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Date: Fri May 29 1998
1. PPV imminent
3. The night Busby met United's destiny (Independent)
X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0 (32)
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 10:21:21 -0700
Subject: PPV imminent
Thursday May 28, 12:18 PM
Premier Clubs 'Want Pay-Per-View' - United Chief
Pay-per-view broadcasting is set to receive a collective thumbs-up from the
chairmen of Premiership clubs.
The 20 chairmen are discussing the proposals from BSkyB, which will
revolutionise the game, at their annual two-day meeting in Leicester.
And Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has carried out his own
telephone straw poll of chairmen which he claims indicates that most are in
favour of the idea.
Under BSkyB's plan, five Premiership fixtures would remain on Saturdays,
with four moving to Sundays and one, as usual, on Monday nights.
Of the four games on Sundays, three would be screened on a pay-per-view basis.
These games will feature the cream of each weekend's action with the result
that the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea will find
themselves playing even more games on Sundays.
Edwards said: "I'm confident that the proposals will go through. My own
research shows that the majority of clubs are in favour of the idea."
The Football Supporters' Association has already attacked the proposals,
while the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association (IMUSA) is
also against the plan.
From: J Callaghan
FRIDAY, MAY 29, 1998
Transfer latest ««
Reports on Friday are suggesting that United are back on the trail of
Argentina's highly rated striker Ariel Ortega.
Ortega, who's currently playing his club football in Spain with Valencia,
has been very impressive in Argentina's World Cup warm up games, and United
are thought to be very keen on taking him to Old Trafford.
The man nicknamed the new Maradona looks set to leave Valencia in the close
season, after there recent swoop for Romanian Gabriel Popescu, and United
could be ready to step in.
Brian Kidd recently wanted Ortega in action in the Argentina's 2-0 friendly
win over the Republic of Ireland, and the Reds are likely to keep a close
eye on his performances during the World Cup.
One player who won't be coming to Old Trafford, which had been suggested at
the back end of last season, is former star Keith Gillespie.
Gillespie had been linked with a possible return to his former club after
an unsettled spell with Newcastle, but now the Northern Ireland
international could be set to stay at St James Park.
The 23 year old is currently having talks with the Magpies about a new 5
Meanwhile, on the out going front there are strong suggestions that United
veteran Brian McClair will be heading back north of the border in the close
McClair is being tipped with a return back to Motherwell, the club where he
began his career.
After Alex Ferguson's surprised decision to give him a free transfer,
McClair has been linked with several lower league English clubs, but a move
back to Scotland could be more to his liking.
Hopefully, United will be getting more cash to spend on players soon, after
the latest statement from the Benfica President.
Joao Vale Azevedo says the Portugese club have now raised the funds to pay
United the £1.5 million they owe for the Karel Poborsky transfer, and if it
is the case Benfica will escape a FIFA fine.
Pay-per-view rejected ««
Plans to introduce pay-per-view football have been rejected by Premiership
The 20 heads of each top-flight club discussed the idea during their annual
meeting in Leicester today and voted against introducing the scheme which
would have meant the end of Saturday football for the 1999-2000 season.
Sky television and Martin Edwards, United's chairman, were both confident
pay-per-view would be accepted by the majority of the clubs.
If accepted Saturday's fixtures would have been moved to Sundays and
Mondays bringing in £31.8m for Sky while the clubs would have received
£16m. Sky have already introduced pay-per-view for boxing and will be
desperately disappointed at the decision.
International news ««
The United contingent in the England set up look as though they could be
set for a chance on Friday, when Glenn Hoddle's side face Belgium in
Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Teddy
Sheringham didn't feature in the win over Morocco on Wednesday, but most
are likely to play against the Belgians as the manager gives everyone a
chance to try and push their way into the 22 for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, there was good news for three other United players on Thursday.
Ole Gunner Solskjaer, Ronnie Johnson and Henning Berg were all named in
Egil Olsen's Norwegian World Cup squad.
Round Up ««
United midfielder Roy Keane has apparently cancelled his summer holiday, to
work on getting back to full fitness ahead of the new season.
The Republic of Ireland international is working flat out to be fit in time
for United's pre-season friendly games, which kick off at the end of July.
Keane, who has been out of action for eight months, is working hard every
day at United's Cliff training ground and it's thought he could play some
part in the pre-season tour of Scandinavian.
Meanwhile, United have also arranged a pre-season clash in this country.
Alex Ferguson's side will take on First Division Birmingham in a friendly
at St Andrews on July 25th.
X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0 (32)
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 20:26:53 -0400
From: Andrew Sherman
Subject: The night Busby met United's destiny (Independent)
Thirty years ago today Old Trafford's finest beat Benfica to win the
European Cup. Ken Jones recalls a pivotal moment at Wembley
WHEN Matt Busby raised the European Cup amid scenes of great emotion at
Wembley on 29 May 1968, few realised the parlous state into which
Manchester United were falling.
Busby's aura, the genius of George Best alongside such notable figures
as Bobby Charlton, Denis Law (who watched the match from a hospital
bed), Pat Crerand and Nobby Stiles obscured issues that would send
Manchester United into the Second Division within five years of their
Although appearing recovered from grievous physical and emotional wounds
inflicted by the Munich air disaster 10 years earlier, his reputation
enhanced by the achievements of a rebuilt team, Busby in fact no longer
possessed the energy to secure United's long-term future.
