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Barry Leeming

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Bill McArthur
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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sat 30 Oct 1999 01:43 GMT
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. RED ISSUE  www.redissue.co.uk
2. I couldn't get a pie! Manchester Senior Cup by The Old Fart
4. The Treble DVD Release Date: 01 November 1999 Rating
5. Dates of Phase 2 CL Games
6. Site Visitor from South Africa   Kabelo and the Statman
7. Ask the StatMan
8. Bosnich chooses to fill a giant's boots



Barry Comment:
WEB NEWS - www.redissue.co.uk  !NEW!
RED ISSUE's new all-singing all-dancing website is open to
Reds surfers from tomorrow (Saturday) morning at www.redissue.co.uk
We are carrying almost all the content from our new magazine which goes on
sale at OT tomorrow afternoon including a world-exclusive Alex Ferguson
interview. We hope this new site will be welcomed by Reds across the world
who obviously can't get to the game and buy it.
The site also has unmoderated chat, bulletin board and shockwave cartoon
strips as well as a mid-day comprehensive new service

The DVD version of the treble is on sale at the DVDstreet web site
www.dvdstreet.com  for 15-99 Pd Strlg RRP 19-99 excluding delivery for those
of you who might be interested.

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

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

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

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!

*** FIXTURES ON 30/10/99 ***
             Arsenal  v  Newcastle United
        Derby County  v  Chelsea
        Leeds United  v  West Ham United
      Leicester City  v  Sheffield Wednesday
   Manchester United  v  Aston Villa
       Middlesbrough  v  Everton
           Wimbledon  v  Southampton

*** FIXTURES ON 31/10/99 ***
       Coventry City  v  Watford
          Sunderland  v  Tottenham Hotspur

           Liverpool   1-0   West Ham United       44,012


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

30-OCT-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Aston Villa  (FA Premier League, HOME)
02-NOV-1999 [19:45] Manchester Utd. vs Sturm Graz  (UEFA Champions League, HOME)
06-NOV-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Leicester C  (FA Premier League, HOME)
20-NOV-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Derby C  (FA Premier League, 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   19.45
30/10/99    Aston Villa              home PL   15.00
 2/11/99    Sturm Graz               Home EC   19.45 
 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
 4/12/99    Everton                  Home PL   15.00
 8/12/99    ?     EC
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
 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
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  Home PL   15.00
 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  ?   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 Final



