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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sat Aug 28 07:45:14 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
2. ESC 'Phoney war' warns United of the perils lurking ahead
3. Ferguson's desire fanned by Veron
4. Yooro sooper cup by David Marshall
5. Superstar Rivaldo asks for transfer
6. United break bank with a £20M bid for Brazilian ace? 
7. Jordi To Join Ajax 
8. United Sweep UEFA Awards! (TeamTalk)
9. Becks Euro Footballer of The Year? (Times)



Barry Comment:
We did not go for the Super Cup and Lazio were the best side.
Alex states there was one match too many this week.
The proof? Becks/Stam subbed Yorke Giggs missing.

54k Aug 27  0.49
Alex interview after Lazio

Group D  ** Manchester United **
Olympique de Marseille * NK Croatia Zagreb * SK Sturm Graz

255k Aug 25  3.56  Quinton Fortune interview from the cliff


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!

*** FIXTURES ON 28/08/99 ***

         Aston Villa  v  Middlesbrough
       Bradford City  v  West Ham United
        Derby County  v  Everton
           Liverpool  v  Arsenal
         Southampton  v  Sheffield Wednesday
   Tottenham Hotspur  v  Leeds United
           Wimbledon  v  Chelsea

RESULTS: 25/8/99
             Arsenal   2-0   Bradford City         38,073
       Coventry City   1-2   Manchester United     22,024
             Everton   4-0   Wimbledon             32,818
    Newcastle United   1-2   Sunderland            36,600
 Sheffield Wednesday   0-2   Derby County          20,943

*** FULL LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 25/08/99 ***

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



UNITED Stats v All teams:
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix992000.htm
Subject: First Team Fixtures 1999/2000 [All dates/times subject to change]
Dates of possible cup ties also shown

Date        Opposition                         Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/07/99    Melbourne Australia   pre-season     2-0     -     60,000
18/07/99    Sydney    Australia   pre-season     1-0     -     78,000
21/07/99    Shanghai  Shenhua     pre-season     2-0     -     80,000
24/07/99    Hong Kong South China pre-season     2-0     -     40,000

 1/08/99    Arsenal      Wembley Charity Shield  1-2     -     70,185
 3/08/99    Omagh Town   aid of Omagh Bomb Fund  9-0     -      7,000
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly              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         Monaco ESC L  0-1     -

30/08/99    Newcastle United         home PL   13.00
11/09/99    Liverpool                away PL   11.30 Live on Sky
15/09/99    ?     EC
18/09/99    Wimbledon                home PL   15.00
22/09/99    ?     EC
25/09/99    Southampton              home PL   15.00
29/09/99    ?     EC
 3/10/99    Chelsea                  away PL   16.00 Live on Sky
*11/10/99   Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial OT [Cantona + Schmeichel]
13/10/99    ?     WC 3
16/10/99    Watford                  home PL   15.00
20/10/99    ?     EC
23/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        away PL   15.00
27/10/99    ?     EC
30/10/99    Aston Villa              home PL   15.00
 3/11/99    ?     EC
 6/11/99    Leicester City           home PL   15.00
20/11/99    Derby County             away PL   15.00
24/11/99    ?     EC
27/11/99    Sheffield Wednesday      away PL   15.00
30/11/99    Tokyo  Palmeiras         WCC       20.00
 1/12/99    ?     WC 4
 4/12/99    Everton                  home PL   15.00
 8/12/99    ?     EC
15/12/99    ?     WC 5
18/12/99    West Ham United          away PL   15.00
26/12/99    Bradford City            home PL   15.00
28/12/99    Sunderland               away PL   20.00 Live on Sky
 3/01/2000  Middlesborough           home PL   20.00

