince's opening minutes were full of sheer intent, calling cards that a few years back would have struck fear in opponents...in those days, Manchester United's opponents. Ince launched himself at Keane in one box, and within minutes thundered into Dwight Yorke at the other end. The Kop loved it, but Ince these days can't keep the Guv'nor image up for long. Liverpool found themselves pushed back and struggling to keep United at arms length. Liverpool had some half chances when Rigobert Song juggled the ball into the middle and Steve McManaman couldn't direct a header, and then when Ronny Johnsen's half-hit back pass gave Oyvind Leonhardsen the hint of an opening until the giant hands of Peter Schmeichel swept up the danger. But you could sense United's response was coming. It happened in the 22nd minute when Riedle and primarily McManaman failed to stem United's flow down the left some 50 yards out with what should have been a simple piece of two-on-two covering. But David Beckham and Keane engineered the gap, Beckham was played down the right at lightning pace and the superbly struck cross on the run was met by an equally savage headed finish by York on the far post. It was like watching a white hot knife searing through butter, Liverpool, despite all their intent and proud defiance, had been cut to pieces. Beckham managed to upset the Kop by running in front of the Liverpool hordes as he celebrated, and then he collided with Jamie Carragher as he raced across the box to congratulate Yorke, turning to taunt his the Liverpool defender as he went. Liverpool strived for the gaps to hit back, Dominic Matteo down the left on several occasions, and Leonardsen's industry, did their best. But Stam was supreme, Keane asserting command, and only a fine crossfield ball from Jamie Redknapp that almost put Song away, threatened to unsettle the European Cup finalists. In fact, they cut lose again two minutes from the break, with a lightning attack as a Liverpool attack broke down, and Beckham again produced the quality cross for Yorke to send in a diving header that Brad Friedel was forced to beat away. Liverpool came out fighting after the break, still their only real attacking threat was McManaman running from deep, but they were still plugging away. Matteo was played clear down the left by the Real Madrid bound star, and from his laid back cross, Ince hooked over as he raced into the box. But any thought that there was a way back looked finished when referee Elleray awarded a penalty when Carragher's flying boot had poleaxed Jesper Blomqvist as he raced into the box. It took fully two minutes to get the kick taken, Ince got involved in some pushing and shoving, virtually every player became involved but cool heads around soon defused the issue. Denis Irwin stepped up to drill the spot-kick past Friedel, and Liverpool were staring in the face their third successive defeat against United this season. Gerard Houllier threw on the barely fit Patrik Berger for Song, and Ince was pushed up front for the second game in succession. Berger showed his intent with one twisting run away from Stam and a fierce drive just over, but you still got the impression that United were playing like a father playing holding off his young son as he tried to hit him. United were still not being hurt, and they had Paul Scholes and Irwin booked inside a minute as they underlined the steel in their side. But Berger's influence was having an effect, and when he pulled a 69th minute cross into the box for Leonhardsen, Blomqvist pulled the Norwegian's legs from under him, and Redknapp rapped in the penalty to give Liverpool hope. They found an extra gear at last, started hurling men forward and with the better shape to the side with Berger on, at last started to stretch United. After 75 minutes Liverpool were given even more belief when Irwin got himself stupidly sent off for kicking the ball away after a free-kick had been given. Ferguson's response to that was to haul off Blomqvist and Cole and send on more defenders in Phil Neville and Nicky Butt. But United were hanging on now, and two minutes from time Ince battled his way through in the six yard box to force the ball home after substitute David Thompson and Riedle had caused havoc. You could have heard the eruption of noise right back up the East Lancs Road in Manchester, thunderous waves of sound as United lost their cool. Ferguson had to be ushered back from the line by the fourth official, and he angrily shrugged away the restraining hand. In injury time an unmarked Carragher arrived in the box to head a Thompson cross wide as Anfield collectively held it's head in it's hands. Somehow Liverpool had come back from the dead, and this loss of two vital points for United could just be the death blow to their title hopes. Liverpool: Friedel, Song (Berger, 56), Staunton (Thompson, 79), Babb, McManaman, Leonhardsen, Redknapp, Riedle, Ince, Matteo, Carragher. Subs not used: James, Ferri, Bjornebye. Man United: Schmeichel, G. Neville, Irwin, Johnsen, Stam, Beckham, Cole (Butt, 76), Blomqvist (P. Neville, 76), Keane, Scholes, Yorke. Subs not used: May, Sheringham, Van Der Gouw. Booked: Scholes, Irwin, Keane. Sentoff: Irwin 75. Attendance: 44,702.
