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redarmy.co.uk BRITAIN’S BIGGEST MANCHESTER UNITED MAGAZINE

ROAD TO TITLE 20 This years predicitons and key players.

VAN PERSIE

The latest in the line of Dutch Masters

FERGIE

Master and his Apprentices PLUS

Shinji Kagawa

Top Ten Wags! Usain Bolt Sydney James

! S N I G E B N O S A E S W E N Pub Ammo


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Red Army Magazine Editor in Chief Darren Lamb Chief Sub Editor Sean McGuire Sub Editors Louis Lamb Lierre Matthews Design Managers Omar Thompson Mike Diver Photography Natalie Lamb Lydia McKay Contributions Adam Mills Paul Liptrot Chris Stoner Joe Schurhammer Paul Liptrot Peter Hall Nick Poole Advertising Enquiries 0161 962 1999 advertise@redarmy.co.uk Website Manager Jason Pickston Printed By

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Circulation Enquiries 01924 220 633 Published By Red Army Travel Ltd. 156 Northenden Road Manchester M33 3HE. Company Reg. No. 06967506 www.redarmy.co.uk

NEW SEASON

We would like to give a warm welcome to all of our readers of this month’s magazine. Red Army has, and always will be ‘For the fans by the fans’ and as we march into the 2012/2013 season together, we would like to express how deeply we value your support and contribution to Britain’s biggest Manchester United magazine. Red Army has revolutionised the traditional match day magazine by taking a bold step into the digital world of football support and reaching out to our fellow Manchester United fans in all corners of the globe. We have become the pioneers of the new age magazine by combining the technological media and creating everyday interaction outside of the match day itself. For achieving this we would like to give a special thank you to all our partners, as without your support Red Army would not be where it is today as the number one Manchester United magazine. Our readership is growing with every issue and this is all down you the fans, whose articles, comments, IM’s and tweets have helped to spread the word of Red Army and inspired us to develop new and innovative ideas, helping support our great club becoming one of the most exciting experiences as a football fan. Red Army’s monthly magazine can be picked up outside Old Trafford for all you match going fans. For those who cannot make it to every home match, Red Army magazine is available online at www.redarmy.co.uk Each edition is packed with special offers to gain discounts on many restaurants, hotels, travel costs and major stores which all contribute towards making your trips to Old Trafford an enjoyable and affordable experience. For the cost of just the postage, you could save hundreds, or even THOUSANDS of pounds every season. This year we are sponsoring ‘Cash for Kids’ and going to raise £100,000 for the charity. Cash for kids is the official charity of Key 103 & Magic 1152 and provides a helping hand to disabled and disadvantaged children across Greater Manchester. All we ask in return from our readers is that you give generously to this magnificent charity. Key 103 will accompany us on every match day with collection buckets to help us reach our £100,000 target. Once again big thanks to everyone from all the Red Army team.

The road to number #20 begins now...

Darren Lamb

@redarmyfanzine ISSUE 7 RedArmy 3


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becausetheywerejiltedforbetterlooking, rich lovers.They are the jealous type, you know–thekidsatschoolontoydaywhowere unimpressedwiththeirthumb-wrestlersothey decidedtobreaktheirfriend’sEtch-a-sketch. Theygrowuptodislikeanyonewhohasgot somethingbetterthanthem,beithouse, car, girlfriend, football team. TheytrawltheInternetwithusernamessuchas munich58orihateunitedandwatchendless ManchesterUnitedvideosandgoonthousands ofManchesterUnitedforumswaitingfora chancetopostacommentthattheyhavebeen savingforages.Somethingalongthelinesof‘go backtoThailand’or‘Fergusonpaidthereferee’. Youknowthetype,sickvoyeurswhohavea strangeobsessionwithManchesterUnited’s morality.Theydothisbecausetheycannot justifyintheirmindswhyManchesterUnitedare sogood,theybelievewhole-heartedlythatthere mustbesomekindofinjusticeorcorruptionfor thistohappen.Theystarttobelievetheirown lies,andbeforetheyknowittheydescendinto the psychoticrealms of clinical delusion. AllManchesterUnitedfanswhohaveendured yearsof jibesfromdelusionalsupporters rangingfromrefereesbeingManchesterUnited supportersto‘Fergietime’,from‘lucky’one weekto‘cheats’thenext.Thesemake-believe allegationshavebeentheiropiumtohealthe painandsufferingofManchesterUnited’strophy winningovertheyears.Itistheirhallucinogenic toescapefromtherealityoftheirhistoryless, trophyless,poorlyrunfootballteams.It’s their‘explanation’towhyManchesterUnited beattheirteamsinstoppagetimeandtheir conclusiontohowateamcanwinamatch without playing their best football.

SUBSCRIBE

TheABU’smovementgainedmomentumand soontheycoalescedintandemwiththeFootball

WhenPaulGascoigne startedtoshedatear, Irealisedthatfootball wasmorethaneleven menverseseleven menonafootball field.

Associationtode-constructthepersonalitiesof everyManchesterUnitedplayerone-by-one. Maybe it was the Burning effigy of David Beckhamout-sideUptonParkin1998that madeManchesterUnitedfansstarttolosetheir warmthtowardsthenationalteam.Maybeitwas GlennHoddlestatingthatAndyColeneeded5 chancestoscoreagoalthatmadeUnitedfans starttoaccepttheEnglandnationalteamwith cold hands. IwouldsaythatalltieswerelostwithEngland as a supporter in In 2001 when England playedAlbaniaandthereweresevenoutfield Manchester United players on the pitch: Gary Neville,Wes Brown,Nicky Butt,Paul Scholes,DavidBeckham,AndyColeandTeddy Sheringham.InfactIcouldprobablyconfirm thiswhentheEnglandfanssang“Standupif you hate Man U” during that match. TheF.A.describedthisepisodeas‘amusing’. TheysuggestedthattheWestHamfansburning aneffigyofDavidBeckhamwasjustshowing passionandpatriotism.TheyratedGlennHoddle asabetterjudgeofAndyColethanSirAlex Ferguson.