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

12/01/2000  ?    WC sf i
15/01/2000  Leeds United             away PL   15.00
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  home PL   15.00
26/01/2000  ?    WC sf ii
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         away PL   15.00
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                away PL   15.00
27/02/2000  ?   Wembley WC f
 1/03/2000  ?   EC
 4/03/2000  Liverpool                home PL   15.00
 8/03/2000  ?   EC
11/03/2000  Derby County             home PL   15.00
15/03/2000  ?   EC
18/03/2000  Leicester City           away PL   15.00
22/03/2000  ?   EC
25/03/2000  Bradford City            away PL   15.00
 1/04/2000  West Ham United          home PL   15.00
 5/04/2000  ?   EC qf i
 8/04/2000  Middlesborough           away PL   15.00
15/04/2000  Sunderland               home PL   15.00
19/04/2000  ?   EC qf ii
22/04/2000  Southampton              away PL   15.00
24/04/2000  Chelsea                  home PL   15.00
29/04/2000  West Ham United          away PL   15.00
 3/05/2000  ?   EC sf i
 6/05/2000  Tottenham Hotspur        home PL   15.00
10/05/2000  ?   EC sf ii
14/05/2000  Aston Villa              away PL   15.00
24/05/2000  ?    EC f



EC links + Personal diaries here:

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


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Subject: SPURNED SALAS DENIES UNITED EUROPEAN SUPER CUP Lazio 1 Manchester United 0 THE Chilean international Marcelo Salas, who joined Lazio in 1998 when Manchester United were unable to agree terms, cost Alex Ferguson's side the European Super Cup in Monaco last night. The treble winners never looked in top gear as the trophy, won by Chelsea last season and Barcelona before that, went to the Cup Winners' Cup holders at the expense of the Champions League winners for the third year in a row. Salas came off the bench to land the crucial blow in the 35th minute. Raimond van der Gouw, still nursing a black eye after his Premiership collision with Martin Keown, let the shot through his hands after a shaky first half hour but responded well to keep the score down in Monaco. Lazio would have won more easily but for a mixture of good shot-stopping by the United keeper and poor finishing by the Italians. United had started brightly and last season's double cup final hero Teddy Sheringham had two early chances. He leapt high to get his head on a Philip Neville cross from the left in the fourth minute but couldn't direct his effort on target. Eight minutes later, Sheringham was released by strike-partner Andy Cole but Marchegiani was off his line in a flash to deny the England star as he tried to touch the ball round the Italian keeper. In between Sheringham's early efforts, Pavel Nedved surged dangerously into the United penalty area from the left. The Czech was given time to line up a shot and it took a last ditch block from Jaap Stam to stop his progress. Sinisa Mihajlovic thumped a left-foot free kick wide after a foul by David Beckham on Nedved and then Van der Gouw almost gifted the Italians the lead in freak fashion. Stam robbed Simone Inzaghi - who was injured in the clash, allowing Salas to come on - as he forged down Lazio's right and the big Dutch defender rolled a pass back to his keeper. But Van der Gouw's clearance crashed into the backside of Roberto Mancini, who had charged into the area to close the ball down and the rebound bounced into the ground and looped up onto the roof of the net as the United keeper looked on anxiously. Stankovic then dragged a good chance wide after he had been found by a Mancini header. The Premiership champions continued to come under pressure and only a Cole header, which flashed over the bar from a Beckham free kick, worried Marchegiani at the other end. Mihajlovic tested Van der Gouw again with another viciously swerving free-kick which the Dutch keeper punched away. But Sir Alex Ferguson's men couldn't weather the storm and went behind in the 35th minute. Lazio, runners-up in last season's Serie A, attacked down their left and the evergreen Mancini nursed a header into the path of Salas as the United defenders demanded offside. The substitute latched onto the ball and lashed it goalwards. Van der Gouw dived to his right and got two hands on the shot - but couldn't stop it from finding the net. Nedved then almost made it two within a couple of minutes with a long-range effort which curled wide. The European champions came close to scoring three minutes before the break when they finally linked up Beckham in open play. The England star, officially named Europe's top midfielder of the year earlier in the day, curled a trademark cross onto the head of Paul Scholes but Marchegiani reacted quickly to deny United with a fine one-handed save. Salas almost doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time. He poked the ball past Van der Gouw inside the penalty area and was bundled to the ground by the United keeper. No penalty was awarded and the Reds were able to tidy up the play. Lazio, who surrendered a seven-point lead to lose the Serie A title to AC Milan, started the second half in Monaco in positive fashion. Salas found Nedved and his crisp first-time volley forced a good reflex save from Van der Gouw, who tipped it over the bar. Moments later Lazio's Czech Republic international returned the favour to create a golden chance for his Chilean teammate. Nedved threaded a pass through United's back-line to Salas, English appeals for offside were again ignored and the Lazio hitman skipped round Van der Gouw but could not turn his shot into the open net from an acute angle. Instead the ball rolled agonisingly across the goalline and Stankovic crashed it into the side-netting from a difficult position wide of the other post. With things not going United's way, a league game just 48 hours previously and another against Newcastle on Monday, Ferguson quickly rang the changes, replacing Stam and Beckham with John Curtis and Jordi Cruyff. A clever run from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then gave the Reds a rare glimpse of goal but a diving block from Lazio defender Negro ended the danger. Giuseppe Pancaro and Salas combined to tee up Stankovic but the midfielder toe-poked awkwardly wide from eight yards and Matias Almeyda rifled wide from outside the area. Van der Gouw produced a flying save to deny a curling Mancini shot in the 77th minute and Mihajlovic went close again with another thunderbolt from distance. A glancing header from Sheringham, which drifted harmlessly wide in the closing minutes, was as close as United came to taking the game into extra time. The lack of urgency from United left some suspecting that Ferguson wanted to avoid equalising and the possibility of playing another 30 hard minutes on this bone-hard pitch. If that was his strategy it worked and as disappointed as United will claim to be they will not shed too many tears over this defeat. 365
