Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tevez linked to Reds while Heinze linked to rivals...

Renewed reports have claimed that United could be in pole position to capture West Ham's Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, who earlier in the week 'turned down' the chance to join Inter Milan because he his heart is set on staying in the Premier League.

Further reports claim that fans favourite Gabriel Heinze could be about to swap the Red shirt of United for that of rivals Liverpool. This move if true would be hugely unpopular with vast swathes of Reds supporters. As ever watch this space.

Spurs pay £16.5m for tin of baked beans...

Sometimes you read a football headline and then you have to read it again to make sure that you read it right first time around. That happened to me when reading about Darren Bent's transfer to Spurs at the princely sum of £16.5m - first time I read this, I honestly thought the headline read "Spurs pay £16.5m for tin of baked beans".

Once I cleared my vision, it transpired that yes indeed the North London club were going to pay an eye watering figure for a player who has so far been largely an England bench warmer, he didn't even make the last England World Squad, mind you that was down to Sven and his dalliance with the untried Walcott.

For me, however, the Darren Bent transfer is further evidence, as if it were needed that, the clubs are not capable of acting with any degree of financial responsibility. You cannot really argue too much when clubs go into administration because of financial mismanagement, to me the Bent fee is totally ridiculous. Let me just add that Man Utd are among the worst in this respect.

Sure football fans want to see their clubs winning and by signing quality players, but the clubs and their owners have a duty to ensure that these clubs retain their status within the top flight of English football. Who wants to see another Leeds United? The Yorkshire club got into trouble precisely because of deals like the Bent transfer, they were gambling in the last chance saloon by banking everything on spending big and by qualifying for the Champions League every season -they failed to meet that objective, the walls came tumbling down.

Manchester United have serious debts, and many are now predicting one of two scenarios for the not too distant future, I actually subscribe to this theory too. The club will be either sold again within 18 months or it will go into administration. If I'm wrong then please remind me in 18 months time.

As for Darren Bent, you do wonder if the Spurs executives like shoppers returning from the supermarket, realise that yes they've been over charged. They could have bought a multi-pack of Baked-beans for that price.

Rooney in United shirt controversey...

Various media reports are claiming that Wayne Rooney will this season switch from wearing the number 8 shirt to the 'famous' number 10. If true, this move is likely to cause outrage among many parents and adult fans alike who have recently purchased a United shirt adorned with Rooney's name and current number.

Clubs often cash-in on shirt sales during the summer months with new kit launches and with new players arriving, but this latest move if proved true is taking things a bit too far. Why stop at Rooney, why not give the whole squad new numbers that would be a good money making wheeze...they are taking the ****.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Anderson gets green light to sign...

Manchester United fans will be relieved to learn that Anderson has won his appeal for his work permit after the initial decision went against the Brazilian on Thursday. The club released a brief statement confirming that the player will soon become a United player:

"We are delighted to announce our application for Anderson's work permit has been successful.

"We look forward to finalising his transfer from FC Porto in the very near future."

Tevez 'rejects' Inter Milan, what next?

Earlier in the week West Ham's Carlos Tevez gave a strong hint that he wanted to join Inter Milan, not least because they have eight Argentinean players in their squad.

However, his representative Kia Joorabchian has been speaking about the 'player's' decision to reject a move to the Italian champions saying:

"Inter put a deadline on the decision and Carlos' heart is really in the Premier League.

"He was not prepared to meet that cut-off point put on him."

Tevez has reccently said that he was keen to move away from Upton Park saying: "I want to join one of Europe's big clubs, that's what I've talked to my agents about."

So according to Kia Joorabchian the player is keen to remain in the Premier League, yet earlier in the week Tevez was talking in glowing terms about the prospect of joining Inter Milan. Something doesn't quite add up here.

Personally I can see three possible scenarios that could see the player remaining in England. Tevez could yet end up at Anfield if the Torres move breaks down, he could end up on loan at Manchester United or thirdly he could remain at West Ham, the latter two options are unlikely.

I seriously doubt the Red Devils will want to become embroiled in any future ownership wrangles over Tevez, that could well be a stumbling block for any loan move and the fee would be another stumbling block regarding a permanent transfer.

Don't rule out a move to Real Madrid.

Michael Owen swap deal on?

Reports claim that Manchester United could be about to sign Michael Owen from Newcastle United. According to the media, Alan Smith will be moving in the opposite direction plus £4m. The Red Devils do need to sign a new striker and Owen has been linked for some time now.

Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that the former Liverpool striker has a release clause in his contract saying that Magpies are powerless stop the player from activating this exit clause.

Alan Smith has been the subject of much speculation about his future after it became clear that the Red Devils were not keen on extending his current contract. It remains to be seen if this latest story has any substance, but it would seem like a reasonable deal for all parties concerned, apart from the fact that Owen has an appalling injury record and United will therefore want to ensure that the player is 100% fit before agreeing to any deal. The medical report on Owen will be crucial.

I'd also add that I'm not convinced Owen is the right sort of player for United right now, yes Owen scores goals, but personally I'd much prefer Eidur Gudjohnsen who is also being strongly linked to the Reds. For me Owen doesn't bring players into the game enough and he doesn't hold up the ball in the same way that the Barcelona striker can.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Roy Keane's Sunderland, so far, not so good, in the summer transfer window...

If I were a Sunderland fan right now I'd be quite concerned about the lack of progress with regard to the clubs efforts to sign some quality players this summer, because on the face of it, the Black Cats have a lot to do if they are to build a squad that is good enough to stay up in the Premier League next season.

Reports claimed that Keane was going to sign Preston's David Nugent, that did not happen, the Sunderland manager wanted to sign Jonny Evans from Manchester United, that did not happen (thankfully).

The former United skipper has just signed Russell Anderson, 28, a defender and Aberdeen's former skipper and his only other summer signing thus far is Greg Halford of Reading.

Keane is also being linked to Kieran Richardson of United, a player who hasn't been able to hold down a regular starting place at Old Trafford, added to which rumours have suggested that Keane and Kieran haven't always seen eye to eye. However, Richardson will no doubt be moving on and if Keane can turn him into a player then all well and good, right now though, the quality of Keane's summer signings so far are questionable.

Sunderland fans will be more anxious than most given the lack of genuine Premiership quality at the Stadium of Light.

Personally I wouldn't put a penny on Sunderland staying up next season, not at this precise moment in time anyway.

Sunderland's only saving grace will be that there might be worse teams that them, Wigan, Bolton, Derby, Man City, Fulham and Birmingham will all struggle next season.

Interesting times ahead.

Real Madrid to sack Capello - another one bites the dust...

Is it any wonder that the likes of Arsene Wenger has turned down Real Madrid's overtures regarding the managers job on numerous occasions, given that they've had twice as many managers as Manchester City in the last ten years? Not many, if any clubs can say that.

To be precise the current number inlcuding Capello, is ten over the last decade, Bernd Schuster, the Getafe coach and a former Real player, has reportedly been lined up as a replacement. Expect an announcement later today.

Real Madrid's revolving door...

10 years of Real Madrid coaches . . .

