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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sun Dec 06 07:49:31 GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
2. Villa Report (ET)
3. Aston Villa - United (TV report)
4. Kiddo Wants Choccy & Phil (Mirror)
5. Fergie On Kidd (ET)
6. Cole Interview (ET)


Daily RED Trivia  Sun 6th December:

6/11/1952: David Pegg made his senior debut against Middlesbrough. Pegg was an
 elegant winger who wonYouth Cup medals in 1953 and 1954. Later he won League
 Championship medals in 1956 and 1957, and a losers medal in the 1957 FA 
 Cup Final. Had made 148 appearances and scored 28 goals before dying in
 the Munich Disaster  aged just 22.  One cap for England in 1957.

1997: United win 3-1 at Liverpool in the Premiership watched by 41,027
 with goals from Andy Cole 2 and David Beckham. Team was: Schmeichel,
 G.Neville, P.Neville, Berg, Johnsen, Pallister, Beckham, Butt, Cole, Sheringham, Giggs. 


Barry Daily Comment:
A draw yesterday was a good result at Villa, now for Bayern on Wednesday.
We will need a great atmosphere at OT to lift the team. 

Remaining 1998 games: 

ALL Result/Fixture Index:

Wed  9/12 Bayern Munich (H) CL 19.45
Sat 12/12 Tottenham     (A) PL 15.00
Wed 16/12 Chelsea       (H) PL sky sports time 20.00
Sat 19/12 Middlesbrough (H) PL 15.00
Sat 26/12 Nottm Forest  (H) PL 15.00
Tue 29/12 Chelsea       (A) PL sky sports time 19.45 UK

UNITED Stats v Tottenham:


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds                    Home     W  3-2     2    55,172
05/12/98    Aston Villa              Away     D  1-1     2    39,241
Champions League:
Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Bayern Munich   5  3  1  1  8  5  10   
Man United      5  2  3  0 19 10   9
Barcelona       5  1  2  2  9  9   5    
Brondby         5  1  0  4  4 16   3   

Sep 16 Brøndby         2-1 Bayern München
Sep 16 Man Utd         3-3 Barcelona
Sep 30 Barcelona       2-0 Brøndby
Sep 30 Bayern Munich   2-2 Man Utd
Oct 21 Brøndby         2-6 Man Utd
Oct 21 Bayern Munich   1-0 Barcelona 
Nov  4 Barcelona       1-2 Bayern Munich
Nov  4 Man Utd         5-0 Brøndby

Nov 25 Barcelona       3-3 Man Utd
Nov 25 Bayern Munich   2-0 Brøndby
    to play.....
Dec  9 Brøndby          v  Barcelona
Dec  9 Man Utd          v  Bayern Munich



