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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Mon 20 Dec 1999 07:33 GMT
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Personal Match Report from John Walker
2. Beckham will stay - Ferguson
3. Scholes D-day looms ««
5. Sheringham signs one-year deal
6. United in tussle for Argentina teenager
8. Carling Report
9. Guardian - I owe Alex Ferguson an apology
10. Giggs thriving on strife at Upton Park
11. The Times - Di Canio unable to heal wounds



Webmaster comment:
RED KELLY & SALFORD LASS were not at the match on SAT
Today's personal report is by John Walker from Upton Park.
Sheep went TOP for Christmas on Sunday so we are placed
fine in 2nd position for Christmas ...
Merry RED Christmas to all our readers 
from Barry & Bill at The Theatre Of Dreams!

News for Oz fans:
ABC Shops in Australia have a video of the treble.
These can be brought online from www.abc.net.au

* If you have an article for this MUFC Daily News bulletin
   please mail it to  Thanks!

*** Remember our December Competition!
To enter first download 1 meg here
Lets see how far us REDS can get, I already made it to Level 2 
Proof here: http://www.red11.org/mickz/level2.jpg
The best 3 efforts will win a copy of the NEW book 
"European Glory" by RED NEWS edited by Barney Chilton
Eyewitness Accounts of United's 1968 & 1999 European Triumphs
A book celebrating the amazing events in the Nou Camp on May 26th - retails at £7,95
Enties to the competition must include an attched screen pic as proof of
your efforts  mail to barrylee@post3.tele.dk GOOD LUCK  Comp closes 24th Dec 1999


Red Devils' Webstation  - danlim@mailexcite.com Danny Lim, Malacca, Malaysia.
This is the place for rantings, ravings and reverence 
(well, mostly reverence) of the marvelous football institution known 
as Manchester United FC ! Man United's All-Time Greatest XI and the 
Red Devils' Hall of Fame ! Great Manchester United Line-ups in 
History The Manchester United Squad United in Transition 

Taken from The Worldwide Manchester United Fans Webring - 400+ RED sites!

The BBC will broadcast live coverage of Manchester United's World Team
Championship challenge in Brazil.

Champions League Url: http://www.red11.org/champ

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 José Quinton Fortune
26 Massimo Taibi         31 Nicholas James Culkin  33 Mark Antony Wilson
34 Jonathan Greening

1999/2000 UEFA Champions League Second Group-Match Stage - Group B 
Group B           P W D L  F A  Pts 
Fiorentina AC     2 1 1 0  2 0  4 
Manchester United 2 1 0 1  3 2  3 
Valencia CF       2 1 0 1  3 3  3 
Bordeaux          2 0 1 1  0 3  1 

Second stage Euro Draw  GROUP B
Manchester United Valencia Bordeaux Fiorentina
Tues Nov 23 Fiorentina v Manchester United  2-0 
            Valencia v Girondins Bordeaux   3-0
Wed Dec 8   Girondins Bordeaux v Fiorentina 0-0
            Manchester United v Valencia    3-0

Wed Mar 1 
Group B: Manchester United v Girondins Bordeaux 
Group B: Fiorentina v Valencia 
Tues Mar 7  
Group B: Girondins Bordeaux v Manchester United 
Group B: Valencia v Fiorentina 
Wed Mar 15 
Group B: Manchester United v Fiorentina 
Group B: Girondins Bordeaux v Valencia 
Tuesday, March 21 
Group B: Fiorentina v Girondins Bordeaux 
Group B: Valencia v Manchester United 

FINAL Group D          P W D L  F A  PTS
Manchester United FC   6 4 1 1  9  4  13 
Olympique de Marseille 6 3 1 2 10  8  10 
SK Sturm Graz          6 2 0 4  5 12   6 
NK Croatia Zagreb      6 1 2 3  7  7   5 


Real Audio - Last weeks Daily News Sound Archive:
Click on INDEX at http://www.red11.org/sound


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!

             Arsenal   1-1   Wimbledon             38,052
         Aston Villa   2-1   Sheffield Wednesday   23,885
       Bradford City   2-0   Newcastle United      18,286
      Leicester City   0-1   Derby County          18,581
           Liverpool   2-0   Coventry City         44,024
       Middlesbrough   2-1   Tottenham Hotspur     33,129
          Sunderland   2-0   Southampton           40,860
             Watford   1-3   Everton               17,346
     West Ham United   2-4   Manchester United     26,037