Paul is now RED TV Masterfan 1999: Click on pic for details!

Subject: Ince wounds United : Guardian By Ian Ross at Anfield Thursday May 6, 1999 Paul Ince dealt his former club Manchester United's title hopes a severe blow last night when he equalised in the dying seconds to earn Liverpool a draw after they had trailed 2-0 at one stage. It left United, who were reduced to 10 men when Dennis Irwin was sent off in 75th minute, three points behind Arsenal and although they have a game in hand the north Londoners now have the edge in terms of goal difference. It was a most breathless evening. Anfield has always appreciated thoroughbred sides and in between the frenzied bouts of Scouse partisanship, there seemed a genuine respect for United, if not individually then certainly collectively. It is called grudging admiration. Liverpool's coach Gerard Houllier had boxed clever before the game, praising United for their achievements while reminding his own crestfallen players that victory would serve to partially absolve them of their more transparent sins. But for as long as they must perform without Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler, Liverpool teams will look unbalanced, too heavy at the back, too lightweight upfront. New players will likely pour through Anfield's front door in the summer - the Czech international Vladimir Smicer and Guinea's Titi Camara will head the queue - but until then Houllier will continue to pass off fools' gold as a precious metal. His approach to what he described as a 'cup final' was admirably cavalier and by pushing three men forward he was possibly subscribing to the theory that, when pitted against superior opponents, it is better to fight on your feet than die on your knees. Although Jaap Stam and Roy Keane were restored to the heart of United's defence and midfield respectively, Ryan Giggs's ankle was not risked. Even bigger tests lie ahead for United. The opening was a blur with United, perhaps, a little surprised by the level of their hosts' commitment. The problem was, and it is a familiar one, that Liverpool's football was underpinned by no great intelligence - energy, yes, guile, no. Rigobert Song plotted much down the right flank, but even when the United full-back Denis Irwin was undone there was no hint of an end product simply because Liverpool's only recognised striker the German Karl Heinz Riedle who was wellshadowed by the Dutchman Stam. The evening was almost brutal in its intensity with a cavalcade of late, high and plain nasty tackles coming in from the most unlikely of sources. It had not yielded a single chance before United moved in front midway through the half with a sublime goal, an oasis in a desert of mediocrity. Keane filtered the ball down the right and David Beckham's first-time cross was exquisite, sailing over the Liverpool back line and into the path of Dwight Yorke, who scored with the cleanest of headers. The spell had been broken and as Anfield fell silent, Liverpool seemed likely to allow all the old uncertainties come to the surface and render them impotent. Their self-belief punctured, the Merseysiders permitted the pace of their game to slacken and on a night when sheer physical effort was their best ally, it did nothing to improve their prospects. For all their possession Liverpool did not fashion even a half chance until early in the second period and even then it was insufficient to precipitate an increase in Peter Schmeichel's heart rate. Dominic Matteo moved smartly down the left flank and while his cross appeared misdirected and underhit it Paul Ince, but his volley was wild and high. It was a costly miss becausewithin minutes United had underlined a growing supremacy with a second goal. Jesper Blomqvist rounded Song and seemed likely to score until he was caught in the throat by Jamie Carragher's desperate lunge. After much arguing and no little jostling, Irwin steered home sweetly from the penalty spot. Thereafter, Liverpool lost their way and their temper. But, unexpectedly, they moved back into contention after 69 minutes when Jamie Redknapp whacked home a penalty after Blomqvist was adjudged to have fouled Oyvind Leonhardsen. Liverpool (0) 2 - 2 (1) Man Utd Redknapp (70) pen Yorke (22) Ince (88) Irwin (57) pen Liverpool Friedel; Babb, Matteo, Song, Staunton; Berger, Ince, Leonhardsen, Redknapp, Thompson; Carragher; McManaman, Riedle. Manchester United Schmeichel; Irwin, Johnsen, Neville, G, Neville, P, Stam; Beckham, Blomqvist, Butt, Keane; Cole, Scholes, Yorke. Referee: D. R. Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill) Attendance: 44,702 Bookings Liverpool: None Manchester United: Scholes (58) Irwin (60) Keane (90) Sent off Liverpool: None Manchester United: Irwin (60)
Paul is now RED TV Masterfan 1999: Click on pic for details!

