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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Tues Sep 22  GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
3. Teamtalk


Daily RED Trivia  Tues 22nd September:

1934: Len Langford made his United debut against Norwich City. A lean goalkeeper,
Langford was signed from Manchester City and played 15 times between 1934-35.
He won an FA Cup finalists medal with City in 1933.

1981: United win 2-0 at Middlesbrough in Division 1 with goals from Garry Birtles
and Frank Stapleton watched by 19,895. Team was: Bailey, Gidman, Albiston, 
Wilkins, McQueen, Buchan (Duxbury), Coppell, Birtles, Stapleton, Macari, Moses.


Next 3 games: 
Result/Fixture Index:

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

UNITED Stats v Liverpool are here:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsliverpool.htm Url
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsliverpool.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
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142 

*** FIXTURES ON 24/09/98 ***
   Manchester United  v  Liverpool

*** FIXTURES ON 26/09/98 ***
         Aston Villa  v  Derby County
   Charlton Athletic  v  Coventry City
             Chelsea  v  Middlesbrough
             Everton  v  Blackburn Rovers
    Newcastle United  v  Nottingham Forest
 Sheffield Wednesday  v  Arsenal
   Tottenham Hotspur  v  Leeds United

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Monday 21 September 1998 Subject: EASE OF ARSENAL VICTORY SHOULD WORRY FERGIE Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0 EVEN with 11 players on the field, Manchester United were simply no match for an Arsenal side which has hardly found second gear, yet alone the cruise control which powered them to the Premiership title in May. The margin of this defeat should cause some alarm for manager Alex Ferguson, who was clearly resigned to defeat even before Nicky Butt’s second half dismissal. It’s worth noting that while United were parading £27 million worth of new talent in Dwight Yorke, Jaap Stam and Jesper Blomqvist, Arsenal began the game with a familiar looking line-up, minus the influential Emmanuel Petit and with their other World Cup stars, Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars, still nowhere near their title-winning form of a few months ago. Arsene Wenger did introduce new signing Fredric Ljungberg ten minutes from time and he completed United’s misery with a debut goal to add to the earlier strikes from captain Tony Adams and Nicolas Anekla. They had given the Gunners a first half cushion they rarely, if ever, looked like relinquishing, even to the supposed biggest threat to their crown. It was United's first Premiership defeat of the season, but their fourth in a row against the Gunners and the Highbury crowd revelled in the visitors’ discomfort. Such a prospect will be horrific for Ferguson, who had to take responsibility for a tactical ploy that backfired badly. He tinkered with his line-up, playing Ryan Giggs up front with £12.6m new signing Dwight Yorke to give Swedish flyer Jesper Blomqvist a starting berth on the wing. But as the match started running against his side, Ferguson was left with no options on the bench, with strikers Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole not even deemed worthy of seats there. Arsenal, who had suffered the frustrations of five successive draws, ripped into United from the start. Lee Dixon had a goalbound blast blocked in the second minute and then Dennis Bergkamp volleyed over after Butt and Peter Schmeichel lost the thread of their defensive cover. Giggs, as central support striker with Yorke, showed some familiar silky touches, but Adams and Martin Keown locked both of them in an iron grip, something United’s £10m defender Jaap Stam was unable to do at the other end. This was another disappointing afternoon for the Dutchman, who needs to start proving his perceived worth sooner rather than later. Overmars, without hitting the over-drive button, was a constant menace down the left and put one good chance in the side-netting after Stephen Hughes - a magnificent deputy for the injured Petit - played him in. Hughes, probing from the right this time, set up Adams' opener, his first goal of the season, by curling in a free kick after Blomqvist's trip on the raiding Lee Dixon. The Arsenal captain brushed off the ineffective challenge of Stam to power home an unstoppable header. By now, United just could not cope with Arsenal's midfield drive and industry and were lucky not to concede a second goal in the 22nd minute when another lovely ball by Hughes was ferried on by Overmars and Anelka for Bergkamp to stab inches wide. David Beckham, predictably booed by the Arsenal fans every time he touched the ball, launched a couple of his free-kick specials from distance without troubling David Seaman and the frustration showed when both Beckham and skipper Roy Keane were lectured by the referee for disputing decisions. Arsenal rode their luck, however, when Beckham struck a beauty from 20 yards after Yorke squared the ball to him, the shot curling back across the area after slamming into Seaman's right-hand post. Arsenal took charge, though, with Ray Parlour firing just wide after another smart link with Overmars, before Anelka brought a marvellous one-handed