Jupp Heynckes Appointed 1997, One year - won European Cup, Spanish Super Cup
Guus Hiddink 1998, 7 months - Intercontinental Cup
John Toshack 1998, 9 months - no trophies
Vicente Del Bosque 1999, three years, seven months, league title (twice), Champions League (twice), European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup
Carlos Quieroz 2003, 12 months
José Antonio Camacho 2004 - 3 months
Mariano GarcÍa Remón 2004 - 3 months
Vanderlei Luxemburgo 2004 - 11 months
Juan Ramón López Caro 2005 - 6 months
Fabio Capello 2006, 12 months - league title

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Liverpool the biggest threat to United next season?

June isn't over and already I'm sure many football fans are eagerly anticipating next season, especially United supporters with the prospect of the likes of Nani and Anderson to look forward to.

However, both have yet to complete their transfers to the Red Devils. I'm not exactly certain why there's been a delay in signing Nani, but as far as I know the Portuguese star has yet to officially sign on the dotted line, he passed his medical recently, but still he hasn't completed his transfer.

The Reds released a statement saying that once Nani had passed his medical and the formalities had been completed then a formal statement would be released, well we the fans are still waiting for that statement...

Anderson's transfer is currently caught up in red tape, as he will have to first be granted a work permit before he can sign, and on that note it was interesting to hear that Big Phil Scholari was metaphorically blowing his trumpet last week saying that the Brazilian could be one of Europe's best in two years time, praise indeed. (has someone from United worded the big man with a view to getting that work permit?)...

The Reds will also no doubt capture a top class striker, because they need one desperately and not forgetting Owen Hargreaves who will prove to be a great buy. On the face of it, from a United perspective, things are looking pretty good providing both Nani and Anderson actually complete their transfers along with the acquisition of a top quality forward.

So what of our rivals this coming season, who will be the champions biggest challengers? Chelsea will be there or thereabouts for sure, but I've not been at all impressed with the quality of any the blues captures thus far.

Is it just me that thinks that just maybe Roman Abramovich is testing Jose's metal? In Roman Abramovich's world, Mourinho is a mere pawn, like Chelsea themselves, he is a rich-mans play-thing and apart of a game. I guess you could say the same about all the big clubs who've been taken over recently, as we the fans like the players and managers are all in the lap of the collection of speculators who've been busily snapping up clubs as if they've been going out of fashion.

That said, I do expect Chelsea are going to make at least one more signing, if not THE capture of the summer by snapping up Feyenoord's brilliant young utility player Royston Drenthe, and at a bargain price. The Dutchman will prove to be a superb addition, if the deal goes ahead he will make a difference.

Liverpool as I've been saying for some time look like capturing long term target and Spanish scouse fan Fernando Torres, he will do well of that I'm sure. I wouldn't rule out the Merseyside Reds capturing Shaun Wright-Phillips too, though Chelsea will no doubt be keen to offload the little man to a second tier club like Newcastle. SWPs former club Man City want him back, but his old man Ian Wright has stated that deal is unlikely. If however, Liverpool do manage to capture Phillips then the Anfield club might be able to mount a serious title challenge for the first time in over a decade.

As far as Arsenal are concerned, they will miss Henry of course, but only a fool would write off the Gunners under Wenger, if anyone can replace 'va-va-voom' it is the current Arsenal manager.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tevez hints at Inter move..

West Ham United's on loan Argentinean striker Carlos Tevez has given his strongest hint yet that he could be soon heading to the Italian champions Inter Milan:

"Inter is a great club.

"There is a true possibility that I will wear the Nerazzurri colours next season.

"It's also true that Real Madrid are interested in my services but my agent knows exactly how I feel about it - better Inter than Real.

"Inter's team is like an Argentina colony," he added. "I wouldn't have language issues at Inter."

Tevez was talking to Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

So it looks like those United fans who were hoping that the little man was coming to Old Trafford this summer will be disappointed.

United ready to move for Gudjohnsen?

According to the media United could be about to firm up their interest in Eidur Gudjohnsen now that Thierry Henry has rendered the Icelandic striker effectively surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.

United are of course in desperate need of a top class reliable striker as Louis Saha, AKA man in bandages, was seemingly almost constantly injured last season. The Reds did not replace Ruud Van Nistelrooy last summer when he moved on to Real Madrid and that left United scratching around in the January transfer window like a second-rate club looking for a short term replacement.

The word is that once Alan Smith has been off-loaded United will then try to broker a deal to sign the former Chelsea and Bolton striker. Smith is being linked several second tier clubs including the likes of Newcastle, 'Boro, Pompey and Spurs. Don't rule out Man City chancing their arm with a bid, if and when Thaksin Shinawatra's much vaunted cash stash turns up.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rossi going going back to Parma?...

The latest news on the search for a striker continues to be the subject of media guessing games. Liverpool are thought to be in the box seat to capture Fernando Torres - who by the way is said to be a big Liverpool fan, but an Athletico Madrid spokeman has confirmed that there has been no offer from the Merseyside Reds.

One frankly laughable report in today's Daily Star claimed that the Spaniard's want the 'coathanger' AKA Peter Crouch, in part-exchange. Do not rule out Liverpool making their move for Torres once the future of the luckless Cisse is sorted out, the Anfield club have made it clear that they want hard cash for the Frenchman, so once that deal is finally put to bed expect Liverpool to make their move.

From a United perspective 'Boro are now supposedly leading the race to sign Alan Smith for £6.5m, however the player's agent has hinted that there's a few options on the table and nothing will be sorted until the player returns from holiday.

The future of Rossi will no doubt be thrashed out soon enough too, Parma are said to be ready to offer around £6m for the Italian-American.

Thiery Henry's transfer to Barca will no doubt spark a few moves around Europe. According to reports Anelka could be about to move to back to the Arsenal and if that happens Cisse could well then be signed by Bolton thus triggering the Torres transfer.

There's still a lot of business still to be done in the summer transfer window and the fun most certainly is not over. Watch this space.

New Wembley pitch to be made into car racing circuit...

So then New Wembley has only just opened for business and now we learn that this brand new spanking stadium will be the venue for the Race of Champions, the likes of former F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher will race against other petrol heads. Don't get too hot under the collar though about the pitch being tarmaced because the race track will somehow be laid over the top of the new pitch. The event takes place this coming December.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

United to make late bid for Torres?...

Here we go again. United are once again being linked to Fernando Torres with one report claiming that the Red Devils could be about to outbid rivals Liverpool by matching Athletico Madrid's asking price of £27m. According to the media the Merseyside Reds will reportedly only stretch to £24m for the player who is said to been keen to join our arch rivals in preference to the Champions.

Following on from this story, reports in Italy claim that Udinese have won the battle to sign Fabio Quagliarella, who they 'part own' along with Sampdoria - which in itself must go down as a little bid odd to say the least. How can two clubs each claim to own the same player? Only in Italy?

I for one remain extremely sceptical about the stories linking United to the Italian striker, the whole thing smacks of his agent talking up a better deal for his client.

So what now for United if indeed Torres is Anfield bound?

My money is on the Reds signing one of three players: Carlos Tevez, Eidur Gudjohnsen or Jan Klaas Huntelaar.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Henry transfer will trigger deals across Europe...