Since these incidents there has been no inclinationformetositbesideanotherEnglish supporterandcheeronEnglandalongside him.ThereisnoincentivetowatchABU’sjeer ManchesterUnitedplayersinanEnglandshirt. Yes,thesameManchesterUnitedplayersthat areEngland’sonlychanceofeverwinning anything in the foreseeable future. NowletusremindourselvesoftheFA’sstance onthesituation.Letustakeyouthroughthese yearsofFootballAssociationbrutality.Letus remindourselvesoftheroughjusticethatthe world’sbiggestclubhasendured.Theteam thatbringsalltelevisionrevenueintothis country,theteamthathasputthePremier Leagueonthemap,thefirstteamthatdared torepresentEnglandintheEuropeanCup. TheteamhasproducedmoreEnglandplayers thananyotherteam.Thefootballclubthat hasproducedEngland’stopgoalscorerBobby Charltonandtheverysameteamthathas providedEnglandcaptainsBryanRobson, DavidBeckhamandRioFerdinand.Letussee whatgratitudetheF.A.likestoshowthethree timeEuropeanCupwinnersandcompareitto thoseteamswhobelievetheF.A.goeasyon Manchester United.

ISSUE 6 RedArmy A


SEAN M GUIRE C

@SeanMc1999

Our Cheif Sub Editor talks about United’s aspirations this season After a disappointing end to last season there has been a subdued feeling amongst the Red side of Manchester as the trauma of losing the Premier League to Manchester City on the last day of the season and ultimately ending up trophyless in 2012 still lingers on. Conceding the league to the noisy neighbours on goal difference with the last kick of the season might not be anything to be too perturbed about, but as far as bragging rights across Mancunia are concerned, there may have well been three divisions between the teams. However we have many reasons to be excited this season as Sir Alex Ferguson’s new signings combined with the young players who have another year’s experience under their belt look set to take this campaign by storm. One of Manchester United’s main strengths down the years has been to forget about winning a trophy the day after it was lifted; therefore I think we deserve to forget about last season’s defeat, as harrowing as it may have been. Moreover, all talks of a crisis situation should be put to be once and for all. Losing the Premier League on goal difference to a team that spent over 900 million to achieve it and finishing 25 points ahead of the Champions League winners whilst scoring the second most goals in United’s Premier League history does not mean that United are in need of a massive overhaul. Chelsea and City spent billions to be like us; we should not spend billions to be like them. More good news is that our captain and the

ISSUE 7 RedArmy 6

league’s best defender Nemanja Vidic will return from his long injury lay-off. Last season the Serbian man-of-steel was sorely missed, and one thing is for sure, we lost the league on goal-difference last season because of his absence. The 6-1 defeat to City, the 3-2 defeat to Blackburn, the 4-4 with Everton and the 3-3 with Basel would not have happened if our captain would have been there. As for the future, one thing we do know for sure is that the Red Devils will never go away. Sir Alex Ferguson finds his motivation in times like this and reclaiming the league title from the blue billionaires is right up the great man’s street. It evokes his favourite word – challenge. Every interview, every press conference and every motivational quote from Fergie always contains the word ‘challenge’. The simple utterance of this word makes his eyes light-up, it’s his raison d’etre. Remember if Manchester United have overcome adversity before, what is stopping them from doing it again? Nothing, because we are inspired by our history, not burdened by it and we have overcome greater challenges than this one in the past; and unlike money, our history will always be there; and that is the one thing that Manchester City can never buy from us, or even try to impersonate. So what has changed since Manchester City won the league? What is different about the world of football? Nothing. Water is wet, grass is green, Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. The Reds are THE team when it comes to thriving in the face of adversity, they are the masters of the comeback and nothing has happened to prove us otherwise. So keep the red flag flying high, because Manchester United never die. Ever.


NEWS

THIS MONTH’S

Hot Spots Where to go. What to do.

Hilton Manchester Located in the landmark Beetham Tower, the Hilton Manchester Deansgate hotel spa and event

Rosso Restaraunt Rosso Restaurant Manchester presents fine Italian cuisine and exquisite wines in a magnificent and contemporary setting

Chill Factor e

home to the UK’s longest indoor skiing and snowboarding slope and the coolest family day out in the North West. www.chillfactore.com

Harvey Nichols Your one-stop-shop to the world’s most exclusive brands in fashion, beauty and food.

Europcar The world’s leading car rental company, with rental car locations in and around Manchester.

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redarmy.co.uk

Young, gifted and red: We take a closer look at the future crop of Fergie’s Fledglings! By Nick Poole

@ManUnitedYouth

It can be hard to keep up with events beyond first-team level at United during the close season - with all the focus typically on which senior players we may or may not be signing or selling, the comings-and-goings in the youth ranks can easily pass people by. Throw in the small matter of a complete revamp of the structure of youth football in England and a quick refresher course may be needed allow me to bring you up speed ready for the new campaign. First up, that revamp. 2012/13 sees the implementation of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan and wide-ranging set of changes to the academy system. Full details of those can be easily found with a quick google, but the key points are the ranking of academies into four categories (United have applied for and are expected to be placed into the leading Category One) and the complete restructure of leagues and competitions. 22 clubs have applied for Cat 1 status, and with audits of many academies still to be completed, for this season alone all those clubs will play at the top level of the Under 16, Under 18 and new Under 21 competitions. They’ll be divided into three leagues, which will run until Christmas, after which the teams will be re-sorted into leagues for the rest of the season based on their performances.