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Subject: ESC 'Phoney war' warns United of the perils lurking ahead Telegraph: Lazio (1) 1 Man Utd (0) 0 Manchester United's captain Roy Keane is tackled by Lazio's Pavel Nedved THE CHAMPIONS of Europe were reminded last night of the ambushes that may lie in store this European season. Out-thought and largely outplayed by Lazio in last night's Super Cup, Manchester United will now be very aware that winning a trophy is one challenge, retaining it a completely different proposition. It was impossible to leave the Stade Louis II without feeling that Sir Alex Ferguson needs to strengthen his side, possibly most urgently in goal, before Tuesday's European deadline. Encouragingly for United and England, Gary Neville completed 90 minutes against probing opponents. Lazio were patently the better, hungrier side. In Juan Veron, the shaven-headed Argentinian with thunder in his tackles yet velvet in his touch, the Italians had the most accomplished player on the pitch. Veron ran and created, blocked and tackled, giving a superlative all-round display. Even Roy Keane was outshone. The clouds of uncertainty surrounding Keane's future has again seen United linked with Rivaldo, Barcelona's unsettled Brazilian, who is reportedly close to requesting a transfer with Old Trafford a possible destination. It seems that United cannot keep their minds away from Catalonia. Having loosened their limbs to the inevitable strains of 'Barcelona', Ferguson's side took to the field with the scoreboard reading 'Bayern Munich 1, Manchester United 2'. That remarkable Nou Camp night had presented United with a passport to prestigious friendlies such as this over-hyped, under-attended Super Cup where the great and the good of the European game rattled their jewellery and lifted their champagne flutes at the entertainment that was unfolding before them. How the Italians, here in their thousands, filled the warm Riviera air with applause and delirious roars when Marcelo Salas, a penalty-box pickpocket once coveted by Ferguson, struck in a first half increasingly controlled by the well-drilled men from Rome. How they saluted their agile goalkeeper, Luca Marchegiani, when he made an outstanding save to deny Paul Scholes from whites-of-the-eyes range. And how they whistled their disapproval when the Polish referee, Ryszard Wojcik, refused to whistle himself when Salas fell under a challenge from Van der Gouw. The vapour trails and smells of cordite were not emanating only from the Romans' fireworks. Lazio, a side of tigerish defending and cobra-like attacking, deservedly turned around in the lead. United discovered that becoming champions of Europe meant opponents raising their game and also changing it to stifle the noted attacking intent of Keane, Cole and Co. Lazio, probably a tougher proposition than anything United will meet in the first stage of this season's Champions' League, fanned out in 4-1-4-1 formation with a three-man, two-tiered central midfield to combat the runs of Paul Scholes and, particularly, Keane. United's Irish captain took the Italian triangle as a compliment and a challenge, initially coping comfortably with the extra man lined up against him. Keane managed to pressurise Lazio's Argentinian anchorman, Matias Almeyda, while tracking the runs of Pavel Nedved and the impressive Veron, a footballer of energy and vision. For all Keane's efforts, and it is easy to understand why Italian clubs so covet him, United became increasingly stretched as Lazio built and built, wave upon light-blue wave flowing forth towards Van der Gouw's goal. Mark Bosnich's understudy experienced a match of mixed fortunes. The tall Dutchman saved well from Sinisa Mihajlovic's fulminating free-kick. But he also cannoned a poor clearance into Roberto Mancini with the rebound flying narrowly over. Good and bad in quick succession. Mancini, deployed on the left to distract David Beckham and the returning Gary Neville, created the goal for Salas, who had emerged from the bench to replace the hobbling Simone Inzaghi. Mancini, such a loyal servant to Sven Goran Eriksson, guided the ball into the path of Salas, who had stolen through the middle into the box. The nimble Chilean chested the ball down and clipped it left-footed at Van der Gouw, who should have done better than let the ball slip through his hands and into the net. Van der Gouw's hesitancy was again seen early in the second half when he failed to come out for a through-ball, despite Stam's loud exhortations. United's keeper then showed his more positive side with a wonderful tip-over from Nevded. The near-siege on Van der Gouw's goal continued with Salas spurning a seemingly unmissable opportunity when rolling the ball wide after rounding United's keeper. United appeared unable to shake themselves from a disappointing, disjointed display. Ferguson clearly had his mind on more competitive matters, notably Monday's Premiership match with Newcastle United, a situation that explained why Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke began among the substitutes. As the game ticked towards the hour-mark, there were stirrings on the United bench but Ferguson was interested only in protecting his first-choice stars for the rigours ahead. Off came Stam, replaced by John Curtis, so allowing Gary Neville to move to centre-back. Off went a subdued Beckham for Jordi Cruyff, doubtless to the delight of his watching father, Johan. Beckham's departure prevented a further meeting with Diego Simone, who trotted on shortly afterwards and immediately hauled down Keane. Yet the worst challenge of the night came from Scholes, who caught Almeyda nastily from behind. Ferguson kept resting his regulars, removing Cole 13 minutes from time and introducing the promising Jonathan Greening.
