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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sun Jul 25 09:44:40 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Gary Neville  - MEN
2. Football-Manchester United end tour with another win
3. HUNDRED PER CENT REDS RETURN HOME - manutd.com report
4. United cash incentive  
5. Better Late than Never - Part 1 by Pat Jennings
6. Better Late than Never - Part 2 by Pat Jennings

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

Daily MANCHESTER UNITED NEWS Sun 25th July 1999:

Barry Daily Comment:
Sunday July 25, 10:20 AM:    Fergie: We'll keep Roy
Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that captain Roy Keane will be staying with
United, and the matter will be sorted out very shortly. 
Keane rejected United's opening offer of a new contract, and there has been
a delay in negotiations because the board have been following the club's
recent tour of Australia and the Far East. 

However now the tour is completed, Ferguson expects the talks to be
revived, and foresees no problems in persuading Keane to finish his career
at Old Trafford. 

Ferguson said: "The chairman, Martin Edwards, and Maurice Watkins (director
and solicitor) are back from Hong Kong on Monday, and I imagine they'll get
down to it straight away. I'm sure everyone at the club knows we've got to
get Roy signed up." 

*** NEW *** Listen to Andy Cole's New recording "Outstanding"
Streaming  http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/outstanding.ram
or file to download http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/outstanding.rm
Pic at  http://www.red11.org/mufc/images/player/cole/outstanding.jpg

Mark Bosnich's Personal Details 
http://www.red11.org/mufc/bosnich.htm


 Its the presentation of the European Cup at Nou Camp
  Video including sound   57secs  1.5 meg  Real Video  Use Real Player Plus G2
   Free at www.real.com
http://www.real.com/R/HPplay-1R/www.real.com/products/playerplus/index.html?src=990611home_5

Latest MUFC Squad song is now available in stereo at www.red11.org
Stereo Sound: REAL AUDIO:  607k 4mins "stereo"
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/99/lift_it_high.rm  
 MP3  4.6meg  4mins "stereo"
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/sound/mp3/lift_it_high.mp3  

RED sky at night BARCE' delight
 More fun here: http://www.red11.org/mufc/barcedance.htm
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


MANCHESTER UNITED STATS v ALL teams on the Web
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats.htm

Previous News:
 BSKYB Takeover news/pics at http://www.red11.org/mufc/bskyb.htm
  Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
   http://www.iol.ie/~redcafe/kidd.htm
 Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!
   http://www.red11.org/mufc/news/schmeichel.htm

---------------------------------------------------------------
 NEXT MATCHES
---------------------------------------------------------------

01-AUG-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Arsenal  (FA Charity Shield, AWAY)
08-AUG-1999 [16:00] Manchester Utd. vs Everton  (FA Premier League, AWAY)
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)

Friendlies:
**** Friendly at Salford City
Salford City, the North Western Trains League club, are to play a friendly
against a side from their "big brother" neighbours Manchester United, at
their Moor Lane ground (in Kersal) on Saturday July 17th at 3pm.
August 3rd Omagh Town, St Julian's Road ground
August 4th Wigan Athletic


****Pre season tour details JULY 1999 ***

TODAY 21/7 12.15 uk Shangai first time ever!!!
 This match will be watched by 80,000 fans 
  The game has sold out with the Shanghai Star reporting the home side's
  chairman Yu Zhifei as saying: ''It is unprecedented that the tickets
  should sell out for a match five weeks in advance." 

Sat 24/7 Hong Kong  Repeat of the 1997 game
 "ALL matches will be shown "the same day" om MUTV.

UNITED Stats v All teams:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/

*** FINAL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 16/05/99 ***
Pos Team                  P  W  D  L   F   A   W  D  L   F   A   GD  Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1  Manchester United    38 14  4  1  45  18   8  9  2  35  19   43   79
 2  Arsenal              38 14  5  0  34   5   8  7  4  25  12   42   78
 3  Chelsea              38 12  6  1  29  13   8  9  2  28  17   27   75
 4  Leeds United         38 12  5  2  32   9   6  8  5  30  25   28   67

Here are all the matches for the coming season 1999/2000:
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899.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  pre-season     2-0  60,000
18/07/99    Sydney    Australia   06.00  pre-season     1-0  78,000 
21/07/99    Shanghai  Shenhua     12.30  pre-season     2-0  80,000
24/07/99    Hong Kong South China 08.30  pre-season     2-0  40,000

 1/08/99    Arsenal      Wembley Charity Shield          -
 3/08/99    Omagh Town     friendly in aid of Omagh Bomb Fund
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly at JJB Stadium.