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RED ISSUE www.redissue.co.uk RED ISSUE's new all-singing all-dancing website is open to Reds surfers from todfy Saturday morning at www.redissue.co.uk we are carrying almost all the content from our new magazine which goes on sale at OT tomorrow afternoon including a world-exclusive Alex Ferguson interview. we hope this new site will be welcomed by reds across the world who obviously can't get to the game and buy it! The site also has unmoderated chat, bulletin board and shockwave cartoon strips as well as a mid-day comprehensive news service. Congratulations to RED NEWS from The Web Team at The Theatre Of Dreams http://www.red11.org
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I couldn't get a pie! Manchester Senior Cup by The Old Fart Last night we witnessed a fantastic game of football when Manchester United played Manchester City at 'home' (Gigg Lane) in the Manchester Senior Cup. Dad and myself met at the ground fairly early as we suspected that there might be a big crowd - it was far bigger than even we expected, and more noisy! I think they had let the kids in for free as there were hundreds of them, running about all over the place, screaming at a million decibels and generally enjoying themselves. Although I am a Manchester United fanatic, I am also a Manchester City fan. What that means, of course, is that I understand how much it means to our Blue brothers to beat us; it means EVERYTHING. So I said to dad that they would put out a strong team and would be 'up for it'; I was correct on both counts. The City side contained at least seven regular first-team squad players. The conditions were very good. It was a typical autumn night, with a chill in the air, but it was clear and pleasant (not raining!) and the pitch was in absolutely tip-top condition. It was end-to-end stuff right from the kick-off and City might have scored after a few moments when Taibi made a right hash of a low cross/shot. We were playing with Curtis and May in the centre of the back four and City exposed this pairing a couple of times. On one horrendous occasion (after fifteen minutes) both lads used the "After you, no, after you" tactic to great effect and the City forward should have scored as he broke through unchallenged. Greening was running well and covering large amounts of ground. Mostly he was playing outside right as we had Notman and Cruyff in the centre. After fifteen minutes he made a good run and crossed only for Cruyff to head wide when he should have done better. Then after thirty minutes the roles were reversed as Cruyff and Notman combined well on the right flank for a cross which Greening struck well, hitting the angle of post and bar. Unlucky. Right at the end of the half City had another break away and Taibi made a brilliant save, point blank, down to his left. Excellent save, very poor defending. During the first half the Australian lad, Tiatto, had pulled all the City strings and had seemed to have a roving role across the middle of the pitch. He had been probing mostly down their left flank and had exposed Gary Neville on several occasions. Both dad and myself thought that Tiatto was the man of the first half. At half time we went down to get a pie only to discover that the queue was about a half mile long! Had we decided to wait we would just have been served about now! It was a bit of a disappointment but then remembering the last pie I had at Gigg Lane (and how it 'danced' with my ulcer during the second half) perhaps it was a bit of good fortune. I'm sure that all the kids were spending their 'gate money' on sweets and pop and thus us 'regulars' couldn't get near the pies! Nip down to Gigg Lane this morning, there will be pies going for next to nowt! Both dad and myself agreed that the score reflected the match overall. Both sides were attacking with great strength. City had far and away the better chances, though we had had a few ourselves. Notman in particular was running very well indeed and most of our better chances had come through this lad. Notman appears (to this old fart's eyes) to be coming on in leaps and bounds and I hope his progress continues. He makes such intelligent runs wide, making space for oncoming players and that is a great skill. Last night he also reminded me of another 'little man', Lou Macari and that is high praise indeed. Again it was end-to-end. Then after twenty-four minutes we broke down the left flank, Wellens took the ball to the line and was heavily challenged. The ball broke for a corner and the City defender fell under the inertia of his own challenge. The referee, predictably, gave a free-kick to City and they broke very quickly. Whether Gary Neville had gone forward for the 'corner' I don't know, but I do know that our right flank was totally exposed. They swarmed through down their left and then a square ball found a City player (possibly Wright-Phillips) in acres of room, in the penalty area. Good control, low shot. 0-1! Almost immediately Twiss came on for Chadwick. Whether the lad's reputation is going before him I know not but Chadwick was heavily marked last night. He never really got going at all. He seemed to want to come inside all the time, rather than going wide, and this meant he was easily closed down. The boy lacks any real body strength at the moment and thus coming inside meant easy pickings for the City midfielders. Chadwick needs a right good talking too about 'tactical awareness' - as I've said a good few times before. Twiss seemed to make an impact as soon as he came on. Whether this was 'fresh legs' or actual skill I don't know, but he did perk us up. From that point on we seemed to control the game and had most of the attacking play. Cruyff was put through after half and hour but was very slow and easily dispossessed by a City defender coming back. Then an excellent cross from Higginbotham was headed goalwards by Cruyff only for the (aging!) City keeper, Wright, to pull off a brilliant diving save. Our goal was a strange affair. I thought Gary Neville was miles offside but it would appear that he was running back and thus 'technically on' when he collected a through ball and set up an attack. The ball seemed to fly all over the area before finally arriving