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Subject: Ferguson's desire fanned by Veron FROM MATT DICKINSON IN MONTE CARLO Times - Lazio 1 Manchester United 0 A TETCHY and tired performance by Manchester United in the European Super Cup last night was compounded by the sight of one of Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite players masterminding their downfall. Sebastian Veron, the languid Argentina midfield player, features highly in the Old Trafford manager's wish list and his fine display in Monaco will only have increased Ferguson's longing. Lazio had to spend £19 million to lure Veron from Parma this summer, but he will be worth the hefty outlay if he can continue to glue his side together as he did last night. His loping runs and arrowed passes were the highlight of a contest that appeared to feature somewhere below the Worthington Cup in United's priorities. Ferguson almost admitted as much. "It was a tired performance tonight," he said, "and Lazio were better than us. I felt that with the number of games it was just too much and once they went into the lead, I didn't want to risk anything." Such was his desperation to protect his star players that Ferguson even gave Jordi Cruyff a game. Roy Keane, who will have been closely watched by Italian scouts, attempted to provide his usual, driving force, but many of his teammates appeared to have spent too much time in the sun. There was an irritability about United from the outset, with Paul Scholes's frustration at his, and his team's, fitful performance surfacing in an off-the-ball spat with Marcelo Salas. Defeat in such a peripheral competition will hardly be a cause for dejection, but the manner of the loss will have been a disappointment. There were empty seats at the United end which, initially, had seemed as much a reflection of the growing demands on travelling fans as disinterest in the game. Only the fanatical, or stinking rich, can afford to take in the World Club Championship, World Team Championship and Champions' League on top of the FA Carling Premiership, and this contrived affair between the European champions and the holders of the Cup Winners' Cup was a trip too far for many. Those that did bother saw plenty of forward movement of which the best came from the Italian club as they took the lead, totally with the run of play, after 35 minutes. With Keane and Scholes outnumbered by three opponents, the midfield momentum was always with Lazio and they should have increased their lead on regular occasions. The only goal came from the livewire Salas, who had come on 12 minutes earlier because of an injury to Simone Inzaghi, younger brother of Filippo and a £10 million summer signing. Salas, who was once a target for United, soon picked up the pace and a neat move by Pancaro and Mancini gave him the opportunity to take aim from the edge of the penalty area. Whether it was because the Chilean miscued or simply because his reflexes are slowing, Van der Gouw seemed ponderous in going down and the ball struck the 36-year-old and bounced in. Salas almost repeated the feat just before half-time but Berg covered this time. United had their opportunities at the beginning and at the end, Marchegiani saving acrobatically from a Scholes header in their best move, but there was little in the middle hour to savour. It was poor stuff. LAZIO (4-4-1-1): L Marchegiani - P Negro, A Nesta, S Mihajlovic, G Pancaro - D Stankovic, S Veron, M Almeyda, P Nedved (sub: D Simeone, 65min) - R Mancini (sub: A Lombardo, 83) - S Inzaghi (sub: M Salas, 23). Substitutes not used: M Ballotta, G Favalli, S Conceicao, K Andersson. Booked: Veron. MANCHESTER UNITED (4-3-1-2): R Van der Gouw - G Neville, J Stam (sub: J Curtis, 56min), H Berg, P Neville - D Beckham (sub: J Cruyff, 57), R Keane, P Scholes - E Sheringham - O G Solskjaer, A Cole (sub: J Greening, 77). Substitutes not used: N Culkin, R Giggs, D Yorke, M Wilson. Booked: Scholes. Referee: R Wojcik (Poland). Sir Alex Ferguson will try to bolster his Manchester United squad before the Champions' League deadline next week by finalising the transfer of Massimo Taibi in the next 48 hours. The Venezia goalkeeper is believed to be available for around £3 million.
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: Yooro sooper cup by David Marshall Hi All, It may not be a very significant trophy, and Fergie made selections that indicate he feels that way at least, but I don't like it when we lose. Especially to break our recored unbeaten run. I can't recall our giving the ball away so much and our defence being so insecure and poorly co-ordinated. I suppose when you end up with no Giggs, Irwin, Stam, Beckham and Cole Yorke you must notice it. The highlight for me was Gazza as central defender after Japp departed - brilliant! I thought Japp looked off it for a lot of the game and hope he's OK. The local commenter in the studio claims he's a dirty player because he uses his elbows all the time. Can't say I've noticed it particularly. Any chance Scholsie can restrain himself from those bad tackles and consequent yellow card almost every game? The one tonight looked absolutely premeditated - and it wasn't even on Simeone. One last thing that irritates me about most Italian sides, and something that should be punished more often, is the way they always stand up at a free kick and delay it as was on display several times tonight. Lazio are a good side, but so are we when at full strength and committed. Cheers, David Marshall Brisbane, Australia. Red 'til I'm dead - treble achieved, I'm ready to go!
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Subject: Superstar Rivaldo asks for transfer By Graham Hunter Brazilian superstar Rivaldo has demanded a transfer from Barcelona - news which is guaranteed to thrill Manchester United. His relationship with Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal has broken down following a series of furious rows. But United would still have to fund a total transfer package, including wages and the fee to Barcelona, of around £35 million. Midfielder Rivaldo has confessed to friends that he is keen to join United but is worried whether the change of climate and lifestyle would suit him. United's bid for Venezia goalkeeper Massimo Taibi moved a step closer yesterday, as Ferguson met representatives of the player and his club in Monaco. Taibi's agent, Oscar Damiani, said: 'We met for negotiations which are going very well.'
Click On pic - for latest interviews/pics from OT"