             Chelsea   0-2   Leeds United          35,106


Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Leeds United         18  13   2   3  32  19   13   41
 2  Manchester United    17  12   3   2  44  23   21   39
 3  Sunderland           18  11   4   3  33  17   16   37
 4  Arsenal              18  11   3   4  32  17   15   36
 5  Liverpool            18  10   3   5  26  14   12   33
 6  Leicester City       18   9   2   7  26  24    2   29
 7  Tottenham Hotspur    17   8   3   6  26  22    4   27
 8  Middlesbrough        18   8   3   7  23  25   -2   27
 9  West Ham United      17   7   4   6  19  18    1   25
10  Chelsea              16   7   3   6  21  17    4   24
11  Everton              18   6   6   6  28  28    0   24
12  Aston Villa          18   6   4   8  16  20   -4   22
13  Coventry City        18   5   6   7  23  20    3   21
14  Wimbledon            18   4   9   5  28  30   -2   21
15  Newcastle United     18   5   4   9  28  32   -4   19
16  Southampton          17   4   5   8  20  27   -7   17
17  Bradford City        17   4   4   9  15  25  -10   16
18  Derby County         18   4   3  11  16  29  -13   15
19  Watford              18   3   2  13  14  36  -22   11
20  Sheffield Wednesday  17   1   3  13  15  42  -27    6


HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 25/09/99 - Southampton (55,249)
LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE:  11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (54,941)
BEST WIN:                11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (4-0)
                         30/08/99 - Newcastle United (5-1)
                         04/12/99 - Everton (5-1)
HEAVIEST DEFEAT:         03/10/99 - Chelsea (0-5)
BEST HOME WIN:           11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (4-0)
                         30/08/99 - Newcastle United (5-1)
                         04/12/99 - Everton (5-1)
BEST AWAY WIN:           18/12/99 - West Ham United (4-2)
HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT:    03/10/99 - Chelsea (0-5)

26-DEC-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Bradford C  (FA Premier League, HOME)
28-DEC-1999 [20:00] Manchester Utd. vs Sunderland  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
06-JAN-2000 [21:15] Manchester Utd. vs Necaxa  (World Club Championship, AWAY)
08-JAN-2000 [21:15] Manchester Utd. vs Vasco de Gama  (World Club Championship, AWAY)
11-JAN-2000 [20:15] Manchester Utd. vs South Melbourne  (World Club Championship, AWAY)


UNITED Stats v All teams:
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 Testimonial     Home F   L  2-4  LEGENDS 54,842      
13/10/99    Aston Villa              Away WC3 L  0-3     -    33,815
16/10/99    Watford                  Home PL  W  4-1     2    55,188
19/10/99    Marseille                Away EC  L  0-1     -    57,745 
23/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     L  1-3     3    36,072
27/10/99    Croatia Zagreb           Away EC  W  2-1     -    30,000
30/10/99    Aston Villa              Home PL  W  3-0     2    55,211
 2/11/99    Sturm Graz               Home EC  W  2-1     -    53,745 
 6/11/99    Leicester City           Home PL  W  2-0     1    55,191
20/11/99    Derby County             Away     W  2-1     1    33,370
23/11/99    AC Fiorentina            Away EC  L  0-2     -    40,000
30/11/99    Tokyo  Palmeiras         N   WCC  W  1-0     -    53,372
 4/12/99    Everton                  Home PL  W  5-1     2    55,193
 8/12/99    Valencia CF              Home EC  W  3-0     -    54,606 
18/12/99    West Ham United          Away     W  4-2     1    26,037

26/12/99    Bradford City            Home PL   15.00
28/12/99    Sunderland               Away PL   20.00  "live on sky"

  pp 27/11/1999  Sheffield Wednesday    Away PL ?  *No new date yet
  pp  3/01/2000  Middlesborough         Home PL ?  *No new date yet
  pp 15/01/2000  Leeds                  Away PL ?  *No new date yet

 JAN 05-14  Brazil WTC [3-4 games]
06/01/2000  Necaxa (Mexico)          Neut WTC  16.00
08/01/2000  Vasco da Gama (Brazil)   Away WTC  16.00
11/01/2000  South Melbourne (Australia) N WTC  16.00
Final? 14/01/2000
24/01/2000  Arsenal                  Home PL   20.00  "live on sky"
 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
 1/03/2000  FC Girondins de Bordeaux Home EC   19.45 
 4/03/2000  Liverpool                Home PL   11.30  "live on sky"
 7/03/2000  FC Girondins de Bordeaux Away EC   19.45 
11/03/2000  Derby County             Home PL   15.00
15/03/2000  AC Fiorentina            Home EC   19.45
18/03/2000  Leicester City           Away PL   15.00
21/03/2000  Valencia CF              Away EC   19.45 
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 Final


Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
Personal Match Report from John Walker This is my local game, so I was in the luxurious position of leaving home at midday to meet my mates in a pub at East Ham. A couple of tube stops eastwards from where I live, and I got out into a High Street full of Christmas shoppers. A group of youths were strung across the pavement singing a church song 'I've got the Holy Spirit deep in my soul just like the bible says' I managed to get around them and must have looked a bit disgruntled because a girl cheerily said 'Jesus loves you' to me. I had to smile and managed to retort 'I know but he doesn't want you to block the High Street!' Bah humbug! s I had to drop into the Denmark to see Mike Dobbin for a moment, and bumped into a heroically drunk Pete Boyle. A friend had bumped into him on the tube and kindly delivered him to a pub where he knew there would be some reds to look after him...I wasn't sure how much of a favour that was as the Denmark isn't exactly the friendliest pub in the area. I moved on to the pub where we always meet for the West Ham game and a good little crowd of about 10 of us stood around discussing the boardroom shenanigans and the forthcoming trip to Rio which a couple of them are going on. A bloke (customer) at the bar helped with the drinks, reaching over the bar to top up the Guinness, and I thanked him but told him he wouldn't be getting a tip. He said 'I've got a tip, don't go to West Ham' I winked and said 'Well, only once a season' and he smiled. We walked off to the ground, always have to be a bit careful as it's a long walk and West Ham fans tend to spot United supporters and ambush, but the only bit of bother came at the entrance to the away fans turnstiles where a group of our lads were nonchalantly repelling all comers. Has anyone else noticed how 'cool' our lads are these days? Not as leary as other 'firms'. A pretty good atmosphere in the ground. We had two thirds of the North Stand and kept up a good stream of songs throughout the game. The 'Argentina' chant was not used, my favourite provocative chant yesterday was 'Phil and Grant are homosexual, Tiffany's dead! Tiffany's dead!' And 'Win when you're cheating, you only win when you're cheating'. United were excellent! I wonder if it is the long rest since the last game which made then fresh and enthusiastic? I was sorry to see Ole only on the bench. I wouldn't argue with the Teddy/Dwight paring (specially with hindsight) but I am longing to see Ole given a run of games. Stam was superb! Keano too. But man of the match was Giggs, playing just as we always hope he will. Rai was at fault for their first goal letting the ball go under his body. He didn't get down fast enough. The reason for Yorke's success yesterday must surely be that he was played as a striker, more forward than usual, with Teddy taking the deeper role. Giggs was at his best, perfecting the idea of being a winger but cutting inside at times. Lomas was deputed to mark him and failed miserably. The first goal after five minutes was superb! Keano lashed the ball from central midfield to the right wing where Becks half volleyed first time into the box. The ball sat up for Dwight to thump a header back across Hislop into the net. Five minutes later Giggs redirected a Yorke cross into the net. (I saw this later on motd and it was an exquisite touch, he just waved his foot at it!) After 20 minutes we were 0-3 up when Giggs hit a shot along the ground from about 20 yards. Unfortunately West Ham got one back almost straight away ensuring that, though United were excellent we could never feel comfortable. This really is the United way though isn't it? At the time it's nailbiting but we always seem to play in 4-2s and 3-1s rather than 1-0s. Di Canio scored a great second goal against the run of play as United opened the second half with wave after wave of exciting attacks. At 2-3 Di Canio should have equalised but over elaborated...we went straight down the other end and made it 2-4 with Yorke getting his second. Becks took a corner and the ball came out to him again...he turned in a tremendous shot which Hislop just fingertipped from under the bar. Becks turned to the West Ham fans who had been baiting him and made an exaggerated 'oooh that was close' gesture s I thought I saw him gesture to the bench and a minute or two later he was replaced, seems he has a hamstring strain. Uriah Rennie was the ref, I think this was the first time we've had him since his disgraceful performance at White Hart Lane last season. Apart from disallowing a goal for Nicky Butt, he didn't really do anything amazingly bad, but he was generally poor throughout...I hope we avoid him for a long time, he's one of the worst refs. This is the guy who says he likes reffing at OT because the crowd don't get onto him. We were quite euphoric, after only our second league victory since 1967...but I still feel we owe them for 92 and 95...one day we'll play them at the end of the season when they need a point to stay up and we'll relegate them. There are always fun and games leaving the ground at West Ham. This time as we left the police held back a massive crowd of West Ham fans leaving the street more or less clear for us to go to Upton Park tube...unfortunately I wanted to go the other way...I hung about for a while and soon police horses were charging up the road, it seems there was something going on around the tube...this was my chance to walk through the flood of West Ham fans...they all seemed to think it was a disgrace that they had been kept back and were shouting at the police that we should have been kept in. Many of you will know just how hard it is to stop grinning from ear to ear at times like this, even when you know that this clearly marks you out as a United fan. Back to the pub for some celebratory whisky! If we can beat Bradford, and get at least something from Sunderland we will be going off to Rio in good shape. By the way...one of my mates posed a great question in the pub: There are only 4 league clubs in Conservative constituencies, name them? John "John Walker"