"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: *** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 05/12/98 *** Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United 39,241 Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Charlton Athletic 22,568 Derby County 0-0 Arsenal 29,018 Everton 0-0 Chelsea 36,430 Leeds United 4-0 West Ham United 30,320 Leicester City 2-0 Southampton 18,423 Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool 36,125 Wimbledon 2-1 Coventry City 11,717 *** FULL LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 05/12/98 *** Pos Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Aston Villa 15 5 2 1 14 9 3 4 0 9 4 10 30 2 Manchester United 15 6 2 0 21 8 2 3 2 10 9 14 29 3 Leeds United 16 5 2 1 14 3 1 6 1 12 11 12 26 4 Arsenal 16 4 4 0 11 3 2 4 2 4 4 8 26 5 West Ham United 16 4 3 1 12 9 3 2 3 8 11 0 26 6 Chelsea 14 4 3 0 11 4 2 4 1 11 9 9 25 7 Middlesbrough 15 3 4 0 12 5 2 4 2 12 12 7 23 8 Wimbledon 16 4 3 1 13 9 2 2 4 8 17 -5 23 9 Liverpool 16 3 3 2 15 10 3 1 4 12 11 6 22 10 Derby County 16 2 4 2 6 6 3 3 2 9 8 1 22 11 Tottenham Hotspur 16 4 2 2 13 13 2 2 4 8 11 -3 22 12 Leicester City 16 4 2 2 11 8 1 4 3 7 10 0 21 13 Newcastle United 15 4 2 2 13 10 1 2 4 6 9 0 19 14 Everton 16 1 5 2 2 5 3 2 3 8 10 -5 19 15 Sheffield Wednesday 15 3 2 2 7 3 1 2 5 7 12 -1 16 16 Charlton Athletic 16 2 3 2 13 8 1 4 4 9 16 -2 16 17 Coventry City 16 3 2 3 9 10 1 1 6 5 13 -9 15 18 Blackburn Rovers 16 3 1 4 10 10 0 2 6 5 14 -9 12 19 Nottingham Forest 15 1 4 3 6 9 1 1 5 6 15 -12 11 20 Southampton 16 1 2 5 9 17 1 2 5 3 16 -21 10 *** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 05/12/98 *** Date Opposition Score Pos. Attend. -------------------------------------------------------------------- 15/08/98 Leicester City Home D 2-2 11 55,052 22/08/98 West Ham United Away D 0-0 11 26,039 09/09/98 Charlton Athletic Home W 4-1 9 55,147 12/09/98 Coventry City Home W 2-0 5 55,193 20/09/98 Arsenal Away L 0-3 10 38,142 24/09/98 Liverpool Home W 2-0 3 55,181 03/10/98 Southampton Away W 3-0 2 15,251 17/10/98 Wimbledon Home W 5-1 2 55,265 24/10/98 Derby County Away D 1-1 2 30,867 31/10/98 Everton Away W 4-1 2 40,079 08/11/98 Newcastle United Home D 0-0 3 55,174 14/11/98 Blackburn Rovers Home W 3-2 2 55,198 21/11/98 Sheffield Wednesday Away L 1-3 2 39,475 29/11/98 Leeds United Home W 3-2 2 55,172 05/12/98 Aston Villa Away D 1-1 2 39,241 *** TEAM RESULTS SUMMARY - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 05/12/98 *** P Won Drawn Lost For Against Points ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Home 8 6 (75%) 2 (25%) 0 (0%) 21 (2.6) 8 (1.0) 20 (2.5) Away 7 2 (29%) 3 (43%) 2 (29%) 10 (1.4) 9 (1.3) 9 (1.3) Total 15 8 (53%) 5 (33%) 2 (13%) 31 (2.1) 17 (1.1) 29 (1.9) Averages per game in (brackets) League position: 2nd Form position: 3rd (Index: 51%) Predicted position: 3rd (The higher the form index, the higher the average league position of the recent opposition) Highest league position: 2nd Lowest league position: 10th (Excluding the first 4 matches) *** TEAM STATISTICS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 05/12/98 *** AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE: 55,173 HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 17/10/98 - Wimbledon (55,265) LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 15/08/98 - Leicester City (55,052) BEST WIN: 17/10/98 - Wimbledon (5-1) HEAVIEST DEFEAT: 20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3) BEST HOME WIN: 17/10/98 - Wimbledon (5-1) BEST AWAY WIN: 03/10/98 - Southampton (3-0) 31/10/98 - Everton (4-1) HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT: 20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)
"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: Villa Report (ET) Joachim helps Villa pass first leg of their triple test By Patrick Barclay at Villa Park Aston Villa (0) 1 Manchester United (0) 1 AT HALF-TIME we were wondering if these teams, such energetic traders in goals of late, had undergone a communal drama bypass. Then the match of the day remembered to genuflect towards its billing and Aston Villa emerged with honour from the first instalment of a nine-day programme on which their championship credentials will be judged. Within 90 seconds of the resumption, Manchester United took the lead through Paul Scholes, but Julian Joachim soon replied with the aid of a