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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Tues Nov 10  GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Are we in a time warp?"  
4. Pitch battles! «« 
5. WEEKLY STATMAIL***   9th Nov 1998
7. Nil-Nil
8. All change for Forest «« 
9. Fergie Hits Ruud Block (Mirror)


Daily RED Trivia  Tues 10th November:

10/11/1976: Steve Paterson made his League debut against Sunderland. A strapping defender,
Paterson made 10 appearances between 1976-79 before continuing his playing
career in Hong Kong. His first two outings for United were as substitute against Ajax              
 Amsterdam and Juventus in the UEFA Cup.

10/11/1994: In what becomes known as the 'Demolition Derby, United thrash Manchester
City 5-0 at Old Trafford in a Premiership game watched by 43,738. Andrei
Kanchelskis 3, Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes scored the goals. Team was: 
Schmeichel, Keane, Irwin, Bruce, Kanchelskis, Pallister, Cantona, Ince, McClair,
Hughes, Giggs (Scholes). This is United's biggest ever win against City.  


Barry Daily Comment:  

Our Salford Lass's personal report today + ALL stats with the latest STATMAIL

Next 4 games: 
Result/Fixture Index:

Wed 11/11 Nott Forest (H) LC 
Sat 14/11 Blackburn   (H) PL
Sat 21/11 Sheff Wed   (A) PL15.00
Wed 25/11 Barcelona   (A) CL 19.45

UNITED Stats v Blackburn:


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

Champions League:
**Nov  4 Barcelona 1-2 Bayern Munich 
**Nov  4 Man Utd   5-0 Brøndby

Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Man United      4  2  2  0 16  7   8   
Bayern Munich   4  2  1  1  6  5   7  
Barcelona       4  1  1  2  6  6   4   
Brondby         4  1  0  3  4 14   3   

To be played:
 Nov 25 Barcelona        v  Man Utd
 Nov 25 Bayern Munich    v  Brøndby
 Dec  9 Brøndby          v  Barcelona   
 Dec  9 Man Utd          v  Bayern Munich


