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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Mon Oct 19  GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. A tale of wet seats and disappointed Wombles  by "Our Salford Lass"
2. The Ballroom Blitz    by RED KELLY
4. Trophies Before Egoes (Carling)
6. Interview: Roy Keane mellow but definitely not yellow 
7. Munich Diary (Part 1)
8. Teddy's Still Going (Mirror)


Daily RED Trivia  Mon 19th October:

19th Oct 1907: United keep up their Championship challenge with a 5-1 win at Blackburn
Rovers in a Division 1 game watched by 30,000. Sandy Turnbull 3 and Jimmy
Turnbull 2 scored for the Reds. Team was: Moger, Holden, Burgess, Duckworth,
Roberts, Bell, Meredith, Bannister, J.Turnbull, A.Turnbull, Wall.

19th Oct 1960: Uniteds Bobby Charlton scores 3 goals as England win 9-0 away to

Barry Daily Comment:  

Reminder: by the end of November all United's first team games
will be live on realaudio via the official web site (www.ManUtd.com)


Next 4 games: 
Result/Fixture Index:

Wed 21/10 Brondby     (A) CL
Sat 24/10 Derby       (A) PL
Wed 28/10 Bury        (H) LC (Worthington Cup)
Sat 31/10 Everton     (A) PL 

UNITED Stats v Derby are here:


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265

Champions league: 30/9             
Barcelona     2 Brondby 0      
Bayern Munich 2 Man Utd 2

GROUP D     P W D L  GF GA PTS      Next "CL" Match
Barcelona   2 1 1 0  5  3   4         Brondby v Man Utd 21/10
Brondby     2 1 0 1  2  3   3
ManUnited   2 0 2 0  5  5   2
BMunchen    2 0 1 1  3  4   1


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Subject: A tale of wet seats and disappointed Wombles by "Our Salford Lass" It's an odd fact of life that those games you look forward to the most usually turn out to be a disappointment (the Munich testimonial being a recent exception, of course), whilst the games which look set for disaster often turn out to be the most enjoyable. Yesterday was one such day. It started with dire predictions on GMR about storms and gale-force winds (the weather forecast being the first thing you listen to on a match-day morning when you sit near the front of East Lower). As I waited for my train (along with our town's resident group of Everton fans) it looked like the forecasters were going to be proved right. The black clouds arrived over the hills, the wind whistled through the trees and I shivered on the platform wishing I had actually put on that extra jumper I had considered but rejected. The train, when it finally arrived, was nice and warm however and I dozed my way into Manchester watching the rain pour down outside through the steamed-up window. As I dozed I listened to the conversations around me as more and more football fans joined the train. Loads of United fans arguing about who Fergie would play upfront (the majority opinion seemed to be Cole and Yorke), the small band of Everton fans getting all excited over the prospect of beating Liverpool again and a couple of Bolton fans from Sheffield (!) proudly showing off their new home shirts (until we got into Piccadilly that is, they then decided discretion was called for and buttoned their coats up to the neck!). I had a couple of calls to make in City Centre Manchester so set off down the station approach to do battle with the elements. As usual, Manchester was full of United fans heading for their favourite bar/pub for a couple of hours before the game, but I head off into the Arndale to join the thousands who prefer shopping to football on a Saturday afternoon (wierd people). My errands successfully completed I was buying a hot dog when there were two enormous explosions close by. As most of the occupants of the Arndale (including your intrepid reporter) dived under the nearest cover, with hearts racing and underwear rapidly turning brown, the girl who was selling me my dinner remained unmoved - "Bloody kids" she complained. It dawned on all of us at the same moment that it wasn't a bomb after all, just some kids throwing bangers around, and we all sheepishly grinned at each other and tried to pretend we hadn't really almost shit ourselves! By the time I got back out into Market St, finished off my hot dog and headed toward Piccadilly in the driving rain, it was getting on for 2pm and I realised I'd better head off for OT. So splashing through the puddles in the bus station I made my way onto a 257 bus and we had an uneventful journey to the top of Sir Matt Busby Way. More misery followed as I sloshed my way towards the forecourt. As I plodded along, only stopping to buy a copy of the new Red News from a seller who was in the early stages of hypothermia, I wondered what I was doing. Drenched to the skin, freezing cold and with joints that ached so much I could hardly move them - it was one of those days when the constant cries of "anyone got a spare ticket" started to sound attractive. The thought of sitting in East Lower for 90 minutes in a downpour just made me want to head for the nearest warm pub! But we Salford lasses are made of sterner stuff than most, so a couple of minutes later I was pushing my way through the turnstyle and into the ground. After 20 minutes or so chatting with the son-and-heir and Tim Emmanuel, we decided we could hide down in the dry concourse no longer and would have to gird our loins and make our way to our seats. As we emerged onto East Lower we were surprised to find that the rain had stopped. From then on, the day took a definate turn for the better and I cheered up immensely. After a quick visit to the Ladies to nick some United toilet paper to wipe our seats, we settled down for the start of the game. The OT security forces had obviously decided that this game was going to be one at which they would "sort out" a few problems. As soon as the game started, the stewards were coming round telling everyone to sit down. Tempers were becoming frayed as some people who were only standing up to wipe their