deflection off Denis Irwin and that goal, however lucky, kept Villa at the top, a position they have occupied for three months. A point was the least they deserved, for John Gregory's men had the better of the first half and of thrilling scenes that followed their equaliser, during which Alan Thompson thumped a free-kick that was still rising when it struck a post. For United the result was more heartening than the performance, though this may have had something to do with the little matter of Bayern Munich in the Champions' League on Wednesday. "I'm happy to get something out of a game like this," said Ferguson. "Our goal spurred Villa on and they were the better side." Gratefully he reported no injuries to a squad whose depth, designed to combine European ambitions with domestic, must daunt even the likes of Villa. In midweek it had been sobering to watch United's second string (augmented by Ryan Giggs) push an inspired Tottenham all the way in the Worthington Cup, succumbing only to vintage David Ginola, and reflect that they could probably finish mid-table in the Premiership. No doubt, once Murdoch and company have revised the league's regulations, they will have the opportunity. While United do not quite have a monopoly of talent yet, you can only admire the way they bring along their youngsters. The latest to shine is Jonathan Greening, whom Ferguson bought from York in March. This, however, was an occasion for the first team or thereabouts. Giggs, who made his comeback after a foot injury in north London, was on the bench until the start of the second half, when he replaced Jesper Blomqvist. But inevitably attention focused on Dwight Yorke, who received a mildly hostile reception on the ground he left for Old Trafford. His first significant act was just what the Holte End would have ordered, as emphasised by their raucous glee when he collected Andy Cole's header, took aim from 20 yards - and screwed the trundling ball at least as far off target. And it did not get much better. When Cole was chosen to give way to Nicky Butt in the closing stages, Ferguson buttressing his midfield, the decision was surely made to save the pride of Yorke, who was promptly cautioned for haranguing a linesman. Villa had to begin their trilogy of truth - they visit Chelsea on Wednesday and play host to Arsenal next Sunday - without Paul Merson and the suspended Stan Collymore. Joachim continued to partner Dion Dublin and contributed enough mobility and enthusiasm to earn a hearty pat on the back. Having wasted an early chance, flapping at a ball that had bounced off Gary Neville's chest, Joachim set up Lee Hendrie with an astute pass inside. Hendrie danced around Jaap Stam but could not establish the control necessary to permit a shot, and when Ian Taylor tried to help him out, Peter Schmeichel intervened with an outstretched hand. Villa also threatened from a Hendrie corner to which Ugo Ehiogu rose at the near post, heading just wide as Schmeichel scrambled blindly. The 35-year-old goalkeeper was, however, at his most resolute in saving at Joachim's feet when, after a swift break, Taylor's fine pass enabled the striker to bisect Neville and Stam; Joachim could still have profited from a more careful first touch. An angry exchange between Schmeichel and Stam testified to United's discomfort in defence. Nor were they obtaining much joy in attack, even if Villa were thankful for Gareth Barry's alertness on the line when, from a corner, Wes Brown headed firmly for goal and Cole, twisting, glanced the ball away from Michael Oakes. Oakes was largely responsible for Villa's falling behind. Cole, out on the right, cleverly teased Barry and crossed, Oakes ineptly pushing the ball into the air for Scholes to drive it back, with an admirably composed left foot, through the goalkeeper's legs. If United were fortunate to be in front, mischievous coincidence soon assisted in the equaliser, for as Joachim shot, Irwin lunged in and the ball spun from the Irishman's leg over a helpless Schmeichel. Joachim went close after a determined run, Thompson made the upright shiver, but United survived. "It was vibrant," said Gregory's assistant, Steve Harrison, "and good to be on the front foot against United. But we'd have liked three points." And perhaps Villa needed them. As time goes by, the danger is that the disparity in resources between the clubs will become more obvious.
