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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Wed Aug 11 08:56:59 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
2. World Club Championship
3. Wes Talks About Injury 
4. Fergie: I was close to quitting
6. Thanks for signing The Theatre Of Dreams Guestbook!


Daily MANCHESTER UNITED NEWS Wednesday 11th August 1999:

Barry Daily Comment:
Arse top of the tree 6/6.
A win is required tonight, Ryan Giggs still out.
Good luck REDS!
 Real Audio commentary:  http://www.ManUtd.com/live/default.sps


99/2000 fixtures/match reports are at

Mark Bosnich's Personal Details 



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!

         Aston Villa  v  Everton
      Leicester City  v  Coventry City
   Manchester United  v  Sheffield Wednesday
         Southampton  v  Leeds United

*** FIXTURES ON 14/08/99 ***
       Bradford City  v  Sheffield Wednesday
        Derby County  v  Middlesbrough
      Leicester City  v  Chelsea
           Liverpool  v  Watford
   Manchester United  v  Leeds United
          Sunderland  v  Arsenal
   Tottenham Hotspur  v  Everton
           Wimbledon  v  Coventry City

*** FIXTURES ON 15/08/99 ***
         Southampton  v  Newcastle United

        Derby County   1-2   Arsenal               25,901
          Sunderland   2-0   Watford               40,630
           Wimbledon   2-3   Middlesbrough         11,036


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


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
08/08/99    Everton                  Away     D  1-1    10    39,141


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

UNITED Stats v All teams:
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix992000.htm
Subject: 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   11.00     W  2-0    F    60,000
18/07/99    Sydney    Australia   06.00     W  1-0    F    78,000 
21/07/99    Shanghai  Shenhua     12.30     W  2-0    F    80,000
24/07/99    Hong Kong South China 08.30     W  2-0    F    40,000
 1/08/99    Arsenal Wembley Charity Shield  L  1-2    F    70,185

 3/08/99    Omagh aid of Omagh Bomb Fund    W  9-0    F     7,000
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly.        W  2-0    F    15,000 
 8/08/99    Everton                  away   D  1-1    10   39,141

11/08/99    Sheffield Wednesday      home PL   20.00
14/08/99    Leeds United             home PL   12.00
22/08/99    Arsenal                  away PL   16.00 Live on Sky
25/08/99    Coventry City            away PL   20.00
27/08/99    Monaco - Lazio           ESC       19.45
30/08/99    Newcastle United         home PL   13.00
11/09/99    Liverpool                away PL   11.30 Live on Sky
15/09/99    ?     EC
18/09/99    Wimbledon                home PL   15.00
22/09/99    ?     EC
25/09/99    Southampton              home PL   15.00
29/09/99    ?     EC
 3/10/99    Chelsea                  away PL   16.00 Live on Sky
*11/10/99   Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial OT [Cantona + Schmeichel]
13/10/99    ?     WC 3
16/10/99    Watford                  home PL   15.00
20/10/99    ?     EC
23/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        away PL   15.00
27/10/99    ?     EC
30/10/99    Aston Villa              home PL   15.00
 3/11/99    ?     EC
 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
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]

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
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         away PL   15.00
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                away PL   15.00
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
15/04/2000  Sunderland               home PL   15.00
19/04/2000  ?   EC qf ii
22/04/2000  Southampton              away PL   15.00
24/04/2000  Chelsea                  home PL   15.00
29/04/2000  West Ham United          away PL   15.00
 3/05/2000  ?   EC sf i
 6/05/2000  Tottenham Hotspur        home PL   15.00
10/05/2000  ?   EC sf ii
14/05/2000  Aston Villa              away PL   15.00
24/05/2000  ?    EC f



EC links + Personal diaries here:

 Its the presentation of the European Cup at Nou Camp
  Video including sound   57secs  1.5 meg 