at Wilson's feet, far post (I really thought it was Greening at the time!). He had the simplest of tap-ins - but, as I've said often in the past, you have to be THERE to tap it in. To be honest the goal was just about all that Wilson contributed constructively, though he defended very well indeed. On the balance Wilson deserved the honour for his efforts in midfield and his defensive 'awareness'. We grew in confidence from the goal and from that point on it was all United. Just before the end Wilson should have hit the winner after a great head-back by May, from a marvellous cross from Higginbotham. Wilson shot wide! Then on the whistle Higginbotham had a chance which he also put wide. Final score then 1-1 and it reflected the game, overall, just about right, although we had finished the match far the stronger side. So we went into a penalty shoot-out. We had had this last season in the MSC game against City at Gigg Lane (most people missed it!), but then the penalties appeared to be ignored in the final analysis! I have to say that I was very impressed with all of our penalties and it crossed my mind that the whole playing staff has been practicing this very necessary 'skill' with the EC in mind. Each one of our penalties was struck well and with control and Wright, in the City goal, had no chance with any of them. Taibi, on the other hand, made good attempts at all of their penalties bar one. He got his hands to one riser only for it to hit the underside of the bar and go in. Unlucky. Then he saved one, down low to his right and that was curtains for the Blues. As I said at the beginning it means more to the Blue half of Manchester to win these games than it does to the Reds. That's not to say that we are happy to lose - we're NOT, but it is not the end of the world if we do. For the Blues it IS and there will be a downturn in production in the Blue half of Manchester this morning! Overall we just about deserved the win. But whether we did or not - we DID win it. Tough on the Blue boys!!! Right that's me finished. Now then, shall I nip down to Gigg Lane for one of those pies? Keep the faith, Pete P.S. The team: 1. Taibi....... What I have seen of him thus far has worried me in that he seems to be getting the fundamentals wrong. After three minutes last night, City got a free-kick wide right, near the dead-ball line. The City player merely hit it low and hard at the goal and Taibi allowed the ball to bounce off his body. Fortunately nothing came of it. Then later he chose to punch a cross when he could have caught it without pressure. The punch was low and not too far. That is, once again, a basic (shouldn't-be-seen-in-the-schoolyard) error. Other than that he had a reasonable game, had no chance with their goal and saved the penalty (it WAS a save and NOT a miss) which won the tie. Just about acceptable overall. 2. Neville.... didn't have one of his better games last night. City seemed to favour their left flank and Gary was exposed on a couple of occasions. But another game got through (after injury) for the lad and that is what matters right at the moment. 3. Higginbotham..... another polished performance. Both at the back and going forward. He supplied several very good crosses (which Chadwick failed to do, as I said) and had a cracking game. My joint United m-o-t-m. 4. May...... good, solid performance as you'd expect from such a seasoned campaigner. Never really looked troubled, other, that is, than when Curtis got in his way! 5. Curtis...... not a good game last night as far as I'm concerned. We would have been much steadier at the back with Gary Neville alongside Maysie. But the lad needs to have his chance. Somehow, though, I don't see Curtis making it. But I've been wrong before! 6. Cruyff..... had one of his "I'm an international star" games. Pissed me off most of the time with his 'laid-back', 'give-it-to-feet', 'I'm-not-breaking-sweat-if-you-don't-pass-to-me' attitude. Disappointing performance. 7. Wellens...... 'bulldog' performance as always. Again got through loads of work and to good effect. Not quite as good as last week but then a much stronger opposition. For his work rate alone my joint m-o-t-m. 8. Wilson.... scored the much-needed equaliser. But did little else for me. Having said that he defended very well and against a very strong City team that was needed. On balance a good steady performance and he did score the goal. 9. Greening..... worked hard, wide right. Made some good runs down the flank but nothing much actually came from what he did. Needs to make more progress for me. 10. Notman...... ran his trollop off again. Can't ask for any more from a centre-forward, target-man. I like the way he has settled since he returned from that loan spell. He seems a much more confident and aware player. I hope he makes it, though he IS very small. 11. Chadwick..... not one of his better games. When he couldn't get down the flank he came inside and was easily dispossessed. We improved when the lad went off. Simple as that. 12. Twiss.... made a difference when he came on which is just about as good as you can report for any substitute. Copyright © 1999 The Old Fart. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author.
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BOSNICH: 'THE CRITICISM SPURRED ME ON' Mark Bosnich has played five successive matches, the longest run any United keeper has been afforded all season, but is not resting on his laurels. "People have been quick to criticise, but Peter Schmeichel took eight years at United to achieve what he did. I've only been here a few months, so I believe I am going to need a bit of time. "Obviously people are entitled to their opinions, but I don't think I have done too much wrong. It was good to play in Croatia and be able put a few things straight. "When I was back home in Australia we actually spoke Croatian all the time, but obviously it's something I have let slip a bit over the years. But it was nice to go to Zagreb, and I even managed a bit of the language in a TV interview. "My mother's parents are Croatian, although she was born in Australia, while my dad was born in Croatia. He added: "It's good timing for me to be back in the team having qualified for the next stage in Europe just before I