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The Dennis Viollet Fund


www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Fri Oct 08 08:33:04 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Spurs reject £15m United bid for Sol 
2. Webmaster on MUTV last night! + Jimmy Nielsen facts
3. GIGGS ON HAMSTRING TORMENT
4. Kenyon is a natural as the new king of Old Trafford 
5. Forward: from "English Sports Association for People with Learning Disability"
6. The butcher's boy sharpens his knife 

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

MANCHESTER UNITED DAILY NEWS  Friday 8th Oct 1999:

Barry Comment:
Yours truly, phoned up MUTV live last night.
See & hear the result at http://www.red11.org/sound
Luke Chadwick will play for England u21 v Denmark today Friday
highlights on Sky Sports UK.
REDS may be interested in the young Danish goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen?


ECL Group D  ** Manchester United **
Olympique de Marseille * NK Croatia Zagreb * SK Sturm Graz

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

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 03/10/99 ***

             Chelsea   5-0   Manchester United     34,909
    Newcastle United   2-1   Middlesbrough         36,412
   Tottenham Hotspur   2-3   Leicester City        35,591
             Watford   1-2   Leeds United          19,677
     West Ham United   2-1   Arsenal               26,009

*** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 04/10/99 ***
         Southampton   3-3   Derby County          14,208

*** CONDENSED LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 04/10/99 ***
Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
---------------------------------------------------------
 1  Leeds United         10   7   1   2  19  12    7   22
 2  Manchester United    10   6   3   1  23  15    8   21
 3  Sunderland           10   6   2   2  18   8   10   20
 4  Chelsea               8   6   1   1  15   3   12   19
 5  Arsenal              10   6   1   3  13   9    4   19
 6  Everton              10   5   2   3  16  10    6   17
 7  Leicester City       10   5   2   3  17  13    4   17
 8  Aston Villa          10   5   2   3  11   9    2   17
 9  West Ham United       8   5   1   2  11   6    5   16
10  Tottenham Hotspur     9   4   2   3  16  14    2   14
11  Middlesbrough        10   4   0   6  11  15   -4   12
12  Liverpool             9   3   2   4  10  10    0   11
13  Southampton           9   3   2   4  16  19   -3   11
14  Coventry City        10   2   3   5  12  14   -2    9
15  Watford              10   3   0   7   6  11   -5    9
16  Derby County         10   2   3   5  10  18   -8    9
17  Wimbledon            10   1   5   4  14  23   -9    8
18  Bradford City         9   2   2   5   4  13   -9    8
19  Newcastle United     10   2   1   7  20  23   -3    7
20  Sheffield Wednesday  10   1   1   8   8  25  -17    4


---------------------------------------------------------------
 NEXT MATCHES
---------------------------------------------------------------
11-OCT-1999 Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial OT [Schmeichel + Cantona]
13-OCT-1999 [19:45] Manchester Utd. vs Aston Villa  (Worthington (League) Cup, AWAY)
16-OCT-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Watford  (FA Premier League, HOME)
19-OCT-1999 [19:45] Manchester Utd. vs Marseille  (UEFA Champions League, AWAY)
24-OCT-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Spurs  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
27-OCT-1999 [19:45] Manchester Utd. vs NK Croatia  (UEFA Champions League, AWAY)

The line-up for the testimonial game is:
Eric Cantona		Peter Schmeichel
Zinedine Zidane		Gabriel Batistuta
Paul Gascoigne 		Juninho
George Weah		Alessandro Costacurta
Christian Ziege		Lillian Thuram
Roberto Mancini		John Collins

*** 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 Ferguson's testimonial OT [Schmeichel + Cantona]
13/10/99    Aston Villa              Away WC 3 19.45
16/10/99    Watford                  Home PL   15.00
19/10/99    Marseille                Away EC   19.45 
24/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        Away PL   15.00 - moved from 23/10
27/10/99    Croatia Zagreb           Away EC   19.45
30/10/99    Aston Villa              home PL   15.00
 2/11/99    Sturm Graz               Home EC   19.45 
 6/11/99    Leicester City           Home PL   15.00
20/11/99    Derby County             Away PL   15.00
24/11/99    ?     EC
27/11/99    Sheffield Wednesday      Away PL   15.00
30/11/99    Tokyo  Palmeiras         WCC       20.00
 1/12/99    ?     WC 4
 4/12/99    Everton                  Home PL   15.00
 8/12/99    ?     EC
11/12/99    FAC 3 Will not enter ...
15/12/99    ?     WC 5
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

