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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Mon Sep 14 05:14:08 GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Stand up if you love Man U  by "Our Salford Lass"
2. Report Yorke strikes rich seam (Times)
3. Personal Report United v Coventry by John Walker
4. Report (D.Mail)
5. Matchfacts data  http://www.matchfacts.com/
7. Stumbling Barcelona hold no fears for United (Times)
8. Ferguson to be offered new contract (ET)


Daily RED Trivia  Monday 14th September:

1956: Ray Wilkins born in Hillingdon, Middlesex. Captain of both club and country,
Wilkins was signed from Chelsea for £825,000 and made his debut against
Southampton in August 1979. The classy playmaker  won an FA Cup winners medal
in 1983, scoring in the first game against Brighton.  He also played in the 1983 League 
Cup final, and made 193 appearances between 1979-1984, scoring 10 goals. He won 
84 caps for England, and joined AC Milan for £1.5 million in June 1984. Wilkins later
won a Scottish Premier League title with Glasgow Rangers in 1989.

1994: In the Champions League United beat IFK Gothenburg 4-2 at Old Trafford
watched by 33,625. Ryan Giggs 2, Andrei Kanchelskis and Lee Sharpe scored for
the Reds. Team was: Schmeichel, May, Irwin, Bruce, Sharpe, Pall

Next 4 games: 
Index: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899z.htm

Wed 16/9 Barcelona (H) CL
Sat 20/9 Arsenal   (A) PL 
Thu 24/9 Liverpool (H) PL 
Wed 30/9 Bayern M  (A) CL

UNITED Stats v Barcelona are here:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsbarcelona.htm Url
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsbarcelona.xls Excel File


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

"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: Stand up if you love Man U by "Our Salford Lass" The journey to OT yesterday took place in typical Manchester weather. With the (very) short summer now seemingly over, I shivered on the station platform as the heavens opened, thunder boomed and lightening split the skies - well it thundered once, but that didn't sound as good in the report! Arrival in Manchester found a Christmas scene - everything covered in a white blanket following a hailstorm! By the time I was sitting in East Lower, the sun had come out and it was summer all over again. All around me people were tearing off their coats and mopping their brows as we waited with bated breath for the start of the game (OK, so I know this was only Coventry, and our breath wasn't very bated, but I have to inject some interest into this report!) Announcement of the team brought good news - contrary to some tabloid reports, Giggsy was back and Fergie had decided to continue playing Ole and Yorke up front. After a couple of early scares, the United side soon settled down and the game never really looked in doubt. We were playing in second gear, we had it sorted and it was the perfect game to lead into Wednesday night's big one against Barcelona. Yorke's goal in the first half took off any pressure, and Johnsen's goal, at the start of the second half, sealed the game. Coventry helped us out, of course, by cocking up the few chances they had. Respect has to be paid for the way they kept coming at us, right to the end of the game (due in part to Dion Dublin, who never gives in whilst there is hope left) but the chances they did have were wasted. Their last chance, almost at the end of the game, being illustrative of the whole afternoon for them, as three of their players all fell over in the penalty box with a virtually open goal in front of them! The best way to describe the atmosphere in East Lower was that it was relaxed. Not the most exciting atmosphere ever, but at least for the first 60 minutes it was very enjoyable (there are times when your nerves demand a less that pulsating 90 minutes!). This game did, however, have its moments - indeed one of them was unforgettable and will be talked about, I'm sure, in years to come, when we remember this season and the fight that is going on for the control of our great club. In the first half, there had been quite a bit of chanting going on right from the start of the game but it really came to life when the Coventry fans decided to try out a chorus of "You're not United anymore" (to the tune of "You're not singing anymore"). The whole of East Stand rose as one to sing an achingly beautiful chorus of "The Red Flag". And it was beautiful - 10,000 voices singing together and with the sort of emotion that only comes from people who really love their club. I'm not ashamed to admit that there were tears in my eyes. This was followed by "Stand up if you love Man U" as (almost) the whole of OT rose to its feet. A wonderful moment. The rest of the first half was spent (in our bit of East Lower) trying