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Subject: "Are we in a time warp?" Personal Report by Our Salford Lass Well it wasn't quite as bad as the performance against Bury (if only because the weather was much pleasanter) but it wasn't far off and we couldn't make ourselves feel better by talking about the "Mickey Mouse Cup" or the "reserve team". This was the real thing, against a team that we should have beaten easily and we were crap!! I suppose I should be used, by now, to the topsy turvy nature of watching Manchester United - after all, I've had over 40 years of brilliant performances one week and crap the next, but somehow the optimist in me always wins the battle just before kick-off and I expect us to win every game. Oh well, at least it wasn't the scousers I suppose! It was a shame that the football spoilt the day because for the first time in ages it was actually quite a pleasant day! Warm sunshine (for Manchester), pleasant company in the pub and a nice Sunday lunch - what more could we ask? Kulwant had come over from Singapore for the game and we had a very enjoyable hour chatting in the Throstle's Nest before the game. Apologies for not saying goodbye, Kulwant - I lost you in the crowd on the forecourt before the game! As we waited for the game to start in East Lower our spirits were high as we marvelled at the barcodes in the corner - they really are the saddest fans in football! Dressed up in their Newcastle shirts, wearing their Gullit wigs and (still) singing about the 5 nil game. They provided much entertainment during the first half. pathetically easy to wind up, we had them jumping up and down in their seats when we sang "We saw you crying on the tele", "Have you ever won a trophy, have you f..k?" and "You never win f..k all." Later it was a song all about loving "The Toon" - the only set of fans I know to love a bloody river! It was a good job that the Geordies were so entertaining, because the game certainly wasn't. It was like watching a different team altogether from Wednesday night. Newcastle defended in numbers and we just found no way round them. When we did get a shot at goal it was wasted or saved by Shay Given. Shearer was as irritating as usual - diving and getting Stam booked whilst kicking, pushing, holding and generally cheating his way through the game. "f..k off Shearer" became the chant of the game as even North and South Stands were on their feet screaming with rage at one point. Nice of Mr Shearer to send Ronny off injured again, only about 10 minutes after he came on as a sub, but very good to see our Keano taking out Shearer just afterwards (and I don't mean for a drink!) "Keano, there's only one Keano". In East Lower, the mood wasn't good either. The stewards really do make their own lives more difficult. After leaving us to stand for most of the game on Wednesday, they now decided they were going to try and get everyone to sit down again. So it was "Will you sit down mate?", "Just sit down for me please", "I've told you once already, now sit down if you don't want to go out" (in a high-pitched screech, like an angry primary school teacher). It was all very irritating and, along with the increasing noise from the idiots up in the away corner, just made me even more pissed off than I was already! As the match proceeded, it was obvious we were never going to score. Indeed, we wouldn't have scored if we'd still been playing tonight! Luckily, Newcastle looked no more likely to score than we did. By ten minutes from the end, I think most of us were fairly resigned to the draw and were feeling pretty fed-up. The barcodes, however, were celebrating like they had stuffed us 5-nil again to win the Premiership! For the last 5 minutes of the game they serenaded us with "You'll never walk alone" - as I said at the beginning, just about the saddest bunch of fans in football. There can be only one man-of-the-match as far as I'm concerned and that was Denis Irwin - the only player on the pitch who played well. Hopefully this performance will help to convince the powers-that-be at OT that our Denis deserves at least another couple of seasons on his contract. The defense was certainly the best part of the team, although our Wes did make a few mistakes - not bad considering they were his first real mistakes in how many starts? Luckily, the Newcastle team weren't capable of taking advantage. So we left the ground wondering if we were in a time warp - this couldn't be the team of the nineties, surely?! Copyright © 1998 by Our Salford Lass. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author