"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: Aston Villa - United (TV report) Villa began with a little intimidation by presenting Big Dion with his Player of the Month award while all the players were out on the pitch. I'm sure Dion's recent scoring stats rattled the United team but they are probably even more impressed by some of Dion's other vital statistics (which we won't go into here). It looked cold out on the pitch and both teams took a while to get warmed up as the opening few minutes were quite scrappy. The Villa fans warmed up with a barrage of boos aimed at Yorkie and Becks plus the occasional tuneless rendition of 'Stand Up if you Envy ManU', or something like that. After a few limp punches, the game did warm up and it was Villa who got the better of the early exchanges as the Reds seemed to be standing off them, allowing them far too much space. On 20 minutes, Schmnikes came out to punch clear a Villa corner and, gulp, missed leaving Ehiogu with a free header that went just wide. A few minutes later, we were very lucky when two Villa players got in each other's way with only a prostrate Schmeichel to beat. As they dithered and danced around the ball inviting each other to shoot (obviously real gentlemen) Schmikes slid in and hooked the ball away with his tentacle-like arm. By now, the game was on, and just a couple of minutes later Cole (I think) had a header nodded off the line, and then later should have done much better with a Gazza Neville cross from the left. But, with about 10 minutes to go to half time, we began to impose ourselves with some good possession play without actually threatening to score. There was a bit of a mix-up towards the end of the first half when Jaap and Schmikes got in each other's way. The pair of them had a mini confrontation, like a couple of dinosaurs, but Jaap must know by now that Schmikes's bark is worse than his bite. The ref blew his whistle to end a first half that was by no means a classic. Villa were a little wary, I think, having just been beaten by Liverpool and having scraped a draw against lowly Forest so they clearly weren't in the mood to come out with all guns a-blazing and risk another humiliation. Meanwhile, United have got rather bigger fish to fry on Wednesday, and this may account for the fairly subdued way they played that first half. At this point, a goal-less draw looked a good bet, but we have our secret weapon of course: Fergie. Whatever we've done in the first half, I always feel confident that we'll do better in the second once Fergie has analysed the situation and come up with revised tactics. Certainly, he needed to do something about Jesper, who was having a bad game out on the left, and I was also getting heart palpitations every time Wes moved up to leave gaping holes at the back. Would Fergie, now Kidd-less, still be able to put us on the right track? Within two minutes of the re-start, we had the answer. Doing Becks's job for him, Cole got behind the Villa defence by beating his man and put in a tantalising cross that the goalie could only just get a hand to. The ball fell out to Scholes who blasted in a left-footer, his seventh of the season. Suddenly, I was worried. Now we had something to defend. After the goal we looked really good for a few minutes and I was getting the feeling we'd be two points clear tonight. Whenever I get this sort of feeling, I know we're doomed. And sure enough, a lucky deflection off Dinnnis's boot (from Joachim's shot) wrong-footed the Great Dane and we were back level. But it was worse than before. Villa had had a piece of lucky and they now intended to capitalize on it by taking the game to us. Within minutes, they had another shot just wide and then a sizzling free kick hit the post with Schmikes apparently having taken root in the goal mouth. Villa were suddenly finding oceans of space, which prompted Fergie to send on Butty for Cole. Not sure if this was such a wise move as our goal had come from Cole's brilliance down the wing. Far better might have been to take off Giggs, who'd come on for (the injured?) Blomqvist. Giggsy really didn't look match fit but I suppose he'll only get match-fit by playing matches such as this one. He certainly doesn't look ready for Wednesday yet. In the last 15 minutes or so, we steadied our ship, despite the best