Arsenal fans will no doubt be reflecting on the news that one of their all time great players has decided to quit the club. For what it's worth I think Arsene Wenger is right to allow the player to leave. One look at his stats for the season just gone tells it's own story, yes he's been injured for seemingly months on end, but the net result is his contribution hasn't been what Arsenal have come to expect of him and as such his value was on the slide. It may well turn out to be the right time to part company.

As far as I'm concerned Wenger is the best of the lot when it comes to finding young quality replacements at the right price, and so if anyone can replace Henry it is the current Arsenal manager.

No doubting the pundits will argue that the loss of David Dein could hinder Wenger's progress in the transfer market, but I for one doubt that. Dein was a middle man for Arsenal, a schmoozer as Alan Sugar would say, but nonetheless he was a very important half of a team that secured so many top players from across Europe.

However, only the village idiot would argue that Dein was the more important one out of the two, Wenger is irreplaceable, Dein and Henry are not.

Wenger's own future has been used as the reason for Henry to quit, the French striker has spoken of his love for Arsenal, but it seems his love of Wenger is greater and with the manager not committing himself beyond his current deal, this has been used by Henry to say the time is right to go. It actually doesn't matter what reason Henry has given for leaving, it is time to move on.

The more interesting aspect of this transfer news is what happens next? That is the real story. Manchester United have been linked with Eidur Gudjohnsen plus Argentinean Saviola, and now that Henry is Nou Camp bound, the strikers will be no doubt preparing for the exit door. The big question is, where too next?

The Henry move will trigger several transfers across Europe. I doubt Liverpool will make a move for either, but United will no doubt be in for the Icelandic striker, even Man City might fancy chancing their arm with a cheeky bid for the former Chelsea hitman - but that takeover isn't sealed yet and so time is against the Blues. Do not rule out Newcastle and Boro making a move for either of the Barca stars.. Wenger could even sign Gudjohnsen as a replacement for Bergkamp.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Striker talk hotting up as Smith looks set to join Magpies...

Reports in the media continue to suggest that United could be about to make one more summer signing with various strikers including the usual suspects in the frame. Alan Smith looks almost certain to be leaving the Reds and he could be heading to Newcastle United - so there must be a chance that United might actually do a player plus cash deal for Michael Owen with Smith going in the opposite direction. The Red Devils might have some competition for Owen's signature, with Liverpool and Man City AKA the 'sleeping giant' who are both supposedly in the frame to sign the England striker.

A new striker link surfaced this week in the form of Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella, 23. The players agent is doing a good job of linking his client to just about every top club in Europe. However, there's been no official interest from the Reds and I for one do not expect to see the Italian arriving at OT any time soon.

Other names that continue to be linked are Eidur Gudjohnsen, Darren Bent, Carlos Tevez, Jan Klaas Huntelaar and Jermain Defoe.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wide of the mark Manchester Evening News gets it wrong again...

The MEN has once again got it's facts wrong concerning a big football story. Yesterday the paper claimed that the much talked about Manchester City takeover would amount to a £120m offer for the club. Today that offer has materialised and Shaksin Sinawatra's offer of just over £81m has been accepted by City.

The offer price includes £61m to pay off the clubs debts, meaning that the clubs shares were worth just over £20m.

It is not known at this stage if the offer price amounts to a total buyout, it has to be doubtful, but even if the offer acquires Wardle and Makin's major shareholding, the clubs total shareholding would only amount to around £40m which is still some £20m less that the £120m which the MEN has been quoting.

Some City fans are now asking about the supposed £120m offer, because the lowly £20m figure makes their club look small. In perspective Wayne Rooney alone cost more than that.

This is the same newspaper that told United fans that David Beckham was staying put at United... and more recently the MEN published a story claiming that United had never lost an FA Cup final after securing the league title, which again is incorrect.

Man City bid: Will Thaksin Shinawatra pass the 'fit and proper person' test?

So then, at long last Thaksin Shinawatra has made his formal offer to buy Manchester City, this on the very morning that the former Thai Prime Minister and his wife have been officially charged with corruption in Thailand.

Given that the City board were fully aware of the likelyhood of corruption charges it is highly unlikely that this official confirmation of an impending court date will change anything.

I for one cannot see City turning down any half decent offer for the club, because it's been fairly self evident that the current board is desperate to sell the club. If as expected the bid is accepted, Shinawatra will then have to pass the the 'FAs 'fit and proper person' test.

Given the current charges levelled against the former Thai Prime Minister, no doubting some will be asking how on earth could the FA possibly give their blessing to the takeover? Worst case, Shinawatra could end up serving a custodial sentence, which would make the FA look even more ridiculous than they are, as the 'fit and proper person' test would be officially rendered useless - as if confirmation was needed.

I suspect that the FA will rush through any decision on the deal, because as this point in time Shinawatra hasn't been proven guilty of anything, so that will be the FA's 'get out of jail card'.

Nonetheless, by giving their blessing to Shinawatra at this stage and set against the backdrop of what is going on in Thailand, the FA stand to once again make themselves look like a laughing stock if Thaksin is proven guilty of corruption.

Chelsea to make signing of the summer?

According to media reports rivals Chelsea could be about to make a formal offer for Royston Drenthe, who has been the outstanding player of the Euro-21 championships in the Netherlands.

The talk is that the Blues will make a £4m bid to sign Feyenoord's star player. If this moves comes off I predict it will turn out to be one of the best long term signings of the summer. At £4m, Chelsea stand to make a huge future profit as the player is massively under valued. Drenthe is destined for a big future in the game.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What on earth is going on at Man City?

Stuart Hall once described Manchester City as the 'Theatre of Comedy' this was in reference to Old Trafford which is has that sickly tag of the 'Theatre of Dreams'.
The latest goings at the Theatre of Comedy are unbelievable, even by City's own hapless standards.

City are managerless. They've sold two of their best players. The current owners are desperate to sell the club, so desperate that they are trying to offload it to someone who might yet face a jail sentence, I refer to Thaksin Shinawatra, wanted in Thailand on charges of corruption.

City fans will no doubt argue that they don't care who owns their club, as long as they invest their cash, no matter how it was acquired. It has long been argued that fans do not concern themselves with matters in the boardroom. This is all well and good, but the shambolic state of affairs at Eastlands is a direct result of failure at boardroom level. If the club was to be sold then it should have been sorted out long before the season closed.

And what of the recent talk that the current owners were going to appoint their own manager? Blues fans were also led to believe that the next manager would be an overseas coach, but then stories started appearing in the press claiming that in point of fact Mark Hughes had been the boards favourite all along.

Even by City's standards own standards, what has gone on recently takes some beating. The Eastlands comedy store is giving opposition fans much to chortle about.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Big Phil Scolari: Anderson is going to be Europe's best..

When Big Phil Scolari talks people listen, because he is among the most respected coaches in the world. And the great news for United fans is that the Brazilian is tipping the Reds new signing Anderson to go right to the top of the European game:
"He is one that probably inside the next two years will be one of the biggest names in Europe. He'll achieve that if he continues the progression that he had with Porto". Scolari was talking to Goal.com

The transfer to United is subject to the player getting his work permit, but Scolari's words will not have gone unnoticed by the Reds, and they wont do any harm on the latter point....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Grandad blocks striker deal?...