save from Schmeichel in the 43rd minute. The young Frenchman, who missed a hatful of chances to bury Lens in the Champions League on Wednesday, must have thought his luck was out again. Deja-vu was the clear feeling when Overmars put him clean through a minute before the break and Anelka saw his shot again parried by Schmeichel. But this time fate smiled on the Frenchman and he buried the rebound with a flourish. Beckham, who went down from a challenge which saw Hughes booked, seemed to exact revenge in a later clash, but escaped with a warning. Then Keane barged the Arsenal midfielder to the ground with the ball a long way distant, but once more the referee decided only a warning was necessary. Nicky Butt was sent off for the second time in five days as things went from bad to worse for United in the second period. The United midfielder, dismissed for handball in Wednesday's Champions' League draw with Barcelona, had to take the lonely march again after tripping Arsenal's rampaging French midfield star Patrick Vieira six minutes into the second half. It was a harsh decision from referee Graham Barber because Vieira still had plenty of work to do even though he was beyond the United defence when racing onto Anelka's pass. But by then Arsenal's dominance had long been established and once Butt saw red, the rest of the game was a formality and United caved in miserably as Arsenal teased and toyed with them in the last half hour. The champions roused themselves to construct a third goal, lobbed home by their new £3million signing Ljungberg, who had been on the field for only five minutes as a substitute for Anelka. Arsenal’s dominance was complete ARSENAL V. UNITED - Reactions ALEX FERGUSON admitted that Manchester United had been “outplayed” by champions Arsenal and confounded his critics by refusing to condemn Nicky Butt’s sending-off. “Arsenal were far more determined – they were first to every ball,” said Ferguson. “Quite frankly I am terribly disappointed in our players. They lacked the determination that Arsenal had.” Ferguson had been vocal in his condemnation of the referee in Wednesday’s Champions’ League game against Barcelona, but today’s official Graham Barber escaped his venom. “People talk about professional referees, but I don’t think that you would necessarily get better decisions. Arsenal were the better team and we were outplayed for most of the game, so I’ve got no complaints. “You have great ups and great downs as a football manager. On Wednesday we were part of one of the great nights of football, and today we had a different sort of experience.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was typically diplomatic about the sending-off, saying: “It was one of those difficult decisions. If he had got a yellow card I wouldn't have contested it. “Every game is different, but psychologically we knew that we could beat United. The performance in Lens made a big difference – we had some doubts but the game in France did us some good. “It was an important game today, because if we had lost it would have been five games without a win – but this puts us up with the top contenders.”
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Subject: FERGUSON'S PROBLEMS GO BEYOND THE LEAKY DEFENCE - 365 Monday 21 September 1998 FERGUSON'S PROBLEMS GO BEYOND THE LEAKY DEFENCE - PLAYERS MUST FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE IF CONCEDING three goals at home in the Champions League against Barcelona last week set the alarm bells ringing, after yesterday’s 3-0 mauling at Highbury Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson now knows exactly how much his team has to shape up if they are going to be a dominant force this season. Ferguson will surely have seen that he has problems in three key areas. Firstly, his most recent defensive signing, Jaap Stam, has failed to settle in the Premiership and is making United look extremely vulnerable at the back. Secondly he will have to ask questions – once again – of David Beckham’s temperament after a needless and spiteful stamp on Stephen Hughes. And thirdly, Ferguson must be concerned about the example that his captain Roy Keane is setting for the team. The manager himself appeared to lose control in front of the television cameras after the Barcelona game, but following this comprehensive defeat Ferguson conducted himself impeccably, accepting that his side had been outplayed while acknowledging that he was very worried about United’s lack of commitment. United need similar cool heads tout on the pitch now to overcome their difficulties and Roy Keane simply must follow his manager’s lead. His explosive temperament bubbled up again yesterday after Nicky Butt was dismissed for a late challenge on Patrick Vieira and he earned a booking for his troubles. But more significantly, Keane’s ongoing petulance seemed to spread throughout the United team during the match. After Keane had earlier flattened Stephen Hughes, Beckham followed through with a cowardly stamp which, if the referee had had the benefit of video replays, could well have seen him receive a red card. Beckham appears to have learnt little from his French experience and he needs to quell this nasty streak which continues to damage his tarnished reputation. And the prospects for his team. The reputation of £10m centre-back Jaap Stam has also been damaged as the season begins to take shape. Of course it is far too early to start branding the giant Dutchman an expensive flop, but it is fair to say that the giant Dutchman has looked out of sorts in the rarified atmosphere of the Premiership. He certainly doesn’t look like the ‘finished article’ the manager promised. The man who was supposed to provide backbone in the United defence this season is actually making the back four look decidedly flimsy with his lack of positional sense. Ferguson is surely expecting more from his big-money signing, even at this early stage, and it is important for Stam to start producing more commanding performances than we have seen so far. As our headline says, Ferguson need to make sure his players wise up and they must do so quickly.
