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The Devil's Advocate "REDitorial" commentary by Alex Paylor  "RED sky at night UNITED delight!"

Date: Thu Aug 13 07:34:11 GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

Daily RED Trivia  13th August:

1921: Ronnie Burke born in Dormanstown, Yorkshire. A useful forward, Burke
      made his United debut against Sunderland in October 1946, and notched 9 in
      13 appearances in his first season. Between 1946-49 he made 34 appearances
      and scored 22 goals before moving to Huddersfield Town.

1977: United share the Charity Shield with Liverpool after a 0-0 draw at Wembley
      watched by 82,000. Team was: Stepney, Nicholl, Houston, McIlroy, B.Greenhoff,
      Buchan, Coppell, J.Greenhoff (McCreery), Pearson, Macari, Hill. 

July 25  Birmingham City  (A)     result: L 3-4
     27  Valerengen (A) (Oslo)    result: D 2-2
     31  Brondby (A) (Copenhagen) result: W 6-0
Aug   4  Brann Bergen (A)         result: W 4-0
      9  Arsenal (N)              result: L 0-3
     12  H Widzew Lodz CL         result: W 2-0

Coming Matches Index: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899z.htm
Sat 15/8 H Leicester PL 
Tue 18/8 H Eric Cantona XI (H) - Munich testimonial
Sat 22/8 A West Ham PL

This Issue:
2. ET Report: Giggs in sparkling mood as United win breathing space
3. Ben Thornley
4. Fergie Still Hoping For Yorke (PA)
5. Edwards Speaks Out on Salas (D.Mail)
6. Friction At United? (D.Mail)


Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 09:03:21 +0200 (CEST) Subject: LKS LODZ Report: COLE GIVES UNITED BREATHING SPACE But Giggs Steals The Show With Classic Display (Football 365) MAN UTD 2 v LKS LODZ 0 Giggs 16 Cole 81 PERHAPS Manchester United do not need Dwight Yorke after all. Twenty four hours after Aston Villa rejected United's second bid of 10m for Yorke, Andy Cole, the man who Villa wanted as part of a swap deal, rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at Old Trafford to take Alex Ferguson's men a giant step towards qualifying for the Champions' League. Ryan Giggs netted the first goal - and what a magnificent effort it was - against the Polish champions to give United a comfortable advantage going into the second leg in Poland in a fortnight. In truth, the sides were poles apart, and United deserved to win by a larger margin, such was their domination. But they could not turn their possession or free-kicks into goals, until Cole's late second which calmed Red nerves. After relinquishing the Charity Shield to Arsenal with a supine performance on Sunday, United showed they meant business now the gloves are off. They had Lodz on the ropes straight away, and the Poles found themselves pinned down in their own half, with Giggs, who missed last season's European exit against Monaco with a hamstring injury, United's main creative force. He epitomised United's pace and movement which pulled the Poles to pieces and drew sighs of relief and admiration from the Old Trafford crowd. This opening spell was United back to their best. In the eighth minute, Giggs was denied by Boguslaw Wyparlo after being played in by Cole, with Rafal Pawlak tidying up the rebound before Paul Scholes could pounce. Giggs was then just inches away with an effort which whizzed past the post after 15 minutes, but he fine-tuned his sights and a minute later he was on target to give United the lead. The impressive Roy Keane found Scholes who fed Giggs with a cushioned header, and the Welshman left Witold Bendkowski on his backside with a wonderful piece of control, bringing the ball down from behind him, keeping the rhythm and pace of his run going, skipping past another defender before slotting home a sublime goal with the outside of his left foot into the far corner of the net. This was the Giggs that the privileged few who saw him as a 15-year-old, then called Ryan Wilson, captaining England Schoolboys, drooled about. What Glenn Hoddle would have given to have the Salford lad wearing the Three Lions in France this summer, working his socks off but adding the unpredictable movement and accurate passing England cried out for. The way he glided across Old Trafford highlighted the beauty of the finest left-sided sportsmen. Why do they look better than righties? It was David Gower cutting at the wide ball, John McEnroe slicing down the line. Giggs almost turned provider four minutes later when he fed Cole, but the striker's shot was pushed away by Wyparlo. United pressed forward in search of a second, and