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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sat Oct 31  GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Preview v Everton «« 
2. A cold, wet night in the Worthington Cup by Our Salford Lass
3. Getting soaked 3 times, what fun!  Personal Match Report 
6. United stars miss night at the Palace


Daily RED Trivia  Sat 31st October:

31/10/1965: Denis Irwin was born in Cork. Signed from Oldham Athletic for £625,000
the unflappable Full-back made his debut against Coventry City in August 1990. 
Irwin won Premiership medals in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997,  FA Cup Winners
medals in 1994 and 1996, a European Cup Winners Cup medal in 1991 and a League
Cup Winners medal in 1992. He has made 374 appearances for United (25 goals),
and won more than 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland, playing in the World Cup
Finals in 1994.

31/10/1981: United beat Notts County 2-1 at Old Trafford with goals from Garry Birtles
and Remi Moses in a Division 1 game watched by 45,928. Team was: Bailey,
Gidman, Albiston, Wilkins, Duxbury, Buchan, Robson (Macari), Birtles, Stapleton,
Moses, Coppell. 


Barry Daily Comment:  

Jonathan Greening
DOB  2nd Jan 1979  Born Scarborough
Ht   6'0  
Wt   11st 3lbs
York City debut Div2 22/03/97 Bournemouth (a) Sub
Lge apps 5+15  2 gls
Joined United 24 Mar 98 for £750,000
Debut  Worthington Cup  28/10/98  Bury (h)

These stats from 
Paul Hinson (email p.l.hinson@ais.salford.ac.uk)


Next 4 games: 
Result/Fixture Index:

TODAY 31/10 Everton   (A) PL 
Wed  4/11 Brondby     (H) CL 19.45
Sun  8/11 Newcastle   (H) PL
Wed 11/11 Nott Forest (H) LC 
Sat 14/11 Blackburn   (H) PL

UNITED Stats v Everton:


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
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867

Champions league: 21/10             
Brondby 2-6 Man Utd
Bayern  1-0 Barcelona
Table as at 21/10:
    GROUP D P  W  D  L  GF  GA  Pts 
ManUnited   3  1  2  0   11  7  5     Next "CL" Match
BMünchen    3  1  1  1   4   5  4   Man Utd v Brondby OT 4/11
Barcelona   3  1  1  1   5   4  4 
Brøndby     3  1  0  2   2   9  3 


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Subject: Preview v Everton «« Giggs: Expected comeback United boss Alex Ferguson is set to ring the changes for Saturday's trip to Goodison Park. Ferguson followed his traditional path of fielding fringe and youth players for Wednesday's Worthington Cup clash against Bury. Denis Irwin could step in for Phil Neville after recovering from knee ligament damage and, despite reports to the contrary, Ryan Giggs is expected to shake off a knee injury although Jesper Blomqvist is on stand-by to deputise. Peter Schmeichel is set to take over from understudy Raimond van der Gouw despite intensive treatment for a stomach muscle strain, while Wednesday's back four of Michael Clegg, Henning Berg, David May and John Curtis is likely to be replaced by Jaap Stam, Wesley Brown, Gary Neville and Denis Irwin. David Beckham, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs look set to replace Mark Wilson, Phil Neville, Phil Mulryne and Jordi Cruyff. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole will resume their already-promising strike partnership up front. Team (from): Schmeichel, Brown, Stam, G Neville, P Neville, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Blomqvist, Cole, Yorke, Solskjaer, Cruyff, May, Berg, van der Gouw. Danny Cadamarteri has emerged as favourite to take over from the suspended Don Hutchison when Everton manager Walter Smith reveals his starting line-up for the visit of Manchester United. Tony Grant had appeared to be in line for the midfield berth but it seems that Smith is considering starting with just a three man midfield and handing Cadamarteri a free role behind Ferguson and Bakayoko. Much will depend on whether the Ivory Coast striker can shake off the ankle injury he picked up at the Riverside Stadium this week. The Blues are set to restore all their available regulars to the starting line up which will mean the return of Thomas Myrhe in goal, Dave Watson back at the heart of the defence with John Collins and Michael Ball in midfield. There is a slight doubt over Olivier Dacourt, who picked up a knock on his ankle in midweek, but he has said he is expecting to be fit for the match. The news is not so good concerning Mitch Ward who is set for at least two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Everton are unbeaten in their last ten matches and have kept a clean sheet in five of them but will certainly be fully tested tomorrow with United now looking as though