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Manchester United - The Theatre of Dreams

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    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Old Trafford - Is the Home of Sporting Colossus Manchester United...

       

       

       

       

       

       

       



      Full name - Manchester United Football Club

      Nickname - The Red Devils

      Founded - 1878, as Newton Heath LYR F.C.

      Ground - Old Trafford, Manchester

      Capacity - 76, 000

      League - FA English Premier League



      Club officials

      Owner: Malcolm Glazer

      Honorary Life President: Martin Edwards

      Manchester United Limited

      Joint Chairmen: Joel Glazer & Avram Glazer

      Directors: Bryan Glazer, Kevin Glazer, Edward Glazer & Darcie Glazer

      Chief Executive: David Gill

      Chief Operating Officer: Michael Bolingbroke

      Commercial Director: Richard Arnold

      Manchester United football club

      Directors: David Gill, Michael Edelson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Maurice Watkins

      Club Secretary: Ken Ramsden

      Assistant Club Secretary: Ken Merrett

      Coaching and Medical Staff

      Manager : Sir Alex Ferguson

      Assistant Manager:

      First Team Coach: Mike Phelan

      Technical Skills Development Coach: René Meulensteen

      Academy Director: Brian McClair

      Reserve Team Coach: Ole Gunnar Solskjær 

      Under-18 Team Coach: Paul McGuinness

      Goalkeeping Coach: Eric Steele 

      Fitness Coach: Tony Strudwick

      Strength & Conditioning Coach: Mick Clegg

      Chief Scout: Jim Lawlor

      Chief European Scout: Martin Ferguson

      Director of Youth Academy: Brian McClair

      Director of Youth Football: Jimmy Ryan

      Club Doctor: Dr. Steve McNally

      Assistant Club Doctor: Dr. Tony Gill

      First Team Physiotherapist: Rob Swire

       

       

      2010/11 Barclays Premier League squad numbers


      1. Van der Sar, 2. Neville, 3. Evra, 4. Hargreaves, 5. Ferdinand, 6. Brown, 7. Owen, 8. Anderson, 9. Berbatov, 10. Rooney, 11. Giggs, 12. Smalling, 13. Park, 14. Chicharito, 15. Vidic, 16. Carrick, 17. Nani, 18. Scholes, 20. Fabio, 21. Rafael, 22. O'Shea, 23. J Evans, 24. Fletcher, 25. Valencia, 26. Obertan, 27. Macheda, 28. Gibson, 29. Kuszczak, 30. De Laet, 31. C Evans, 35. Cleverley, 40. Amos, 42. Eikrem, 44. Dudgeon, 45. Gill.





      Below is the list of first team players with their squad numbers for 2008/09 season:

      Team Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

      Back row (L-R): Louis Saha, Danny Welbeck, Wes Brown, John O'Shea, Jonny Evans, Manucho, Rodrigo Possebon, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Fraizer Campbell.

      Second Row (L-R): Dr Steve McNally, Masseur Andy Caveney, Masseur Garry Armer, Kit Manager Albert Morgan, Ji-Sung Park, Anderson, Nani, Ben Foster, Edwin van der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak, Darron Gibson, Rafael Da Silva, Fabio Da Silva, Goalkeeping Coach Eric Steele, Physio Neil Hough, Assistant Kit Manager Alec Wylie, Physio Rob Swire, Fitness Coach Tony Strudwick.

      Front Row (L-R): Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Cristiano Ronaldo, First Team Coach Rene Meulensteen, Ryan Giggs, Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Neville, First Team Coach Mike Phelan, Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes.





      Created by DMI, CKeer, zocoss, Rejected & Spica!

      Edited by zocoss 25 May `11, 12:28PM


    • This is the current Manchester United FC badge.
      On the right you can see their previous badge last used during the 1970s.


      Manchester United is a world famous English football club, based at Old Trafford stadium in Trafford, Greater Manchester. The club is one of the most successful football clubs in English football history, having won the FA Premier League/Football League 15 times, FA Cup 11 times, the League Cup twice, the European Cup twice, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup once, the Intercontinental Cup once, and the European Super Cup once. The club has had the highest average attendance in English football for the past 34 seasons, with the exception of 1987-89 during redevelopment at Old Trafford. The 'Red Devils' are reported to be the best-supported football club in the world.



      Championship Titles: First Division/Premier League - 15
      1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 / 2009 & 2011.

      FA Cup - 11
      1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
      League Cup: 1992, 2006

      European Cup / UEFA Champions League
      1967-68, 1998-99, 2007-08

      UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
      1991

      Intercontinental Cup 1 / Club World Cup Champions
      1999, 2008

      European Super Cup 1
      1991

      FA Charity/Community Shield - 1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965*, 1967*, 1977*, 1983, 1990*, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010. (* joint holders)


      Winning the EPL title.

      Edited by zocoss 25 May `11, 12:30PM
    • The Historic Treble

      Historic Facts: Man U conquered the historic Treble in 1999 - winning the Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.




      The Treble (1998-99)

      1998-99 was when Manchester United had the most successful season in English club football history as they became the first and only English team to win The Treble - winning the Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in the same season. After a very tense Premier League season, Manchester United won the title on the final day beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, whilst Arsenal won 1-0 against Aston Villa.

      Winning the Premiership was the first part of the Treble in place, the one part that manager Alex Ferguson described as the hardest. In the FA Cup Final United faced Newcastle United and won 2-0 with goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes.

      In the final match of that season, the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final they defeated Bayern Munich in what was then considered the greatest comeback ever witnessed. After going down to an early goal from a Mario Basler free kick, United chased the game for 85 minutes. After 90 minutes they forced a corner, from which late substitute Teddy Sheringham scored. Not giving up, Man Utd went for a second and it came again from a corner, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, another late substitute, poking it into the roof of the net. Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football. Later that year Manchester United won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 1-0 in Toyota.



      Manchester United's 1999 treble... Watch them here!!

      The Gates To Football Heaven - Manchester United Treble 1999 by Johan

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0GWQkovu5c&feature=PlayList&p=4247123DFCC608E6&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=47



      Their last EPL match of 1999 - Manchester United vs Spurs
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=092N_rE-NIU

      The 1999 English FA Cup Final.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHjskh8txlc&feature=fvw

      The 1999 UEFA Champions League Final.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mf8SC_UASg

       

      Manchester United Treble Celebrations (Uncut), May 1999

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndnmwJzi2MY




      Ferguson with trophies after Man Utd's Treble joy in 1999.
      From left to right: (The Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League)



      Fergie, along with Schmeichel, Teddy Sheringham, David May, David Beckham,
      Nicky Butt, Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. (UEFA Champions League 99).



      Fergie and Schmeichel lift the European Cup. (UEFA Champions League)


      Team photo after winning the UEFA Champions League 1999.

      Edited by zocoss 30 Mar `10, 10:28AM
    • image
      Solskjaer along with Ronny Johnsen, Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin
      and Giggs: (UEFA Champions League 99).


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      Solskjaer along with Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke and Denis Irwin : (UEFA Champions League 99).


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      Teddy Sheringham, Wes Brown and Beck celebrate their EPL title with champagne.

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      Team Photo after winning the 1999 FA cup final.

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      Celebration in the streets of Manchester.


    • image
      Parading the 3 trophies (The Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League)
      in the streets of Manchester.

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      The Treble team players from the 98/99 Squad :

      Peter Schmeichel
      Denis Irwin
      Henning Berg
      Ronny Johnsen
      Jaap Stam
      Gary Neville
      Phil Neville
      Wes Brown
      David May
      Roy Keane
      David Beckham
      Paul Scholes
      Ryan Giggs
      Nicky Butt
      Jesper Blomqvist
      Jordi Cruyff
      Andy Cole
      Teddy Sheringham
      Solskjaer
      Dwight Yorke
      Van Der Gouw

      Many players have come and gone. Since the 1999 treble success, Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, David Beckham, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke have all left to be replaced by a new generation of players including Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edwin van der Sar, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Anderson, Nani and Park Ji-Sung. Other players like Fabien Barthez, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Kléberson and Juan Sebastián Verón have arrived and left within the space of a few seasons.


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      Beck celebrating together with the rest of the team after winning another EPL title.

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    • image image image image

      Created by zocoss

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    • Sir Alex Ferguson
      Managing: Manchester United
      Nationality: Scottish
      Date of Birth: 31/12/1941




      Biography:

      Alex Ferguson succeeded Ron Atkinson as Manchester United manager on 6th November 1986 and in his first full season guided United to a League runners-up position. This was nothing compared to the success he was to later enjoy at Old Trafford as he built a team capable of matching the best in Europe.

      Born in Govan, Glasgow Ferguson made his league debut for Scottish Second Division side Stranraer in 1957 having joined from amateur club Queen's Park and having represented his country at Youth and Amateur levels. He joined St Johnstone on a part-time basis in 1960 whilst completing his apprenticeship as a toolmaker for a typewriter manufacturer. He went on to score 19 goals in 37 league appearances for St. Johnstone before an exchange deal took him to Dunfermline Athletic as a full-time professional in 1964.

      He gained his first taste of European football with the Fife club and moved to Rangers, the team he supported as a boy, in 1967, spending two-and-a-half years at Ibrox before joining Falkirk where he began to take on coaching duties. His final playing days were spent at Ayr United as a part-timer as he pursued business interests before being appointed to his first managerial position at East Stirlingshire in July 1974. He moved to moved to St Mirren in October that year and promptly guided the Paisley club to the First Division Championship in 1976-77. This led to a number of offers from the bigger clubs in Scotland and Ferguson accepted the manager's job at Aberdeen in 1978. It was with the Granite City club that he really began to make a name for himself as The Dons eclipsed their Old Firm rivals taking three league titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup in eight seasons. Probably Ferguson's greatest achievement at Pittodrie came in 1983 when he led Aberdeen to victory over Real Madrid in the European Cup Winners Cup.