 8/08/99    Everton                  away      16.00
11/08/99    Sheffield Wednesday      home PL   20.00
14/08/99    Leeds United             home PL   15.00
22/08/99    Arsenal                  away PL   16.00
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
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
*11/10/99   Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial OT [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
11/12/99    FAC 3 Will not enter ...
15/12/99    ?     WC 5
18/12/99    West Ham United          away PL   15.00
26/12/99    Bradford City            home PL   15.00
28/12/99    Sunderland               away PL   20.00
 3/01/2000  Middlesborough           home PL   20.00

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

*  8/01/2000  FAC 4 Will not enter ...
12/01/2000  ?    WC sf i
15/01/2000  Leeds United             away PL   15.00
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  home PL   15.00
26/01/2000  ?    WC sf ii
* 29/01/2000  FAC 5 Will not enter ...
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         away PL   15.00
* 19/02/2000  FAC 6 Will not enter ...
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                away PL   15.00
27/02/2000  ?   Wembley WC f
 1/03/2000  ?   EC
 4/03/2000  Liverpool                home PL   15.00
 8/03/2000  ?   EC
11/03/2000  Derby County             home PL   15.00
15/03/2000  ?   EC
18/03/2000  Leicester City           away PL   15.00
22/03/2000  ?   EC
25/03/2000  Bradford City            away PL   15.00
 1/04/2000  West Ham United          home PL   15.00
 5/04/2000  ?   EC qf i
 8/04/2000  Middlesborough           away PL   15.00
*  9/04/2000  FAC sf Will not enter ...
15/04/2000  Sunderland               home PL   15.00
19/04/2000  ?   EC qf ii
22/04/2000  Southampton              away PL   15.00
24/04/2000  Chelsea                  home PL   15.00
29/04/2000  West Ham United          away PL   15.00
 3/05/2000  ?   EC sf i
 6/05/2000  Tottenham Hotspur        home PL   15.00
10/05/2000  ?   EC sf ii
14/05/2000  Aston Villa              away PL   15.00
* 20/05/2000 Wembley FAC f Will not enter ...
24/05/2000  ?    EC f

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

-------------------------------------

 THE FANTASTIC TRIPLE WAS WON!!
Personal stories here: http://www.red11.org/mufc/barcelona.htm

We went to Barcelona in a fine day in May
And all our supporters sang loudly & gay
And when it was over and all said and done
We beat Bayern Munich  by 2 goals to 1

The first one was Teddy's he out foxed the rest
The second was Solskjear's he's simply the best
We could have had 4 or we could have had 9
But we didn't start playing till injury time