seats dry before sitting on them, resented being told to sit down or be thrown out. Luckily, one of the lads behind us lightened the atmosphere with a bit of inspired terrace humour. Being told to sit down he said he couldn't. "Why can't you?" asked the steward. "I haven't got anything to wipe my seat with and I'm not getting my bum wet" says the lad. "Well everyone else is managing" says the steward. "Oh I'm not refusing to sit down" says he "just saying I can't at the moment". His look of pure innocence had us all in stitches laughing. The steward knows he is being wound up but doesn't know how to extract himself. Then the lad says "Can you lend me something to use?". "I don't have anything" says the steward. "Well I'll just use your bloody head then" says our hero as the whole of block 135 howls with laughter. By now, the steward is red-faced with embarrasment and just wants to get out of there. In desperation, he hands over his gloves and waits whilst the lad very slowly wipes every inch of the seat and seat-back and then sits down proclaiming himself satisfied. Exit one very embarrassed steward and we finally turn our attention to the game, with massive grins on our faces. And what an enjoyable game it was. Admittedly in the first half there was a lot more promised than actually delivered - there must have been a dozen attempts on goal from us whilst they had just one - but by the second half United were flying. Some wonderful football played in the traditional United way. Fast, flowing football with flair and passion and lots of goals - what more could a fan want? Well, a bit more passion in the crowd ("Out-sung by the Wombles" - how bloody embarrassing can you get?) and a little less attention from stewards and SPS would have been an improvement, but more about that later. For the first fifteen minutes, between United attacks which were coming our way, we took the mickey out of Neil Sullivan which he seemed to enjoy as much as we did! Singing "Beckham from the half-way line" got a wry grin as an acknowledgement. Then "Where were you when Beckham scored?" had him pointing to the spot on which he had been rooted as Beckham's chip had sailed over his head. Finally, we sang "Scotland, Scotland's number one" and he turned to us with a big grin and a wave. It's not often that the opposing keeper gets a round of applause from East Stand but Sullivan did yesterday. That was, however, the last time anyone saw him smile as soon after (after a series of heart-stopping attacks) Becks put an inch-perfect pass through to Andy and he popped the ball in the net before running over to celebrate in front of the linesman who had raised his flag so many times in the period before the goal we thought he must be sponsored by the flag company! Anyone with a sharp eye watching MOTD last night will have seen the son-and-heir rising majestically to his feet, arms raised, as the ball crossed the line. Despite Wimbledon's equaliser (which came from their only attack in the whole of the first half and courtesy of a very wicked deflection), the result of the game was never really in doubt as far as I was concerned. United made the Wimbledon defence, normally so reliable, look like Manchester City on a poor day (indeed we serenaded the Wombles with the chant "Are you City in disguise?" on a couple of occasions). Of course, the equaliser led to much celebration up on the mantelpiece as OT fell into one of its regular funereal silences. "You're supposed to be at home" was well deserved but a bit much, coming from a side that can only fill one end of their borrowed ground when the Red Army rolls into Selhurst Park! They also sang "You're not singing anymore" which brought hilarity rather than anger from East Stand and a response of "We weren't singing anyway!" Some atmosphere was restored by the end of the half, however as, after a melee in the box in front of us, Blomquist crossed and the ball met Giggs' head. He looked as surprised as us as he got a perfect touch on it and it went over Sullivan and into the net! It was now our turn to sing "You're not singing anymore" as the Wombles sat quietly in their corner. Half-time came and I set off for my usual visit to the Ladies' room. My attention was diverted, however, by the sound of scuffling and booing over in the corner under the disabled section. I could hear people chanting "Scum, scum" and "You don't know what you're doing" as the police threw some lads out for the heinous crime of standing. I jumped up and down to try and see what was happening without success (I have been referred to as a "short arse" in the past - not very kind but accurate) and was too cowardly to go closer to get a better look, so I decided to head off back to my seat - encountering a very tall person in a rather natty baseball cap on the way. We had been "privileged" to spend a large part of the first half listening to the stewards plotting their tactics next to us on the steps. "If we get those two in the middle, the rest will fall into line" ie it doesn't matter if you're only doing what thousands of others are doing and that no-one has complained about you, if it suits the OT security forces strategically to throw you out, then out you will go. From what I could see from the seats that were empty for the second half, those thrown out weren't even those who had stood up for most of the game, they just happened to be in the wrong seats. The second half was very enjoyable. Within minutes of the kick-off we had the privilege of watching Beckham score yet another wonder goal. Making so much room for himself that the Wimbledon defence might have well not been there he weaved off down the pitch, prepared himself, sent Sullivan the wrong way and scored a long-range shot that was unbeatable. "One David Beckham, there's only one David Beckham". From then on it was a question not of would there be more, but how many more there would be. The fourth came from Yorke as he cheekily took the