they have regained top form after an indifferent start by their own standards. Zidane link resurfaces «« Top Spanish football newspaper 'El Mundo' has linked Manchester United with Juventus ace Zinedine Zidane. The link follows Zidane's declaration that he will not be signing a new contract with the defending Serie-A champions. Zidane, a World Cup winner with France, is, however, already tied to a lengthy contract and the fact that the highly-rated midfielder has stressed his desire to leave before that expires would suggest that United, or any other interested party, may have to break the bank to acquire his services. Cooke seals Wrexham switch «« Terry Cooke is ready to pick up the pieces of his stop-start career by going on loan to Second Division Wrexham. Cooke has just returned to full fitness following a cruciate ligament operation last year and is anxious to play regular first-team football once again after being on the fringe of United's first-team two seasons. Birmingham-born Cooke is a speedy winger who made his Premiership debut against Bolton in September 1995. His only senior goal was in the 3-1 second-round second-leg win over York City in the Coca Cola Cup, having also taken part in the 3-0 first-leg defeat at Old Trafford. Cooke has joined Wrexham for a month having had spells with Sunderland and Birmingham City before his injury setback. Academy sides in action «« United's Premiership Academy sides are in action this weekend with a home double bill against Everton. The rampaging Reds Under-17 side is look for its seventh successive win when they play at Littleton Road. The Under-19's are playing at The Cliff and come up against opponents going well. But United are looking for their fourth successive win after beating Wimbledon, Fulham and Manchester City.
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Subject: A cold, wet night in the Worthington Cup by Our Salford Lass I'm writing this 24 hours after the Bury game, and the rain is still pounding against my window. At least tonight I'm in the warmth of my bedroom, this time last night I was shivering my way through what seemed like the longest game I've ever been at! It all began badly, and it didn't get any better - standing on a very cold, wet and windy station platform, waiting for a train that was late. The train eventually arrived and a handful of sodden travellers climbed gratefully aboard. The train was making very odd noises as it crawled towards Manchester, at one point the guard asked us all to pray - obviously hoping that divine intervention might give it the push it needed. Whether it was Eric who intervened I don't know, but the train did make it (just!) and we arrived in Piccadilly Station only 20 minutes late. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of a nightmare journey which ended with me jumping out of a taxi at the Throstle's Nest, to meet the son-and-heir, an hour late and soaked to the skin! In between the late train and the end of the journey was a sad story of missing trams, non-existent buses and a gridlocked Manchester City centre in the middle of the biggest downpour I've ever seen. I did eventually arrive at the pub, however, and spent the next half-an-hour drying out and warming up. Unfortunately we then had to take to the streets again to get to the game and as we did so, the heavens opened. We literally fought our way up Seymour Grove as the rain sheeted down. The son-and-heir was blinded as his glasses steamed up and we were soon drenched. Being soaked from head-to-toe by a passing motorist didn't help. So it was a very sorry-looking group of fans who arrived on the forecourt. There was no hanging around last night - the forecourt was emptying quickly as fans headed into the ground to get out of the freezing, driving rain. We found our seats (up in J Stand), tried to make ourselves as comfortable as you can when you're dripping all over the floor, and watched the Bury fans sitting in our seats in East Lower getting the full force of the storm (at least something was working out OK - high up under the roof we were at least out of the rain!) I'm afraid that I have to admit I found it difficult to get excited about the game in prospect, and judging by the lack of atmosphere (even by the standards of OT these days) most other fans felt pretty much the same way. It's difficult to get worked up about watching what is realistically a reserve side play in what many United fans see as a nothing competition anyway, but when you are very cold and very wet and getting more miserable by the minute as the cold night air starts to creep into your bones, then it all seems even more pointless