 ***** 5-14 /01/2000 Brazil WTC  *****   [3-4 games]

*  8/01/2000  FAC 4 Will not enter ...
12/01/2000  ?    WC sf i
15/01/2000  Leeds United             Away PL   15.00
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  Home PL   15.00
26/01/2000  ?    WC sf ii
* 29/01/2000  FAC 5 Will not enter ...
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            Home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         Away PL   15.00
* 19/02/2000  FAC 6 Will not enter ...
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                Away PL   15.00
27/02/2000  ?   Wembley WC f
 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
*  9/04/2000  FAC sf Will not enter ...
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
* 20/05/2000 Wembley FAC f Will not enter ...
24/05/2000  ?    EC f

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

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


Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Spurs reject £15m United bid for Sol By Adrian Curtis Tottenham have rejected a £15 million cash bid from Manchester United for Sol Campbell. Soccernet can reveal that United made the world record offer for a defender just prior to the Champions League transfer deadline and at a time when Campbell was sidelined with his long term calf injury. The bid came from a senior United director to the Spurs board but it was instantly rejected. Spurs chairman Alan Sugar is determined to hang on to his skipper and has still not given up hope of persuading him to sign a new long'term contract. He also knows Spurs fans would be furious if the player, regarded by them as the symbol of the club, was sold. Campbell, currently earning around £12,000 a week, has been offered £25,000 a week to sign a new deal, the club's biggest ever pay offer which matches the contract signed by David Ginola last season. Campbell's contract has 18 months left to run and a meeting between Spurs manager George Graham, director of football David Pleat, and Campbell and his agent, is planned within the next few weeks. Graham is desperate to hang on to his England centre'half, who has been at Spurs since his early teens, as he bids to lift the club into the Premiership's elite. United's bid is the first concrete offer from another club for Campbell's services. He has also been linked with Juventus, Internazionale and Lazio but none of them have followed up their interest with a firm bid. Spurs deny that they made a bid for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer or that United wanted Campbell as part of a cash'plus'player transfer. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be a huge admirer of the Spurs player and needs to stengthen his defence which has been hit by a host of injuries. Campbell played his first game since the opening day of the season in a 3'1 defeat for the reserves at Derby last night. But despite coming through the match unscathed, Campbell could offer no hope of a quick return to the first team. He said: 'It is still not 100 per cent. 'This was my first game for nine weeks and although I came through, I still need to get more match practice and to keep on improving my fitness. 'I have only played 25 minutes before this and I can't say when I will be back at the moment.' England midfielder Darren Anderton, who is also in dispute with the club over a new contract, has been offered the same deal as Campbell but has yet to sign and will be available at the end of the season on a free transfer. There are increasing signs that he is prepared to quit the club. Anderton is still fuming at being forced to undergo an Achilles tendon operation in London instead of at the hands of his preferred surgeon in Germany. Meanwhile, it emerged that Spurs refused to follow up their interest in Sheffield Wednesday's Benito Carbone after the Italian demanded a net salary of £1m'a'year. Spurs made an enquiry about the Italian last week but the Italian whose contract with the Yorkshire club runs out at the end of the season, wanted the massive wage payout as an incentive to stay in England on a long term basis
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Webmaster on MUTV last night! + Jimmy Nielsen facts Webmaster Barry from The Theatre Of Dreams made his first ever appearance on MUTV tonight. It was a phone in interview with Stuart Pearson The interview is now running at http://www.red11.org/sound 412k Oct 7th 6.21 barry_mutv.rm Webmaster Barry "live" on MUTV phone in with Stuart Pearson! Direct url link: http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/barry_mutv.rm [to download] or [Streaming sound] http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/barry_mutv.ram Pic at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/mutv/barry_mutv.jpg Highlights of Denmark v England u21 on Sky Sports2 UK tonight Luke Chadwick v Jimmy Nielsen in goal! Here is some info and a couple of pics More at http://www.red11.org/mufc/jimmy.htm AALBORG FC Website is http://www.super-aab.dk/ >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On the net: http://www.red11.org/mufc/jimmy.htm http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/99/jimmy/ 51809 Oct 8 00:41 jimmi.jpg 58024 Oct 8 00:42 jimmi2.jpg 12121 Oct 8 00:41 jimmy.jpg 43925 Oct 8 00:59 jimmy3.jpg 31418 Oct 8 00:59 jimmy_nielsen_cup_final.jpg 6664 Oct 8 00:43 jimmy_nielsen_port.jpg Here is all the details I have: Jimmy Nielsen ----------------------------------------------------------------- Position : Goalkeeper Country : Danish Born : 06.08.77 Height : 1,91 m Weight : 88 kg Matches for Aalborg : 94 Kontrakt in aalborg runs to : 31.07.2003 Earlier Clubs : B52 [Denmark] & Millwall FC. Short details: Jimmy Nielsen broke into the Aalborg first team in early 1997, he has kept his place since. Many see Jimmy Nielsen as a future replacement for Peter Schmeichel for the Denmark. Haircut and size are seemingly alike! Attched pic: jimmy_nielsen_port.jpg Jimmy has always been fast on the goal-line, he has now worked hard on improving his play around the penalty area, he is therefore now the complete goalkeeper. Jimmy, only 21, has already been earmarked the best goalkeeper in the Super- league in Denmark [Superligaen]. He is already goalkeeper for Danish U21's and in autumn 1998 was voted "Year's goalkeeper in Superligaen. Theatre Of Dreams http://www.red11.org