ball from the feet of a Wimbledon defender, jinked first one way then the other and then put the ball in the net. Finally, after a great save from Raimond towards the end, Cruyff passed the ball to Cole and Andy got his second, putting the ball through the legs of a Wimbledon defender. There were numerous other chances - Andy should have had 4 or 5, Wes Brown was unlucky not to score a couple and Keane came close on a couple of occasions - but we were happy enough to settle for 5. My man of the match? Very difficult to choose as so many players played well. The Cole/Yorke partnership is looking better all the time, and Gary and Jaap at the back continue to develop as the new Dolly and Daisy. Keano is definately back at his best (the son-and-heir has fallen in love all over again!). But there were two players who stood out for me. David Beckham, again, was superb and at the heart of everything and well deserved the standing ovation he got as he left the pitch to be substituted. My head tells me he was the most influential on the pitch. But my heart tells me that Wes Brown, so young and yet so composed, with his surging runs forward and powerful shots on goal (by the end of the second half, the crowd in the Stretford End were trying to suck the ball into the net, so keen were we for him to get the goal he deserved), who never put a foot wrong for the whole game, is the chosen one! And my moment of the match? Nothing to do with the game at all really. The subs were warming up to our right when a chorus of "You are my Solskjaer" started. It soon spread to the whole of East Stand. There were exciting things happening on the pitch at the time, Ole (and us) were watching a wonderful forward move unfold at the other end. It was amusing to watch Ole obviously struggling - he wanted to acknowledge us but also wanted to see what happened on the pitch. And to watch the residents of East Stand - trying to watch the game and Ole all at the same time! Eventually the move ended, Ole grinned and waved at us, we cheered him and a thousand people in East Stand all went "Aww". So as I left the stadium (in the rain - it started again as soon as I set foot outside East Stand) I pondered on how differently the day had turned out to what I expected. The news was good from other grounds - Villa had only managed a draw, as had Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. As I walked up Sir Matt Busby Way, passed the stalls I heard the cry "Buy your Charlie shirts here". Everyone around me was grinning as we saw the "Big time Charlie" t-shirts with "Charlie, Charlie what's the score" on the front. Copyright 1998 by Our Salford Lass". All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author
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Subject: The Ballroom Blitz by RED KELLY 9am the phone rings - it's BDS who tells me the weather in Manchester is expected to be poor to say the least. He says he knows I won't have found that out and doesn't want me freezing to death because I'd be wearing just a T-shirt. A touching thought and of course he was right! So with jumper and jacket I sit in the back of Nigel's car with Dr Mark. Nigel's young son is lording it in the passenger seat, but if it prevents him from chucking up all over my back, it's OK with me. We leave the warm, sunny Midlands, but by the time we stop at Stafford services the signs are already there that it's going to be far from pleasant further north. The services are packed with Bristol City supporters every one in a replica shirt and all, it seems queuing for BurgerKing. There was even an exiled yonner in a Bolton shirt. When we arrived in Manchester it was pissing down - so what's new! It was cold and I was glad of that 9am call as all my available clothing was utilised. It was about 1.30 when we wandered up to the Dog to have a quick couple of pints and collect our update IMUSA leaflets for distribution after the game. Bumped into the sausageman looking slightly the worse for wear and Nick not looking the worse for wear. We collected our bundles of leaflets and a copy of Red News and set off for the stadium. Secreting a couple of hundred leaflets about my person was not easy. Every pocket was full to overflowing so the rest were stuffed down the front of my trousers. Several other IMUSA personnel were doing the exact same thing and it's a wonder security didn't pick up on the fact that quite a few were walking in a suspicious manner when climbing the steps into the scoreboard end! I climb to my usual seat in K when only one of the two blokes who usually sit in front arrives - with his wife. "Where's your mate" we ask. "He's gone Ballroom Dancing" was the reply. We stood there incredulous, jaws dropped and to be honest, despite the fact that the two of them seemed very serious about this, none of us could believe it. The bloke we're talking about is surely not a ballroom dancer. It was the first match he'd missed for well over a season, so it created a rare opportunity for the other's wife to visit. It seemed she'd forgotten most of the previous visit as it was so long ago. She gazed all about her and was busy asking all sorts of questions like where Fergie was, when her husband turned around to us and pointed out she hadn't noticed the new North Stand yet!! The teams came out and in Dale speak they read: Raizza, Wezza, Jazza, Gazza, Phizza, Royzza, Gigzza, Bezza, Andzza, Jezza and Dwight. The rain had stopped, United attacked our end and the football was superb. We could have been 6 up by half time, Keane hit the post with a rasping left footer, Cole headed against the bar, Wes shot from 25 yards which just screamed past the post and Sullivan made at least three excellent saves. Until injury time United were restricted to a single Cole goal. Becks had threaded the ball through a melee and Andy slotted it just under Sullivan and into the corner of the net. We were smiling before then, but at that moment we were beaming. There