Reports in the press claim that United's hopes of capturing Eidur Gudjohnsen from Barcelona could be scuppered. The Reds were reportedly hoping to offer young Spanish defender Gerard Pique, in exchange for the Icelandic striker, but it emerges that Pique's grandad, was sacked from his position of director of Barcelona and so Pique has vowed not to return to his former club.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Giuseppe Rossi wants to stay at United...

Great news for fans of Giuseppe Rossi because he has strongly hinted that he wants to stay at United. The American/Italian has been in action this week in the Euro Under-21 Championships in the Netherlands, after spending half a season at Parma where he helped the Italian club avoid relegation by netting nine goals from just 18 games.

Rossi has been in good form for Italy and said: "My future is a bit confusing with United and I will have to evaluate the situation, but I want to play for them.
"Joining Juventus is just talk. I've read about it once or twice but it's not on my mind. My goal is going back to United and being able to cut it.
"When opportunities do come along I hope to be there and impress."

Rossi was talking to the Sunday People.

Nani on target as Portugal trounce Israel 4-0...

United fans will have no doubt have been tuning in to see Portugal's 4-0 destruction of Israel in the Euro Under-21 Championships on Saturday. The focus of Reds fans attention will of course be United new boy Nani, who hasn't been in top form throughout the tournament, but on Saturday in Groningen he capped off a very good performance by scoring with a superb 25 yard drive to make the scoreline 4-0. Nani's link up play was good and based on this performance there looks to be great things to look out for in the coming season ahead.

The win wasn't enough for Portugal to secure a place in the semi-final as Holland v Belguim finished up as a draw, which meant the Portuguese had to settle for third place in the group.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gudjohnsen fancies Man United move....

Interesting news on the transfer grapevine because we have an update on a story which we brought to you earlier on in the week. Barcelona's Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen,29, has openly admitted that he would be interested in moving to the Red Devils. This could of course be merely kite flying on behalf the former Chelsea star, but given the swap talk that United could be about to offer young defender Gerard Pique in part exchange - it could well turn out to be a case of 'no smoke without fire'.

On the potential move, Gudjohnsen says : "If I leave then my idea would be to return to British football.

"A perfect choice for me will be a club that plays in the Champions League. Obviously Manchester United is a club that fits into that category."

We will, as ever, keep you up to date with any developments on this story.

US investors must think English fans are stupid...

George Gillett one half of Liverpool's new ownership team has once again been speaking to the press, he says that he doesn't know why other US investors have acquired English clubs, but he maintains that Liverpool have not been bought with a view to making money. That theory is plainly ridiculous and frankly insulting to the intelligence of all but half wits.

I mean who in their right mind would outlay £434 million to buy a football club if they didn't (a) have a plan to eventually recoup that money (b) make a profit? Certainly none of the usually business savvy Americans who have been buying up English clubs like they are going out of fashion. The big question that all clear thinking fans have been asking themselves is, how are these investors going to achieve their goals?

At Manchester United for example, reports continue to suggest that the Glazer family are in serious trouble, the story goes that the club isn't the cash-cow that they believed it was. One report this week says that the interest payments alone equate to 85% of matchday revenue. Clearly figures like that are unsustainable in the long term. Under the new regime there's been increases across the board from everything from car parking at Old Trafford to season tickets. Supporters group MUST is even talking about making a legal challenge about the recent announcement that all season ticket holders must join the automatic cup scheme, which in turn dramatically raises costs over a season. So prices are rising as the new owners do all they can to try and make the club more profitable ahead of trying cash-in on United at some point in the future.

However, which such huge debts there are few individuals who will be able to afford the sky high asking price. Even when the club was a PLC with no debts, there was only the Glazer family who wanted to buy the club outright. Nonetheless, the current speculation suggests that the Glazers are indeed looking to sell the club NOW.

You do wonder if United's owners might even try to do what Ken Bates did at Leeds United recently. Leeds went into administration because the Inland Revenue had, according to Bates, issued a winding up order after the club had asked the revenue for a payment holiday break. Which again according to Bates was refused.

What followed next was unbelievable in many ways. The club went into voluntary administration once it was clear that they'd be relegated from the Championship to Division 1. Leeds was then immediately sold to a new company of which Bates was a director, that deal was subject to a creditors agreement. At the time of going into administration Leeds United had debts of £35m - this figure pales into insignificance when compared to Manchester United's debts. Bates ended up paying one penny in the pound to the club's creditors having secured their agreement, this even though other interested parties were willing to pay more to the creditors.

The net result of going into administration was that Bates bought back Leeds United, for as a little as £500,000, although there is talk that, if and when Leeds can afford it, the creditors will see more of their initial investments, subject to terms and conditions...

So is going into voluntary adminststration an avenue that the Glazer family might consider? One thing is 100% certain what happened at Leeds United wont have gone unnoticed. We have to remember that Leeds United had already been asset stripped prior to going into administration, the club had sold its star players and all of its assets. What sparked Leeds United's downfall was their failure to qualify for the Champions League, with debts of £100m the club could not finance their loans - the rest as they say is history.

As far as the future goes concerning Manchester United under the current regime, one thing is guaranteed, United will have to be sold on - or face the consequences - it is a matter of when and not if.

Back to our cuddly and open American friends at Liverpool, if they seriously believe for one minute the fans believe that they've come over here for the fun of winning Championships and at great expense, then they must think we're as gullible as those who elected George W Bush. We aint.


The Yanks must think we are as daft as they are...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rossi outshines Nugent in four goal thriller..

Last night in Arnhem England took on Italy in the Euro Under 21 Championships, it was a game that the Stuart Pearce's side could not afford to lose. Unlike many previous games between the senior sides this was an open game which had plenty of chances at either end.

On the Italian's part, their defending was hapless for most of the first half, this led to Leroy Lita having several good chances to score, one of which will go down as the miss of the season. The Reading striker eased his way passed a defender and then rounded the keeper Viviano, then with an open net gaping he swung a lazy boot at the ball, in doing so he somehow he managed to completely miss the target. Thankfully Preston and soon to be Sunderland striker Nugent saved Lita's blushes just a few minutes later with a close range diving header to open the scoring, then Lita partly atoned for his earlier howler by scoring a good goal with a fierce left foot drive which Viviano could only parry into the back of the net.

Italy fought back strongly but were somewhat fortuitous when they scored from a first half corner, Taylor the Newcastle defender flicked the ball on at the near post and the ball ended up cannoning in off Giorgio Chiellini who couldn't have meant to score. It was a very luck goal.

Sunderland manager Roy Keane was in the stands watching Nugent, and apart from his goal he wont have been that impressed, because quite simply the Preston man was not in the game. In the second half Casiraghi the Italian coach sent on Giuseppe Rossi of Manchester United. The young striker made an immediate impact and should really have taken one of the many half chances which he got on the end of.

Although Rossi has scored nine goals from 18 games to save Parma from relegation, finishing looks to still be something of a weakness in his otherwise superb all round game. His link up play and movement is first class, so much so that on the evidence of last night, Roy Keane should forget all about Nugent and make United an offer that they cannot refuse. Rossi is in a different class to Nugent of that I'm certain. Better still from a United perspective we should be keeping him, but I have a feeling that the young American / Italian has been earmarked for the summer sales.