Click On pic - for all latest pics from OT
Beckham will stay - Ferguson Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes David Beckham will stay at Old Trafford. Beckham's wife Posh Spice (Victoria Adams) had suggested last week that the England star could leave the club and play abroad at some stage of his career. Ferguson said: "I am happy with David and I cannot see him leaving Manchester United. I think he has another three years left on his contract and I believe he will see it through."
Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
Scholes D-day looms «« Kevin Keegan and Sir Alex Ferguson are set to meet to discuss the availability of United's Paul Scholes for Euro 2000. The midfielder is in need of a hernia operation and Ferguson has hinted that he wants Scholes to put it off until the end of the season. Keegan on the other hand is anxious that Scholes is available for England in the summer. Keegan said: "It seems Paul needs an operation at some time but clearly he is a vital player for us and I would want him available for Euro 2000. "I fully understand Alex's position. He wants what is best for United and they have a lot of commitments." Ideally Keegan would like Scholes to go under the knife in January so that the midfielder will be available for Euro 2000.
Click On pic - for latest pics from OT
DWIGHT DELIGHT FOR FERGIE West Ham 2-4 Man Utd By Harry Pratt Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was a relieved man after the 4-2 thrashing of West Ham. Firstly for Dwight Yorke ending a ten-match goalless streak, secondly for Paolo Di Canio failing by the merest of margins to rattle in a memorable hat trick. At 3-0 with a mere 20 minutes on the clock at Upton Park, following a double from Ryan Giggs and a cracker from Yorke, all looked rather rosy for United who were roaring to only their second win in eight visits to East London But in a style not unlike that of the ex-Old Trafford French king, Eric Cantona, Di Canio, the inimitable Italian star, took complete control and nearly had the Hammers level midway through a thumping game of non-stop action. Fortunately, Di Canio failed to repeat sliding past Raimond Van der Gouw for the second time that half, chipping into the keeper’s grateful hands rather than scoring. A turning point or what? Straight up the field United went, aware that early dominance had long receded and was in danger of becoming a complete irrelevance, to re-establish the two-goal advantage with Giggs sweeping in a cross for Yorke to make his a double. Fergie admitted: “We got off to a flier, we were quite superb for 25 minutes but then Di Canio scored and they came right back into it. You have to give the club great credit for fighting back the way they did. “We know we never have an easy game here and this performance shows the continuing development and improvement of their team during recent seasons. “When Di Canio over-elaborated for that final chance that was the decisive moment as we were 4-2 up 20 seconds later.” His second of the day underlined that a decent striker is all about having belief. Fergie added: “Every striker has bad patches and the longer they go on the more they think they’ll never score again. “So obviously it was very important that he did score – and I’m very pleased about that. The first goal was a wonderful move involving seven or eight of our players. David Beckham produced a great cross. “We spoke a lot about keeping possession before coming here and we did that. It’s why I picked Teddy Sheringham, he is the right sort of player to do that for you, holding the ball up so very well. “But their first goal gave them a bit of life and when they got the second I was beginning to worry.”
Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
Sheringham signs one-year deal Teddy Sheringham signed a 12-month contract extension before kick-off against West Ham today to kill off rumours of him moving back to London. The 33-year-old has committed himself to the Reds for another season, turning down the opportunity to move on a a lucrative Bosman free deal this summer. Sheringham reportedly turned down offers from Sporting Lisbon, Fulham and West Ham.
Click On pic - for all player stats from OT
United in tussle for Argentina teenager By Peter Fitton Manchester United are fighting off fierce Italian competition in pursuit of Argentina's next major defensive star. They are ready to strike a £1.5million deal for Ezequiel Gonzalez, a 19-year-old full-back or right-sided midfield player. The youngster is also being pursued by AS Roma. But it is understood that Sir Alex Ferguson has already given his blessing to negotiations with Argentinian club Central Rosario and United director Maurice Watkins is expected to start talks this week. Ferguson is committed to exploiting the South America market - where Italy's top clubs have always been dominant - to try to find footballers of outstanding potential at reasonable prices. His chief scout, Mick Brown, has flown out on several occasions. Two years ago United scrapped plans to recruit Chile's Marcelo Salas for £10m. The brilliant striker eventually opted for life in Italy with Rome giants Lazio. But the Old Trafford club clearly believe they can secure the signature of Gonzalez - a player who could eventually emerge as back-up for England's Gary Neville. Gonzalez made his league debut only two years ago, but has already been placed under the transfer scrutiny of a number of European clubs. If the deal goes ahead, he will not move to Old Trafford until next summer. United have been reassured that Gonzalez has Italian ancestry, enabling him to gain an EU passport and avoid the red tape caused by work permits and special visas. Meanwhile, Matt Jansen, the talented young striker who rejected Ferguson's offer of a place in the United squad last year, is also pondering his future. He joined Blackburn Rovers under Brian Kidd's management, but has had talks in the past week over his stalled career at Ewood Park. He could follow £3m winger Jason Wilcox through the exit door. Wilcox joined Leeds this week - a move which also helped to ease Blackburn's cashflow problems.