to silence the (drunken) members of the Jaap Stam fan club sitting to our left who had decided that they were going to start a chant of "Dinna, Dinna, Dinna, Dinna, ....... Jaap Stam" (to the Bat Man theme). Someone from the back spoke for all us when he shouted out "That's a f*****in awful chant mate!" This just encouraged them further and also encouraged others to join in! They then went on to have a go at any song even remotely connected to Holland - "A mouse lived in a windmill in old Amsterdam", "Jaap Stam from Amsterdam" and even "Follow, follow, follow, oh United have been to Feyenoord". I had tears streaming down my face again, this time of laughter, as the banter went back and forth - there's nothing quite like terrace humour! Laughter increased even further when the leader of the "singers" (you had to hear them to believe the human voice could be so awful) went to the gents - he missed Yorke's goal, just as he had missed both Yorke goals on Wednesday night! We are thinking of locking him in the toilet for the whole of the Barcelona game! The Coventry fans tried to wind us up by singing one chorus of "Do you come from Manchester?" but this was answered with "Who the f*****in 'ell are you?" and we went back to ignoring them. Apart from the odd boo when Beckham took a corner, that was the last we heard of them for the rest of the game. The second half started well in the stands, but after the first 15 minutes, the atmosphere died, and we were left to chat amongst ourselves as the game proceeded to slowly reach its foregone conclusion on the pitch. The half was livened up a bit by Burrows taking out Beckham (a good excuse for bringing out the anti-scouser chants) and there was another chorus of "Stand up if you love Man U" but basically it was all done and dusted at 60 minutes and the arrival of the storm clouds, 5 minutes from the end, saw even more fans than normal deciding to leave early as the heavens opened. What of the players? My man-of-match was (again) Stam. This man is fast turning into a OT favourite - hopefully he can also do the business against Arsenal and Barcelona, I have the feeling that most fans are waiting to see the results of those two encounters before committing themselves. Yorke was (again) excellent and is a breath of fresh air. It really is good to see one of our players obviously enjoying himself so much. Giggs return was welcome and he works well with Ole and Yorke, although again we had a big hole down the left-hand-side which Fergie will have to cover when we're playing against better opposition. Beckham was superb as ever, Johnsen was almost as good as Stam (we need him Wed - hope his injury isn't too bad). Scholes looked sharper than he has for a while. Gary Neville had a poor game by his standards, but Phil looked good. Have I left anyone out? Oh yes, Keane - the man is getting fitter every game, he runs the midfield and the whole team superbly and he seems to have a new calmness that keeps him from getting involved in trouble (eg between Becks and Burrows and between Scholes and just about anyone - as I said to the son-and-heir, if Scholesy was Stam's size, he'd be bloody terrifying!). Keano is indeed back, but back with, I believe, a new maturity which will make him an even better player (if that's possible). And no comebacks if he gets sent off against Barca please - I know I'm tempting fate here! I know I haven't mentioned Peter, but that's because he had little to do apart from entertaining East Stand, and he hasn't quite reached Olmeta's standards at that yet! So that's out of the way and it's time to start worrying about Wednesday! I must admit my nerves are tingling - Barcelona! There's so much history between us and scores to settle, I can't wait! Copyright © 1998 by "Our Salford Lass". All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author ******************************************************
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: Report Yorke strikes rich seam (Times) Yorke strikes rich seam Ian Hawkey at Old Trafford Manchester United 2 Coventry City 0 ONE supporter, a touch pre-emptive, had embroidered his replica shirt with the name "Murdoch", and below it, the number 623. In front of him, the difference between sizing up the potential riches of BSkyB and wearing plain old Sky Blue yawned wide. Manchester United's fortunes, on the field at least, continued their upward turn with a victory over Coventry, which makes it two wins within four days at Old Trafford. Once it is three on the trot, and includes the visit of Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, then they can start thinking big. Alex Ferguson, the United manager, could take courage from several aspects yesterday. Dwight Yorke, the club's record signing, opened the scoring and had an alert game up