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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Mon Jan 11 09:03:54 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. DA's Armchair report
2. United - West Ham TV report
4. Manchester United Results Stats Updated
5. BBC Report United light up Old Trafford
6. Andy Cole's Braces
8. Time for a moan at Fergie's squad rotation policy


Daily RED Trivia  Mon 11th January 1999:

11/1/1919: Stan Pearson born in Salford. Made his debut in November 1937 against
 Chesterfield, and after the war this powerfully shooting forward scored in the 1948
 FA Cup Final against Blackpool, and won a League Championship medal in 1952.
 Made a total of 345 appearances, scoring 149 goals between 1937-54. 8 caps
 for England, scoring 5 goals. He moved to Bury in February 1954.

11/1/1975: 2 goals by Jim McCalliog give United a 2-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday
 in a Division 2 game at Old Trafford watched by 45,662. Team was: Stepney,
 Forsyth, Houston, Greenhoff, James, Buchan, Morgan (Daly), McIlroy, Pearson,
 Macari, McCalliog.

Barry Daily Comment:
Inter Watch
Inter  6  -  2  Venezia
A big win yesterday for Inter, although they continue to let in goals. The
win  gives them 27 points (along with brothers AC Milan) and puts them
up into third place behind Parma and Fiorentina, who both have 32
points. There are a couple of glaring similarities with United's current
performance: they know how to score (only Roma have scored more goals)
but they leak goals as well: of the top nine teams, only Roma have
conceded more. Zamorano scored a hat trick today, Ronaldo got a couple
(one of them a penalty), and Baggio scored the other.
But no need to panic just yet. Venezia are the bottom team with only two
wins in sixteen games. Like the city of Venice itself, the team is about
to go under. [thanks to Terry]

Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio

Next games: 
ALL Result/Fixture Index:

Today! West Ham    (H) Sky Sports time 16.00 UK
  16/1 Leicester   (A)  15.00
  24/1 Liverpool   (H)  12.00 Sky Sports FA CUP 4th rnd
  31/1 Charlton    (A)  15.00 UK

UNITED Stats v All teams:


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds                    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    Middlebrough             Home     L  2-3     3    55,152
26/12/98    Notts 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