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Subject: Teamtalk A bit hysterical isn't it? Worst still to come ? «« Rumours in the North East suggest United fans should prepare for the worst later this week, in the wake of Sunday's title defeat at Highbury. Arsenal are favourites to sign Alan Shearer from Newcastle with the players' agent having been spotted at Highbury last week. Shearer will issue a second statement in the space of eight days later in the week, when he is expected to reveal his discontent with the situation at St.James' Park. If Arsenal do sign Shearer many will say we might as well stop the championship now. Fergie's tactical shocker ? «« Scholes: Dropped for Highbury hammering Alex Ferguson's decision to drop Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the crucial Highbury clash on Sunday looked strange beforehand, but appeared foolish after the 3-0 thumping was meted out by the champions. The United boss had promised to 'freshen up' his line-up following the 3-3 Champions' League draw with Barcelona in midweek but the outcome was bizarre. How could he see fit to tinker with the partnership of Yorke and Solskjaer up front ? What was the thinking behind bringing Jesper Blomqvist into the side ? Why was Paul Scholes not brought on after Nicky Butt was sent off ? Why on earth was Jordi Cruyff preferred to Andy Cole on the bench ? Fergie's decsion making will come under scrutiny again unless his side can turn things around against Liverpool on Thursday. Wenger defends United stars «« Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended Manchester United's Roy Keane and David Beckham after they were involved in a number of skirmishes with his players yesterday. The champions ran out 3-0 winners with United's Nicky Butt receiving his marching orders and both Keane and Beckham being spoken to over some vicious-looking tackles. But Wenger said: "Roy Keane is Roy Keane. If you take his aggression away from him then he's not Roy Keane. "And I don't think David Beckham is a dirty player - only in the World Cups, but not the championship." Fergie - "no excuses" «« Alex Ferguson said there were no excuses for his side's 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal. Ferguson said: "I thought that Arsenal had far more determination to win than we did. They earned the right to win by sheer effort. Some days you can find no excuses and this was one of them." But the Scot was far from happy with the sending-off of Nicky Butt, his second in five days, in the early stages of the second half. Fergie added: "The decision to send off Butt was wrong. We talk about pro refs but how do you improve a situation like that?" United fans call for Sky boycott «« Manchester United fans, unhappy at the proposed takeover by BSkyB, are appealing for football fans to join their protest by boycotting SKY TV channels. The Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association (IMUSA) and the Football Supporters' Association (FSA) plan to distribute one million red leaflets to fans of every Premiership, Nationwide and Conference club. The leaflet will urge fans to cancel their subscribtions to Sky Sports channels. IMUSA chairman Andy Walsh said: "The red leaflet protest will be the biggest British football has ever seen. We have linked up with the FSA to take the campaign nationwide. "We will ask supporters to cancel their Sky subscriptions to show Murdoch that fans have real economic power. "We are confident that fans from other clubs will show their opposition to the BSkyB takeover. The backing we have had from supporters of other clubs has been phenomenal. We have received support and messages of encouragement from fans of every Premiership club. They have put normal club allegiances aside and shown they fully understand the wider implications of the United takeover."