was a brief blip when Ewell scored from a Wes deflection which cheered up the Wombles to our left who started singing, "you're not singing anymore". Hang on a minute, we weren't singing before that, so get your facts right. We were too busy smiling to sing anyway apart from a few odd choruses of the old favourites. We certainly weren't bothered by this goal as it came from their first of only two attacks that whole half and there was no doubt in my mind United would overcome this minor problem. But just in case I had my fingers crossed. United continued to pile forward when Andy beats Sullivan to the ball and with the goalkeeper eating turf, crosses it for Yorke who's header hits a Womble on the line and bounces back into play. Giggs collects, heads out to Blommers and runs for the far post. Cue Eric moment (remember the goal against Blackburn just prior to his kung-fu attack on the racist Simmons). Blommers crosses the ball, Giggs heads in over the flailing arms of Sullivan, turns and milks the applause. And a beaming OT empties for a half-time break. Under K Stand I reach my spot at the urinal and am relieving myself when a strange noise permeates the air. Surely Dobson's not perfected the musical fart has he? No, it's the bloke next but one's mobile phone. He wrestles one hand free and there follows a bizarre conversation with whoever he was conversing with while the rest of us convulse. "I'm having a piss.........Giggsy's just scored........" I leave before the inevitable problem arises over how he is actually going to manage to put IT away and carry on the conversation at the same time. I make my way through K and down to visit Linda and Ian in East lower when a scuffle erupts nearby. The ever helpful SPS move in en masse and eject a couple of people for doing nothing more than standing amongst everyone else who was standing. You're allowed to do this at half -time aren't you? By the way, Linda, the leaflets I gave Ian were from my pocket! The second half carried on much as the first half ended and within a couple of minutes we were celebrating another Eric type moment (remember the home game against QPR). Becks picks up the ball just inside their half and runs through a huge gap in the middle of the Wombles midfield and unleashes a daisy-cutter from 30 yards out which flies under Sullivan and into the bottom right corner of the goal as we look at it. Within a few more minutes Yorke takes advantage of some more uncertainty and does well to control an awkward ball before slotting it into the opposite corner. Yorke runs off with an even bigger smile on his face than usual while Andy plays 'ride-em-cowboy' on his back. By this time Sullivan thinks he's at Wimbledon watching tennis and every shot's an ace. The Womble's rally for a minute when, I think it was Earle, but to be honest I couldn't see, ran through several Red shirts and approached the penalty area with some confidence. Unfortunately for him, Stam was there and unceremoniously hacked him down, got out his business card and flung it onto the prostrate body. I have it on good authority the card reads, "You've been Stammed" and on the back it reads "so f**k off and don't bother me again"....but in Dutch. The third Eric moment arrives when we start a chorus of "What a friend we have in Jesus" and the memories flood back to all those happy times we had together. With the score at 4-1 the Wombles are a shower littering the pitch and despite the fact that Raimondo had to make a superb save from Hughes the inevitable fifth goal arrived. Andy picked up a pass on the edge of the box, slid it through the defender's legs for good measure before slotting it home to Sullivan's left. Dwight returns the 'ride-em-cowboy' trick and a few minutes later the ref blows for time. The whole team played well yesterday but I have to mention Wes because as Steve said, "the more you see him the more he looks legend quality". The lad has got loads of class and would walk into any other team in the Premier League. I don't know how long Fergie will be able to keep him waiting but we've seen centre-halfs try right back before and fail miserably, but I believe Wes could play anywhere with style. Outside the ground and on my way back to the carpark I distributed leaflets successfully. I even had people come up to me asking for leaflets as others did too. It seems that supporters are becoming more aware and when they know the truth, they are voting against the BSkyB takeover. I know that not everyone feels the same and not everyone believes we can make a difference - we can't please all the people all the time, but the general change of attitude is heartening news indeed. Copyright RED KELLY 1998
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Monday 19 October 1998 Subject: SCHMEICHEL ON BRINK OF UNITED RETURN Peter Schmeichel is starting full training in a bid to be fit for Man Utd's Champions' League clash against Brondby on Wednesday. The United goalkeeper has been doing light training as he recovers from his stomach muscle injury and he faces a race against the clock to be ready in time to face his old club. Manager Alex Ferguson is already without Ronny Johnsen and the suspended Nicky Butt and David Beckham for the match in Copenhagen and he claims the most pleasing aspect of the 5-1 demolition of Wimbl edon at Old Trafford was that he had picked no more injuries. Ferguson, though, was delighted by his side's biggest win of the season which leaves them four points behind leaders Aston Villa with a game in hand. "The most satisfying thing is that we have come through with no further injuries," he said. "I'm pleased with that and what we have got today we have got for Wednesday. Other than that the performance was an excellent one. "Some of the football in the first half was superb and we should have been a lot of goals up at half-time. "We got a warning when Wimbledon equalised, but Ryan Giggs' goal right on half time sealed the match."