Subject: My thoughts by Roland Lee What a t**t of a referee. Blomqvist makes a superb tackle (as proven in TV replay) and he gave pool the penalty. And now Irwin will miss the Cup Final! I thought Fergie said bad luck tends to even out in a season but it does'nt seem to be United's case. I'm bloody mad. Seeing Charlie run to the United fans after the final whistle to taunt the fans, and seeing the pool fans celebrate when the arse score was announced. But nevermind, Charlie Ince's only possible club achievement these days is finish mid-table and take two points off a great club in their Cup Final. Fergie has such astute judgement, letting him go when he knows what a jerk he really is. And maybe Man Utd fans will celebrate like the way the scousers did today, on May 26th in Barca. But amidst all the feeling of dejection over two points robbed, we must remember that it is still in our own hands. A 1-0 win at Boro and we will be top of the league. Face it, with the way things are going, Arsenal will be 'allowed' to win against Leeds and Villa. We cannot depend on anyone else. We must now be even more determined to win it, and we can. The players are very, very angry and Boro, Blackburn and Tottenham will face the full force of it. Arsenal is coming at our heels, but like what Tina Arena would sing .... We'll try and stem the tide, then we'll raise a banner, Send a flare up in the sky, try to burn a torch and try to build a bonfire. Every signal that we send, until the very end, WE WILL BE THERE. This blow is not as decisive as the Arse's win at OT last year. If Arsenal win their last two matches, we'll win our last three. If Arsenal win by 10 goals we'll win by 15. Not even Ellery can stop us when the Red Tide Moves. Roland Lee
Paul is now RED TV Masterfan 1999: Click on pic for details!

Subject: Irish Red: Late Juventus Trip Account; Encounter with Juve Team Hello to all Red Devil Fans, A brief account of a fantastic trip to Red Devils v Juve in Turin. Three of us travelled to Milan on the Monday prior to the game. We had no accomodation booked in Italy or match tickets. Visited the San Siro Monday but it was closed - post match tidying up. Night Life Monday night - Lolapalusa disco bar after great restaurant meal. Tuesday, travelled to Turin by train and got accomodation within 5 minutes of arrival. Room for three - forty pounds. Sampled the night life in Turin Tuesday night - Rock City Disco. Wednesday morning got up and walked the five minute trip to train station. A chap from London offered to sell us match tickets priced eighty pounds (face value sixty quid) in United section. We were a bit suspicious but compared them with other tickets belonging to passing fans. The guy selling the tickets was an Arsenal fan who had been in Copenhagen when Arsenal triumphed over Parma in 1995; this gave him a bit of credibility we thought-at least a fan. We bought the tickets. At five thirty we decided to go back to where we were staying to get ready for going out to Stadio Del Alpi. Around the corner from our one star hotel there was a bus with Juventus FC written on it, parked outside a big hotel. There was a small crowd gathered outside. We stood outside. Anday Gray and another presenter from Sky Sports walked out hotel front doors shortly afterwards. Inside we could see Edgar DAvids. About six forty-five the whole Juventus team filed out in front of us to get on the team bus.... Conte, Zidane, Davids, Peruzzi, Ferarra etc. We were standing less than a metre from them. Great Stuff. They all looked nervous. Went to the stadium and match shortly afterwards. What can I say? At 2-0 down I was philosophical - we got here, encountered Juve team, got into the game, they are going to lose three or four nil, lets make the most of it. Then the turnaround. Unbelievable. Thoughts on Keanes booking - Blomquist gave the ball away and Keane told him so just before it. I think Blomquist is a good palyer, but he looks as if he is playing with an injury or not telling someone about an injury he has or something like that - he lacks fire in taking on defenders. Wednesday night,to hotel after game. Back to Milan Thursday, bought some Marco van Basten videos. Back to Dublin Friday after another night on the town in Milan. We were so tired in Milan airport we forgot to get boarding passes for the plane - got home anyway. A Fantastic Trip, Diarmuid Hayes.
