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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sat Jul 31 08:17:38 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Barca 99.. Part 1 of 5 - Majorca
3. Back to business and a meeting with old friends By Jaap Stam - Ttelegraph
4. MUFC - Arsenal - Chelsea - Leeds  Transfers Signings IN/OUT
5. The Red Planet - Telegraph
6. Ferguson warming to global domination - Telegraph
8. Edwards Brands Hoey Claims 'Disgraceful' And 'Ignorant'
9. United in double attack on Hoey 
10. TIMES - Ferguson ready for return to familiar hostilities 


Daily MANCHESTER UNITED NEWS Saturday 31st July 1999:

Barry Daily Comment:
STATING TODAY Paul Scully's AMAZING Barce diary which will run
for the next 5 days! Exciting reading believe me.

Well one day to go, still harping on about the FA CUP.
No blame to be attched to Manchester United its the Seagulls
to blame again. Whatever action we take we cannot win!

Mirror's Campaign for the FA Cup IMUSA List 

The Mirror are hoping to organise some photo opps outside Wembley before
the Charity Shield and are asking anyone who maybe interested to get in
touch with Louise Hancock on 0958 617773. This will probably mean posing
with some of their banners etc.

In addition Louise is looking for someone to take a Mirror 'Save the FA
Cup' banner into the stadium - if you fancy it then please contact Louise

Though I have agreed to send out this email it in no way demonstrates any
endorsement, personal or otherwise, of the Mirror's campaign, the decision
to become involved is down to the individual, so if you fancy getting your
mug in the paper and never known how before here is your chance.

    Andy Walsh IMUSA

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!


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)

August 3rd [19.30] Omagh Town, St Julian's Road ground
August 4th [19:45] Wigan Athletic

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   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             15.00
 3/08/99    Omagh Town     friendly in aid of Omagh Bomb Fund 19.30
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly at JJB Stadium.           19.45

 8/08/99    Everton                  away      16.00 Live on Sky
11/08/99    Sheffield Wednesday      home PL   20.00
14/08/99    Leeds United             home PL   12.00
22/08/99    Arsenal                  away PL   16.00 Live on Sky
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 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



