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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 13 13:16:39 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Personal Match Report from OUR SALFORD LASS
2. Draw moves United towards title but sends Blackburn down  
5. A few things  From: "NAIBF,ZZ NAIBFZZ M" 
6. Reds flog another Video/Keano at Wembley/Norwegian Would?
7. Blackburn and Spurs by "Seamus Gallen" 


Now for the crunch! Three Matches = Three Trophies!
May 12 22.00   Result: Blackburn 0-0 Manchester United
     Alex after the match last night
      155k   2.23   "RED sky at night UNITED delight"

 1  Manchester United    37  21  13   3  78  36   42   76
 2  Arsenal              37  21  12   4  58  17   41   75

TODAY! See the BOSTON REDS celebrate the win at Boro' live!
  + Paul Hinson receives the Masterfan Trophy from Jaap Stam at OT last week!
     PICS + Blackburn Match report!
      "Here comes the PL"
         RED Barry

Daily RED Trivia  Thurs 13th May 1999:

13 1974: Neil McBain died. McBain made his United debut against Aston Villa in
     November 1921, and the plucky Half-back made 43 appearances and scored 2
     goals between 1921-23. In 1947 he became the oldest player to appear in a
     Football League match, being 51 years and 4 months when appearing in goal
     for New Brighton.
13 1989: United beat Newcastle United 2-0 at Old Trafford in a Division 1 game
     watched by 30,379. Brian McClair and Bryan Robson got the goals. Team was:
     Leighton, Duxbury, Martin, Bruce, Blackmore (Sharpe), Donaghy, Robson,
      Beardsmore, McClair, Hughes, Milne (Robins).


Barry Daily Comment:

RED sky at night BARCE' delight
Enjoy the next 3 matches, one and ALL!


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:
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:

        Blackburn   0-0   Manchester United

*** LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 12/05/99 ***

Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Manchester United    37  21  13   3  78  36   42   76
 2  Arsenal              37  21  12   4  58  17   41   75
 3  Chelsea              37  19  15   3  55  29   26   72
 4  Leeds United         37  18  12   7  60  32   28   66
 5  Aston Villa          37  15  10  12  51  45    6   55
 6  West Ham United      37  15   9  13  42  53  -11   54
 7  Derby County         37  13  13  11  39  43   -4   52
 8  Liverpool            37  14   9  14  65  49   16   51
 9  Middlesbrough        37  12  15  10  48  50   -2   51
10  Leicester City       37  12  13  12  40  45   -5   49
11  Tottenham Hotspur    37  11  14  12  46  48   -2   47
12  Newcastle United     37  11  12  14  47  53   -6   45
13  Sheffield Wednesday  37  12   7  18  40  42   -2   43
14  Everton              37  11  10  16  42  45   -3   43
15  Wimbledon            37  10  12  15  40  60  -20   42
16  Coventry City        37  11   8  18  37  49  -12   41
17  Southampton          37  10   8  19  35  64  -29   38
18  Charlton Athletic    37   8  12  17  41  55  -14   36
19  Blackburn Rovers     37   7  13  17  37  51  -14   34
20  Nottingham Forest    37   6   9  22  34  69  -35   27


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
09/05/99    Middlesbrough            Away     W  1-0     1    34,665
12/05/99    Blackburn                Away     D  0-0     1    30,436


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 3-2 [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) 


Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Blackburn (0) 0 Man United (0) 0 FT Personal Match Report from OUR SALFORD LASS It's been very hard to get myself to actually write this report this morning. Apart from being in work and having other things to do (and ringing home to get good news about a certain Euro game of course!), I feel just as frustrated this morning as I did last night! So this is going to be a short one (especially as my boss has just come through the door - eek!). I was in a good mood as I set off to get the coach at Old Trafford. It had been a good morning, the sun was shining and all was well with the world. Arriving at the coach park my spirits took an immediate dive to find that some people had already had knock-backs from the club re the Euro Cup Final. As usual, the words "piss-up" and "brewery" come to mind when considering the way the club organise these trips - by the time you know whether you are on one or not, it's too late to make alternative arrangements. All rumours that Slim was knocked back because the plane couldn't take his weight are denied by the club but supported by Syd the Steward! After a chat with Paul W and his lovely girlfriend, we set off for the short journey to Blackburn. I must admit to being just a little miffed to see both Forest and Blackburn relegated - I'd much prefer to miss out on long coach journeys to Southampton or Charlton! We hadn't even left Ordsall before the first bit of drama played itself out. The lads on the back seat, having already been successful with four young ladies sitting at a bus stop outside Salford docks (successful equals getting a wave and a smile instead of the usual single-fingered salute), they decided to take the mickey out of a young lad relieving himself in some bushes on Trafford Rd. When he had finished, he came over towards the coach along with his three mates who had appeared from nowhere! Now most people know that it's not wise to get too cocky with the locals in this part of Salford but we had one young "gentleman" with us on the bus who seems to have a death wish. Carrying the mickey-taking on way past the point of commonsense, he encouraged the local lads to "have a go", which they did - with a couple of bricks and a lot of bluster. Luckily, the lights changed at the point when they charged towards the bus ready for a full scale assault and we escaped off down the M602. It's becoming more dangerous driving around Ordsall than bloody Anfield!! The rest of the journey was (thankfully) uneventful and we soon arrived at Ewood Park. After a pie and a pint and a chat to some ex-workmates of the son-and-heir, we found our way to our seats, high up in the upper tier. A long climb, but an excellent view of what we hoped would be a winning performance. I felt a little tug at the heart strings when I saw Choccy jog out for the warm-up, but in general I was feeling positive and looking forward to the evening's game. I have since decided that I have totally the wrong attitude. I tend to feel positive and optimistic until proved wrong. I never start off any game biting my nails (well, maybe European games, just a little!) but often end up doing so. Other list members I know, start off most games with pessimistic predictions. In my little world I often get disappointed and rarely get a pleasant surprise (a win is expected, so the surprises are all unpleasant). In their world, they rarely get disappointed, but get very pleasant surprises when we win! When the game started, it didn't look like anything other than the expected result would prevail. We were looking strong, they were crap. In fact it went on like that for most of the first half, with us waiting for that first goal to come, more in expectation than in hope. The atmosphere was good. The Blackburn fans had turned out in their thousands to see United and we were singing and getting behind the team. "We all hate Leeds" seemed a popular chant - just to remind them that nothing has really changed! Towards the end of the first half, it was starting to get a little frustrating, to say the least, but we had a couple of chances and I really expected Fergie to have sorted things out at half-time. The second half was awful, and got increasingly worse as it wore on. Our lads looked jaded and tired. Their players looked like they had finally realised what it was they were fighting for - survival. Our defence (David May in particular) were managing to keep them out and Peter made a couple of game-rescuing saves, but upfront we were bereft of ideas and giving the ball away like it was too hot to touch. As the half wore on, their players and fans became increasingly aware that they might actually have a chance and their attacks got better and better. At the back, Peacock was having the game of his life. Fergie finally made some changes and brought Scholes on, who had an immediate effect, but then spoilt it all by exchanging Cole not for Ole, but for Sherringham (leaving us, again, without an out-and-out goalscorer - Sherringham and Yorke are simply too alike). He left Yorke on, when he was obviously shattered (I would have brought on Ole and paired him up with Sheringham - they did well together last time!) and for the last 15 minutes we just never looked like scoring. Down at the other end, however, they were getting closer and closer to a goal and it was agony to watch. The Rovers fans were chanting and singing whilst we were so nervous that it was very difficult to get into anything other than a very nervy "United, United". The Rovers players were trying every trick in the book - keeling over "injured" when we had the ball almost on the edge of their box, so that a United player would have to kick it out of play and then giving it back to Peter, way down at the other end. Then getting "injured" again and winning a dropped ball. It was all very frustrating. By