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YOUT RESE

The big change is the new U21 league, which replaces reserve football and is intended to try and better bridge the gap between academy level and the senior setup. The reserve system has been in decline for some time, with some teams using academy kids and others packing their second string with journeymen and fringe players. Now we’ll have the best young prospects in the country going up against each other, with the idea being they bring the best out in each other. For United, that should mean a similar team at Warren Joyce’s disposal to that which won every domestic competition they entered last year, one made up of many of those who featured for the first team in the early stages of pre-season - the likes of Michael Keane, Jesse Lingard, Davide Petrucci, Larnell Cole and Tyler Blackett. With a number of players already out on loan and more likely to follow, we should see a number of the brighter lights from the U18 setup pushing on to U21 level - attacking midfielders Mats Dæhli and Adnan Januzaj have already featured heavily in pre-season. The absence of last season’s top scorer Will Keane until at least January due to cruciate knee ligament damage suffered on international duty is a big disappointment,


redarmy.co.uk

Will Keane

Adnan Januzaj

TH AND ERVES

but look to others to step up and seize the opportunity that offers - Welsh midfielder Tom Lawrence, a long-term injury victim himself last term, is one to watch out for this year if he can stay fit. Paul McGuinness’ Under 18s will look to build on an inconsistent campaign last time around, where disappointing league form contrasted with an impressive run to the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup. That inconsistency was no surprise given this was a particularly raw and youthful side (even by U18 standards), but with that year under their belt now, much more will be expected this time around. As well as Dæhli and Januzaj, Jack Barmby, Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell are among those who’ll look to build on impressive debut campaigns as they move into their second year in the academy. They’ll be complimented by a new crop of eleven firstyear scholars, a couple of which - Nicholas Ioannou and James Wilson - we’ve already seen impressing in the Youth Cup whilst still at school.

davide petrucci

Another is Andreas Pereira, a hugely gifted Belgian playmaker acquired from PSV back in January whose youth international displays have attracted rave reviews. Defence may prove to be an achilles heel as far as results are concerned, but player development is the main focus and on that front, things look promising once again.

ISSUE6 7RedArmy RedArmy 99 ISSUE


Trevor Nulty

Age: 39 City: From Dublin, living in Belfast now via USA and Glasgow Occuptation: Auditor Season Ticket Holder?: Yes, K-Stand First United match? West Ham FA Cup 1983 won 2-0 Coppell, Stapleton. Carnage inside and out that day!

Preferred formation? 4-4-2

Favourite ever united match? Probably Juve away CL Semi 99, Amazing realisation we were going to final inside after game, brilliant.

Favourite song? We went down to Wembley/Barca one fine day in May. .. and Eusubio and I say Kiddo/Keano mainly when pissed in Europe!

Worst ever united match? toss up between city home in the 1-6, stayed till end though, and wasn’t at Anfield in 92 that ended league hopes but that caused a lot of pain..

Favourite ever goal? O’Shea at anfield is up there but has to be Ole in Camp Nou 99, best night of my life

Favourite United player ever? Roy Keane. He replaced Robson as my hero and went on to dominate for 10 years, his will to win was superb, born winner. We would not have won so much without him. He made everyone better too. Worst United player ever and why? Oh a few could go in here but will go for Alan Brazil.. hated him.. still do.! Honourable mention to Kleberson Favourite Current Player? Scholes by a mile.. plays the game way it should be, all kids should be made watch him. United greatest 11? Schmeichel, Irwin, G Nev, Stam, Rio, Robson, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cantona, Ronaldo.

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Favourite non United player? huh? Messi closest to Maradona I ever seen.. frightening ability.. Past Player you wish we would of signed? Wish we signed Larrson sooner but prob Ronaldinho, people forget how good he was.. Fantasy football team name? k-stander You have £100m transfer budget who do you sign? Messi. How will United do this season? Realistically think we finish second in league, thought we overachieved last season if honest, ciddy will push on and go close again and prob semi CL.. like us win the FA Cup again


September buys that you need in your RAY-BAN Aviator Sunglasses £135 houseoffraser.co.uk

Manchester United Official Manchester United Official Home Shirt Home Shirt £50 store.manutd.com Guide of London Phil Blacks Armani Code Aftershave £59.99 2 Barton Arcade M3 2BW

Dolce & Gabbana Leather Trainers £255 Harveynichols.com Armani AX2086 Armani AX2086 Chonograph Watch Chonograph Watch £195 asos.com

MUST BUY

Wayne Rooney Goal Machine DVD £11.99 Play.com

Stone Roses ADORED Stone Roses ADORED A2 Canvas A2 Canvas £39.99 redarmy.co.uk

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This month we have the pleasure of talking to Sydney James who is a Glamour model, designer and has graced our television screens as a presenter for over 3 years. Sydney, a girl of many talents, also regularly features in the UK’s newspapers and international lad mags. If you thought Sydney couldn’t get any better, she is also a big Manchester United fan, so let’s meet her!...

How did you become a Manchester United fan? It all started with a massive crush on Mr David Beckham! I really fancied him, which led to Manchester United posters, scarves and even wearing the number 7 shirt! What was your first Manchester United memory?

Screaming around the lounge when I was 9 watching the Champions League Final 1999, watching United win the treble!

What is your favourite Manchester United goal? Rooney’s overhead kick goal was a fun goal! Tell us something interesting about yourself? I’m a vegetarian and am not too keen on vegetables…I’m a ‘Terian lol

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Why do you love Manchester United? Because they’re the best, they bring me so much excitement and get my adrenaline going! What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any new projects? I’m launching my new lingerie website in autumn and concentrating on getting my own underwear designs made for 2013 4-4-2 or 4-5-1? 4-4-2 as I don’t like the single striker upfront on his own!


“I’ll streak on the If you had one wish what would it be? Knock Man City off the top! Which won’t be a wish this season, it will be a reality. In the past you’ve worked as a personal trainer and a nightclub promoter…. Which do you prefer - a session at the gym, or a session on the cocktails? Oh definitely a session on the cocktails! I love working out, but love letting my hair down even more! Fact... I have a sky sports fantasy football league and I beat all my guy mates on there last season! Is there a special message you would like to give to our 1.1million readers? I’ll streak on the next treble! Come on you Red Devils we can do it!

Follow Sydney and Keep up to date with her latest news and pics! @MissSydneyJames www.sydneyjames.co.uk

next treble!


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The goings-on in the wonderful world of United! Fit-Again Fletcher

Darren Fletcher made his long awaited return from illness with an appearance against Aberdeen in a preseason friendly. The combative midfielder had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic inflammatory bowel condition and there were fears that the Scotland captain would never play again. However the 28 year-old is now back in training and should be available at some point this season.

Ang-hello!

