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UNITED’S FIRST EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE FANZINE

ISSUE

FOOTBALL UNITED FANZINE

12 Feb 2012

MUNICH REMEMBERED Tributes Duncan Edwards - Myth or Marvel? The Forgotten Babes 1

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ISSUE 12, FEBRUARY 2012


Football United Fanzine Issue 12 . February 2012 Managing Editor: Steph Doehler Deputy Editor: Rachel Turney Contributors: Al Monger, Vinnie Shaw, Brett Burgers, Harry Sherlock, Jack Harvey, Tom Clare A special thanks to: James Booth, Patrick Barclay, Barry Fry, Alan Tonge, Jim White, Wilf McGuiness. Designer: Steph Doehler Images: Micky Owen PI: Michael Kyeyune -----------------------Website: www.football-united-blogs.com Email: editor.fub@live.co.uk

Football United Blogs

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All material unless otherwise stated, is copyright to the Football United Fanzine. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the editors. The Football United Fanzine is completely independent of Manchester United Football Club. The Football United Fanzine accepts no responsibility for services offered by advertisers.

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editors’ notes A sad day in United’s history remembered Every so often something happens in football which shapes the foreseeable future. On 6th February 1958 this happened for Manchester United and that “foreseeable future” is still felt now. As someone who wasn't around when the Munich air crash actually happened I, like many supporters, have relied on the history books to tell me about events not just that day, but in the decade thereafter. There is no doubt that the ramifications of Munich still haunt our club today and yet I struggle to put down on paper a real tribute to those who lost their lives that day. It‟s not for want of trying but how can you do justice to something that not only did you not witness first hand, but also offer justice to the unjustified? Accidents happen every day. Sadly they are a simple part of life, but this has always felt so different to every other tragedy. Not because it is heightened in significance, obviously I cannot say the plane crash was any better or any worse than any other tragedies that happen. But perhaps it is the fact that being a football fan gives you a sense of ownership to the history of your club - their history is your history. For those who remember Munich well, whether this be players, supporters or anyone in between, I‟m sure they have never forgotten where they were when they were told the Busby Babes were no more. For me it‟s different. I wasn't born for another 28 years and yet I feel like I was there, I feel like I know it so well. History is a vital factor in appreciating what we have today. Every Manchester United fan should appreciate those who lost their lives in the crash. This issue we have tried to offer a small tribute to those involved, we only hope we have served a small testimony to the Busby Babes. Rest In Peace each of you. Steph - Managing Editor

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COMING UP THIS MONTH

editors’

5th February:

notes

Chelsea vs United Premier League KO: 4.00pm

Shock as Paul Scholes returns to United

11th February:

In my last editorial I spoke about how much I was enjoying Paul Scholes‟ autobiography, in part because it felt like I could put him back in the team. Who would have thought a month later he would actually be back in our team?! It‟s been a quiet January transfer period for most clubs but I‟m very happy with our new, or should that be old, midfield addition. With all the legends who have been returning to the Premier League this year it seems quite fitting that my article this month involves going back in time and remembering when David Beckham left the club. A true United legend who I enjoyed reminiscing about and hope you enjoy reading about. Recently Sir Alex has been expressing his annoyance at Alan Hansen and others‟ comments and I have to agree with him. Starting to get on my nerves that people keep going on about how poor our squad is and how we didn‟t deserve to win the league last year. We won the most games, lost the fewest games and scored the most goals. We also finished nine points clear, so who exactly did deserve to win the league? If we win the league this year, despite our injuries and how much more money City have spent, I wonder if we will get any credit? I don‟t know why I‟m surprised really. People love to write us off and we love to prove them wrong.

United vs Liverpool Premier League KO: 12.45pm

16th February: Ajax vs United Europa League KO: 6.00pm

23rd February: United vs Ajax Europa League KO: 8.05pm

26th February: Norwich vs United Premier League KO: 3.00pm

4th March: Spurs vs United Premier League KO: 4.10pm

Every time we seem to catch up with City we seem to fall behind again so I‟m hoping that doesn‟t happen this time now we are level again thanks in part to Darren Gibson. Who knows, by the time you read this we could be top. We have some massive games over the next few weeks which could be pivotal in deciding who wins the league. I can‟t wait. Rachel - Deputy Editor

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ISSUE 12, FEBRUARY 2012


Contents

ISSUE 12, FEBRUARY 2012 REGULAR FEATURES 06 On Our Radar 07 Editorâ€&#x;s View 14 The Shaw Show

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16 Micky Owen: PI 22 A Month In Football 32 Born & Red 36 The Day That...