have to face Aston Villa again on Saturday. "It happened a few weeks ago when I was in the Worthington Cup side that lost at Villa, so now it will be nice to face them again but this time at Old Trafford. Hopefully we will have a different result this time around. Bosnich continued: "Hopefully a few critics will take a step back now and say, maybe, just maybe, that the things they said about me were a bit wide of the mark. "I could have sulked, but I think that is very child-like. I was denied the chance to play for United several years ago because of work permit problems, now the situation is in my own hands and I am very appreciative about what I have got. "I could have sulked, but sometimes you just need to look around at all the problems elsewhere and you realise you are lucky with what you have. However, the criticism was a spur to me. There were all those accusing fingers. "But I found it strange that after seven years at Villa playing at a decent level, that I was judged like that. As far as I was concerned the only thing I did wrong was to get injured. I know I didn't set the world alight, but I wasn't playing that badly either. I suppose it comes down to the size of the club you are playing for. "But it's still early days and I still have a lot to prove at United."
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The Treble DVD Release Date: 01 November 1999 Rating Taken from the site ........ List Price £19.99 Our Price £15.99 Buy Now Football? Bloody Hell! The Gods in Red have done it again - hauled back victory from the jaws of defeat to produce the most amazing comeback of all time. Add Your Review www.dvdstreet http://www.dvdstreet.infront.co.uk/cgi-bin/show?Key=dvd-mudvd1&OQ=manchester +united&Zone= Region Coding: Zone 2 (UK and Europe) List Price: £19.99 Our Price: £15.99 (Includes VAT and FREE Delivery in the UK) The story line Football? Bloody Hell! The Gods in Red have done it again - hauled back victory from the jaws of defeat to produce the most amazing comeback of all time. 'Fact File' - did you know? * Man U's first period of success was before the First World War, when the team won two Championships and the FA Cup. * David Beckham has appeared over 220 times for the club since joining in 1992, including 22 occasions as a sub. Additional Information Release Date: 01 November 1999 Cat. Number: mudvd1 Bar Code: 5 014138 024031 Label: VCI Production Company: VCI Copyright: Video Collection International Ltd. Category: Sports Colour: Colour Video PAL: Yes
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Dates of Phase 2 CL Games Remaining dates for 1999/2000 Champions League are:- 2nd phase group matches November 23/24 December 7/8 February 29/March 1 March 7/8 March 14/15 March 21/22 Quarter finals April 4/5 April 18/19 Semi finals May 3 May 10 Final May24 Mike Dobbin
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Site Visitor from South Africa Kabelo and the Statman In response to your question that you raised yesterday : question: WHY ARE WE LOSING SO MUCH FOUR GAMES IN FIVE GAMES IS JUST TOO MUCH. IS IT THE INJURIES OR THE OPPONENT ARE JUST TOO GOOD FOR US. I would like to comment by saying that I fully agree with the STATMAN, YES we do have injury problems, YES, the opposition is getting more tougher, YES we have a goalkeeper crisis and YES the midfield understanding is doubtful. Yes, new played need time to settle down. In my opinion I believe that Sir Alex Furguson should bite the bullet now and get these problems sorted out whilst we are only two to five points adrift from the top of the log. Quinton Fortune is a brilliant midfielder and should feature in more of the matches (I am not only mentioning this because I am South African). Select a number one goalkeeper and stick with him. Changing the squad after a game lost is not the way to do it. Firstly, The goalkeeper or any other player starts feeling inadequate, de-motivated and probably eventually accepts blame for a loss by thinking that this is the reason why he is being left out. Secondly, the new player being replaced, is bound to make mistakes as well. Thirdly, we do have other talented players that can stand in the boots of those injured, why don't we use them. What I would try-out if I was the Manager......... and this is just a far out suggestion. If there is more than one defender, midfielder or strikeforce player injured from the first team. Take the rest of them out and replace the lot with the reserves. Let me explain. Say for instance Gary Neville, Jaap Stam and Dennis Irwin are all injured. I would bring up an entire reserves backline. Why ? These guys play together every week and understand each other better. It makes much more sense to do it this way than to bring up one ore two of the reserve players to be slotted in the first team. The same goes for the Midfield, etc. I don't think this has ever been tried, but I do believe it is worth a try. Anyway? Let me leave you with some encouragement. It is not important what you win now ..... It is important what you win at the end !!! Keep the Faith Always deep in "RED" Peter Russie
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Subject:Ask the StatMan - Do you think we gonna have Keane in our squad next season? ============================================================================ Date: Thursday, October 21, 1999 Time: 2:32 PM EST Submitted by: Roar Jansson Email address: roar_jansson@allkopi.no Ask the StatMan visitor_country: Norway visitor_age: 30 question: do you think we gonna have roy keane in our squad next season? ============================================================================ I have no inside knowledge, so all I can say is that like all Reds I hope Roy Keane will stay. If the stumbling block is just salary, then the club should explore all avenues to keep him, as a replacement will cost more money long-term. However, if the rumours about him having differences with the Chairman are true, it may be that he will exercise his right as a free agent to go in the summer.