the time the final whistle blew, after a long period of extra time, we were relieved that we had managed a draw and the Rovers fans were celebrating as if they had saved themselves from relegation after all. Is beating us more important than whether they go down? Obviously it is. Leaving the ground, I was not in a good mood. Meeting up with the Leamington Skinhead and Mick Meade outside all I could say was "What a load of crap!" And it was - one of the worst performances I have seen from United this season. Waiting on the bus whilst the police horses and vans charged about all over the place, but unable to see what was going on (as always!), we had plenty of time to complain about the game and worry about Sunday. It will certainly be a nail-biting affair this time, even for me! I know that sensibly I should console myself with the fact that we needed 4 points - a draw and a win - and we've got the draw, so nothing lost. But I can't help feeling that we will regret not having capitalised fully on Leeds' performance on Tuesday night. So I will see many of you in the Nest for some Dutch courage on Sunday. As the son-and-heir said last night - "Oh to be 12 points clear!" Copyright OUR SALFORD LASS, 1999 No part of this work to be used without the author's permission ***************************************************
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: Draw moves United towards title but sends Blackburn down BLACKBURN, England, May 12 - Manchester United strengthened their grip on the English premier league but Blackburn Rovers were relegated after the two sides fought to a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park on Wednesday. The result leaves United going into the final game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford with a single point advantage over Arsenal who play Aston Villa at Highbury. United have 76 points, Arsenal 75 with United having a better goal difference of plus one. The huge irony on the night was that Rovers, champions as recently as 1995, were relegated by United. Rovers' manager Brian Kidd was Alex Ferguson's deputy at Old Trafford for seven years until he left for Ewood Park last December. In a game of few incidents Ryan Giggs came closest to scoring in the 10th minute with a header that came back off the post. Andy Cole also forced Rovers goalkeeper John Filan into a good save with a low 34th minute effort after he outpaced the Rovers defence to collect Gary Neville's long ball.
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: UNITED EDGE CLOSER AS BLACKBURN GO DOWN By Steve Anglesey THE FAT LADY sang for Blackburn last night and she is beginning to warm up for Arsenal. With the 0-0 draw at Ewood Park which relegated Brian Kidd's Rovers, Manchester United have tightened their grip on the Premiership, now leading their Highbury rivals by one point to add to the single goal advantage they took into the match. Had the home side capitulated as spinelessly as they did against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, we would be talking of this thrilling title race as over already. As it is, the Gunners, who sacked George Graham amid such controversy, now need one last favour from him and their deadly local rivals when United host Spurs on Sunday afternoon. But as David O'Leary proved on Tuesday night, former Highbury legends are not exactly in a charitable mood at the moment. Neither are Tottenham well equipped to pull off the draw or victory which would help Arsenal to overhaul the Mancunian club - provided, of course, that they themselves can overcome schizophrenic Aston Villa at home on Sunday. With European qualification already assured, Spurs have not won in four games and are winless at Old Trafford in the league since December 1989. United, meanwhile, may be slightly off their best form and have recently looked far from convincing at home - that hammering of Sheffield Wednesday aside - but they are now unbeaten in 31 competitive matches and have won 20 of them. They have to be clear favourites to make it 32 and 21 - and more silverware - simply because they are a far better team than Spurs, whichever way your conspiracy theory about Graham and Tottenham takes shape. Blackburn can at least take some consolation from a night on which they finally showed their mettle, but this was a classic case of too little, too late. Though far from the best side, they might even have won but for a bad miss by Ashley Ward and a Peter Schmeichel save from Jason Wilcox, both towards the end. As it is they are down and deserve to be so. The smart money seems to be on them coming straight back up, particularly if they can hold on to the likes of Chris Sutton and Stephane Henchoz. Yet despite the resources of their multi-millionaire benefactor, whose tears at the end were another cinematic moment of this most epic of campaigns, their bloated squad and question marks over Brian Kidd's ability to manage make that far from a certainty.
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: ROVERS GO DOWN FIGHTING - BUT FERGUSON CLAIMS: 'I DIDN'T KNOW WE'D RELEGATED THEM' Blackburn 0 Manchester United 0 IT IS typical of Alex Ferguson - and perhaps of his relationship with Brian Kidd - that on the night the latter was relegated, the former stole the headlines. Not content with his side edging closer to the Premiership title with a precious point at Ewood Park, Ferguson then emerged to claim that he had been unaware that result would condemn Blackburn to the drop. Ferguson's was a straight-faced reaction, but one which appeared to fly in the face of day upon day of media attention at Rovers' plight. Were it genuine, then it showed both an extraordinary single-mindedness and a lack of concern in his former assistant's troubles. Were it tongue in cheek, as most observers seemed to agree, then few at Ewood would have been