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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Fri Sep 18 06:31:51 GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. The Barca beat By RED KELLY
2. United v Barcelona - an armchair view
4. United And Arsenal Reflect On Missed Opportunities 
5. Utd vs Barcelona  Reps/Pics/Tots
6. Naill Quinn on Fergie (Guardian)
7. Reflections of a Red life  by DA
8. UNITED MYSTERY BIDDER REVEALED / More on Ferguson Ref Blast


Daily RED Trivia  Fri 18th September:

1946: John Aston (Snr) made his debut against Chelsea. Aston played in the 1948 FA                Cup Winning side and  the Championship team of 1951-52. Total of 282 appearances                and 30 goals between 1946-54, mainly at Left-back. 17 England caps. Later Coach and             Chief Scout for the Reds.

1968: In the European Cup 1st Round 1st leg United win 3-1 at Waterford watched
by 48,000 with a Denis Law hat-trick. Team was: Stepney (Rimmer), Dunne, Burns,
Crerand, Foulkes, Stiles, Best, Law, Charlton, Sadler, Kidd.
19 1945: Albert Kinsey born in Liverpool. Kinsey won an FA Youth Cup winners 
medal  in 1964, and scored against Chester in the FA Cup in January 1965 in his only
first team appearance. He later played for Wrexham and Crewe Alexandra. 


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

Sat 20/9 Arsenal     (A) PL 
Thu 24/9 Liverpool   (H) PL 
Wed 30/9 Bayern M    (A) CL
Sat 3/10 Southampton (A) PL

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

Group A 
Porto 2 (Zahovic 64, Jardel 82) Olympiakos Piraeus
2 (Giannakopoulos 87, Gogic 90) 
Croatia Zagreb 0 Ajax Amsterdam 0 

Group B 
Athletic Bilbao 1 (Etxeberria 5) Rosenborg
Trondheim 1 (Strand 66) 
Juventus 2 (Inzaghi 17, Birindelli 68) Galatasaray 2
(Sukur 42, Umit 63) 
Red card: Peruzzi (Juventus) 32 

Group C 
Real Madrid 2 (Hierro 79 pen, Clarence Seedorf 90)
Inter Milan 0 
Red card: Fresi (Inter Milan) 42 
Sturm Graz 0 Spartak Moscow 2 (Titov 61,
Tsymbalar 64) 

Group D 
Brondby 2 (Hansen 88, Ravn 90) Bayern Munich 1
(Babbel 75) 
Manchester United 3 (Giggs 17, Scholes 24,
Beckham 64) Barcelona 3 (Anderson 47, Giovanni
60 pen, Enrique 71pen) 
Red Card: Butt (Manchester United) 70 

Group E 
Panathinaikos 2 (Mykland 57, Liberopoulos 69)
Dynamo Kiev 1 (Rebrov 31) 
RC Lens 1 (Vairelles 90) Arsenal 1 (Overmars 51) 

Group F 
PSV Eindhoven 2 (Ooijer 59, Bruggink 90) HJK
Helsinki 1 (Kottila 31) 
Kaiserslautern 1 (Wagner 41) Benfica 0 
Red card: El Khalej (Benfica) 89 

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Subject: The Barca beat By RED KELLY It was nice to get back on the road again after an extremely hectic few days working for the cause, whether it was nice being in the sausage-mobile is debatable. Four of us set off from here at around 3pm to meet the sausageman at Hilton Park. The journey was good and we arrived on time for once. Sitting in Burger King munching a double cheeseburger I had no idea why BDS asked me to toss a coin for heads or tails as to who out of the two of us would sit in the front. "but you're driving" I said in all innocence, "do you want me to drive then?" "No we're going in Dobson's car" "What, it's not big enough" I exclaimed "I know, that's why we're tossing the coin!" In fact I won the toss, but because BDS is the taller of the two of us and had complained of a bad back I allowed him to sit in the front seat and squeezed into the back with Nigel and Dr Mark. And it WAS a squeeze. With my knees up against my chin for the rest of the journey, my only pleasures being a box of chocolates that was handed round and some hearty banter about the Loaded magazine Dr Mark was reading. Happily the journey was uneventful and we arrived at Bronnington in good time to get to the Dog to meet with Richard and Nick and then on to the Throstles. Remembering the journey up on Saturday when we seemed to be avoiding accidents by micro-seconds, we counted ourselves fortunate. The M6 usually throws up at least one delay, but four accidents on a journey that's supposed to take no more than two hours was a bit much. The last of those was a huge pile up on the south bound carriageway involving around twenty vehicles which caused a monumental tail-back. It all makes matchday travel a precarious business. Walking up to OT in a howling gale I wondered why I hadn't considered the temperature change and the time of year and dressed accordingly, but as it happens, by the end of the night it wasn't that cold at all. It was bloody wet though! We arrived on the forecourt to be greeted by hoards of people having their photographs taken in front of Sir Matt's statue. Hopefully they knew who he was and what he did for the club but did they have to stand there with loads of megastore bags at their feet when they were being snapped. Then the white tornado ran past. What was this bloke doing at 6 o'clock on the evening of a big Euro game running down Warwick Road in a T-shirt and white lycra cycling shorts dodging his way through the bemused crowds? White lightening or what!! The Dog was packed, but didn't seem as packed as usual. Maybe some of the patrons were away on IMUSA business or maybe it was just because we were earlier than usual. Richard gave me the programme form Lotz which is totally incomprehensible but interesting for it's novelty value. The Lotz team picture shows a group of players all but two of whom were shaven headed - had they had a plague of nits in the dressing room then? And to mirror this an AD for 'Gipsar' whatever that is, with another bald bloke superimposed on twenty odd repeated images of his bald head. Is this normal in that neck of the woods? Is everyone is a slap head because if it is normal I could get a job very easily out there, not that I want one! The United pen pics are also amusing because they comprise of each individual player in his own oblong picture box, but instead of the players being photographed separately the picture boxes comprise of close ups from the full team photo. This has lead to many heads being seen with other body parts and other heads, the most amusing of which is Andy Cole who seems to be resting his chin on Raimonds head and all you can see of Raimond is the top of his head and his eyes - bit like CHAD - wot no chin? Old farts only will remember Chad. It was then on to the Throstles which was packed full of list members too numerous to mention. A pint in each set us up for the evenings entertainment which for the time being would wholly distract us from our quest to 'SAVE OUR GAME'. There's a different atmosphere at Old Trafford on European nights you can