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

Subject: MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY PREVIEW Alex Ferguson claims his players are not weighed down by the pressure of winning the Treble following their relatively slow start to the season. United lost the Charity Shield to Arsenal before they drew 1-1 at Everton in their opening Premiership match last Sunday, following a late own goal by Jaap Stam. Not the best of starts by the champions, especially when compared to Chelsea's rampant display against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. United face Wednesday on, ernm, Wednesday in their first home game of the new campaign and Sir Fergie has dismissed the notion that they are burdened by last season's success. ''I don't see where the pressure comes from,'' insisted the United boss. ''People will try to analyse us to see if there is any change from last year but I couldn't see any at Everton on Sunday. What we are talking about is the United players reaching their capabilities, it's a game of football which they are capable of winning. They have got the ability, their team work is great, their team spirit is terrific and all the things are in place.'' In today's over-hyped Premiership, Ferguson felt it was more a case of people getting carried away than his side feeling the heat. ''I think there's a lot of hype in the media,'' he said. ''The thing to remember is that there are still 37 games to go and when you consider that then I think people are getting carried away a bit.'' The champions' main injury concern is the fitness of Mark Bosnich. The Aussie goalkeeper was having treatment on Tuesday on a groin strain he suffered in Sunday's draw at Goodison Park. Stand-in Raimond van der Gouw is waiting in the wings, but the United boss reckons Bosnich should recover in time.
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: World Club Championship The eight teams will comprise such luminaries as Asian Super Cup holders Al-Nasr, from Saudi Arabia, and the winners of the 1998 Copa Libertadores - the South American equivalent of the European Cup - Vasco da Gama (Brazil). United and Real Madrid, the 1998 Toyota Cup winners, would be joined by teams from Africa, Oceania, and America/the Caribbean, plus this year's Brazilian champions.
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Subject: Wes Talks About Injury (ManUtd.Com) BACK ON THE AIR Tuesday, August 10, 1999 16:45 Manchester United Radio make a welcome return to the air this Wednesday after their summer break. As usual, the official United station have come up with some great exclusive interviews. This week, they caught up with Wes Brown, who was recently ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury. As the radio station's Matt Proctor discovered, that diagnosis was somewhat premature, and young Wes is now hopeful of making a swift recovery from the knock. But first, he explained to Matt exactly what happened on that fateful day in training. "We were doing a two-on-two session with Steve McClaren," said Wes. "I went to block a shot from Coley, and instead of shooting he cut inside. As I went to turn, I fell on the ground and twisted my knee. I felt something go in my knee straight away. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I'd done something to it. I've never felt that pain before. "I asked the physio, Rob, to come down, and I got up, thinking I could jog on it. I thought I'd just niggled it. I went home as normal. But when I woke up the next morning, it was so stiff I couldn't move it at all. "Rob sent me for an X-ray, and when I got the results, he told me I'd done my cruciate. It was heartbreaking. I was told that if I needed an operation, I would be out for 12 months. I had a think, and I just thought I'd get on with it, and work really hard to get back," he said. Roy Keane and Terry Cooke both suffered similar injuries while at the club and both made an excellent recovery. Cooke is now with Manchester City of course, but Wes says that Roy's words of encouragement have helped him no end. "I had a word with Roy, and he was brilliant. He gave me a few pointers, and I'll just have to get on with it and get my career back together," claimed Wes. It's not all bad news, though. Wes claims that he will not be out for as long as was first feared. "It is serious, it is my cruciate, but I've been told that there is still a muscle which can hold your knee up. Maybe, if in a few months it still feels OK, I won't need the operation, and I can get back playing. "I'm still working hard in the gym, especially no my knee to build the muscle up. It can be boring, but it has to be done, and hopefully I'll be OK in a few months," smiled Wes. Here's hoping! Manchester United Radio will be broadcasting on 1413AM within a 10-mile radius of Old Trafford. Coverage, including full match commentary, runs from 4.30pm to 11pm on Wednesday. The station will then return bright and early at the weekend for the home match against Leeds, which has a 12 noon kick off. Matt Proctor and his team will be on air from 8.30am to 3pm on Saturday.