Click On pic - for the history of MUFC 1892-1976
HAPPY NEW JEER, BECKS By Frank Malley, PA Chief Sports Writer It was conveniently dressed up as a hamstring twinge. But you couldn't help feeling that a strained vocal chord was the real reason for David Beckham's premature departure from Manchester United's exhilarating 4-2 victory over West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday. In the parts of East London where the England midfielder first nurtured his talents as a Leytonstone schoolboy, Beckham is seen as a traitor for preferring the red of Manchester to the claret and blue of West Ham. As such, both before and since his World Cup aberration, he has taken more stick than the Millennium Dome. So, with United leading 4-2 in the 76th minute and Beckham having just drawn a spectacular save from West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, perhaps it was only natural, if unwise, that the 'Spice husband' should have a go back. He turned to his perennial baiters and yelled something which was immediately lost in a spontaneous torrent of jeers. We can, however, safely assume it wasn't 'Merry Christmas' and it was virtually his last act of the match, Ferguson shrewdly deciding that with the game won he'd seen, or at least heard, enough - especially since Beckham had come close to gatecrashing his way into referee Uriah Rennie's notebook with earlier over-zealous protestations. Nicky Butt trotted on, Beckham departed - and a man who struggles to put two words together in the normal course of life was spared the ignominy of talking his way into trouble he scarcely needed after a week which included a speeding fine, a fan's attempt to grab baby Brooklyn from his arms and his wife's highly-publicised insistence that he should be paid more. On that score there could be no argument. For, if captain Roy Keane is worth £50,000 a week then Beckham, circa £30,000 and whose range of vision and passing was again devastating, is at least worthy of parity. The only problem with that is that on this showing Ryan Giggs must then be worth around £75,000 a week. Giggs was the catalyst for everything breathtaking about a Manchester performance which in the first-half at least was as clinical and as spectacularly precise as it gets in the Premiership. Whether it was his mesmerising runs down the left, where he gives United width and balance, his whipped in crosses or his venomous shooting he was simply the cutting edge at the heart of almost every United attack. "He was absolutely marvellous, always a threat and his penetration was exceptional," said Ferguson, who now may well have the task of trying to persuade chairman Martin Edwards - the man who is alleged to have called him "useless with money" - to dip into United's pockets to placate more of his stars. It was ironic that after a week when so much had been made of the rifts at the top within Old Trafford the people who really matter - the players - should turn in such a swashbuckling Three Musketeers-style all-for-one-and-one-for-all performance. Not that everything was sweetness and light in the red corner. For while a pair of goals from Giggs and the dynamic Dwight Yorke were no more than United deserved, an Italian maestro in the shape of Paolo di Canio exposed faults which could yet undermine United's challenge both at home and in Europe. Much of the problem surrounds Mickael Silvestre, an athletic and pacy central defender but who, in terms of positioning, does not yet sing from the same song sheet as Jaap Stam. The resulting confusion allowed di Canio to nip in for two wonderfully-executed goals which almost turned a magnificently entertaining game after United had raced into a three-goal lead after 20 minutes. Indeed, di Canio should have equalised in the 61st minute when he fluffed another golden chance after slipping the loose Silvestre shackles and racing through one-on-one on United goalkeeper Raimond Van Der Gouw. Ferguson described di Canio's check-back and weak chip as "over-elaboration" for which he admitted he was truly thankful because "there's no telling what would have happened if that had gone in." Just as there was no telling what would have happened if West Ham manager Harry Redknapp had not arrived at the ground to break the news to his players that their Worthington Cup place was in jeopardy because of fielding an ineligible player. "All of a sudden, my world's caved in. I had to try to lift myself and then lift the players who were all shellshocked and deflated," said Redknapp, who later learned that the Football League had ordered a re-staging of the game. "It was credit to them that they came back to 3-2 from being three goals down and if di Canio had got the third, and you would normally put your life on him scoring in such a position, I would have backed us to win." Maybe, but there was a relentless quality to Manchester's cut and thrust after a week's rest due to their FA Cup absence which suggested there was always one extra gear if required. It is a gear which, executive rifts and pay battles allowing, should ensure United a happy new year. Come to think, perhaps that was what Beckham was shouting after all. © PA Sporting Life