Bolt to make a first team appearance for Man Utd. 963/1 ladbrokes.com

Red Army want to give a big welcome to Angelo Henriquez who joined Manchester United from Universidad earlier this month. Amongst all the high profile signings of the transfer window, the 18 year old’s signature was overlooked, however the Chilean striker is still delighted at the move. “I am super happy to get to Manchester United. I’m fulfilling a dream,” he said. “I am going where I wanted. You look on television and see the outstanding players, scoring spectacular goals. I cannot waste this opportunity.”

Bolt’s Champions league wish!

Congratulations to friend of Red Army and big Manchester United fan Usain Bolt who won three gold medals at this summer’s Olympic Games in London. We interviewed ‘lightening’ Bolt last season and his interview appeared in our match-day magazine as well as on-line. When we spoke to the Jamaican sprinter, his wish list contained gold medals for himself and a Champions League trophy for Manchester United, let’s hope the second part of his wish comes true.

Van The Man! Red Army went to Bridgewater hospital to catch the reaction from United fans after Robin Van Persie passed his medical. The fans were ecstatic Sir Alex had bagged Van the man.


redarmy.co.uk

THE STATS SHINJI KAGAWA

Shirt No: 26 Fee: ÂŁ12 Million (approx) Positions: Attacking Midfielder Age: 23 years old Height: 172cm Weight: 64kg Nationality: Japan

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redarmy.co.uk

SHINJI KAGAWA

Manchester United’s new signing and the man from Japan’s rise to the top! When Manchester United made their first raid on this summer’s transfer market, many eyebrows were raised when Sir Alex Ferguson did business with German Champions Borussia Dortmund for Japanese sensation Shinji Kagawa.

The boss clearly wanted to strengthen his midfield options and when the speculation started and the rumour mill started to spin, the man from Japan was way down the list of potential prospects. However once United landed their new number 26, his talent was soon exhibited with a number of dazzling performances on the Reds preseason tour matches and he fully justified to the world why he was included in the last two Bundesliga teams of the season.

Shinji’s road to the biggest club on Earth started with Japanese club side Cerezo Osaka where he became the first player in Japan to sign a professional contract before graduating from high school. After an impressive four-year spell where he scored 55 league goals in 125 league games, Shinji caught the eye of German giants Borussia Dortmund, who snapped up the youngster cut-price £350,000 deal.

Kagawa’s impact was immediate and after an impressive first half-season, Kagawa then scored 17 goals and made 10 assists in Dortmund’s title winning campaign in 2011/2012. After proving himself in a one of Europe’s toughest leagues, several big clubs soon expressed their interest in the goal-scoring playmaker.

United have had previous success with signing an Asian player from one of Europe’s top clubs with Ji-Sung Park becoming a Manchester United legend and terrace favourite after his seven year spell at Old Trafford following his move from PSV Eindhoven. Kagawa, who is a confident dribbler, also has radar like passing vision in the mould of Paul Scholes. His eye for goal from midfield is an attribute that Manchester United has been lacking in recent years and his creativity statistics speak for themself. Shinji Kagawa has all the attributes to be a Manchester United midefielder, and the combination of his hardworking attitude and football skills could help him continue to rise as a player and potentially become one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever signings. @SeanMc1999

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Chair for your new desk: £200. New match day suit for the touch line: £1,500. An expensive watch to keep the fourth official in check: £2,500. Holiday home to get away from it all during the summer: £500,000.

Learning from the very best, Sir Alex Ferguson: priceless.

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redarmy.co.uk Sir Alex has been with the club since November 1986, and since that point, 12 players that played for United have gone into management. This may not sound like an awful lot, but in comparison to other Premier League clubs, this figure is incredible. So what is it about leaving the gates of Old Trafford that immediately pushes you towards the door to the manager’s office of a club? Having an inspirational figure spearheading a club, such as Ferguson, has helped show the world that there’s more to football than just obscenely overpaid professionals that play a maximum of two games a week. He’s introduced a new breed of ruthless individuals who want to try and cut it as the next Fergie. It’s not just players that are moving towards management. Coaching courses at The FA are becoming more accessible, and the rise of games such as Football Manager have given younger people more opportunity to learn about the tactical side of our game, and the day-today running’s of a club, albeit in a simulated format. But back when we had the likes of Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis, Keano, Bryan Robson, Ole and Steve Bruce on the books, there were no easy ways of learning - the internet was still to truly take off, and who wants to play Football Manager on a screen reminiscent of Pacman? The only way to learn was to listen and absorb everything you were being taught and told - one of many reasons so many managers are former players, and very few pure managers come through the ranks. But have Fergie’s protégés lived up to their synonymous boss? Well, in short, no. It’s difficult to live up to a moniker of beating the man that is the greatest manager of all-time. But some have made a real go at it. Take Mark Hughes, for example. Wales boss, Blackburn boss, Man City boss, Fulham boss, and now QPR boss. He may not have won an awful lot for his trophy cabinet, but he’s sure won plenty of plaudits as being tactically astute,

making brilliant signings, and building a squad, not just a team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managed United’s Reserves, then went home to Norway to manage Molde, and completed the unthinkable last season – he won their first ever league title. He’s since been linked with a move back to England, and to Aston Villa, but the deal fell apart. However, it hasn’t stopped the rumours that he is being moulded (pardon the pun) into Sir Alex’s eventual replacement.

He’s introduced a new breed of ruthless individuals who want to try and cut it as the next Fergie. Steve Bruce has had some great spells, leading smaller clubs up into the dizzy heights of English league football. Birmingham, Wigan and Sunderland are his biggest credentials, and he’s been built up for big things in his new job at Hull, too. Others have tried and failed. Roy Keane’s rather unsuccessful stints at both Sunderland and Ipswich led to him moving to the pundit’s chair. Laurent Blanc impressed at Bordeaux, but didn’t quite live up to his billing as France boss. Paul Ince had a shocker at Blackburn, and that’s dogged his management career since. Gordon Strachan had a massively successful time with Coventry, Southampton and Celtic, before deciding it was all too much, and moved into media. Can a former United player be a better manager than Sir Alex Ferguson? Let’s not beat about the bush – probably not. Can a former United player managed United? Of course. We all have our opinions on who will replace Sir Alex when he eventually clears his desk, but we can be certain of the fact that it will be someone that knows the club inside out. And who better to bring in than a collection of club greats. A quid on a coaching dream team of Ole, Eric, Gary Nev, Giggsy, Scholesy and Becks? Please. By Adam Mills @AdamMillsUK

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ROAD THE

20

TO TITLE

Your guide to the new seaon and what to expect

SEASON PREDICTIONS

from Mikel Silvestre, David May and more!