      The untimely death of Scotland manager Jock Stein in 1986 led to Ferguson taking over the national team temporarily for the World Cup finals in Mexico. He turned down the opportunity to remain in charge of Scotland on a permanent basis however, as well as several other lucrative offers, to move South of the border and manage Manchester United. He was charged with returning the glory days to Old Trafford and United fans were expectant having waited over twenty years since their last league title. His first three years at United did not bring the success that he had enjoyed in Scotland however and it seemed at one stage that his tenure in Manchester may be short-lived.

      Victory in the 1990 FA Cup final replay over Crystal Palace however began an incredible run that saw United win countless trophies as they dominated the English game. A European Cup Winners Cup followed in 1991 and a League Cup in 1992, as United were edged into second place in the League by Howard Wilkinson's Leeds United. The following year saw the inauguration of the Premier League and Ferguson drafted in the mercurial French striker Eric Cantona, a League Championship winner with Leeds and a precocious talent. He was instrumental in helping United end their twenty-six year wait to capture the elusive League title, with Ferguson becoming the first man to manage teams to Premier League titles on both sides of the border.

      1993-94 saw United and Ferguson repeat their success of the previous year, this time going one better, winning the League and Cup double. Blackburn Rovers pipped the Reds to the trophy in 1994-95 and Ferguson tasted defeat in the FA Cup final but United were triumphant once again, on both fronts, as they won another Double in 1995-96, missing out on an unprecedented treble as they lost to Aston Villa in the League Cup final.

       

      Alex Ferguson

      FAMILY AFFAIR ... Sir Alex with wife Cathy and (left to right) kids Jason, Darren and Mark

       


      Another League title followed in 1996-97 before Arsenal stole the limelight, winning the Double themselves in 1997-98, coming from behind to snatch the Premiership trophy from the holders. This served only to stir Ferguson and his team into action as the 1999-2000 season brought United an incredible treble. Despite losing his long-time assistant Brian Kidd halfway through the season, Ferguson - with the help of Kidd's replacement, Steve McClaren - led the Red Devils to victory in the League, the FA Cup and the European Champions League in an incredible two-week period, the like of which may never be repeated.

      Controversially, United did not defend the FA Cup the following year and they were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Real Madrid. They made a successful defence of their Premiership title however, beating Arsenal by an incredible 18 points. The following season brought United's seventh league title in nine years as they clinched the Premiership crown yet again, this time with a record five games to spare, making Ferguson the most successful manager in the history of English football.

      Alex Ferguson became Sir Alex in 1999 (having already received the OBE and CBE honours in 1983 and 1995 respectively) as his achievements in football were recognised. It is largely thanks to his success in the transfer market that he has achieved so much in English football. Signings such as Peter Schmeichel, Dennis Irwin, Eric Cantona, Paul Ince, Andy Cole, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all made significant contributions to United's success during Ferguson's time in charge. Alongside young players like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Wes Brown, whose talents have been nurtured at Old Trafford, these players helped United produce an almost unchallenged level of performance that has enabled them to dominate the domestic game in a similar fashion to the Liverpool side of the 1980's.

      In the summer of 2001 - Sir Alex took to the training field. Having served his apprenticeship as a coach at Derby and Old Trafford, Steve McClaren accepted an offer to become the manager of Middlesbrough. Having planned to retire as manager of United after the 2001/2002, Ferguson felt it would be unfair to recruit an new assistant for a single season and appointed Jim Ryan as his number two, taking on more of the coaching responsibilities himself. Midway through the campaign, as speculation continued unabated as to who would replace Sir Alex, the United boss had a change of mind and signed a new three-year deal to stay on at Old Trafford.

      Hoping to lead his team to Champions League glory once again, as well as a record fourth straight Premiership title, Ferguson was disappointed to end the year empty handed. Despite drawing both legs of their semi-final with Bayer Leverkusen, United went out of Europe's most prestigious competition on away goals. To make matters worse, the league title was won by Arsenal - who completed another domestic double - and Liverpool snatched second place and automatic qualification for the following season's Champions League proper. Nevertheless, Sir Alex's desire for success remains as strong as ever, as do his efforts to promote the work of the LMA and improve the lot of his fellow managers and the English game itself.

      Prior to the beginning of the 2002-03 season, he appointed a new assistant, Carlos Queiroz, the Mozambique-born former Portugal and South Africa coach, and smashed the British transfer record to sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United for £33million; signally his intentions for the new campaign.

      Previous Clubs
      Aberdeen (SC), St.Mirren (SC), East Stirling (SC)


       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 2:59PM
    • Sir Alex Ferguson's 20 years at Manchester United



       



      It was the year of Chernobyl, the Nasa Challenger disaster and Margaret Thatcher was in the seventh of her 11 years as PM. The 1986 World Cup in Mexico saw Maradona's infamous Hand of God, while closer to home Steaua Bucuresti had won the European Cup and Oxford the League Cup. Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew, while Alex Ferguson moved south from Aberdeen to take the helm at Manchester United. As the following 20 years bear testimony, Sir Alex Ferguson has made United the ultimate winners.

      Ferguson had to wait three-and-a-half years for his first piece of silverware, but once he found a winning formula titles became the norm at Old Trafford. So what is the key to Ferguson's sustained success? Despite the public persona, he is renowned for the humour and enthusiasm he translates through to his players on the training pitch. He has said: "The really good coach is the one who is happy to work. The drive, the hunger, the passion must be inside you because players need to recognise that you care." But he has also adapted his methods as player power has increased over time: "You have to deal with that and the one thing you must have is control. There has to be a strong discipline in the training and in general."

      Ferguson has overseen 1,109 games as the Old Trafford supremo and he has tasted victory in 57% of them, losing just 19%. He has won more games than Arsene Wenger - the second longest serving manager in the Premiership - has presided over. And after a slow start that winning percentage has steadily risen, passing and staying above 50% for good in the 1992/93 season. And as well as bringing success to the club, Ferguson has ensured it has been done in style. Goals have come at an average of 1.79 a game, up from a lowly 1.24 in his first season to a dizzying 2.19 to date this term.

      Having replaced Ron Atkinson, Ferguson lost his first game at Oxford who have since spiralled out of the league, using 21 bosses in an effort to arrest the decline. He had to wait 213 minutes to celebrate a goal, with John Sivebaek - one of just 14 overseas players in the top-flight - scoring to secure a first win in his third game. With just one top-half finish in four seasons and Liverpool still dominant fans were growing restless, one memorable banner saying: "Three years of excuses and it's still crap...ta-ra Fergie." However, he pointed them on the glory trail with the 1990 FA Cup success against Crystal Palace.



       



      Ferguson's first priority was to overhaul the playing personnel. "I'm running a football club, not a drinking club," he proclaimed, and with that Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath were shown the door. In came men who laid the foundations for future success. He went through the £1m barrier for the first of 49 times to lure Mark Hughes and signed Gary Pallister for a then British record £2.3m. Ferguson has gone on to break that mark a further four times and has spent in the region of £300m, but it was the £1m he splashed out on Eric Cantona that helped United dominate the domestic scene in the 1990s.

      With just 27 points from 17 games at the start of the 1992/93 season it seemed as if United's 26-year wait for a title would go on. However, fate intervened. Leeds rang with an offer for Denis Irwin but ended up selling Eric Cantona and Ferguson had the missing piece of the jigsaw which saw his team "inspired and transformed".

      There was the defining late win at home to Sheffield Wednesday which had Ferguson and assistant Brian Kidd dancing in delight - and the first of eight titles in 11 years was the prize. A League and Cup Double - United's first - followed in 1994 and they were now undeniably the top dogs.





      But after a trophyless season in 1995, Ferguson boldly ripped up the form book and started again. Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis were sold and 'Fergie's Fledglings', for whom Ryan Giggs provided the template, came in. Giggs himself was "bewildered" by the sales and Alan Hansen was adamant: "You don't win anything with kids". But the youngsters fired a new-look side to even greater glory - and another Double in 1996. "It's always a nice challenge to see young people come through," Ferguson has said. "That's the great beauty of football, it never stops. You win one day and the next you have to start again."

      The pinnacle of achievement came in 1999 when, in the space of 10 days in May, Ferguson's United re-wrote the record books. After wrapping up another double with a comprehensive victory over Newcastle, it was on to Barcelona and a Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Trailing to Mario Basler's early goal and without the suspended Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, it seemed as if Ferguson was going to miss out on his Holy Grail with injury time fast approaching. But Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck to secure victory and the Scot's famous response: "Football, bloody hell."





      Despite being the most successful manager in the English game and revolutionising United, there are aspects that sully his reputation. As well as a poor return in Europe, there have been transfer failures, unseemly legal squabbles over the horse Rock of Gibraltar and he over-stepped the mark with his 'hairdryer' treatment when kicking a boot at David Beckham. He was soon sold for crossing the boss - as were Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy. But that is all part of the man's fabled character that makes him feared and feted in equal measure. He has said: "You mellow a bit but the inner desire is just the same."



       



      Ferguson has flirted with retirement in the past, announcing that he would be stepping down at the end of the 2002 campaign. Despite nearing pensionable age, he has an indefatigable footballing spirit and captain Gary Neville says: "It wouldn't surprise me if he carried on for another 10 years."

      As for Ferguson, he says: "It is scandalous that people are saying it is time for me to retire because it is none of their bloody business! "If you don't win then you're not going to be here 20 years, that's for sure. It's been an incredible spell and the way we have done it has been good. It has been the right way - the United way."