than ever. One list member (who shall remain nameless) spoke for many of us when he said "I've got the voucher, I think I'll just go home and watch the highlights on the tele!" The Bury fans seemed to be enjoying their "Cup Final" however, although where they got the 9000 fans from is a bit of a mystery, as their average gate is only about 5000! We tried to make the best of it as we waited for the game to start. The rain had eased off a bit and I always enjoy watching the latest crop of youngsters play - we could be in for a treat. What optimism, and how wrong can you be! The game started and it was dire! Bury were absolutely awful and we were even worse. When I say that this game was almost as bad as Ipswich last season, those of you who were there will know what I mean! It's only saving grace was that at least this time the lads looked like they were trying to win and we didn't have a six-hour journey to get home! (Sorry Alan, I know you did!) The atmosphere in the first half wasn't too bad. We got a 10 minute rendition of the Calypso going and went through some of the traditional songs and there a was some baiting of the Bury fans - "Part-time supporters", "Where were you on Saturday" etc. The Bury fans sang their one-song over and over again - "Come on Bury"! Unfortunately the atmosphere went downhill when the two sets of fans got just a bit too chummy! They sang "We only hate Bolton Wanderers", which drew a round of applause from us, and then joined in with a round of "If you all hate scousers". The media love it (the two sets of fans set an example for the rest of football etc etc) but a bit of needle between fans does make for a good atmosphere in the ground. The best chant of the first half was "You should have paid another fiver" to the fans at the front who were sent running for cover when water suddenly poured down off the roof on top of them! As the game wore tediously on, we just prayed for the end to come. By midway through the second half, we were so cold, miserable and bored that we just wanted it to end. We were past caring who won, in fact we found ourselves working out how much money we would save if we were knocked out there and then! All we cared about was it not going to extra time. I really didn't think I could stand another 30 minutes of the garbage we were getting. Every attack (whether it was them or us attacking) had us getting excited because we thought it might lead to the goal that would put an end to it. Unfortunately, it never came and we were doomed to endure another 30 minutes. As the referee blew the whistle for the end of "real" time, I headed off down to the ladies to join a dozen other women clustered round the hot air hand dryer for a warm. As I came back up the steps I wondered if I'd strayed into the wrong stadium - the whole place was buzzing (well, J Stand was anyway!). For the first time everyone was singing and it started to feel more like a real game. In the end, the extra time was the best part of the evening. The atmosphere picked up and so did the play on the pitch. The Bury fans woke up because they began to think they had a chance of winning it and started to get behind their lads. Eventually we all breathed a massive sigh of relief as Ole got the first goal and the last 10 minutes of the game were probably the best as we sang Wembley songs and Erik Nevland scored the second to tie up the game. In East Stand, some lads near the front were singing and dancing in the pouring rain, with no shirts on. When the final whistle blew, however, the stadium was half empty. Many had left once the first goal had been scored (knowing that the game was beyond an exhausted Bury side) - doubtless some of them had gone to catch the last "football special", the trains having left (empty) at their usual time, despite the game going on late! So what of the players? It's difficult to pick out a United player who played really well. They all looked to me like they were trying too hard to impress - nervy and edgy. Ole kept battling away with Dean Kiely and won the battle in the end, so 10 out of 10 for persistence. Scholes and Wes Brown made a big difference when they came on adding some creativity to the team and Greening made a reasonably impressive debut. I also enjoyed watching Curtis, who always impresses me with his cultured play. But the man-of-match has to be Dean Kiely. Suffice it to say that in the whole game Bury only had one decent shot at goal whilst we had about 20. If it hadn't been for Kiely we would have been 5 or 6 up by half-time. I was very impressed and would suggest that if we are looking for a keeper to nurture as an eventual replacement for Peter, we needn't look any further away than Gigg Lane. The journey home was much pleasanter than the journey down (warm and cosy in Pat's car), although the socks and jeans were still dripping even 4 hours after getting wet in the first place! I spent an hour before bed watching Granada Soccer Night and found to my amazement that the game they showed on the highlights bore no resemblance to the game I had actually watched! With all the boring and frustrating bits cut out, it wasn't a bad game at all! Perhaps the list member mentioned earlier had the right idea! Copyright © 1998 by Our Salford Lass. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission of the author