The cultured and classy midfield player AS Roma star, Aquilani, made the score 2-2 in the second period with a superb low drive, it was nothing more than Italy deserved.

Final score England 2-2 Italy. Entertainment value 5/5.

Barca swap deal talk...

Media reports claim that the Reds could be looking to offer young defender Gerard Pique in a swap deal with Barcelona for former Chelsea and Bolton striker Eidur Gudjohnsen. Ex-Nou Camp youngster Pique spent last season on loan at Real Zaragoza who could be about to make an improved offer after their initial £7m bid was rejected.

Gudjohnsen is an intelligent player and he's very skillful too, if the deal comes off it will be a good move for United.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Royston Drenthe - a name to remember as Nani is left in the shadows..

So then, last night I tuned into Sky Sports One to get my first taste of what Reds fans can expect this coming season from Portuguese winger Nani who was playing against Holland for his country in the under-21s Euro Championships.

What I saw didn't really impress me that much I have to say, Nani was shall we say was rather theatrical when he was tackled, often going down as if he'd been shot with an Elephant gun.

We have been led to believe this lad has a fabulous left foot and can take wicked free-kicks, but when Portugal were awarded a free-kick on the left in a dangerous area, Nani didn't take it... I have to confess at this point that I did not see the whole game and one report in the Daily Telegraph claims he was impressive enough on the night.

The player that really took my eye though was another brilliant young player, Holland's left sided attacking winger Royston Drenthe, now this lad really does look like the real deal and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if one of our rivals signs him this summmer. Chelsea or Liverpool would be my best bet.

I have seen various clips of Nani scoring goals on the net and doing his 'death leap', let us hope that the £17m turns out to be money well spent.

The final score was Holland 2-1 Portugal and Nani did not get on the score sheet.


He may have a silly name but the boy can play...

The Telegraph seem to be quite positive - though the comments below suggest my verdict is much more accurate...

Royston in action - he's the one that looks and plays like Edgar Davids

Reds face early derby day as fixtures are announced..

The fixture list for the 2007-2008 season has been released today and to be honest they don't look too bad for the Red Devils, United fans will always look for any potentially difficult looking early and late fixtures and those which could may cause problems when falling close to Champions League games, three such games stand out.

The Champions League fixtures have yet to be made, but going off last seasons match day calendar, we have an away game with Arsenal in early November which falls around the time of Matchday 4, and in April we are at home to Arsenal around the time of the second leg of the Champions League quarter final, later in the same month we face Chelsea away following the first leg of the semi-final, so it looks as though once again the Premier League have not helped the big clubs in their quest to win the Champions League by pitting them against their biggest rivals at such an important stage of Europe's premier club competition.

The derby games with City are always diary dates, and the first one takes place just three games into the new season as the Reds have to travel to the COMS on August 18th, the return game at OT takes place on February 9th. Reds fans will also note that Roy Keane brings Sunderland to his former home ground on September 1st and the return leg at the Stadium of Light takes place on Boxing Day.


The fixtures as they stand before SkySports tv scheduled changes

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Manchester City preparing to launch plan C following failed takeover...

Following the news that Thaksin Shinawatra's bid to buy City has reportedly collapsed the Blues are now facing up to the grim reality of the situation, no manager, no pot to piss in, no takeover and having sold two of their best players recently Manchester City's current owners are preparing for the worst which translates to blowing the cobwebs off 'plan C'. Which will involve the current directors pumping yet much cash into the club.

As Alan Sugar would say, this whole takeover saga has been a total shambles. Any deal should have been completed long before the season end and having courted the dubious Thaksin Shinawatra, it just shows how desperate the City's board were to sell the club. There is talk of a 'plan B' which involves mystery US investors who are still interested in the club. However, given that the City board entered into talks with Shinawatra it must be assumed that the board had some doubts concerning these mystery men.

Then we come to the vacant manager's position, the word doing the rounds ever since Stuart Pearce was sacked was that City would appoint an overseas coach, now it seems that Mark Hughes and Chris Coleman have been the board's favourites all along. You could not make it up. I seriously doubt Hughes would entertain the job, so Coleman must be the new 'favourite'.

No doubting many punters will be lumping on City to go down next season - they must be among the bookies favourites for relegation.

Smith on his way out of Old Trafford?

Reports have suggested for some time that Alan Smith could be sold this summer, if it happens the Red's will surely replace the former Leeds striker. Only last week Smith was talking about a new deal at the club, but that was followed by reports saying that there is no new deal on the table. Today the player told The Sun: "If the manager tells me he wants me, I'm there for him. If he doesn't, it's time to move on.

"If you're no longer wanted, then you have to consider your options. I want to be out there from the start."

Personally I think a lot will depend on who United are looking at in terms of a replacement, if United are indeed going for Tevez or Huntelaar then they will need the cash, and plenty of it, but having spent heavily already this summer in the transfer market that seems unlikely.

Zola talks sense over the dangers of too many foreign players..

Gianfranco Zola one of the Premier League's all time top foreign imports has spoken out about the dangers of having too many overseas stars playing in our top domestic division. The little Italian star is still revered by Chelsea fans and his skills were always appreciated by rivals up and down the land, so when he speaks out about the problems which beset England people should sit up and listen.

It is the diminutive Italian's view that just perhaps we have too many foreign players playing in England and that a better alternative is to restrict the numbers as was the case back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. To underscore the point, as if it were needed, Italy's World Cup winning squad was drawn from its domestic divisions. Yet the top divisions in England and Scotland have been flooded foreign players. No one can argue about the likes of Zola and Cantona but for every one of them there's been 10 also-rans which can and I'm sure has on occasion blocked the progress of young British talent.

There might be an argument which suggests that just perhaps we haven't got enough quality coming through from our collective youth teams any more, but to abandom them at the expense of overseas stars would be to make a long term strategic mistake which will only worsen our national team. That is the big danger.

Zola isn't the first to talk about English players and why our national team fails so miserably, fellow compatriate, former Chelsea team-mate and all round good egg, Luca Vialli, has also given his twopenneth on the differences between Italian and English players. Vialli says that in Italy it is all about winning, at any cost, nothing else matters. Italian players have this strong winning mental attitude, it is one of the reasons that has helped Italy to win the World Cup four times.

One final slightly contradictory note to Zola's views, Inter Milan have just won Serie A by 23 points aided by no less than eight Argentina players. And Milan won the Champions League with largely an Italian team, but they currently have five Brazilians in their squad including Ronaldo, Kaka and Dida plus another seven imports.

Things might be changing on the Italian scene regarding home grown players but winning the top trophies is still a recurring theme. England and English clubs need to do better, despite having three clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League, I for one remain concerned about the numbers of overseas stars at our top clubs and even at United, a club which has one of the best records for producing home grown talent, we aren't seeing the same numbers coming through. As ever quality is the key, United and all of the leading clubs must do more to ensure we keep on producing top young talent.

Zola talking sense

Tevez fancies Inter Milan move, but could he be heading to United?

According to the Times Carlos Tevez is on Fergie's wanted list, however the player says that he would like to join Inter Milan, not least because they have eight Argentina players. The Times report claims that MSI, the player's owner, have rejected a £30m offer from Inter for Tevez.