front. Defensively, United had few difficulties with either Dion Dublin's awkwardness or Darren Huckerby's fleet of foot, although neither saw enough of the ball to provide serious examination, and only threatened once United had established a cushion. Ferguson's one concern for that encounter surrounds Ronny Johnsen, who scored the second goal but then limped off late with an injured ankle. "Hopefully he'll be all right," said Ferguson. "I think it's just a knock." There is cover, in Henning Berg, and, indeed Gary Neville, who yesterday returned to the starting line-up. Naturally enough, Ferguson had retained the forwards who scored two goals each against Charlton Athletic last Wednesday, Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. No part, then, for Teddy Sheringham, and only a place on the bench for Andy Cole. Yorke, however, seems to be settling in well enough. Certainly, his carriage yesterday suggested a man who feels he belongs. He took the field with his collar turned up, à la you-know-who, and a neat one-two between Solskjaer and Yorke in the 10th minute held early promise. "He's relaxed, has great confidence and always plays with a smile," enthused Ferguson, "and Yorke and Solskjaer worked well together." Indeed, but for two smart interceptions by Jean-Guy Wallemme, Solskjaer might have had his own early reward. The first true opportunity came to Yorke, who nodded off target after meeting a superb cross from David Beckham at the near post. Not long afterwards United were in the lead and if the finishing touch from the scorer could have been cleaner, then the overall architecture of the goal more than compensated. It was Yorke's tender knock-down into the path of Giggs that initially opened up Coventry, Giggs then centred deep from the left, Magnus Hedman and David Burrows obliged by colliding with one another and when Paul Scholes squared the ball low across the penalty box there was Yorke to bobble the ball home, his third for United in as many games. Yorke's instincts with his back to goal had also passed muster. Spreading the play confidently, he helped Beckham to feature more and more as the first half progressed, two searing crosses troubling Coventry and one dart and feint drawing Burrows into a late challenge that earned the defender a booking. On the other flank, Giggs and, when he went wide, Solskjaer, also had the beating of their opponents. The interval came as a blessed relief for Coventry, whose openings had been scarce, or otherwise squandered. When Darren Huckerby was afforded his one chance to test his pace against Jaap Stam's, his first touch let him down. Encouragement could be drawn only from the first Premiership steps of Barry Quinn, the Irish teenager pushed into Coventry's midfield. A member of the Republic of Ireland's triumphant under-18 team at the summer's European championship, he does not look like a young man fearful of reputations. A forthright, and indeed successful, tackle on his compatriot, Roy Keane, said so loud and proud within the first five minutes. Another, on Solskjaer, proved it was no fluke. Alas, when presented, later on, with perhaps Coventry's best chance of a goal, Quinn could not quite capitalise. Frequently Coventry looked overrun. Paul Telfer sent a header wide after seven minutes, but it was directed from distance and the visitors' resources seldom collected for long in the final third of the pitch. George Boateng drove a long-range effort into the stand, and when Coventry, improving in the second period, strung something together nearer goal, Telfer again found himself on the end of it, driving past Peter Schmeichel's right-hand post after Dublin's delightful back-heel set him up. By then, United were two up. Yorke had a role in their second goal. A Giggs corner had been half-cleared when he volleyed in a shot which Gary Breen scooped off the line. Scholes met the rebound and Johnsen directed his effort past Hedman. Beckham had a go from a free kick just outside the box, swerving one of his trademark strikes past the upright. Shortly afterwards, he was booked, another tangle with Burrows evening out that particular joust. That provided just about Coventry's biggest cheer. Even when they had the ball in the net, from a free kick, late in the second half, the referee Uriah Rennie ordered it be retaken - with a less successful consequence. Coventry now sit one off the bottom of the Premiership. As their manager, Gordon Strachan, observed: "The two surprise teams from last season were us and Southampton - now look at us." Substitutes: Manchester United: Beckham (Butt 78min), Giggs (Blomqvist 78min), Johnsen (Berg (88min). Coventry City: Huckerby (P Hall 73min). Booked: Burrows (32min), Beckham (62min). Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield). Attendance: 55,193.