smell it as long as you are far enough away from Dobson that is! Everything looks the same as you walk down to the ground but there's a special buzz about the place, a buzz of history and past glories. These are really special nights. Inside the ground the teams were about to come out when we took our seats. Actually we didn't take our seats at all because we were all stood up throughout the whole game. A magnanimous gesture by our friends at SPS who must have been directed from on high to let us be for one night especially considering the conflicts over the last few days. Good move Arthur!! Possibly the most sensible thing you have ever done. It was great to be standing again with the freedom to move around and the freedom to express ourselves which was made all the more pleasant by the offer of a very tasty cup of 'coffee' from one of our regular companions to my left. Needless to say the coffee was a thin disguise for the real contents of the plastic cup and it went down a treat! It tastes all the better if you're not supposed to be doing it! The match itself started at a pace and carried on all the way through. We were in good voice with all the usual songs given a Euro airing and when Becks crossed for Giggs to head home the first goal we were flung into an ecstacy reserved only for those special European occasions. All around those who are normally reserved were going berserk and those of us who are not normally reserved went berserk as usual. United piled on the pressure attacking the K Stand goal right in front of us and were playing more like the 93-94 double team than at anytime since. Yorke seems to have made the difference and one can only hope he continues to be the catalyst just as Eric was a few years ago. His first touch, ball shielding and vision are excellent which allows others time to join the play. It was a real pleasure to be treated to such a display of attacking prowess and Barca were nowhere. If the first goal sent us into raptures then the second sent us straight to heaven. Another Becks cross met by a magnificent Yorke overhead kick which the goalkeeper couldn't hold and a tap in from Scholsey. When the ball came over towards Yorke and we saw him twist his body to shape for the overhead we couldn't believe our eyes, when he smashed the ball so straight and true with such power we were in awe. It reminded me of the first "KIng" of Old Trafford and I cannot think of a better compliment to pay a player. Chorus upon chorus of "are you watching Kleivert" and "you should have signed for a BIG club" scampered round the Old Trafford terraces. Half time arrived and I disappeared beneath K Stand to relieve myself along with 5000 others. Last saturday I was waiting in line behind this bloke who must have the bladder of an elephant because I was still stood there as he relieved himself while those either side of me came and went. Yesterday was different thank god. As the teams came out for the second half and after another swig of 'coffee' Steve said "3 - 2 Barcelona" I thanked him for his optimism and he responded that he'd never been very good at tipping anyway but when their first goal went in I gave him a very hard stare. When the penalty was given he received another. I actually haven't watched the game on video yet but at the time was convinced it was not a penalty and that Rivaldo had dived and this has subsequently been offered as opinion from several others. I thought the ref was one of the worst I'd ever witnessed at OT and I've seen some poor ones in the past none more so than those who'd been bribed by Italians in the sixties. I bet he must have been offered a great time-share in southern Spain for the show he put on last night. So at 2 - 2 it looked as though Steve's prediction could possibly be coming to pass when we were given a free kick about 10 yards outside their area. Down at the Stretford End Becks and Giggs were encouraging the Barca wall back the requisite ten yards while down at the scoreboard end we held our breath. I remember thinking to myself, it would be wishful thinking indeed if Becks could curl this one in especially as the wall seemed to cover the whole of the goal. I remember thinking that if I didn't think he could do it he may just do it - when he bloody went and did it! What seemed an age later I looked up and Becks and I think two or three others had run over to the bench and were celebrating in front of Fergie. I had disappeared into the row behind and there was general chaos everywhere. Unfortunately it was to be short lived as despite the fact that Barca had forced the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble Nicky Butt who had hardly been on the pitch for long handled on the line and was immediately shown the red card. The ref pulled the card out of his pocket so quick it never touched the sides. His fingers had been twitching around it for ages - pity he didn't pull it out for the constant fouling and cheating from the Barca boys then. Or do we call it professionalism when the continentals do it? Down to ten men and 3 - 3 we girded ourselves for the worst as wave after wave of Spanish attacks rained down in front of us. The amount of space Rivaldo was finding was unbelievable and the movement of the Barca boys was superb to watch. Well it would have been had we not been so shit scared of coming away from a game that promised so much with absolutely nothing. The sucker punch was sure to happen, but in the end we held out and it was with considerable relief that we filed out of the ground to make our ways back to the sausage wagon. As I wandered back to the carpark I spied the man himself in the distance half walking, half running through the rain resplendent in his canary yellow fleece - like a Norfolk sheep. On the return journey we were treated to the morons who phone into Richard Littlejhon's football talk-in who all seemed to have been watching a different game to us as United were definitely not good enough, should sell all but three of the team and Fergie should go while he still has a chance. What planet do these people live on. The rest of the way home was again fairly uneventful apart from the odd Dobson trade-mark which permeated the air and caused mass opening of windows. Copyright RED KELLY 1998