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SPECIAL FEATURES

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08 Duncan Edwards: Marvel or Myth? 18 Munich Remembered 24 Premier League Upsets 29 The Forgotten Babes 34 The Return 40 A Day In The Life Of A City Fan

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On our Radar this month... Daniel Sturridge: The Chelsea forward will not doubt start when United visit Stamford Bridge next month and as the home sideâ€&#x;s top scorer this season the United defence will need to be on top form. Amsterdam: Beware Amsterdam, Manchester United are coming to invade your city, along with thousands of supporters. Gareth Bale: Overrated or the best winger in the league? Regardless of your opinion our right back (whoever that will be) will have to take care when we play Spurs next month.

Fernando Torres: Ok, maybe not...

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EDITOR’S VIEW Terry stripped of captaincy for second time Following racial allegations John Terry has had his nation’s armband taken off him for the second time. When John Terry lost the captain‟s armband for having an alleged affair with a former player‟s ex you could almost feel for the guy...if it wasn't for the fact it‟s John Terry. After all, players have extra marital affairs all the time, it‟s hardly anything new. Perhaps Capello made a mistake that time. Of course it made a mockery of the system when the Italian reinstated Terry last year and so when allegations of racial abuse came forward Terry was stripped of the armband again, this time by the FA.

Capello did not agree with the decision. He believed the FA should have waited until the courts heard the case before Terry was condemned. Innocent until proven guilty right? Not usually with the FA actually, you only need to look at Rio Ferdinand‟s missed drugs test to prove that one. Guilty or not guilty, this has served as yet another embarrassment to the FA and Capello. It‟s hardly the best preparations for Euro 2012 and the sooner Capello goes the sooner our national team can move forward.

AGREE OR DISAGREE? We want to know what you think about anything you read in the magazine. You can email: editor.fub@live.co.uk or tweet us @footballUB

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Morrison leaves United under cloud So after all the debate of will be make it, wont he make it? Does he deserve to play for United or doesn't he? Ravel Morrison left the club on deadline day for a move down south to West Ham United. Fergie said it was best for him to get out of Manchester, Morrison himself said he was looking forward to first team football and helping the Hammers regain their top-flight status. Regardless of one‟s thoughts on Morrison there is no doubt the talent is there, just bursting for an opportunity to come out, but sadly the chances of this happening whilst he remained in the north-west were unlikely. We all wish Ravel luck, we hope he succeeds and, providing he keeps his head down, turns into the player we all know he can.

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DUNCAN EDWA

Just a myth - or was he just a

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ARDS

a marvel?

Anyone who has been lucky enough to read the work of Manchester United historian, Tom Clare, will understand what knowledge and passion he has for the club. Tom‟s articles have featured in United magazines and websites across the globe. In this issue of the Football United Fanzine, Tom has been kind enough to offer his work on the late, great Duncan Edwards, in tribute to the player who lost his life following the Munich air disaster. Over the last few weeks one subject that caught my eye was the one which referenced Ryan Giggs being voted as United‟s “best ever player.” Fair enough, in this day and age of media and television hype, everybody has got an opinion and I have no problem with that. It would be a boring old world, and make for boring conversation if we all agreed. However, I did look at that poll and it had me scratching my old head. I believe that it was

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run by the Manchester United Magazine, but the question that I would ask is, what criteria was laid down to constitute a “best ever player”? Selecting a “best ever” player, is in my opinion, an almost impossible task – there are so many intangibles – the main one being the expanse of time between the different eras. Now don‟t get me wrong, great players are great players, no matter which era they come from. They all have that special “something‟ which makes

them a class apart, and takes them up to that “great” level. Today I hear the eulogies of “world class”, “great”, “legend” etc, bandied about so freely and bestowed upon players, who in my own humble opinion, are anything but. It is not helped by this relatively new era of electronic media hype, and for the majority of players from eras that I have heard dubbed as “the black and white era”, and “the cloth cap era”, they are generally