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Monday 09 November 1998 Subject: FERGIE'S RUNAWAY TRAIN GRINDS TO A HALT Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 IT HAD to end sometime and ironically it was against a side managed by a man well versed in the art of total football, but Manchester United's run of supreme football and consequent rewards is over. It may only be a one-game hiccup but after demolishing Brondby in midweek with a five-star performance which had manager Alex Ferguson drooling with delight, United demonstrated their mortality with a lacklustre display against more mediocre opposition. Gone was the rapid one-touch passing, which had cut sides to shreds in the last few weeks. Gone was the ruthless finishing which had resulted in the Reds banging in 26 goals in their previous seven games. Instead United never really got out of first gear at Old Trafford against a determined Newcastle side, who successfully threw a spanner into their highly-tuned works. The omens had not augured well for Newcastle coming into the game. They had won just once at Old Trafford in their last 32 visits, while Alan Shearer had not scored since the end of September. He still hasn't and the nearest he got was a quick free-kick early on that Peter Schmeichel recovered to smoother. Manager Ruud Gullit gave Aaron Hughes his first start of the season on his 19th birthday, summer signing George Georgiadis made his Premiership debut after months in the wilderness and Dietmar Hamann returned after over two months out with damaged knee ligaments. The Red Devils tried to pick up where they left off on Wednesday - on fire - but Paul Scholes fired wide after two minutes, and Jesper Blomqvist took a David Beckham cross, cut inside and unleashed a left-foot shot, which Shay Given saved low down. The normally-reliable Scholes shot wide again after 27 minutes when he should have done better but Newcastle were growing in confidence after the expected onslaught from the home side failed to materialise. The lively Paul Dalglish should have had a penalty seven minutes before the interval when he collected Shearer's knock-down and rounded Schmeichel, only to be bundled off the ball by Denis Irwin with a shoulder barge Nat Lofthouse would have been proud of. Shearer was booked by referee Steve Dunn two minutes after the interval for a late tackle on Scholes, seconds after he had made dubious challenges on Gary Neville and Roy Keane. The England striker may have been frustrated by his lack of chances but he should be used to that by now. He cannot have been impressed by Dalglish when the youngster slipped through on the left only to allow Schmeichel to save. At the other end, Keane found former Newcastle hero Andy Cole in the box, but he turned and fired over the bar. Wes Brown, who had started in place of hamstring-victim Phil Neville, made way for the fit-again Ronny Johnsen, who had not played in nearly two months, as United tried to shake themselves into action. But still they spluttered along and a frustrated Beckham was booked on the hour for pulling back David Batty after he had lost the ball. Newcastle denied Manchester with a series of last-ditch blocks, Given saved Blomqvist's drive and the growing feeling that it was not going to be United's day was underlined in the 64th minute when Beckham burst through the heart of the Magpies defence only to steer his shot wide of Given and the post. Ten minutes from time Irwin swung over a cross to Scholes at the back post, but he shot weakly at Given, who then plucked the ball off Yorke's toe after Cole had put him through. In the dying minutes United went for one final push when they brought on Nicky Butt and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the home fans thought the time had come for another late goal courtesy of another Beckham special when he lined up to take a free-kick 25 yards out in the last minute. But it was typical of the game that his shot should rebound off the wall and the England midfielder screwed a second attempt wide. Newcastle have now gone 343 minutes without a Premiership goal but with their hosts drawing a blank too, the travelling fans quite rightly celebrated another goalless afternoon with glee.
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Subject: GULLIT MAKES HIS POINT, FERGIE DISAPPOINTED Newcastle boss Ruud Gullit praised his side's character after they held Manchester United to a goalless draw - but his words were tinged with disappointment. The Dutchman was delighted at the tactical changes he made by bringing in defender Aaron Hughes on his 19th birthday, along with midfielder Dietmar Hamann and George Georgiadis, had paid off. But he said: ''I wanted to win today, I just didn't want to hold them. ''I said after the first half that it would be bad if we played well and didn't get anything. I told them to play for the result whatever happens, but I still wanted to win. ''I thought it was a good game and an excellent Newcastle performance. We made it very difficult for them to play their game. ''They couldn't find any holes and that was frustrating for them. We played some excellent football in the first half and created some chances.'' United boss Alex Ferguson was disappointed at a flat performance by his side, but congratulated Gullit on his tactical acumen. ''I thought it was a flat performance by us and it begs the question about games after Europe,'' he said. ''I didn't think the pitch helped us. I thought it was really poor. ''I thought Newcastle's tactics were terrific. They forced us onto the back foot all the time and pressed us really well. ''For a team that's supposed to be struggling a little bit they played with great confidence. ''He (Gullit) filled his team with as many quick players as he could and I think they deserve their point although I don't think they created anything.''