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:01PM
    •  

      The top 50 Manchester United moments

       



      50 Stock Exchange flotation, 1991

      United were not the first football club to take this route, but it helped consolidate their position as the wealthiest outfit in the country.

      49 Thrashed by Barcelona, 1994

      United harboured hopes of becoming European champions but – hampered by the rule that restricted foreign players and classed non-English players from the British Isles as such – they were put firmly in their place by Romario, Stoichkov and Co.

      48 Betting scandal, 1915

      With United in danger of relegation from the top division, three of their players conspired with four Liverpool players to fix the match. All were banned for life.

      47 Playing at home in Plymouth, 1977

      Hooliganism followed United during the mid-1970s and, as punishment for their fans’ behaviour in the first leg away to St Etienne, they had to play the return at least 200 kilometres from Manchester, and duly progressed after a 2-0 win at Home Park.

      46 Louis Edwards scandal, 1980

      Granada Television’s World in Action programme accused United chairman Louis Edwards of suspect dealing in the meat industry and bribing the parents of schoolboy players. The police and football authorities began investigating but Edwards soon died of a heart attack, leaving the inquires to peter out.

      45 Whiteside’s winner, 1985

      Norman Whiteside had already shown his liking for the big occasion by scoring in the FA Cup and League Cup finals of 1983 and playing in the 1982 World Cup finals. Facing Everton, the league champions, in the 1985 FA Cup Final in a United side down to ten men, he curled a brilliant shot home in extra-time to ensure a 1-0 win.

      44 MUTV launched, 1998

      To emphasise their ambition and commercial standing, United formed their own television channel, three years before any other English club. Chelsea TV followed in 2001.

      43 Signing of Rooney, 2004

      Wayne Rooney was English football’s hottest property for years so United flexed their financial muscle to prize him from Everton for a transfer fee of up to £29million.

      42 Michael Knighton’s juggling, 1989

      The prospective owner played keepy-uppy in the sunshine before the opening-day hammering of Arsenal but the deal fell through amid claims that he could not find backers.

      41 Ray Wood’s injury, 1957

      United were firm favourites to complete the first League and Cup Double of the 20th century but Peter McFarland’s violent foul on Ray Wood after six minutes forced the United goalkeeper off. In the days before substitutes and proper punishment for foul play, United had to play 10 against 11 (instead of 11 against 10) and duly lost 2-1.

      40 Holders drop the FA Cup, 2000

      Apparently encouraged by the FA to play in the inaugural Club World Championship in Brazil, United withdrew from the FA Cup having won it the previous season. They were criticised for showing a lack of respect to the famous competition.

      39 Barcelona blown away, 1984

      After losing the first leg of their Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final 2-0 in Spain, United stormed back on a raucous night at Old Trafford to beat Diego Maradona’s side 3-0, with two goals from Bryan Robson and one from Frank Stapleton.

      38 Docherty’s affair, 1977

      Newspapers revealed that manager Tommy Docherty was having an affair with Mary Brown, wife of United physio Laurie, so United, embarrassed by the scandal, sacked him.

      37 Giggs’ weaving run, 1999

      United were a man down in extra-time of their FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal when Ryan Giggs intercepted Patrick Vieira’s pass on the halfway line and swayed around several challenges before blasting the winner and baring his chest. The goal gave United the belief that they could achieve the treble.

      36 Comeback at Anfield, 1988

      The league table showed United were inferior to Liverpool throughout the 1980s yet they raised their game when up against their bitter rivals. Facing one of the great Liverpool sides, they fell 3-1 behind but, with ten men, recovered to draw 3-3, extending their league record against the Merseysiders to one defeat in 17 games. Gordon Strachan celebrated his equaliser provocatively, pretending to smoke a cigar

      35 Kung-fu fighting, 1995

      Eric Cantona had a unique way of dealing with life’s problems so, when a spectator abused him at Selhurst Park in the match against Crystal Palace, he launched his feet into the man’s chest and was banned for eight months.

      34 Agonising collapse, 1992

      Nerves and a congested fixture list foiled United’s pursuit of a first league title for 25 years. Defeats in late April at home to Nottingham Forest and away to West Ham United and a draw away to Luton Town, all in the space of five days, left Leeds United in pole position. The failure only added to the sense of exhilaration when the holy grail was finally reached a year later.

      33 BSkyB’s failed takeover, 1998

      Fourteen years after Robert Maxwell proved unable to take control of United, Rupert Murdoch tried his luck and seemed to have got his way when the club recommended that shareholders accept BSkyB’s offer. But, after the deal had been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry blocked it.

      32 Robson signs, 1981

      Ron Atkinson described Robson as “pure gold” when signing the England midfield player from West Bromwich Albion and the player repaid the compliment by helping to ensure United finished in the top four throughout the manager’s five-year reign.

      31 Fergie gives Beckham the boot, 2003

      Angered by David Beckham’s supposedly failure to mark an opponent when Arsenal scored in their FA Cup win at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a boot that flew at David Beckham, scarring his forehead. It symbolised the manager’s frustration at the celebrity circus surrounding the player and Beckham was sold at the end of the season.

      30 United turn on Wembley style, 1948

      In what was considered one of the great FA Cup Finals, United beat Blackpool 4-2 to help create their reputation for stylish football that remains today.

      29 Nike deal, 2002

      The sportswear company agreed to give United £300million over the next 13 years, cementing their position as England’s richest club.

      28 Giggs swaps sides, 1988

      Ryan Giggs played at Manchester City as a schoolboy but he was poached by United, who have been repaid with 15 years of flair, consistency and success.

      27 Saints Day, 1976

      United reached their first FA Cup Final in 13 years in 1976 when they met Southampton. While the game ended in a surprising defeat, it established United’s habit of reaching this fixture – five times in ten years from 1976 to 1985 – just as the game was being shown around the world in more and more countries on television, thereby increasing their worldwide following.

      26 United almost third rate, 1934

      Only a last-day win away to Millwall saved United from relegation to the third tier. Such was their lowly status in the 1930s that just 3,900 watched the match against Middlesbrough in 1931.

      25 Fergie’s U-turn, 2002

      Sir Alex Ferguson had announced that he would retire at the end of the 2001-02 season and the campaign started badly. The manager decided he couldn’t get let go, though, and stayed to engineer further league titles in 2003 and 2007.

      24 United raid City, 1906

      Manchester City were forced to sell a raft of players after making illegal payments, while Billy Meredith also had to leave them for allegedly bribing an Aston Villa player. An auction was planned where all clubs could attempt to buy them but United courted and signed four in advance in secret, including Meredith, angering their rivals. The new players helped United win their first trophies, the league titles of 1908 and 1911 and the FA Cup of 1909.

      23 Denis Law arrives, 1962

      The Scotland striker was signed from Torino and became European Footballer of the Year in 1964 and a cult hero at Old Trafford.

      22 Busby steps down, 1969

      Sir Matt Busby had built up Manchester United almost single-handedly so the decision to maintain his enormous presence in the background, as general manager, seemed to hamper Wilf McGuiness, his successor. A decline set in.

      21 Title collapse, 1986

      United had begun the season in scintillating style with ten successive victories and seemed likely to end their long search for the league title. But their challenge gradually fell apart and they lost the lead in February on a weekend when they were beaten by West Ham United at Upton Park.

      20 Old Trafford is bombed, 1939-1945

      The war-time damage inflicted on Old Trafford forced United to play at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground until 1949. It reinforced the feeling that the club had to start again from scratch having not won a trophy since 1911, and they did so to great effect.

      19 Cantona signs, 1992

      Almost as an after thought, Sir Alex Ferguson asked Leeds United if he might be allowed to have Eric Cantona and he was granted his wish for just £1 million. The France forward inspired four league titles in his five seasons at the club and galvanised the young players with his diligent training.

      18 Relegation, 1974

      The shock of demotion six years after conquering Europe shook up the club. Tommy Docherty built an exciting team that attracted the highest average attendances in the country despite playing in the second tier and they stormed back to the top flight.

      17 Old Trafford expands, 2006

      The increase in capacity to 76,000 meant the stadium held 16,000 more seats than any other English club.

      16 Robins keeps Fergie bobbing along, 1990

      Sir Alex Ferguson was thought to be close to the sack but Mark Robins scored the only goal in the FA Cup third round tie away to Nottingham Forest and United went on to win the manager’s first trophy, buying him time that he put to good use.

      15 Fergie’s Jimmy Hill outburst, 1994

      After television highlighted a foul by Eric Cantona in United’s FA Cup victory away to Norwich City, Sir Alex Ferguson showed he had little time for perceived unfair media criticism, accusing the BBC’s football panel of being Liverpool fans and announcing that “Jimmy Hill is a prat” – a line that was repeated in front-page headlines the following day.

      14 League title, 1952

      In the season when the phrase “Busby Babes” was first mentioned, United won their first league championship under Sir Matt Busby.

      13 Keane joins United, 1993

      Roy Keane had told Blackburn Rovers he would sign for them from Nottingham Forest but United intervened and the Irishman changed his mind. He was their driving force from midfield for 12 years.

      12 American nightmare, 2005

      A club with no debt was plunged deeply into the red via the takeover by Malcolm Glazer and his family. Many United fans were so aghast that they formed their own club, FC United.

      11 Perfect ten, 1956

      United shrugged off the opposition of English football authorities to become European pioneers. They won their first home match 10-0 against Anderlecht.

      10 Entertainment, please, 1981

      Jose Mourinho’s recent dismissal by Chelsea was far from the first case of a manager losing his job because his team’s football was too dull. Dave Sexton had just finished the season with seven successive league wins but he was ditched in favour of the extrovert Ron Atkinson, who brought a flamboyancy to United’s play.

      9 George Best emerges, 1963

      The swaggering Northern Irishman is widely considered to have been the greatest British player and his presence helped swell interest in United during the 1960s.