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Subject: Barca 99.. Part 1 of 5 - Majorca Due to work commitments this has been a little late in coming, but better late than never... Part I - Majorca After the victory against Juventus in the semi-finals, a series of quick phone calls ensured our party was booked on various flights from Gatwick and Manchester for a weeks holiday in Majorca. In between this a ferry would provide our passage to Barcelona on the Tuesday, giving us two days to enjoy the atmosphere of the red army in one of Europe’s fine cities. Unlike all other Euro Aways I had ever been on, this time I was ticketless. I was not alone though, as United could undoubtedly have filled the entire stadium on their own. Still, everyone was as determined and as confident as I was of getting into the Nou Camp, plus there was the usual rumours flying around about them having to let us in because there was so many of us, which kind of defied logic but it was a hope to cling to. I was travelling to Majorca with Kerry Davies, leaving Gatwick on the Sunday evening after the FA Cup Final. I had spoken with him that morning and he had informed me that he had met someone with 4 spare tickets at the Cup Final the previous day and would try and get them off him before we left. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a blind alley and so my last hope of going to Spain with a ticket vanished as we entered the International Departure Lounge at Gatwick and headed for the nearest bar. In between deciding which lucky girls were going to be the recipients of his hyperactive hormones in Spain, Kerry informed me that he had been give a ticket for nothing by some guy he met at a dinner 3 days previous. I knew then that if anyone was going to get the remainder of the luck on this holiday it surely had to be me. The flight to Palma was as good as a package tour can be, with plenty of reds ensuring that the stewardesses were kept more than occupied. Kerry adopted his usual stance of sleeping with his mouth open for the entire trip, missing the sizeably challenged Chicken Kiev and various other Airtours delicacies. These were ultimately shared among a few fellow reds, though I would have ate more myself if I hadn’t stuffed myself with Omelette and mashed potatoes in the departure lounge. Arrival at Palma meant sweatshirts off and T-shirts on, as the heat was evident even at 1am in the morning. We had arranged a get-together at 2am in Banana’s nightclub in Magaluf, with Barney, Steve and a few other London based reds. Before we could make our way there though we had to go to our hotel in the neighbouring resort of Palma Nova, whilst we checked into the room and dumped the bags. Despite being the first out of baggage reclaim, we were told to sit down, where we found ourselves still sitting until virtually everybody had left for their hotels. The only other people remaining were 2 girls who were on our flight and a couple of Airtours reps. After numerous attempts to find out what was going on, the Airtours reps eventually bunged us and the girls into a taxi outside and sent us off to our hotel. Like all good taxi drivers do, our Spanish driver got lost and had to ask some English lads where he was. By sheer fortune, they were staying at the same hotel and so volunteered themselves for a lift home too, informing us in the process that we’d love it here if we liked noise - little did they know it would soon be taken over by reds. By this time we had already found out that the Manchester flight which was due in 3 hours before ours had been delayed in Manchester for 6 hours. Kerry found this hilariously funny as Ed, Rob and Jason were aboard and would therefore not even arrive at the hotel for another 3 hours. After freshening up, we set off for Magaluf and Banana’s, which we eventually found after a few detours, whilst fending off around 20 young girls trying to drag us into various other bars. We found the guys with relative ease considering the number of people in Banana’s and spent the next 4-5 hours in here, dancing, watching people fall down mountains on a giant video screen and drinking copious amounts of Vodka and Orange, with Vodka measures by the half glass, which probably accounted for my rather inebriated state. I really couldn’t figure out where the time had gone as we started our walk back to the hotel, but the sunrise was well under way and the sea was glistening over a beautifully sandy beach. I think we eventually got to sleep at around 7am, though I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be for very long. The first thing I remember about the next part of Monday morning was a thundering bang on the door at about 11am, which by virtue of being the elder, I made Kerry answer. I lay comatose as I listened to Jason complain about his flight and the fact that he had forgotten to pack any bells. With little chance of sleeping now that the rest of the gang had arrived and with some sort of introduction about to take place by the rep, I wearily gathered myself together and joined the rest downstairs. As I was out of bed early enough, I was blessed with being able to order an English breakfast from the bar, though for a while I wasn’t sure as to whether I had ordered it for the following day rather than the current one - still all good things come to those who wait and so it transpired did my nosh. Feeling slightly better from a good old bit of English nourishment, we gathered together our Factor 16’s, slipped into some slinky shorts and made our way towards the beach, with the compulsory purchase of a football being made on the way. To say we pissed off everybody in the immediate vicinity of our beach penalty area, would be slightly unfair, but I did notice a few uneasy glares as the posts were erected, the shirts came off and the Cantona style, flying bicycle kicks were attempted. The only real worrying moment came when Rob palmed a thunderous shot over the bar and into the lap of a local sun worshipper. This brought about childish laughter from the rest of us as he went to retrieve the ball from under the frown of our bronze chested amigo. It would have been more interesting though, had the ball landed 2 yards to the right, as it would surely have lodged itself between the finest pair of breasts on the entire beach. The football came to an abrupt end when Ed’s toenail fell off which I’m sure relieved a lot of punters, not least Jason, who was sweating buckets with all the running around. After a quick dip we went back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta to catch up on missed sleep and re-charge the batteries for the Airtours organised pub crawl that evening. The pub crawl was around Magaluf that evening and started in a bar called Poco Loco’s where we met up with all the rest of the Airtours hotels. Our party had grown to about 8 reds sat in the corner by now and whereas most people in there were there for a holiday, we were totally thinking about the Nou Camp and the European Cup Final and getting a few songs going. The reps became exceedingly irritating with their attempts at getting us to stand up and wave our hands in the air and I think they soon got the message that we were there for the football and not to play their silly games. The two girls from the taxi the previous night joined us for a chat and Kerry felt he was onto a winner when he found out that one of them was also called Kerry, especially as he found her more attractive with every drink. It was after we left Poco’s that the first United songs got their airing. We sang all the way to the next bar, starting off with ‘Yip Yap Stam…’ then moving onto the more conventional ‘United…, United…’ These continued as we travelled between the bars and clubs getting more and more pissed, but also aware of the fact that we had to get up at 6am in the morning to travel to the port in Palma where we were getting the 7.30am ferry to Barcelona. As we moved on towards the last group stop at Banana’s we held a mammoth rendition of ‘We shall not be moved’ which also became very popular with other reds who were passing us, resulting in a whole crowd gathering together and screaming out ‘We are the team that’s gonna win the fuckin lot…We shall not be moved’. It was at this point that I noticed the head rep (a scouser) having a go at Ed and telling him to keep quiet. Whilst Ed was protesting his innocence, the rep walked into a bench which I found rather amusing and was promptly told, ‘And you, don’t laugh at me’. I thought he was taking the piss at first but upon realising he was serious, I threw back my own torrent of words informing him that I would laugh at