Paul is now RED TV Masterfan 1999: Click on pic for details!

Subject: Norman Whiteside Interview - The Independent The Brian Viner Interview - Whiteside. Hard man with healing touch. Norman Whiteside is still a couple of days away from turning 34, which is incredible when you consider that it is nearly a decade since he last played League football. Indeed, it is so long since he reached the height of his formidable ability that his wondrous extra-time goal for Manchester United in the 1985 FA Cup final denied Everton the League, FA Cup and European Cup-Winners' Cup treble - that's the Everton now known for annually clinging to the precipice leading to the Nationwide First Division. Ironically, he later played for them, and as an Evertonian I tell him I am not sure whether I want to kiss him or kick him. In truth, neither would be a good idea. He then recalls that Cup final goal with distressing clarity, how he used Pat Van Den Hauwe to shield the ball from Neville Southall before whipping it in with his left foot. "Big Neville was probably the best goalkeeper in the world at that time, which made it even more special. Basically, I bought an extra yard by using the defender. Bergkamp does the same thing every week now." We meet at the Griffin, the pub in leafy Altrincham where in the good old, bad old days, Whiteside was known to have a pint or seven with his buddies Paul McGrath and Bryan Robson. "We'd have a fair few pints of Guinness at Paddy Crerand's pub, too," he says. "But to be fair, we did it at the right time. On a Saturday night or Sunday lunch. Sometimes on a Wednesday after the game. Never on a Thursday or Friday." From more or less the time he made his United debut at the tender age of 16 - not that there was ever anything particularly tender about him - Whiteside's reputation was three-pronged. In reverse order, he was known to be a heavy drinker, a heavy tackler, and a footballer of rare ability. Let's concentrate on the rare ability, which developed in the ultra-loyalist back streets off Belfast's Shankill Road. In fact, the family lived next door to the headquarters of the Ulster Defence Association, and Whiteside credits his parents with the fact that neither he nor his two brothers got involved in paramilitary activities, like many of their contemporaries. Not that their hands stayed exactly spotless. Whiteside now has a kind of footballer emeritus role at Old Trafford, meeting and greeting corporate guests on match days, and recalls introducing himself to a couple of Belfast fellas who looked up with awe and said, "We used to throw stones at each other, big man, remember?" Most of the time, though, the Whiteside boys played football, grudgingly interrupting kickabouts to go to school. "I had tunnel vision. I didn't do my homework, I didn't go out with girls, I just wanted to be a footballer," says Whiteside. When he was 12, his dedication paid off. He was spotted by an Ipswich Town scout, but the Ipswich manager, Bobby Robson, thought he was too young. By then, Manchester United had already swooped, and at 14 Whiteside signed schoolboy terms, declining offers from Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal. The United manager, Dave Sexton, asked if he would consider finishing his education in Manchester, but Whiteside chose to commute several times a week from Belfast. "And now that I've seen what an English education did for Paul Gascoigne, I'm sure I made the right decision," he says. He has an engaging wit, and wonders what the pin-stripes on the Belfast-Manchester shuttle made of the young lad in a duffel coat and a skinhead haircut. "They must have thought I was selling gear." Whiteside made his United debut towards the end of the 1981/82 season - at Brighton of all places, another reminder that we've all passed a lot of water since then. He came on as substitute for Mike Duxbury and Ray Wilkins nicked the winner, so the £16-a-week teenager copped a £600 win bonus. Does he remember what he spent it on? "A sheepskin coat, I think." It was a magical time. And when, that summer, he pipped Pele as the youngest player ever to play in the World Cup finals, the comparison with another Belfast prodigy who dazzled the Stretford End became irresistible. Norman Whiteside did not exactly evoke George Best physically, though. He was big, unflinching in the tackle and even at 17, impossible to intimidate. "Graham Roberts at Spurs was the only guy who gave me stick," he recalls. "He said, 'do you want to play next week or do you want your leg broken?' But I tackled him before he finished the sentence, and that was that." Actually, Whiteside - who surprisingly was sent off only once - believes that his reputation as a bruiser is undeserved. "I think the media made too much of the hard man issue, and neglected my passing abilities and my leadership qualities," he says. Certainly, in Alex Ferguson's estimation, "If Norman Whiteside had had one more yard of pace, he would have been one of the greatest players ever produced in British football." Whiteside admits that had