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


Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: Gary Neville - MEN By Paul Hince GARY Neville has vowed to prove the doctors - and his manager - wrong by taking his place in Manchester United's starting line-up for the opening Premiership match against Everton. Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson had already written the cultured England defender out of his first-team plans until the middle of August as Neville battled to overcome the groin injury which has plagued him since the end of last season. But the elder of the Neville boys was clearly determined not to miss the big kick-off when he spoke at the launch of United's new away kit at the Trafford Centre yesterday. ``I have never missed the start of a season before and I hope I don't break the pattern for the coming campaign,'' he said. ``This is the first major injury of my career - if you can call a groin strain a major injury - but everything is starting to settle down following an injection I had a couple of weeks ago. ``I have had this problem with my groin since last Christmas and it kept me out of the England games at the end of last season which was a big blow to me. ``But I am now back in light training and I will be stepping up the exercises over the next couple of weeks. ``I certainly haven't written myself out of our opening Premiership match against Everton and I certainly hope to be available for the two important England matches early next season againsgt Luxemburg and Poland.'' Neville's determination to be available for day one of the Millennium season will come as a welcome boost for manager Ferguson who is already wrestling with serious injury problems. Ronny Johnsen and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer have already been ruled out of the opening day clash at Goodison Park while skipper Roy Keane and winger Ryan Giggs are fighting to recover from an ankle injury and thigh strain respectively.
Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: Football-Manchester United end tour with another win HONG KONG, July 24 - English treble winners Manchester United (quote - news) completed a clean sweep of their Australian and Far East tour when they beat Hong Kong's South China 2-0 on Saturday. United, withouth several star players including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, scored both their goals in the first half through Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole to notch up their fourth win in four pre-season matches. Earlier this week, the English premiership, F.A. Cup and European Cup winners defeated Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 after two victories over Australia. United faced criticism from many Hong Kong fans for failing to parade their big-name players but they showed the 40,000 crowd that they wanted to play positive football by starting the match with three strikers -- Sheringham, Cole and Dwight Yorke. Jordi Cruyff, another attacker, played just behind the front three. The United players appeared to cope with the heat and humidity much better than the local players, who were out-run and outclassed by their fitter and more robust opponents. United took the lead after 19 minutes. Cole escaped from his marker wide on the right and sent in a low cross for Sheringham to nonchalantly blast into the roof of the net from a difficult angle. Cole and Sheringham reversed roles five minutes later for United's second goal. Cruyff made a penetrating run from inside his own half, fed Sheringham on the left and the England forward unselfishly passed across the goal to the unmarked Cole, who tapped in from eight metres. Cruyff had a chance to make it 3-0 two minutes later but his point-blank shot was brilliantly saved by South China's goalkeeper Mick Leonard. South China's only chance in the first half came from defender Leung Chi-wing, whose 35-metre attempt on 35 minutes was tipped away by United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, who recently joined the club as replacement for Dane Peter Schmeichel. United now return to England, where they will prepare to defend their premiership and European titles. They have withdrawn from next season's F.A. Cup to compete in January's World Club Championship in Brazil.
Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: HUNDRED PER CENT REDS RETURN HOME - manutd.com report United's touring team again had to combat the climate as well as eleven men looking to make a name for themselves. At the local kick off time of 3.30 pm, the temperature was at 96 degrees with a humidity level of 87 per cent. Jesper Blomqvist, again playing on the left wing, lost half a stone in Shanghai on Wednesday, and could expect to shed a few more pounds against South China! The Reds stepped out in front of a sell-out 40,000 crowd wearing their brand new dark blue away strip, which was unveiled on Friday in Manchester, Hong Kong and across the world on the Internet. Among the players wearing it for the first time in action was Dwight Yorke, who formed an unusual midfield partnership with Phil Neville. Mark Wilson, who played so well in the previous three friendlies, was rested to the bench while Nicky Butt was ruled out with a minor foot injury. Alex Agbo, the Nigerian striker making his big debut for South China, had a physique to match that of his marker Jaap Stam, and the two had quite a tussle in the early stages of the match. The conditions forced United to start at a slower tempo than they would normally produce, and it took them until the 12th minute to fashion a decent half-chance. Jesper Blomqvist, improving all the time on this tour, whipped in a cross from the left and found the head of Jordi Cruyff. The Dutchman, who scored the only goal of the corresponding friendly fixture two years ago, nodded the ball wide right. The away team enjoyed most of the possession in the first half and they made it count in the 21st minute when Teddy Sheringham grabbed his second goal of the tour. His