whatever the fuck I liked. Kerry then came into the argument along with myself, Ed and a couple more guys and we were plainly informed that we would not get into the club. Upon protesting to another rep, we were told to just go straight in. As we were walking in quietly and peacefully out jumped the scouse bastard rep again to turn us away. It was at this point that the argument began to get rather heated and we were ultimately told to get our stuff and clear the hotel as we started to draw attention from the street. Had we not been a day away from the European Cup Final and needed the beds in our hotel for accommodation for the 4 days after we came back, the guy would have been in serious danger of being lamped, but as it was, sense prevailed with thoughts of Barcelona and we retreated with a few choice words. We cooled off slightly in another bar where we got 2 bottles of Budweiser and a glass of so called champagne each for a quid. It was now 2am and Kerry, Rob and Ed were keen to continue whilst myself, and the others went back to the hotel with Jason in a fret about his ticket as it was in the hotel safe. I went into the hotel bar where I chatted to yet more Mancs who had just arrived. A few were without tickets, but still supremely confident of getting in. At 2.30am, things had quietened down in the bar and so I decided to get my head down for the next 3-4 hours and pray that my alarm went off. I think it was about 4am that I was woken up by the sound of the ‘12 days of Cantona’ echoing around the bar on the floor below. Apparently, Kerry and the guys had come back, got out the huge flag from Ed’s room and joined in with all the other newly arrived reds who had by now, downed quite a few beers and were singing on the tables. I thought about going down, but sat up, decided I was feeling extremely rough and fell back into my pillow. I was woken again at 5am as Kerry bashed on the door to be let in. As I opened it, the look or lack of it on his face told a thousand tales. I thought for one horrible moment that he was going to chunder as he staggered around the room barely able to stand up or talk. Fortunately, he dropped onto his bed and was out like a light. An hour later my alarm went off, which I immediately turned off. I struggled to get up, but the thought of missing the ferry forced me to drag myself out of bed at 6.05am. It took me a full 10 minutes to wake Kerry. After kicking him and bawling down his earhole to no avail, I lost patience and threatened the user of water. This managed to stir him, though the state he was in was absolutely appalling. Still he managed to get a small bag together and we went down to find the others at around 6.25am. With no sign, it wasn’t such a surprise that they hadn’t even woken up yet. Kerry ran up to Ed’s room and almost broke the door down as he attempted to wake them. With eventual success we went to order taxis where I found Alan and Paula who had arrived in the middle of the previous nights melee. As everyone was now up but arseing around getting things together, I jumped into Alan’s cab and but for a brief moment when we thought the driver was taking us to the airport, everything went smoothly and we reached the ferry check-in office at around 7am. Kerry arrived at the check in not long after with Jason, who was in a fret yet again about missing the ferry, but there was no sign of Ed or Rob. After checking in we had a brief moment to get some food at which point Ed and Rob appeared in a taxi informing us that Ed had apparently chundered on Palma Nova sea front whilst running to catch a cab. Things seemed to be going smoothly at last, until Kerry came into the canteen searching for a dustpan and brush to clean up his broken glass. Not content with enough early morning drama, Ed then boarded the wrong ferry after becoming separated from the rest of us and it wasn’t until we were all actually seated on the ferry that I was secure in the knowledge that we were actually going to Barcelona. Kerry though, was totally unaware that he was on any kind of sea worthy craft going to anywhere at that particular time, as he began to inform everyone in the immediate vicinity of his sexual preferences, as well as informing a few Germans on board of the uselessness of their journey. Alan, who was sat two rows behind with Paula, grinned and quietly buried his face beneath his cap. With the ferry not quite up to capacity, it wasn’t long before we spread our wings and found our own small row of seats to lie across for the remainder of the journey. Part II to follow No copying without permission === Paul Scully (on-site BT Labs, Martlesham) Logica UK, 75 Hampstead Road, London email: scullyp@logica.com
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Subject: CHARITY SHIELD PREVIEW + THE KEY BATTLES Looking Ahead To Sunday's Big Game At Wembley Between Manchester United And Arsenal FERGUSON RELISHING FRESH CHALLENGES AHEAD Wembley may be heading for the space age but Manchester United will have their feet on the ground as they take what could be their final look at the Twin Towers on Sunday. The Treble winners know last season's record-breaking achievements will count for nothing as they prepare for another challenging season and their first giant stride is a tough one against last year's biggest rivals, Arsenal. And with United missing this season's FA Cup to play in the World Club Championship in Brazil, the Charity Shield could well be their last visit to Wembley before it is torn down and rebuilt. ''When it comes to the next season it doesn't really matter what we have achieved the year before,'' said manager Sir Alex Ferguson. ''You can't rest on your laurels - that vanishes after a few weeks. I know I soon start thinking about the next season and how we can look ahead and improve. There is a lot to consider once a season finishes and right now things are looking quite good.'' The United chief claims he has had no problems bringing his players back to earth after the drama of clinching the Premiership, FA Cup and Champions Cup last season. ''I don't expect any problems on that score,'' he said. ''I think that once you get back into football training you are back to the habits of what players want to do - play football. You know every year is going to be a challenge for us.'' Ferguson admits it will be hard to match the success of last season and United have set their sights on going further this year than any other British club as they take part in the World Club Championship in Brazil. ''I don't think we try to set any targets other than to win a trophy each year,'' he said. ''That is the important thing and if we can win a major every year then I think we are doing the job right.'' United were the first winners of the Charity Shield when the competition was launched in 1908 and Ferguson, the traditionalist, would like to end the century by lifting the trophy for a 15th time. ''The Charity Shield is always an occasion. You are going to Wembley and you hope you enjoy the event and that you win. Last year all we got was humiliation when we lost 3-0 to Arsenal so I don't think the players would want that to happen again.'' United have injury problems to sort out with Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville the major doubts. WENGER BACKING ON ARSENAL'S FIGHTING SPIRIT Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, battered by a summer of turmoil dominated by the frustrating antics of rebel striker Nicolas Anelka, is banking on his team's famous fighting sprit to overcome the odds yet again. ''We must show our heart and I believe we will be hungrier than ever to succeed,'' said the Frenchman who saw Manchester United scoop the Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League treble last May while Arsenal, double-winners the previous season, finished empty-handed. Now the Gunners go into the new campaign with Dutch duo Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars missing from Sunday's Charity Shield curtain-raiser against United at Wembley, but also skipper Tony Adams and England goalkeeper David Seaman certain to miss the first few weeks of the League season. ''We have lost the spine of our team but it seems to me that this club is always at its best when the odds are against us,'' warned Wenger. ''The players have shown a magnificent attitude in the past and I do not expect it to be any different this time. Even with the problems we have I know we can do well because our spirit has never disappeared. We have to show again that it is good enough to compete with United ... and other teams.'' It is clear that Wenger regards Sunday's Charity Shield clash as