smiling. Asked on Sky Sports about how disappointed Kidd would be to make the drop, Ferguson replied ''He's got a chance on Saturday hasn't he?'' Told that Blackburn could not escaped he looked deadpan at the camera and said, ''They're down? They needed a win tonight? I thought they needed a point.'' He then shrugged slightly and added, "Oh well." That gnomic performance can not have pleased Kidd but at least Blackburn spurned the rubber dinghies and went down fighting. But however creditable a goalless draw at home to United was - especially for Arsenal - it was not enough to save Blackburn from relegation just four years after winning the title. In truth, it was not Ferguson who relegated Blackburn though. That was down to a season of massive under-achievement in which they won just seven games, scored only 37 times and conceded a total of 51 goals. At least Rovers responded to the wrath of Kidd following their home defeat against Nottingham Forest last weekend, when he accused his players of running to the rubber dinghies at the first sign of trouble and failing to show any spirit or pride. But while United were hardly openly celebrating at the end themselves, they were able to rest assured in the knowledge that victory at home to Tottenham on Sunday will bring the title back to Old Trafford - whatever happens at Highbury. The game itself was hardly a classic, indeed both sides showed a distinct lack of adventure, perhaps because of the importance of the occasion. For all their effort, it was - for long periods - all that Rovers, inspired by midfielder Lee Carsley, could do to contain United. Ashley Ward foraged up front mainly on his own as Matt Jansen and Keith Gillespie largely stayed out wide to cut off the supply lines to David Beckham and the fit-again Ryan Giggs. In central midfield, Carsley, Jason Wilcox and David Dunn attempted to cope with Nicky Butt and Phil Neville as Ferguson, in the absence of Roy Keane but with Paul Scholes still available, possibly experimented ahead of the Champions' Cup final. To a large extent it worked even though centre-backs Stephane Henchoz and Darren Peacock were often the busiest players on the pitch, but Rovers thereby lacked a cutting edge up front. The nearest that United came to scoring was when Beckham crossed from the right early on and Giggs' header thudded against the foot of the post to rebound for Andy Cole to blaze a shot over the bar even though a corner was awarded. At times it was frantic stuff but Blackburn, who were frantically willed on by their vociferous supporters, were just hanging on. John Filan tipped over an effort from Dwight Yorke before Cole's predatory instincts enabled him to beat the offside trap and instantly control a long-ball from Gary Neville only to shoot far too close to the keeper. Rovers meanwhile threatened only intermittently on the break, with Croft having a shot deflected just wide and Ward cutting inside only to shoot at Peter Schmeichel. Beckham was nevertheless being frustrated by a perceived lack of protection amid some committed challenges and showed signs of being rattled as his team-mates urged him to control his fragile temperament. His crossing nevertheless suffered as a result and United were further hampered by the loss of Jaap Stam to an Achilles tendon injury at half-time, with former Blackburn defender David May replacing him. The visitors' defence came under gradually increasing pressure as Rovers began to attack with more conviction after the interval and a flowing move involving Carsley and Ward ended with Schmeichel tipping Dunn's drive over the bar. However, they still could not commit too many players forward for fear of going behind and United continued to threaten with Filan blocking out Giggs and Ronny Johnsen's header from a corner being cleared off the line by Carsley. May headed into the side-netting and only Yorke's true sportsmanship prevented him bearing down on goal as he voluntarily stopped play to allow Peacock to receive treatment on the floor. Substitute Damien Johnson did almost make an immediate impact with 10 minutes left as he just failed to connect with Jansen's cross. But then came the moment that Blackburn had been waiting for all game - and they fluffed it. Johnson crossed from the right and a weak clearance fell to the feet of Ward, near the penalty spot and with Schmeichel off his line. Instead of blasting his shot, the striker tried to place it and even though Jansen tried to deflect the ball back on target with his chest, it dribbled harmlessly wide. That was effectively the end for Blackburn as they seemed to accept their fate from then on, with no hopeful long-balls pumped forward for strikers, defenders or even a goalkeeper to capitalise on. And so the tears flowed but, to their credit, the home supporters stayed behind to chant the names of Kidd and owner Jack Walker, who has invested countless millions into the club. Indeed if only the Blackburn players had showed the two men the same appreciation this season, they might have stayed up. United meanwhile move on remorselessly. Only a certain George Graham stands between them and the title now. Ferguson expressed his disappointment at his team's inability to make the most of their chances. ''It's not the result we wanted to be honest with you. ''All the possession we had, that was disappointing because we didn't take the chances. We should have done better with it.''