strike partner Andy Cole broke down the right flank and fired in a low cross that sat up sweetly for Teddy to strike first time on the half volley. His shot flew past South China's goalkeeper Mike Lennon to give United the advantage. Sheringham repaid the favour four minutes later to crown a brilliant counter-attack. Cruyff, wearing the number seven shirt and playing on the right wing, carried the ball from the centre circle to the edge of the home box. Doing well to keep his feet following a clumsy challenge, Jordi laid the ball off left to Sheringham, who ignored the shooting chance and squared unselfishly to Cole, who then tapped in simply with his left foot at the far post. 2-0, after 25 minutes. United were flowing freely by now and they would have been 3-0 up by the half-hour mark had South China keeper Lennon not made a brilliant point-blank save from Cruyff's accurate stab, after a strong run by right-back Wes Brown. South China were at sixes and sevens across the park and despite the heat, their opponents were making light work of exploiting the holes in their defence and midfield. Still, it was a mistake by Blomqvist in United's midfield which allowed Chi Han Chang to rush forward down the left and shoot optimistically from 25 yards. Mark Bosnich kept his concentration to flick the ball over the bar in the 36th minute. United's new senior physio Rob Swire, promoted to replace Dave Fevre, tended to Henning Berg soon after in a worrying moment for the Norwegian defender. Happily Henning was able to play on following some treatment behind Bosnich's goal, and it was his partner Stam who actually made way for David May in the only half-time substitution. South China started the second half in eager pursuit of a comeback and there was a moment of concern for United when Agbo broke free with a powerful run. Bosnich saved well with his feet to protect the proud defensive record of no goals conceded on tour. The home side tried hard to raise their game, perhaps after a dressing room lecture at the interval. So far, South China hadn't really provided the test United were expecting from a team in mid-season, comprising seven Hong Kong internationals, two Brazilians and a Nigerian. Steve McClaren made a double substitution in the 62nd minute, bringing on England Under 21 players Jonathan Greening and John Curtis to replace Blomqvist and Irwin. Greening went to the right side, with Cruyff switching to the left. Later Michael Clegg came on for Henning Berg, with Wes Brown moving into the middle alongside May. One of Greening's first contributions was a low measured cross for Cruyff, who again was thwarted by a Lennon save. Jordi worked harder than most to add to United's tally and his stamina held up well as the last few minutes of the tour ticked away. The final score of 2-0 completed a successful series of friendlies for Manchester United in Australia and the Far East. Manager Alex Ferguson, watching back home on MUTV, will have been satisfied with four wins, four clean sheets and the fitness of his Treble-winning squad ahead of the new 1999/2000 season. UNITED: Bosnich; Brown, Berg (Clegg 67), Stam (May 45), Irwin (Curtis 62); Cruyff, P. Neville, Yorke, Blomqvist (Greening 62); Cole, Sheringham. Goals: Sheringham 21, Cole 25.
Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: United cash incentive Manchester United stars are set to pocket a massive pay cheque if they repeat last season's treble-winning performance. Reports suggest that United players may receive as much as 600, 000 in bonuses for repeating the treble, with a figure of 300, 000 quoted as a Champions League reward
Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: - Better Late than Never - Part 1 by Pat Jennings I've finally got around to starting my Barcelona diary although I've been writing it in my head for the past month or so! I also meant to do reports from other end of season games and the FA Cup, but just haven't had the time. The hours I work would make a junior doctor look like a lazy scouse dole-ite!! ;-)) It's difficult to know how far back to go in the season to start with as there were so many highlights, but I'll have to mention the sheepshaggers match first, as I had the 'honour' of being next to Pete H. He spots things that I wouldn't if I watched the game 10 times! He rightly pointed out that Dwight was having a stinker after only a couple of minutes and when at the death he missed that sitter, I was beginning to think Pete was telepathic! I'll fast forward a bit now to the finale of the league season and the home game against Spurs. For once the TO had heard my pleas and put me in East Lower. I'd even managed to fob Daniel off with a mate of mine, so I was on my own for a change. I took my place in plenty of time (for a change) down in the corner near the North Stand. The bloke next to me was like a drug addict coming off a trip. He sat there wringy his hands, holding his head etc. etc. before the teams had even appeared on the pitch!! He didn't change much during the first half and never once gave the team any worthwhile support. We were all nervous but what positive effect can he have had on the lads on the pitch? I couldn't stick a second half next to him so went off to find Linda and Ian and watched the second half with them. Well you all know the outcome by now and we had a real party at the end. Myself, Linda and Ian with a combined weight of 50 stone (only 10 of them mine ;-))) tested their 2 seats to destruction as we jumped up and down singing and shouting. They're certainly a bit stronger than the ones at the Nou Camp!!! Coming out of the ground and walking back to the Nest were absolutely brilliant, it was just a shame that we had to leave to go home, I could've stayed in Manchester all night (week)! A few days rest and much messing about trying to get a Cup Final ticket for my brother ended with us stopping overnight at my sisters in landan. As we drove down the M1 the road was packed with geordies making their way down. I was passed by this