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From: Pat Jennings Subject: - Getting soaked 3 times, what fun! Personal Match Report After getting to OT yesterday 3 hours 15 minutes before kick off, you'd think it strange that I wouldn't get in on time to actually see it, but there you go. As I drove past the forecourt at 4:45 I saw a group of school kids who'd probably been on a trip the Museum and Stadium. On of them had a red shirt on with No. 10 on the back, Sheringham you may think. Wrong, owen it said! "You scouse bastard, You scouse bastard!!" I shouted at him, as he was much smaller than me;-)) Anyway, I went and parked my car (and then went looking for him :-)) and went to the Megastore for the Eric/Munich video for Barry Leeming and a shirt for my nephew who wasn't with me for a change. After having an argument with the sales assistant over a free football that I thought I should've had, I made my way back to my car to put my purchases in it. Cue first downpour of the day and me getting soaked to the skin. With my megastore bag locked safely in the car I was now able again to (mentally) take the piss out of anyone else I saw with one as I walked back to the ground. I'd changed my (non waterproof) jacket for another (water absorbent) one whilst at the car, but I needn't have bothered as the rain continued as I legged it round to the Throstles to meet Linda et al. By the time I got there it had stopped raining and after a few beers and a chat we started to make our way to the ground. Cue second downpour as the heavens opened whilst we walked the 15 miles back to OT. Myself, Linda, Alan and Ian got drenched not only from above but by any passing cars, as the puddles on the road were reaching lake type proportions. Me and Alan cheered ourselves up by thinking of our impending trip to Barcelona and the stone cracking sun that we'd have over there. When we eventually reached the ground we looked like a bunch of drowned rats, Alan promptly squeezed about 3 gallons of water out of his infamous yellow jacket. My brother was stuck in traffic and I had his ticket in my pocket (reason for missed kick off), but as the teams were being announced we found ourselves at the W10 entrance at the end of a long queue. After moving to the next one which suddenly opened, we managed to get straight in, Alan was doing an impression of my 9 year old nephew and his boyish good looks got him into the ground with a juniors ticket. Although we were now in the upper stand instead of the lower, the steward told us to go down the aisle in front, right down to the bottom and our seats were on the right. We duly did as directed and annoyingly everyone had to stand up and let us by. "scuse me, excuse me, scuse me mate etc.". "Typical" I said, we're right in the middle of the row. But as we got further along still moving everyone, I still couldn't see the seats. "scuse me, excuse me, scuse me mate" we carried on, right to the other end of the block and then pissed ourselves as we had the first 2 seats in the next block after all!! We sat down soaked to the skin and then hoped at least that all this grief would be worth it........ hardly. In fact the highlight of the first half was when Alan went to get us both a coffee. As we were drinking it, one of the Bury players who was in their private team contest of who can kick the ball into the stand the farthest, kicked a high swirling shot towards us. As I looked up at the ball in the air I thought "I bet that b*****ds gonna hit me". Not wanting to get scolded I decided to try and make a sharp exit but was blocked in and the ball splattered between me and the bloke next to me. The rain at times was relentless and being on the second row, you don't get much cover at all. Alan went off to warm his hands on the hand dryer in the bogs (southerner!!) during extra time and we scored. I wish I'd have sent him in there in the first half!! As the match came to an end, the rain duly started again and any drying out that had been managed was soon undone again on the way back to the car. For those outside the UK, the weather here for the past week or so has been none stop, freezing gale force winds and driving rain, it's like the end of the world as we know it..... Cheers Pat Jennings (c) Not to be Used without Permission of the Author E-mail: patj@telepad.demon.co.uk