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Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 15:48:22 -0700 From: "Jim Madden" Subject: United v Barcelona - an armchair view Hi all I'm still getting over the shock of last night's result. Looking forward to the game all week I finally sat down, with a cool Guinness, wearing my United "home" European shirt. Wouldn't the ABUs just love to have seen me? ;-) I anticipating the "Red" Devils running onto the pitch (I just love that moment) and what do I see? Shock! Horror! Disbelief! White Devils! Little did I know this was only the first shock of the night. "Must've been a mix-up with Barca shirts" I thought. I certainly hope this is not going to be the norm for future games. With so many teams playing in red United might wear their 2nd strip more than the red at home. So many incidents in what must have been a great game for neutrals I don't know where to start. 30 seconds into the game Beckham hit the side netting when Yorke was free inside. OK, if he'd caught the keeper cold I'd have been delighted, but maybe Yorke would have caught him out. Beckham started as lively as I've ever seen him and the "whites" were rampant. I was off my seat yelling at the two goals.....it could so easily have been more. Then disaster in the second half. I can't believe how we got caught cold right after half time. Surely the lesson was learned v Juve and Monaco to concentrate right from the whistle? I'm rarely critical of Fergie, but down the years I've wondered about some of his tactical plays. I think he was too quick to bring Butt on, maybe another ten minutes would have brought us another goal. When Barca got the second goal there seemed no way back, until Becks put that screamer into the top corner. Elation! OK Barcelona you had your chance, too bad. Bollocks! How did they get back in the game so easily? There were many other incidents, their disallowed goal, Ole taking the ball off the keeper, no free kicks for Giggs continually getting knocked (soft ones I know but thats the game these days). I just wonder at the end of it all, cynical as I can sometimes be, if there is the slightest chance of United EVER getting decisions like that at the Nou Camp or any other major stadium in Europe. In these top games all over Europe we all know, through the years, that the home teams tend to get the odd decision in their favour. Two penalties against the home team and a home player sent off is just too much for me to take in, which brings me back nicely to my first point.................maybe the ref thought Barcelona were at home, just as I did when the Whites took the field. Come on IMUSA/Edwards/Sky - whoever's in charge this week, UNITED MUST PLAY IN RED AT OLD TRAFFORD!! Jim - ManU abú © Jim.Madden@btinternet.com 1998 ICQ 1757821
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Thursday 17 September 1998 Subject: MANCHESTER UNITED 3 BARCELONA 3 When Manchester United were thumped 4-0 by Barcelona in their last meeting in 1994 they were beaten by Romario, but tonight their bogeyman was referee Stefano Braschi. The Italian official denied United a deserved victory in their opening Champions' League clash at Old Trafford when he awarded Barcelona two penalties - the first of which was questionable. Braschi sent off Nicky Butt for handling the ball for the second spotkick while he also failed to give Ryan Giggs any protection as he received a battering from Luis Enrique. United, though, will know in their hearts that they also let themselves down after they had been in the driving seat when they led 2-0 at half-time. David Beckham and Giggs ran riot as United's first-half performance evoked memories of their epic 3-2 triumph of Juventus last year. Ferguson has asked the United fans to play their part too and they answered his rallying call by creating a deafening din. United were playing in their white away kit, but there was no mistaking which side was at home. United knew realistically they needed to win Group D - the so-called Group of Death - to qualify and cheered on by their fans they went straight for Barcelona's jugular. In the 10th minute United were denied by the woodwork after Dutch international Michael Reiziger blundered. He gave the ball away to Beckham, who released Giggs on the left and when the Welshman centred Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shot against the bar. United, though, did not have much longer to wait for the breakthrough and in the 16th minute they scored. Once again the superb Beckham and Giggs were the men responsible. Beckham skinned Sergi down the right before sending over a terrific ball which Giggs headed past Ruud Hesp. Barcelona were creaking under United's relentless red tide and Roy Keane drove the ball at Hesp after Braschi had ignored a blatant handball. Again, though, that was only postponing the inevitable and on 24 minutes United scored their second. Beckham sent over another fine delivery for Dwight Yorke to connect with an overhead kick, which was saved by Hesp, but Paul Scholes tucked home the rebound. This was the signal for United's fans to taunt Patrick Kluivert, who turned down a move to the club in the summer. But the Dutchman just smiled at their jibes as he sat in the directors box sucking on a lolly pop. Barcelona thought they had pulled a goal back after 32 minutes when Luis Figo deflected Boudewijn Zenden's shot past Schmeichel, but the Barcelona captain was offside. Schmeichel denied the Spanish champions a lifeline with a point-blank save from Sonny Anderson at the back post two minutes before half-time. At the end of the half Solskjaer turned and fired just over from Yorke's pass. Barcelona hauled themselves back into the match two minutes after the interval when Rivaldo ran at the flat-footed United defence and when he was stopped the ball broke to Anderson, who fired home. These were worrying times for United as Rivaldo began to cut loose and they responded by bringing on the tigerish Butt for Solskjaer. But after 58 minutes Barcelona levelled through a controversial penalty when Stam was adjudged to have felled Rivaldo from Luis Enrique's pass. Rivaldo limped away to round off his act before Giovanni slotted home the spotkick. Five minutes later Beckham restored United's lead when he curled home a beautiful 25-yard freekick into the top corner, which was a carbon copy of his World Cup goal against Colombia, after Yorke had been fouled. Back, though, came Barcelona and Luis Enrique beat Henning Berg and Butt on the right before picking out Anderson, who headed against the woodwork. From the ensuing scramble Butt was adjudged to have handled on the line for a penalty and he was sent off as Luis Enrique tucked home Barcelona's spotkick 20 minutes from time. United's 10 men now tried to hang onto their point and they spent the remainder of the game keeping Barcelona at bay. In the end a point won, but United will feel it was two lost.