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Carling Report West Ham v Man United 18/12/99 3.00 West Ham (1) 2 Man United (3) 4 FT Di Canio 23,52 Yorke 9,62 Giggs 13,19 There may be, as it has been claimed all this last week, a rift in the house of Manchester between manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chairman Martin Edwards, but there's nothing wrong with the attitude on the shop floor. The workers, in the shape of Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham & Co gave as good an exhibition of solidarity as you are likely to find outside a Dagenham car plant. No wonder Ferguson smiled all the way down the tunnel at the end of a match in which United ran out 4-2 winners and proved simply irresistible. On a freezing afternoon at Upton Park, United warmed the footballing hearts of the occasional neutral in the 24,000 crowd with the sheer precise brilliance of their play. Two goals each from Giggs and Yorke and two in reply from West Ham's Italian maestro Paolo di Canio were the bare statistics. But they barely tell the story of an afternoon in which United at times toyed with the Londoners, at times defended frantically as the Hammers launched a stirring fightback and ultimately spread their world champion talents across this passionate enclave of east London. In short, a quite fantastic football match. The victory takes Manchester back to the top of the Premiership, at least for 24 hours, and there could be no better answer to the critics who have predicted strife in the wake of Roy Keane's £52,000-a-week pay deal. Spice Girl Victoria Adams believes her husband, David Beckham, should be paid at least as much. On the evidence of today's match she has a good case. The problem for United is that so did the irrepressible Paul Scholes, the slick Yorke and the wonderfully talented Giggs. But none is so strong as Beckham's - the England midfielder turning in another captivating display, passing long and short, prompting his strikers, tackling back tirelessly and going some way to silencing his greatest critics from the streets around Leytonstone where he was born. Beckham was accompanied into the ground from the team coach by a policeman so tall he could easily have a future with the London Giants basketball team. Predictably, he was jeered whenever his name was mentioned or whenever he went near the ball, but the vitriol was never on the scale of last season's match when the United coach was stoned on its way into the stadium. Still, Ferguson still thought it wise to replace him with Nicky Butt in the 76th minute after one altercation with the baiting crowd threatened to get out of hand. Yet this match wasn't about Beckham and his detractors - it was about the sheer excitement and drama of Premiership football. A match of sharp and frantic action gave up its first thrilling moment as early as the ninth minute when Manchester scored a first goal of superb simplicity but stunning precision. A sweeping ball from Keane found Beckham wide on the right in the sort of area in which he has become the most deadly operator in Europe. Beckham clipped the right-footed cross in first time and there was Yorke to head home the easiest of openers. ``There's only one David Beckham,'' chanted the Old Trafford followers and Beckham raised a fist in salute. Four minutes later they were bestowing similar acclaim on Ryan Giggs after the Welsh winger displayed deft skill and cunning to first open up the Hammers defence and then take a return ball from Yorke before sliding the ball past Shaka Hislop from close range. Giggs' second after 20 minutes was struck from considerably further out but was another example of West Ham taking the season of goodwill a shade too literally. They failed to clear the ball for the umpteenth time in their penalty area and when a Yorke shot cannoned back to Giggs he hit it first time from 25 yards. Before you could say Upton Park it was nestling snugly in the left hand corner of Hislop's net and the Hammers were looking at their biggest hammering of the season. In truth, West Ham's open, cavalier style proved the perfect opposition for a United side shrewdly rotated by Ferguson. The United boss surprisingly left out Andy Cole and in-form Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, preferring Teddy Sheringham and Yorke. And at times they swept aside a West Ham side who battled courageously but never remotely looked in the same class. The Hammers did get one back in the first-half - di Canio cashing in an a penalty area melee to send a neatly-timed volley past United goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw. Briefly, they looked as if they might mount a serious fightback in the 51st minute when di Canio found himself in oceans of space. To Manchester's embarrassment the assistant referee's flag stayed down and the dynamic Italian rounded Van der Gouw to slip home his second goal of the game. A stinging drive from Marc Keller, which Van der Gouw fumbled, promised the equaliser. But then came the frantic 61st minute which ultimately decided a thrilling match. First di Canio again found himself clean through, but this time, instead of rasping home his hat-trick, hesitated and hit a weak chip into the arms of Van der Gouw. Then the ball was spread swiftly downfield into the path of Giggs and the Welsh winger confirmed his magic with yet another penetrating cross which was met by the ever-alert Yorke, who stabbed the ball past Hislop to put Manchester once more in control. Paulo Wanchope should have scored with a free header. Trevor Sinclair also went close, but then Manchester could easily have extended their lead with superb efforts from Giggs and Beckham. As it was Ferguson replaced Beckham with Nicky Butt in the 76th minute after Beckham had been drawn into a couple of needless altercations with the baiting crowd. The England man had clearly turned to mouth something to West Ham section after one of his trademark curling shots had been tipped over the bar by Hislop. Manchester had the ball in the net again in the 85th minute when Butt's shot was deflected past Hislop, but referee Uriah Rennie disallowed the goal for offside. For United, however, the result was a perfect pick-me-up after their absence from the FA Cup last week. For West Ham it merely compounded a weekend of misery in which they are threatened with expulsion from the Worthington Cup after fielding an ineligible player in the shape of Manny Omoyinmi in the midweek victory over Aston Villa. But for the profligacy of di Canio, who might have scored four himself, the Hammers might have earned a barely deserved point. Then football is full of ifs and buts. Manchester United, more than most, deal in reality West Ham: Hislop, Lomas, Ferdinand, Ruddock, Minto, Sinclair, Foe, Lampard, Keller, Di Canio, Wanchope. Subs not used: Forrest, Kitson, Margas, Newton, Angus. Booked: Di Canio. Man United: Van Der Gouw, G. Neville, Silvestre, Stam, Irwin (P. Neville, 46), Beckham (Butt, 76), Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Sheringham, Yorke. Subs not used: Taibi, Berg, Solskjaer. Attendance: 26,037. Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).