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COOKE JOINS WREXHAM Manchester United's Terry Cooke has joined Second Division Wrexham in a bid to get his career back on course. The 22-year-old forward had a cruciate ligament operation last year and is anxious to play regular football after being on the fringe of United's first team two seasons ago. © PA Sporting Life
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Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 20:38:43 +0100 From: Richard Kurt Subject: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON: THE MAN UTD MUSEUM The Ministry Of Truth? They'd announced my football club was going to be sold - not just sold, mind you, but stripped of its independence and tarted off naked to a fiscal lecher whom I'd always held responsible for the destruction of British decency. So naturally, I wander off to Old Trafford, half-expecting to see riot police battling Reds on the forecourt and find…well, nothing. In fact, the Red Café contains literally nothing: it is utterly deserted, apparently its normal state, save for half-a-dozen bored waitresses earning dosh for nowt. (Grant, I've found you a job, mate.) My attention is drawn to the Museum next door: never been before, might as well give it a whirl. Today's soundbite, courtesy of the master phrasemeister Walshie, is that United has just sold its heart and soul and knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. (Alright, Walshie owes Oscar for this, but good effort all the same.) Perhaps here, of all locations at Old Trafford, one might find some residue of that heart and soul in the mementoes of heroes and legends past; it felt like it could just be the right place to be, today of all days. Potentially limitless value, for the price of £4.50. Barely through the door, I bump into Melissa, who's all over the papers that morning after being active with her spraycan on the forecourt. It's her first time here too and I instantly know she's here for the same reason as me - it doesn't need to be said. We shlepp around the displays together, muttering sotto voce insults at the daytrippers who mooch past, glaze-eyed, clearly understanding little of what they're seeing. I put my 'serious historian' hat on and get stuck into the display cases, hoping these treasures from the seasons of our forefathers will lift my spirits. Instead, by the end of our tour, I'm seething. Even here, in what should be a kind of blessed sanctuary - a museum, like a library, is a centre of true civilisation - the beast that is the modern United squats centre-stage, pissing and shitting over everything it touches. King Midas In Reverse indeed, as a local band once sung. I remember the hype when this 'museum' (sic) was relaunched. It would be a proper, almost serious temple for true Reds, run independently by a respected historian and archivist. Appeals went out for material - not just the usual old boots and caps but political, controversial stuff too. I was expecting warts 'n' all, the Full Monty: instead, like the last frame of the film, you get no such thing. The last frame of this tour was a beauty, though. But first things first. The museum is, I soon realised, a fantastically accurate parallel to the modern Club. So well did this image fit, I wondered if a very sophisticated hoax was being pulled. At first glance, it looks marvellous: state of the art. The display rooms gleam 'n' glisten, there's a pleasing sense of modernity, space and clever design; it's like looking at the inside of the stadium. Yet, after a few minutes, the sterility of it begins to overcome you. It reeks of man-made materials, it feels oppressively false, and the fucking Muzak warbling across the speakers drives you demented. Suddenly, you're flashing back to a bad day in North Tier 3, being blasted by Fane and wondering how the concrete and PVC box you're squeezed into connects to the Old Trafford you used to know. A plastic stand for plastic people, some might say. The museum feels about as solid and permanent as the corner stands at City, actually; it's more like a travelling circus exhibition that's stopped off here and could be carted off by some spiv at any moment - just like the Club, as it now transpires. Looking more closely at the displays, I realise that there's quality gear in there but it's treated so cack-handedly as to make it seem worthless. Items are crammed into cases en masse, with maybe a two-line caption on the case, and are placed too far away from the punter. Look, but don't touch; see, but don't understand. In a proper museum, every item is fully sourced and explained; here, they're just dumped in front of you and left to fend for themselves. Many items, especially letters and contracts, might as well be invisible. Speaking as someone who's spent a lot of time in archives and historical centres, it's perhaps the most abysmal waste of material I've ever seen. 