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Fergie: I was close to quitting By Graham Hunter Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that a power struggle with his Old Trafford bosses brought him to the brink of resignation less than 12 months before leading his team to the Treble last May. The manager was so enraged by what he considered disloyalty and unfounded sniping by club chairman Martin Edwards and Manchester United plc chairman Sir Roland Smith that he flew to a confidential meeting with them and demanded: 'Do you want to call it a day?' The man who lifted the Premiership title, FA Cup and European Cup and was knighted within a year of the stormy meeting was so appalled by the accusation that he was not putting everything into his work that he offered to resign once more. Ferguson told them: 'If you don't recognise that I am the best person to judge which players should be bought by the club, I may as well go now.' New player contracts and assistant manager Brian Kidd's apparent preference for John Hartson over Dwight Yorke were already troubling Ferguson. But Edwards' alleged accusation that 'success at Old Trafford had made me a celebrity and that I was not focusing on the job as much as I had done' really hurt. Yesterday Ferguson emphasised: 'Last summer was a lonely and vulnerable time for me at the club - only a manager can know how that feels.' The moment which might have robbed United of the greatest achievement in their history came when Ferguson was so disturbed about what was happening in his absence that he broke into his summer holidays in France during early July 1998. According to the revelations, contained in Ferguson's autobiography, Managing My Life, the Scot had flown from his Mediterranean family holiday to meet Edwards and Smith at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in London. Three matters were already troubling him: the feeling that United's board cared more about keeping Kidd than about reassuring him over his own future, Kidd's apparent discussions with the board, which had gone unchecked with Ferguson, and the distinct impression that Arsenal's Double in 1997-98 had left some believing his own abilities might be on the slide. The meeting had been abruptly called after Edwards told Ferguson during a phone call about the attempted purchase of Yorke that: 'We are not sure he is the right man'. Ferguson responded: 'What do you mean we don't think he is the right man - who are we?' When Edwards told him that he was referring to: 'one or two of the directors and Brian Kidd', Ferguson responded 'Who's the bloody manager?' Ferguson writes: 'I could hardly believe what I was hearing but I let Martin and Sir Roland make their points before asking: 'Do you want to call it a day?'; He says his hard-line attitude settled the 'farce' but was subsequently caused to reflect that Kidd 'found much less difficulty than I did in gaining improved terms of employment. 'In the previous January, Sir Roland had promised the club would look after me at the end of the 1997-98 season but we had been top of the Premiership then and flying. 'Arsenal stormed past us on the run-in and gone on to take the Double...now I was being told the redrawing of my contract was still under consideration.' What may concern United supporters still more is the context the revelations put on the club's inability to conclude terms with captain Roy Keane, who Ferguson clearly does not wish to lose, or to sign players of the calibre of Rivaldo, who Ferguson covets. Keane is expected to make an announcement on his future at the end of this week and Ferguson said: 'He has been a great servant and I hope he will continue to be a great servant for the next few years. The one thing you must say about him is that he will be honest about a job.' Alex could teach Maggie a thing or two By Brian Woolridge Wednesday, August 11, 1999 It was most gratifying, being an atheist when it comes to football as a religion, to be invited to Sir Alex Ferguson's drinks party at the London Hilton tomorrow evening. My RSVP is as follows: Thank you, but despite no prior engagement, I shall not be present. The occasion, of course, is further to publicise Sir Alex's autobiography Managing My Life and I can do that without a few free canapes