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

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


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

 Ties to be played on March 3 and 17


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Subject: DA's Armchair report Upon tuning in today expecting the match all I found was a picture of the Old Trafford floodlights, of course immediate panic set in, since this was a 'pay-for-view' event I wondered how long they would actually stay with a picture of a dimly lit football ground before cutting away to a monster truck race, or a skate board championship. My fears were unfounded and after 45 mins of viewing pictures of the Old Trafford faithful (didn't see any of the gang) the match actually got underway. It was definitely worth waiting for, lets face it, we were playing a team although depleted with injuries that was only 3 spots below us in the table, and we hammered them! We seem to be changing the way we start matches these days, instead of giving away an early goal, and having us all sit with clenched fists (among other things) until we score, we seem to be going out and running straight at the opposition. Today was no exception and for me we looked more dominating and confident than we have all year. This was nearly the same team that had played Boro, and they looked to be very comfortable on the field together. Maybe there is a lesson somewhere in playing with an unchanged team, (are you listening Fergie?) Andy Cole's early effort seemed to serve notice to the Eastenders of the onslaught that was to follow, if we were all honest about it, we really should have scored about 8 today, that sort of scoreline would not have been flattery to the total control that United displayed The atmosphere sounded pretty good, and instead of me having to wait for Linda to tell me of the songs and taunts, today I could actually hear them for myself. As the game wore on I became more comfortable in my chair, it was obvious that today there was to be a red glow in the sky, and I don't think I have enjoyed many matches (against domestic teams) much more since we hammered City several years ago. I had been worried somewhat that maybe we, as a club, were being caught by the Arsenal's and Chelsea's of the league, but on this showing its very apparent that when we are on, no one can play with us. It was hard to pick out a MOTM today, Keane was incredible, Yorke was magic, Irwin ran like a teenager, but if I had to pick one person out then it would have to be Japp Stam, he was simply magnificent all day. Andy Cole with two goals would normally be the choice, but even though he put in his normal 150% effort, he did have a couple of glaring misses. Here are my armchair ratings: VDG - nowt to do really - 7 Dinnie - marvellous - 8 Brown - ditto - 8 Stam - incredible - 9 Berg - Workmanlike performance, one bad tackle cost a goal - 6 Giggs - still not himself - 6 Butt - if this kid could just distribute! - 6 Keano - magnificent - 8 Blomqvist - i like this guy - 7 Yorke - magic - 8 Cole - what a duo - 7 Kathy's (my Wife) sausage rolls - 10 DA
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Subject: United - West Ham TV report There was a 45-minute delay while Martin popped out to Norweb to pay the electric bill so we could get some juice into our state-of-the-art floodlights. But the wait did us good. It also seemed to buck up the crowd as there was the best atmosphere I've heard at OT for some time. The Trappist monks were out; the cheeky Mancs were back taunting the 'Ammers with everything from 'Argentina' to 'You're gonna win 4-3' (when the 'Ammers were down 3-0). We also got a beautiful full-frontal midway through the second half of a fat skinhead West Ham fan doing his witty aeroplane impression. Ah, these lovable Cockneys. There was a lot more banter going on as well which I couldn't catch so perhaps someone at the game could enlighten us as to what was being sung and, in fact, why the atmosphere was so good today. It was another fine performance coming close on the heels of the good Boro performance. So why do I feel so worried? Is Fergie going to rotate again? Gawd 'elp us. Yorke seems to be the key here. We have to keep him fit and hungry and pray Fergie doesn't rotate him as well. Whenever he gets the ball, you feel he's going to do something constructive with it and he rarely disappoints. And then combine him with Andy Cole and you start to think Fergie was guilty of daylight robbery when he, erm, persuaded the hyperactive Mr Gregory to sell him. It was in fact the Cole - Yorke combination that brought the first goal. Giggs dummied and allowed the ball to run on for Cole to lay on a beautiful pass for Yorke to hit a low hard shot past his old mate Shaka Hislop. On the replays Cole looked to be offside as the initial pass was made from Keane but it was very hard to spot and certainly the Hammers weren't complaining. We were really hot in that first 15 minutes but then went off the boil a bit. Attacks broke down too easily with misplaced final passes. But West Ham were too pathetic to take advantage of the unexpected slow-down in our game. They have the word 'Pony' on their shirts, but surely that should read 'Donkey'? Perhaps the absence up-front of the young and brilliant Ian Wright blunted their otherwise razor-sharp attack?? Whatever, they were useless. And Giggsy looked pretty useless as well. He looked really uncomfortable in the first half, and for much of the second half, on the right wing, having to continually turn inside his man to get the ball on his left foot. Is Fergie some kind of sadist? Surely, with Bloomers doing exceptionally well on the left wing, Giggs should have been given a more central role. Fortunately, Wes Brown held up our right wing well enough, but how we missed someone to attack them down to the byline and get a cross in. Is Becks still 'rotating'? I thought Butt had a pretty lousy game as well considering the class that was being exhibited around