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Subject: VILLA TO MAKE NEW BID FOR COLE By John Curtis, PA Sport Aston Villa manager John Gregory is to renew his attempts to sign out-of-favour Manchester United striker Andy Cole. Gregory has made Cole his number one target to replace Dwight Yorke, who quit Villa to move to Old Trafford in a record £12.6million deal last month. Gregory wanted Cole in part-exchange for Yorke, but United manager Alex Ferguson refused. Now Gregory is ready to try a second time to land the former Newcastle hitman with a bid of around £10million. The Villa chief feels he may be able to land Cole because he has been frozen out of the first-team picture at United. Cole, 26, who has scored once this season, started United's first four matches and partnered Yorke on his debut at West Ham. But he lost his place to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer four games ago and he has been on the sidelines since. He did not even make a place on the bench against Arsenal at Highbury yesterday. Competition for striking places at Old Trafford is cut-throat and as well as Cole, Yorke and Solskjaer, Ferguson has Teddy Sheringham, Paul Scholes and now Ryan Giggs to choose from. Ferguson is determined to keep Cole because he wants as strong a squad as possible to meet the demands of the season ahead. He has told Cole he is still very much part of his plans, but whether that is enough to satisfy the striker remains to be seen. Gregory is desperate to boost his fire power to supplement Julian Joachim and he envisages playing Paul Merson behind the main strikers in a free role. He has the funds to buy Cole after off-loading Yorke, Savo Milosevic and David Unsworth for a combined fee of around £18million. Gregory is also set to pursue his interest in Newcastle midfielder David Batty, whom he sees as providing the steel in the centre of the park to supplement the skills of Lee Hendrie and Merson. He is willing to match Newcastle's £5million valuation, although he faces competition, chiefly from Leeds who want to take Batty back to Elland Road. If Gregory succeed in buying Cole, it could also herald the end for Stan Collymore's troubled spell at Villa Park. © PA Sporting Life
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Subject: FERGIE:I BLEW TITLE CHANCE / ALEX IS TOO SMART FOR OWN GOOD? (mirror) FERGIE: I BLEW TITLE CHANCE Alex Ferguson has confessed that his errors cost United the championship last season. He admits, in the second part of a ITV documentary to be screened tomorrow night, that his reluctance to move into the transfer market handed the initiative to Arsenal. Ferguson watched Chilean goalscorer Marcel Salas but hesitated over paying River Plate £12million for him. And there were other possible targets that he missed. Fergie says: "I should have brought in a bigger squad. I hold my hands up. "You would think, with my experience, that I would have been well prepared for that type of thing. The wife says I'm greedy, that I think I should win all the time. "Although it is my intention to win every time, that is not always possible. "I want to get to the top. Some people want to go to Blackpool or Spain for their holiday. "Or you can go to the moon. But whatever you aim for in this game, you need luck." ALEX IS TOO SMART FOR OWN GOOD Alex Ferguson has proved he is the best manager in Britain and needs no lessons on how to run a football team. But he has a weakness. Obsessive tinkering has cost him before and yesterday he disabled his team before a ball was kicked. The sending-off of Nicky Butt early in the second half merely compounded his folly. By opting to play Ryan Giggs down the middle and Jesper Blomqvist on the left wing, Ferguson not only weakened United in the areas they could hurt Arsenal most, he also sent an unmistakable message of weakness to his opposite number. Giggs is a better winger than Blomqvist will ever be and, with the greatest respect to the talented Welshman, Ole Solskjaer a superior centre forward to him. Fergie can talk all he wants about rotation, about big games coming up and the lack of width in the Highbury pitch, but the home of the champions is no place to mess around with your title aspirations. United looked unbalanced and the cutting edge you associate with the deposed champions away from home was never in evidence. The Gunners made the most of the initiative handed to them, creating the only openings worth having in the first half. United managed three shots on goal, all from the boot of David Beckham, who had David Seaman ringing his hands with two free kicks and also hit a post. Of course, Fergie's shake-up in no way diminished Arsenal's achievement. Beckham aside, they were streets ahead of United whose black shirts were appropriately funereal. Ironically, the team that wears a canon on its breast has suffered all season for the want of a striker who can shoot straight. Not yesterday. Arsenal had no fewer than 10 shots on target. Three produced goals with the second from Nicolas Anelka vindication of his manager's belief in him as a striker. So Arsene Wenger tightens his psychological grip over Fergie. The Frenchman would have been heartened to see his illustrious counterpart changing his line-up to accommodate the threat of his men - a classic sign of trepidation. That's four out of four for Wenger over Ferguson. No-one ever won the title in September. Nevertheless, when the season is at an end it is often the results against your major rivals that have proved decisive. Last year Arsenal did a double over United and won the title. The previous year United did likewise. As things stand Wenger seems to have a greater grasp of the bigger picture. While Fergie twists and turns and sees demons in every corner, Wenger simply picks his best team and sends them out to play. Simple game, football. A 3-0 win at home against the institution everyone loves to hate is about as good as it gets. It was the least Arsenal deserved. Perhaps Mr Murdoch is buying into the wrong team.
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