and gin-and-tonics. The fact is I found it a most disturbing book, about both the football industry and Ferguson himself. This, subliminally, may have something to do with his close affinity with New Labour, but actually I think not. For when it comes to cutting down his out-of-favour colleagues, Sir Alex wields a sawn- off shotgun faster than Margaret Thatcher ever swung her handbag. There is no questioning that, culminating with Manchester United's Treble last season, he proved himself the most successful British football manager of all time. Nor would one be naive enough to think that such unique status could ever be attained without ruthlessness. But ruthlessness is one thing. How deeply that ruthlessness can penetrate the soul is revealed by his excoriation of former players and staff, several of whom are still prominent in the game, and it strikes me as being a rather ill-mannered way to behave. There may be explanations. Managing My Life commanded the biggest advance of any sports book in the history of British publishing. Hodder and Stoughton gambled 1 million and since a percentage of that must be recovered from pre-sales newspaper serialisation, they wanted material that would make eye-catching headlines. Sir Alex certainly gave them that. His revelation that he'd received a 40,000 'bung' from a Russian and shoved it into the Old Trafford safe before handing it back a year later raised as many questions as eyebrows. Did he need the money? I don't refer to the 'bung' but to income from the book. You never know, but given his lifestyle and the ownership of a few racehorses I would rather doubt it. Obviously, publish-and-bedamned is not the prerogative of Fleet Street. Any public figure can do it within the libel laws any time he pleases. Some young footballers, urged on by avaricious agents, rush into print with the most juvenile drivel after six games in the Premier League. Better by far to watch how the heavy guns - the Thatchers, Heaths and Majors - handle it. They wait until retirement before settling old scores. Prime Ministers have far longer careers in public life than football managers. So Sir Alex's timing, since he's announced he's going to quit in a couple of years anyway, is particularly curious. Couldn't he resist the up-front cash? Or couldn't he wait to humiliate people who have threatened or challenged his omnipotence? These are not subjects you'd raise at a rooftop cocktail party at the Hilton when someone else is footing the bill. However, here's an invitation to Sir Alex, his literary collaborator, Hugh McIlvanney, and publisher, Roddy Bloomfield, to join me for lunch or dinner anywhere at any time. I'd feel more comfortable to discuss it all in those circumstances.
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Subject: BECKHAM WARNED: AVOID ANIMAL'S BITE - Mirror MANCHESTER United's Treble-winning superstars have been warned to steer clear of the "Animal" at Old Trafford tonight. Sheffield Wednesday's notorious new striker Gilles de Bilde may have the looks of a choirboy, but he has the fists of a boxer and a hair-trigger temper which could blow at any moment. And David Beckham and Roy Keane have been urged to give a wide berth to the Belgian hit-man if they want to avoid of a repeat of the explosion three years ago which came within millimetres of ruining former Aalst defender Krist Porte's life. Jaap Stam's former PSV Eindhoven team-mate was virtually booted out of Belgian football for a sickening punch that left Porte fighting for the sight of one eye and earned de Bilde the tag of the "most hated man in European football." Tonight Wednesday's pounds 3million summer signing from Holland will have his suspect temperament put to the ultimate test in the intimidating atmosphere of the Theatre of Dreams. And Porte genuinely fears any flash-point with the equally volatile Keane or Beckham could have disastrous consequences for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. "I can never forget what he did to me. He could have ruined my life with his fist," said Porte. "I know he could have done it to anyone. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when his temper flipped. I don't think people like that can change. "We were jostling on the edge of the penalty area before a penalty and he just turned round and punched me. The pain was incredible and I still get headaches and pain from it now." Porte - who now plays for Westerloo in the Belgian First Division - was out of the game for a season and he is still battling to win compensation for the damage done by de Bilde. He is in the process of dragging de Bilde back through the Belgian courts for a second time in an effort to force Anderlecht's insurers to pay him for his loss of earnings. "He put me out of the game for eight months and there was a real fear I would not play again," said Porte. De Bilde was banned for 15 matches and forced to leave Belgian football to continue his career in Holland after winning a case against the Belgian FA who wanted FIFA to extend their ban worldwide. Wednesday boss Danny Wilson's team was branded the "friendliest in football" last season after a pathetic display at Old Trafford and he wants de Bilde to provide his team with some fighting spirit.