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Subject: Pitch battles! «« Head groundsman Keith Kent finds himself the centre of attention as Alex Ferguson holds an investigation into the mystery of United's super-pitch. The new surface was laid during the summer when its 11 year predecessor was dug up and its pieces given to supporters as souvenirs. It is set in a nylon base which is supposed to strengthen its roots, but on the evidence of Sunday's goal-less draw with Newcastle it seems something must have gone wrong and groundsman Kent has some embarrassing questions to answer. Some people were blaming the rugby league Grand Final but Ferguson dismissed this claim. He said the pitch was in good shape for the match against Brondby but has deteriorated badly since then. During Sunday's game the surface began to break up as early as the second minute and spectators gasped when they saw a large clump of turf fold over under David Beckham's feet as he took a free kick. The surface played tricks on both sides and Newcastle were robbed of a late scoring chance when a high ball directed towards Alan Shearer stopped dead instead of bouncing forward as the spongy ground took the pace out of the pass. During reconstruction work in the summer the whole playing area was dug out and the crown of the pitch was lowered by thirteen inches. This has grown during the 11 years since it was laid because of regular top dressing being added. Ready grown grass produced at a turf farm in Yorkshire was rolled out and thousands of earth worms distributed over the area to help aeration.
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Subject: ***WEEKLY STATMAIL*** 9th Nov 1998 ** PL FIXTURES ON 14/11/98 *** Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough Chelsea v Wimbledon Liverpool v Leeds United Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers (Scandinavia Canal+ TV *live) Newcastle United v Sheffield Wednesday Southampton v Aston Villa West Ham United v Leicester City *** PL FIXTURES ON 15/11/98 *** Coventry City v Everton __________________________________ Worthington LC *** ROUND 4 FIXTURES ON 10/11/98 *** Bolton Wanderers v Wimbledon Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Luton Town v Barnsley *** ROUND 4 FIXTURES ON 11/11/98 *** Arsenal v Chelsea Everton v Sunderland Leicester City v Leeds United Manchester United v Nottingham Forest Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers _______________________________________________ *** PL FIXTURE PREDICTIONS ON 14/11/98 *** Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur Charlton Athletic 2-1 Middlesbrough Chelsea 2-0 Wimbledon Liverpool 2-2 Leeds United Manchester United 2-0 Blackburn Rovers Newcastle United 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday Southampton 0-2 Aston Villa West Ham United 0-1 Leicester City *** PL FIXTURE PREDICTIONS ON 15/11/98 *** Coventry City 1-1 Everton _________________________________________________ ** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 07/11/98 *** Aston Villa 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur 39,421 Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Coventry City 23,779 Charlton Athletic 0-0 Leicester City 20,021 Liverpool 1-2 Derby County 44,020 Nottingham Forest 0-1 Wimbledon 21,362 Southampton 3-3 Middlesbrough 15,202 *** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 08/11/98 *** Arsenal 1-0 Everton 38,088 Leeds United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday 30,012 Manchester United 0-0 Newcastle United 55,174 West Ham United 1-1 Chelsea 26,023 *** CONDENSED LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 08/11/98 *** Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts --------------------------------------------------------- 1 Aston Villa 11 7 4 0 14 5 9 25 2 Arsenal 12 6 5 1 14 5 9 23 3 Manchester United 11 6 4 1 23 9 14 22 4 Middlesbrough 12 4 6 2 20 15 5 18 5 Chelsea 10 4 5 1 14 10 4 17 6 Leeds United 12 3 8 1 13 9 4 17 7 Derby County 12 4 5 3 12 10 2 17 8 Leicester City 12 4 5 3 11 10 1 17 9 West Ham United 12 4 5 3 13 13 0 17 10 Wimbledon 12 4 5 3 17 19 -2 17 11 Liverpool 12 4 4 4 19 14 5 16 12 Charlton Athletic 12 3 6 3 19 16 3 15 13 Newcastle United 12 4 3 5 15 16 -1 15 14 Tottenham Hotspur 12 4 3 5 16 21 -5 15 15 Everton 12 2 6 4 7 11 -4 12 16 Sheffield Wednesday 12 3 2 7 9 12 -3 11 17 Coventry City 12 3 2 7 9 18 -9 11 18 Blackburn Rovers 12 2 3 7 12 17 -5 9 19 Nottingham Forest 12 2 3 7 8 18 -10 9 20 Southampton 12 1 4 7 9 26 -17 7 *** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 08/11/98 *** 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 *** TEAM RESULTS SUMMARY - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 08/11/98 *** P Won Drawn Lost For Against Points ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Home 