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Subject: Trophies Before Egoes (Carling) Man United 17 Oct 1998 FERGIE PUTS TROPHIES BEFORE EGOS Ruthless Alex Ferguson will continue to make some of his stars unhappy by leaving them out if it means winning trophies. Competition for places at Manchester United has become cut-throat and seasoned internationals are struggling to make a place on the bench, let alone play. United boss Ferguson insists they will all get their turn and he is more interested in ensuring his squad is big enough to lift some silverware than pandering to players' egos. This week centre-half Henning Berg bemoaned his lack of first-team opportunities and even though Ronny Johnsen is not injured, he has still found himself out of the side. But an unrepentant Ferguson says: ``It's not a matter of keeping the players happy - it's a matter of keeping Manchester United happy. ``We have got a good strong pool of players and we will use that. They will all play their part and there's no question about that. ``If they play their part and we win something, then that will be the justification of it. ``They will all feel they have contributed in a big way if we win something.'' Even United's star-studded squad will be stretched for today's match against Wimbledon at Old Trafford because Ferguson will be without six players through injury and suspension. Out are the injured quintet of Peter Schmeichel, Johnsen, Denis Irwin, David May, Teddy Sheringham, while Nicky Butt is banned for one match. Ryan Giggs should play after recovering from a bruised heel, although Ferguson will leave a final decision on him until today to see if there is any reaction to yesterday's training session. Ferguson is confident his squad can take the strain and he said: ``We have a few players missing, but with the size of the squad that we have got, we should cope.'' Andy Cole will be hoping to continue his strike partnership with Dwight Yorke against the Dons after the duo combined well in United's last League outing against Southampton. So far Ferguson has paired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sheringham and even Giggs with record-signing Yorke and he is prepared to keep changing it. ``I've been impressed by all of them and that's the important thing,'' he said. ``Coley played in the last game, Teddy the one before that and Ole before that. So I've got good options up front and I'm going to keep it that way. ``There may come a time when I stick with the same two for a while, but for the moment I'm enjoying the flexibility of it all.'' As for Wimbledon, Ferguson realises the Crazy Gang, once noted for their long ball game, have become much more sophisticated these days. ``They've changed the way they play'' he said. ``They still have a great emphasis on crosses into the box and their set-piece play is still very good. ``But they can play other ways as well and they have some good footballers in their side, so it should be an interesting game.'' Meanwhile, Jordi Cruyff has admitted that is time he started to repay Manchester United for their faith in him. Cruyff, son of Dutch legend Johan, is back to full fitness for the first time since joining United from Barcelona in 1996 and determined to show his true potential. He said: ``This is the best I have felt in two and a half years at Manchester United. ``In fact I haven't felt better in my football and life in general and now it is time to give Manchester United back what they deserve.'' Cruyff has topped the scoring in United's reserve side this season and came on and scored United's third against Southampton a fortnight ago. ``I don't want to make any big fuss, I have done nothing yet,'' he said. ``But I want to try to prove myself. ``At the start of the season I thought I would go for it and see what it brings me. ``I don't know whether the manager has felt like getting rid of me but I am still here and I owe Alex Ferguson something and have to give it back now. ``People have been disappointed with me so have I and now is the moment to get on top again.''
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Subject: UNITED THEY SIT Manchester United have revealed their plans to extend the capacity of Old Trafford from 55,000 to 67,400 by 2001. The great news is that the extension will allow the board to put the interests of the 'ordinary fan' first. In fact, such is the desire to bring the game back to the people that some parts of Old Trafford may even allow singing during match days. The shock news was announced by recent BSkyB convert Martin Edwards, as he unveiled 'ideas' on how to make uses of Old Trafford's planned capacity increase. The brainstormer that would allow supporters to actually sing during matches (instead of being accosted by overly-vigilant stewards), was only one of quite literally several. Here's Martin: "There are a number of ideas. Do we have singing areas? Do we allow day tickets? How many more season tickets do we allow if we decide to extend the scheme? We have to work all that out, but we have time to do it." If anyone is capable of sorting out such a conundrum, then surely it is the United board. The developments will be completed in 2001 (today's number), but the board have already made one decision: "We have decided we are definitely not putting any executive seats into the new East or West Stand developments," said Martin. "They are going to be reserved for ordinary fans." Is he suggesting that executive boxes are filled not with ordinary fans, but keen supporters of corporate freeloading? Whatever next?