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Guardian - I owe Alex Ferguson an apology Discordant United Kevin Mitchell Sunday December 19, 1999 I owe Alex Ferguson an apology. I had always thought it weak-kneed of him not to stand up to Martin Edwards and oppose Sky's bid for the takeover of Manchester United, much as Alan Ball had spoken out against the board at Portsmouth for selling his best players. Ball was sacked two weeks ago because his results were appalling; Ferguson stayed because his results were brilliant and the stakes were so much greater. But, as has become apparent in recent days, the United manager has been operating in the most Machiavellian atmosphere. If the allegations in Mihir Bose's new book, Manchester Unlimited, are true, Edwards turned down Sky's request to bring Ferguson into their takeover talks - as a means of ameliorating the fans - because he did not trust him. 'Christ no!' Edwards said to the proposal. 'You don't want to see him. He's a troublemaker. If you tell him, he'll leak everything. He's totally hostile.' Edwards argues that he never wanted to get too close to Ferguson, because any conflict would be magnified as a consequence. If there is any merit in this weak defence, it is diluted by the effect it has had on the running of the football club. At least now we are assured by sources close to Edwards that the manager opposed the deal. Ferguson's absence from the talks and his silence at the time was an eloquent statement of objection. His line, as advised by the Prime Minister's press secretary, Alistair Campbell, was to stay out of it. As it happens, Ferguson finished on the right side in this one. However, while he might have not have been in a position to affect the chairman's decision to accept an invitation to the irrelevant club jamboree in Brazil next month - thus at a stroke scuppering the FA Cup's credibility - Ferguson should have had the freedom to express an opinion. This, after all, was supposed to be purely a football matter - or was it really another ploy to spread their merchandise in South America? The fans, obviously, are a secondary consideration. Not only has Edwards starved the richest football club in the world of money to bolster the playing staff, but he has quietly purchased £45,000 worth of shares in Leicester City. As Ferguson pointed out in his biography, Managing My Life , 'nobody invests more than the fans who pack our ground every week and don't get a penny back'. Rich men who run football clubs can be a miserable lot. Scrooges, most of them. It would be nice to think Edwards will wake up sweating on Saturday night with the Ghost of Christmas Future sitting menacingly at the foot of his bed.
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Giggs thriving on strife at Upton Park By Martin Lipton West Ham United 2 Manchester United 4 If this is what a schism at the top, dissent in the ranks and the imminent prospect of an energy-sapping trip to South America do for you, every club should undergo such a crisis. For all of United's emphatic denials, the strains between Sir Alex Ferguson and Martin Edwards are potentially seismic. So are the long-term aspirations of David Beckham and his wife to seek greener pastures and the consequences of Edwards' sanctioning of Roy Keane's contractual demands. But at Upton Park on Saturday, the creative tensions unleashed on West Ham must have left the rest of the Premiership shuddering. For 20 minutes, Harry Redknapp's side were unwitting pupils at a footballing masterclass. Dwight Yorke dazzled, a matador darting beyond every lunge of his bull-like marker Neil Ruddock and pinning the beast by nodding in Manchester's first goal from Beckham's fine centre. The game was effectively won before quarter-time as Yorke twice set up the outstanding Ryan Giggs - his first strike a gentle caress from six yards, the second an instinctive drive which left Shaka Hislop flat-footed. Giggs, who deserved a first hat-trick of his career, enthused: 'At the start we played some of our best football of the season. 'If you consider that last time out we had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Andy Cole up front and scored five against Everton, then changed it completely and did brilliantly again today, whatever combination we play in attack we look like scoring.' The fact that West Ham, led by the inspirational Paolo Di Canio, forced their way back into the contest was a credit to the home side as much as a signal that United, mentally at least, slackened their grip. That was unsurprising, given the programme facing the Treble winners. Their World Club Championship trip to Brazil must affect the rest of the campaign - the question is how. Ferguson admitted that it represented 'a step into the unknown', adding: 'The next month will be an unusual one. We've no idea what to expect in terms of the weather or how much it will take out of us.' Giggs agreed: 'Psychologically it would be good if we could build a gap at the top of the table before we go to Rio. We don't know what is going to happen in Brazil.' Italian Di Canio breathed life into West Ham by volleying in before the break, then took Marc Keller's pass to glide past Raimond van der Gouw and clip his second. But when Di Canio burst through again, dumping Van der Gouw on his backside only to lose focus and chip straight into the keeper's arms, it was, in Redknapp's view, 'the turning point'. Within 30 seconds, Giggs gave Yorke another opportunity to take advantage of Ruddock's slackness and settle the outcome. Di Canio sank to his haunches in despair and Redknapp revealed: 'Paolo was distraught in the dressing-room, devastated. 'He was telling everybody that he was sorry and that he'd cost us the game. I had to tell him he'd got us back into it.' WEST HAM UNITED: Hislop; Lomas, Ferdinand, Ruddock, Minto; Sinclair, Lampard, Foe, Keller; Di Canio, Wanchope. Booked: Di Canio. MANCHESTER UNITED: Van der Gouw; G Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin (P Neville, 46min); Beckham (Butt, 77), Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Yorke, Sheringham. Man of the match: Ryan Giggs Referee: Uriah Rennie