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Subject: Thanks for signing The Theatre Of Dreams Guestbook! We appreciate your input! View: http://saturn.guestworld.tripod.lycos.com/wgb/wgbview.dbm?owner=ManUnitedFC Sign: http://www.Lpage.com/wgb/wgbsign.dbm?owner=ManUnitedFC Thanks for signing the Theatre Of Dreams Guestbook ... here are the 16 entries since last Tuesday The Theatre Of Dreams Guestbook Started May 1997 Record 3664 Name: Daniel Eifert DanEBoy97@aol.com Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Huntington Beach, California, USA Time: 1999-08-10 00:54:15 Comments: Excellent webpage for an EXCELLENT side! Looking forward to another exciting season from the boys in RED!! Record 3663 Name: Brandon Radford B_G_radford@yahoo.co.uk Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA Time: 1999-08-09 18:44:02 Comments: I don't know if this will reach its proper target but I'll give it a go. Can anyone here help to bring the premiership to an American television station that isn't pay-per-view. The league has become wildly popular stateside but it is still virtually impossible to catch a game. The games that are offered often cost about twenty dollars. Is there some kind of simultaneous webcast that I can catch instead? I would be pleased if it were audio only, as long as the play calling could be live. Record 3662 Name: Gary Ismail Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: southend-on-sea essex Time: 1999-08-09 17:05:41 Comments: never mind jaap better luck next time Record 3661 Name: andy andy_beckham7@hotmail.com Referred by: Geocities From: malaysia Time: 1999-08-09 13:12:05 Comments: best tul cenel nie.... Record 3660 Name: daniel heffer mailto:julieheffer@breathe.co.uk Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: england Time: 1999-08-08 22:29:39 Comments: i think manchester united are the best and can just keep going. david beckham should be for given for the world cup as he is a great player Record 3659 Name: Conor Boyle mailto:cnb@bc.sympatico.ca Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Canada Time: 1999-08-08 20:01:02 Comments: Firstclass. You've provided me with countless hours of joy! Keep it up Record 3658 Name: Julia Referred by: From a Friend From: Norway Time: 1999-08-08 13:58:13 Comments: Everyone - join the one&only Neville mailing list! Go to http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/garyphilneville !! Record 3657/repeated 3656 Name: DAVID JARJU mailto:DARKWILL0@breath.net Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: WEST AFRICA (THE GAMBIA) Time: 1999-08-07 20:15:47 Comments: I LIKE THE WAY YOU PLAY FOOTBALL (you are the best) MY FAVOURTIE PLAYER IS DAVID BECKHAM so say hi from aritical dave 24-7 maximum respect!!!!!! Record 3655 Name: Edwin 'Cantona 7 ' Sim mailto:hideo_suzuki@yahoo.com Website: Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Port Klang..........Malaysia Time: 1999-08-07 17:36:55 Comments: Ermmmmmmmmmmmmm........it's kinda cool stuff, if not a perfect one.Please insert more pics on the reserve players......just guive them something to cheer about. Keep up the good work............. Record 3654 Name: Jan Stian Storlien mailto:Zesty@online.no Referred by: Yahoo! From: Norway Time: 1999-08-07 17:35:56 Comments: Congratlations with the treble, and lets kick some ass nexst seson! Record 3653 Name: ReDaTtAcK Referred by: Just Surfed On In Time: 1999-08-06 21:06:32 Comments: Hey there very good and cool site .. Record 3652 repeat 3651 Name: haz [ Barry: no mail address left, so no answer! :)) ] Website: n/a Referred by: Yahoo! From: chesterfield Time: 1999-08-06 12:32:06 Comments: does anybody know how much a manchester united season ticket is for adults and children. it should say this on this website and i'm appalled that it isn't. otherwise it's fantastic!!! Record 3650 Name: John Mackenna mailto:olympic@breathemail.net Website: Songs and Music http://www.tmechan.freeserve.co.uk/MP3.html Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: GB Time: 1999-08-06 01:10:07 Comments: If you would like to listen to the new Tribute to Manchester United CD, then you can hear the