The player is of course still at the centre of the relegation row involving West Ham United and Sheffield United, the Blades claim that the FA Premier League didn't handle disciplinary procedures correctly after it was revealed that Tevez and Mascherano were owned by a third party in MSI.

This row looks set to rumble on and it could well have a bearing on the future of Tevez, because either the league will have to relax the rules over player ownerhsip or MSI may well have no alternative but to sell the player if any future ruling goes in favour of Sheffield United and against the Premier League. I actually believe FIFA should have some input on this thorny issue because in places like South America, third party ownership of players is common - and so FIFA has to be involved.

Reports claim that the Red Devils could be looking to broker some sort of loan deal for the Argentine and given the current situation Manchester United will surely want the whole issue surrounding ownership of Tevez cleared up before they sign the player. However, rivals Liverpool signed Mascherano after that deal was ratified by the Premier League. Could the Mascherano deal come under further scrutiny in the future I wonder?


Full story

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fernando Torres transfer battle on?

A report in the Daily Mirror claims that Athletico Madrid could be about to transfer list their star player which in turn may well ignite a transfer battle between the leading clubs in Europe for the services of brilliant young Spanish striker Fernando Torres, 23.

The Red's have been linked in reports to the Spaniard for some time, however with United splashing the cash on up to three midfield players recently it is highly unlikely that Torres will be arriving at OT this summer. More likely that the player will end up at either Liverpool or Chelsea. Torres has recently spoken of his admiration for Liverpool added to whch the Merseyside Reds have yet to splash cash this summer which is reportedly causing a rift at boardroom level between the club's new owners and Rafa Benitez, but one big signing may well go a long way to resolving the apparent unrest at Anfield.

It is worth pointing out that the player's goal scoring record isn't exactly prolific, he's scored 82 goals in 212 league games and 14 from 42 at international level. My gut feeling is that United may well go for Huntelaar or Tevez, providing that they can broker a deal, there must be a huge question mark of the United's ability to finance any more big money moves this summer having commited some £50m already.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

United 'locked in £32m battle for Carlos Tévez'?!.....

According to the News of The World United are locked in a £32m battle with Inter Milan for the services of Argentine hit man Carlos Tévez aka the "New Maradona"... Rob Shepherd of the NOTW says that the Italian club are in pole position because they are willing to match the player's valuation. MSI's (Media Sports Investment) own the player, the story goes that David Gill has recently met with Kia Joorabchian who is the president of MSI to discuss a possible loan move for Tévez.

I think this story could have some legs as the Red Devils have splashed the cash this summer to the tune of up to £50m on up to three signings so far, so there wont be much if anything left for a new striker, but what it is worth my money is on Tévez joining either Inter or Real Madrid who are also reportedly interested in the race to sign the player.

United's only hope is that Tévez might like the idea of linking up with so many talented young players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Nani and Anderson.

Glanville totally misses the point about David Beckham..

Here we go again another top sports writer in the form of Brian Glanville has totally missed the point about David Beckham, the scribe argues that the Madrid man cannot beat a man with pace and so he's not a winger in the true sense. That is of course true, but it is also to completely miss the point about Beckham, his game has never been about pace.

Glanville argues that Lennon and Pennant can do things that Beckham cannot, ie run beyond an opponent and cross the ball. What Brian is forgetting is that Beckham can do things which Lennon and Pennant cannot do, that is to consistently find his target often with limited time and space - which is why the former United star has created three out of the last four England goals. Beckham doesn't need to beat a man to deliver the killer ball, which is why he is so important to England.

England manager McClaren pandered to sections of the media and to Terry Venables by axing Beckham, the move backfired as without England's most potent weapon the Three Lions were more like the three blind mice. However, following Beckham's successful England comeback the press and writers like Glanville are still attacking McClaren and the former England captain and so it goes, there's none so blind as those who cannot see.

Finally, Terry Venables has today stated that he sees no problem with Beckham being included in future England squad's providing he maintains his fitness - the look on Venables face after the recent Brazil and Estonia games said more than 1000 words could ever do. Like the majority of the media and pundits, El Tel got it wrong about Beckham, plain and simple.

Another attack on McClaren and Beckham - another wide of the mark story

Joey Barton's uninsured and un-taxed Range Rover towed away...

Scouse bad lad Joey Barton has had his luxury Range Rover towed away following a clamp down on uninsured and un-taxed vehicles by Merseyside police. This is in the same week that Barton held talks about joining Newcastle United - a move which is being held up over a row with City over a '£300,000 loyalty bonus'.

Barton has been talking about his disappoinment about not winning any trophies with Man City. If winning silverware is high on his priority list then joining the Magpies looks less than a good move as they've not won a trophy since 1969 when they won the UEFA (Fairs) Cup Winners Cup, and they haven't won a domestic trophy since 1955 when they won the FA Cup.

Newcastle are also being linked with another 'bad lad' and former player Craig Bellamy, if both deals go through, fun and games off and on the pitch at St James Park are guaranteed this coming season. Big Sam Allardyce will have his hands full.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Carlos Queiroz - the man to replace Fergie?

Over the course of the last few seasons the role of United's assistant manager Carlos Queiroz has been questioned on a number of occasions, it wasn't that long ago that there was even talk of a player revolt against the former Real Madrid coach and what was viewed as our negative 4-5-1 formation as opposed to our all action 4-4-2 'attack, attack, attack, attack, attack' edge of the seat all action game.

Back then the speculation was that Queiroz was the man to blame for our dull and uninspiring football, which may or may not have been true. You see that is part of the problem when you're on the outside looking in, unless you're actually involved, you do not know for sure exactly what is going on at the club. However, there was enough stories attributed to key players doing the rounds to suggest that there was some substance to the fickle finger of fate being pointed at the Portuguese coach.

So at that particular time, Carlos Queiroz was our very own pantomime villain, cast as the dark lord of negativity, he appeared to fit the bill perfectly. Whenever something went wrong at the club many fans were quick to point the finger at Queiroz. This is human nature, for some reason we all need to blame our shortcomings on somebody else and at United that somebody else was Queiroz.

However, I for one have never bought into blaming the assistant coach because ultimately the manager is to blame. Fergie takes the plaudits when things go well, so he should carry the can when things go pear shaped, but at United when things went well Fergie took the plaudits and when it badly it was blamed on Quieroz - the Portuguese coach simply could not win.

Move forward to the season just gone and what has happened to our negative football and the Quieroz blame game? United have just won the league by attacking teams as in the days of yore and by scoring a hat full of goals most weeks, there has been little or no talk of the players or even the fans blaming Queiroz or Ferguson - with the possible exception of our final league game of the season against West Ham.

Europe is of course another kettle of fish entirely, it is here that the 'combined brain' that is Ferguson and Queiroz have come up short tactically time and time again. Not much has changed in that respect. Sure Reds fans would love to see United winning the Champions League more often and it hurt like hell to see the 'bin-dippers' winning the big one in Istanbul. In the eyes of many fans, Ferguson has under achieved in Europe, as Fergie would say 'there's no question about that'. So conquering Europe remains an unsolved puzzle for the man from Govan and his much maligned assistant.