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Above: Edwards and Giggs, can players of different eras ever be truly compared against one another?

consigned to the historic garbage can. Is that fair? I don‟t think so. Today there are all sorts of historical records to look at when you look at the modern player – DVD‟s, You Tube clips, even movie film. For those old players of long ago, there is nothing to gauge their abilities on apart from old newspaper reports, and micromesh film of old newsreels, stored away in the various city libraries archives. Their careers are marked by hard to get hold of books, out of date magazine publications, but mostly, they are remembered by word of mouth passed down through the generations of match going fans. Fans who actually saw these old players, and then passed on their recollections to their families and friends. We all have differing views and see things differently. A player, whom I think may

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be world class, may well be dismissed as being a donkey by others. Fair enough, as the old saying goes, “one man‟s meat is another man‟s poison.” It‟s all about opinion and this is one of the main reasons why this wonderful game is attractive to us all as fans. However, I do find that players from bygone eras are all too easily summarily and arbitrally, discarded these days. Their contributions to the game are far too easily forgotten, and that is a crying shame. I hear the same old stuff time and time again these days. “Oh he/they wouldn‟t have lasted five minutes in the modern game” or, “there is no comparison, today‟s players are much fitter, and both they, and the game are much faster.” Really? I‟ll concede that today‟s game is quicker – but only marginally, and that I put down to the pristine playing surfaces which players have

at their disposal week in, and week out; and also to the ball that is used today whereby it is at a constant weight and does absorb water like the old leather ball did. The ball moves across the surface quicker. As for fitness, yes again I‟ll concede that today‟s players are fitter, but for all the sports medicine and technology etc, again I‟d say there is not a lot in it. You look at those grainy old films and pictures of the 50‟s and 60‟s and just look at the surfaces those old players had to contend with. The kit they wore was mostly cotton, and wool, and also absorbed water. For those old boys to get through 90 minutes on the pitches which, between October and April, only had a nodding acquaintance with grass, was great testament to their fitness levels and stoicism. It would be interesting if say, we could see the likes of Best, Law, and Charlton, or Mathews, Lawton, and Finney, attacking today‟s defenders. Just as interesting would be seeing the likes of Drogba, Torres, van Persie, Tevez or Rooney, lining up against the likes of Roy Hartle Tommy Banks, Eddie Clamp and Ron Flowers, Tommy Smith and Ron Yeats. So let‟s be under no misapprehensions – those old players from years ago, those who had “great” reputations, were just that – “great”. For a number of today‟s wonderful players, they too fall into that same

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same category – they truly are “great” players. I have been very fortunate in my life to have lived through the great football periods that I have. I‟m blessed with seeing the many hundreds of truly “great” players that I have – both British, and Foreign. There have also been many wonderful teams to recall along my journey. Teams that played the game in the right way, and with style and grace, and who upheld the ethos of the game. But over the years, the questions which I have had to field more than any others are: “Tell me about Duncan Edwards.” “Just how good was he?” “Surely, most of what has been written about Edwards is myth?” “It‟s impossible for any player to be described as good as what Edwards has.” “Edwards can never have been that good because he never reached his full potential?” Dear Duncan. It speaks so much of him, that even now, almost 54 years after his passing, he is still probably the most talked about player in Manchester United‟s long and rich history. I was lucky enough to meet him so many times, sometimes to the point of being a nuisance to him. Just how good was he? Let me assure you good people that there is certainly no myth as to regards Duncan‟s playing abilities. He was simply the most “complete”

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player that the game has ever seen. That‟s not sentiment speaking, nor is it any kind of sentimentality. It is not only my own opinion of him, but simply the judgment of his peers, and his contemporaries, the very people who played with him, alongside him, and against him. It is also the views of some of the most respected men in football‟s great history.