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Friday 18 September 1998 CHAMPIONS CUP REVIEW Subject: United And Arsenal Reflect On Missed Opportunities MANCHESTER UNITED 3 BARCELONA 3 Alex Ferguson could be in hot water with UEFA after his angry blast at Italian referee Stefano Braschi following Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Barcelona. The United boss was fuming with several of Braschi's decisions in the 3-3 draw with the Spanish champions, including the first of two penalty awards and a red card for Nicky Butt. He said: ''The referee was a real shocker. In the last three major games we've had here, we've had bad referees. After the game I saw the Barcelona president go into the referee's dressing room. He certainly had cause to be happy with him.'' Ferguson branded the first penalty award ''appalling'' and said of Butt's dismissal following a handball ''no-one saw it but the ref'". Such comments could lead to him being fined by a UEFA disciplinary committee next month if either the referee or the match delegate mentions what was said in their reports. A UEFA spokesman confirmed: ''If any mention is made in the reports then it will be dealt by the disciplinary committee, whose next meeting is on October 8. Those reports usually take 24 hours to come into us. So we will have a better idea tomorrow if Mr Ferguson faces any possible recriminations.'' Ferguson's displeasure was echoed by Dutch defender Jaap Stam who was penalised for tripping Rivaldo for the first penalty. He claimed he never made contact the Brazilian and insisted: ''I think it was the wrong decision. The people saw it on television and it was not a penalty, and from where I was on the pitch it was not a penalty. I don't think I touched him.'' That penalty allowed Giovanni to level the scores at 2-2 after Sonny Andersen had pulled one back immediately after half-time as the Spanish giants set about overturning a 2-0 deficit - those goals coming from Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. David Beckham restored United's lead with a stunning free-kick but a second spot-kick, this time converted by Luis Enrique, made the final score 3-3 and left United cursing the loss of two Group D points. Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel admitted: "We threw it away. At 2-0 up we were cruising and I thought we had the game under control, but the result speaks for itself.'' And Henning Berg added: ''We should have done better. When you are 2-0 up in a game you are not supposed to draw from a position like that." To be forewarned is to be forearmed, but even that was not enough to save Barcelona goalkeeper Ruud Hesp from David Beckham. Hesp has seen the Manchester United midfielder often enough on television to know what he is capable of with his right foot. Jordi Cruyff had also given Hesp the inside information on Beckham when the two Dutchmen met at Mottram Hall in Cheshire last month. Hesp even knew what Beckham was going to do when in the 64th minute he lined up a free-kick 25 yards out - but he still could not prevent the ball sailing over the Barcelona wall and into the top corner. Beckham's trademark goal capped a dazzling performance from the 23-year-old England star, who also helped create United's first two goals in the 3-3 Champions' League draw at Old Trafford. Hesp said: ''He's quality and I knew that before the game, and if you have quality like he has then that is always going to be a big advantage. I knew where he was going to shoot for his free-kick, but he shoots so hard and so well that it is very hard to stop the ball. ''The first goal for Giggs came from his (Beckham's) foot and the second goal came from his good ball into Yorke. He had an influence in all three goals so yes, that was some performance.''
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Subject: Utd vs Barcelona Reps/Pics/Tots Boon Wee Allo all, all the usual reports and pictures are up at the usual place.. http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~limboonw/mufc.html last night's game (to borrow an old cliche) was a game of two halves, a game which saw the better side and the worst side of united. you would have thought that they would have learned lots from the previous two campaigns in the champions' league. or so we thought. united started off with a bang, it was like watching the replay of the game against fc porto two years back. united were fluent in their passing, keane and scholes were ruling the midfield, giggs and beckham were running down the wings with so much grace. on the tangible side, united scored two brilliant goals for their first half show. giggs headed in a wonderful goal from an equally wonderful cross from beckham. the yorke proved that we can expect great things to come from him in the future by trying a bicycle kick (again from a beckham cross), yorke connected but was well saved by the keeper, the ball rebounded off a defender and there was scholes nipping in to score. wonderful stuff. solskjaer could have added a third if he has not shot against the post off a giggs' pass. united could have heeded the warning signs when barcelona threatened to score towards the end of the half. sadly, no one picked up the signal. secondly half for my two cents, was terrible, saved for beckham's "columbia" free kick. united's defence looked out of sorts, it was disorganised at times and it was this that led to barcelona's first goal. four united players tried to dispose the ball off enrique at the edge of the box, but none of them completed the task, instead, the ball was passed to anderson who made no mistake, 2-1. maybe united could still hold on. next came the dubious penalty decision against united. stam barely touched rivaldo in the box but the latter thought that it was a good time to maintain full body contact with the grass. ref blew and pointed to the spot, 2-2. next, yorke was fouled and beckham stood up to take the free kick. i bet even the keeper knew where the ball would be heading to before beckham struck, but still, it flew into the top left corner, 3-2. seems like united were getting their confidence back and we were treated to some fluent passing game again. alas! butt's hand came in contact with the ball in the box and viola yet another penalty. when will schmeichel start to save penalties? (moan) 3-3. united held on (desperately) as barcelona swarmed over them from left, right and centre. united just could not touch the ball and when they did, it was given right back to them again. giggs was slightly ineffective after the break. he did not make as many threatening runs as he did in the first half. with 12 mins to go in the same, he was taken out and replace by blomqvist. he looked very much like a kid with an oversized jersey, anyway, he did nothing constructive. to be fair to him, he hardly touched the ball during his call of duty. the final whistle came with much of a relieve (from me definitely). united need to pick up the pieces quickly if they want to be successful in germany and spain. given their pool records against barcelona and bayern away, they better would. if there's one word that could sum up the game, i would say "pity". coming up next is arsenal on sunday, united looked to me that they are pretty drained after the game. i certainly hope that it would not be another heartache against the london team. cheers -- Boon Wee -- (Pele : My fav Man United player is Michael Owen) MY HOME! <:> http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~limboonw Man Utd Page <:> http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~limboonw/mufc.html UK Chart Page <:> http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~limboonw/Ukchart/