flash twat in a black Merc who had flags, scarfs and even two luverly black and white cushions on his parcel shelf. About 20 minutes later I passed him as he was broke down on the hard shoulder "har f****n har!" I shouted to him "you should buy yourself a decent motor!!" much to Jayne's displeasure, "will you ever grow up etc.??" hehehehehe..... Fortunately for us, my wife and sister had to leave early Saturday morning, so we were on our to the tube before 11 o'clock. We stocked up with cans on the way and met our first load of barcodes at Baker St. tube station. How they ever get anywhere is beyond me, as no-one can understand anything they say, they must've asked the conductor about 5 times before he realised what they were asking. As we got off the tube and walked out the station, you can't help but be gripped by the occasion and the excitement of a Wembley Final, even if it was only against a bunch of no hopers (easy to say that now). As we walked up to the Torch we were greeted by the awful site of it being completely overrun by barcodes. There were a small band of Reds in the middle and Boylie was stood on the wall as usual, leading the singing. We joined them and opened a couple of cans to join in the sing song. Anyone who said the geordie fans are great, obviously didn't see the bunch of arseoles that were at the Torch. I couldn't believe they could be so confident (arrogant) about their 'impending' victory. Did they know something we didn't?? They had a full size plastic replica of the FA Cup and were parading it around like it was their own property! Larging it around right in front of Boylie like they'd already won the f****n thing!! Whilst we went through the United song book all they could muster was a 'toon army' that lasted about 3 seconds and a 'at least we're from noooooocassell' from a group near us. They really had a chance to get one over on a group of United, but failed miserably. If the numbers were the other way round, they would've been deafened!! We were rubbing it in with renditions of 'Championes, Championes, Championes, are we are we are we!!' and 'If you going to Barcelona, clap you hands'. The naive geordies then reminded us that they've already been there, but we had the last laugh with a 'have you ever filled the Nou Camp, have you f**k'. The next minute the po-lis moved in and arrested one of the barcodes, I didn't quite see what he done wrong. As they led him passed us and into the black van, we sang "you're not going to Wembley! you're not going to Wembley! hahahahahahahahaaaaaa" Although it was still fairly good natured, the dibble didn't like the 'Custar's Last Stand' type look of it and moved in sending us across the road in the direction of gawd knows where. As most of us had cans, we parked ourselves on the first bit of grass we came to and proceeded to entertain the locals with a few songs. The front of these flats also became the local toilet facility, as a few Reds relieved themselves. (Sub-note: me and Tim went over the road and behind some bushes). Any barcodes who came passed got the piss taken out of them, usually as one of them would be wearing some ridiculous fancy dress outfit that was usually black and white (suprise, suprise!!). I was suprised that there wasn't some old bloke in the flats coming out moaning about 'bloody ooligans', but it was all good natured enough. A young woman came out to put some washing up and was treated to a rendition of "we've got a Jaap Stam bigger than your flats" When it got to leaving time, we collected our empty cans and took them over to the bin (what model citizens and fine ambassadors of our club eh???). As we walked back passed the Torch, the place had been infested with barcodes, barcoditis I think they call it ;-))) We walked down Wembley way, agreed a meeting place for after and made our way into our respective parts of the ground. I had a ticket in our section, whilst my brother Tim was in a neutral bit near the barcode end (75 quid face value ticket, robbin' bastards!!). I was down near the front, behind the goal about 6 rows back. Everyone was stood on their seats and as I couldn't see, I did likewise until some woman behind me started trying to pull me down and telling her husband to 'ave a word with me. I can't understand how I get picked on all the time :-( I hadn't even realised that Keano had gone off until half time! I saw bugger all of the first goal and decided to jib into the section I knew Linda and Ian were in at half time. Although Wembley's bogs are shite for pissing in, I love the singing in there and it's really good at half time with what must be a thousand people in such an enclosed space. It was like a list meeting in their block with Linda, Ian, Tony Smith, Mick Meade, Paul Windridge and now myself in there. We were all soon celebrating again as we went 2 nil up after a marvellous bit of defending and we knew that was it and the Cup was ours again. It was great at the end when the team came round as we all celebrated together (I think....... the sun (and lager) was beginning to take it's toll) ;-)) I met Tim in our agreed place and we started the slow walk back down Wembley Way, he'd managed to jib all the way round and got into the section I was in, only to find that I wasn't there! The atmosphere seemed pretty subdued considering we'd just won apart from a few of us trying to get something going (*Remember this bit for part 2*). We eventually made it back to Hammersmith and tried to look sober as we went in to meet Jayne and Sarah, but it wasn't long before we blown our cover. We somehow managed to stay awake until the MOTD highlights which seemed to come on around 12:50 AM for some daft reason and at last I got to see the first goal. After that it was off to bed as some of us had a rather important next few days ahead and needed to get our beauty sleep. Next stop Barcelona! Cheers Pat Jennings (c) Not to be Used without Permission of the Author E-mail: patj@telepad.demon.co.uk
Click On pic - for latest match report from Hong Kong"