him. I was just mentally willing Fergie to sub him when he had a big hand in our second goal. Bloomers crossed the ball to Nicky to fire in a fierce shot that rebounded off the post staright for Cole to blast it in. And thank God he did, having earlier missed a great chance to make it 2-0 by delaying a fraction too long and seeing Hislop beat the ball down as it was going through his legs. Still, apart from a quiet patch midway through the half, it had been a fine all-round performance. They looked up for it again, their desire to win shown by Keane right on the half-time whistle when he gesticulated with Yorke for not getting his cross into the box before the ref blew. Dwight flashed his teeth and we all said 'Awwww!' Another excellent performance was put in by Berg, spoilt only in the last minute when a rather weak tackle allowed Lampard to steal a consolation goal. For the 89 minutes before that he must surely have done enough to convince Fergie that he can also be a partner for Jaap. Jaap, by the way, had his usual game: sheer brilliance. We had a quiet spell in the second half too, but the crowd were still entertaining us with such old favourites as 'If you all hate scousers, clap your hands', 'Oo ah, Cantona', and an assortment of anti-Cockney songs. There's no doubt that a good atmosphere helps make a game more exciting and the sooner OT gets its singing ends back, the better. The chances were still piling up for us and we were still missing them. Andy Cole blasted one over from close range and Dinnnis headed one over after some fantastic running and dribbling from Yorkie. And it was Yorke and Cole combining again for our third with Dwight wrong-footing the entire West Ham defence with a deft touch for Andy to run on to and place the ball clinically in the net. With a pair combining like this, you have to feel sorry for Ole. He was brought on again with, as usual, just about 15 minutes left, and within a couple of minutes he'd made it 4-0 with a lobbed header past the outstretched leg of Rio Ferdinand. Ole's goals to minutes-played ratio must be quite phenomenal. (Ole had just come on for Butt while Johnsen had replaced a tiring Wes Brown.) There were some beautiful moves put together as the game drew to its close. Giggsy also regained some of his lost elan with fine runs. Fergie felt confident enough to take off Keane (definitely back to his best) and put on Jordi. Needless to say, the tinkering worked in West Ham's favour as they sneaked a goal in the last minute after some lacklustre tackling from Dinnis, Jaap and Berg. But nobody cared too much. It had been a great Red performance both on and off the field. Will Becks ever get his place back? ;-) __________ Terry Saudi
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Subject: FRIENDSHIP FIRES UNITED FRONT PAIR Dwight Yorke believes the friendship he has struck up with fellow frontman Andy Cole can help fire Manchester United to the title. The former Aston Villa striker admitted he did not know who he would be playing alongside when he made his £12.6million switch to Old Trafford early in the season. But after he scored once and Cole twice in the 4-1 destruction of West Ham, man-of-the-match Yorke pointed to the relationship he has formed with the ex-Newcastle man which has kept United in touch with the championship contenders. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came off the bench to wrap up the win, but Yorke said: "Andy and I have become friends off the field. I think that has got a significant part to play. "I have played with so many other people and, to be fair, the other guys have been tremendous as well. But I'm just delighted that everybody is doing well and that there are no complaints at the moment in the camp." Cole underlined how having players like Solskjaer on the bench has kept his partnership with Yorke flourishing. "It always keeps you on your toes, the manager has stressed that. Whenever you play, you must be kept on your toes because everyone will get their fair quota of games. "We came out fired up just like we did last week, and got the early goal which was just reward."
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Subject: Manchester United Results Stats Updated *** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 10/01/99 *** Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United 55,180 *** CONDENSED LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 10/01/99 *** Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts --------------------------------------------------------- 1 Chelsea 21 10 10 1 32 17 15 40 2 Aston Villa 21 11 7 3 31 20 11 40 3 Manchester United 21 10 8 3 43 24 19 38 4 Arsenal 21 9 9 3 22 11 11 36 5 Leeds United 21 8 9 4 34 20 14 33 6 Wimbledon 21 9 6 6 29 33 -4 33 7 Liverpool 21 9 5 7 36 25 11 32 8 West Ham United 21 9 5 7 25 27 -2 32 9 Middlesbrough 21 7 10 4 32 26 6 31 10 Leicester City 21 7 8 6 23 21 2 29 11 Derby County 21 6 10 5 21 20 1 28 12 Tottenham Hotspur 21 7 7 7 28 30 -2 28 13 Newcastle United 21 6 6 9 24 29 -5 24 14 Everton 21 5 9 7 13 21 -8 24 15 Sheffield Wednesday 21 6 5 10 21 22 -1 23 16 Blackburn Rovers 21 5 6 10 21 28 -7 21 17 Coventry City 21 5 5 11 20 29 -9 20 18 Southampton 21 4 5 12 19 39 -20 17 19 Charlton Athletic 21 3 7 11 24 34 -10 16 20 Nottingham Forest 21 2 7 12 18 40 -22 13 *** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 10/01/99 *** 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 *** TEAM RESULTS SUMMARY - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 10/01/99 *** P Won Drawn Lost For Against Points ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Home 12 8 (67%) 3 (25%) 1 (8%) 31 (2.6) 13 (1.1) 27 (2.3) Away 9 2 (22%) 5 (56%) 2 (22%) 12 (1.3) 11 (1.2) 11 (1.2) Total 21 10 (48%) 8 (38%) 3 (14%) 43 (2.0) 24 (1.1) 38 (1.8) Averages per game in (brackets) League position: 3rd Form position: 9th (Index: 68%) Predicted position: 5th (The higher the form index, the higher the average league position of the recent opposition) Highest league position: 1st Lowest league position: 10th (Excluding the first 4 matches) *** TEAM STATISTICS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 10/01/99 *** AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE: 55,174 HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 17/10/98 - Wimbledon (55,265) LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 15/08/98 - Leicester City (55,052) BEST WIN: 17/10/98 - Wimbledon (5-1) 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: 03/10/98 - Southampton (3-0) 31/10/98 - Everton (4-1) HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT: 20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)