he been quicker, he would also have had fewer bookings. "The report always said 'intent to endanger player' but nine times out of 10 it was because I was too slow. Funnily enough, I was a sprint champion at school, but when I was about 15 I had a groin strain and I went to see a physio in Northern Ireland, who played around with my hips and joints. My hips still clunk to this day because of what he did, and I lost all my speed. I could near enough put it down to that but I have never really spoken about it." With speed, as Ferguson said, he would have been exceptional. Without it, he was merely very, very good - sufficiently good for Milan to offer United £1.5m for him, then considered a staggering sum for an 18-year-old. They offered to stick a further million in his back pocket, and if he knew then what he knows now, he might have taken it. As it was, he thought he had too much yet to prove at Old Trafford. "I wanted to stick around until I was about 26, then go abroad, like McManaman." Instead, Alex Ferguson sold him to Everton, and at 26, his career was cruelly abbreviated. He was playing five-a-side in training - "I'll never forget the date, it was September 20, 1990" - when his knee buckled in a challenge with an apprentice. The club surgeon told him that he could continue playing for a year or two, but he would be bringing up his kids in a wheelchair if he did. Fortunately, Whiteside's mentor at Old Trafford, Bryan Robson, had persuaded him to insure himself against the possibility of career-wrecking injury. "As a 17-year-old, it was very hard to get that £2,000 out of your pocket every year, but I'm glad I did. I would have been very disappointed with football if I hadn't got anything out of it." All the same, he hated hanging up his boots. "I loved all the dressing-room banter, and it was pretty upsetting waking up with no dressing-room to go to. I was pretty low." So he formulated a scheme to keep him within the game. "I was always interested in medicine because I was in the medical room so much. I had 12 operations in my career - appendix, feet, ankles, Achilles, knees - and while I was at Everton I did an FA diploma course to be a physiotherapist." He then went to college to gather some A-levels, and on to Salford University, which he left as a fully qualified podiatrist, specialising in the area between the hip and the big toe. Last year, with the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association, he worked at 10 clubs, screening the youngsters for lower-limb abnormalities. "This year I've travelled to 33 clubs, from Carlisle to Torquay, and I heard last week that I've been given provision to do the whole 92. The PFA fund it, which is magnificent. Some of the lower League clubs are so grateful for the free services of a podiatrist that it's unbelievable." Do the youngsters know that the guy fiddling with their feet has scored the winning goal in a Cup final? "If they don't, I soon tell them." As for the Premiership clubs, most have their own podiatrists, and even though it would be almost poetically fitting, Whiteside does not want to tread on any toes. "But they mostly look after the first-team players, building insoles for them and so on. I want to concentrate on the kids," he says. Meanwhile, if his podiatry career should run out of puff, he is also a fully qualified FA coach. In several Northern Ireland prisons, he has coached convicted terrorists from both sides of the political divide. Once, Republican inmates threatened his safety, but he won them over on the pitch and then took a question-and-answer session. "Someone said, 'what's it like to score in a Cup final?' Someone else said, 'How much money did you make out of football?' And then this fella at the back said, 'Do you remember when you and me robbed that post office, Norman?' I couldn't stop laughing. That was my mate, who went to prison aged 17, when I went to the World Cup." Whiteside's knack with an anecdote serves him well, for he is much in demand as an after-dinner speaker, and also, with fellow ex-United stalwarts Stuart Pearson and Wilf McGuinness, as a meeter-and-greeter at Old Trafford. Sometimes he bumps into Alex Ferguson, who recently told him: "I used to lie awake, son, thinking 'what am I going to say to that Whiteside tomorrow?'" Ferguson was referring to his late-night tip-offs that "Stormin" Norman was out on another bender. "But I was always in first the next morning, and I would always tell him straight what had happened. The media have tried to build up this big thing between me and Fergie, but the truth is we got on well right up to the day he sold me. Right up to this day, in fact. A tabloid offered me £50,000 to slag him off, and others have, but I wouldn't. I have too much respect for the guy." And vice versa, I am sure. For as he limps back to his Jaguar, it strikes me that there is something hugely admirable about the way big Norman Whiteside goes about his business. Manchester United - The Legend - http://manunited.net
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