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Subject: Naill Quinn on Fergie (Guardian) Time to extend Ferguson's credit rating By Niall Quinn Reading with great interest an article about the Manchester United takeover in a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper this week, I was struck by the fact that the man most responsible for the club being valued at £623 million, Alex Ferguson, was not informed of the deal beforehand and indeed found out that it was happening from another newspaper. That this could happen is a tribute to businessmen's secrecy, I suppose, but surely Ferguson should have been consulted, or at least made aware of the proposal somewhere down the line. After all, no matter from what angle you look at United today, it is all about Ferguson and what he, Brian Kidd and their players have achieved. It is not about Martin Edwards or the corporate hospitality or the Man U Megastore - although they have had supporting roles - and I fully understand Ferguson's annoyance that in the immediate aftermath of the deal's announcement the board of directors appeared to be taking all the credit for United's wealth rather than giving it to him. Perhaps one reason for that is that Ferguson does not share the appetite for money as those above him. While making astonishing fortunes for themselves, Edwards and his fellow directors would also have made the public and the City believe that they had performed a master stroke, one they had been planning all along. Well, if that is the case, then why was it that, not so long ago, they were prepared to sell the club to Michael Knighton for a fiftieth of today's sum? Edwards and Co have been lucky. That said, however, Edwards, and I assume it was he who had the ultimate responsibility for the decision, should be given credit for one thing he did not do nine years ago, namely sack Ferguson. Already this season we have seen managers kicked out after two and three games, and all those Man United fans complaining about Edwards should remember that he took the difficult option of keeping faith with Ferguson all those years ago when it would have been so much easier to have said, "Sorry, mate". Presumably Edwards had seen something in Ferguson that is not visible in all football managers, or all men. Having been part of a Manchester City side that was able to give United the odd contest and therefore having shared the match-day environment with Ferguson, albeit from a short distance, I can confirm this phenomenon. Ferguson has a presence, one charismatic enough to make even experienced internationals (and there were a few at City then) stop and stare. Imagine, then, what effect his appearance at training or in the stands at a youth team game might have on teenagers and young professionals. That he is not over-exposed on television nor in the papers is probably a personal choice but the result adds to the impression of someone consumed by football, someone dismissive of the attendant trappings. (Lately, though, Ferguson has taken to the horse game as a form of relaxation, although speaking as someone seven years ahead of him in that respect, this is only a half-wise move. Predictably he has made a winning start.) I am not suggesting there has been a triumph of image over substance because there is no doubt Ferguson is a great manager. In my opinion - and I am not going into management - that involves being able to find players - a lot harder than it sounds - then mould and motivate them until they give 100 per cent every time. Ferguson has done all this, and how often over the past decade has any commentator been able to say that United did not seem up for the game? I know that to play for United and earn pots of money for doing so should be enough in itself but each individual is different and requires differing management. Eric Cantona became the outstanding example when he launched himself into the crowd at Selhurst Park. Ferguson had to walk a fine line between official reproach and loyalty to his player, but he was shrewd enough to do this and come away with Cantona better than ever. One other aspect of life at Old Trafford I hear about from players who have left is that behind the scenes the club is the most efficient and professional in the country, and that the leadership comes directly from Ferguson. Manchester United, they say, is the hardest club to leave. This shrewdness and professionalism are Ferguson's greatest assets, along with his obvious single-mindedness. That is why, if Ferguson were to leave tomorrow, the longest queue of blue-chip club chairmen in Europe would be waiting outside his door. Manchester United - The Legend: http://manunited.net
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Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 23:43:26 -0700 Subject: Reflections of a Red life by DA I have been a Manchester United fan as long as I can remember, its always felt 'right' to me, as if God had ordained it on the day my Mom brought me into this World. The Manchester United I grew up with was indeed a different club to the organisation that calls itself Manchester United PLC, or sometimes as if in shame just shows the name Manchester United. I grew up not really knowing who 'owned' the club, if you have asked me back then I couldn't have given you an answer, but if I had it would probably have been 'GOD' or Matt Busby. The old programs used to make you feel you were part of the club, I remember being a pre-teen and standing on the Stretford End and looking at that program cover, seeing the depiction of the fan shaking hands with a unknown red shirted United player, and thinking...that's me! the club cares about me, I am part of Manchester United! I believed that, I spoke of my club in loving terms, and always used 'we' when talking about United in any playground discussions that ventured into the subject of Football. Everyone that wanted to be part of that old club could be. We were special, everyone in the Football world knew that we were a special club, maybe this came from the aftermath of the terrible Munich disaster, or maybe it was just my adolescent thoughts. Our shirts were the brightest red, our ground was the best ground, and we believed that our team was always the best, no matter what position in the league we were