Subject: - Better Late than Never - Part 2 by Pat Jennings As we were due to fly out Tuesday morning, I had a hectic day Monday, having to travel from home to Rawtenstall and back, via Manchester to pick Sid up from home. Sid was to stop over at 'ours as I knew if I didn't hold his hand, he'd never have got to the airport on his own. He proceeded as usual to eat and drink us out of house and home and has soon as he spots my Stella in the fridge, it's all of a sudden his favourite drink. We sat up eating, drinking and chatting with my wife, who was getting more and more envious of our impending trip. I suppose she had good reason to as I'd used up our entire amount of Air Miles to book the trip for me and Sid, before we'd even got passed Inter Milan. Although it was quite late when we went to bed, I couldn't sleep and had the same sort of night as I did when I was a child, you know, the night before you go on your much awaited summer holidays (not that we ever went anywhere decent ;-)) I was convinced that I would die in my sleep or Jayne would catch the plague or William would take ill, something was BOUND to happen to stop me from going to Barcelona. Fortunately nothing untoward happened in the night and after a quick breakfast we were off to Birmingham Airport to catch our 11 o'clock flight. Not too much happened on the flight apart from spotting the tosser David Davies and BFR who was up in first class in the section in front of us. BFR must have had more snap than the rest of the plane put together, I was going to ask him if he wanted mine aswell just incase he was still a bit peckish. As we arrived at Barca airport, it was evident the Red Army was en masse as there were Reds everywhere. As I'd been to the group game earlier in the year (brag brag) I knew the craic at the airport and we got straight on the bus outside that took us to the Place Catalunya. The plan was to go straight to the hotel and dump the bags, then go for a drink. This plan lasted until we saw loads of Reds singing outside the Zurich Cafe, where we couldn't resist the temptation of a couple of cold beers. Sid grabbed a table outside and I went into the bar, whilst queuing up (for ages) the barman asked the lad in front of me if he was drinking inside or out. When he said outside, the barman said he'd have to get a waiter to serve him. After giving him a few verbals the lad went off and the barman asked me. "We're inside" I said (trying to be clever) and the barman told me to get a waiter aswell "$%^* me!!" I told him and went off in search of a waiter. Sid couldn't believe it when I came out 15 minutes later still without a drink. We collared a waiter and ordered 2 pints, the plan now was to have 1 drink here and then go to the hotel. The first pint was gone in an instant and we decided to have 1 more, just to even the rounds up. Sid bet me a fiver that he'd meet someone he knew before I met someone I knew. Being the sort of person I am, I got the mobile out and rang around to see if anyone I knew was nearby. Alan Dobson was 'just' down the Ramblers and said he'd come up for a drink. A group of United fans walked passed and for some unknown reason 2 of them were wearing ingerland shirts. The lads on the table next to us (quite rightly) gave it some 'you can stick your f......' For one moment, I thought it was going to kick off as unpleasantries were exchanged between them all. The second pint was gone and as Alan hadn't arrived, we decided to have another one and another one ;-))) I called Alan again and he told me they were having something to eat, frankfurters or something ;-))) and they'd be up in a bit. When Alan eventually got there we had to have another drink with him, just to be sociable, but I was getting a bit panicky about checking into the hotel. I decided to try and ring them to make sure they didn't give our room up to someone else. I then spent the next 30 minutes or so going between public phone boxes etc. trying to find the hotels number. I tried calling