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 14:25:37 -0700 To: manutd@pipeline.com From: walker@mail.bogo.co.uk (john walker) Subject: Personal Report United v Coventry by John Walker A tricky day weatherwise...luckily I made the right choice as the weather in london was sunny/cloudy...but brisk! I couldn't imagine it would get any warmer oop north so I wore the leather jacket. john made the wrong choice, and turned up in a mere 2 tshirts. We meet on the concourse of euston station and collect train tickets from the travel secretary of the london fan club, there are always groups of other supporters heading off to wherever...this week there were wimbledon supporters on their way to villa. on the train a quick scan of the fixtures showed us that we had the dubious pleasure of the company of milwall supporters going to stoke, which we pass through on the way to manchester. The train seemed almost full with united supporters, maybe because of the time of the year, more people seem to be wearing the shirt so it is a sight to walk along the train and see so many reds. Once in manchester we went for 'breakfast' in finnegan's wake, then on to 'the bull's head' where a large group from the train drink. in fact the place is almost exclusively full of united supporters from the london train. there is little talk of the takeover, people seem to accept that there's nothing to be done and we more or less just have to wait and see. Soon after 2 we desert the pub and stagger to the buses or cabs. it's always amazing to see the throng of reds shuffling down sir matt busby way. from the junction with chester road it looks like a solid mass of people swaying along the road towards the stadium. we have the timing down to a fine art now and take our seats moments before the players take the pitch. giggs has taken his place again, it seems he had a virus not a hamstring strain, and gary neville comes in instead of denis irwin. it's good to see that dwight and ole are being given a chance to forge their partnership. same goes for ronnie and jaap who are getting better and better as a duo, so it's worrying that ronnie limps off in the second half with an ankle injury, I hope it's nothing serious of course...berg or may (or brown) will cover well for him, but I would like him to establish the partnership with jaap. The crowd is very subdued today, coventry don't exactly get the blood boiling, but I wish the reds would verbalise their support more. burrows got some stick as he kept niggling becks, and I was pleased that richard shaw was booed for his part in the eric/sellhurst park incident. he has never taken the criticism he deserves for that. rules are rules, but it seems unfair that one player can niggle and foul another all through the game and then for one little outburst of retaliation the usually more skilful player gets sent off. same goes for becks in the argentina game. Gordon Strachan is down on the touchline haranguing the linesman...he's made some excellent purchases: wallemme the central defender signed from lens for 500k looks superb. boateng looked excellent last season but seems to have stagnated a little this season unless this was just a bad game for him. huckerby and dublin got very little joy and I consider them to be a decent test for jaap and ronnie. huckerby with his pace and dublin's strength didn't make any headway. Dwight scored in the first half, then ronnie stuck his foot out to divert a scholes shot into the net early in the second. really that killed off the contest. united seemed to settle for 3 points and thoughts of wednesday night and barca...i can understand this, but I always want to see the reds go on and look for 4 or 5 goals. coventry seem to just roll over at old trafford, this seemed a very easy win, almost a formality, like last season. they put up more resistance at highfield road. becks got booked for tussling with burrows...the ref let play go on after the incident and it took several minutes for the ball to go out of play when he booked becks...i had a feeling he may have booked dwight at the same time when he argued about it, but I could be wrong. Towards the end of the game the rain tipped down, it was one of those days when we seemed to get all 4 seasons every few minutes. There is a train from the ground to piccadilly at 17.05 which we couldn't get on as people leave early (believe it or not!) and the next one isn't till 17.15. they contrive to stop that one along the way just long enough to ensure we miss the 17.30 to euston. there's nothing for it! back to the bulls head! This little track running past the stadium into town should be a godsend. with the trafford centre opened now it really should be used more in order to cut traffic and help get people away from the area. why not have a couple of trains shuttling back and forth between the stadium and piccadilly just on match days? As we trundled south we stopped at macclesfield station and on the opposite platform a bedraggled bunch of city supporters gave us a rendition of 'do you come from manchester?' how do they come up with such original ditties? So now our thoughts turn to wednesday evenings game against Barcelona... Glory Glory Man United :) no copyright