currently in. We were respected all over the World. Those were simple times, 2/6 to get in the Stretford End, cut out your token from the program in case we reached Wembley, and try and save enough money during the match to enjoy a bag of chips to scoff while reading the pink on the way home. No thoughts of global business tyrants coming to buy us and change us, no, that couldn't happen, Matt Busby wouldn't let it ! Today, is a million miles away from that perfect world that we lived in. I read Paul's recent article about the soul of our club, and it brought tears to my eyes, I for one appreciate all the UK based lads and lasses are doing on behalf of all us Reds all over the World. I disagreed with only one part of Paul's excellent piece. The Soul of Manchester United cannot be found by measuring how many miles one is from Manchester, nor can it be measured by how many matches one attends, no!.....the Soul of Manchester United is in each any every one of our hearts. I feel as though my country is going to war, and my friends are marching off to do battle, and I cannot do my bit. But, I will do all I can, and pray that the Red Army on the front line, can hold off this invasion into our dear old club. In closing let me say that the old club that I grew up with and love so dearly is still there....every time our young lads pull on that famous RED shirt and take to the field, they take that sacred institution with them. Good luck to our UK based gang, we exiles are behind you in spirit and prayer! DA
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Subject: UNITED MYSTERY BIDDER REVEALED / More on Ferguson Ref Blast THE company attempting to hijack BSkyB's takeover of Manchester United is sports management giants IMG. Sources in America have informed Football365 that Salomon Smith Barney, the investment bank acting on behalf of a previously unnamed organisation, are in fact representing Mark McCormack's International Management Group. Although a spokesman for IMG dismissed the story, saying "we are not in that business" when we contacted them yesterday, Football365 understands that they asked SSB to make preliminary inquiries. After being rebuffed by United's financial advisers, SSB issued a statement saying they had told their clients to put their interest on hold until after the Office Of Fair Trading have reviewed the proposed BSkyB deal. This is consistent with IMG being the clients, because they are likely to be reluctant to bid for United. As they say, they are not "in that business", but perhaps feel that they have little choice but to explore the possibility as a Rupert Murdoch takeover would be harmful to their existing operations. IMG have a huge range of interests - including, coincidentally, Manchester United's official web site. They are best known as a hugely successful management company - their clients include Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard - but IMG is also the world's largest independent source of televised sports programming through its television production company Trans World International. And last spring they agreed a deal worth £100m for the exclusive TV rights to the Premiership outside England. At the moment, then, Murdoch's Far-East based Star TV would have to buy the rights off IMG if they wished to screen United's games. Logically, a Murdoch takeover at Old Trafford would be bad news for McCormack's company. For when the contract comes up for renewal, it is unlikely that United would vote in favour of renewing IMG's arrangement. In addition, the Restricted Practices Court are looking at the existing Sky TV deal on the request of the Office of Fair Trading and will decide in January whether the Premier League is acting illegally by selling the TV rights to all clubs' matches collectively. In which case, clubs should be free themselves to sell their own rights, either immediately or at the end of the current contracts. If that happens then, of course, Murdoch would be given carte blanche to negotiate his own TV deal for the screening of United games. Therefore, IMG would immediately be out of the equation. Ergo, buying the goose that lays the golden eggs for themselves would solve that problem and open up a world of lucrative possibilities for them to exploit the worldwide television markets. In the meantime, they are likely to pursue a wait-and-see policy, but if the Office Of Fair Trading gives the go-ahead for the Murdoch deal, IMG would then have to consider making a higher bid for the club if they wished to protect their interests. FERGUSON GRIPE SOURS EURO CLASSIC By Ian Cruise Alex Ferguson has never been backward in coming forwards when it comes to having a whinge, but surely even he reached new lows after Wednesday night's Champions League draw against Barcelona? Rather than applaud the Spaniards for their superb comeback, or even berate his own side for their less than solid defending, he chose to vent his spleen on... surprise, surprise... the referee. And now, instead of being remembered as a thrilling spectacle, Wednesday's 3-3 draw could well be recalled more for Ferguson's reaction. It shouldn't come as a shock anymore, but it still seems incredible that the Old Trafford chief can continually get away with his vitriolic outbursts against all and sundry. Particularly match officials. And his latest comments are nothing short of scandalous. Ferguson branded the first penalty award - when Jaap Stam was adjudged to have tripped Rivaldo - as "appalling" - and then insisted of Nicky Butt's handball which led to a second penalty and a red card for the United midfielder, "no one saw it but the ref". Yeah, no-one but the 22 players, the other 55,000 people inside the ground and millions watching on TV. He even had the audacity to question referee Stefano Braschi's decision to send Butt off. Alex, handball is handball and the rules state that a player has to go off. Do you imagine he would have had as much sympathy if say, Luis Enrique, had done the same thing at the other end? Hmmm... But perhaps Ferguson's most insulting comment of all - and the one that we believe should lead to a UEFA disrepute charge - was that "after the game I saw the Barcelona president go into the referee's dressing room. He certainly had cause to be happy with him." Whichever way you look at it, that vicious swipe question's Mr Braschi's integrity and honesty and that is nothing short of despicable. You will notice that Fergie's verbal attack contains no reference to the Barcelona 'goal' which the Italian referee disallowed for offside in the first half - an effort that TV replays clearly proved should have counted. Ferguson constantly whines that "everyone hates us", but until the man at the helm learns to take defeat as graciously as he accepts victory, then United will never be loved in the way that a team capable of such wonderful football as they produced in the first half on Wednesday should be. And he will never be respected and revered in the way Sir Matt Busby was.