FOUR

KEY PLAYERS

including the return of Nemanja Vidic!


It seems an eternity ago back to that Sunday afternoon in May. The referee had blown his whistle at the Stadium of Light and called time on United’s season, and at that point in time, for that one brief moment we had won our twentieth league title. But as you all know it wasn’t to be. The seconds that passed seemed like hours as Aguero’s right boot ultimately sent the title to Eastlands and to City. Gutted. As a United fan you get used to doing that to teams, letting them glimpse glory before snatching it away in the dying embers of the game…The boot was most definitely on the other foot this time. Unfortunately it was Aguero’s foot. The summer and close season has now almost passed. Euro 2012, the IPO, RvP, ‘Real Fans’, Lucas Moura, the Olympics, and Bradley Wiggins on a bike with sideburns have all fought for our attention whilst the real business of the football season has been absent. But we all knew, we all felt it. Something was missing, but now that something is almost back. United and the football season.

the game but flash back to 1993 when United had won the first Premier League title, and our first league title for twenty-six years. We all know what happened from there and it’s up to United to stop City marching on. It remains to be seen whether they can build on that title, after all they came close to throwing it away in such a dramatic fashion, in typical City fashion some might say. But during the latter part of the season when the title was seemingly in United’s hands, City got their head down and won games in a fashion that we United fans were accustomed to seeing. The noisy neighbours have been relatively quiet on the transfer front so far this summer with no sign of a marquee signing or tens of millions splashed around the four corners of the globe but that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking to challenge for the league again, now they have had a taste of something they missed out on for so long.

United go into the 2012/13 season with a challenge that we have never really faced before. City and their owners won’t back down, won’t go away now they have had a taste of success winning the league. They’ll undoubtedly want more and they represent the most consistent and growing threat to United’s chances of winning the league. Granted, they only clinched the title on goal difference with literally the last kick of

Chelsea have added a few quality players to their ageing squad and whilst they will be a threat I doubt they have the stability to win the league. They won the Champions League last season but to be honest you have to wonder how much Roberto Di Matteo actually contributed to the team. Vilas Boas was removed after trying to implement much needed change against the triumvirate of Terry-Lampard-Drogba. So now

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EXCLUSIVE

Celebrity Predictions Mikel Silvestre

Former United United Player Player Former

1. Man Utd. 2. Man City 3. Arsenal 4. Chelsea

Mandy Henry MUTV Presenter

they have their ‘yes man’ at the helm for a full season, can a team put together by the owners and picked by the players sustain a constant title challenge? They rode their luck in grinding out that Champions League win and I doubt they could carry that out over 38 games, but I suppose credit where credit is due, sometimes destiny just falls your way. As we well know from 1999 and 2008.

United go into the 2012/13 season with a challenge that we have never really faced before. So it’s up to Fergie and the United team to take up the challenge and show that we are not going quietly into the night. That we won’t accept second place and that we want number twenty! If we are going to take another step into the history books and win the 2012/13 Premier League title then I think the following players will be absolutely key in seeing us finish top dogs...

1. Man Utd. 2. Man City. 3. Chelsea 4. Spurs David May

Former United Player

1. Man Utd. 2. Man City. 3. Chelsea 4. Spurs

www.unitedknights.com

Oliver Kay

Times News Reporter

1. Man City 2. Man Utd. 3. Arsenal 4. Spurs

HAVE YOUR SAY!

Share your predictions and thoughts on this season online at: @NorthernCasual Redarmy.co.uk/forum

By Paul Liptrot

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His save in the dying minutes from Mata’s free-kick at Stamford Bridge was spectacular and I believe this season that he will earn us more points than he costs us. He will know what awaits him now after last season and I think he’ll be even stronger this season.

Whether we add another midfielder or not during this close season, Michael Carrick has a huge season ahead of him. The addition of Shinji Kagawa as an attacking element to our midfield will mean we need someone to anchor in the middle.

The return of our captain and the rock upon which the team is built is a welcome sight. If a missile was heading towards the goal he’d head it away without a flinch. He will marshal the back four like an Army General controlling his troops on the front line. No retreat, no surrender.

No one can say he takes defeat with any grace and what happened in the closing stages of last season will have hurt him as much as anyone else. That is why I think this season he will be dying to prove a point too the critics that United and Wayne himself aren’t on the decline.


27/03/68

George

BEST

Scores against Manchester City in the League Division One derby match at Old Trafford.


HILTON MANCHESTER DEANSGATE 303 DEANSGATE, MANCHESTER M3 4LQ, UNITED KINGDOM TEL: 44-161-870-1600

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#toptenwags

top ten wags EXCLUSIVE

TEN

THE TOP

United Wags! This Month Red Army casts an eye on The Sexiest WAGS to Join United!

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8.

10.

9.

Michael Carrick

Darren Fletcher

Lisa Roughead

Hayley Grice

HOT STUFF!

7.

Coleen Rooney

Sophie Houghton

Wayne Rooney

Ferderico Macheda

6.

Leticia SahagĂşn Javier Hernandez

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5.

Daniella Martins

Nani

4.

Ana Vidic

Nemanja Vidic


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3.

Edurne  García Almagro David De Gea

2.

Sam Cooke Chris Smalling

WINNER

Emily O’Hara

Tom Cleverley

Miss O’hara wins this weeks Top 10 hands down! The best thing to come out of Warrington surely?

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Each month Red Army goes back in time to see how life as a Manchester United fan used to be & what was happening around the world during seasons of years gone by.