the much-maligned Jaap Stam was denied a goal on his meaningful United debut when Bendkowski cleared his header off the line after 32 minutes. Nicky Butt felt his run on goal had been blocked by Bendkowski, but Bulgarian referee Atanas Ouzounov waved play on. Beckham went close to a second when he bent a free-kick from 20 yards out into the side netting. Keane was running the match from midfield in his first competitive game after nearly 11 months out through injury. Many of the Lodz players had shaved their heads before the match, but there was no mistaking who the real hard man was out on the pitch, although the Irishman got booked for one of those challenges that he really cannot afford to repeat regularly. United seemed content to go in just one goal ahead at half-time, but in stoppage time Scholes volleyed narrowly wide from Keane's centre and Dzidoslaw Zuberek gave United a wake-up call four minutes into the second half when he ran two-thirds of the pitch to force a save from Peter Schmeichel at his near post. Normal service was soon resumed, and Cole saw a chip from outside the area dip just the wrong side of the crossbar. He went close again after 53 minutes when he received Denis Irwin's ball with his back to goal before spinning round, only for Myparlo to block his shot with his legs. But as so often with Cole, he proved he can be brilliant one minute and awful the next when he completely missed Giggs' left-wing cross, but his moment was approaching. Ten minutes from time, he stretched to head home Irwin's left-wing cross, the Irish full-back superbly fed by the vision of Giggs. Cole was relieved, but the hero was Giggs. Despite being United's finest player in the Champions League of late and their most feared, his status in Europe is nowhere near what it would be if he were Italian, Spanish, German or English. Born in Cardiff, but Lancashire through and through, Glenn Hoddle must be wishing he still had a Ryan Wilson to chose for Sweden next month.
Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 14:38:04 +0800 Subject: ET Report: Giggs in sparkling mood as United win breathing space Giggs in sparkling mood as United win breathing space By Henry Winter Man Utd (1) 2 LKS Lodz (0) 0 ATTACKING relentlessly down a variety of avenues, Manchester United could still manage only two goals against modest European opposition at Old Trafford. The lack of a cutting edge was only marginally disguised by goals from Ryan Giggs, early, and Andy Cole late on. Andy Cole rises to score Man United's second goal The Polish champions packed their defence but, given United's overwhelming possession, the hosts should really have scored more, although they look well-placed to reach next month's round-robin stage. Having had their pride piqued by Arsenal in the Charity Shield, United had started last night in determined fashion, setting the tempo throughout the first half. Even taking into account the modest threat posed by the Poles, Giggs was outstanding, darting and dribbling in from his left-flank station. This was Giggs and United at their best: quick and incisive, breaking from midfield to the opposition's box in a blur of movement. Giggs's running and cunning continually troubled Lodz and it was little surprise when he recorded United's goal after 15 minutes. Stretched by the lung-breaking industry of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, Lodz inevitably ceded space for such fast movers as Giggs to exploit. The Welshman's goal stemmed from the clever thinking of Neville and Scholes, who combined to find Giggs near the penalty spot. Giggs's cushioning touch created the opening, the ball immediately and unerringly placed low to Bugoslaw Wyparlo's left. Old Trafford revelled in the moment. The first half remained largely a procession, red waves flowing towards the Poles' goal. The pattern was simple. Jaap Stam, now excellent, would win the ball in the air or on the ground and transfer play to Keane, who often dropped deep. Stam also showed a nice touch in possession, bringing the ball out and twice finding Giggs to unleash counter-attacks. After Sunday's chastening introduction to the English game, Stam looked far more an expensive international here. Giggs delighted in the balls consistently played into him. Even before his strike, the United midfielder was to the fore, almost fashioning a chance for the lively Scholes and then himself threading the ball just wide. To Old Trafford's relish, Giggs was in the mood, killing the ball's momentum with