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Friday 18 September 1998 News 7 Subject: UNITED FANS AGAINST MURDOCH: THE MANIFESTO MANCHESTER UNITED fans fighting to block BSkyB's takeover of the club claim to have won the support of the Trades Union Congress. The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) lobbied the TUC's general council in Blackpool yesterday. IMUSA chairman Andy Walsh said the general secretaries they spoke to were ''very receptive''. Walsh added that IMUSA now hopes to organise a fringe meeting at the coming Labour Party conference. ''We handed over our document which we put to the meeting in the Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday to the general secretary of the TUC, John Monks,'' said Walsh. ''We spoke to many of the general secretaries and they were very receptive to our campaign. Everytime we are able to speak to people about the fans' concerns they are invariably won over. Our campaign is gaining support everywhere we go and every time we talk to anybody. The next step we will probably take is to organise a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference.'' The Supporters' Damning Verdict On The Man Who Would Be King Of Old Trafford THE following are highlights of a report which was handed to supporters at Tuesday night's meeting called by the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association (IMUSA) and Shareholders United Against Murdoch. Details of how you can help their campaign can be found at the bottom of the page. INTRODUCTION Many supporters think the future of Manchester United is destined to be held in the hands of one man - Rupert Murdoch. IT IS NOT. This club has been built on the loyalty of its supporters and the efforts of Matt Busby, Alex Ferguson and great players past and present, but since the launch of the plc we have seen our club taken further and further away from its loyal support. This latest fiasco is a step too far. Decisions affecting the future of Manchester United will be taken on the other side of the world. Our club will no longer be independent. We will be owned and manipulated to further the business interests of the Murdoch empire. So when Alex Ferguson says: "We are United to the core", remember so are we and so are you. Show your support for the club as we know it and help to stop this takeover before it makes us into the club we don't know. QUESTIONS ANSWERED Q: Will profits generated by pay-per-view TV be kept by the club? A: The Murdoch business empire depends in part on the way in which he moves his companies' revenues around the globe to avoid paying tax. In 1996-7, Murdoch paid only 7.8% tax on his companies' profits. United profits are as likely to be found in Mauritius, Fiji and Cuba (yes Cuba) as in Alex Ferguson's transfer fund. Murdoch operates almost 800 separate business units across 52 countries, shuffling cash around as a matter of course. The overall financial picture is further muddied by complex inter-company borrowings and financings, and by complicated joint ventures. Murdoch himself once conceded that the company's intricate financial interior confused even some of his most senior executives. "One of the things I would never attempt to calculate is how News Corp. arrives at its tax rate, or why," said John Reidy, a Wall Street analyst who has followed the company for years. Who knows where, or in which account, our money will end up. Q: Surely being backed by one of the worlds richest companies is good for United? A: On December 7 1997, Paul Fahri of the Washington Post wrote: "Under Australian accounting practices News Corp. legitimately reported that it earned $561 million in 1996. Under the tougher rules required of US-based corporations, however, News Corp. would have lost a potential $155 million, according to documents the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Australian difference helps portray News Corp. in a more favourable light to investors - particularly when the company is stacked next to its American-based competition." A study of Murdoch's companies undertaken by the Australian Parliamentary Committee in 1989 (the only such study) revealed that he declared all of its total annual profits through subsidiaries in low-tax countries such as the Netherlands, Antilles and Bermuda. In contrast, News Corp.'s main subsidiaries in Australia, Britain and the United States, all relatively high-tax countries, recorded losses that year. News Corp.'s shareholder equity - essentially, the company's net worth falls by nearly half the $16.7 billion it reported to investors in Australia once US. accounting principles are applied, according to SEC documents. The higher valuation is important because the greater the equity, the greater Murdoch's borrowing power. The extraordinary growth of News Corp. over the past dozen years has been fuelled by Murdoch's heavy borrowing; at the end of the past fiscal year, the company had nearly $13 billion in outstanding debt and other liabilities. News Corp. is notorious for not securing loans with collateral. Henchman Richard Sarazan says: "If a bank wants to lend to us, we won't take it unless we are satisfied it knows we're a company with very complicated flows of money." Murdoch needs United's cash. We don't need to subsidise Murdoch's global empire. Q: Can Murdoch be trusted to act in the best interests of MUFC? A: "Wall Street doesn't have a handle on Murdoch for a lot of reasons," said Porter Bibb, an investment banker active in the media business. "He is perpetually able to have the best of both worlds. He doesn't tell as much as people would like to know, and he doesn't have to." Murdoch will act only in his own interests, not those of the club or its fans. Q: Will Ferguson be left to manage without interference? A: Richard Searby, a prep school chum of Murdochs in Australia and later a director of the company, (before being sacked after 50 years of friendship) once noted: "Most boards meet to make decisions. News Corp.'s board meets to ratify Murdoch's." Each Friday, Murdoch receives and studies weekly financial reports filed by each of his far-flung divisions. "Decisions are made with a minimum of bureaucracy and often on nothing more than a whim and a hunch by Murdoch." Managers who defy the boss's wishes don't last long. Murdoch is notorious for firing editors; his flagship paper The Times has had five of them in the past decade. Who knows who will feel the weight of Murdoch if results take a downturn? Q: How will the Murdoch-owned media report on Manchester United? Will supporters have an outlet for their concerns? A: "It's not only what they write, it's what they won't write, what they won't say," says Wayne Barrett, political correspondent for the New York Village Voice paper, owned by Murdoch, which, he claimed hadn't written a critical piece on Murdoch's political friends in four years, ignoring corruption and scandal in New York's City Hall. Murdoch can only be expected to turn a blind eye, whatever the scale of supporter concerns. Q: Can Murdoch be trusted with our club? BSkyB's bid for United is big on the financial details, and makes it very clear how much money shareholders will get, but Murdoch's men have been surprisingly vague about how they'll run United, despite attempts to win specific commitments. As part of our campaign to stop the takeover, and to convince the government just how damaging it'll be to both United and football in general, we should be thinking of specific guarantees to extract from Sky. Together with other members of SUAM I have come up with a number of ideas. "If ever someone demonstrated the dangers of mass power being concentrated in few hands, it would be Murdoch," says American media commentator Russ Baker. "Mr Rupert Murdoch has failed to deliver his forecast News Corporation profit lift of 20 per cent, with the global media group instead suffering a 29 per cent fall in net profit. Stockbroking analysts are now reviewing their 1998 profit forecasts for News Corporation. News Corporation said... it would use some of its cash to prop up its share price," wrote Matthew Kidman, investment editor of the Sydney Morning Herald in an article on Thursday 21 August 1997. We asked, "Can Murdoch be trusted with our club?" - what do you think now? OUR PROPOSALS FOR ASSURANCES TO BE MET BY ANY ORGANISATION SEEKING TO TAKEOVER MANCHESTER UNITED 1) An unequivocal guarantee should be given that any new parent company controlling Manchester United does not interfere in team-related matters. The manager must continue to have full autonomy in team matters across all competitions. 