'Never mind the quality - check out the quantity' seems to be the credo. At times, this policy is utterly aggravating. You enter one room and in an unlit neglected alcove, unshielded by glass, is a mass of scarf bales. A scrappy notice says 'please don't touch these'. Now you and I know what these are - the scarves left for Sir Matt - but many visitors won't have a clue and there's nothing there to explain them. Indeed, the state they're in makes them seem unwanted, contemptible even: what a mess we bloody supporters left, hey? I remember the emotion invested in the gestures that threw these scarves into their original positions and feel like screaming at the museum staff, except that there's none around. Proper museums have guides on hand to elucidate and educate. Here, they just don't give a fuck. I suppose this attraction works on very plc principles. Ex-players and fans have contributed with immense generosity, for no financial reward but merely for the satisfaction of adding to a United cause. The museum then treats these gifts cavalierly and charges fellow Reds an extortionate £4.50 for a tour that deserves about half an hour of your time. The Munich Room is a particular disappointment - poorly resourced, appallingly lit (I think they're going for a funereal effect but it just looks like they're too cheap to buy 100 watt bulbs) and badly positioned. Look very carefully and you'll find an unbearably poignant little podium bearing Eddie Colman's passport and watch, rescued from the scene and intensely redolent of 3.04 pm that February day. It has to take its place in a giant case with loads of other stuff, of course, and you can't see inside the passport: yet at that moment, all you want to do is see Eddie's unharmed young face on page 4. Move along there, people, we gotta increase the footfall…Perhaps that is the reason why everything is so inaccessible - they just don't want you in there too long. Because stay long enough, and you'll start finding Orwellian holes all over the show. Perhaps, behind one of the many doors marked 'Private', you might find some little Winstonian figure, dropping 'doubleplusungood' bits of United history into a tube for burning. Michael Knighton, a central figure in recent United history and the guy who conceived the new museum concept, can only be found as an en passant mention on someone else's display. Hooliganism gets five date marks on a tiny time-line; that's it. Club politics? One HOSTAGE leaflet and one StandUpK flyer amidst a display stuffed with pieces, the latter not actually mentioning the dread letters IMUSA at all. That's all folks, move along, nothing to see here, everything's hunky dory at this Club. And that's official, sonny: it's in the museum, innit? The laughable Supporters Room (two good items, both patched 70s denim jackets) has one whole wall full of pictures of United books, fanzines, mags, records etc. Everyone is up there, just about. But guess who's been airbrushed out of history? Your friendly soaraway Red Issue. We're the only fanzine not on the wall, just as our Kurt is the only well-known author not there and music correspondent Peter Boyle the only Red recording artist not featured. Paranoid, us? Well, can you blame us? The museum tells visitors we don't exist. Now lads, that was hardly likely to get you a good review in itself, was it? The worst, Room 101 if you like, is fittingly in the basement , the room where history's dark censory is always done. Here, in a massive chamber, dozens of interactive screens flicker, promising you access to the 'Official United History' ™. Every game, every player, every personality, every event: they're all there for you to read at the touch of the screen, from the legendary to the most obscure. Except for two people, whose biographies the screens refuse to link you to and who 'Official United Fans' ™ are not allowed to know anything about. Step forward Martin and Louis Edwards. On the very day that Martin was boasting about the 33 years these two butchers have run our Club, and how