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: A few things From: "NAIBF,ZZ NAIBFZZ M" Looking at the current situation we are in, if someone had said to me at the start of the season that all we had to do to win the league was beat Spurs at home then I would have taken that without any qualms whatsoever. It's basically down to 3 Cup Finals now and everything is in our own hands. I honestly cannot see Spurs fighting like Liverpool and Blackburn have done - they either defend for 90 minutes and hope for a breakaway or play open football (which suits us anyway). If we don't win the League from this position then we will simply not deserve it. Another point about winning headers in the penalty area. Has anyone else noticed how Jaap can win virtually anything in our own penalty area when defending yet put him in the opponents box for a corner and not only can he not get anywhere near the ball, but when he does on occcasion it will end up at least 10 yards wide of the goal, as illustrated with a great opportunity last night. A great 'defender' but does not yet have the Steve Bruce attacking qualities. Also, watching the interview with Kiddo on BBC last night I have to say that I felt a bit of sympathy with his current situation as he looked close to tears. Having lived around the corner from him for most of my life and had him come down to my school on several occasions when I was a youngster, I know he is red through and through and I am just wondering whether deep down he now regrets his decision and knows there is no way back. Still he had to go down to keep our hopes going! Lastly, anyone who watch SKY last night would have seen a close up of Kerry Davies singing his head off. Well done for the singing Kerry, but you'll never make it on TV mate. -- Middleton RED
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: Reds flog another Video/Keano at Wembley/Norwegian Would? From: "Paul Hinson" Titbits from www.manutd.com. In an interview in the MEN last night Keano stated that he has been told that ALL the squad named to UEFA will get Champions League medals. A TASTE OF ITALY Wednesday, May 12, 1999 19:00 As the build-up to the Champions League Final continues, Reds fans can now retrace the Italian leg of the road to Barcelona. A new video, 'The Italian Job', captures the action from United's momentous games against Inter Milan and Juventus, and includes exclusive footage from behind the scenes in Turin. It has a running time of two hours, so why not fetch in the pasta and pizzas, and make a real night of it? We can't provide the food, but the videos are on sale, priced £11, in the on-line Megastore. ************************** KEANE TO TACKLE NEWCASTLE? United have revealed the results of Roy Keane's X-rays, and it's good news! The Irish hardman has suffered nothing more serious than severe bruising to his ankle. "This gives slight cause for optimism," says a club spokesman, "but no one is making any guesses as to when Roy will be able to come back." The midfielder is still doubtful for the final League match against Spurs on Sunday, but there are plenty of fingers crossed for 22 May, when United face Newcastle in the FA Cup Final. Roy has already been ruled out of the Champions League Final through suspension. ******************** CUP CLASH FOR RONNY AND OLE With Henning Berg injured, just two of the Norwegian trio of United players have been named in the latest national squad. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ronny Johnsen will link up with seven other Premiership stars in Oslo on May 20, just two days before the FA Cup final. The Norwegians will face Jamaica in a friendly, so whether Ole and Ronny are allowed to travel remains to be seen.
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: Blackburn and Spurs by "Seamus Gallen" DT wrote: > Having watched Ferguson's after match interview I find it curious that he > didn't know that Blackburn needed a win. > Surely knowing what the opposition needed to get from the game would > influence his own team selection and tactics especially in the last 15 mins > when I was having a heart attack. > Sunday is going to be a real nailbiter. Struck me as odd too! I watched it on Sky at the invitation of my neighbour, the Chelsea fan. It was terrible to watch. Not that Blackburn looked like scoring, - but as long as it was level, the possibility of defeat was there. Ronnie Johnsen did his best for them near the end when he backheeled the ball straight to Ashley Ward with Schmeichel on the ground. Luckily, Ward missed a sitter. Apart from that, our defence was OK, even though they weren't exactly facing Brazil. But, a team with Nicky Butt and Philip Neville in the middle of the field isn't going to take anybody apart in open play, and we didn't. We didn't do much from set-pieces either, with 14 corners wasted. The combination of one of the best dead-ball kickers and some of the best headers should be a recipe for chances from corners, but we never seem to make it work. I think our only success this season was Keane's header against Juventus. I thought we missed a real chance near the end when Yorke took a pointless quick free from a position Beckham would have fancied, especially against one of the dodgiest keepers around. Perhaps I'm just a pessimist, but it will need something better than last night to beat Spurs. I hope to God that Keane is back. We miss him. On the plus side, our away form has been poor recently, with Middlesboro being the only win in the last five. Our home form has been excellent, with seven wins out of eight, - only Arsenal's draw costing us points. We can do it. We went through a brilliant phase a few weeks ago where we eliminited Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus and Arsenal from knock-out competitions, and thrashed Newcastle, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday in the league. Since then we have struggled against Leeds, Villa, Liverpool, Middlesboro and Blackburn. Can we now get the brilliance back for just three games?? Looking at last night's performance, it was hard to imaging beating Juventus away, and coming from two down to do it. We seem to have a different gear for Europe. I hope we use it against Spurs. Let's pray for Aston Villa. Seamus
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