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: Report (D.Mail) MANCHESTER UNITED 2-0 COVENTRY CITY Yorke (21) Johnsen (48) Dwight Yorke's talent is lighting up Old Trafford along with that trademark smile, and at the end of a week dominated by takeover talk he has captured the votes of those who will continue to worship Manchester United no matter who holds all the shares. The £12.6million it took to lure him from Aston Villa is about one-fiftieth of the BSkyB bid for control of our biggest club, but to manager Alex Ferguson and the fans the striking West Indian must seem priceless, particularly as he is already forging a front-line partnership with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that could make all the difference between success and another failure as they chase the great prize of the European Cup, last won in 1968. United start their Champions League group programme with a big clash against Barcelona, another of the giants of the world game, on Wednesday night. With Yorke adding another dimension to their attacking play, they are in fine form and good heart. He followed up his double in the demolition of Charlton in his first home appearance on Wednesday night with a single in the defeat of Coventry. It was the breakthrough after 20 minutes and should have been followed by many more than the one added by Norwegian defender Ronny Johnsen two minutes into the second half. But nobody was complaining, because United have clearly captured something special in this raider with so many strings to his bow - pace, skill, control, finishing power. You name it and Yorke has most of it. He's good in the air, too, as he demonstrated with his part in the build-up to his goal. So as the rain lashed down and those leaving the ground were warned of big traffic delays caused by the huge newly-opened Trafford Centre nearby, they were still wearing broad smiles, just like their new sunshine boy from Trinidad and Tobago. The Independent Supporters Association, strongly opposed to the Rupert Murdoch takeover, were rumoured to be ready to announce a rival bid tomorrow, backed by a famous pop star. Pop star Posh Spice, perhaps. Boyfriend David Beckham wasn't available for comment and was one of the few outside the visiting camp not in the best of humour. He was flattened by David Burrows, booked for his sins by referee Uriah Rennie after 32 minutes. A long time afterwards, 62 minutes in the proceedings, he appeared to take retribution and floored the Coventry defender. It was more than a minute before there was a hold-up in play and Mr Rennie showed him the yellow card. Twelve minutes from the end he departed, but that was Ferguson's decision as he withdrew him along with Ryan Giggs and sent on substitutes Nicky Butt and Jesper Blomquist, clearly with Wednesday night and Barcelona in mind. But it wasn't about Beckham's petulance or Murdoch's takeover. It was about Yorke, especially Yorke, and Giggs and Solskjaer and those who are driving United back towards their old place at the top. The three, along with Paul Scholes and with the help of Coventry goalkeeper Magnus Hedman, all had a part in that opener - Giggs a long ball upfield and in from the left, Yorke a leap and stylish header down, Solskjaer with direct path to goal blocked a pass out to Giggs, the long cross beyond the far post, the palm down by the stranded Hedman, a knock back across by Scholes and an easy tap-in for Yorke. The second two minutes into the second half followed a Gary Breen block of a low Yorke drive, with Scholes hitting the ball towards the net and Johnsen sticking out a foot to deflect it in. There could have been more - and poor Coventry seldom threatened retaliation, a miss by teenage debutant Barry Quinn, two shots wide and one header wide by Paul Telfer. Ferguson was delighted: 'That first goal was a great move, quick, exciting, a tap-in at the end of the day but I've seen tap-ins missed. Dwight did very well. I think he's a very good player and I think our supporters are the best in the country at recognising great players because they've had plenty here.He always plays with confidence, with a smile on his face. There's a presence there. 'I'm pleased that we're going into the Champions League with confidence high and form good. Ronny Johnsen has an ankle injury but we hope he will be all right. Hopefully, there won't be any injuries and we'll have a full deck to play with.' United old boy Gordon Strachan, the Coventry manager, blasted his men:'We didn't relish the challenge until it went to 2-0. We were like somebody going to the dentist's, taking the painkillers and waiting until it was all over. 'Southampton and ourselves were the surprise teams last year. Our players thought they had cracked it. Look where we are now. I don't like it.'
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: Matchfacts data http://www.matchfacts.com/ Man Utd (1) 2 - Coventry (0) 0 United won at a canter to put them in the right frame of mind for their European Champions League game against Barcelona at Old Trafford on Wednesday. United hit peak form only in isolated patches, but it was enough to beat a Coventry side which was too easily caught off-side and seldom troubled their opponents. Dwight Yorke scored his third goal in two games to put United ahead. The game was all but over two minutes after the interval when Ronny Johnsen scored their second. Johnsen limped off in the dying seconds and must be an injury worry for Wednesday's game GOALS 1-0 Man Utd 21 mins Yorke right foot miss-kick tap-in four yards out at far post after Headman could only parry Giggs' deep cross from left and Scholes knocked ball back across goal for Yorke 2-0 Man Utd 48 mins Johnsen right foot shot eight yards out to turn in Scholes' effort from just outside box after Yorke's shot following a Giggs corner was only partially cleared MATCH RATING TEAMS and player ratings Schmeichel 7 Neville, G 7 Johnsen 8* sub 90 mins by Berg -no rating- Stam 7 Beckham 7 sub 78 mins by Butt -no rating- Giggs 6 sub 78 mins by Blomqvist -no rating- Neville, P 7 Keane 7 Scholes 7 Yorke 7 Solskjaer 7 Subs not used: Cole van der Gouw _________________________________ Coventry Wallemme 8* Referee U. D. Rennie (Sheffield) (Rating 5) Yellow Cards Man Utd Beckham 62 mins (foul); Yorke 62 mins (dissent) Coventry Burrows 30 mins (foul) Shots On Target: Man Utd 3, Coventry 2 Corners: Man Utd 6, Coventry 3
