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Date: Wed Jul 08 GMT+00:00 1998
Draw for the preliminary rounds for the Champions League:
First round: 22/7 and 29/7
Second round: 12/8 and 26/8
LKS Lodz, Polen - Kapaz, Azerbadjan
(winner meets MANCHESTER UNITED)
MANCHESTER UNITED CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 1998:
Preliminary round August 12th (home) & 26th (away)
Champions league September 16 & 30,
October21, November 4 & 25, December 9.
1. preliminary round - LKS Lodz
2. LODZ OF TRAVEL IN FERGIE'S EURO MYSTERY TOUR (Mirror)
3. Becks (TeamTalk)
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Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 07:49:30 -0700
From: Marcin Synoradzki
Subject: preliminary round - LKS Lodz
Hello to all
I am from Poland, so I can give some info about Polish Champions
It's not Widzew, nor RTS (full name RTS WIDZEW LODZ) but LKS Lodz.
In Poland Lodz is called polish Manchester, and many of their fans are also
United supporters, so atmosphere should be very friendly. Me and other supporters
from Polish ManUtd Supporters' Club will go there, so should be about 100-200
polish United fans there.
LKS Lodz is a strong team, but two best players, KLOS (AUXERRE) and TRZECIAK
(OSASUNA) moved abroad, and third best SAGANOWSKI is currently injured after
motorbike crash. SO now they are weaker side, but I heard lately, that both
best players could play in preliminary round, and after this move aborad, I will
keep you informed.
Keep the red flag flying high
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Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 07:58:13 -0700
Subject: LODZ OF TRAVEL IN FERGIE'S EURO MYSTERY TOUR (Mirror)
MANCHESTER United face a nightmare trip into soccer hell as they battle to
get back into Champions' League heaven.
The fallen champions will face either Polish side Widzew Lodz or Kapaz from
Azerbaijan in their qualifying round next month.
Neither city has an airport, which leaves United facing a three-hour coach
trip after touching down on foreign soil.
It also means that their first-leg match at Old Trafford on August 12 will
land them with a fixture pile-up even before the Premiership season starts.
United face a hectic schedule of three games in six days to give boss Alex
Ferguson a massive selection headache.
First, they play Arsenal in the Charity Shield at Wembley on August 9.
Three days later they they kick off their Champions' League pre-qualifier,
and then they meet Leicester at Old Trafford the following Saturday.
Eleven days later they face that journey into the unknown to claim a coveted
spot alongside Arsenal in the Champions' League.
Lodz are favourites to win through to meet United - but that will be little
consolation to Ferguson.
He will have to fly his side into Warsaw and then suffer a three-hour coach
trip to reach the grim industrial centre of Lodz.
It will be even worse, though, if United draw the mystery side from
Kapaz is so small the name doesn't even appear on a map, and once again
there is no airport to take United's charter flight.
They will have to fly to Azerbaijan's capital of Baku, with another weary
three-hour coach journey facing them on touchdown.
It is a daunting prospect, but Ferguson will grin and bear it with another
money-spinning Champions' League run the reward for long-distance travel. He
said: "You have to expect a slightly obscure draw at this stage of the
"We know nothing about either side so we will go and watch their first
qualifying round match.
"I expect that it will be the Polish side who will be the winners, and it
won't be an easy trip out there.
"There's no airport at Lodz which means we face a three-hour coach journey
to the town.
"But if we go to Azerbaijan it could be worse.
"It will certainly be a tough first week of the season, with three games in
six days, starting with the Charity Shield and finishing with the Leicester
game. But everyone should be fit." Fergie was boosted yesterday when the
Charity Shield kick-off was brought forward to lunchtime at the club's
United report for training a week on Thursday to prepare for the new season
and their tour of Scandinavia at the end of the month.
And Fergie will be delighted to welcome back Roy Keane following the
midfielder's cruciate ligament operation 10 months ago.
The United boss will also have decided by then whether Keane carries on as
Peter Schmeichel took over the armband following Keane's injury, and the
Denmark international is likely to continue the job.
Subject: Becks (TeamTalk)
United On Beckham Alert
United insist it will be business as usual when the players report for
pre-season training on Thursday - and that includes David Beckham.
The Reds have no extra security plans in place to guard their training
ground at the Cliff although gaining admittance will be as tough as normal.
United have already announced that the controversial England midfielder
will have his own bodyguard for away matches next season. The club's head of
security, former SAS soldier Ned Kelly, has been assigned to look after him
in the same way he did Eric Cantona.
United prevent fans from watching their daily training sessions at their
base in Salford because of the extraordinary high volume of people who would
like to flock through the doors.
The same policy will be in force when Beckham returns and it is likely media
access will be severely limited to prevent the player from being exposed to
the glare of the lights as he has done during his high-profile
stay in France with England.
Beckham is in America and may be allowed a few extra days before he links
up with his team-mates who have not been on World Cup duty.
Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson has said the club will ensure Beckham receive
proper protection. "We will look after him when he comes back. That's the
kind of club this is.
"It would be an easy way out to sell him to a club abroad and offer him an
escape route from the problem. But this is a great club and we are not
going to give in to mob rule. No way, " said Ferguson.
"David Beckham does not want to leave Manchester United. He is Manchester
United through and through. He has to live with the damage his action did
to England's chances of reaching the quarter finals.
"But I was sickened by much of the cruel nonsense produced about Beckham
last week. There was vindictiveness in many of the comments that made it
obvious that he was paying yet again for being more of a celebrity than any
other footballer in Britain, " added the United boss.
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