“Busby: I rate Duncan Edwards the most complete footballer in Britain – perhaps the World.” This is what some of those people had to say: Sir Matt Busby; “I rate Duncan Edwards the most complete footballer in Britain – perhaps the World.” “We looked at Duncan right from the start and we gave up trying to find flaws in his game. (Remember – this was Edwards when he was just 16 years old). Nothing could stop him and nothing unnerved him. The bigger the occasion the better he liked it. While other players would be pacing up and down the dressing room, rubbing their legs, doing

exercises, and looking for a way to pass time, Duncan was always very calm. He was a good type of lad too. Duncan didn‟t want to know about the high life. He just wanted to go home or to his digs. He just lived for the game of football.” Sir Bobby Charlton; “Sometimes I fear that there is a danger that people will think that we who knew him, and saw him in action, boost him because he is dead. Sentiment can throw a man‟s judgment out of perspective. Yet it is not the case with him. Whatever the praise one likes to heap on Duncan is no more than he deserved. He was out on his own at left-half and a First Division player in every other position. There was no one else to start with him.” Jimmy Murphy; “Duncan was the Kohinoor Diamond among our crown jewels. Whenever I heard Muhammad Ali on television say he was the greatest, I had to smile. There was only ever one greatest, and that was Duncan Edwards. There was nothing that needed to be coached into him – even at such a young age of 16 – he simply had it all.” Sir Stanley Mathews; “Duncan Edwards, the boyman, made his debut for Manchester United at 16 and was an England regular by 18. You could play him anywhere and he would slot into that position as if he had been playing there season after season. For all of

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“In this day and age of overblown media hype, Duncan‟s name seldom gets mentioned when it comes to these „best ever‟ polls.” his tender years, he was the most complete player of his time and it was a tragedy that his life was taken in the Munich disaster of 1958. When the going was rough, Duncan would be as unmoved as a rock in a raging sea, but for all of his considerable size, he possessed the most deft of skills.”

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The eulogies about Duncan could go on, and on, and on. Notice, Busby and Mathews both said, „Complete Footballer‟. This is what I try to tell people when I am asked about him. In this day and age of overblown media hype, Duncan‟s name seldom gets mentioned when it comes to these „best ever‟ polls. Mostly, he isn‟t even mentioned. It is ridiculous really, because Duncan is without doubt, the most complete player to ever pull on the Manchester United shirt. One myth that I would like to dispel about Duncan was that he was huge in size. He wasn‟t, standing just under six feet tall, he weighed 13 and a ½ stones. However, his frame was large and bulky, and solid muscle. His

thighs and legs were huge, but for all that, he was quick, and moved with the speed and elegance of a gazelle. He had nimbleness as well as strength, flair as well as calm. Duncan‟s favourite position was what was called back then, left-half. He loved that position because he was always in the game. But he could, and did, play for both United, and England, in different positions. Centrehalf, centre-forward, insideforward, it didn‟t matter to him as long as he was out there on the field. He could mould his play to whatever position he had been asked to play and still be the most outstanding player on the field. As I have noted, for such a big lad, Duncan was exceptionally quick over the ground, read the game so

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well for one so young, was ferocious in the tackle, distributed the ball immaculately with either foot, and he could also shoot with such power with either foot. It was almost impossible to see which was supposed to be his weaker foot although in his early years he had been naturally right footed. His heading prowess was another strong point in his game. His temperament was unflappable and he had such great belief in himself and his abilities. In the era in which he played, there were some very famous names and reputations, but they never fazed Duncan in any way whatsoever. He just eclipsed people by the power of his own performance. People are so quick to tell me that “he never realized his full potential.” I have never agreed with this statement, and I never will. I will agree that his career never “peaked,” but there is a huge difference in not reaching your potential and your career peaking. By the

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time of his passing, Duncan had played for five years at the very top level and had been an established England international for three years. It‟s difficult to imagine that he could have improved as a player even more. He was already the finished article.

never achieved half of what Duncan did. Yes, his career never peaked (and God knows how much he would have gone on to achieve in his career but for the tragedy) but his potential – no question from me – as I said, he was the complete finished article.