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Subject: BBC Report United light up Old Trafford United light up Old Trafford Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United shrugged off a power failure to keep the pressure on title rivals Chelsea and Aston Villa with a comfortable home victory. The loss of the electricity supply 25 minutes before the scheduled 4.00pm start raised fears that the game would not take place at all. But engineers managed to restore power for the floodlights and the match kicked off 45 minutes late, with Alex Ferguson's side sparking into life immediately. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke took their combined tally for the season 26 goals, with only goalkeeper Shaka Hislop saving West Ham from total embarrassment. "Andy and I have become friends off the field. I think that has got a significant part to play," Yorke said afterwards. Early danger for Hammers United went into the game with Raimond van der Gouw in goal following manager Ferguson's decision to allow first-choice Peter Schmeichel to take a holiday. Ian Wright's absence due to injury forced West Ham to reshuffle with Trevor Sinclair pushed forward into attack and youngsters Joe Cole and Izzy Irekpen among their substitutes. Ryan Giggs forced a save from Hislop inside the first minute and an unmarked Henning Berg had a headed chance from the resulting corner but failed to make proper contact. Giggs then tried a curler with his left foot but it flicked off the forehead of Neil Ruddock which diverted the ball inches wide of the far post. But United were not to be denied and took the lead in the 10th minute after Roy Keane threaded an excellent ball through to Andy Cole on the edge of the West Ham box. The officials failed to spot Cole in an offside position when the ball was played and he was given time to lay the ball off to Dwight Yorke, who drove a diagonal shot past Hislop for his 13th goal of the season. It should have been two when Ruddock slipped as he moved towards Jesper Blomqvist's cross, but Cole decided not to shoot first time and Hislop smothered the ball. West Ham's strikers were starved of possession and Sinclair was slow to react when Frank Lampard played an excellent ball through the United defence. The second goal finally came five minutes before the break when Nicky Butt's mis-hit 20-yard shot bounced past Hislop and rebounded off the upright to an unmarked Cole, who volleyed into the net. Hammers look to youth Hammers boss Harry Redknapp responded by giving 17-year-old prospect Joe Cole his Premiership debut at the start of the second half in place of Sinclair, but it was his namesake who remained in the thick of the action. The visitors committed more players into attack but looked vulnerable to a counter and Hislop had to dive to his left to keep out Keane's well-struck shot in the 52nd minute. A brilliant Keane pass created an opening for Denis Irwin but Hislop was out quickly to block and Cole wastefully drove the loose ball over the crossbar. Hislop was kept busy as his defenders failed to deal with United's pace and movement but he could do nothing in the 68th minute when Yorke's reverse pass gave Cole the space he needed to join him on the 13-goal mark. United took the opportunity to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jordi Cruyff a run-out and Norwegian Solskjaer showed his eye for a goal after 80 minutes when he produced a perfect header to make it four after Hislop had made another last-ditch save from Giggs. The visitors were visibly dispirited but teenager Cole had a foot in an 89th minute move which ended with Frank Lampard pulling one back with their first shot on target. Redknapp decided to give Irekpen his first taste of senior action but referee Mike Reed blew for time before the 16-year-old could get onto the pitch. "We were run ragged. They were very, very good and we didn't play very well. To be honest I sensed we would have problems playing this system against them, but I had no choice. I have just not got a left-back on the books who is fit," said Redknapp. Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, Irwin, Berg, Brown, Blomqvist, Keane, Butt, Yorke, A. Cole, Stam, Giggs. Subs: Culkin, Johnsen, Beckham, Solskjaer, Cruyff. West Ham: Hislop, Ferdinand, Ruddock, Pearce, Potts, Lazaridis, Lampard, Berkovic, Sinclair, Lomas, Hartson. Subs: Forrest, Abou, Breacker, J. Cole, Iriekpen. Referee: M Reed (Birmingham) REAL AUDIO: BBC Radio 5 Live's Alan Green reports http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/250000/audio/_252306_green.ram Andy Cole scores the second goal http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/250000/audio/_252306_coleggoal2.ram Andy Cole scores the second goal http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/250000/audio/_252306_coleggoal2.ram Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nets the fourth http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/250000/audio/_252306_solsjaer.ram