little more than a high-profile pre-season friendly even though Arsenal are defending the trophy after routing United 3-0 in last year's Wembley meeting. But he believes his side, despite their injury problems and the loss of top scorer Anelka who hit 16 goals last term, can cash in if United suffer any kind of hangover from their Treble spectacular in the early weeks of the campaign. He said: ''You always have a dip when you have been on a high. It happened to us at the start of last season after we won the double and then many of our players were involved right through the World Cup in France. After something like that it is always difficult to settle them down again and it takes a long time. ''Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira won the World Cup with France and Bergkamp and Overmars went almost as far with the Dutch team. It was too much to expect their desire to be as strong as soon as they came back but this time we have to show it right from the start. ''Looking back on last season it still seems hard to believe that despite not losing even once in four games with United and Chelsea we did not win the title. But we had to accept that our problem was that we dropped so many points in the first few months of the season.'' Wenger will be looking for maturity and nerve from a string of deputies at Wembley on Sunday when 20-year-old centre half Matthew Upson gets the chance to show he has what it takes to replace Adams who is out until September after a hernia operation. The £1.8m former Luton defender has made only sporadic first-team appearances during 18 months at the club but now faces the acid test of his promise with veteran Steve Bould, Adams's usual deputy, now having been sold to Sunderland. Overmars will not enter the Premiership fray again until the second week of the season as Wenger gives him as much time as possible to fully recover from the severe abdominal strain which blighted his form for much of the second half of last season. And the manager will also resist the temptation to involve Bergkamp, who looked so jaded at the start of last term, in Sunday's game. Wenger said: ''He is fully fit and had a full session of training yesterday but our first League game against Leicester is much more important to us. I could give Dennis half-a-game on Sunday but I have decided against it because having him really fresh for the start of the Premiership programme is vital to us.'' Young Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger, fully recovered from a thigh injury sustained while with his national squad, takes over from Seaman who will return to full training in two weeks after pulling a thigh muscle in last week's friendly against Monaco in France. And new signings, Oleg Luzhny the £2m Ukrainian defender signed from Dynamo Kiev, Stefan Malz, a £750,000 capture from Germany's Munich 1860, and £4m Brazilian Silvinho are all likely to figure as well. But Arsenal's striking power relies heavily on Nigerian ace Nwankwo Kanu and Wenger knows he still has to find the former Ajax and Inter Milan star a top-quality partner for this season's European Champions League in which Bergkamp's refusal to travel by air will again preclude the Dutchman. Wenger admitted that his attempts to sign another French star Thierry Henry from Juventus to replace Anelka have so far been stalled by the Italian club's £11m valuation of a player they signed for only £5m from Monaco last season. SILVINHO: 'I'M HERE TO STAY' Arsenal's first boy from Brazil has promised manager Arsene Wenger: ''I'm here to stay.'' Silvinho, the Gunners' £4m summer capture from top Sao Paulo club Corinthians, has signed a four-year contract at Highbury and is relishing the prospect of a Wembley debut in the Charity Shield against Manchester United on Sunday. And he insists that, unlike so many South American imports to the Premiership, he won't do a runner as soon as the going gets tough. Other Brazilian imports to the Premiership such as Juninho and Emerson at Middlesbrough and Mirandinha at Newcastle did not stay long in England after their much-hyped arrivals. But Silvinho, who has won two League titles in Brazil and also their equivalent of the FA Cup, insists: ''Even though Corinthians are a very big club in my country, I feel privileged to join Arsenal and they can be assured of my best efforts over the four years of my contract. ''I know about the other players from Brazil who have come to England and soon left again but that will not happen with me. I am aware of the challenges and the life I must adapt to, but I know I can overcome any problems that arise. I won't let sentiment for my home become a problem. I am already learning the English language and I will not allow any other distractions off the field to affect me. ''I am very serious about my career here and I am determined to do well. My first task is to identify myself in this country and I'm looking forward to showing people what I can do.'' Silvinho, whose wife Lucilene joined him in England yesterday to begin house-hunting in Hertfordshire, plays at left back or midfield and is seen in Brazil as the likely successor to Roberto Carlos in the national side. The 24-year-old already has two caps. First he knows he faces a massive job to break into the Arsenal side, especially their evergreen back-four of 30-somethings who have been the bedrock of the side for more than a decade. But, with Marc Overmars absent through injury on Sunday, Silvinho looks certain to start on the left of midfield where he is likely to come into contact at some stage with United's England star David Beckham. ''I don't know if I will be facing him, but I know all about him,'' said Silvinho. ''He is probably the best crosser of a ball in Europe and one of England's finest all-round players.'' THE KEY BATTLES Where Will Sunday's Game be Won And Lost? GOALKEEPERS Manchester United keeper Mark Bosnich has the unenviable task of filling the sizeable boots of Peter Schmeichel, and although his time at Aston Villa revealed him to be highly-capable, he has the toughest of acts to follow. Opposite number David Seaman is out with an injury but his understudy Alex Manninger has impressed when deputising for England's number one in the past. DEFENCE Jaap Stam and Henning Berg know they will have their hands full with Nwankwo Kanu, but the pair showed their quality in the glorious end-of-season run-in, and despite the absence of Gary Neville, brother Phil and the vastly-experienced Denis Irwin will complete a solid-looking quartet. The loss of Tony Adams through injury will leave a huge hole at the heart of the Gunners' defence, but England Under-21 international Matthew Upson will relish the chance to prove himself alongside Martin Keown at the highest level. MIDFIELD With Roy Keane and Ronny Johnsen both missing, United can still rely on Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt in the engine room for the crucial head to head with Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit. All four like to get forward, and although the Arsenal pair may be a little more polished, the United duo have mixed it with the best of them and come out on top. In Ryan Giggs and David Beckham and Gunners wide men Silvinho and Ray Parlour, there are likely to be four of the most exciting providers in the English game on the pitch. STRIKERS The Cole-Yorke partnership produced more than 50 goals last season and they will be keen to exploit the absence of Adams to kick-start the new campaign in style. With the Nicolas Anelka saga seemingly no closer to resolution, and the brilliance of Dennis Bergkamp unavailable through injury it will be left to the exciting talent of Kanu to ensure a good test for the United back four.