Supply lines were drying up and Busby's heart-felt warning - "Too much
'mind' could ruin the game" - spoke of the frustration caused in him by
No tactician, Busby's strength was in deployment, his profound sense of
the roles in which players were most likely to be effective. Coupled
with a deep attachment to the beauty and romance of football it made
Busby a great manager, the ultimate football man, but by 1968 he was
presiding over the inertia that would put 25 years between Manchester
United and their next League championship.
None of this registered with the army of supporters who descended on
Wembley in the hope that Busby's vision - if overtaken by Celtic's
ground-breaking conquest a year earlier - would at last be rewarded with
the trophy he had cherished since 1956 after persuading Manchester
United's directors to defy the Football League, who ruled against
participation in the European Cup on the insular grounds that extra
fixtures would seriously disrupt the domestic programme.
The years had rolled by, from the tragedy of 1958 to 1966 when United,
down 2-0 from the first leg of a semi-final against Partizan of Belgrade
and without Best, were unable to make up the deficit at Old Trafford.
Another opportunity lost, another chance coming with the 1967
championship. Busby had sent out better teams, but perhaps this one
would bring fulfillment.
Easily past Hibernians of Malta in the opening round, United then
defeated Sarajevo of Yugoslavia to set up a quarter-final tie against
the Polish champions, Gornik. Taking a two-goal lead to the Silesian
coalfields, Busby making a rare concession to negative tactics, United
hung on for a narrow aggregate victory. "There's a job of work to do
he," he had said in the dressing room. "So let's do it properly."
Of all the clubs who have fought for the European Cup none did more to
glamorize it than the present holders, Real Madrid, so when United were
drawn against them in the semi-finals destiny seemed to be working
overtime. If no longer the Real of Alfredo di Stefano (Busby's
favourite player), Ferenc Puskas and Raymond Kopa, a great tradition ran
strong in their blood.
Holding United at Old Trafford to one of Best's most breathtaking goals,
Real almost battered them into submission two weeks later. Sent out
with instructions to keep their heads and protect the ball, still
without Law whose right knee was badly swollen, United trailed 3-1 at
Busby gambled. Releasing David Sadler from an auxiliary role in defence
he gave orders to attack. "There's only one goal in it overall, so
don't give up hope. Go back out with your heads up. Play your
football. Let's get at them."
It wasn't so much that United improved but that Real lost their
momentum. The pace slackened and at last Busby's team began to look
tidy. Then Sadler scored to bring them level on aggregate. "A replay,
at least a replay," Charlton thought.
He was 50 yards behind the play when Best slithered past two men and
made for goal. "I could see others trying to support George, including
Bill Foulkes who seldom crossed the half-way line," Charlton recalled.
"Bill kept running, no one picked him up, and when the ball came over he
knocked it into the net. When the final whistle went it felt as though
we'd won the European Cup and there were tears in our eyes when Matt and
I embraced. How could we fail to win it after all we'd been through
Charlton felt it important that only three of the men chosen to face
Benfica in the final had been signed from other professional clubs.
"The lads who had played in Europe a long time all seemed to be there,"
he said many years later when we put a book together. "Bill Foulkes,
Shay Brennan, Nobby. Then the younger ones, Johnny Aston and Brian
Kidd. They were Manchester lads, so they knew what was expected of
them. They had grown up with it all. Brian would have been about 10
years old at the time of the Munich accident."
Identifying Eusebio as an obvious threat but confident that Stiles could
do the job on him that he'd done for England against Portugal in the
1966 World Cup semi-finals, Busby gave attention to Benfica's other
strengths; the influence of Coluna in midfield, Torres's heading ability
and Simoes's scurrying pace.
Encouraged by the ease with which Aston got through Benfica's right
flank United recovered from early nervousness for Charlton to put them
ahead in the second half with a header from Sadler's centre so rare he
imagined it coming as a shock to Busby, his mentor Jimmy Murphy, his
family, his friends, his team-mates, and the football world at large.
Not enough though to secure Busby's dream. Torres headed down for Graca
to equalise and then a heart-stopping moment as Eusebio advanced on Alex
Stepney. Instead of settling for simplicity Eusebio attempted a
spectacular goal and the ball stuck in Stepney's large hands.
Extra time. The World Cup final all over again; only for Charlton and
Stiles the faces of those lying on the ground alongside them were
different. Busby's words echoed Alf Ramsey's. "Benfica are shattered.
Look at them. We're in much better shape. We've got this far, now
let's finish it."
Demoralised by Eusebio's miss, Benfica sank even lower when Adolfo's
slip allowed a clearance from Stepney to reach Best. Wrong-footing
Benfica's goalkeeper, Henrique, with a twitch of his shoulders and a
flick of the hips, Best planted the ball into an empty net before
wheeling away, right hand held aloft. Eusebio had been shown how it was
Kidd headed a third before providing the fourth for Charlton. As Busby
stepped from the bench to embrace his players people wondered what
images were passing through his mind: Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman,
Roger Byrne. "At last, we've done it," he said.
Busby and Charlton had kept faith with United's dead; Best had confirmed
his genius. But the glorious unification of skill and spirit that
brought Manchester United to fulfillment would dissolve in the acid
truth of complacency that drove Best to brooding, self-destructive
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