So how much longer will Sir Alex be around? The man has most recently strongly hinted that his health will always be his first consideration - and quite right too - no one wants to see the manager going out as Jock Stein did. On Ferguson's eventual replacement Fergie has stated more than once that he believes Queiroz is the man to replace him - which predictably went down like a lead balloon with the fans.

When you think about it, it's a bit like what is going on in the Labour party right now, Tony Blair, like him and his policies or not, is a very charismatic leader and the party have chose succession as opposed to revolution by appointing Gordon Brown as Blair's replacement - yet Brown is viewed as being dull and slightly boring.

The same sort of succession could well happen at OT, but before we the fans, cast the first stone, let us not forget that Queiroz must have been instrumental in helping Cristiano Ronaldo settle during early days at United, because for new players who do not speak English the language barrier is a huge hurdle to overcome.

More recently it was Queiroz - not Ferguson and David Gill who travelled to Portugal to sign up Nani and Anderson - we didn't hear the fans slaughtering Queiroz then did we?

Forgetting about the blame game and again from the outside looking in, I'd suggest that United have got this management team just about right. We have a manager who is a born winner who hates losing at anything, alongside him we have a coach who can speak several languages and has a vast amount of management experience, between them, the combined brain has somehow managed to claw back the title from the evil grip of Chelski and we have done it playing football 'the United way'. The club are also signing players in the United mould - so all is *rosy red in our garden at the moment.

Whether or not Queiroz could do the job on his own only time and events will tell, Ferguson would know best on that score. There may even be a scenario whereby the club brought back someone like Mark Hughes to replace Fergie while retaining the other half of the combined brain, Carlos, as his assistant.

Whoever eventually replaces Ferguson one thing you can be sure of, it wont be dull for long, because United don't do dull...



* Everything is rosy red apart from matters off the pitch concerning ownership and the clubs debts plus the cost of match tickets.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thousands of United fans not renewing season tickets?

According to MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust) many long term season ticket holders are refusing to renew their season tickets because they believe that they are being forced to join the club's Automatic Cup Scheme - which dramatically increases the cost of a season ticket to over £1,000. Up to 20,000 fans could be affected. MUST is now talking about making some sort of legal challenge on behalf of the fans.

From what I gather, the confusion has been caused by conflicting signals from the club, the terms and conditions downloaded from United's official website makes no mention of compulsion to join the Automatic Cup Scheme - merely offering "the opportunity" to buy cup tickets via the ACS.

However it seems that United have done little or nothing to clear up the confusion, which once again puts the club in a very bad light. Could it be that the club have deliberately created this confusion? The fact that they've kept silent over this issue is actually damning, especially given that MUST has already publicly threatened to take legal action.

This is potentially a very dangerous situation for the Glazer family and United, because the last thing the Glazers needed right now was a drop in gate revenue as reports have recently suggested that the family might be looking to sell the club, following the realisation that United isn't the cash cow that they believed it was. That story has been denied, but if there is any truth in the stories and we already know about the club's huge annual interest repayments on the debt mountain, then the club might even be made bankrupt in the not too distant future if large swathes of United fans turn their backs on the club.

The existing ACS has worked well for United in financial terms, and there was no need to extend it making it compulsory - if indeed that is what they've done. The club is now on a collision course with the fans who were already seething over the rising price of tickets to watch United.

Many fans feel that they are being forced away from watching the club that they love and they will to a man blame the Glazer family. It is time for United to come out and clear up the confusion.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Beckham makes gutter press eat their words...

England took on Estonia in Tallinn last night needing to win to keep alive any hopes of qualifying for the European Championship finals in 2008. It finished up 3-0 to the Ingerlund and once again the Three Lions and Steve McClaren had David Beckham to thank for the victory, as the former skipper laid on second half goals for Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, before that Joe Cole gave the visitors the lead on 36 minutes when he turned and volleyed a Crouch headed flick on from a throw-in - it was the only genuine quality moment of a fairly eventless first half.

Throughout most of the opening period there was concerns that Beckham would have to be replaced after the Madrid star twisted his left ankle, but he re-appeared after the break and England can be thankful that he did so, because once again he turned on the style delivering the killer balls that defenders dread to set-up this much needed confidence boosting victory.

Following England's draw with Brazil last week, Steve McClaren stated that Beckham is the best right sided player in the world, that is debatable, but what isn't in question is his ability to find a man when it really matters.

As I sat watching this game I'm sure that I'm not the only one who was thinking 'how could McClaren have dropped Beckham?' Many of our clueless press boys backed the decision to oust the former skipper, their collective revisionist views on Beckham the decision to drop him will no doubt make interesting reading.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nani passes medical and is looking forward to battling for a 1st team place..

Portugese winger Nani has today passed his medical at Carrington, United's training ground.
The player recently expressed his delight at the prospect of joining the Red Devils, saying that he is prepared to work hard to earn a place in Fergie's team. "This is a dream move, It won't be easy to get a place in the first team, but I am ready for the challenge."

Anderson transfer caught up in red tape...

Reports suggest that United will almost certainly have difficulty obtaining a work permit for the Brazilian as the Home Office will reject the Reds first application because the 19 year old hasn't played in 75% of Brazil's internationals over the last two years.

United will appeal against the ruling and it's likely they will then call upon expert witnesses as they did when they signed Park, on that occasion Guus Hiddink was called in, the Dutchman stated that Park would enhance the Premier League and Park was eventually granted a work permit.

It's likely that Carlos Quieroz and Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira will present the Reds case on behalf of Anderson. The £17m transfer is subject to the player getting his work permit.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ole needs further surgery..

Sometimes the good guys appear to get all the bad luck and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to get more bad luck than most, because the brilliant Norwegian striker and massive fans favourite needs further surgery on an old knee inury which has flared up again. To say it's a bitter blow is an understatement. Ole was looking forward to a full injury free season, but it isn't looking too good. Further to which United must surely step up the search for a new striker, according to reports there is still a slight chance we might sign Nicolas Anelka but that depends on Bolton agreeing a fee with Liverpool for Cisse. Saha is another that seems to be almost constantly injured and so it would seem madness not strengthen the forward line.

Evans to be given his chance at United...

Great news for Jonny Evans and United fans in general because the brilliant Northern Ireland defender wont be going out on loan again, which will surely frustrate Sunderland and Roy Keane who wanted desperately to sign the lad.

Evans was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph:
"The manager has made it clear that I won't be going out on loan again," Evans told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I'll be back at United and we'll see what happens. I'll be involved in pre-season and he has more or less said that I will get games.

"I am a Manchester United fan and it has been my aim since I signed for the club to get into the first team.

"The incentive is there for me now and I want to be good enough to be playing for United."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Leeds United - what was the deal with those creditors?

So not so cuddly Ken Bates pulled off something of a masterstroke by writing off Leeeds United's reported debts of £35m by offering 1p in pound to the clubs creditors, this when other interested parties were offering an awful lot more. It's mind boggling, it really is, apparently the creditors will receive a lot more if the club gets promoted to the Premiership.

I for one fully expect Leeds to be sold and soon....

The farce at Manchester City..