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: MYSTERY CLIENT'S RIVAL UNITED BID MYSTERY CLIENT'S RIVAL UNITED BID Banks reaffirms his opposition Manchester United could be the subject of a takeover bidding war after it emerged that an American investment bank had been asked to speak to the club's financial advisers on behalf of a mystery client. Salomon Smith Barney, part of the Travelers Group with assets of 115 billion, confirmed it had been asked to talk to United's financial advisers HSBC Holdings. But a spokeswoman for the bank was unable to name the client and dismissed suggestions that her own company could be planning to gazump BSkyB's £623 million bid which has the United board's support. She would only say: "We have been asked to approach HSBC for information on behalf of a client." A spokesman for United said the club had no comment to make. United's board would be legally bound to consider any offer of greater value than that from BSkyB. BSkyB has already received undertakings from the directors of the club, who own 17% of the business, that they will sell their shares to them. The satellite broadcaster bought nine percent of the club's shares on Friday. United chairman Martin Edwards today admitted earlier today that the BSkyB bid is not a 'done deal'. Edwards, under fire from some supporters who accuse him of selling out to the media giants, defended the decision to sell and is anxious to stay on at the helm. "I certainly hope to stay as chairman. I want to and I have been asked to and it is my intention to do so," he told Radio 5 Live. Lawyer Tom Usher said there is still time for a rival bid to be made. "It is perfectly open for someone to come in and make a rival bid. This is far from being a done deal. The Office of Fair Trading will look at this takeover and weigh up the volume of complaints and analyse if it is against the public interest." Edwards was asked if it could mean that BSkyB could finally lose out on United. There is that possibility," he said. "You are honour bound to listen to a bid. You are advised by your merchant bankers and they will tell you whether to discuss a deal or not." Vic Wakeling, head of Sky Sports, said: "We do not think there is a competition problem here." Today's new twist in the United saga comes at the end of a dramatic week for football. Last weekend, fans and City financial experts were stunned when news of the likely BSkyB takeover broke. Since then intense speculation has surrounded the future of several top teams and millions of pounds has been added to their values at the Stock Exchange. On Thursday, television company Carlton Communications and Double winners Arsenal revealed that they were holding talks about ways of working together. Some observers believe a takeover of the Highbury side by the communications group, which runs three ITV stations, may be on the agenda. Southampton said on Friday that it would view worthwhile approaches from media companies with an open mind, although it stressed it was not currently in talks. Also on Friday Aston Villa's shares went up 20p to 680p, Chelsea Village - which owns Chelsea - recorded a 10p rise to 98.5p while Tottenham Hotspur shares rose 6p in value to 72p. One Sunday newspaper today claimed entertainment giant Sony wanted to buy Newcastle United for £220 million. Sony was said to be looking at branching into football and considering the St James' Park side. Sources at the club today insisted the story was "absolute nonsense". Nobody from Sony in the UK could be reached for comment. Satellite TV money is an important source of revenue to Premiership sides - while regular live football brings in subscription money from BSkyB viewers. Football is also important to ITV because it attracts younger men in large numbers - who are much sought after by advertisers but difficult to reach. Carlton and Granada are partners in ONdigital, the new multi-channel service which goes on the air later this year. United's deal with BSkyB could be stopped if the Monopolies and Mergers Committee ruled that the takeover was bad for competition. However, analysts believe this is unlikely. Sports minister Tony Banks has re-affirmed his opposition to the takeover mania that is sweeping through football. Banks voiced his fears when he met Trade and Industry secretary Peter Mandelson during a visit to Soweto this morning. Mandelson recently promised a scrupulous inquiry into the proposed takeover of United by BSkyB. "There are profound implications in this for football, for competition policy and for broadcasting," said Banks, in South Africa to watch Britain compete in the athletics World Cup. "They should be dealt with by the Office of Fair Trading and that is what is happening. The inquiry will allow fans the chance to put their points of view which is certainly what I will be doing. "As soon as football clubs went down the road of being publically-quoted companies the possibility of takeovers existed. "They mark a significant change for football and supporters must understand when it happens others will start to determine policy both on and off the field. "The danger is that if the public feels clubs have become so divorced from their roots they actually might lose the backing of their supporters." The meeting with Mandelson, also in South Africa on government business, was the first between the two since the news of the bid for United broke. © PA Sporting Life