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Subject: Back to business and a meeting with old friends By Jaap Stam - Ttelegraph THERE is no escaping Arsenal. They seem to be waiting for us round every corner. People tell me that Chelsea or Leeds may be our biggest rivals this season, but when I look for threats, I think first of Arsenal again. The Charity Shield sounds neighbourly but neither of us will think it's a smart idea to lose to the other in front of 75,000 people at Wembley one week before the league season begins. The close-season just seemed to evaporate. It feels like only a few hours ago that the clock in Barcelona was showing 89 minutes and we were chasing an equaliser, never mind the winner, against Bayern Munich. That remains my abiding memory of last season. And now even greater challenges are laid out ahead. On top of United's intercontinental programme, this is a big year for my native country, Holland. Together with Belgium, we host next summer's European Championship and the fans back home expect us to win. My Achilles injury has healed and the Stam family are rested. We had a nice hotel in Tenerife, very private with a pool, and didn't wander too far outside the grounds. A few people came up to us to have pictures taken and plenty of German guests asked for my autograph. I can only assume they weren't from Munich. The intention is always not to think about football but that's not easy when people recognise you everywhere you go and want to ask the kind of questions only the players themselves can answer. We were back at work by the second week of July and on our way to Australia and the Far East for a tour that took us into a whole new world of fanaticism. I had never seen it like that before. It's incredible how well United are known around the globe. There were plenty of fans waiting for us in Australia and even more in Shanghai and Hong Kong. If we went out in China or Hong Kong to do some shopping we were followed by photographers on bikes. Each time we went into a shop there were a hundred people waiting for us by the time we came out. The year before, the pre-season tour had taken me to Norway. No comparison. The games weren't all intense but the temperature and humidity were very high and it's hard to play in those conditions. We interspersed the games with a lot of good training sessions and performed well. Last season was so awesome that everybody in the squad knows a monumental effort will be needed to surpass the achievements of those final few weeks. But winning the Treble has taken us to a level we're not willing to climb down from. After the pre-season games we're still in the position of not having lost a game since December. We returned to find a fierce debate unfolding about the decision to pull out of the FA Cup. None of the players I've spoken to has thought too much about the downsides to us winning both domestic trophies last year! To play in England instils a special feeling for the FA Cup. But life is about choices, especially for the successful. All the players assume every possibility must have been thought through, and that Manchester United would never have withdrawn from the FA Cup if there had been any way to avoid it. Our contracts tell us to play and if that makes the club rich, we're only fulfilling our duties. At such a high-performing club the mind tends to lock itself on to the need to maintain one's individual standards and performances. That is a private fixation which stays with you throughout the year. As with last year, we have a broad squad and are prepared for the call from the boss, saying: "Hang on for the next game." The major change this year has happened, if you like, behind my back. Peter Schmeichel's voice has finally been stilled. Behind me now is Mark Bosnich, who understands the spirit of the club from his time there as a youngster. We had a couple of meetings to discuss what I expect from him and him from me. I still feel I'm standing in front of a guy who's played at a very high level. And contrary to popular opinion, he's not that much smaller than Peter. He talks during games, too. Peter shouts, Mark talks. And, like Peter, he brings great athleticism and agility to the job. Barcelona was the best feeling you can have in sport. That memory is still with us. And now we have some more business to conduct with our old friends at Arsenal.
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Subject: MUFC - Arsenal - Chelsea - Leeds Transfers Signings IN/OUT MANCHESTER UNITED In Mark Bosnich (Gk), from Aston Villa, Free Out Peter Schmeichel (Gk), to Sporting Lisbon (Por), Free DK Verdict: I cannot believe that they will actually start the season without a major new signing, but for now Sir Alex has kept his hands in his pockets. If the move for Edgar Davids was designed to scare Roy Keane, then that's OK. But if Ferguson was serious and is thinking about pairing them, then it's the rest of us who should be frightened. Home Improvement Rating: Bosnich is good but no Schmeichel, so minus 15%. -------------------------------- ARSENAL In Silvinho (Def/Mid), from Corinthians (Bra), £4m Stefan Malz (Mid), from Munich 1860 (Ger), £650,000 Oleg Luzhny (Def), from Dynamo Kiev (Ukr), £1.8m Out Stephen Hughes (Mid), to Fulham, Three-month loan Kaba Diawara (Mid/Att), to Marseille (Fra), £2.5m Remi Garde (Def/Mid), No club, Retired Fabian Caballero (Att), to Athletico Tembetary (Par), Undisclosed Steve Bould (Def), to Sunderland, £500,000 Jason Crowe (Def), to Portsmouth, Undisclosed DK Verdict: Luzhny is a terrific player, but, with the addition of Silvinho, Wenger now has five top-class full backs. Is that strictly necessary? Or some kind of fetish? The Anelka saga means that Arsenal's whole transfer policy has been thrown out of whack. If and when they get their hands on the lira (plus the incredible two and a half mill they conned out of Marseille for Diawara), the Gunners could then buy just about any forward in world football, which, given they already have Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Overmars and Kanu in attack, is scary. Still, that nightmare is all in the future. Home Improvement Rating: Until the dust has settled on the Anelka roof collapse, it's hard to say. Probably, thanks to the greedy French bâtard, minus 20% on last season. --------------------------------------- CHELSEA In Jes Hogh (Def), from Fenerbahce (Tur), £300,000 Chris Sutton (Att), from Blackburn, £10m Mario Melchiot (Def/Mid), from Ajax (Hol), Free Didier Deschamps (Mid) from Juventus (Ita), £3m Out Andy Myers (Def), to Bradford, £850,000 Brian Laudrup (Mid/Att), to Ajax, £2m Dmitri Kharine (Gk), to Celtic, Free Eddie Newton (Mid), to Birmingham, Bosman free Michael Duberry (Def), to Leeds, £5m subject to appearances DK Verdict: If Poyet had stayed fit last season (and if the likes of Leboeuf hadn't conceded the title weeks before they were actually out of it) Chelsea would have won the Premiership. Add Sutton and the determined Deschamps to the mix and they really should go very close again. Vialli has actually managed to enhance an already terrific squad. Seven million for the ornament that is Laudrup and the never-quite-fulfilled-his-promise-Duberry also begins to make Sutton look like a very cheap, if miserable, commodity. Home Improvement Rating: Plus 30%. --------------------------------- LEEDS UNITED In Michael Bridges (Att), from Sunderland, £5m Eirik Bakke (Mid), from Sogndal (Nor), £1.75m Danny Mills (Def), from Charlton, £4m Michael Duberry (Def), from Chelsea, £5m subject to appearances Out Danny Glanville (Mid), to Man City, Three-month loan period Clyde Wijnhard (Att), to Huddersfield, £750,000 David Wetherall (Def), to Bradford City, £1.4m Lee Sharpe (Mid), to Bradford City, £200,000 Gunnar Halle (Def/Mid), to Bradford, £200,000 Nuno Santos (Gk), Back to Portugal, Free DK Verdict: Fascinating. Rubbish out, a gang of potentially fine players in. Could David O'Leary really be about to assault the citadels of power with what amounts to a scout troop? Personally I doubt it, as "kids" usually get sussed-out by the old salts after a season. Still, Leeds fans are going to have a hell of a ride finding out. Home Improvement Rating: Plus 40%
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Subject: The Red Planet - Telegraph TWO gnat bites were sustained this week by the giant called Manchester United. At the Cliff on Wednesday, a United XI lost 3-1 to Boca Juniors from Argentina. Even worse, another collection of potential Old Trafford superstars were beaten 1-0 by Alfreton Town of the Northern Counties East League. Calling all Lilliputians: grab the robes and stakes, for Gulliver sleeps! But hang on. The United first team are still unbeaten since Dec 19. In the space of 11 days in May they picked up the Premiership title, the FA Cup and European Champions' Cup. Gulliver has not been sleeping, nor even resting. This summer United, the corporation, set out to conquer the world. As Jaap Stam relates overleaf, in China and Hong Kong the players found themselves playing the parts of John, Paul, George and Ringo in Help! Browsing in shops for clothes, they would come out to find "a hundred" people waiting for them on the pavement. When the European champions are in town, window shoppers don't study the goods; they ogle the customers. United are back. But then they never really went away. Tomorrow's Charity Shield against Arsenal is the first step on a monumental transcontinental voyage that will take them across Europe in defence of their title, to Monaco to play Lazio in