Between 1953-1958, at the top level of English football, there were only two competitions in which a professional footballer could take part. The Football League and the FA Cup. European competition did not start for English teams until 1956. Edwards had an insatiable appetite for playing. In 1956 -57, he played an astonishing 94 games at different levels – Football League Championship, FA Cup, European Cup, Full Internationals, and he also represented the Football League XI, England “B”, England U -23, and the Army. He won two First Division Championship winner‟s medals, an FA Cup Runners-Up medal, 18 full international caps – and those at a time when they were not given away so freely as they are today. He‟d played in the European Cup, World Cup Qualifiers, and had been capped at every level for England from Schoolboys (where he still holds the record for being the youngest ever player capped at that level at just 13 years of age) through to full international. There were so many wonderful players around in that era (Stan Mathews, Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse, just to name a few) who

I have so many memories of him. His modesty, shy smile, his broad West Country accent, his habit of calling people “chief.” Even today, I can close my eyes and still be thrilled by the memory of him winning tackles in midfield and surging forward with the ball. His pure strength and ability to play the long or short ball. His tremendous reading of a game and to anticipate what was going to happen. His ability to come up with goal when the going was tough, his strength and determination to be everything he wanted to be – simply the best. Myth or Marvel? No doubt in my eyes. The myth being that he didn‟t reach his potential. The marvel being that for me, and many, many others, that quite simply, he is and was without doubt the most complete player in Manchester United‟s great history.

By Tom Clare Tom was born in 1945 in Chorlton, Manchester. His book Forever A Babe tells the Babes story with passion and describes the events that helped shape the club. He now lives in Texas, USA.

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THE SHAW SHOW Now every derby match is preceded by talk of a transfer of power from the red three-quarters of Manchester to the blue quarter.

I don‟t like derbies. As a matter of fact I hate them. I loathe them with every sense of my being and cannot wait for them to be over and done with. I dislike the build up during the week, I despise the game itself and feel nothing but a huge sense of relief when they are all done with. Why? You ask. Simple. It is not normal for somebody to get so nervous over a game of football, I mean it cannot be good for you. I remember even during those wonderful days when City were nothing more than a laughing stock and

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the only cup they challenged for was the Shamrock Trophy, according to one fabled edition of Red Issue this trophy actually had pride of place in the City trophy cabinet but I digress, a derby match was one to send shivers down my spine. I would spend the week building up to the match talking down United‟s chances of winning and why the Gods of footballing injuries and the laws of averages ensured that victory was undoubtedly going to be City‟s. All this to save face the following Monday at school, college or, even now, at work when

meeting Bitters should the disastrous had happened and United lost. Believe me there is nothing worse than a gloating bluenose. So to give them extra ammunition by having them believe they had also proven me wrong is something that I cannot begin to contemplate. Now City, for the first time in a generation, actually possess a good football team. Ignore the fact that they are all just paid mercenaries and wouldn‟t have looked at City twice preSheikh days, City have a chance to actually win

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things. This has made derby matches even more important and, therefore, something to dread even more. Now every derby match is preceded by talk of a transfer of power from the red three-quarters of Manchester to the blue quarter, conveniently ignoring the fact that City have still only won one cup in this socalled new dawn and United are still the champions. Each derby match is built up to an extent that you would believe that (to paraphrase that wonderful Kenneth Wolstenholme commentary of a United Charity Shield goal) the league, the FA Cup, the European Cup, the World Cup. It‟s madness and it doesn‟t help my pre-match nerves. I wake up on the morning of the match dreading it. I try banishing all thoughts of a United victory out of my mind for fear of jinxing them and that includes any daydreams of United scoring. I try to keep myself busy so as to not think about the match. I have even volunteered to do jobs around the house! If I read an interview from a United player that appears even slightly confident over the team‟s chances I must find an interview from the City side that counter balances it. The number of times I have infuriated myself by reading the imbecilic comments of arch bitter Mike Summerbee pre-match is not worth thinking about,

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but I do it and I must for fear of spoiling United‟s chances later in the day. As for the match itself, well, if it‟s at Old Trafford it‟s not too bad. A couple of cheeky pre-match pints in The Trafford before heading off to Stretford End Tier 2 to join my fellow reds. At least there I am surrounded by friends. The teams come out onto the pitch and I cross myself and say a little prayer, why I do this I do not know as I haven‟t set foot in a church since my daughter was baptized but I need all the help I can get to get through this. Yes you read this right, I need all the help I can get. For it is now that I start to feel the little beads of sweat forming around my person. The teams are out, they‟ve kicked off and it‟s all up to them now. May the Lord have mercy on us and let the reds win. If we are away at the Council House then things are a thousand times worse. Ticket prices nowadays and the insane automatic cup ticket scheme has reduced any opportunity for away jaunts for me to a minimum so the chances are I will be viewing the action from the comfort of Shaw Towers and with the somewhat dubious company of either Sky tv or ITV pundits. Now the week‟s build up is magnified by the opening credits. Panoramic views of Manchester are shown whilst