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Subject: Interview: Roy Keane mellow but definitely not yellow The United enforcer is back with a more mature outlook but, he tells Michael Walker, he is not about to start taking prisoners Saturday October 17, 1998 Roy Keane is back. In newspaper terms that may not be the biggest football exclusive of the season, given that Keane has played 11 games for Manchester United plus two for the Republic of Ireland in the past nine and a half weeks, but the fact is, from the lips of the man himself, only in the last two of those matches has the real Roy Maurice Keane - son of Mossie and Marie of Mayfield, Cork - truly been back. This is the Keane we all know and love or loathe, the arm-pumping, leg-pumping, heart-pumping Keane. At The Dell in a 3-0 victory a fortnight ago there was the box-to-box Keane, engaging in one particular 20-yard sprint and shot which illustrated in graphic terms his return to full fitness. Then on Wednesday in a 5-0 win against Malta at Lansdowne Road there was the enforcer Keane, making the crowd wince with the snarling aggression of a studs-up tackle on an alarmed midfielder. Keane also scored on Wednesday for the second Republic game in a row. Against Croatia, the player who in 1993 was transferred from Nottingham Forest to United for a then-club record fee of 3.75m, captained his country for the first time and was named Man of the Match. He had played well but the game was six weeks ago, just three weeks into the season, and Keane appeared to be holding back. As the midfielders of Wimbledon and Brondby will discover in the next five days, no more. Also changing, if you believe spin of Mandelsonian proportions, is Keane the man. The responsibility of family life and the introspection that comes with a serious long-term injury has produced a more mature individual who, at 27, has finally outgrown bar-rooms, court-rooms and wild head-high challenges. Now, if you can believe it, Keane is mellow. He is faintly amused by this. People can confuse a soft Cork accent for a soft Cork Roy. "Mellow," he croaks. "All I have to do is pick up a booking or an unlucky sending-off and the press will be saying 'so much for this mellow thing'. They build you up to knock you down. Football has a habit of kicking you in the teeth - it's happened to me enough times." At the end of September 1997 it was Keane kicking himself in the teeth with an unnecessary lunge at Alf Inge Haaland at Elland Road. Cruciate ligament damage and 10 months' frustration were the result. The recovery is now complete and Keane seems fed-up discussing medical reports. "I feel fine, really. At the start of the season I sat down with Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd and we looked to October as to when I would be back to my best. When you come back you want to do well as quickly as possible, but realistically I think I wasn't at my best for the first six weeks. I definitely feel in the last two I have got back to a level I am happy with." The recuperation period had not been easy. Like most injured footballers Keane is a bad watcher. "I went to three or four matches at Old Trafford," he says. "I went to some away matches as well, but then again I just went with the punters to those, I didn't go with the team." His explanation for his travel arrangements is that otherwise he would have been "a distraction" to his teammates, although he admits the exclusion did leave him feeling "like the forgotten man". Ferguson was hardly Bill Shankly about this - Shankly once refused to acknowledge Denis Law's presence at Huddersfield because Law was injured - but Keane says: "The manager does come in the treatment room but while I wouldn't say he ignores you, he does have more important things on his mind. You are injured, you are not involved. I understand that and I accept it, it was not a problem." Most important on the minds of United fans presently is the proposed takeover by BSkyB. What does the club captain think of it? "I couldn't care less honestly," is his startling initial response. "There are two parts to the club, the players who have got a job to do on the field and the directors who have got to look after the company, keep the shareholders happy and look after contracts. I think that's a separate issue. "Is the takeover good for the club? Only time will tell. As for the players, it hasn't even been mentioned." Not much consolation for "the punters" there, but Keane offers some when discussing what he calls "the Murdoch thing" further. "The fans are worried that they [BSkyB] might forget about the genuine fans and I'd like to think that the chairman does not forget about the hard-core fans. "At United we feel there are a lot of shirt and tie people at the match and the genuine fans haven't been getting the opportunity to buy tickets, and if they have it's too expensive. It's a no-win situation for some of them. You've got to draw the line somewhere." Success, Keane thinks, would placate the dissenters and success this season for United would be winning the Premiership and the European Cup. "We can be greedy or realistic and I'll be greedy. People keep reminding us of how great a team there was in 1968 so it would be nice to win the European Cup just to keep those people quiet." That kind of attitude may encourage United's chief executive Martin Edwards to open contract negotiations in the near future. Keane has a year and a half left on his present one, he's aware of those around him on long -term deals but he is only semi-serious when he says: "The ball is in their court. The club know I am happy and if he [Edwards] reads The Guardian he might give me a mention. I'm not knocking on anybody's door, I've been out for a year and I need to prove myself. There's plenty of time yet." A Keane start has been made.