Subject: United break bank with a £20M bid for Brazilian ace? Article from the Mirror?? MANCHESTER United have secretly sanctioned £20million to sign Rivaldo, the midfielder described by Alex Ferguson as the best in Europe. Mirror Sport can reveal that Rivaldo has told Spanish giants Barcelona that he wants to leave the Nou Camp. He has set his heart on a move to Old Trafford and Ferguson has persuaded his board not only to break the British transfer record but also to make Rivaldo the highest-paid player in British soccer history. Behind the scenes in Monte Carlo at the Champions' League draw, United and Barcelona have clashed over the transfer target. Influential Barcelona chief Jean Gosport warned United to lay off the midfield star, insisting there is an escape clause in his contract stating he can only leave for a ridiculous £150million. However, once Rivaldo's request to leave Barcelona has been accepted United will enter into meaningful discussions about a more realistic fee. An initial bid of £18million will be tabled and the club are prepared to go as high as £20million for the player who can ultimately replace skipper Roy Keane. Ferguson will be encouraged by his signing of Dwight Yorke last year, when Aston Villa initially claimed he was not for sale at any price. Gosport added: "There is a clause in Rivaldo's contract and he can only be sold for £150million. Unless anyone comes up with that amount we will never let Rivaldo go. "He has three years left on his contract. He is a very good player, very important to this club. "We have a very good relationship with Manchester United but they need to be careful in being continually linked with Rivaldo." Ferguson is also close to signing Venezia keeper Massimo Taibi in a £4million deal this weekend. Ferguson's brother Martin, United's chief European scout, and a United director were in Venice yesterday thrashing out a compromise figure with club officials. Taibi is due to play for Venezia against Udinese tomorrow when his club start their Serie A campaign, but United want him to be pulled out of the game to avoid injury. Ferguson hopes the 29-year-old Sicilian will fly to Manchester today instead and register before the Champions League deadline on Tuesday.
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Subject: Jordi To Join Ajax KID CRUYFF HEADING FOR AJAX JORDI CRUYFF is ready to follow in his father's footsteps and join Ajax Amsterdam. The Manchester United misfit is expected to move to the fallen Dutch giants this week almost three decades after dad Johan made his name at the club. Cruyff Jnr has already appeared for Barcelona, another of Johan's former outfits, but the poignancy of wearing Ajax colours and the challenge of matching his fame are far greater. Cruyff is no longer needed at United where competition for left-sided places is now intense. The blond winger was loaned out to Spanish side Celta Vigo last season and despite a Charity Shield appearance he cannot see a future at Old Trafford. Boss Sir Alex Ferguson signed Jordi for a knock-down pounds 1.5million three seasons ago and is prepared to let him leave for a knockdown price. United also have South African Quinton Fortune available after his work permit was granted. Fortune could appear against Newcastle on Monday, although United will lose him during the season to the South African Olympics team. The granting of a work permit for Fortune has raised eyebrows. His caps record was queried by the government.
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Subject: United Sweep UEFA Awards! (TeamTalk) More Silverware For United Treble-winners Manchester United have won another four awards to add to last season's haul of silverware. David Beckham has been voted UEFA's Midfielder of the Year and the England international also scooped the Most Valuable Player award. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson picked up the Coach of the Year accolade, while Jaap Stam collected the prize for the Defender of the Year. The United trio were presented with their awards at a UEFA gala dinner in Monaco on Thursday night. They were voted top in each category by the 24 managers of the teams which reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup last season. Bayern Munich's Oliver Kahn collected the Goalkeeper of the Year award, while Andriy Shevchenko, who joined Milan from Dynamo Kiev in the summer, scooped the Attacker of the Year prize.