2) If Alex Ferguson were to step down as manager the decision on his replacement should be taken exclusively by the football board. 3) The match-going supporter has been the foundation on which much of the club's success has been built. Their unswerving loyalty should be rewarded by a guarantee that ticket prices will not be raised above the annual rate of inflation for an indefinite period. 4) An undertaking should be given that all Manchester United's future competitive home games continue to be played at Old Trafford. 5) Manchester United and its supporters have a unique affection for European competition based on the pioneering exploits of Sir Matt. That mystique is driven by the knowledge that only domestic success can entitle you to pit your wits against the best of the rest. We therefore demand that the club maintains its current full commitment to the present domestic football structure and competitions and any future revamp thereof. 6) The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association has articulated its views through a document entitled 'Redprint for Change'. The re-configuration of the ground to cater for all types of supporters was one part of that. We demand that supporters are consulted at all levels and, in particular, with regard to further expansion and re-configuration of the stadium. 7) The football club board should be wholly separate in its constitution from the executive board at parent company level and, consequently, the parent company should not hold voting rights on that table. The parent company should give assurances that its presence at football club board meetings should be limited to a watching brief. 8) We would call for a member of the appointed football board to have specific responsibility for supporter liaison. This liaison would be regular, substantive and conducted with organisations which are independent and democratically run. 9) The issue of TV rights will continue to play a major part in all contractual negotiations both before and beyond any take-over. The football club must retain the ability to negotiate the best possible deal for coverage of future matches irrespective of the service provider. 10) Finally, supporters are concerned about the removal of the words 'Football Club' from the club crest. In respect of the club's heritage and tradition, we would like to see those words returned as a symbol of a successful new partnership between the club and its supporters. PAY TV AND CORPORATE GREED IN AUSTRALIAN RUGBY LEAGUE The following information is taken from an article by Michael Hiltzik published in the Los Angeles Times, 25 August 1997: In 1994, attendance at Australian rugby league games was at an all-time high and the sport dominated the television ratings. But this was before Murdoch's foray into Australian rugby sparked a civil war that threatened the game's future. To attract subscribers to his new cable operation, Foxtel, Murdoch wanted pay-TV rights for rugby league. These were not, however, for sale as the official Australian Rugby League (ARL) had a contract with a rival company. So Murdoch decided to establish his own 'Super League'. Despite all 20 teams having signed loyalty agreements with the ARL for five years, Murdoch's representatives tempted more than 200 of the ARL's top athletes into defecting. In a series of secret meetings, they were offered huge cash bonuses and double or triple their salaries. By the time word of the clandestine signings reached the ARL it was too late, the damage was done. Teams that resisted offers to join the new Super League were told they might soon find new, better-financed teams in their backyards. A judge later attacked the Murdoch campaign for its "secrecy, suddenness and deception". The game was irreversibly changed. Players who had spent their careers together on the Australian national team found themselves divided by accusations of dishonour and greed. Dismal TV ratings and attendance figures soon became the norm in both leagues, whilst team expenses soared. By the end of 1997, the war had come full circle. The sport was hanging in the balance and the leagues were trying to negotiate a merger to end the damaging rift. Is this what Manchester United could expect? AND TRADITION BECOMES COMMODITY Rupert Murdoch bought the LA Dodgers for $320 million and as the Guardian reported on 12 September 1998, Murdoch's Fox company had promised that they would not use the influx of monies to send player's salaries "through the roof". Shortly after that, Fox orchestrated the trade of Mike Piazza, a Dodgers favourite, to the Florida Marlins (an expansion team) in a $108m trade for 2 major players and a number of minor league options (7 in all). This, as the Guardian states, actually sent the overall payroll up 19.6% to $57.3m. Their stated desire to bring salaries into control was proven a fallacy. This was a first - no actual baseball interests were concerned in the deal. The transaction was made between a marketing man, an accountant, and two television executives. Fred Claire, the general manager who had been working with the Dodgers for 30 years, said, "I'd like to think it was a onetime occurrence." Claire was dismissed. At the same time, Bill Russell, the manager of the team, who had been with the side for 32 years was also dismissed and became the first manager in 45 years to get the sack. All of this has lead to the ultimate alienation of the fans and as one stated in his web page: "Business has taken over. No longer will the Dodgers be a notch above the rest because of their rich tradition. They are fast becoming an other run-of-the-mill ballclub." And so a team, rich in history just like Manchester United, becomes a commodity, and on the way, is stripped of the tradition and talent that made it great. The ultimate betrayal. (Quotes and money figures were taken from the Guardian, 12 September 1998) THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE The heart has been ripped out of this football club in recent years, but its soul still exists within the supporters. We will never give in to the sale of our club to a man whose only interest is the money, manipulation and the power it can bring him. There is an alternative to Rupert Murdoch. This campaign requires money. Please send donations, however small to: National Westminster Bank Stretford Branch, 20a King Street, Stretford, Manchester M32 8AE. Account no. 32055595, sort code 01 08 52. Contact the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) PO Box 69, Stretford, Manchester M32 0UZ. Shareholders United Against Murdoch (SUAM) - organiser Michael Crick - would welcome help from any United shareholders. SUAM can be contacted at 1 Sumburgh Road, London SW12 8AJ. Tel: 0171 223 5847. E-mail: protest@stopmurdoch.com
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