the Super Cup, to Tokyo to meet Palmeiras in the World Club Cup on Nov 30 and then to Brazil itself for the World Club Championship from Jan 5-14. For many of United's luminaries the season will not end until after the European Championship in Holland and Belgium next summer. Already, after this summer's pre-season tour of Australia and the Orient, they are firmly established as football's Harlem Globetrotters. At the Open Championship golf addicts in northerly Scottish pubs looked up from their pints to see Sky pictures of United playing Australia in front of vast crowds. The date was July 15. The disorientation induced by seeing Denis Irwin and Nicky Butt tackling an international team 18 holes into the Open was nothing compared to the dizzying swirl of attention that enveloped the players themselves. Most pre-season tours are discreet trips to Sweden or Portugal. United's was so obviously a commercial blitzkrieg that the players might as well have played in suits. Demand creates supply. Or is it the other way round? The English champions are the subject of the most spectacular marketing drive in sporting history. In the Far East the company who handle Gucci have a licence to sell the United brand in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand and, if they choose, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam. "Charlie don't surf", to borrow a line from Apocalypse Now - he wears a Manchester United replica away shirt. In the Middle East a Theatre of Dreams retail outlet will open in Dubai in March, followed swiftly by emporia in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. For most other Premiership clubs the summer was about laying low, regrouping. In the Bradford and Bingley Stadium (capacity 18,018) Bradford City were probably wondering which members of their revolving squad United would send to face the Bantams, who are back in football's top flight for the first time in 77 years. The Bantams against the Heavyweights. While Bradford and Watford plotted survival strategies out of sight, United seemed to dominate the summer's news bulletins from the moment David May orchestrated that magnificent bullfighteresque salute in Barcelona, with the giant European Cup being raised and lowered in sync with the roars of the crowd. It was midsummer - tennis and cricket weather - and here was the news: Alex Ferguson was knighted by the Queen; David Beckham married Victoria Adams (aka Posh Spice) in a ceremony that was royal in all but name; pressure from the Football Association and (ex) Sports Minister Tony Banks forced United to withdraw from the FA Cup to enable them to contest FIFA's new junket in Brazil; Ferguson was given a celebrity golf day at The Belfry and a Testimonial Race Day at Haydock Park; United signed a new partnership deal with FC Fortune in Cape Town, which, their manager said, would provide the world's most valuable club with "entry to a rich seam of African football talent". United already had a tie-up in Belgium with Royal Antwerp. Gulliver's air-miles are stacking up quite nicely, thank you. After a decade of almost unbroken success United have become major players in the political and social affairs of the nation. When she took Banks's ministerial portfolio on Thursday, Kate Hoey's first pronouncement was on the FA Cup imbroglio. She wants United back in. The issue has become as confused as Bayern Munich's defence in the Nou Camp, but the one certainty is that the row says as much about the political power of United as it does the sacred traditions of the FA Cup. Martin Edwards, the United chairman, was saying 'No Minister' before Hoey had managed to get her feet under the desk. "We won't be having a re-think," Edwards said yesterday. "We made the decision weeks ago and that decision stands." It said much about Ferguson's own personal journey from shop steward in the Govan shipyards, meanwhile, that he was to be found at Buckingham Palace in a kilt bending the knee to an English monarch. In the week that the Beckhams became entwined, the Queen took tea with a lady in a Glasgow tenement block. One newspaper cleverly juxtaposed pictures of Beckham and Posh sitting on gilt and velvet thrones with a photo of the Queen supping Typhoo tea from a Glaswegian mother's best china. Who were Britain's real monarchs, the paper asked? Which of these two worlds would Sir Alex best recognise now? The working-class Glasgow of his youth or the quasi-regal wedding of one of his players? Ferguson is, deservedly, on his own pageant. He has become one of the major British figures of his day. With the publication of his new autobiography (written with Hugh McIlvanney), the knight sets off on a book-signing tour that will take in all points on the social compass from Harrod's to the ASDA in Burton Dock Road, Dumplington. In the meantime, the club that he pulled out of a morass only 10 years ago press ahead with new megastores in Stockport, Chester, Bolton and Gatwick and Dublin airports. There are now 200 branches of the United supporters' club, a United Mastercard, United savings accounts and United football schools, including a residential course at Hopwood Hall near Manchester. Two M-words are at play: money and momentum. Such is the scale of Old Trafford's money-making machine that there can be no thought of ever taking a summer off. Two legal/political developments have shaped United's marketing strategy. One was the Government's rejection of the BSkyB takeover bid; the other the decision this week by the Restrictive Practices Court to uphold the Premier League-BSkyB TV deal, which means that United have to share the Premiership's vast television revenues equitably with the league's other 19 clubs. United got an £11 million chunk of the deal last season. Edwards believes that the top Italian sides will get at least £39 million each this year. On Tuesday, United announced another three-year sponsorship package, this time with Western Union, worth £3 million. Companies are falling over themselves to buy into the United dream. In the last financial year turnover from marketing fell 16 per cent to £24.1 million, but a dramatic upturn can be expected in the wake of that victory in the European Cup. The United board have committed themselves to increasing Old Trafford's capacity by 12,400 seats to 67,400 at a cost of £30 million. The club's new 100-acre training ground and youth academy at Carrington is expected to cost £14.3 million and ought to provide the next Beckham and Giggs, provided there is no outbreak of war. The Ministry of Agriculture has a legal right to requisition the land for crops, though no ground associated with Ferguson is ever likely to be sprouting turnips. Nobody on English football's allotment, from Arsenal and Chelsea down to Cheltenham Town, needs reminding that United have dominated the domestic game this past decade. But in the European context a less straightforward picture starts to emerge. Sir Alex can outspend Bradford, but can he outdo the big city barons of Serie A, who have been spending more insanely than ever this summer as Italian TV revenues expand even more giddily than our own? Inter Milan spent £31 million on Christian Vieri. AC Milan had to part with the best part of £20 million to get Andrei Svevchenko. So far - and Ferguson may yet have a big name up his sleeve - United have merely replaced Peter Schmeichel by signing Mark Bosnich under the Bosman rule. While contract negotiations with Roy Keane continue, Simon Davies and Matthew Etherington from Peterborough are on a five-day trial. Posh players, presumably. Maltese trialists joined the team who lost to Boca Juniors. "We have a good strong squad but we also need to add a few more," Ferguson said. "We've got to go to Tokyo, take part in the Brazilian tournament and hopefully play 17 games in the Champions' League. It's a big, big challenge for us." With the season not started, United have already beaten Australia twice and won both their games in China, where the potential megastore and satellite customer base is 1.2 billion. Four more victories, no goals conceded and still unbeaten in 1999. Gulliver never sleeps.