that gave him the divine right to sell us all out like the fuck that he is, it seems that this proud record of stewardship must be denied to the club's patrons. I wonder why? What could it be about their tale that the children must not know? Cos what's a little Revenue-cheating , insider dealing, director-shafting, bimbo-fucking, fan-exploiting, club-selling, shit-eating cuntery between friends, hey? HEY? And no, they don't show the 'World In Action' programme on their umpteen video screens either. But they do have 'Physio With David Fevre' on a loop. (Crutches available at the exit gate - MU brand, naturally, £39.99…) Oh, and there's both heart and soul on sale too: 625 mill the pair, I believe. Just hope the museum doesn't get hold of 'em - might end up stuck underneath a bale of scarves… (copyright Richard Kurt/Red Issue 1998. Kurt's new 'Red Devils' book is published by Prion Books)
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Subject: United stars miss night at the Palace Friday, October 30, 1998 Manchester United played the Palace party poopers last night when the England, Scotland and Jamaica World Cup squads met the Queen. Injured striker Teddy Sheringham turned up for the royal reception but team-mates Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were absent. United spokesman Ken Ramsden said: 'It was decided that Teddy should represent us and the FA were told that. The situation was that because of the timing of the reception it meant the players would not be arriving back at their homes until around midnight and it was felt that was too late on a Thursday night for a match on Saturday. The players also took that view. It was no reflection on Her Majesty.' But England skipper Alan Shearer, who flew in from Newcastle, and Liverpool's Michael Owen were allowed to stay up late. FA spokesman David Davies said: 'It was left to the clubs to decide who was coming. Every club was represented and 15 of the 22 players attended.' Paul Ince, Paul Merson and Gareth Southgate were absent for family reasons, while Les Ferdinand was said to be having treatment on an injury. Owen spoke to the Queen about his schooldays. He said: 'She visited my old school in North Wales in March and met my sister Lesley. She is 15 and a good netball player. Lesley won't let me forget that she met the Queen before I did.' Scotland captain Colin Hendry said: 'It was such a privilege to meet the Queen. I will never forget it.' It was a hectic day for Sheringham, who had to fly down by helicopter earlier in the day to attend a lunch in London organised by the publishers of his autobiography. It was a hair-raising trip in high winds and Sheringham arrived ashen-faced at the Cafe Royal. Then he was told it would not be possible to go straight to Buckingham Palace - about half-a-mile away - but would have to join the rest of the England squad at Heathrow 15 miles away. A taxi left Piccadilly at 4pm and he arrived at the airport an hour later - just in time to take the coach ride back to Buckingham Palace. Earlier, Sheringham had told diners that he believed Shearer and Owen made a good partnership for England. He also claimed the rotation system was here to stay and that there were too many average Scandinavians in the Premiership. _____________________________________________________________ Subject: Blair, Menem on the ball over Beckham's red card LONDON, Oct 29 - Forget the Falklands -- what about David Beckham's red card? The question of whether the young England soccer player really deserved to be sent off in a World Cup match against Argentina this June was on the agenda when Prime Minister Tony Blair and Argentine President Carlos Menem met on Thursday. Beckham was dismissed after aiming a seemingly innocuous kick at Argentine captain Diego Simeone, who collapsed dramatically. England, pushed onto the defensive, held out till extra time but lost on penalties. Beckham was pilloried by the British tabloid press, but Simeone also came in for a great deal of criticism in Britain for allegedly overreacting to the foul. The talks between Blair and Menem, on the first visit by an Argentine leader since the two countries fought a 1982 war over the Falklands, focused mainly on trade and bilateral ties. "They also discussed David Beckham's red card," a Blair spokesman said tantalisingly, but declined to elaborate. The soccer-mad Menem sported a badge backing Britain's bid to host the 2006 World Cup during his two hours of talks with Blair, who thanked him for his support. Menem said on arrival that he wanted if at all possible to see a soccer match this weekend.
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