efforts of the moronic referee and his assistants who penalised us for everything and even handed out a stack of yellow cards for innocuous challenges and, in Yorke's case, moaning at the assistant referee. The ref finally ended the game. A draw is probably the right result. I thought we might have done better to hang onto that 1-0 lead but Villa had enough chances to have won the match so we can't begrudge them the deflection that brought their equaliser. If we play on Wednesday as we played today, we may not be quite so fortunate to get a draw. But I feel we were playing well within ourselves today and are more than capable of stepping up a gear or two. Stam, Keano and Paul'Thank God he scores goals' Scholes performed really well today. But we're going to need Giggsy as well and his contribution today was not all that comforting. So, it was a good point earned against the league leaders and, if we did okay with injuries today, I think we can look confidently towards the Munich game. by Terry Dale
"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: Kiddo Wants Choccy & Phil (Mirror) KIDD'S AFTER A BIG MAC BRIAN KIDD is planning to hit his old bosses at Manchester United with a double whammy as he moves for Brian McClair and Phil Neville. Blackburn boss Kidd wants close friend McClair to be his number two at Rovers and pinch him from under the noses of Alex Ferguson and his board. By ALAN NIXON And Kidd is also plotting a sensational transfer swoop for England star Neville, who is increasingly being left on the sidelines at Old Trafford. Kidd spoke to McClair yesterday about the post and will ask Motherwell for permission to take their club skipper as his assistant. Quick-moving Kidd stepped in immediately for McClair after hearing that his old club United had short- listed the shrewd Scot as his replacement. But while McClair, 35 next week, has told friends that he is not ready for a senior first-team coaching job at Old Trafford, he could fit in perfectly at Blackburn. Kidd wants to carry on coaching but needs a sidekick who can act as a buffer with the players and also handle the demands of media work. McClair was so popular at United with management and team-mates that he even used to negotiate contracts for the young players with Alex Ferguson. His dry humour is also recognised as being beneficial around the dressing room. Last night McClair was considering the offer and is likely to say yes, despite the fact that his family are back in Scotland. He always got on well with Kidd and was known to be keen to step up into management at some stage. McClair only made the move from Manchester last summer after being given a free transfer. There would only be a small fee involved to take him from Motherwell. The swoop would complete a fantastic week for Kidd - and add to United's misery. The sight of a second stalwart going to Blackburn would stun the Old Trafford fans and board alike. Kidd walks into Blackburn as manager for the first time today but he has already been given a two-hour briefing by caretaker Tony Parkes. Parkes said: "I have spoken to Brian in great detail and it's inevitable, like any new manager, that he may want to bring in his own staff. "He made the point that the present staff might not want to work with him and it was a two-way thing. But I'm optimistic there will still be a role for me and there is a spring in the step of everyone at the club again. "I feel very good about the whole thing after meeting Brian. We've got a top class man there. I think Brian is a leading coach, he was at the best club in England and probably Europe. Warmth "I know him from the past, he is a sensible man and a knowledgeable one. I'm sure Blackburn will have great days with him." Kidd's arrival, however, will not be met with the same warmth throughout Ewood Park. Skipper Tim Sherwood is still determined to leave and ironically his last act for Blackburn could have been the clash with United's David Beckham that earned him a red card. Kidd is unlikely to give the captain's armband to a player who has been desperate to leave all season and is wanted by Tottenham. Chris Sutton's future is also in doubt. He may be missing for the next month as he recovers from an ankle injury. Sutton may quit if Rovers go down but seems to have been lifted by Kidd's arrival. He said: "Brian has got a tremendous reputation as a coach and we hope we can help him sort things out. "Nobody likes seeing this club in the situation we are in."