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Subject: Ferguson warming to global domination - Telegraph THOSE seeking testament to Manchester United's awesome ambition needed only turn their eyes and ears towards Old Trafford and The Cliff yesterday. At the club's training ground, Sir Alex Ferguson talked about his unsated desire for further trophies while, just across town, four cranes towered over the stadium as another huge stand rose block by block, beam by beam. The champions of England and Europe are reaching for the sky again. "Men At Work" signs characterise life at United's two homes. Ferguson's players went briskly through their paces at The Cliff, glistening in the sun that matched anything Catalonia threw at them on that golden trip to the Nou Camp 66 days ago. Such was the heat that, the training completed, Jesper Blomqvist stopped his Jaguar to buy a lolly from the ice-cream van stationed at the gate. Roy Keane, his hair impossibly short, looked fit, although not quite enough to feature in tomorrow's Charity Shield against Arsenal. Ditto Gary Neville. Mark Bosnich, Ferguson's only summer signing, bantered with the many fans leaning over barriers. Dwight Yorke glided past, trailing cheery words to all and sundry. The only sad sight was Wes Brown, his right leg encased in a brace, hobbling to a waiting car. Brown's damaged cruciate ligament will have reminded his team-mates of football's fickle side, of the need to maximise the present. Keane and Yorke, Jaap Stam and Andy Cole will not be sitting on their many laurels. Nor will Ferguson. Memories of an enchanted evening in Barcelona have been set aside. "I can't even remember the goalscorers," Ferguson said. "Everyone had a right to wallow in a great night and the great times we had last year. On holiday, your mind drifts back to last-minute goals against Liverpool or in Barcelona. Most of the summer was spent with people telling me how they missed the last goal in Barcelona. "The media, television, managers and supporters create heroes. But my players can prove themselves real heroes by winning the title and the European Cup again. What distinguishes greatness is still being hungry, still being ambitious. I am looking for those qualities to be demonstrated by my players. I have this mechanism ready to operate if they let themselves down. But I don't think they will. "Maybe some unknown soul in my dressing room may unconsciously say, 'I've made it'. Well, he's in for a shock. That's the thing about our club. We have to go on. They are all trying to pelt us. It's hard losing a game at Manchester United because it makes so many people happy." Yet the nationwide backing for United was huge before the European Cup final. "That was fantastic and I acknowledged that support," Ferguson agreed. "There was a warm feeling going in to the final. We felt everyone was behind us apart from the odd idiot or two. Even the press were for us." Ferguson knows too much praise softens players. He also knows teams will be even more determined to beat his side. "They used to be facing the champions of the Premiership. Now they are playing the champions of Europe. If we win in Tokyo we will be the world champions. If we win in Brazil we will be the champions of the universe. We are creating a monster that is waiting to be shot down. It means the players have got to be really focused on winning. "There is more importance to club football than there is to international football now. If you ask supporters, they are more focused on their own club side than their country. Rivalry between clubs has increased; there is all this taunting and tribalism. Thereby it becomes more important for the club sides to win." Ferguson believes the Champions' League to be superior to the World Cup. "If you look at the world game, the last good finals were Mexico with Maradona. Since '86, the tournaments have been laced with disappointments. Italy, in 1990, had the debacle of a final between Argentina and Germany. In '94 in America it was penalty kicks. Last year, Brazil didn't really hit the heights although they and France were the best teams. At least we had a final of some drama; maybe that was a lot to do with the Ronaldo thing. "If you can pick an international game that matched our games against Barcelona and Juventus last season, then I would like to see it. They were fantastic to be involved in. OK, a few World Cup games stand out, like Germany-Italy in Mexico, 1970. That was a game which embraced everything in football. But our games against Barcelona [both 3-3] will always stick in my mind because so much happened, there was so much attacking play by both sides." Talking of going on the attack, Ferguson is irritated by the suggestion from Kate Hoey, the new Sports Minister, that United should play in the FA Cup instead of representing Europe (and England's 2006 World Cup bid) at FIFA's World Club Championship. "The gun was firmly put to our head that if we don't go to Brazil, England would lose the World Cup bid. Why should Manchester United take all the flak? The media should be getting on to the FA and the Government. They could tell us: 'Don't bother about the World Cup bid, leave that to us. It shouldn't be Manchester United's responsibility; you don't need to go to Brazil, get back in the FA Cup'. That's not the case. The FA have said nothing. The Government are now saying we should be in the FA Cup - the very people, with the FA, who said we would have to go to Brazil." United will return from the other side of the world for a Premiership game with Arsenal. "All the Arsenal fans in the Government who are trying to get us back into the FA Cup should be thinking about what an advantage they've got," said Ferguson, who added: "And there's no chance of putting the kids in the FA Cup." They will be too busy helping United conquer the world.
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Subject: UNITED'S WEMBLEY PLANS HIT BY INJURIES Manchester United have injury problems to sort out before manager Sir Alex Ferguson finalises his plans for Sunday's Charity Shield clash with Arsenal. Roy Keane looks unlikely to figure as he recovers from the ankle injury picked up on United's last visit to Wembley when they won the FA Cup in May, and Ryan Giggs is another battling for fitness. Giggs was sent home early from the club's pre-season tour and said: "I'll see how it goes over the next few days but I don't really want to rush it. I just want to make sure I am right for the start of the season. "It is only a thigh strain I picked up in training while we were in Hong Kong, it is nothing serious but I have been having treatment over the last week and it is a lot better." Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could make a surprise appearance in the curtain raiser after virtually being ruled out when he flew home with Giggs last week. Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham are all in contention for places in the United attacked and David Beckham is likely to play in midfield even though he missed the pre-season tour. Sir Alex wants to add the Charity Shield to the impressive collection of silverware United have gathered in 1999 and refuses to treat the game like a pre-season warm up. He said: "The Charity Shield is always an occasion. You are going to Wembley and you hope you enjoy the event and that you win. "Last year all we got was humiliation when we lost 3-0 to Arsenal so I don't think the players would want that to happen again even so this game is still preparation for the new season. The players are not 100% fit but hopefully by August 8 they will be." United were the first ever winners of the trophy in 1908 and have held the Shield 15 times with five of those successes coming during Sir Alex's reign as manager.
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Subject: Edwards Brands Hoey Claims 'Disgraceful' And 'Ignorant' Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has dismissed criticism from new Sports Minister Kate Hoey over the club's withdrawal from the FA Cup, branding her comments "disgraceful" and "ignorant." Hoey claimed United "had treated their supporters in a shabby way" by pulling out of the FA Cup in order to compete in the World Club Championships in January. But an angry Edwards stressed that United had taken their decision to withdraw from the FA Cup in support of Hoey's predecessor Tony Banks. He urged Hoey to "do her homework properly" and the Government to "get their act together." Edwards told Sky News: "I think the accusation that we are treating our fans shabbily is a disgraceful statement to make. "After discussions with the Government and the FA it was agreed that we would withdraw from the FA Cup. "Somebody else has entered the arena and is sounding off without knowing the facts. I've never even had a discussion with Kate Hoey. I believe the Football Association haven't had a discussion with her. "It's very easy to come into the situation and start sounding off but I'm sure, if she was involved in the original discussion when we all sat down and arrived at this decision, she would think differently. She is speaking from a position of ignorance." Hoey said: "The FA Cup is the most important football trophy that all football clubs aspire to win. I think the supporters are entitled to be given a really good reason - and I don't think they've been given enough reason - why both competitions (FA Cup and World Club Championship) can't be entered into and that's what I'd like to see us move forward to try to resolve."