      8 Keane’s prawn sandwich blast, 2000

      Roy Keane was so angered by the criticism from the corporate areas of Old Trafford during the Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev that he dismissed their occupants as prawn sandwich eaters who had little knowledge of the game.

      7 Bruce’s header, 1993

      United had trailed at home to Sheffield Wednesday until late in the game in the league run-in but, after conjuring up the equaliser, Steve Bruce added the winning goal deep into stoppage time to leave Brian Kidd, the assistant manager, on his knees on the pitch in delight and United ahead of Aston Villa in the table. Three weeks later they wrapped up their first league title in 26 years.

      6 Bobby Charlton’s debut, 1956

      As perhaps the most famous English player of all time, his presence in the team for 17 years helped to make United famous around the world.

      5 The Nou Camp, 1999

      United’s first European Cup for 31 years and the first such League-FA Cup-European Cup treble by an English team were achieved through two goals in stoppage time against Bayern Munich in the final.

      4 European champions at last, 1968

      Ten years after the destruction in a plane crash of the United team that had seemed destined to win the European Cup, Sir Matt Busby guided a rebuilt side to glory against Benfica on an emotional night at Wembley.

      3 Fergie’s appointment, 1986

      Sir Alex Ferguson became manager, kicked out the drinkers, overhauled the youth system and achieved his stated aim of knocking Liverpool off their perch.

      2 Munich air crash, 1958

      Eight United players were killed when their plane crashed in Munich after a refuelling stop on the return from a European Cup tie in Belgrade. The wiping out of the standard bearers of English football brought world-wide sympathy for the club and fired imaginations as to what they might have achieved.

      Get to know more about the Victims and Survivors of The 1958 Munich Air Disaster here

      1 Busby’s arrival, 1945

      United were just another medium-sized club when Sir Matt Busby became manager after the war and he, more than anyone, was responsible for turning them into giants of the world game, building three great teams and laying down a philosophy of attacking football.

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:04PM
    •  

      His genius offered a footballing immortality.

      Full Name : George Best
      Date of Birth : 22nd May 1946
      Place of Birth : Belfast
      Position : Winger/Forward
      Height : 5ft 8




      George Best with good friends Bobby Charlton and Denis Law

       

       



      The Genius from Belfast

      It was obvious to Sir Matt Busby from the outset that the skinny 16 year old from East Belfast's Cregagh Estate was something extra-special. United's Northern Ireland scout Bob Bishop famously sent a telegram Busby that read: "I believe I've found you a genius." Best made his league debut for United in 1963 aged 17 and won an international cap before he turned 18. It wasn't long before he was a household name throughout Britain. George was perhaps the most important member of the great United team which won the League Championship twice in the 1960's.

      By 1966, George Best superstar had arrived, especially after his magnificent performance in United's 5-1 thrashing of Benfica in Lisbon where he scored twice. Stepping off the plane the Portuguese press dubbed him "El Beatle".

      The only pupil in his class to pass the eleven-plus, the grammar Best attended did not encourage football so he began truanting, then moved to the secondary school. Best was offered a two-week trial. His mother bought him his first pair of long trousers, but two days into the trial he returned to Belfast complaining he was homesick. Busby persuaded him back. Perhaps, Sir Matt would reflect later, if his parents had accompanied him during his apprenticeship, he would not have careered so spectacularly off the rails. Although the manager himself acted as a father figure he would soon wield little influence over his hedonistic young charge.

      The peak at 22

      After five years of playing breathtaking football his place in history was secured in 1968 - United became the first English team to win the European Cup and Best scored a superb solo goal in the final against Benfica. He later claimed that having beaten round the Benfica keeper he wanted to take the ball up to the line stop it, lie down on the ground and head the ball over the line. Only a truly special sort of player would even have considered such an outrageous act in a game of such importance.

      In 1968 he was at his peak at only 22 years of age. That year he also deservedly won both the English and European Footballer of the Year awards. He was also the club's top scorer that year with 28 goals, and for the following four seasons. In 1970 he scored six goals in an 8-2 win over Northampton in the FA Cup, the most goals ever scored in a single match by any United player.

      Bestie goals captured on television, such as the dazzling runs against Sheffield United, Chelsea, West Ham and the delicate lob against Spurs have become all-time classics. And who knows what other gems he scored in an age before blanket television coverage, great goals that now live on only in the memories of those lucky to have been there at the time.

      The first pop-star footballer

      Nicknamed "the fifth Beatle", he was one of the most famous stars in Britain during the 1960s. Best was the first pop-star footballer, a personification of youth culture and the swinging sixties. He had the good looks, the style and the girls went mad for him with Best getting 10,000 fan letters a week. This had never happened to a footballer before. Sadly it was this pop star image that proved his eventual downfall, for he began to live the lifestyle of a pop star, and not a footballer.

      Best himself once said, "If I'd been ugly, you'd never have heard of Pele". The alcohol, women and wild nights spent partying would ultimately shorten his career and lead to severe health problems later on. As he became a casualty of intense media attention, George could not concentrate on football without being hounded everywhere by paparazzi. He opened a night club and a number of fashion boutiques which were not a success, while a string of famous actress/model girlfriend's meant he was under incredible media scrutiny.

      At 17 Best turned professional and the rest is sporting history. At 20 he was earning £1,000 a week. By the age of 26 he had won a European Cup winner's medal, two championship medals, European and England Footballer of the Year and had been United's top scorer for six seasons. After that, in his own words, there was "nowhere else to go but down". And it was his life outside football that ensured that was the direction he took.




      Best: Known as the 5th Beatles

       



      Best's talent was matched by his good looks. The long dark hair, the brilliant blue eyes, the dimple, the effortless Irish charm - all of it a magnet for women. He oozed high-octane celebrity. He was the first footballer with pop star status and looks. His feet, according to one commentator, were as dexterous "as a pickpocket's fingers", his feints devastatingly deceptive, his bank account swollen.

      Everything was on a plate, and he was greedy. Clubbing, women, fast cars, drink - in all he was insatiable. "It was spirits in those days. I was a hairy-arsed footballer from Belfast and wine was for poofters. So every night it was the same routine: out on the town and stay partying until all the others had gone," he once recalled.

      His favourite haunt was Slack Alice, a Manchester nightclub he part-owned. But he soon found himself on the wrong side of the law, being fined for speeding in 1966, running over a woman in 1967, and banned from driving in 1968 after ramming his Jaguar into another car. But still he seemed untouchable.

      When, in 1968, United defeated Benfica to lift the European Cup, he got so drunk that "after the greatest day of my footballing life, everything is a complete blank. I don't even remember going to the official dinner". Women flocked to him. "Pulling girls had become a sport for me and so I wanted to be the best at it…I would fly in a girl from Australia…and after a couple of weeks when I got bored I would send her back," he wrote in the second of his autobiographies.




      Eva Haraldsted became engaged to Best just weeks after they met

      United urged him to settle down. Even so, they were surprised when a few weeks later he announced his engagement to a statuesque student Eva Haraldsted, 21, whom he had met on a pre-season tour of Denmark. "But you've only just met her," Sir Matt is said to have spluttered. It was short-lived. Best told reporters he was too young to marry and could not promise to be faithful. She sued for breach of promise - he used to boast he was the last man to be sued - and she received a £500 out-of-court settlement.

       

      The decline

      Many who knew him well believe that the seeds of this self-destruction were sown the day he left Belfast. He was brought up a Protestant on the religiously mixed Cregagh estate, the son of Dickie, who worked in the shipyards, and Ann, who worked in an ice cream factory. She was to die an alcoholic aged 58, her addiction blamed on her cherished son's fame.

      Once Sir Matt retired in 1969 it was downhill for the Ulsterman as he became increasingly rebellious and erratic. Busby's successors, Frank O'Farrell and Tommy Docherty lacked his fatherly influence on Best. The United team was in decline and Best found it hard to take. Seeing United beaten by teams they used to hammer a few years ago was painful and his love for football slowly diminished. He took solace in the bottle with drinking and partying taking over his entire life. He was now frequently missing training and failing to turn up for games.

      By now, though, Best's bedroom and bar room capers were seriously encroaching on his football. He missed training sessions, and in 1971 failed to turn up for a tie with Chelsea, instead going on a date with the Irish actress Sinead Cusack. He missed another match to spend a weekend with Miss Great Britain. It was behaviour Tommy Docherty, United's new manager, was not prepared to tolerate. Best's drunken binges dominated the headlines.

      Docherty would later say: "George was a fantastic player and he would have been an even better one if he'd been able to pass nightclubs the way he passed the ball." Best's relationship with United soured and in 1972 he announced his retirement. He would make a brief comeback, only to leave again.





      So, at 27, his career in top-class football was over. His success with women, however, remained phenomenal. There were rumours that he had slept with seven Miss Worlds, and in a later career as an after-dinner speaker he would joke about this saying: "I used to go missing a lot…Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World." He did admit to three Miss Worlds, and the tally appears to include a Miss United Kingdom and a Miss Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.

      Marjorie Wallace, the Miss USA who claimed the Miss World title in 1973, was stripped of it 104 days later after the beauty contest organisers could no longer tolerate the steamy headlines. It was a relationship that would end in more headlines when Best was arrested at a nightclub and found himself in the dock before Marylebone magistrates accused of stealing her mink coat, passport and some letters. The charges were later dropped.

      Susan George, the actress, and Lynsey de Paul, the singer were to join his list too. As he said, in one of his most famous one-liners: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." During this time he made a living playing for clubs in Britain and America, and by 1978 had decided it was time to settle down. He chose as his bride Angie Macdonald James, an Essex-born Bunnygirl who had moved to the US and was working as an assistant to the singer Cher. She recalled that Best arrived drunk for the wedding ceremony in Las Vegas, forgot the ring and then spent his wedding night gambling. The marriage lasted six years but produced his son Calum, 24.