songs free of charge on http://ecom.mp3.com/cgi-bin/order.cgi?cd_id=15080&srclk=ld Record 3649 Name: Kheoh Yee Ting mailto:bradfordkheoh@hotmail.com Website: RED CLUB http://www.fordkheoh.com Referred by: Net Search From: Malaysia Time: 1999-08-05 13:42:33 Comments: Private!!! -Click to View- Record 3648 Name: Ben Greenwood mailto:jmccaul@pgassoc.demon.co.uk Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Manchester Time: 1999-08-05 12:14:08 Comments: A treble...a treble double...and no chance of a double treble!?! Lets get back in the FA Cup, win it all again AND add the World Club Championship, Super Cup AND this stupid tournament in Brazil!! GO ON THE REDS!!! Record 3647 Name: Ben Greenwood Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: Manchester Time: 1999-08-05 11:56:52 Comments: Top quality site!! Really impressed!! I will definitely be back :} MUFC Hon. Executive CP Cheah Webmasters: Barry Leeming & Bill McArthur Stats: Masterfan 1999 Paul Hinson Design: Diana Low Graphics: Justin Eagleton & Sam Hayward Url: http://www.red11.org Webmaster Mail: barry@www.red11.org World of Manchester United Football Club.
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Subject: REFS OFFERED PANIC BUTTONS Premiership referees are to be offered panic buttons at home to combat hooligans who make sinister threats and abusive calls. In a new twist to soccer's victim support culture, Premier League chiefs will pick up the 1,000 tab for the type of device used in the home of FIFA referee David Elleray. Harrow schoolmaster Elleray has had a panic alarm, which connects him directly with his local police station, fitted at his London home after a terrifying hate campaign waged by Manchester United thugs. And the case has shocked soccer bosses so much that they are ready to extend the security measure to every Premiership referee. Referees' Association chairman Peter Willis and Premier League referees' secretary Phil Don were appalled that 400-a-match Elleray should suffer such violent reprisals. Three months ago, high-level talks between the FA and referees' bodies resulted in match officials being driven to potential tinderbox fixtures in 'safe' cars by minders. Now, personal protection for referees has been extended, for the first time, to their home addresses. One of Elleray's colleagues on the Premiership list said last night: "It is a terrible comment on modern football that a referee cannot feel safe in his own home. "Football has a duty to stand by referees, especially those required to make unpopular decisions, and this is as serious as anything we've known. "David Elleray is one of our most experienced officials, and for him to involve the police in something like a panic alarm means it must be serious. "There is a shortage of referees nationwide already, and who is going to want to be a ref when they feel unsafe at home?" Elleray's dramatic move is believed to be a consequence of his controversial decision to send off United defender Denis Irwin at Anfield during last season's title run-in. Liverpool fought back to draw 2-2 against United's 10 men, and Old Trafford chairman Martin Edwards sarcastically claimed the Premier League should strike a medal for Elleray if Arsenal pipped United to the championship. Over the past three years, Premiership referees have been exposed to a terrifying catalogue of chilling incidents which prompted a major review of their safety by the Football Association. When Rangers controversially clinched the Scottish title at Old Firm rivals Celtic last May, referee Hugh Dallas had the windows smashed at his family home. Three years ago, Gerald Ashby, now an FA observer, was advised by police to leave his Worcester home for several days after he was bombarded by pest calls threatening to maim him. Colleagues Mike Reed and Rob Harris have been victims of mob madness when they were collared by lynch mobs at traffic lights as they drove home from controversial matches. Reed was attacked in his car by Leicester fans after awarding a penalty in an FA Cup replay at Chelsea in 1997. And Harris needed to make a speedy getaway after sending off three West Ham players - Ian Wright, Shaka Hislop and Steve Lomas - against Leeds at Upton Park in May. Willis was outraged when Paolo Di Canio was given only an eight-match ban for shoving Paul Alcock to the ground at Hillsborough last September, claiming referees would feel "abandoned" by the leniency of the Italian hothead's sentence. FA bosses offered Alcock stress counselling to get over the shock of Di Canio's assault. But panic buttons have brought a disturbing new dimension to English football. PA Sporting Life
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