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The Times - Di Canio unable to heal wounds BY MATT DICKINSON WEST HAM UNITED 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 4 IF ONLY West Ham United could replay this match of wonderful football and even better drama. Then second time around, Paolo Di Canio might complete his side's recovery from 3-0 down to 3-3 instead of fluffing his lines at the critical moment. A noble defeat might become a glorious victory. Instead, it is the Worthington Cup quarter-final of last week against Aston Villa that must be re-enacted, but that is as it should be. Doug Ellis, the Villa chairman, might demand that West Ham be thrown out for fielding an ineligible player but his conspiracy theory is unfounded. West Ham have proved disciples only of the cock-up. The blunder that saw Emmanuel Omoyinmi, the 21-year-old striker, appear for the last six minutes of extra time against Villa, even though he had already played on loan for Gillingham in the same competition, was put down to an "administrative error" by Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager, on Saturday, but he was not revealing by whom. While Manchester United put on a masterly display of passing the ball, West Ham were world class when it came to passing the buck. Any number of "breakdowns in communication" appear to have taken place, but the critical one appears to have been between Omoyinmi and his brain. "He said he didn't think," Redknapp said, and, to judge from the manager's mood, the player may have a long spell on the sidelines to reflect on his mistake. The replayed game is likely to prove a lively night with Redknapp believing that Villa should be embarrassed to be involved. "I would find it difficult to go to Wembley knowing that I have been knocked out of a competition already," he said, but John Gregory, the Villa manager, is in no position to be so objective. The Worthington Cup, a competition that was becoming an embarrassing afterthought, has at last been given some life. Preoccupation with the mess was presumably a significant factor in West Ham beginning this match as if in a trance. They needed a short, sharp shock to wake them up and it came in megawatts from a Manchester United side who were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes. That opening period was United's best football of the season. Even with Rio Ferdinand producing one of his better games for West Ham, tackling robustly as well as displaying his usual grace, United were rampant as every player sought possession, however tightly they were marked. Giggs jumps for joy after his second goal of the game The surprise was that it took them nine minutes to open the scoring with a goal of deadly simplicity. When Roy Keane broke forward and spread play wide to David Beckham, most players would have stopped to take a bouncing ball under their control. Not the England midfield player, who struck it first time and on the move. The delivery was perfect, allowing Dwight Yorke to stoop and nod the ball past Shaka Hislop. Ryan Giggs does not score enough goals to satisfy most observers that he has fulfilled all of his potential, but he had two in seven minutes here. The first was a neat one-two with Yorke on the edge of the area that ended in a side-foot finish, while the second was a drive from 30 yards that Hislop did not see until it was passing him on its way into the bottom corner. Less than a quarter of the match played and United were three up. All of this, moreover, with Ferguson fielding an unexpected forward line. Yorke had not scored for two months while Teddy Sheringham had been an infrequent starter, but the United pattern is so entrenched that any combination of their four strikers can slot in without disruption. Each thrives on the pressure of knowing that they must seize every chance to impress. That determination ensured a victory that was welcome, particularly with the distractions of the trip to Brazil for the Fifa world club championship looming, but it was not without its frights as West Ham staged a comeback that threatened to turn an exciting match into a famous one. Back to 3-1 before half-time when Di Canio provided a stylish volley from Neil Ruddock's knock-down, the Italian made it 3-2 in the 53rd minute. Breaking free of the offside trap, he nonchalantly went round Raimond Van der Gouw to stroke the ball home. The match was wonderfully poised and, ten minutes later, it teetered thrillingly along the precipice. First came Di Canio's chance to complete a hat-trick when he broke clear again. A goal appeared certain as he went to go round Van der Gouw again, but the ball became stuck under his feet and the final chip sailed weakly into the goalkeeper's arms. From there, it made the 30-second journey that turned what should have been 3-3 into an uncatchable 4-2 lead for United. Propelled from Van der Gouw's hands to Yorke's feet, the striker's prodded finish killed the game dead. Watching from the other end, Di Canio slumped to the ground and beat the turf with his fist, but he had already played his part in a great match. It is a special afternoon indeed when Uriah Rennie makes only one booking. WEST HAM UNITED (4-4-2): S Hislop - S Lomas, N Ruddock, R Ferdinand, S Minto - T Sinclair, F Lampard, M-V Foe, M Keller - P Wanchope, P Di Canio. Substitutes not used: C Forrest, P Kitson, J Margas, A Newton, S Angus. Booked: Di Canio. MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): R Van der Gouw - G Neville, J Stam, M Silvestre, D Irwin (sub: P Neville, 46min) - D Beckham (sub: N Butt, 77), R Keane, P Scholes, R Giggs - E Sheringham, D Yorke. Substitutes not used: M Taibi, H Berg, O G Solskjaer. Referee: U Rennie.
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