      There followed a romance with Mary Stavin, a former Miss World, which kept him in the tabloids, especially during their explosive break-up, and then he appeared to settle down with Mary Shatila. By 1982 Best was bankrupt, but there was always someone in the pub honoured to buy their hero a pint.

      In 1972 he announced his retirement at only 26 but was persuaded back by Docherty. The comeback was not a success and George left United for good on New Years Day 1974, his final game against QPR.



      Post-United Years

      He then played for numerous other clubs, most notably Fulham (76-77) with the outlandish ex Manchester City star, Rodney Marsh. Then there was Stockport County, Hibernian and USA soccer teams L.A. Aztecs (1976-78.) Fort Lauderdale Strikers (78-79) and San Jose Earthquakes (80-81). Even though not as fit as in his prime, the incredible skills were still apparent, no one could ever take that away from him.

      George finally ended his football career with Bournemouth in 1983, although went on to play in many charity and friendly matches. In the 1990's he established himself as a successful sports commentator with Sky Sports and after dinner speaker. Though playing for many clubs, it was still clear that Manchester United were the only team that truly remained close to Best's heart - he was a red through and through.

      In 2000 Best's health reached rock bottom due to liver damage caused by his years of alcoholism. However, in July 2002 he had a successful liver transplant operation and made a full recovery. Personal problems continued to hound him as he divorced for a second time and was unable to beat the bottle.

      On 1st October, 2005, George entered the Cromwell hospital with flu-like symptoms, later suffering a kidney infection. He was susceptible to infection because of medicines needed after the liver transplant and his condition deteriorated sharply in the next month when it spread to his lungs.

      Ironcially his death was played out much the same way as his life, in a blaze of media coverage. Though he fought on for far longer than doctors ever expected, on 25th November, George Best lost his battle for life. In Belfast, Manchester and around the world, the whole of football was in mourning at the death of a legend.

      A week later on 3rd December, the Belfast Boy came home to his native city for the final time. 100,000 people lined the streets and grounds of Stormont for the funeral of Northern Ireland's greatest sporting hero.




      Best married Alex Pursey when she was just 23

       



      Throughout this time he remained with Mary Shatila then, suddenly, she was dumped for Alex Pursey, a Virgin air hostess that he met, predictably, at Tramp nightclub. They married when she was just 23 and he was 49. The spurned Mary vented her feelings in the tabloids in an open letter to Best, wounding him with the words, "if there is a perfect person for you I'd say it is your mother, which is frightening". It was especially cutting because by then his mother was dead.



      Conclusion

      There are many regrets for Best, such as ending his career early and never displaying his phenomenal skills in the World Cup Finals. However, when you look at the positive things he brought to British football, the moments of sheer breath-taking excitement, the glory of 1968, the lifestyle he led, George Best has lived more than most of us ever will.

      Let us also not forget he played for ten seasons at United - Eric Cantona spent only five and few modern day players will have a career as long in the red shirt. George Best's life on the surface is the classic story of the wayward genius who had it all and supposedly threw it all away.

      However, pundits tend to overlook that it was this wild self-destructive streak that made him the player he was. Genius often goes hand in hand with some sort of eccentric quality, a quality that gives that creative spark others do not possess.

      Just a month before his death he said "People will remember me for my football" and that is ultimately what will last the test of time. George Best will live on as a football icon forever. Blessed with unbelievable skill, he was a genius the like of which may never come again. A player that took the game to a different level, a level which mere footballing mortals can only gaze up at, in wonder, awe and sheer exhilaration.





      But, as he said in an interview a few weeks earlier: "I never really learned to look ahead. I lived for the day." The interview ended with "I'm not scared of dying". Not surprisingly the last picture we have of George Best, lying desperately ill in hospital, appeared, as it had so many times before, in a Sunday tabloid newspaper.

      Best wanted people to know the dangers of drink, said the story next to a shocking picture which revealed the final toll of a lifetime in thrall to alcohol.

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:07PM
    •  

       
      1999 Squad.





       2000 Squad.

       

      2001 Squad.

       

      2002 Squad.


       

      2003 Squad.

       

       

      2004/05 Squad

      2005/06 Squad

      2006/07 Team



      2007/08 Team

       

       

      2008/09 Team

       

      2010 / 11 Team

       

      2010 / 11 Team

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:12PM
    •  

      Pat Crerand: Why I believe Ronaldo can be as great as George Best

      EXCLUSIVE By PAT CRERAND United legend on the latest Old Trafford hero.

       

      If I am honest, I never thought I would see another player like George Best in my lifetime. I was wrong. I saw him on Wednesday night at Old Trafford and his name is Cristiano Ronaldo.

      Young Cristiano has many things in common with dear George: he is two-footed, lightning quick, good in the air and as brave as a lion. And — just like George — he is a good-looking devil as well!

      I would sound only one note of caution: Cristiano may need just a couple more years before we can consistently say that he is right up there at George's level. And I think the key to that will be his performances in Europe.

      Cristiano is the best player in the Barclays Premier League by a mile and his performance as captain against Bolton was outstanding. If I close my eyes and think back to him running past Ricardo Gardner in the second half and almost getting his hat-trick, it could have been George himself out there.

      However, I think Cristiano just needs to up his levels in the Champions League. When he does, he will be sitting there right next to Bestie in the list of greats. I am sure it will happen and he has the time, of course. George was finished at United aged only 27. Incredible, isn't it? And Ronaldo is still only 23.

      The way Cristiano looks after himself and the way modern footballers are taken care of these days, he will play for a lot longer than George and I hope he spends most of those glorious years at Manchester United.

      Sir Alex Ferguson loves him. I know that because he has told me himself. So does Sir Bobby Charlton. They think the world of him and we are blessed at United to have him.

      I still remember the first time I saw him. We were on our way back from a tour of America in 2003 and he played against us for Sporting Lisbon. What a game he had. He terrorised John O'Shea on one flank, then switched over and did the same to Mikael Silvestre. It took the pair of them weeks to recover! And thank God we went and bought him before one of our rivals did.

      There has been a lot of talk this year about the way Cristiano is treated by opposition defenders, but he is just going to have to get used to it. George did. George used to get whacked, get back up, pull his socks up, smile and then push the ball through the fella's legs next time he had an opportunity. Cristiano must accept he will get this treatment and, in some ways, he just has to accept it as a compliment.

      Many things have changed in football but some things remain the same. If I was a manager or coach, I would be telling my players to go out and give Cristiano a whack early on. How else do you stop him? I am sure that is what Harry Redknapp told his men when Portsmouth won at Old Trafford recently and although it is hard to watch Cristiano being whacked about, it is not that hard to realise why teams set out to do it.

      He is showing he can cope, though and thankfully he has avoided any bad injuries so far. He is showing the same courage and sense of when to get out of the way that George used to. If George was watching him now, he would love it.

      In terms of the club's history, I think Cristiano has eclipsed everyone apart from George. He has eclipsed Eric Cantona, though that will probably get me shot the next time I go to France!

      Who knows? He may be on his way to eclipsing George, too. And that will get me hung, drawn and quartered the next time I go to Belfast!

       

      RONALDO AND UNITED
      Games 227
      Goals 83
      League title 2007
      FA Cup 2004
      League Cup 2006
      Footballer of the Year 2007
      Best goal tally 33 (24 in League) this season... so far

       

      BEST AND UNITED
      Games 466
      Goals 178
      League title 1965, 1967
      European Cup 1968
      Footballer of the Year 1968
      European Footballer of the Year 1968
      Best goal tally 32 (28 in league) 1967-68

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:16PM
    •  

      Sir Alex Ferguson has built a great United team


      By Alan Hansen
      12/05/2008 

       

       

      If there is one thing that money has brought to the Premier League, it is the fact that you can no longer win a championship by being a very good side. Now you have to be outstanding. Manchester United are exceptional on so many fronts. It is not just the quality of their football that made them champions yesterday - Arsenal have as much, perhaps more, natural flair. It is their ability to recover from any setback, their refusal to accept defeat and the fact that, especially defensively, they have answered every question that has been put to them. Great is a word that should be used sparingly in sport but this is a great team.

      And yet just a couple of years ago, when they lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup, I remember thinking that this was a side that would really struggle to recover their position. Sir Alex Ferguson recognised this too because it is the changes he has made that has ensured that Manchester United were able first to match and then to overhaul Chelsea. And not only did they overtake Chelsea, they did it with immense style.

      Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra proved, after an uncertain start, that they could underpin the Manchester United defence. Paul Scholes now looks a completely different player to the one he was three years ago. Buying Michael Carrick and Carlos Tevez augmented what he had in Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

      Not only did Manchester United regain their title, they have now won back-to-back championships and they will start next season favourites to make it three in a row purely because of an unbelievable strength in depth that seemed unattainable a few years back.

      Although he, himself says that ending the era of Liverpool's dominance is the thing that makes him most proud, winning back-to-back titles against a Chelsea side funded by Roman Abramovich must count among Ferguson's greatest achievements.

      It does not matter how much money you have - sometimes you have to make hard, cruel decisions about players and you have to motivate the men you bring in. No amount of money can prepare you for that.

      Ferguson thrives on that kind of edge-of-your-seat pressure. And as he celebrates his 10th league championship, you have to ask why he should want to take himself off to a beach and enjoy a retirement that would not produce anything like the kind of experiences he had yesterday. And if I had a team like Manchester United, I wouldn't be disappearing to a beach either. Naturally, it will give them a huge psychological boost before Moscow.