"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: Fergie On Kidd (ET) Kidd's drive earns praise of Ferguson By William Johnson AS Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards was hastily issuing statements insisting that the departure of coach Brian Kidd to Blackburn Rovers was not financially motivated, Alex Ferguson and his players were coming to terms with what could be as big a blow as the retirement of Eric Cantona. Kidd's part in United's success story this decade is not as eye-catching as Cantona's or that of goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who is also to leave Old Trafford, but to Ferguson it has been colossal. The United manager, who, since Kidd stepped up from youth development officer to No 2 in 1991 following the loss of Archie Knox to Rangers, has secured four Premiership titles and the 'double Double', could not conceal his despair after training yesterday. "It is difficult to take, because we are in the middle of a really important programme for the club," said Ferguson, preparing for today's domestic summit meeting at Aston Villa, which will be followed by the Champions' League decider against Bayern Munich. He must be wondering how a club of United's status could allow such a situation to arise. Money might not be Kidd's main reason for walking out on United - but it has surely influenced his decision. Kidd, who took 90 minutes to say his farewells at United's Cliff training ground, has not yet given his view on the affair. He will face the media two hours before Blackburn's game against Charlton and will then be introduced to the Ewood Park crowd by the club's benefactor, Jack Walker. It was left to Edwards and Ferguson to shed light on a week of intense negotiations. "We offered him a substantial package but it became very obvious that his departure had nothing to with remuneration," said Edwards. "The simple fact is, Brian wanted to become a number one." Ferguson's philosophical view was: "The one thing you can never underestimate is people's ambitions and you have to encourage it. Brian felt this was the time for him to try on his own and we wish him well in that." Now the guessing game begins over who fills Kidd's shoes. Former Luton manager Jim Ryan, United's reserve team coach, will be the manager's right-hand man this afternoon and probably on Wednesday night, when a European Cup quarter-final place will either be secured or snatched away. After that, it is take your pick. Brian McClair, Ferguson's first big signing for United 12 years ago, is a front-runner. Now at Motherwell, the former Scotland striker has an FA coaching badge but does not yet consider himself a proven coach. A university degree and Professional Footballers' Association representative experience add to his credentials. Sheffield United manager Steve Bruce, a long-standing club captain under Ferguson, is another interested old boy, especially after his public disagreement with the Bramall Lane board, while Hibernian manager Alex McLeish, a stalwart in Ferguson's powerful Aberdeen team of the 1980s, did little last night to endorse his club's declaration that he will not be leaving Easter Road. Mark McGhee, recently sacked by Wolverhampton, has been a protégé of Ferguson throughout his managerial career, while Alex Miller, a successor of Ferguson as Aberdeen manager, is another Scot who would welcome a move on to a bigger stage. The size of the job means that almost any football personality can be put forward as a contender, not least Knox, Ferguson's former assistant, now back in England as Everton No 2, and the disenchanted Nottingham Forest manager, Dave Bassett. Speculation is also starting on a smaller scale at Blackburn, where Tony Parkes, whose latest fortnight of emergency duties came about with the shock dismissal of Roy Hodgson, gives up the managerial reins for the fourth time. Parkes, having met his new boss at Kidd's home on Thursday night, feels his future at Ewood is reasonably safe, but not as assistant manager. He accepts that Kidd will want to bring in his own staff. "We have got a top-class man now," he said. "I'm relieved, and the players will be, that the manager has been named."
"Peter Schmeichel's last season at OT" Click on image for more!"