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: GIGGS ON HAMSTRING TORMENT Ryan Giggs has taken the realistic view that the remainder of his career will be hampered by hamstring problems from time to time. He said: "I'm the sort of player that it happens to. My build, the way I play, I will always be prone to getting a hamstring injury of some sort. Hamstring troubles are always going to be a possibility for me, it will probably always be like that. "It's just up to me now to be careful. The United physios work on it constantly, and I have done a lot of work on it over the last couple of years. I do stretches before and after games, I have massages. I don't want to be missing football because I'm out injured, I just have to take a lot of care with what I do. I want to be playing every week. "I'm the kind of player who is prone to this sort of injury. And also it hasn't helped that since the last injury we have played so many games, but then that's part of the job at this level. We had a hard game against Liverpool when we were down to 10 men, then we had a European match when we were chasing the game for a long time, and then on the Saturday against Wimbledon it was just tiredness really. "I knew straight away, I've had this before so there was no point in carrying on and making it worse. A few United players have had injuries this season, and maybe it could be something to do with the hangover from last season and the amount of games we have all played. "People like Gary Neville have been injured for much of the season. He just hasn't had a break for the last five or six years and you need four or five weeks off in the summer, not just physically but mentally and Gary hasn't had that because people play tournaments in the summer at international level," he added.
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Kenyon is a natural as the new king of Old Trafford Brian Alexander Friday October 8, 1999 Manchester United is one of the world's best known brands and the man who has been beavering away in the background establishing the club as the Coca-Cola of football is close to receiving his reward. Brand awareness, marketing strategies and product licensing are the phrases of men in sharp suits who spend hours in planning meetings, a far cry from the men on the training field who discuss exploiting the channels and the benefits of a flat back four. But Peter Kenyon will, before the next financial year on April 5, become the new king of Old Trafford and the club's businesses in far-flung commercial territories such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. There will be plenty of huffing and puffing at United over the next six months about Martin Edwards' move to become chairman of the club's plc and the appointment of the 45-year-old Kenyon as his successor as chief executive of the football club. Objectors can do their big bad wolf stuff for as long as they like, they won't be able to stop the inevitable. When Edwards hired Kenyon as his deputy chief executive in March 1997 both men were remarkably open about their plans for the future and, once Sir Roland Smith retires as chairman of the plc next spring, Edwards will assume the role he has coveted for some time. Edwards admitted back then, "Everybody looks to the future and one day I'd like to move upstairs to the chairmanship," adding that much depended "on whether we have the right person to succeed me". Edwards, who has slowly but surely reduced his family's stake at Old Trafford from 50.5% when he succeeded his father in 1980 to only 6.5% now, has found his natural successor. But he has also found that he will never be the fans' favourite. It is easy to forget that the HQ of his empire is on the edge of a massive industrial estate and near the rejuvenated Salford Quays. This is traditional football country and those who create the market for brand awareness - the fans - are really only interested in beating Arsenal and Liverpool rather than reading about Edwards' growing personal wealth as a result of selling chunks of shares to anonymous City institutions. This is where Kenyon must play a good game. With Edwards holding the purse strings on the plc board, will Kenyon be sufficiently independent to convince supporters that he has their interests at heart rather than the shareholders'? There is no doubting Kenyon's ability and his passion for all things United. He is a fan, a family man and his only vice appears to be running a lot to keep fit. He was previously chief executive of the kit supplier Umbro and moved to a new base in South Carolina when the business was sold to an American company. United was one of his top clients and he developed a close friendship with Edwards when negotiating