accompanied by powerful orchestral music. I can actually feel my heart start to beat faster and faster and faster. The pounding at times becomes unbearable, my palms become sweaty, my breathing becomes rapid and my fingernails are chewed by their nervous owner as if I have become some kind of ravenous fingernail fancier. I remind myself that it is just a football match, that is all. It‟s not as if my house is depending upon the result of the match and it‟s not as if that should United lose I will go without food for a week. As a matter of fact the result should have no real bearing upon my well being at all. I look at my daughter and my wife to remind me that it‟s just a game, soppy I know, but then the teams come out. I am at home so this time there will be no praying to the heavens for fear of being reminded by Mrs Shaw of how ridiculous that is so I cannot sum up any help from the Almighty. Now I am in the hands solely of those chaps in red. When the whistle is blown I could breathe again. It‟s another derby all done with. Until next time……

By Vinnie Shaw @TheShaw2009

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FICTION

MICKY OWEN: PI By Brett Burgers @HoldAndGive At Manchester United, without even a sniff of football as a distraction, Micky Owen was afforded the role as SAF‟s own personal detective. Along with his spirit guide Eric and new partner Berba he provides the club with something that on the surface appears like it may be important. After almost a year of this investigative diary, we still haven‟t worked out what it is. It was a typical Saturday afternoon. Berba and I were continuing our Old Trafford Eye Spy Championship. Sometimes Berba gets the monk on if he can‟t get one and SAF and Phelan, who encourage me, have a little chuckle about it. Well, SAF does, Phelan just mirrors what SAF is doing to give the impression he has a clue what‟s going on. Berba had been guessing since kick off and we were now entering the final ten minutes. The letter was „U‟ and I‟d smugly batted back suggestion after suggestion. Out of nowhere a voice from the crowd shouted, “Get Morrison on!” SAF‟s jaw cruised into second gear. “Yeah, what about Morrison?!” came another voice. “Yeah, what about Morrison?!” came another. A small huddle of fans began chanting “Morrison! Morrison! Morrison!” SAF was now purple. Berba grasped my hand tightly. The full time whistle went and we‟d not done very well. I was chuffed though because my Eye Spy would carry over to the next game. As we made our way down the tunnel towards the dressing room SAF accosted us and shoved us into the gents. “That fuckin‟ stinks!” he screamed at us. “Sorry boss, I had a dodgy Guveche last night and snuck in here at half-time!” replied Berba. “STOP TALKING! I‟m not talking aboot that, but

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now you mention it, CHRIST. If only you were that devastating on the pitch, hey?!...Anyway, I‟m talking about those lot out there. Morrison this! Morrison that! Telling me on the eve of the Munich anniversary that I‟m not trusting the youth, I‟m livid!” said SAF, visibly shaken. “Leave it with us boss” I assured him. “Come on Berba”…Something would have to be done and fast! A month passed and we‟d just been going up and down the aisles. Occasionally waving to our new friends; Chris on Checkout, Tina on Fish, Paul in World Foods and Alison at the News Kiosk. Eric had briefly popped his head out the clouds to offer some encouragement, but had been so busy preparing his electoral speeches for some government thing or other, that we‟d hardly seen him. We could now fully understand what those fans were going on about. I mean some of the 2 for 1 deals compared with other leading retailers were unbeatable. Much of the fresh produce was for the most part sourced organically from local farms and the range available would certainly blow most medium to large supermarkets out of the water. However, although in a direct like-for-like price check it held its own to a degree, when we went on to some price comparison sites