Subject: Cole Interview (ET) United calypso is sweet music to the ears of cavalier Cole By Henry Winter OF the most stirring sights this season, it is hard to beat the sparkling one-two between Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke that ripped through Barcelona's defence like a chainsaw through papier maché. The quick reactions of mind and body which led to Cole's goal reminded the viewing public of the vibrancy contained in Manchester United's attack, of the talent of the oft-criticised Cole. Afterwards, Barcelona's defenders, notably the gracious Michael Reiziger, opined that United should lift the European Cup simply because of the potency of the Cole-Yorke partnership. In another corner of the cavernous Nou Camp, Alex Ferguson, United's manager, purred about how the one-two had resulted from special practice at their Cliff training ground. "We have worked on it in training," said Cole on Thursday. "When we train, we always pass to each other anyway. I think some of the chaps get disappointed because we are always passing it to each other, having a laugh! We've worked hard in training, trying to get something going." As the one-two showed, Yorke and Cole are dove-tailing well. The ball was slid in by Roy Keane. "Dwight dummied it," said Cole, "and as soon as he let the ball run, I knew he wouldn't stand still, that he would make a run. So I thought I would play the one-two. Dwight could either go on himself or he could knock it back to me. Fortunately for me, he knocked it back. With us, we are not really bothered who scores, as long as we keep winning." Winning they are, becoming serial scorers on the way. Even when United concede goals, they look like scoring. "It's funny," said Cole, "because the manager will turn round and say, 'I don't want you to go out there and be sloppy'. But we are very cavalier at the moment. "I know the manager says, 'concentrate, concentrate, concentrate'. But we are saying to ourselves, 'yes, we are concentrating but we know we are going to score goals'. We are playing football like the West Indies play cricket. We are playing calypso football. "I think the 3-3 draw at Barcelona was the best game I've played for United. Some of my mates phoned me afterwards and said it was like schoolboy football, like being in the playground. They attack. You attack. When I sat down and watched the video, I couldn't believe it. That's the way football should be. "We are averaging three goals a game. The boys are thinking, 'if they score, we know we can score again'. I've never been in a team like this, which is constantly on the attack. It's so enjoyable." Cole, whose favourite players are George Weah and Ronaldo, cannot think of a more attacking team in Europe than United, although he holds special admiration for Barcelona and Juventus. Pulses at Old Trafford have been quickened by his dynamic duet with Yorke, not simply the flow of their goals but their clever movement. "Because Dwight plays in different areas from me, I can make the same runs as before," Cole continued. "He might make the odd run in behind defences, but not as much as I do, which is good because he can drop deep, get the ball to his feet and turn. "Defenders never know what we are going to do. We've got a lot in our locker now. You want defenders to fear you. Come Saturday, you want a defender to be saying, 'we are playing against Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, it's going to be a hard day for us'. " Perceived as surly but in reality just shy, Cole has become firm friends with Yorke. The conscientious Cole made sure he visited Yorke at his hotel to see how the new boy was settling in. "When we used to play Villa, I always used to speak to him," Cole said. "Before he signed, I spoke to him in the summer and he was saying he really wanted to come. I said I'd love to have him. I didn't feel threatened. When he signed, a lot of people said that would be the end of Andy Cole. But it's like that for me every season." Because of his barrage of goals at Newcastle United, people expected Cole to continue his prolific vein when he arrived for £6 million almost four years ago. "A lot of people get stuck on that Newcastle thing," Cole responded. "Kevin Keegan bought me to score goals. He knew what was required for me to score goals." Cole was not expected to create space or chances for others. "I never had to do that. But when you come to a place like United, you have got to do it because you all have to control the ball and feel comfortable with it. "My whole game has improved since Newcastle - movement, creativity, my general reading of the play. I know I've got to work even harder on my heading." The change in the offside law has allowed him to sit on the shoulder of the last defender. "That has helped, although it would help if the linesmen kept up with play. "I don't think people really appreciate the kind of movement I've got. It's taken until Dwight came here for people to say, 'that was a good run by Andy Cole'. I do a lot of graft off the ball but I enjoy it. That's my game." Despite a healthy average of a goal per 1.88 games at United, a perception persists of Cole as a striker who wastes a high percentage of chances. Glenn Hoddle alluded to this when explaining his reasons for not selecting Cole for the last England squad. Cole reacted with an angry rebuke to Hoddle in the Sun (front page no less). "I wasn't disappointed at being left out of the squad," Cole reflected. "Because I've been left out many a time before. I can handle that. I'm a big boy. What disappointed me was what Glenn Hoddle said. He doesn't talk about anyone else like that. If he feels he wants to leave me out of every England squad from now until Euro 2000, then that's entirely up to him. I've no axe to grind. But if you are going to talk about me, there's freedom of speech and I'll talk about you. I'm 27. I'm not a 16-year-old kid." The feeling remains that Cole is desperate to add to his two England caps. Whenever he is criticised, United's supporters simply sing his praises even louder. "I love the United fans. When I had my sticky patch, they were always behind me 100 per cent." They admire his determination. "That's a value my mum and dad brought me up with: that no matter how badly things are going against you, you can't hide. "I don't really look back at the dark times now. It takes a lot to get me down now. Football's a great sport and I love it, but there's more to life than football. I look at people in not such a fortunate position as myself and see they can keep smiling, so why can't I?" Cole's sense of perspective was sharpened this week by a trip to Omagh, whose branch of the United Supporters' Club had been visiting him at Old Trafford when news of the bombing came through. After visiting bereaved families, Cole left behind a trophy which schools will now compete for. Today sees his sporting life resume, against Aston Villa and then, on Wednesday, with the visit of Bayern Munich. He relishes the prospect of Bayern's man-marking. "It's a good confrontation. Is he going to get the better of you or are you going to get the better of him? Like all German teams, Bayern are physical and strong and their will to win is just like the English. They certainly can't say they are going to out-run or out-work us. Because that is what we are about." Graft and craft: Cole encapsulated.
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