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Subject: Munich Diary (Part 1) Due to over-whelming demand (well,one e-mail from Terry in Saudi asking me to "spare a page guv'nor"),I have taken a break from work and exam study,and put together a Munich Diary.This is on the condition that Terry finds me a job in Saudi paying a million-a-year if I get sacked....Terry ?.....Terry ???? DAY ONE ======= 8:00am: At last,a lie-in before a European away !! Unlike my very early morning starts for the (pre-season friendly) Brondby and LKS Lodz games,the flight to Munich didn't leave until 10:15,so I had the luxury of a decent night's sleep beforehand,which in hindsight was VERY welcome seeing as sleep in the next 6 days was virtually non-existent.I was really looking forward to this trip as I had a feeling that it was going to be one of the best Euro aways;it did not disappoint. For as long as I can remember,I have always wanted to see United play Bayern Munich,and to go to the Oktoberfest Beer Festival.Above all, however,I have wanted to pay my respects to those who tragically died on 6 February 1958.I wasn't born until 6 years after that fateful day,but ever since my dad showed me the Manchester papers that he has kept in pristine condition from the days following the crash,I have had a very strong emotional bond to the Busby Babes. I wish I could say that the flight was uneventful,but it wasn't.We hit a very bad patch of turbulence just at the time that drinks were being served.Needless to say,they ended up all over the place,but the worst bit was when we actually came out of the turbulence.For a second or two,the plane just "dropped" and I don't mind admitting that I nearly needed a change of underwear.I think that my exact words were "Oh (expletive deleted) !!".I was not the only person use such a choice of words. Thankfully,I arrived safely at Munich Airport at 1pm,met up with Mick and Paul who had arrived a couple of hours earlier from Heathrow,and headed off into the city on the train (about 40 minutes away). Upon arriving in the city centre,we headed to the bar where we were to meet Kerry (Schiller's Cafe),which very conveniently was 50 metres from our hotel and became our place of residence for the best part of 3 days. Several beers later,we headed off to the beer festival site.This was colossal,half taken up with 14 huge beer tents and half with one of the biggest fairgrounds in Europe.It was heaving with people,and it was only 6pm !! We ended up in the Hofbrauhaus (HB) tent,with some 10,000 other piss-heads who were out for a good time.We had arranged to meet Kerry's advance party of reds down there,but upon entering they were not where they said they would be and besides,the tent was packed to the rafters.I don't know whether it is a skill that close-knit reds have,or whether we are just plain lucky bastards at times,but despite the odds of finding 6 people amongst 10,000 being very much stacked against us,Paul,Mick and I found Kerry & co within 5 minutes ! Big pitchers of lager were ordered at frequent intervals (never taking more than a couple of minutes to arrive from the excellent roaming waitresses that they had) and we were off.The tent itself had a big stage in the middle with a German oom-pah band playing on it getting everybody going.The place was absolutely buzzing,people were dancing and singing on the tables,everyone was pissed.....and it was only 7pm !! Mick had us and everyone around us in stitches when he pulled down the dancing-on-the-table Kevin's shorts,who then proceeded to swing his tackle all over the place and had hundreds of people pissing themselves with laughter.Unfortunately the SPS-type security,hunting in packs (sound familiar ?),didn't see the funny side of it,quickly grabbed him off the table and dragged him outside.Despite ordering him not to come back in,Kev just left it 10 minutes,walked back round to the front and came straight back in to a great reception from us all ! About this time I had to go and meet a mate who had coached it all of the way (24 hours !!) at the bus terminal.When I got there it was huge and chaotic,with buses all over the place.He was meant to arrive at 7:45,but by 8:15 there was no sign of him and I was about to give up.I then found out that there had been a big accident on the main road from Stuttgart and that dozens of buses had been held up.Finally,at 9pm,a convoy of about 40 buses all turned up at once and I was running round like a lunatic (with MANY pints of lager and no food swilling around me !) trying to catch a sight of Gordon getting off one of these buses.Amazingly,we saw each other much to our respective relief's. After that near-disaster,there was only one thing to do and that was to head back to the HB tent in double quick time !! Whilst making our way back to Mick,Paul,Kerry & co,I noticed that there were quite a lot of reds in the tent and that they were gathering in the middle,by the band. Mick disappeared at about 10:30 ish (he says that he went back to the hotel,but personally I think that he was wanting to try on some German's Lederhosen and feathered cap!) and we got separated from Kerry & Co,so we joined up with the ever-growing number of reds around the band stand and got some serious United songs going.This epitomised what following United abroad is all about.Lots of drink,lots of fun and mixing with the locals with no trouble (unlike Ing-er-land arseholes).Last (double) order top-ups were made at 10:30 and we left at about 11:15 to head back into town. (As a footnote to