6 4 (67%) 2 (33%) 0 (0%) 15 (2.5) 4 (0.7) 14 (2.3) Away 5 2 (40%) 2 (40%) 1 (20%) 8 (1.6) 5 (1.0) 8 (1.6) Total 11 6 (55%) 4 (36%) 1 (9%) 23 (2.1) 9 (0.8) 22 (2.0) Averages per game in (brackets) League position: 3rd Form position: 1st (Index: 52%) Predicted position: 1st (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 08/11/98 *** AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE: 55,169 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) *** ATTENDANCE TABLE AS AT 07/11/98 *** Manchester United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 55,168 Liverpool @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 43,958 Everton @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 38,808 Arsenal @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 38,070 Newcastle United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 36,695 Aston Villa @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 36,405 Chelsea @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 34,740 Middlesbrough @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 34,274 Leeds United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 32,727 Tottenham Hotspur @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 32,448 Derby County @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 27,780 Sheffield Wednesday @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 26,948 West Ham United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 25,307 Blackburn Rovers @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 24,278 Nottingham Forest @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 23,759 Coventry City @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 21,427 Leicester City @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 20,608 Charlton Athletic @@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 19,222 Wimbledon @@@@@@@@@@@@ 15,888 Southampton @@@@@@@@@@@ 15,159 *** GENERAL STATISTICS AS AT 07/11/98 *** SEQUENCES (involving Manchester United) --------- LONGEST RUN OF HOME WINS: Current (4 games) - Manchester United Record (4 games) - Aston Villa Manchester United ATTACK/DEFENCE STATISTICS ------------------------- BEST ATTACK (23 goals): Manchester United BEST HOME ATTACK (15 goals): Manchester United ATTENDANCE STATISTICS --------------------- HIGHEST ATTENDANCE (55,265): Manchester United HIGHEST AVERAGE ATTENDANCE (55,168): Manchester United Produced by: E-mail: statmail@iname.com ICQ UIN: 4358182 Homepage: http://www.graphite.demon.co.uk/ MUFC Hon. Executive CP Cheah Webmasters: Barry Leeming & Bill McArthur Graphics: Sam Hayward Stats: Paul Hinson Site Design Diana Low Webmaster Mail: mufc@netlane.com Url: http://www.red11.org World of Manchester United Football Club.
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Subject: BLOMQVIST BACKS REDS TO BOUNCE BACK By David Anderson, PA Sport Jesper Blomqvist hopes Manchester United's goalless draw against Newcastle will prove to be a Ruud awakening. Alex Ferguson's men had been expected to shoot down Ruud Gullit's Magpies in the same manner they had dispatched Wimbledon, Brondby and Everton in recent weeks. But instead Newcastle successfully frustrated their hosts to become the first side since Arsenal eight months ago to keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford. Blomqvist felt the result had taught United that they cannot afford to let their high standards drop for even one game. Ferguson's side have plenty of craft but Blomqvist says they must also remember the importance of graft. "We won't win every game 4-0 or 5-0, but if we don't put real effort into it and work 100% then we won't win at all," said the Swedish international winger. "This game shows that you must keep your concentration levels up at all time or you will lose. "Okay we didn't lose this game, but we didn't win it either. "We should know that and we got a wake-up call, although I think everybody appreciates that. "We didn't reach the normal levels which we have done in our last couple of games. "We missed a lot of short passes and I think that was down to a lack of concentration. "The result, though, was no great disaster because we didn't lose the game and I feel we can go on from here." Some observers have suggested that United's habit of under-performing following Champions' League games could be returning to dog them. They lost at Arsenal after their draw against Barcelona, scrambled a draw at Derby after crushing Brondby and yesterday produced a damp squib against Newcastle following their second mauling of the Danish champions. But Blomqvist does not subscribe to this view and said: "We should not be that tired after playing in Europe." Ferguson has hailed Blomqvist as United's "saviour" for the manner in which he has risen to the challenge of filling Ryan Giggs' boots while the Welshman is injured. The former AC Milan star, who joined United in a £4.4million move from Parma in the summer, missed the start of the season with a foot injury and he believes he is improving with each game. "I feel like I'm getting there," said Blomqvist. "I have been getting better and better, but the Newcastle game was a bit so so. "I felt my foot again in the second half but that's no excuse at all. "The game was disappointing for me and the team." © PA Sporting Life