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Bosnich chooses to fill a giant's boots By Ken Lawrence Mark Bosnich has come through the growing pains and now hopes to become the new goalkeeping giant of Manchester United. Bosnich returned from his spiritual home of Croatia having finally passed a revealing examination of his ability. His Old Trafford career could have been finished by now but the half-Croat, half-Australian has shown a maturity many doubted he possessed. Bosnich could hardly have got his angles more wrong after Sir Alex Ferguson made him first choice to follow the gargantuan presence of Peter Schmeichel. He had not even saved a shot for United when he ended up in police cells over a stag night barney outside a lap dancing club in June. Before he left Aston Villa he had fallen foul of the football authorities for making a Nazi-style salute in front of fans at Tottenham, a club with a strong Jewish affiliation. He also allegedly exchanged insults with Everton fans behind his goal at Goodison. Bosnich was on the books at United eight years ago but was forced to return home to Sydney because of work permit complications. On his return to the Old Trafford club, he played just 201 minutes of Premiership football before suffering a hamstring injury. He allegedly disagreed with Ferguson over training methods and the manager brought in £4.5million Massimo Taibi as replacement. Bosnich's chance to play in the Champions League came about only because the Italian's permit arrived 24 hours after the UEFA deadline. Now it is Taibi who is on the outside. Suddenly, Bosnich appears to fit his new role like a goalkeeping glove and he has convinced a doubting Sir Alex that he takes himself far more seriously than the United manager might have imagined. That is what helped him stay sane after he was dumped into the Old Trafford reserves. Bosnich said: 'When I was going through all my problems I could have sulked. But that would have been child-like. What I did was remind myself that I was still in a fortunate position. As a professional footballer I get paid very well for doing something I love. 'I am fortunate to be playing at a club that is arguably the biggest club in the world, a club I always wanted to play for and never wanted to leave in the first place. 'As I said, I could have sulked. But sometimes you have to look around you, look at all of the problems in the world. I decided that even if I wasn't in the team at the time, I was still lucky. 'It was difficult, of course. There were people shouting at me left, right and centre saying that I wasn't up to the job. But funnily enough, I am more comfortable with criticism than with praise. 'People are entitled to their opinion but I found it a little peculiar that, having played the last seven years with Villa at a decent level, I was being judged so quickly at United, even if I did not exactly set the world alight when I came back.' Bosnich, whose father was born in Croatia and whose mother's parents are from the same country, fittingly proved his return to form with a faultless display in Zagreb. That performance, watched by his Croat uncle and two cousins, has given him a great advantage in the battle for possession of United's No.1 jersey. Taibi, having been originally told by Ferguson that he would be first choice, has experienced his own disasters and remains ineligible for the Champions League until February. By then, Bosnich will have had the opportunity to prove he really can fill the huge boots of Schmeichel, although he said : 'One swallow doesn't make a summer. I know I have a lot of work to do yet. 'But Schmeichel was here at United for almost eight years. I've been here about three months. What I do hope is that all the people who pointed the finger at me and were so quick to criticise now accept that I am making progress. Hopefully all the critics will take a step back now. 'It means a lot to me that I'm in the team. I don't mind being up against any keeper in a one-to-one. That doesn't worry me. But I still have a lot to do here.' Bosnich now faces his former club Aston Villa at Old Trafford tomorrow in the Premiership. He suffered abuse at Villa Park a fortnight ago in his Worthington Cup comeback, but said: 'It's just the three points I want. It's just another match and I am looking forward to it.'
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UNITED FANS FEEL CLUB IS DIVIDED The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association have expressed major reservations over the club's confirmation they have withdrawn from the FA Cup. United have confirmed their decision with the Football Association ahead of the Saturday evening deadline prior to the second round draw. IMUSA chairman Andy Walsh believes that the decision has caused a rift in the Old Trafford hierarchy after director Sir Bobby Charlton urged the club's board to re-think their decision in midweek. "What we have seen this week, with the comments by Charlton, is that a division within the club has been created," Walsh said. "The whole thing has been badly handled. We tried to ensure there would be a stay of execution in the summer by meeting with the FA, the PFA and the LMA and the FA refused to have the meeting. "We had one meeting when the fans went down to see David Davies but he saw the other groups separately. "He promised to call us back but didn't and every step of the way, the FA have dragged their feet and been uncooperative and the whole thing has been a complete mess." But IMUSA admit that the playing and managerial staff at United have no blame in the affair. "We recognise that the club have been forced into this position by the FA and the Government's desire to secure the 2006 World Cup bid," Walsh said. "We would far rather have United not enter the World Club Championship in Brazil. The manager has already said that he fears for the rest of the season because of the physical demands players will face. "The players will playing at the height of the Brazilian summer in 90 degree heat and there are also the chances of injury. When we get back, we play Arsenal and then it is straight into the Champions League programme. "It just doesn't benefit United from a football sense at all. We are worried that the plc's judgement has been coloured by the money they will make from the tournament. I don't think the view of the manager, the players or the supporters have been taken into account one jot."
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