the above paragraph and in particular to the reference about no trouble,I found out the next day that fighting broke out between some reds and the security about 5 minutes after we left.I don't know the catalyst for this but I did hear that one security person tried to charge a group of reds with a table/bench and got his come-uppence.In th end,nine were arrested.What I will say is that up until we left, there was NO hint of ANY trouble whatsoever and everybody was having a great time (including the locals and tourists). On heading back into town,there then followed a search for a club.After being sent on a subway journey to the suburbs by some local to "the place to be" and lasting all of 30 seconds their as it was empty,we headed back to the city centre.My memory goes a bit sketchy here but we found one bar (which I didn't recognise....more later) that stopped serving as soon as we got their (1am),walked about 20 metres down the road and found a downstairs bar that was open until the last person dropped.At about this time,Paul went back to the hotel and just Gordon and I were left.We carried on until 3:30am,and then headed off in search of the hotel. Now at this time,I didn't have a clue where we were,other than we were fairly near to the railway station.I remembered that my hotel was near to this,but I got it fixed into my head that it was on the other side,so under the station we went,only to get completely lost down some back streets.I could walk no further,so we hailed a taxi.I spluttered the name of the hotel to the driver and 5 minutes later we were there. Next problem - how to get (jibbing) Gordon into our room.There was only one way into the hotel and that was to ring the bell for the night porter.As Mick had the room key and had returned a few hours earlier,and as Paul was also jibbing it in our room,I had to get us both in without the porter knowing what was going on.The plan was for me to cause a distraction by asking the porter for a spare room key,so that Gordon could get to the stairs unchallenged.The porter tried to call Gordon back but he was up the stairs before he had even finished his sentence.I got some strange looks and a couple of questions as the porter ticked off his list and noticed that there were now 3 ticks alongside Mick and my room.I thought that giving him a nice faceful of alcohol breath would do the trick,which it did,and no more questions followed.He got the master key and we took the lift to the room.Unfortunately,this is where it all backfired as the moment we got to the room door,Gordon appeared at the top of the stairs right by it.The porter (by now,nicknamed "Little Adolf") sussed out what was going on and ordered Gordon out of the hotel. So the end of Day 1 had arrived.I crashed out in a much-needed bed,whilst Gordon was thrown out onto the street at 4:30am.Not exactly what was planned,but we couldn't do anything about it. (Part two to follow) -- Richard
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Subject: Teddy's Still Going (Mirror) TEDDY: I'M NOT FINISHED By STEVE MILLAR TEDDY SHERINGHAM last night declared that he wants to be a United man for life. Sheringham is currently fourth-choice striker at Old Trafford behind Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has suffered the frustration of playing the full 90 minutes just once this season. He also misses Manchester United's home clash with Wimbledon today because of a calf injury picked up on England duty. But despite his problems, Sheringham is fully committed to seeing out the remaining two years of his three-year contract. And the 32-year-old would love another three on top of that. Sheringham, who has rejected a move to Crystal Palace, says: "You have got to be a strong enough character to play for a top team like United. I have obviously got to wait for my chance. "I have played one full game this season and that was against Bayern Munich in the Champions' League. I felt I did quite well, and normally that's not the kind of thing I say. "Hopefully the manager has taken note of that and I will be involved further along the line. I'm hoping there is still a few years left. I still want to play for United and I believe I have something to offer England." Sheri, bought for 3.5million 16 months ago, is not happy with his role on the substitutes' bench. But he accepts Alex Ferguson's policy of rotating his squad as he aims to bring home the Championship and the European Cup after a 30-year wait. So far the United boss has preferred to combine the talents of Yorke, Cole and Solskjaer. But Ferguson has assured Sheringham that he has a striking role to play at Old Trafford. Sheringham doesn't want to leave and would love to end his playing days at the club. He adds: "When my football fizzles out I would still like to be involved in the game." Jordi Cruyff has not had the best of times either at Old Trafford after joining United from Barcelona for 800,000 two years ago. Cruyff has been dogged by every injury in the book. He had just three senior appearances last season but has come bouncing off the bench in the last month to put him back in the reckoning for a regular spot. Cruyff says: "I haven't felt better in my football and in my life in general. I had a very bad two years and now it's time to give United back what they deserve. I want to try to prove myself and I'm seeing signs that I am on the right track. I owe Alex Ferguson something and I know people have been disappointed with my time here."
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