a velvet touch before accelerating forward, often leaving bemused Poles in his wake. If Giggs and Stam were catching the eye, so was Beckham. Stirringly received by a near-capacity home crowd, Beckham responded with a thoroughly involved performance, chasing and creating with relentless gusto. His awareness of his team-mates' positioning shone throughout as did his ability to convey the ball to them. With Beckham and Giggs pulling the strings and Keane providing a muscular buffer in midfield, United deserved more from the first half. Stam, responding impressively to a loose ball in Lodz's box, lifted in a shot which cleared the goalkeeper but not Grzegorz Krysiak, who headed clear. United then appealed - in vain - for a penalty when Nicky Butt was body-checked by Witold Bendowski. As the half drew to a conclusion, Beckham confirmed his verve with a swerving free-kick, which sent a shiver through the side-netting. Lodz had offered little in the first half, barring Rafak Niznik's radar-less free-kick and a run from Tomasz Cebula, but almost equalised just after the break when Dzidoslaw Zuberek eluded Stam and shot into Peter Schmeichel's hands. Normal service was soon resumed but United were still lacking a finishing touch. Beckham and Giggs kept supplying hard and low crosses into the box but to no avail. Cole kept hinting at an opening, shooting over and then, following a superb turn, being denied by Wyparlo. Set up by another thrilling Giggs break, Cole narrowly failed to make contact. In an attempt to vary their free-kick routine, normally involving Beckham, Stam struck one low and hard but it flew wide. Amid all the missed opportunities, there was further evidence of Scholes's exceptional skill, the England international weaving passed three Poles only for the moment to be lost. It seemed typical of United's night. United's pressure finally brought a deserved second. Again Giggs was involved, ushering Denis Irwin down the left. The full-back's cross dropped perfectly for Cole, who headed home from eight yards to make qualification to the Champions' League proper a far easier proposition.
Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 09:03:25 +0200 (CEST) From: barrylee@post3.tele.dk (Barry Leeming) Subject: Ben Thornley HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have won their tussle with Manchester United over the transfer fee for winger Ben Thornley. United boss Alex Ferguson had wanted 500,000 but a transfer tribunal - which had twice been postponed at the request of the Premiership club - ruled that Huddersfield should pay 175,000 up front, with 25,000 for every 25 games he plays. The maximum Town will pay is 275,000, and United will also receive 20% of any sell-on fee.
Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 18:38:45 +0200 (CEST) X-Sender: wpa01977@mail.web4you.dk (Unverified) X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Version 1.4.3 To: barrylee@post3.tele.dk From: barrylee@post3.tele.dk (Barry Leeming) Subject: Fergie Still Hoping For Yorke (PA) FERGIE HANGS ON TO YORKE HOPE By David Anderson, PA Sport Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson refuses to give up hope of signing Dwight Yorke from Aston Villa. Yorke looks likely to remain at Villa Park after United chief executive Martin Edwards admitted the two clubs were "poles apart" on agreeing a fee. United have made one unsuccessful bid of 8million, while Villa maintain they want 16million for the Trinidad and Tobago star. Ferguson claims Villa's asking price is "crazy", but feels the deal is not entirely dead. He believes the 26-year-old wants to come to Old Trafford. "I was hoping to get Dwight Yorke here and I must admit that was really important to us," he said. "However, I am not giving up hope on the deal. "Villa have made it impossible to do business so far because of their valuation. The 16million price tag is crazy, they are pricing the player out of the move he wanted. "It's unfortunate for the lad because he would have been a terrific player here, but I won't give up hope." United, though, are adamant they will not be held to ransom and they will only offer what they feel the player is worth - and that is not 16million. United director and solicitor Maurice Watkins claimed the gulf between what they are offering and what Villa want is still large. "The situation is that there is still a gap between the valuations of both parties," he said. "One has to have a view on these matters, and the fact remains that there is a big difference in the two clubs' valuations of the player. "So it appears that this is one transfer which has gone by the wayside." Villa boss John Gregory would only be prepared to do business if Andy Cole were offered as part of a player-plus-cash deal, but United do not want to lose the former Newcastle striker. The likely collapse of United's attempts to sign Yorke is the second rebuff the club has suffered in six days. Last week Patrick Kluivert rejected a move to Old Trafford, after United had agreed a fee of 9million with AC Milan for the Dutch international striker. PA Sporting Life
Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 08:15:00 -0400 Subject: Edwards Speaks Out on Salas (D.Mail) Fergie's ditched the Salas deal, says United chairman Wednesday, August 12, 1998 Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards last night revealed that Alex Ferguson decided to abort the 9million signing of Chile striker Marcello Salas - not the Old Trafford money men. Edwards, tired of suggestions that the purse strings of United's plc board are strangling their attempts to sign a major striker, chose the eve of his club's latest assault on the Champions League to condemn his critics and insist it was the manager who made the final decision on Salas, now recognised as one of the world's most exciting talents. He said: 'Can I just tell you, I am sick to death of Salas, absolutely sick to death. 'We were given a price on Salas, I think it was $13m - 8m or 9m - no problem at all. His salary, when we were talking to him, was no problem at all. Salas was not my decision and not the board's decision. Salas was Alex Ferguson's decision. 'Brian Kidd went to see him and said he was a reasonably good striker. Alex went to see him and we said to Alex: "Look, is Salas going to play or Cole?" And Alex withdrew on Salas. Not the Manchester United board. Nothing else. 'I am sick to death of reading that United could not afford Salas. He was within our pay scale and we could have had him.' Edwards' outburst is bound to embarrass Ferguson, who has combed the world in search of an accomplished, high-profile goalscorer in his continuing attempts to secure European success. Alan Shearer, Gabriel Batistuta, Patrick Kluivert and Salas have all been targeted by Ferguson. But while Edwards conceded that United's salary-scale restrictions may have deterred at least two of those players, he refused to take responsibility for the decision not to pursue the Chilean, who earlier this year electrified Wembley with two goals and has now signed for Lazio from Argentinian side River Plate. Ironically, United are now embroiled in yet another striker saga. While Aston Villa continue to hold out for 15m cash or a part-exchange involving Andy Cole for Dwight Yorke, Edwards has insisted that his club will not pay what they consider to be an inflated price for the Trinidad and Tobago striker. This time, however, it is not the Old Trafford club's salary scale that threatens the deal but the asking price. Edwards believes that the 12m United may still be prepared to pay for Yorke, as well as the 15m they have invested this summer in Jaap Stam and Jesper Blomqvist, proves that they remain prepared to pay huge sums for players, providing they believe they are getting value for money. In an effort to rid himself and his boardroom colleagues of any suggestion that they lack financial adventure, he declared: 'When you talk about the plc being men in suits, it is a load of bloody c***. We wear suits because everybody else comes to work in suits. We are all United supporters. 'Yet, all you read about is men in suits. We are men in suits acting responsibly. We want success as much as anyone. Yet I have to live with the constant frustration of being linked with big names and I think the criticism is unfair. 'Kluivert would not have come within our pay scale. But no matter who the star is, even if it is Ronaldo, if they can't conform to what we pay in salaries, we walk away. Even for Ronaldo, I don't think we would break our pay structure. Those financial lines have been good enough for Blomqvist, for Stam and for Teddy Sheringham. 'We are the biggest payers in the Premiership in terms of our total wage bill. But we will not mortgage this club for individual players and we are not prepared to bust this club for short-term gain. Maybe the Newcastle players will accept a situation where Shearer may be paid twice as much as them. But at United all the players are big stars and that is how it will stay.'