      In 1986 Everton and Liverpool were going head-to-head for the Double and, when we won the league, we were able to go into the FA Cup final in a far more relaxed frame of mind because, whatever happened, we would have won something.

      Chelsea may yet end up with nothing but as the season has reached its critical point, they have shown some unbelievable resilience. They have kept going right to the very end. That can only be a tribute to their manager, Avram Grant, who as Chelsea have fought tooth-and-nail with Manchester United, has had to answer continual questions about his own future.

      In my mind - with the exception of the Carling Cup final and his decision to substitute Joe Cole when they were leading 4-3 at Tottenham, only to draw 4-4 - he has done an exceptional job. But these days compassion seems to have become an ugly word.

      Last year, Jose Mourinho won the FA Cup and the Carling Cup, reached a Champions League semi-final and finished second in the Premier League. That was considered not good enough by the man who paid his wages.

      In the world of Abramovich finishing a good second is not good enough. The old saying of: 'first is first, second is nowhere' has never been truer than in the age of the billionaire foreign owner.

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:17PM

    • Ryan Giggs caps another championship season

      Wigan Athletic (0) 0 Manchester United (1) 2

       

      How gloriously appropriate that Manchester United's match-winners yesterday, the men who swept them to a deserved Premier League title, were Cristiano Ronaldo, the Footballer of the Year, and Ryan Giggs, the embodiment of all that is good about this special club.

      No fear tempers the movement of Ronaldo or Giggs, such thrilling creatures of sustained invention, such magnificent ambassadors for Sir Alex Ferguson's attacking game-plan. These heirs to the sporting tradition of George Best certainly delivered for United yesterday, Ronaldo with a ruthless penalty and Giggs with a nerveless finish.

      Any newcomers to footballing circles seeking guidance about United's personality need pointing only in the direction of their goalscorers on a triumphant day in the thunder, rain and lightning. United mix the cocksure swagger of Ronaldo and the loyalty of Giggs.

      Anyone questioning whether United were worthy winners of the trophy also needed pointing towards Ronaldo and Giggs. These are the individuals who quicken the pulse, who fill grounds with admirers and hearts with hope. These are the talents who make inflated ticket prices worthwhile, who turn all those long motorway journeys into reverie on wheels.

      If Ronaldo acted the spoilt child at times yesterday, slamming his palms against the pitch like a Portuguese Violet Elizabeth if the referee did not agree with him, then Giggs was all grace. Coming off the bench to help United protect a lead secured by Ronaldo, Giggs celebrated equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for United with a fine finish, sliding the ball calmly past the outstanding Chris Kirkland.

      As the final whistle went, as Wayne Rooney sank to his knees and Ronaldo looked to the heavens, Rio Ferdinand led the fans' singing. "That boy Giggsy - he won it 10 times," chanted Ferdinand with the visiting hordes, jubilating in the winger's astonishing number of titles.

      Afterwards, Ferguson made a fascinating remark about Giggs, saying he was worried about the deluge's effect on the pitch and that the "soft ground" might not suit Giggs, as if he were some thoroughbred racehorse.

      As Ferguson and all of a red hue revelled in the moment, thoughts needed sparing for two vanquished, but admirable blue-bedecked adversaries, Wigan Athletic and first Chelsea. After Liverpool and then Arsenal fell away, Avram Grant's side stopped a title race becoming a procession. Chelsea deserve widespread praise for giving the season's last gleaming such an epic glow.

      As well as knowing they themselves gave everything, Chelsea's players can also take comfort from the knowledge that Wigan ran themselves into their sodden new pitch. Wigan had only pride to play for but did themselves, the town and the Premier League proud.

      Of course, suggestions of collusion were always going to be wide of the mark. Anyone who genuinely believed that Steve Bruce might be tempted to tell his players to go easy on his former club clearly does not know what makes the Wigan manager tick. He did not acquire a nose sculpted like Scafell Pike without being committed, without giving everything at every occasion. Every Wigan player and fan breathed defiance against their famous visitors before, sportingly, staying on to salute the champions.

      Kirkland excelled in goal. In midfield, Wilson Palacios embellished his reputation. Bruce also enhanced his standing as a man of integrity and a manager of substance.

      Rocked back by the hunger of Bruce's players, United were desperately lucky to turn around a goal clear and with a full complement. When thunder and lightning reverberated around the JJB Stadium, it could have emanated from Ferguson such was his animated mood. Marcus Bent found the side-netting, Emmerson Boyce shot over, Michael Brown shot wide.

      The locals loved it, willing Wigan on as United laboured. It took a defensive mistake, Boyce's awkward challenge on Rooney, to allow the champions through. Steve Bennett pointed immediately to the spot, and Ronaldo took control. He had missed against Barcelona. He had every Wigan fan screaming blue murder at him. But he is not the double Player of the Year for nothing, and he calmly slotted the ball to Kirkland's left and set off on a long celebratory run. As a roar emerged from the visitors' end, pandemonium reigned in the main stand where pockets of United fans revealed themselves.

       

      Giggs's wonder goal against Arsenal in the 1999 FA Cup.

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:17PM
    •  

      Ryan Giggs awarded honorary degree

       

       

       

      He's the most decorated British football player of all time... and yesterday Ryan Giggs added yet another honour to his collection.

      The Manchester United star was awarded an honorary degree from Salford University for his contribution to sport and his work as a Unicef ambassador, helping South African children affected by HIV and Aids.

      The 34-year-old Welsh winger now has a Master of Arts to add to his winning medals for 10 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two Champions League titles and two PFA Player of the Year gongs.

      Former Salford Boys player Giggs, who grew up in nearby Swinton, said: "When I started my career as a footballer I didn't envisage that one day I'd be made Master of Arts."

      Prof Michael Harloe, the university's vice-chancellor, said: "We are delighted to present this degree to Ryan." 

       

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:19PM
    •  

      Cristiano Ronaldo named FifPro World Footballer of the Year

      Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo has collected the first of what is expected to be a host of individual honours after being named FifPro World Footballer of the Year.

       

      At £12.2million, Ronaldo has proved to be a bargain since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 and scored 42 goals for United on their way to Champions League and Premier League titles last term.

      The 23-year-old had earlier been named in FifPro's world team of the year. Ronaldo was one of only two United players named in the team with Rio Ferdinand also rewarded for an outstanding season.

      The presence of Lionel Messi and Kaka explains why Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez did not make the final cut.

      Aside from Ronaldo and Ferdinand, three other Premier League players have also been included in the team of the year.

      Like United, Liverpool provide two members, including captain Steven Gerrard, who has finally begun to show his club form at international level. Alongside Gerrard is Fernando Torres, who proved to be such a success in his first year at Anfield following a £20 million move from Atletico Madrid.

      Also included is Kaka who has remained loyal to AC Milan, despite a dip in standards for the Serie A side that has forced them into the Uefa Cup this season. However, there is little debate about the talent of a man who was crowned world footballer of the year in 2007.

      The same also goes for Messi, the inspiration behind Barcelona's stunning recent performances, even if the brilliant South American could not guide the Catalans past United in the Champions League semi-final last year.

       

      FifPro team: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Kaka (AC Milan), Xavi (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:20PM
    •  

      WORLD IS RONALDO'S OYSTER

       

      SIR ALEX FERGUSON has told Cristiano Ronaldo he can become an even greater player after the Manchester United winger claimed the first of a possible hat-trick of personal awards by being named FIFPro World Footballer of the Year.  

      Ronaldo, 23, feted by his fellow professionals across the globe, has also been nominated for the European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Footballer of the Year awards.

      Having received the Football Writers’ and PFA Player of the Year awards at the end of last season, United manager Ferguson believes the recognition of Ronaldo’s talents is thoroughly deserved and also reflects on the quality of his team.

      Ferguson, who presented Ronaldo with the FIFPro award at United’s training ground yesterday, said: “This is fantastic. It is a measure of the quality of the players involved and the success we had last season that Cristiano is recognised in  a big way.

      To score 42 goals in a season deserves recognition in itself. He is absolutely exciting, always wants the ball and has great courage.”
      He still expects Ronaldo to hit 25 goals this season and to be as influential as ever.

      Ferguson said: “It is going to be difficult because Cristiano has had a stop-start beginning to the season. He had the operation on his ankle so he has missed a few games and he is just getting his rhythm back.

      “The number of goals he scored last season was just phenomenal. You cannot describe it any other way. But I hope he can be equally as good this year in terms of his contribution to the team. 

      “He can still get 25 goals but what will improve most of all is his authority and timing because that’s what experience gives you.

      “He will get better with his decision-making and be able to handle all sorts of situations.”

      Ferguson has seen Ronaldo’s startling progress at close quarters since he signed the raw teenager from Sporting Lisbon in 2003. Few had heard of Ronaldo, but the United players, staggered by his  pre-season performance against them in the Portuguese capital, implored their manager to sign him.

      “We just felt we had something special,” said Ferguson.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      Ferguson is why I'm still here, says garlanded Ronaldo

      <!-- end article-header -->

       

       

      Cristiano Ronaldo claims that Sir Alex Ferguson was the key factor behind the dazzling form that led to him being named FifPro World Player of the Year yesterday and has credited the manager as the key reason why he is still at Manchester United. The Portuguese's 42 goals helped United to the Premier League and Champions League double last season and, having been nominated for the European Footballer of the Year and Fifa World Footballer of the Year awards, he has been voted as 2008's best player by his fellow professionals across the globe.

      The 23-year-old striker yearned for a move to Real Madrid during the summer but United stood firm against the Spanish club's interest and refused to sell him and, although his subsequent behaviour has been interpreted as sulking, he says he is happy playing under Ferguson.