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and compared our „real baskets‟ with the other leading competitors we found that it was lacking somewhat. The overall feel of the place was a bit pokey. Not the expansive fluorescent lit superstore people have told me that the heathens frequent and expect to be dazzled by. If anything I‟d say it was a tad dated in its general marketing and appearance. Overall, we concluded that SAF was probably right in his stance and couldn‟t wait to get back and reveal our findings. “Come on Berba!” “Boys, where the sodding hell have you been?” exclaimed SAF as we peered around the door to his office. “We‟ve been on the case boss.” I replied with pride. “What case is that then? I thought you‟d both retired or run off together to one of those hedonist holiday camps. D-I-Y Prince Albert‟s and all that.” “What‟s that supposed to mean?” I replied while letting go of Berba‟s hand. “Anyway, here‟s all the information you

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need on the Morrison‟s case” said Berba as he tossed the document on to SAF‟s desk with aplomb. “Thanks, but I won‟t be needing it…You were gone so long, I gave Hargo a quick call and asked him to set up one of those fake twitter thing-me-bobs for Ravel Morrison and start stirring things up a bit until I decide what to do with him… Wait a minute, did you say Morrissons?”. “Ha HA HA Morrissons! As if!” We all heartily laughed together and then I quickly yoinked our report from SAF‟s desk and ran away. Case Closed! Ssssh, don‟t tell Berba, I don‟t think he can read anyway. The „U‟ is „Upside down „S‟. He‟ll never get it. To give him something to do, as my assistant, I have instructed he visit all your homes over the coming days and weeks to fit the self-destruct device to your P.Cs and laptops for the future handling of these very sensitive files. No doubt he‟ll take his ruddy time. Keep „em peeled!

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MUNICH REMEMBERED With the 54th anniversary of the Munich air crash upon us, Harry Sherlock has taken the opportunity to speak to some well known people, offering insight into the tragedy. Fifty four years on and the name Munich can still send a collective shudder across Manchester and a shiver throughout the remainder of the United Kingdom. The death of so many Busby Babes was one of life‟s defining moments, just as the assassination of President Kennedy was to become

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five years later – even now many can recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Barry Fry, for example, who later became a United youth star remembers: “I heard the news at home and, although I was a Wolves fan, I cried myself to sleep. The

next day I‟d become a Manchester United fan.” The 13 year old Fry was on the books at Wolverhampton Wanderers at the time, with his personal hero being Billy Wright, but he goes on; "I still can't work out why. I cried all night on hearing the news. It changed my life forever. There was only one

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totally unique for those who lost their lives in Germany. Everybody at the club, then and since, has been dedicated to that single objective - and they have succeeded.” Patrick Barlcay, author of „Football: Bloody Hell. The Biography of Sir Alex Ferguson‟ and a Times football correspondent echoes the former gaffer‟s sentiments, saying: “It (Munich) contributed to the romance and special allure of Manchester United. It wasn‟t just a football tragedy, you see. It was a human tragedy. And out of terrible tragedy came romance and respect.”

club I cared about after that - United.” Fry, to this day, can recall the sombre mood around Old Trafford at the time, remembering; “Goalkeeper Harry Gregg was always very positive and tried to keep everything upbeat but what had happened can't be captured by words - you really had to feel it to know what it had done to the club.” His most telling memory of the time though, regarded the great Sir Bobby Charlton, with Fry believing “It changed Sir Bobby Charlton forever. He was in a world of his own very often - alone

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It was a human tragedy. And out of terrible tragedy came romance and respect. Patrick Barclay with those terrible memories.” The ex-youth star though also believes that the Munich air disaster made Manchester United the biggest club in the world, pondering; “It's because everybody at the club has been determined to build something

Ex-United trainee Alan Tonge agrees adding: “Many potential greats lost their lives at Munich and from that we have established our 'never say die' attitude.” Jim White, of The Telegraph, commented: “It is part of the mythology that fires the club, the importance of youth and its place in the history of the institution.” He also had some deeply felt words for the memory of the late Duncan Edwards only 21 at the time of the crash and with 18 England caps already to his name declaring: “The truth is, we never knew how good he could be. But I always think it puts his potential into perspective to recall that had he lived - it would have in all likelihood been him rather than Bobby Moore

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who lifted the World Cup in 1966.” Barclay, paid the departed legend as big a compliment as it gets declaring, “He consumed the entire field, he was a huge figure and it is my opinion that he could have been the greatest [to have ever played the game].” But away from individual players, is the wonderful team of the time and those I spoke to had some special words reserved for the Babes. Barclay enthused, “With Busby‟s great team coming through, and the allconquering Real Madrid