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From: "Tony Smith" Subject: Nil-Nil I received a good natured slaughtering for my pessimism at Everton, but yesterday showed that where United are concerned pessimism and realism often go hand in hand. Three easy games on paper leaves us with two draws and one win. I'm content with one point at this stage of the season, but we were second best for long periods yesterday, illustrated by the number of times Schmeichel was forced to kick under pressure. I suppose nil-nil in their cup final sums up Newcastle - they can return to playing garbage for the rest of the season, as their fans seemed deleriously happy. United remain streets ahead of the rest - and the only side that can stop us winning the league is ourselves. Perhaps most worrying of all was the state of the pitch (the reason I think that United couldn't get their game going). Shades of 92 as it cut up very badly. Sometimes the ball didn't bounce - it just dropped dead as it landed. When Beckham was put through on his own the ball seemed to stick on the surface between his legs; and some of Yorke's unsuccessful dribbles were because the ball wouldn't keep up with his feet. Was it true that they watered the pitch on the afternoon of the Bury monsoon? Time to go out and win the next six. Tony (c) 1998
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Subject: All change for Forest «« Alex Ferguson is ready to change the whole of his Manchester United side after Sunday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle, but he would have done it even if they had won 5-0. With Nottingham Forest coming to Old Trafford for the fourth round of the Worthington Cup, Fergie switches to his shadow squad for the tie and that could mean virtually the whole of Sunday's side standing down. Reserve goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw is set to replace Peter Schmeichel. Michael Clegg, Henning Berg, David May and John Curtis will come into the defence and Fergie seems certain to turn to Phil Mulryne, Mark Wilson, Jordi Cruyff and Nicky Butt (a substitute on Sunday) in midfield. Another of Sunday's substitutes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to lead the attack along with teenager Jonathan Greening, who had an outstanding game against Bury in the last round. Phillip Neville is having treatment on the hamstring injury which ruled him out of Sunday's game and could also feature. Teddy Sheringham is unlikely to be involved. Unusually, tickets for the game are now on general sale.
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Subject: Fergie Hits Ruud Block (Mirror) Alex Ferguson was last night grounded by flying Dutchman Ruud Gullit. But the Manchester United boss hid his disappointment at faltering in the big title race to heap praise on Gullit and his Newcastle fighters. Fergie applauded Gullit's tactics in stifling his free-flowing side and stopping them scoring at Old Trafford for the first time since March. United had scored 30 goals in their previous nine games before facing Newcastle. Dynamic duo Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole had hammered 11 in their six-match stint together. But Gullit marshalled his men to make it a blank day for Yorke, Cole and United. Ferguson said: "I thought Newcastle's tactics were terrific. They really pressed the ball and had us on the back foot. They forced us to pass the ball back. "Yes, their tactics were terrific. For a team that's supposed to be struggling they did very well. "It was a brave selection. I didn't even know two of the players. They deserved the point even though they didn't really create anything. But they blunted our attacking thrust. We had four terrific chances in the second half. "When David Beckham is right through and Cole, Yorke and Paul Scholes all have good chances you will expect one of them to go in. "Four chances in a game like this is too many to miss. I thought it was a flat performance by us today. It begs the question of games being played so soon after Europe." Gullit was delighted at sharing the spoils in a stadium that is rarely friendly to visitors. He said: "I thought we were excellent. My back four were outstanding. "We were very well organised and young Andy Griffin was first class. The only way to beat Manchester United is to play like that. "We didn't play to stop them. We came here trying to win. "But I am not disappointed with a point because they played well also." Newcastle's players believe they should have had a penalty when Paul Dalglish was bundled down in the box by Denis Irwin. But the Newcastle boss did not moan about Bristol referee Steve Dunn refusing to point to the stop. Gullit added: "The penalty? I wasn't in a position to see the incident but I didn't have much to complain about today."
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