Subject: NOR-WAY CAN PAIR PLAY By Daily Record Sport staff Manchester United on Wednesday called time on a cheeky bid by Norway to call up two of their players only 48 hours before the FA Cup Final. Norway coach Nils Johan Semb has named Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ronny Johnsen in his team for a friendly against Jamaica in Oslo on Thursday. And the Norse hot-head - who would also have named Henning Berg had he been fit - is expecting the United players to report for international duty straight after Sunday's final Premiership match against Tottenham. However Old Trafford officials have contacted the Norwegians to say they are not prepared to release the two players so close to the Wembley showpiece against Newcastle on May 22. United spokesman Ken Ramsden said: "We have received a fax from the Norwegian FA confirming the selection of Solskjaer and Johnsen. But we have written to them requesting that the players be released from the squad because of the imminence of the FA Cup Final." Confrontational Semb forced United's Norwegians to miss the draw at Leeds last month and ordered them to report instead to Oslo to prepare for a Euro- qualifier against Georgia. As it turned out, only Solskjaer was declared fit enough to travel. Although Semb's destined to lose this latest tug-of war, he is still carrying on with his demands until his FA tell him differently. Semb said: "The reason I have called Solskjaer and Johnsen into the squad is because I want my best players available. "I know it's close to the English cup final but I still want the two of them to report to Oslo." © PA Sporting Life
Sunday United win the PL Championship by beating Spurs! Click on table for match reports

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