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Subject: Andy Cole's Braces At 08:23 11-01-99 GMT+0200, PROF R SOUTHALL wrote: >Am I right in thinking that Andy Cole overwhelmingly scores in ones, >threes (and the odd five) but not in twos? When was the last time he >scored two in a match for us? And how many times has he scored two as >opposed to three? Anybody with the info? Cole has scored 2 goals 7 times: 10/01/99 West Ham PL H 4-1 17/10/98 Wimbledon PL H 5-1 24/01/98 Walsall FAC H 5-1 04/01/98 Chelsea FAC A 5-3 06/12/97 Liverpool PL A 3-1 01/05/95 Coventry PL A 3-2 15/04/95 Leicester PL A 4-0 TOTALS: 1994-? 136 games(scored in 54) 70 goals 2 hat-tricks + 5 goals v Ipswich (4/3/95) Scores every: 174 mins on the pitch! Yesterday the "SoulBros" made 3 goals and who scores is more or less irelevant ITS THE ANDY DWIGHT SHOW! Since 22/8/98 Andy P18 Goals 10 Dwight P23 Goals 13 Played together 16 times: W8 L1!! D7 goals 40-19 Either Andy or Dwight scored in 11 of the 16 games Check out the soul Bros Wallpaper by SAM at Simplenet http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/bmp/soulw.zip 1.4meg or http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/player/soulbros.jpg (convert to bmp) 100k PS If you play Ole Andy and Sols in a game you WIN! :)))))) Its happened twice Yesterday 4-1 + Leeds 29/11/98 H 3-2 Cheers Barry at your RED service :)
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Subject: REDS RAMPANT IN COLE SHOWUNITED TOO HOT FOR DISMAL HAMMERS Electric Manchester United made light of an Old Trafford power cut and West Ham to power their way to a comfortable 4-1 victory. The kick-off was delayed for 45 minutes after the electricity supply was lost Joe Can't Stop Hammers Sinking As Andy Hits Double MANCHESTER UNITED 4 WEST HAM UNITED 1 By Gavin Willacy IT WAS hardly a battle of the Uniteds, more an unfair beating that looked on the cards from the moment the two sides squared up to one another. The big kick-off was delayed 45 minutes by a power cut in the Old Trafford area, meaning there would be no floodlights once darkness crept in. West Ham must have wished the game had never started, such was the hammering they took from a rampant championship-chasing Manchester. The stats, for once, say it all: Alex Ferguson's side had 29 shots at goal, 19 of them on target. The visitors managed just five and only one of them was accurate - their late consolation goal by Frank Lampard a minute from time. By then, the Red Devils had romped over the finish line thanks to a tremendous all-round team performance that destroyed fragile West Ham, andhighlighted by the incisive touch and movement of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, a pairing that look capable of preventing Chelsea from fulfilling their title dream. Yorke scored the opening goal after ten minutes, after which the p
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Subject: Time for a moan at Fergie's squad rotation policy Jesper Blomqvist says: "It is difficult for the players to adjust to big squads, but we just have to get used to it and I think we are.'' Notice he says 'we are' getting used to it, not 'we have got used to it'. I'm one of those who thinks that players who are constantly 'rotated' will just end up dizzy rather than fresh. Has the squad rotation been working? Not exactly. We've won just one of our last six league games, collecting only seven points out of a possible eighteen, and we now find ourselves in fourth place just a couple of points above such no-hopers as Wimbledon and with a five-point gap opening up between us and the top two. And this is despite the fact that, after today's game, we will have played 12 of our 21 games at home. This imbalance is a bit worrying given our away record of just 2 wins in 9 games. A win today is vital if we are to avoid losing touch with the top, but will our rotating team stop spinning long enough to beat West Ham? I don't believe that kids in their early twenties like Scholes and Beckham need to be rested at all. Generally, they're desperate to play in every game and this enthusiasm should be used not dampened. As for Schmikes, he's admitted how hard it is at his age to maintain the right level of fitness ... so does it make any sense at all to remove him from training and let him sip rum cocktails for a week somewhere in the Caribbean, thus making it all the harder to reach peak fitness again when he returns? As far as I am aware, squad rotation is not practised by any of the main continental teams; they have a distinct first team, with second-string players introduced as injuries and suspensions take their toll. I certainly haven't heard of Lippi telling Inzaghi or Zidane to go for a week's holiday in the middle of the season with vital games coming up. I can see Fergie's point, of course. First, we may well have lost the league last season through injuries to key players like Giggs. Second, when you've splashed out 5 million or so on players like Blomqvist and Berg and when you have players like Ole on the bench, you have to give them a game whether the team is playing well or not. So, Fergie's squad rotation is partly an experiment that is thus far not a proven success and partly a tactic that has been forced on him by the need to keep everyone happy. In the past, the aim of every manager was a settled team, and changes to the formation were generally considered to be unhelpful. Players of suuccessful formations developed a sort of telepathic understanding with each other. This does not seem to be the likely result of a policy of squad rotation. Take Stam for example: who will he be partnering today, Neville, Berg or Johnsen? Will Giggs be out on the left, in the middle or, with Becks resting, down the right? How can players like Stam hope to acquire this telepathic understanding with team mates when they're playing a different formation with different tactics every week? I certainly hope Fergie's experiment works, and not just for the sake of the team. If it works, it might start a general trend in all areas of our working life. Imagine the boss catching you yawning at your desk and immediately sending you off to the Bahamas for a week's relaxation. Yeah, right. ___________ a tired Terry not sipping cocktails somewhere on a Caribbean island, and demanding to know why not.
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