Question: Was anyone seriously surprised to hear that Claudio Ranieri had turned City down in favour of Juventus? I mean, who would take the City job when one of the top jobs in Europe came along? City fans can kid themselves all they like that if the much vaunted takeover had materialised then Ranieri would have took the job at Eastlands instead of opting for the Turin club. That in my opinion is pure fantasy, the reality is City have are in the process of selling arguably their best player in Barton, they have sold Distin, another of their better players.

While on the subject of fantasy, the talk is that the Blues want a top foreign coach. Why exactly is this I ask? Because it is highly unlikely, takeover or not, that whoever comes in will have little or no money to spend. It will take more than the former Thai Prime Minister to save City this season, a ball has yet to be kicked yet the Blues must already be among the favourites for the drop...

Attack on Scouse fans is a UEFA smokescreen...

My thoughts and opinions on scouse football fans are that they are as bad, if not worse than any other English club. However, for the top brass of UEFA claiming that Liverpool fans are the worst behaved in Europe is not only an obvious smokescreen to deflect the incredible shortcomings and incompetence of his own organisation, it's an absolute disgrace.

I'm not for one minute attempting to condone the Liverpool fans that entered the stadium with forged tickets (or indeed without them), surely if one set of supporters know fully the implications of such actions, it's Liverpool.

UEFA has to ask itself, why weren't such scenes evident at the new Wembley for the FA Cup Final? There were thousands of United (and probably Chelsea) fans outside with forged or no tickets - they never got through the turnstiles.

To compare liverpool fans with the body armour wearing, knife and machete wielding Roma fans or the fans from any of the clubs from Istanbul just proves that the powers that be, have an Ostrich like mentality when it comes to English football fans.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why Mourinho's no spend talk must be a red herring..

Jose Mourinho has said that he doesn't need to spend big this summer, because his squad is good enough, providing Chelsea do not get any serious injuries. Who can argue with Mourinho, his record as manager is nothing short of sensational and being a Red, I have no problem with this thinking... But surely, Chelsea have problems in defence, as they haven't replaced William Gallas? John Terry and Carvalho have picked up several injuries this season and when either is missing they look vunerable at the back. On top of this Chelsea have five players away next January whent the African Nations Cup is being played. So I for one will be amazed if they do not sign another couple of players before the transfer the window closes.Full story

Samuel losing the plot over Lampard...

Sometimes you read a story and then you have to go back and read it again to make sure you read it right first time, that happened to me this morning when I read Martin Samuel's News of the Word Blog in support of Frank Lampard.

For anyone who has forgotten Samuel wrote that dropping Beckham was the right thing to do, so following Beck's successful England comeback this week it comes as little surprise that this particular hack isn't eating humble pie. Instead the NOTW man is attacking the fans for barracking Lampard. Yes really.

This is a typical diversionary trick, when you've been made to look foolish find another target. Let me just say that I have nothing against Lampard or come to that any of the England players, or managers come to that, save perhaps Venables who I do not rate one bit.

However, having sat through the England v Brazil snoozefest with some very knowledgeable fans, several of them enquired as to whether or not Lamped was actually on the pitch.

Samuel talks about the fans turning up with their speeches and insults pre-prepared, yet who is that winds-up the jingoistic mob? The media and tabloid press, that's who, the same media that was partly responsible for getting Beckham axed in the first place, the same media who got Sven sacked following that disgraceful fake Sheik sting.

I don't know about Samuel being Sports Writer of The Year, he appears to be way off beam again here, and one final thing, Martin, Gerrard wasn't man of the match, that was David Beckham.

Anelka seeking talks about United's interest....

The stories linking Nicolas Anenlka to the Red Devils appears to be gathering pace. The latest news is the former, Liverpool and Arsenal man wants to know if his current club Bolton want to retain him or sell him. The player says he wants to stay, but at the same time he'd also like to play for one of the big four and having already played for Arsenal and Liverpool they can be ruled out, which only leaves United and Chelsea. As ever a lot will depend on what United or Chelsea are willing to pay to acquire him. Anelka would score plenty of goals for United, but Red's fans will be slightly concerned about his baggage. Anelka has itchy feet, or so it seems....

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kieran Richardson and Scholes linked to West Ham and Sunderland..

According to the down market tabloid press, West Ham United could be about to offer £4m for Kieran Richardson, I have canvassed the opinion on this potential move to another long standing United fan, his verdict was 'snap West Ham's hand off'...Quite.

Scholes is another matter entirely though, the ginger prince was United's second best player this season just gone, so few will want to see the club off-loading Scholesy even though he's probably only got a couple seasons in him at the very top level. Again according to the tabloids Sunderland could be set to offer £2m the United midfield general.

Beckham defies bitter media critics to steal the show for England..

Following England's 1-1 with Brazil last night at the New Wembley, no doubting our revisionist press boys will be thinking hard to find ways of saying 'Beckham should never have been dropped in the first place', which is the view held by many sensible football fans.

Our back-stabbing tabloid hack's were all too quick to write off Beckham, more or less to a man they waded in saying McClaren had made the 'right decision'. How very wrong they were.

Beckham has been England's most potent weapon from free-kicks for some time now, and no one else including Lampard and Gerrard delivers the ball with such accuracy, indeed if England had played Crouch from the start last night then they'd have scored before they did from yet another Beckham free-kick, and it came as no surprise when John Terry eventually broke the deadlock with a towering header, it was from another beautifully delivered Beckham dead ball kick.

Beckham rightly got a standing ovation as he left the field play. The funniest sight of the night was Terry Vegetables near choking as he appeard to be acknowledging that he too had got it all wrong about the former England captain.

The vast majority of our press don't actually understand football, because if they did they'd realise that the only problem England have is that they do not have an Alan Shearer or Didier Drogba, because if they did they'd be world beaters.

The hack's continually run up blind alleys telling us all that the manager has it all wrong, first it was get rid of Sven, then Beckham and now McClaren. It would make no difference if Wenger, Fergie or Mourinho was managing England the same problems would persist, no striker, and eventually the same clueless hack's would go after them. When will they ever learn?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Keane linked to Forlan - a bad omen for Sunderland?

Reports continue to suggest that United legend Roy Keane might be trying to sign Diego Forlan for Sunderland. United fans have very mixed memories of Diego, sometimes he was great, but he also had the propensity to be absolutely awful.

He scored some very important goals for United and we shouldn't forget that, but he also missed some absolute sitters. I recall him coming on as a second half substitute against Newcastle United on the day we beat them 6-2 at St James Park, Diego was presented with two near open goals but neither effort hit the target - it was easier to score than miss the goal, but then I also recall him scoring the winner against Chelsea in the dying moments of the game and who will forget him scoring against Liverpool?

Whether or not Keane could get him scoring for the Black Cats remains to be seen, first he's got to sign the player, but I for one remain unconviced about Diego, I'm sure that I'm not the only Red who has that view. However, perhaps the best comment that sums him up is this 'he's neither as good or as bad as he's been made out to be'.

Interesting times ahead for Keane and Sunderland.

Anelka linked to United...

Interesting news to report on the search for new strikers as Nicolas Anelka has been linked to the Red Devils in several tabloid reports this morning. The much travelled Frenchman is currently plying his trade at Bolton. Anelka would be a useful squad player but I'm not convinced he has the same menace about him that he had when he first came onto the scene.

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