shirt deals. At Premier League meetings he has established a reputation for being "astute" and insiders see him as a formidable player once he assumes his new role, particularly when the new television deal is negotiated beyond 2001. Above all he is seen as a thoroughly decent man, which is a bit of a rarity. It was Kenyon who tied up the deal this week for up to 20 club merchandising shops to be established within Debenhams stores and who talked excitedly about the opening of Red Cafes in the Far East and virtual-reality tours of Old Trafford in shops in Asia. It is this aggressive commercial vision which helped push United's revenue up 26% to £111m and operating profits up 20% to £32.3m in the year to July 31. United fans across the globe will no doubt marvel at the figures and look forward to the expansion of the stadium. But they will wait with bated breath to hear what they want to hear: that there's enough money to buy extravagant players and pay Roy Keane £40,000 a week. And they will want firm evidence that Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who delivered the treble on which vast fortunes are to be harvested, is safe and secure. Kenyon warranted only one mention in Ferguson's autobiography and even then he was dismissed as "another of our directors". My guess is that he will get his own chapter by the time Fergie is asked to update his book.
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Forward: from "English Sports Association for People with Learning Disability" Sent to The Theatre Of Dreams: for your information ...... >>>> From: "roger turner" Subject: Triple title signed M U Shirt Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 14:29:58 +0100 >>>> I am hoping you will be able to assist the Association I represent.(English Sports Association for People with Learning Disability). Manchester United have assisted our fund raising efforts on a number of occasions and their latest donation could prove attractive to their many fans. It is an autographed shirt signed by all the members of their triple title team. It is framed and comes with a certificate of authenticity supplied by the club. I attach an article which I am hoping you will be able to circulate among the various member supporters clubs inputting to your site: My Association would be most grateful for any help you can give. I would very much appreciate it if you could let me know whether you are able to help. This would afford me the opportunity to seek alternative means of marketing the shirt if you are unable to help With thanks Roger Turner Chairman ESAPLD <<<< Autographed triple title Man U shirt up for grabs! What would you give for a Man U shirt signed by all the triple title team members. The availibility of these shirts,which are a must for all supporters,are very limited! Framed and accompanied by an authenicity certificate supplied by the club it is up for auction. The club, in keeping with it's policy of supporting charities has donated this wonderful gift to help raise funds for the English National Football Team which competes in International competitions for people with learning disabilities. the shirt The shirt will go to the highest bid received by 31st December 1999. To enter the drawer all you have to do is write stating what your offer is and send it in a sealed envelope to: ESAPLD Unit 9 Milner Way Ossett West Yorkshire WF5 9JN It could be yours and make you're friends green with envy
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: The butcher's boy sharpens his knife By Ken Lawrence Manchester United chief executive Martin Edwards is one final lunge away from delivering the coup de grace in his duel of wills with Sir Alex Ferguson and gaining revenge for the years of abuse he has taken from Old Trafford supporters. By selling shares in the club worth around £40million, Edwards has cleared the final hurdle between himself and the long-coveted chairmanship of the United plc board. The decision to dispose of 19.5million shares at 210p cuts his stake from 13 per cent to 6.5 per cent - well under the 10 per cent maximum expected of company chairmen. Ascending to that post would make him all-powerful in the decision-making that will dictate United's long-term commercial strategy and allow him strictly to enforce the spending straitjacket that Ferguson hates. Edwards, who already has a huge personal fortune, knows the sale will infuriate the vast majority of United fans who have long accused him of putting his own ambitions above those of the team. Their reaction, however, not only does not hurt him - it might even give him a frisson of pleasure. According to those who know him well, Edwards has neither forgiven nor forgotten the whispers about his late father Louis, which he still believes led to his death in 1980 following a television documentary which linked him to allegations of questionable share deals at the club. Following Louis' fatal heart attack, his son became a driven man who would stop at nothing to ensure the family name would one day be honoured. But his determination has come at a price. Edwards has been vilified by United's working class fans as a public school rugby lover whose lack of passion for the club has led to the financial constraints that continue to frustrate Ferguson's attempts to bid for the game's superstars. The constant barrage of criticism from United supporters caused Edwards to develop a hide of iron. During boardroom manoeuvres like the flirtation with Michael Knighton and the near sell-out to Rupert Murdoch's Sky, supporters