      "Sir Alex has been the big inspiration to me," he said. "I am here because of him. When he saw me playing for Sporting Lisbon against Manchester United he believed in me enough to buy me. I've learned many things from him and I'm continuing to learn. He is a great manager.

      "Of course Sir Alex was the main factor for keeping me here but what happened in the summer is finished. My head is focused on the club. My focus is solely on playing well for Manchester United and winning the Premier League and Champions League again. The summer is finished. My head is always here in the club.

      "If I smile it is because I smile. If I don't, it's because I don't. People are always writing things about me. It is up to them; for me it is not a problem. I will just try to play well and do my best. I am just focused on playing good football."

      Ronaldo's start to the season has been hindered by an ankle injury that kept him on the sidelines until mid-September and he has a tally of three goals this campaign. But the winger is adamant that his game should not be judged on the number of goals he scores and maintains that he can match last season's achievements.

      He added: "I am an ambitious player. I try to improve every season. I know last year was magnificent. I played really well, I scored so many goals and we won major trophies. It is possible this season but my priority is not only to score goals. I don't have to do that. I just have to play well for the team. I want to do the same as last season. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I just want to keep proving to myself that I am a good player."

      Ferguson believes that Ronaldo was well worth his latest accolade and said: "It is a measure of the quality of the players involved and the success we had last season that Cristiano is quite rightly recognised in a big way. For a winger to score 42 goals in a season deserves recognition in itself."

      Ferguson still feels that Ronaldo can score at least 25 goals this season and he added: "I still think he will beat 25. It is going to be difficult because he has had a stop-start beginning to the season. He had the operation on his ankle so he has missed a few games and he is just getting his rhythm back."

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:20PM
    •  

      Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson voted the greatest Football Manager of all time - ahead of late greats Sir Bobby Robson, Bill Shankly and Brian Clough 

       

      Sir Alex Ferguson

      Simply the best: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been voted the greatest manager of all time by experts behind the new Football Manager 2010

       

       

      Sir Alex Ferguson may have enjoyed a trophy-laden career with St Mirren, Aberdeen and Manchester United but now it has been confirmed, the Scotsman is the greatest football manager of all time.

      Fresh off the back of a fine Champions League win in Moscow, Fergie can now prepare for the clash with north west rivals Liverpool safe in the knowledge that he his held in higher regard than former Kop boss Bill Shankly.

      Ferguson who has won 33 trophies in 22 years at Old Trafford topped the poll carried out by the makers of Football Manager 2010 with 26 per cent of the vote, Shankly came in third with just nine per cent.

       

       

      TOP 10 MANAGERS EVER*

      1. Sir Alex Ferguson - 26 per cent
      2. Sir Bobby Robson - 14%
      3. Bill Shankly - 9%
      4. Brian Clough - 8%
      5. Sir Matt Busby - 6%
      6. Sir Alf Ramsey - 5%
      7. Jose Mourinho - 4%
      8. Arsene Wenger - 3%
      9. Bob Paisley - 2%
      10. Jock Stein - 1% 

      As polled by Football Manager 2010

      The poll features other Knights of the Realm such as the late, great Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alf Ramsey but despite their fine records, none of them can match Sir Alex's two decade long domination of the English game.

      Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is celebrating his 60th birthday, may be a little miffed at coming just eighth and Old Big 'Ead Brian Clough would have had a word or two to share on his fourth-place standing. 

      The self-proclaimed 'Special One', Jose Mourinho polled just four per cent of the vote.

       

       

      Sir Bobby Robson Brian Clough

      Touchline legends: Late greats Sir Bobby Robson (2nd) and Brian Clough (4th)

       

       

      Another Premier League crown this year and United will finally eclipse Liverpool's tally of 18 titles, plus Fergie will have the completed the job he set out to do when he first arrived in Manchester and knock his arch-rivals 'off their perch.'

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:21PM
    •  

      Top of the world: Ronaldo is the 2008 Ballon d'Or (European Footballer of the Year) winner.

      Best in the world: Ronaldo enjoyed a stellar 42-goal season with Manchester United, netting his second Premier League crown and the Champions League

      Best in the world: Ronaldo enjoyed a stellar 42-goal season with Manchester United, netting his second Premier League crown and the Champions League

       

      Cristiano Ronaldo was today confirmed as the winner of the 2008 Ballon d'Or, beating competition from Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

      The prestigious award was confirmed in the early hours of this morning by France Football magazine, who present the trophy based on a poll of 96 top journalists.

      The Manchester United winger came second in last year's poll, behind Brazil star Kaka, but his outstanding form last season, scoring 42 goals in all competitions for United, ensured he took top billing this time.

      The 23-year-old's coronation was a resounding one, with 77 of the 96 writers voting him as their number one player of the year in a poll which formerly rewarded Europe's best player, but has been expanded to include players from all over the world.

      Each voter names five players on their final ballot, awarding five points to their first choice and one point to their fifth. Ronaldo's was the only name to appear on each of the 96 ballots, polling 446 points out of a maximum 480.

       

      Golden boy: Ronaldo in his pomp at the Luzhniki Stadium after Manchester United's Champions League success

      Golden boy: Ronaldo in his pomp at the Luzhniki Stadium, before posing with the Champions League trophy, below

      Cristiano Ronaldo

       

      Messi and Torres were rewarded for fine seasons of their own, by earning the silver and bronze positions but were some way short of challenging the heavily-tipped Portuguese, with respective returns of 267 and 165 points.

      Ronaldo scored 42 goals last season to propel United to glory in both the Barclays Premier League and Champions League, adding a further four international goals.

      His summer efforts at Euro 2008 were overshadowed by a long-running transfer tussle involving Real Madrid but his achievements continue to be recognised.

       

      Would you like a ball to go with that? Ronaldo receives the Golden boot in October

      Would you like a ball to go with that? Ronaldo receives the Golden boot in October

      The 23-year-old is already FIFPro World Player of the Year and also took the top domestic prizes from the Professional Footballers' Association and the Football Writers last season.

      Ronaldo's latest triumph makes him the first United player to claim the Ballon d'Or since George Best in 1968 and the third Portuguese winner after Eusebio and Luis Figo. An ankle injury prevented Ronaldo from taking his sterling form into the start of this term, but he has been quick to find his stride since returning to fitness, scoring nine times.

      In an exclusive interview with France Football, Ronaldo said: 'It is one of the most beautiful days of my life. To gain this trophy is something I dreamed of as a child. 'Great emotion fills me but I cannot really describe it. I want to thank those who voted for me, those who know me and those who live with me.'

      Ronaldo admitted he was proud to be take the honour ahead of a host of world stars. 'I am only 23 years old and it is splendid, incredible,' he continued. 'There were other great names this year. I see that Lionel Messi finished second and Fernando Torres third, but also (fifth-placed) Xavi. All these people could have taken the trophy and I won it.'

      Ominously for Premier League defences, Ronaldo also insisted that winning the award had only made him thirsty for more. 'I was not worried, because I was aware of what I did in the course of the season. 'But to the people who mentioned my name, I say thank you. Thank you also to my team-mates who allowed me to be the best.

      'This (trophy) is one that I want to win again because it is so good. Therefore, I will awake and I will say to myself "I want to be even better".'

       

       

       

      The prestigious award is by France Football magazine, who present the trophy based on a poll of 96 top journalists. Each voter names five players on their final ballot, awarding five points to their first choice and one point to their fifth. Ronaldo's was the only name to appear on each of the 96 ballots, polling 446 points out of a maximum 480.

      Ballon d'Or full results

      1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd), 446 points
      2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona), 281 pts
      3. Fernando Torres (Liverpool), 179 pts
      4. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), 133 pts
      5. Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), 97 pts
      6. Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St Petersburg), 64 pts
      7. David Villa (Valencia), 55 pts
      8. Kaka (Milan), 31 pts
      9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Internazionale), 30 pts
      10 Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), 28 pts
      11. Marcos Senna (Villarreal),16 pts
      12. Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), 12 pts
      13. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), 11 pts
      14. Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), 10 pts
      15. Frank Lampard (Chelsea), 8 pts
      16.Franck Ribery ( Bayern Munich), 7 pts
      17. Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona), 6 pts
      18. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), 5 pts
      19. Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), 4 pts
      21. Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), 3 pts
      24. Edwin van der Sar (Man Utd), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), 2 pts
      No votes: Karim Benzema (France, Lyon), Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid), Luca Toni (Italy, Bayern Munich), Rafael van der Vaart (Netherlands, Real Madrid), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia, CSKA Moscow).

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:22PM
    •  

      image   

       
       

      Man United named the world's richest club

       

      [Saturday, April 11, 2009 ]

       

      There are concerns about the global economy at the moment, but world's top football clubs are still thriving with Manchester United retaining their position as the world's richest football club.

      Forbes calculated that the 25 most valuable clubs are currently worth, on average, $597 million, eight percent more than the previous year despite the global economic downturn.

      "One reason most top clubs have continued to see revenue increases and post strong profits is that they have lucrative multi-year broadcasting and sponsorship deals that have not been affected by the recession," Forbes said.

      English and European champions United tops the list, worth $1.87 billion. Second spot on the list went to Spanish giants Real Madrid, worth $1.35 billion, with Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Liverpool also all worth at least $1 billion.

      Real and Barcelona, worth $960 billion, are the only two Spanish representatives on the list, while there are six other Premier League clubs on the top 25 list: Chelsea (8 - $800 million), Tottenham Hotspur (11 - $445 million), Manchester City (17 - $310 million), Newcastle United (19 - $285 million), Aston Villa (21 - $240 million) and Everton (24 - $207 million).


