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- DMC -

Published: Jan 31st 99

So, What's Happened In '99 So Far?

It started with a kiss and some hot chocolate when Posh gave Becks a new motor and Becks made up with the bald beefy bruiser from the Kings Road.

Barmy Blatter wants a World Cup every two years and Rupert says he wants one too. What Rupert says and what Rupert means of course are two entirely different things as Fartin will eventually find out. What Rupert really wants is a World CLUB Championship every two years and for Sky TV to have the exclusive rights. Well the Italians seem to have given him the elbow so let's hope the government and the MMC show some balls and kick him out too.

Kiddo's time in yonnerville seems to be going OK at the moment, but isn't it always this way when a new boss arrives and the players suddenly start to play again for fear of losing their places. I'm sure he will manage to keep them in the Premier League if only by the way that teams such as Everton, Southampton and Charlton in particular seem to be hell bent on self destruct. But he seems to like strikers doesn't he!

What about the poor scousers down the wrong end of the East Lancs? Aaaaaaaaaah!! Ex Ranger, Walter doesn't seem to be able to get the Toffees out of the sticky mess they're in down at the basement and the French mickey has a minnie rebellion on his hands with Macmanamanamanamanan on his way to Spain and the nasally retentive Fowler wanting a king's ransom or he's off as well. Fowler by nature than by name eh.

And what can I say about Ole, except that he has obviously recovered from his severe childhood illness that prevented him from recognising the only true red and thus was temporarily compelled to follow the dirties. Now fully rehabilitated and returned to his rightful mind he can rest assured we fully understand he was obviously inflicted with the "mindwarpus scousus" virus, a wicked bug which prevents the inflicted from recognising the hideous reality of 'life' on Murkeydive.

There's uproar in Saudi - Fergie's gone as mad as Glenda and tipped United to win a fifth Premiership title. What are we to do? But will Fergie follow Hoddle and waddle off into the stratosphere to become a white dwarf, or is he destined to become a true red giant?

Some say he already is, but some say he needs to emulate Sir Matt by carrying off the Euro crown. I say he now has a team who look as capable of doing just that as the 93-94 team did. The difference now is that he is at liberty to play them all in European competition at the same time.

The difference between the team of last season and this is very simple. This team has a strong spine and for the want of sounding too obvious, they are all a year older with that much more experience. But it is the spine of the team which is the all important difference.

Not forgetting Schmeichel (I'll come back to him later), we have two new additions and a rebirth. Stam, Yorke and Keane, three players we didn't have last season.

Keano has been with us for a while now and his value to the team has increased during that time. He is the natural choice for captain. Yes - it would have been nice for Peter to have retained the armband for his swansong season, but there is no way he could have the influence on the team that Keane has.

Peter's stuck between his posts, except when he's venturing forth on a last ditch ram-raid into the opposition box that is, and so he is too divorced from the main action. Even his foghorn from Valhalla isn't loud enough to reach past the halfway line and in any case how could you allow anyone with a goatee as daft as Peters to wear the coveted back armband.

So Keano is a major player who's power and influence is felt all over the pitch. I certainly wouldn't want to be facing up to one of his hard steely stares, would you? Even his goal celebrations are hard. It's more likely he'll come up to you and either belt you round the head or kick your arse when you score than give you a nice hug like the rest of the chaps do.

Keano's the one who has taken over the Robson role and is looking every bit as good as the great man, and if Fartin doesn't sort it out and negotiate a proper deal, Manchester United will be the poorer for losing him - Keane that is, not Fartin. I wouldn't mind losing Fartin, but that's another story. I'm not getting into the wage debate here, but I wish I earned somewhere close to the amount the top players earn for playing a game. Dream on!

Behind Keane is Stam.

I was filled with dread when I heard that Pally was leaving in the summer because I felt he was the best centre half I ever saw playing for United. Martin Buchan comes a close second, but the Dolly and Daisy combo was tops.

How could this man Stam be worth the huge amount of money Fergie was willing to pay, and how could he fill Pally's boots? Well, after a very short period of settling in, he has been my man of the match on more occasions than anyone else. For a man who hails from the flatlands he is a veritable mountain, an giant of a man who dominates the penalty area like no-one I have ever seen before. He can even out-legend Pally in time.

His skill on the ground and his distribution are superb. The way he dispossesses an opposition forward is stunning. As they approach his lair he seems to lean on them mentally and when they're under his spell he picks their pocket and comes away with the spoils. There's no fuss, or bother, just simple football.

So to the last of the trio - Yorke.

He has been a revelation to me, and I was one of the ones who thought he would be good for United, but not this good! I hesitate to say this, but he seems to be another Eric type catalyst. He isn't Mr Invisible, ghosting around the pitch, like Eric did, but he certainly finds space where you don't expect him to.

His vision has impressed me more than anything. I didn't notice him that much when he played for Villa, but how can anyone shine bright in the dullest of shirts. Put the crimson red of United on his back and he suddenly becomes a star.

His link up play especially with his soul brother is a gift from heaven for Andy, so be of no doubt that the Wizard has pulled off another master stroke here. Yorke's magic has sparked the team. His attitude is contagious, even Giggsy smiles the smile now and then!

So with these three in the team I believe Fergie has the possibility of achieving absolute immortality, and the one thing that they have got in common is that they are without question already "RED TO THE CORE". They are nearly as Red as we are.

They are United players in the time honoured tradition of Law, Charlton and Best and naturally of those who went before and those who came after.

As supporters of Manchester United we demand a certain flare with our football. we don't want the methodical Liverpool approach or the defensive Arsenal approach, we want skill, flare, charisma and devotion and the greatest of these is ................... eeeer, all of them!

So, back to the daft Dane between the sticks.

Some have said he is losing his touch, that he is dropping more bollocks than Glenda, but in truth he has always dropped them. Ever since Fergie pillaged him from Brondby he has made the odd gaff, every goalkeeper does, but Schmeichel is so good, we tend to notice it more.

He had a short period after he announced he was going on an extended sunny beach holiday at the end of the season, but he's over that now and back to his brilliant best. Anyway, how did you expect him to react after coming to the conclusion he should leave us? It takes courage to decide to leave United because despite what the "good time Charlie" says, there's only one way out of United, and that's down. Sir Matt said that and that's good enough for me.

Peter Schmeichel is far and away the best keeper we have ever had, but who knows the secret of the Wizard's Black Magic Box, he may have another lined up just as Jaap replaced Pally and Dwight replaced Eric. We live in hope and expectation.

This team is recreating another aspect of true United tradition and that is to play until the whistle sounds at the very end of the game. I expect there will be more people still in their seats at the final whistle than normal from now on. Even the fanzine sellers will stay until the last kick and maybe even some of the execs and trippers will too. The fighting spirit is back - back with a smile at the front, a snarl in the middle and a cool head at the back!



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