decried the Old Trafford chief executive as a carpetbagger. None of it could dent Edwards' self-belief. When new Sports Minister Kate Hoey accused United of betrayal for pulling out of this year's FA Cup to compete in the World Club Championship in Brazil, Edwards hit back so fiercely she must have wished she had kept quiet. Quietly spoken and with an unassuming demeanour, Edwards may have come across as a softie. In reality, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing and is now on the verge of becoming football's most powerful club chairman, having already overseen United's development into the world's richest sporting franchise with a turnover of £110m and a profit last year of £32.3m. Following the Government's rejection of BSkyB's £623m bid to buy United, Edwards appeared to have lost the chance of an £80m windfall, having agreed to sell his shares in exchange for a seat on the TV network's board and retention of his position as United's chief executive. But those who laughed at what they saw as his come-uppance after the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association and the rebel Shareholders United led the fight against BSkyB are now eating humble pie. By contrast, less than a year since BSkyB's proposed takeover, the butcher's boy not only has his cake - he is eating it. When he took over as chairman in 1980, he owned 50 per cent of the club's shares. His holding is now down to 6.5 per cent but in the process of his elongated sell-off, he has pocketed more than £100m. While the number of his shares has dramatically diminished, his power and influence within Old Trafford, the Premiership and European football has grown enormously. At Edwards' urging, United have for years led the drive for a cut in Premiership numbers and a European League. It is understood that on many occasions, United held meetings in Manchester with like-minded club leaders who also see the future structure of European football as being continent-wide. Now he is poised to take over when Sir Roland Smith steps down as plc chairman - a move expected to take place by next spring -and his influence will increase even more. The latest to have underestimated Edwards' cunning, intelligence and ambition are those who were preparing to fight against his rise to head of the plc board. For months, rumours persisted that the board was split on Edwards' bid to become the ultimate leader of the club, with Peter Kenyon, his deputy and chief executive-designate, his only out-andout supporter. Even Ferguson was reported to have been embroiled in the political machinations within Old Trafford's corridors. In his recently-published autobiography, the manager made it clear that the only world he shared with Edwards was under the Old Trafford roof, and even then the cantilevers were frequently raised by ructions between the pair over financial matters. It was said that Ferguson would tacitly support an attempt by the so-called Coolmore Mafia - a collection of mainly Irish billionaire businessmen, to buy Edwards' shares. Ferguson almost walked out on the club last year because Edwards was stalling on giving him the pay rise that would take his salary to more than £1m. He has never publicly been given any encouragement by his chief executive in his ambition to one day assume a directorial role similar to that once occupied by the late Sir Matt Busby. Edwards' ascension to the chairmanship may end the Scotsman's aspirations in that direction. The chief executive has shown himself to be more of his own man than anyone ever suspected and even if the flak flies again over a possible place on the board for Ferguson, Edwards will not be moved. He does, after all, possess the financial equivalent of a nuclear weapon. No matter how unpopular Edwards may be with fans or staff, he can always point to the bottom line - the enormous fiscal success over which he has presided. It was Edwards who gave the go-ahead for the 1992 share flotation that set the club on the road to its £630m valuation. United now have commercial outlets from Accrington to Shanghai to Australia, selling everything from champagne to wallpaper. They have coaching outposts and interests in feeder clubs in Sweden, Belgium, South Africa and Down Under. When, eventually, the televising of soccer goes pay-per-view, their Australasian tour of the past summer has already put down markers thinly disguised as TV aerials. Most importantly of all, Edwards stuck with Ferguson when the wolves were howling at the door of Old Trafford, baying for the Scotsman's blood. For three years after Edwards acted on Sir Bobby Charlton's recommendation and hired Ferguson from Aberdeen in November 1986, the appointment seemed doomed. But Edwards refused to buckle. It was a close-run thing because even Edwards now admits that had United not won the FA Cup in 1990, the wolves might well have had their meal. But Lee Martin scored the winner in a Wembley replay against Crystal Palace and Ferguson got his breathing space. The manager has had around £100m to spend on players. They have perhaps not always the been world's best but it has still been enough for United to become England's team of the Nineties and champions of Europe going into the new millennium. Edwards' c.v. suggests that he might have received a knighthood along with Ferguson. But instead of a visit to Buckingham Palace he will head, laughing, to the bank once again. Not for the first time, the butcher's boy has made mincemeat of his critics.
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