BIG RON GONE! By Sean McGuire

August 1986 saw ‘Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh dominate the charts, however it was the men in red that would prevail to dominate the news in the 1986/1987 season. Controversy rocked the club before the season even began after Manchester United fans clashed with West Ham fans on a Sealink ferry bound for Amsterdam. English clubs were in their second year of their European ban, and now calls were being made for a ban on overseas friendlies as well. Following on from a disappointing end to the 1985/1986 campaign, ‘Big’ Ron Atkinson became under pressure for the first time, particularly after the sale of United’s latest young star Mark Hughes to Barcelona. The Reds also had to contend without skipper Bryan Robson for the first few games of the season, and his presence in the team was evidently missed as United lost their opening three games against Arsenal, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic. Bryan Robson was in and out of hospital on a regular basis in the mid-eighties, which coincided well with the launch of the UK hit series ’Casualty’ in the September of this season. Brief hope to United’s league chances returned when Captain Marvel returned in time for their fifth game of the season, as he inspired United to a 5-1 win

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@SeanMc1999

over Southampton on September 13th, however this hope soon turned to despair as the Reds lost their next three games. The national newspaper the ‘Independent’ was first published in October; and come November it was Manchester United who would be making all the headlines. With Europa’s ‘Final Countdown’ ringing out in the charts, Ron Atkinson had managed his final match for the Red Devils, and the countdown had already begun to find a replacement. A day later, on 6th November, Alexander Chapman Ferguson was appointed by United’s board, with the sole quest of bringing the league title back to Old Trafford. Ferguson had unprecedented success in Scotland whilst he was manager at Aberdeen, and the powers that be at Manchester United hoped that his winning ways could be reciprocated at the Theatre of Dreams. However, his primary concern was keeping the Reds in the first division. The new boss got off to a bad start with a 2-0 defeat to Oxford United, However Fergie’s new approach seemed to be working with the players and results soon started to go their way. In January, Britain came to a standstill after being blanketed by severe snowfall, yet the Reds continued to move forward with wins against Liverpool at Anfield, Manchester City in the F.A. Cup third round and Arsenal in the league at Old Trafford.


United’s relegation worries that blighted the first couple of the months of the season has soon eased as Alex Ferguson’s team started to climb the table. In February ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King serenaded the nation, and perhaps Manchester United had finally found a manager that they could stand by to deliver success. Fergie endeared himself further to the United faithful with another Derby win over Manchester City on March 7th and they also entered the month on an unbeaten run stretching to eight games. He then made a bold statement about his future plans. In the wake of an iconic Van Gogh Sunflower painting being sold for over £24 million in a Christie’s auction, United announced spending ambitions of their own, with the manager expressing his plans to bring Mark Hughes back to Old Trafford. The anthem of April was the number one chart hit ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ and the Reds themselves must have felt unstoppable after completing the double over reigning champions Liverpool with a

1-0 win at Old Trafford on April 20th. United had climbed their way from second bottom in November to the top-half in April and back-to-back wins against Nottingham Forest and Oxford United early in the month had consolidated their First Division status. Despite this, problems still existed at the club and reality set-in with one win in their last five games; however Alex Ferguson had shown glimpses of why he was such a highly rated manager. Fergie, together with his assistant Archie Knox had improved the team’s fitness and attitude and made their none-nonsense intentions clear with a club booze-ban. 1987 was Manchester United’s 20th anniversary since they last won the league title, and many fans were hopeful that the Red’s new manager could finally be the one to deliver the long-awaited holy grail, and in the process knock the Scousers off their perch.

Below: Alex Ferguson’s first match as United manager at the Manor Ground, Oxford

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Our top five reasons to optimistic this summer! By Peter Hall

The arrival of Robin Van Persie

has gone some way to appease the Stretford End faithful, after a summer of much discontent due to our transfer inactivity and controversial sale of ownership. The Glazers’ floatation of the club on the New York stock exchange originally sounded like a good idea, as the funds raised from the sale of 10% of the club would help reduce some of our crippling debt. However, turns out, the shares prices are over-inflated, the voting rights are almost nonexistent for the buyer, and half of the money is going into the Americans’ back pockets. Despite these off-field problems, here are five reasons to get us all believing again, and realise life isn’t all doom and gloom...

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2.

...........................................................

1.

@PistolPeteH86

Vidic is Back!

It is such a cliché, but never has it been more true. Having our inspirational captain back is like a new world-class signing. Jonny Evans was magnificent last season in Vidic’s absence, but in certain big games, it was clear for all to see just how important our captain is to us. With no disrespect to Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who are all excellent players, our leader is irreplaceable, and forwards all around Europe better be on top from, otherwise Vidic will get you.


3.

Shinji Kagawa is Class!

Eyebrows were raised when Sir Alex announced the signing of the Japanese international, with the more cynical of you citing his commercial potential in a previously untapped Japanese market – but have you seen the boy play? Sir Alex and Mike Phelan were present at Dortmund’s German Cup Final massacre of Bayern Munich, in which he scored and tore what was basically the German national rearguard to shreds, but still some seem to doubt. Give the lad a chance. Yes many smaller international players struggle to compete with the ferocity of the Premier League, but don’t just assume Kagawa will be the same. From where I’m standing, he looks the real deal.

......................................................... The red half of Merseyside has been getting awfully excited over the prospect of Brendan Rodgers bringing Swansea-esque football to Anfield this season. How the mighty have fallen. The fact of the matter is this. His midfield must contain at least one of the following: Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jay Spearing or Jordan Henderson. Joe Allen may well have joined the ranks this week, but it remains to see whether he will be able to cut it. With no right winger in the squad, and Steven Gerrard’s fitness a constant worry, at least one of these four, who last season looked like fish out of water, will have to don the famous Red. Hardly quaking in our boots are we?

16 1

LIVERPOOL TO WIN PREMIERSHIP THIS SEASON

..........................................

4.

Liverpool still have it all to do.

5.