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Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 12:42:27 +0800 Subject: Friction At United? (D.Mail) The first signs of friction at United By Ken Lawrence Wednesday, August 12, 1998 It's almost midnight on November 6, 1986, and Alex Ferguson has just changed his life forever by agreeing to become the new manager of Manchester United. Ferguson is sitting in the foyer of the Holiday Inn, Aberdeen, with country and western music playing in the background, yet there's no acknowledgement of Tammy Wynette this night. Tonight, there's a symphony playing inside Ferguson's head. The former apprentice from the Clydeside shipyards is ablaze with pride, having just riveted the last bolt into the career move that will soon give him the spending power of a shipping magnate. As he reflects on the power and glory of it all, he mutters: 'This is it. It's like discovering El Dorado.' He was not wrong. Chairman Martin Edwards, having been convinced by Bobby Charlton that the irascible but eloquent Scotsman was the man to reconstruct the fortunes of United, made it his business to ensure that Ferguson could do the business. Money was never an object - other than, of course, the club's salary scales - and Ferguson spent million upon million in refurbishment. From Brian McClair through Roy Keane and Eric Cantona to the world record 10.5million paid this summer for defender Jaap Stam, Edwards has indulged his manager's every fiscal whim and received extraordinary payback in terms of domestic and European success. Edwards has also become exceedingly wealthy since Ferguson brought home the 1990 FA Cup and followed that with the Cup-winners Cup, four Premiership titles, a double Double, a League Cup and a total of three FA Cup triumphs. Yet, Ferguson's eldorado does not today shimmer as it did. Last season there was no trophy, last Sunday there was embarrassment against the new champions, Arsenal. And last night Edwards gave the indication that he and his first mate are no longer as one on the Old Trafford bridge. The chairman's statement on Marcello Salas torpedoed the suggestion that he and his board were responsible for United not pursuing the Chile striker and pointed the finger instead straight at Ferguson. That decision, he insisted, was down to the manager. Since May this year alone, Edwards' personal fortune in United has reportedly grown by some 15m to raise his stake in the country's wealthiest club to around 60m. The club itself has become gargantuan. Such is their astonishing drawing power that United estimate they have four million supporters within these islands and a further 12 million worldwide. MUTV, launched this week, has become the world's first football pay channel concentrating solely on one team. Another of Ferguson's dreams, a 14.3m training complex at Carrington just off the M60, is about to be constructed, the club having already built a huge indoor training arena at their current day-to-day headquarters at The Cliff. Ferguson, then, was right. He had found his eldorado, his place of plenty. And with Edwards, it always appeared that he had the staunch ally who would forever ensure that he stayed there. Remember that it was the chairman who weathered months of stormy demands to bring supporters Ferguson's head as the Scotsman, having discovered the enormity of the job, took almost too much time on his refit. United, while not exactly a sinking ship, had problems from the depths of the machine room to the stars who happily sailed along for years without reaching their championship port. But for Edwards, Ferguson would have been thrown to the sharks before the FA Cup run eight years ago which became his lifeline. In this latest development the chairman, no doubt, was not trying to imply that Ferguson had made a mistake by not going ahead with a deal for Salas which would have fitted snugly below the club's pay ceiling. But with United still chasing a glamour striker- and having failed to lure the likes of Shearer, Batistuta or Kluivert - he decided that he had had enough of taking the blame for missing out on a player who has subsequently left River Plate for Serie A club Lazio. Nor was Edwards suggesting that United would have been a more successful club with Salas, especially as there has never been any suggestion that the chairman or any other board member has ever exerted influence on Ferguson's transfer market judgment. Yet, the fact that he threw the ball at Ferguson's feet indicates that there may be friction between the pair, that their marriage may be one of convenience and not made in heaven. So far, any squabbling there may have been has been done with the curtains tightly closed. But once a couple start disagreeing in public there is always the danger that it could end in tears. And, indeed, there has sometimes been the hint that for all of Ferguson's visionary progress, he might not be appreciated quite so much indoors as he is in public. Ferguson, for instance, is not the best-paid manager in Britain. Indeed, earlier in the Nineties he became seriously upset at the board's failure to offer him a substantial new deal. It is always assumed that when he retires, there will be a place on the board for him. As yet, that prospect has not been advanced, publicly at least. There have been other rumblings within Old Trafford. Although No. 2 Brian Kidd again insisted recently he had no intention of relinquishing his position, Everton believed they had a realistic chance of making him their manager. It is also understood he has been contacted by another English club. Ferguson continually shrugs off suggestions that he will move over in two years while it appears that he has yet to be given a guarantee that another contract will be waiting for him then. Now, with United preparing to avoid the Champions League banana skin presented by supposed no-hopers Lodz this evening, Ferguson finds himself - no doubt to his astonishment - at the centre of a controversial debate over a player who might have added an extra dimension to his team. The public's excitement over Salas was phenomenal after he played so brilliantly for Chile at Wembley in one of England's World Cup warm-ups. Of course, Edwards' outburst may represent nothing more than a lovers' tiff. But every United watcher is looking on in fascination to see what happens to what has been the best partnership in British football. Twelve years is a long time. Perhaps the strains of trying to translate United's recent domestic domination into Continental control, together with the stress of running the world's most popular club, are beginning to create cracks in the facade of his eldorado.
Check out our new REDitorial by Alex Paylor! url: http://www.red11.org/mufc/devilsadvocate/
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