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Subject: Becks Euro Footballer of The Year? (Times) Fallen star returns to orbit FROM MATT DICKINSON IN MONTE CARLO IT WAS in the appropriate setting of Europe's gambling capital this week that they closed the book on David Beckham's chances of becoming the 1999 European Footballer of the Year. There may be another three months of deliberating, but everyone seems to know that the wheel of fortune will stop on Manchester United red. The winner, selected by 51 journalists, will be named shortly before Christmas, but it could be argued that the real experts have already had their say. The most powerful coaches in the game fêted Beckham this week as the Most Valuable Player in Europe and when Capello, Wenger, Eriksson and that calibre of football men speak their mind, who are humble hacks to argue the toss? There was no live television, no blinding flash of camera bulbs when Beckham gracefully accepted his award at the Uefa dinner on Thursday night, but that should not lessen the impact of his achievement. As he picked his way through the tables to collect his trophy, the superstar brushed against the grasping chairmen and ogling managers who covet him, and the victor's ceremony will only have inflamed their desire. What price the 24-year-old from Leytonstone when Christian Vieri is worth £31 million? Beckham's success - he was also nominated the Continent's best midfield player - becomes even more admirable when one considers that the judging panel consisted of the 24 coaches who were involved in the final stages of Uefa's three premier competitions last season - many of the best coaches in the world. To this brains trust was added the peerless expertise of men such as Aimé Jacquet, Rinus Michels and Tommy Svensson, so it was more than just a trophy that Beckham won. It was also respect. From the nadir of his dismissal in the World Cup, and his subsequent flight to New York to be with Victoria, Beckham's year ended on the highest note, European Cup victory The vote for Beckham was overwhelming, with more than a third of the panel hailing him as the outstanding player of a season when he not only reached the pinnacle of the club game but did so starting his journey from the very bottom. Banished not only from the St Etienne pitch during England's World Cup calamity against Argentina, but almost from respectable society, the Essex boy was made to suffer the shame of a criminal. His effigy swung grotesquely from a gibbet. He woke one morning to find his face as the bull's-eye of a newspaper's cut-out-and-keep dartboard. Many of the coaches who voted for him probably did so unaware of the hurdles he overcame, which makes his victory over Zinedine Zidane, last year's inaugural winner, and his team-mate Roy Keane even more worthy. They will have been ignorant of the foul abuse that is the soundtrack of his working life. They probably did not know how close he was to being driven away. The European Cup victory over Bayern Munich closed that chapter and now that Beckham is adding personal acclaim to team honours, the scrutiny from abroad will intensify. Talk of a move to the Continent will grow. There are already hints that he may set up his family base in the south and commute to work by jet, but even remoter residences may not be that long away. Beckham's contract runs out in 2002 and, should he ask to keep his options open rather than re-sign in the next 18 months, the Old Trafford directors may be forced to sell rather than risk losing him on a free transfer. The speculation can wait for now, because Beckham remains driven at a club that will tolerate nothing else. That explains why United won the prize for the best team from Uefa's panel and Ferguson was named best manager. Jaap Stam was recognised as Europe's best defender, Peter Schmeichel, now at Sporting Lisbon, came a close second to Oliver Kahn, of Bayern Munich, for best goalkeeper, while Dwight Yorke only just trailed Andrei Shevchenko to the striker's honour. There was also a special award to Nesta Burgess, who has been making the tea in the players' lounge at Old Trafford since 1958. It is a mighty squad with Beckham, according to those who are paid to know these things, the jewel in a crown which could be made to sparkle even brighter. Zidane, last year's European Footballer of the Year, appears settled at Juventus but Alex Ferguson, the United manager, is stubbornly refusing to give up the chase for Rivaldo. Barcelona warned United to stay away from the Brazilian this week, with Joan Gaspart, the Spanish club's vice-president, warning that any deal would be vast enough to break the bank at Monte Carlo. "We are negotiating a new contract with Rivaldo so United should behave correctly," Gaspart said. "To buy out his current contract would cost £150 million and that is pounds, not pesetas." Not even the Most Valuable Player in Europe is worth that money (yet) although Beckham's price grew this week as he picked up his gong. With last night's European Super Cup to prepare for, the United superstar had to leave the dinner before the entertainment and missed the singing by Gloria Gaynor which included an encore of I Will Survive. After the year that Beckham had, it seemed a fitting note on which to end.
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