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Subject: United in double attack on Hoey By By Martin Lipton Saturday, July 31, 1999 Sir Alex Ferguson last night blamed the Football Association and the Government for the ongoing furore over Manchester United's FA Cup withdrawal. As chief executive Martin Edwards maintained it was impossible to defend the trophy despite the intervention of new Sports Minister Kate Hoey, his angry manager went on the offensive. Sir Alex snapped over continued sniping at the club after Hoey said it was imperative that United play in the Cup, describing the club's actions as 'quite unforgivable' and accusing them of letting down their fans and the country. He said: 'The FA and the Government put it quite firmly in our block. They said if we didn't go to Brazil for the World Club Championship next January it would damage England's World Cup bid. 'It was a tremendous decision for us because we're not the most popular club at the best of times. If we'd said No and looked after our own interests we would have been slaughtered by the media. This is the FA and the Government's problem. They should take the flak.' Sir Alex was backed by Edwards who said: 'We won't be having a rethink. We made the decision weeks ago and it stands. After discussion with the Government and the Football Association it was decided we wouldn't play in the FA Cup. 'It was not our decision it was a joint decision and it is disgraceful for the new Minister to come along, at this stage, to tell us we've treated our fans shabbily and should go back in the FA Cup ... I suggest she does her homework.' Yet Sir Alex's agitated retort opened up a potential rift with the FA after Hoey appeared to be questioning the actions of predecessor Tony Banks in supporting United's decision to miss the FA Cup to play in Brazil in aid of the 2006 World Cup bid. Hoey was also challenged by the FA to devise a solution to the dilemma. Spokesman Steve Double said: 'Our stance has always been open-minded but what is most important is that somebody must present a viable solution. We look forward to an early meeting with Kate Hoey to explain the complexities which surround the issue.' At least her views found favour with FA Cup sponsor AXA. A spokesman said: 'We still haven't lost hope that United can re-enter the Cup.' ------------------ Leeway for United until November By John Ley MANCHESTER UNITED have four months to change their decision to opt out of this season's FA Cup as they have not yet officially withdrawn their entry, made before the April 1 deadline. As pressure continues from all sides - new Minister for Sport Kate Hoey has added her weight to the campaign to get the holders to defend the Cup - it has been confirmed that United could still take part. The competition begins a fortnight today with the preliminary round and United could change their minds as late as Nov 21, the day before the draw for the third round. If United - who have opted to play in the World Club Championship in Brazil in January - remain unmoved, one team will receive a bye in the third round because the complicated format for the competition is decided once the entrants have been confirmed in April. Meanwhile, the Football Association have challenged Hoey to offer a solution to United's withdrawal. FA spokesman Steve Double said: "We remain open-minded as to the solution. We are looking forward to having an early meeting with Kate Hoey to explain all the various complexities which surround the issue."
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Subject: TIMES - Ferguson ready for return to familiar hostilities BY STEPHEN WOOD THE warmth that Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, felt in the moments before the European Cup final in May did not owe everything to Barcelona's climate. There was a groundswell of support for United from unfamiliar territory, but Ferguson is well aware that the cold shoulder treatment will begin again tomorrow. United meet Arsenal in the Charity Shield at Wembley, in the traditional opening match of the new season that is losing its impact with every passing year. For now, United are more concerned about resolving the rumpus over their FA Cup withdrawal and the future of Roy Keane, their influential captain. If the Charity Shield is turning into an irrelevance - especially with United's seemingly perpetual involvement - the match last season highlights the transition. Twelve months ago, United lost 3-0 to the defending FA Carling Premiership champions and, nine months later, Ferguson's team put the finishing touches to an historic treble. However, if Ferguson is bothered about anything tomorrow, it is that his players do not endure a similarly tortuous afternoon. "It was a humiliation," he said. "We then went on to lose by three to Arsenal in the league at Highbury. But that Charity Shield defeat hurt. It made us think about what big challenges lay ahead. "Whoever it is that runs out at Wembley, I just hope they give us a better result than last year. We realise that we won't have the same sort of support that we took into the European Cup final. I really felt as if the majority of the football followers in the country wanted us to win, it was a nice feeling. "But I have reminded the players how hard it is to lose when you are playing for United these days - it makes so many other people happy." United will be without Keane, Johnsen, Gary Neville and Brown through injury, but Beckham, Scholes, Solskjaer and Giggs will be in contention for starting places if they show no adverse reaction to playing Bristol Rovers in a friendly last night.
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Subject: UNITED STARS INSIST THERE WILL NO LET-UP IN THE SEARCH FOR HONOURS By Ian Cruise 365 editorial ON THE eve of Manchester United's first real test of the season, David Beckham and Denis Irwin have sent a chilling message to the rest of the Premiership, insisting that the Reds' success last season has made them even more determined to retain their place at the top of the English football tree. United tackle Arsenal on Sunday in the Charity Shield in a game that offers Sir Alex Ferguson's side the chance to stretch their unbeaten run to an incredible 38 games, going back to last December. But any suggestions that winning the Treble has diluted the ambition at Old Trafford have been dismissed out of hand. "Going into the new season hoping to emulate last year's success is not realistic," Beckham told Football365. "But at the same time we have nothing to fear from teams. We proved we can live with some of the best teams in Europe, we did well against them and we want to do the same this season. "Last year's success will bring its own pressure this season. It's difficult to imagine a team being more motivated to beat this club, but after everything we achieved last season, I'm sure that determination will increase. But we, too, have a single-minded determination to do well." That desire to continue to prove themselves to be the best runs throughout the squad and Irish defender Irwin echoed Beckham's words when he told Football365: "I'm confident that if we can continue to play as well as we did last season, we should do well. It will be a test of character for the side, to see how they handle things, but at a club like United you are always living with pressure. Of course teams will want to beat us even more now but we will go into each game with the same attitude - to win. "Last season we seemed to have everything going for us and that rarely happens, no matter who you are. But if we apply ourselves they way we did last season then we should be in a good position to challenge for major honours."
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To debate ALL subjects about Manchester United Football Club we at Simplenet recommend:
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Singalong Calypso available here: mp3

          If ever they are playing in your town
          You must get to that football ground
          Take a lesson come to see
          Football taught by Matt Busby
          Manchester, Manchester United
          A bunch of bouncing Busby Babes
          They deserve to be knighted

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