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Subject: Stumbling Barcelona hold no fears for United (Times) Stumbling Barcelona hold no fears for United THE prospect of meeting Barcelona, in their opening European Champions League game at Old Trafford, will hardly intimidate Manchester United. In the first place, the Spaniards are old acquaintances. In the second, they beat Barcelona in the European Cup Winners' Cup final in Rotterdam, an exuberant success after English clubs had been freed from their five-year post-Heysel European ban. Most significantly, Barcelona have made a patchy start to the season. In the so-called Spanish Super Cup, they were humiliated by little Mallorca, the unexpected winners of the Spanish Cup, going down 2-1 in the first leg and 1-0 at home in the return. Nor did they start the championship well, with a goalless draw away to modest Racing Santander hardly encouraging. Their first home game, against still-more-modest Extremadura, was hardly a stringent test. Strange that the relative performances of Barcelona and their traditional rivals, Real Madrid, had such dissimilar consequences last season. Real won the European Cup but the club, dissatisfied by the team's limp performance in the league, sacked their manager, Germany's Jupp Heynckes. By contrast, Holland's Louis van Gaal survived, despite the humiliation of Barcelona home and away in the European Cup by Dinamo Kiev. But Real's failure in the championship let Barcelona take the title by default. Barcelona have just bought the volatile Patrick Kluivert from Milan, where things went so wrong last season for the young centre-forward. It was widely believed he was worried sick about the possible consequences of rape accusations made against him and his friends by a young woman in Amsterdam, but the charges were thrown out a second time for lack of evidence. So, in the World Cup, Kluivert's form substantially improved. Now he is reunited with Van Gaal, so long his coach at Ajax, though the way may at first be barred to him by Brazil's Sonny Anderson, bought during last season from Monaco. With those other Brazilians, Rivaldo and Giovanni, and the superbly versatile Spaniard Luis Enrique in midfield, and the dashing Portuguese attacker Figo, Barcelona are not short of talent. But the parts so far seem greater than the whole, and it may have been a mistake to let the inventive "Little Buddha", Ivan De La Peña, move to Lazio. Real Madrid are engaged in another potentially fascinating match at home in the Bernabeu in Group C to Internazionale. These teams, too, are old European adversaries; there have been some torrid games between the two in Madrid. Inter, holders of the Uefa Cup, having walked over a feeble Lazio in the Parisian final, have added Roberto Baggio to their already formidable attacking strength. When he came on at Anfield against Wales last weekend, his flair immediately transformed his team. But who will play up-front beside him? Presumably Ronaldo, who seems quite recovered from whatever mysterious ailment afflicted him before the World Cup final. But where does that leave the hero of the Uefa Cup final, Chile's Ivan Zamorano? By the same token, why have Real signed Croatia's Robert Jarni, an attacking left-back who surely duplicates the present incumbent, Brazil's Roberto Carlos? Jarni, of course, can play left midfield or even, if necessary, up front, as he did last season in the Cup Winners' Cup against Chelsea. The Londoners, holders of that trophy and conquerors of Real Madrid in the Super Cup played recently in Monaco, should not be embarrassed by Sweden's Helsingborg, who visit Stamford Bridge next Thursday. But the Swedes are a team to be respected, as Aston Villa will confirm. Two years ago, in the Uefa Cup, Helsingborg qualified through having had the temerity to draw 1-1 at Villa Park with a goal by Wibran, followed by a goalless draw at home. British names have figured largely in their teams in recent seasons. Before they knocked out Villa, they surprised Dynamo Minsk, drawing at home but winning well away, their three goals being scored respectively by Pringle, Wilson and Powell. Ajax have a difficult start in the Champions League, in Zagreb against the Croatia club. These are not the best of times for Ajax and their Danish coach Morten Olsen, whose tactics have been criticised by certain players. The disaffected twins, Frank and Ronald De Boer, coveted by Barcelona, are still determined to leave, even though an appeals committee has turned down their demand to be released from contracts which run until 2004. Dutch law, however, does not oblige them to continue playing if they don't want to, and they don't. It stipulates that if an employee wants to leave his job, he can do so by paying six months' salary. Since the De Boers could expect to earn some five times more in Spain than they do in Holland, this would scarcely be a burden. Georgi Kinkladze has left Manchester City to join his fellow Georgian attacker Arvaldze in Amsterdam, but Croatia at home, inspired by Robert Prosinecki, are a team to be feared, as Celtic uncomfortably discovered. Bayern Munich also figure in Manchester United's difficult group. They play in Denmark against Brondby, who are always hard to beat at home. Bayern have a new manager in Ottmar Hitzfeld, who places great faith in another new arrival, Stefan Effenberg. Drummed out of the German national team after making crude signs at the crowd in the 1994 World Cup, Effenberg, fluent and versatile as ever, could certainly have done the disappointing international team some good in France. He did very well indeed at his last club, Borussia Münchengladbach, even when they occasionally moved him up from midfield to centre-forward. "He has changed in a positive way and I think he will give us proof of that," says Hitzfeld. "We want to play an attacking game, and we want to be aggressive, put our opponents under pressure and take more risks. Stefan will help us do that." Hardly the philosophy of Hitzfeld's Italian predecessor, Gianni Trapattoni, now back in Italy with Fiorentina, but still fondly remembered in Germany for a glorious rant on television at a post-match press conference. Hitzfeld knows all about European Cups, having taken Borussia Dortmund to victory in the 1997 final, where they beat Juventus. Now he says: "I want to win the European Cup with Bayern."