international directory enquires back in the UK and to be honest, although I did eventually get the number, I can't remember how? When I did speak to them they said not to worry and they wouldn't let the room to anyone else anyway! We left Alan and Paula at the Zurich Bar and decided to go to the hotel as it was getting late. We grabbed a cab, checked in, had a quick shower and change and set off to walk back to the Ramblers. Our hotel was on the Avenue Diagonals about half way between the Place Catalunya and the Nou Camp. We thought we'd walk as it didn't look far (on the map) and we could grab something to eat on the way. As every crossroads we walked across looked the same, it was a competition between me and Sid as to who said "I think we've been here before" at every junction we got to. There must've been about fifty but we'd been drinking nearly all day and had our daft heads on. We had a pizza (and another beer) on the way and got back to the top of the Rambles about 3 hours after we'd left it (note vague references to time as I haven't got a clue what time it was). I got stung 11 quid for 2 beers and although they were like buckets, we decided to take them with us further down the Ramblers as we could hear a good sing song going on. There was a large group of United fans gathered in the middle and as we made our way to a table to put our beers on, who should we bump into again but Alan and Paula! They both looked the worse for wear, but if you speak to either of them now, they say they were alright but it was the other one that was pissed!!! Mind you, neither of them had anything on the 'worlds drunkest man' who was there in the middle of the road. He had a glasgow rangers shirt on and falling about all over the place. He'd stagger about 20 yards one way, then the other. He clattered into our table only moments after we'd picked our beers up from it. You couldn't work out whether his mates were trying to hold him up or if it was them all along that were pulling him from side to side. Why oh why he didn't just fall down and stop down I'll never know, but he kept crashing about into everyone like something out of a Chaplin film. The sing song was going at full strength and the locals too were being really nice as they threw bags of flour, water, piss and all sorts, out of the flats above us and onto the crowd. If they thought they were getting any sleep, we had other ideas as we sung louder and louder. We moved over and under an umbrella, but when Sid had to go for some more beers he got hit sock on the head with a bag of brown stuff. Alan had another drink with us, but Paula declined and collapsed on the floor. Sid got stung another 16 for 3 drinks - Ouch! The crowd here was beginning to thin out and Alan and Paula decided it was past their bedtime and left, whilst me and Sid carried on down the Rambles to the harbour area. I thought we'd go to the Magneranum area as we'd been there during the group matches (remember everyone, it was where Richard Martin fell asleep at the bar ;-))) I can't quite remember where we got them from, but when we got there we had 4 cans of beer and just walked into the club with them. Despite the fact that I'd promised myself not to ask the DJ to play the Macarena, I walked straight up to the decks and asked him for it. He put it on straight away, but we didn't get the reaction to it that we'd done earlier in the year. I told Sid that I thought the place would be packed with Reds but apparently not. When we'd just about finished our drinks, the doorman spotted us drinking from tins and asked us to leave. We grabbed a cab outside just before the club closed and the crowds came out. I suppose ti must've been about 4'ish but I wouldn't bet my life on it. We decided to go back to the hotel as we were both knackered (pissed!) and it was a BIG day tomorrow! Cheers Pat Jennings (c) Not to be Used without Permission of the Author E-mail: patj@telepad.demon.co.uk
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