      Top 25 World's Richest Clubs

      1. Manchester United $1,87m 2. Real Madrid $1,353m 3. Arsenal $1,2m 4. Bayern Munich $1,11m 5. Liverpool $1,01m 6. AC Milan $990m 7. Barcelona $960m 8. Chelsea $800m 9. Juventus $600m 10. Schalke 04 $510m 11. Tottenham Hotspur $445m 12. Olympique Lyon $423m 13. AS Roma $381m 14. Inter Milan $370m 15. Hamburg $330m 16. Borussia Dortmund $325m 17. Manchester City $310m 18. Werder Bremen $292m 19. Newcastle United $285m 20. VfB Stuttgart $264m 21. Aston Villa $240m 22. Olympique Marseille $240m 23. Glasgow Celtic $218m 24. Everton $207m 25. Glasgow Rangers $194m
      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:24PM
    •  

       

       

       

       

      Al Ahly - African Champions from Egypt.

       

      Gamba Osaka -  Newly crowned Asian champions

       

      Liga Deportiva Universitaria Quito  - 2008 Copa Libertadores Winner.

      (South American Champions)

       

      CONCACAF Champions (Mexico)

       

       

      image     

      Champions League Winner - (European Champions)

       

       

      Adelaide United - Australia's A-League

      Lost to Gamba Osaka in the 2008 AFC Champions League final.

      As the Champions League was won by a Japanese club, it meant that Adelaide have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup as the highest-placed non-Japanese team in Asian club competition.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Liga de Quito 0 - 1 Manchester United

      Fifa Club World Cup: Manchester United are No.1 in England, kings of Europe.. and now the world ! 

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup  

      Painting the world Red: Rio Ferdinand is presented with the Club World Cup by Fifa president Sepp Blatter

       

      Wayne Rooney has a fleet of flash cars including a Bentley and a Porsche, so has no need for the Toyota he won for his inspired role in Manchester United's FIFA Club World Cup triumph.

      Adding to his car collection was of little interest to Rooney, despite the polite and professional way in which he posed for a blaze of flashbulbs, clutching a giant car key after being named player of the tournament.

      For the most significant prize Rooney's winning goal has given Sir Alex Ferguson's team is the renewed confidence and self-belief with which they will return home as they focus on hunting down Liverpool and Chelsea in the title race.

      That, above everything else, even being officially entitled to call themselves the No.1 team on the planet, was the biggest plus United took away from Japan after making a 25,000-mile round trip to play in FIFA's much-maligned showpiece event. Rooney admitted losing to Liga de Quito would have cast a shadow over the rest of United's season and could have had a negative impact on their chances of defending their Premier League and Champions League crowns.

      There is still the problem of jetlag to overcome before United's must-win Boxing Day lunchtime trip to Stoke, but there is nothing like winning a trophy to ease the physical and mental demands of such a gruelling trip.

      "We came out here determined to win it and we've done just that," said Rooney. "If we hadn't have won, it would have been very difficult for us going home. We would have been on a downer going into the Stoke game and it could have had a really bad knockon effect on us for the rest of the season. But having won it, we can go back home full of confidence, start winning games and go on a consistent run.

      "It's an amazing feeling to be a world champion." United's night of glory was marred by the straight red card shown to Nemanja Vidic five minutes into the second half for elbowing Liga striker Claudio Bieler after the pair tangled following a challenge.

      FIFA's disciplinary panel will determine the length of Vidic's European ban, but the centre-back will certainly miss the first leg of United's Champions League tie at Inter Milan, and possibly further matches.

      United showed impressive strength of character to cope with going down to 10 men so early after the break and win the game in normal time, avoiding the added fatigue and tension that extra-time and penalties would have brought.

      Rooney's 73rd-minute winner was an assured side-foot finish for his 10th goal of the season after Cristiano Ronaldo put him through.

      Edwin van der Sar made a series of crucial saves as United came under pressure towards the end.

       

       

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup

      Big game player: Wayne Rooney curls home the winner

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup

      Big in Japan: fans in Yokohama cheer on United

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup

      Key man: Rooney received a sponsor's car after being named player of the tournament

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup

      Another day, another trophy: Cristiano Ronaldo gets his hands on the prize

       

      Manchester United win Club World Cup

      World-beaters: Carlos Tevez celebrates with Rooney

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:25PM
    •  

      Ronaldo named Fifa player of 2008

      12/01/2009

       

       

      Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the Fifa World Player of the Year for 2008.

      The Portugal and Manchester United winger becomes the first Premier League player to win the award. Ronaldo, 23, beat AC Milan's Kaka, Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Xavi to the prestigious title.

      "It's an overwhelming moment in my career and I'd like to dedicate this award to my family, friends and colleagues," said the United star. His 42 goals for Manchester United last season helped the Old Trafford club clinch the Premier League and Champions League double.

      Ronaldo, who also picked up the European Player of the Year crown in December and the FifPro World Footballer of the Year honour in October, paid special tribute to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

      "It's also true that the manager always has an important role to play. It was a great season for me and for my club and the coach was important for me because I learned a lot for him," he added.

      "His experience over so many years is of paramount importance - it's a privilege to have such a great club manager. "This is the climax of a fantastic era for me. I'm happy and proud about what has been done by my team and what we have won.

      "I am lucky to be part of the history of a club like Manchester United." The coaches and captains of 155 national teams took part in the voting for the award, with Messi finishing second ahead of Torres, Kaka and Xavi.

      Ronaldo is only the second Portuguese player to pick up the Fifa honour following Luis Figo's triumph in 2001.

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:26PM
    •  

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:15PM
    •  

      Gold Trafford

      UNITED are the most valuable sports team in the world

       

      JACKPOT ... Alex Ferguson's United side are world's most valuable sports team
      JACKPOT ... Alex Ferguson's United side are world's most valuable sports team

      .
      .

      MANCHESTER UNITED have been named the most valuable sports team in the world.
      .

      The Red Devils are worth a mind-boggling £1.165BILLION - eclipsing giant American franchises like the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees.

      The assessment of United's worth takes in the value of the team, stadium, income and sponsorship deals it attracts.

      It is good news for the Glazer family, who bought the club for £790m in 2005. However, they also plunged it into debt and United are still in the red to the tune of around £478million.

      United's advertising revenue had a big impact on their position - with the £80m, four-year shirt sponsorship deal they signed with Aon and £300m 13-year tie-up with Nike major factors.

      Real Madrid were the second-highest place football club on the list, finishing in fifth place and valued at £900m.

      And there was good news for Arsenal fans, with their team coming seventh with a value of £740m.

      Roman Abramovich's Chelsea could only muster 46th in the table while other soccer teams making up the top 50 included Bayern Munich (19th), AC Milan (34th) and Juventus (49th).

      Meanwhile Barcelona — widely reguarded as the best club side around — came only 26th in the rankings.

      The Catalan club is said to be worth £606million.

       

       

      Top 10 most valuable sports teams

       

      1. Manchester United £1.165billion  (US$1.86 billion) 

      2. Dallas Cowboys £1.13bn 

      3. New York Yankees £1.06bn 

      4. Washington Redskins £960million 

      5. Real Madrid £900m 

      6. New England Patriots £850m 

      7. Arsenal £740m 

      8. New York Giants £734m 

      9. Houstan Texans £727m 

      10. New York Jets £708m

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:36PM
    •  

      Manchester United owners the Glazers promise to cut club debt with £600 million flotation

      The Glazer family have informed the Singapore Stock Exchange that the proceeds of Manchester United’s proposed £600 million flotation will be used to reduce the club’s £480 million debt and strengthen attempts to overcome financially powerful rivals such as Manchester City.

       

      Manchester United owners the Glazer family to use &pound;600m flotation revenue to reduce club's debts

      Eastern promise: the Glazer family hope to capitalise on Manchester United's popularity in Asia

       

        

       

      Telegraph Sport can disclose that United submitted an application to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange earlier this month and expected to achieve a formal listing before the end of the year.

      Sources close to the application process have confirmed that, within the draft prospectus submitted to the Singaporean financial authorities, United’s owners have laid out their reasons for the 30 per cent sale of their holding in the club.

      Central to their submission is confirmation that they will significantly reduce a £480 million debt to make United more competitive in the transfer market.

      The proportion of debt reduction has not been specified, but it is understood that cutting the club’s borrowings, rather than servicing the Glazers’ personal financial commitments, is the primary reason for the partial flotation. The Glazers highly secretive rest of the proceeds will go is unknown. What the highly secretive Glazers will do the rest of the money is unknown.

      United currently pay about £45 million in annual interest payments on the debt that has been saddled on to the club ever since the Glazers secured sole ownership at Old Trafford in May 2005.

      Despite manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisting that the Glazers have fully supported his plans to recruit players, supporters have grown frustrated by the lack of investment in perceived stellar signings, pointing to the interest payments as money that could strengthen the squad.

      With Manchester City backed by the supreme wealth of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, United have been regularly outspent by their rivals, who are expected to take their summer spending through the £70 million mark by signing Arsenal’s Samir Nasri in the coming days.

      United had also made an attempt to sign Nasri, but failed to match City’s £25 million offer and £170,000-a-week salary, while efforts to lure Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan have also foundered due to a reluctance at Old Trafford to meet the Dutch midfielder’s pay demands.

      United are expected to become the first club to announce commercial income of more than £100million when accounts are released in October. The Glazers and senior figures at United believe that the strength of their business model, which has seen total turnover double to almost £300million under the Americans, will ensure the club can compete with City and other wealthy European rivals.

      There is optimism within United that they will be listed in Singapore within two months and that a full prospectus for potential investors will be available by October.

      Some financial experts have expressed surprise at United’s decision to list in Singapore, rather than the larger and more established market in Hong Kong. The club’s popularity in Singapore and the belief that it is a more suitable base for commercial growth in Asia are believed to be behind the decision.

       

       

      Edited by zocoss 02 Sep `11, 3:31PM
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