Still the comeback kings

Things looked to be going from bad to worse in Germany, as with 25 minutes left we trailed the Bundesliga outfit 3-1, despite having taken an early lead through Javier Hernandez. However, as we always seem to do, Wayne Rooney started a stunning fight-back, culminating in Shinji Kagawa tucking away the winner with five minutes remaining. Over the years we have been fortunate (or unfortunate if you are of nervous disposition) to witness some pulsating comebacks, of which there are nothing better. After throwing away an eight point lead last season, many thought that we weren’t capable of these kinds of fête anymore. I know it was only a friendly, but the very fact that we can still produce such rousing lateshows, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, is an indication, if only a small one, that we have still got it. Hold on to your hats...

Tweet your reasons! #5reasons


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Robin Van Persie

The latest in the line of Dutch Masters

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‘In these situations, when you have to make a hard decision in your life, I always listen to that little boy inside me. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Manchester United.’ Back in the days of Arsenal’s invincibles, Fergie and Wenger mind-games and the battles of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, the furthest thing from any supporters mind would be the concept of Arsenal selling their best player and captain to the red side of Manchester. This coupled with Manchester City’s unmatchable transfer weight in the market together with the glamour of playing abroad for one of the Spanish giants, the signature of last season’s golden boot winner has lifted everyone around the club and has reminded us that our history and size alone is enough to bring in the world’s best players, which is something that those of the blue persuasion could never boast about. After Arsenal experienced a crushing 8-2 defeat at the hands of United last season, Van Persie’s performances and goals single-handedly took Arsenal out of the bottom six to finish the season in a Champions League spot. Robin also proved that he can be a prolific goal-scorer in the mould of his Dutch predecessor Ruud Van Nistelrooy with his 30 goal return in the Premier League last term. His experience will prove priceless for Manchester United in the big games and it is fair to say that Van Persie has been one of the best big game players of

recent years. One of the biggest question marks that people put over the strikers head when he arrived at Old Trafford was his age, as paying over £20 million pounds for someone who is 29 usually goes against Sir Alex Ferguson’s transfer policies. However having witnessed the likes of Teddy Sheringham become United’s top-goal scorer in 2001 at the age of 35 and Henrik Larsson’s inspirational cameo at the same age, there is no doubt that Van Persie has years ahead of him at Old Trafford. The second debatable issue is whether the former Arsenal captain can remain injury-free for the best part of his Manchester United career. The Dutch international has had a history of long periods on side-lines through injury, however having four very capable and rotatable frontmen means that Fergie will have opportunities to rest his new star on occasions to stop the striker from burning himself out. This was a luxury that a below-par Arsenal could ill-afford to do. With the addition of Robin Van Persie to United’s squad,

Sir Alex Ferguson now has four strikers together with Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez to choose from

all of which have been first choice for United at some stage over the past two years.

Naturally comparisons will be made to the great quartet of strikers that Manchester United had at their disposal in 1999, when Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham, all contributed towards firing the Reds to their historic Treble. And together with the likes of Valencia, Nani, kagawa and Young, United appear to have the best fire-power in their attacking areas since the days of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez in their Champions League winning campaign of 2008. It is amazing how one new signing can put a whole new perspective on our clubs prospects for the new season. In a time where money appeared more important than tradition to a player, in an era where Manchester United’s incomparable history seemed to bear no extra weight in the transfer window anymore, in an age where Manchester United’s famous youth team were losing their best players to mediocre clubs and in a time where buying the Premier League’s leading goal scorer started to become one of the most far-fetched possibilities; we have all been reminded that we are still Manchester United - the world’s greatest club, and hopefully Van Persie can be the man who helps us climb back to our rightful place as not only the best team in England, but also the best team in Europe.

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By Chris Stoner

@mufcstoner

Mental strength – Both players were unquestionably extremely powerful players and as such took that confidence onto the pitch with them at all times. Robson battled many injuries throughout his career at United but he always returned the same driven player who was never afraid of going into a challenge which added to his injury list. Keano was renowned for his fiery attitude and became a supporter’s hero with a never say die attitude. Who will ever forget the comeback against Juventus led by Keano? A performance highlighted in “The Guardian” as the greatest individual performance ever by a player. All this on the back of a booking that would prevent him playing in the final.

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This fire was also his Keano’s greatest enemy. Opposing players and indeed his own team mates could rattle Roy and the result invariably went one of two ways. Either we got the greatest performance ever or Keane would end up with bookings and reckless tackles. Robson 9 –10 Keane Robson’s coolness under pressure and Keane’s tendency to snap makes it hard for Keano to win. However the strength he showed in Turin that night meant United went on to win a “The Treble” and created the clubs greatest feat to date. Influential –. Keano on fire was a sight to behold. United fans will have their own personal memory of a time Keano stamped his authority in midfield. Keane, however, was blessed by being surrounded by some of the best footballers of his era. If Keano did have a quiet game there were plenty of others to take


up the rein and drive United home. Robson was very often a lone point of quality in a United team. A look back through the history of big games ”he” won for United shows an unmatched list of star performances. His influence on the team and its success was laid bare every time he was injured. Stats will prove what United fans knew. When Robson was injured United lost. Robson 10-9 Keane Robbo could very easily have led United through their glory years such was his abilities. It is doubtful Keano could have led United through their barren days because of his temperament. Respected – Both players were massively respected by both the fans of United and the players. Robbo on the pitch was the ultimate professional and not only captained United for 12 years, a club record but also captained England for 65 games out of 90 caps. Keane led United with a drive which gathered respect from fans and players alike. However his out spoken views on the club, its management and sometimes the fans very often left a bitter taste in mouths. Whilst his commitment to the cause could never be questioned, the resentment created at times detracted from the complete respect he should have had. Robson 10 – 9 Keane

Passion – The one thing that football fans across the world are united on is players with passion for their club. Keano oozed passion. From the moment he stepped into that tunnel you could see his desire and drive to bring glory to Manchester United at all costs. His drive to win every ball and every challenge was there for all to see. The sight of Keane roaring on the pitch at fellow players was born out of one thing, his passion to win. Robson’s passion to win was incredible. My own personal memory of Robbo’s passion was after the 1985 FA cup Semi-final at Maine Road against Liverpool. A superb driving run from Robson followed by a 30 yards drive past The Clown Grobbelar led United onto a 2-1 win against the best team in Europe. At the end of the match Robson stayed on the pitch following another pitch invasion singing “We love United” and waving a scarf around his head. Robson 10 – 10 Keane. To suggest either player wasn’t 100% passionate would be an insult to either of them

VERDICT

Result: BRYAN ROBSON

As we said football is all about opinions and as I sat down to write the article I thought the outcome would be Keano. Robbo pipped it as a Captain. A fact borne out by the fact he became an ambassador to the club.