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 14:16:42 -0700 Subject: Ferguson to be offered new contract (ET) Ferguson to be offered new contract By Steve Curry THE first major signing Sky television intend to make if their £623 million takeover of Manchester United, revealed exclusively in last week's Telegraph, proves successful will be the man who did most to multiply the value of the club, manager Alex Ferguson. The 56-year-old mastermind of United's four Championships in six seasons will be head of the queue to be called before the new main board of United and invited to extend the existing two years of his contract. BSkyB will need Ferguson's support and that will be reflected in a multi-million pound offer. It will be BSkyB's first demonstration to doubting fans that they do not intend to interfere with a structure that has catapulted United into becoming England's most successful club. Only last week, Ferguson re-iterated that although he has sought greater relaxation away from football in recent years, not least with his horserace ownerships, he has no intention of retiring yet. "I am coming to the last lap in my life," he said. "I have been through all the playing part and the adulation and being chased for my autograph. But I shan't retire. I don't believe in retirement. It is against the law in America to force people to retire. I still have plenty of damage to do." That will be reassuring news not only for United's fans, whose devotion to Ferguson approaches the reverence still felt by the club's older generation for Sir Matt Busby, but also for Sky and the existing board. Chief executive Martin Edwards last week paid tribute to the part Fergie has played in strengthening United's stature and, in turn, its valuation, when he said: "Alex has been a very big part in the success of the club. "I must say, however, that as we have not been hamstrung for cash we have never been in a position not to support the manager in strengtheing the playing staff. So, wherever possible, he has had our support in bringing players into the club. "Of course, he has then had to manage them. He is the one who has made sure the players have been successful, who has groomed our own young players to success. "When you are on a roll, the two go hand in hand. As directors we can't take credit for the tactics on the field but, likewise, if Alex had not had support from the fans here and, in terms of cash, from the board, if he had not had the whole bandwagon of Manchester United behind him, then he might not have won four titles." Ferguson has not always had a harmonious relationship with his his directors and there have been occasions when they have drawn the line at certain player investments. But Edwards was at great pains to emphasise that Ferguson's summer spending was given the go-ahead before Sky made their dramatic first phone call to buy Manchester United on July 1. "When we were pipped by Arsenal last year I was not very happy, and I can tell you a lot of other people at the club were not happy either. That is why we put so much of our resources into the team this summer." Ferguson was handed the £28 million he asked for to purchase Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke and Jesper Blomquist, and with the Murdoch millions soon to be at his disposal, that may not be the end of the spending. Ferguson, who was not informed about the BSkyB takeover before The Telegraph's disclosures, is one of the last of the old-style, hands-on managers and has never had much time for boardroom machinations. He prefers his homely office at the club's Cliff training ground to the one at Old Trafford and if he was irritated about not being told about the impending deal, he was only in the same vacuum as some of the club's other directors. Ferguson has little grumble with Sky - his son, Jason, is director of the Monday Night Football programme - other than its denial of live football to pensioners and people who are hospitalised. He will live comfortably with his new bosses. But how much will change? Tim Allan, Sky's principle mouthpiece, assured Ferguson: "There will be no interference at all on the football side of the club's business. If it isn't broken you don't have to fix it. "Alex has proved beyond dispute that he is the best, most successful manager in modern soccer and it would therefore be rather foolish of us to try and tell him how to do his job." BSKyB's move for United, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal, was prompted by the dismissive attitude of the Premier League chairmen when they met in the early summer to discuss a joint pay-per-view venture. "They were so disgusted at their treatment," said a television executive "that they decided there was little point in having further dialogue with Premier League chief executive Peter Leaver and the other clubs." The Manchester United Independent Supporters' Association remain determined to block the takeover bid, as their spokesman Andy Walsh underlined yesterday. "We are very tired but very positive and very up," he said. "We are going to win the battle. We have had support from all areas of British society, the finance industry and the legal profession. Several multi-millionaires have pledged their support. We shall be announcing the support on Monday of a major music industry personality, though it is not the obvious one who supports Manchester United." The MUISA will hold a strategy meeting in the city's Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday and distributed 25,000 leaflets around Old Trafford yesterday.
"Dwight is right 3 goals 2 games!"

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