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TACTICS BOARD:

Throw your Chalk away! Rooney defies the modern-day tactics.

Wayne Rooney had a good season for Manchester United, but his versatility means it is hard to define what role he plays for the team. Playing in the deep-lying forward position in United’s 4-4-1-1 system, he functions as both the main creator and a dangerous goal scorer, but that hasn’t always been his main role. In 2011/2012, he was responsible for 35 goals and 4 assists and with these stats, people could be mistaken for thinking that he is more dangerous as a goal scorer than a creator. In 2010/2011, he struggled in the early half of the season, before making a good partnership playing behind Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. In that season, he managed to score 11 goals and contributed another 11 assists, proving that he is as dangerous setting up goals for others as he is scoring them himself. In 2009/2010, he played a different role. He was the main goal scoring threat, scoring 26 goals as his club just missed out on the title. It’s hard to define exactly what Wayne Rooney’s best position is. Many people have tried to define him, but his style of play at Manchester United has made it a difficult task. Some people try to categorise him as a classic ‘Number 10, who’s main job is to play deeper and create chances for others. His ability as a direct goal scoring threat is reduced, as he becomes more responsible for setting up his teammates with clever passing and link-up play. His play in the 2010/2011 season would fit well into this definition. Others try to describe him as a classic ‘Number 9, the front man and the most dangerous goal scoring threat. These players have some passing abilities, but their main skills are their shooting and ballcontrol. In 2009/2010, he played as almost a perfect ‘Number 9. He frequently played alone up front in a 4-2-3-1, or alongside Dimitar Berbatov in a 4-4-2. When he played alongside Berbatov, he typically played as the more advanced striker while Berbatov played deeper as the more creative striker. This past season has made it hard to define what role Wayne Rooney plays, is he a ‘Number 10 or is he a

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‘Number 9? Perhaps he is something in between. Nine and a halfIn the last season and a half, Rooney has made the deep-lying forward position his own. Sir Alex Ferguson has made the 4-4-1-1 his dominate formation. Wayne Rooney plays as the deep-lying forward, with Hernandez or Welbeck working in front of him. This allows Rooney to drop deep into midfield, and spread the ball out to the striker and wingers in front of him, while also remaining an extremely dangerous scoring threat himself. He’s able to be both a creator, and scorer. Rooney plays a ‘Number 10 extremely well. He is good with the ball at his feet, and he’s able to play quality short passes. In addition, he has a great tactical sense to pick out the right pass to create openings for others. The only problem is, his goal scoring abilities become limited. Wayne Rooney is equally dangerous as a goal scorer, and a creator, making it hard to classify him. He is too complete a player to be classified as either a ‘Number 9 or a ‘Number 10, which leads him to be classified as something extremely rare: a ‘Nine and a half’.

Wayne Rooney isn’t the first player to be thought of as a ‘Nine and a half’. Marco Van Basten is one of the most common examples however it is hard to find a player that can both create chances for others, while also retaining a dangerous goal scoring threat. While these players are extremely rare to come across, they have become slightly more common now. With Dutch ‘Total Football’, and the playing style of the current Barcelona and Spanish National team, players are required to have better all-around skills. They are no longer allowed to just specialize on one typical playing style. Robbie Fowler is an ideal example. He was a dominate goal scorer. He didn’t have good pace, or speed, or agility, or ball control. The trend now is towards more complete forwards, in the mould of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi who can create and score goals.


Playing a Nine and a half

Teams struggle against a ‘Nine and a half’ for many reasons. The main advantage that ‘Nine and a half’s have is how versatile they are, and Wayne Rooney is a perfect example of this. In 2011/2012, he played as the lone striker up front, the deep-lying forward behind the main striker, the left-winger, and as a central midfielder. They become hard to shut down for the defence due to their variety of abilities. Try comparing a ‘Nine and a Half’, like Wayne Rooney, against a typical striker such as Newcastle’s Demba Ba. Ba is a potent scoring threat with his strength, and size, and shooting skills inside the box he can cause any defence serious problems. The first line of defence against a player like this is to play deep defensive line, in an effort to prevent him from getting room to play in behind your defence. You also mark him closely, in the hope that he will have to drop deeper to get the ball. While this type of defense will do well to minimize the scoring chances it would not work against a ‘Nine and a half’ like Wayne Rooney. By playing a deep defensive line, you give Rooney space deep to collect the ball and play passes to the wingers coming in. Rooney is as comfortable, and dangerous, playing with the ball from 35 yards out as he is from inside the box. A ‘Nine and a half’ is able to play a variety of positions, and offers a threat in both a chance creation role and a goal scoring role.

When playing with an additional ‘Number 10’ or ‘Number 9’, this player causes the defence many problems. A good example of this was at the end of the 2011/2012 season, when Manchester City would have Carlos Tevez play as the deep-lying forward and he was supported by a dangerous ‘Number 9’ threat, Sergio Aguero. An interesting setup will be in this upcoming season, as it is expected at some times that Wayne Rooney will play as the lone-striker in front of Shinji Kagawa or in tandem with new signing Van Persie. How much better will United’s offense operate with two capable creators, while Rooney is also playing closer to the goal to present a more dangerous goal scoring threat? In this past season, Rooney was counted on as the only creative force for most games. Rooney is one of the best examples of a ‘Nine and a half’, and this season should give him plenty of opportunity to show this. He’ll have chances to play as a lone-striker up front in front of Kagawa, or playing a deeper role with Van Persie, Welbeck or Hernandez in front of him. His skills allow him to play both positions extremely well. He’s able to present just as dangerous a scoring threat, and a creative outlet, in both positions which makes it extremely difficult for teams to deal with. By Joe Schurhammer @rangerooney


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