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The Babes would surely have won the European Cup before 1968, maybe even in 58. They were that good. Jim White faltering, the Babes had the potential to overtake the Spaniards in Europe. But in reality, who knows how far they could have gone?” Jim White agrees, adding: “The Babes would surely have won the European Cup before 1968, maybe even in

58. They were that good.” The former United manager, Wilf McGuiness holds even stronger beliefs about the Babes: “United could have been the dominant power of the time. They were boys who grew up together, like Barcelona now, and United were their only club. During Sir Matt‟s reign I think the manager only bought two players, and one of them was a youngster.” Incidentally, the one senior player signed by Busby was the hero of that fateful night – goalkeeper Harry Gregg. And that may be part of the reason why Alan Tonge

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believes that the greatest managerial feat of all time was winning the European Cup ten years after Munich. He said: “Arguably the greatest ever managerial feat was Sir Matt Busby rebuilding the whole club after this terrible event. Within ten years, and after having virtually a full side taken away, we had won the FA Cup, the league and had lifted the European Cup. Incredible.” Over half a century on many have seen the legend that is Sir Alex Ferguson drive the club to greater and greater heights and Barclay perceptively pointed out, “I hope people realise how largely Ferguson has followed the policies laid down by Busby.” He has a point. The second knight of the realm to manage Manchester United has always said that his focus has been on youth – nobody can forget the class of ‟92 after all. And Jim White had some respectful words for an unlikely group of people Manchester City fans. When asked about the respect shown by the Citizens‟ fans on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy he said: “They recognised that it was a tragedy as much for the city of Manchester as it was for United. Besides, in Frank Swift they lost one of their own. It was a fine example

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of how, whatever bile may be poured out on internet message boards, most football fans are decent people as was the case when Liverpool and Everton united after Hillsborough. At the cup final that year, blues and reds mingled around Wembley, making it clear that some things transcend petty rivalry.” That just about sums up the feelings towards the Munich air disaster. Whatever United fans think about their noisy neighbours, whatever songs they may sing about the opposition, whatever gestures they may direct towards the blues, the fact is this: us football folk are respectful people. We understand that when disaster strikes, we must mourn as though we have lost one of our own family.

club – remembered fallen heroes. And that tells you everything you need to know about this sport they rightly describe as the beautiful game. With sincerest thanks to all who spoke to Harry for this piece.

By Harry Sherlock @FootyFantatic

That is what happened following the awful night that is etched into every Manchester United fan‟s memory. Football fans – whatever their

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A MONTH IN FOOTBALL P W D L Pts

FA Cup Third Round

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City United Spurs

21 16 3 2 51 21 15 3 3 48 21 14 4 3 46

City 2 United 3 FA Cup Third Round 8th January 2012

United 3 Bolton 0 Premier League 14th January 2012

THE STORY Going into the derby as underdogs for the first time in recent history United survived a City revival to progress in the FA Cup. United went one up through Rooney minutes before captain Kompany saw red for City. By half time United were three up after Welbeck and Rooney (pen) netted further. Cityâ€&#x;s attempt at a comeback following goals from Kolarov and Aguero were in vain as United held on.

THE STORY United maintained pressure on City at the top of the league table following victory over Bolton. Paul Scholes marked his return to Old Trafford with a cool finish just before half time. Boltonâ€&#x;s attacking play was poor and any chance of an equaliser were scuppered when Welbeck netted his eighth goal of the season, before Carrick rounded things off with seven minutes remaining.

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City Un Spu

2

TH We Un poi to k poi slo wa jus bre cro cia Per mi for hom ute mi im


y nited urs

P W D L Pts 22 17 3 2 54 22 16 3 3 51 22 14 4 4 46

P W D L Pts

FA Cup Fourth Round

City United Spurs

23 17 3 3 54 23 17 3 3 54 23 15 4 4 49

Arsenal 1 United 2 Premier League 22nd January 2012

Liverpool 2 United 1 FA Cup Fourth Round 28th January 2012

United 2 Stoke 0 Premier League 31st January 2012

HE STORY Danny elbeck ensured nited took all three ints at the Emirates keep United three ints behind City. A ow opening period as sparking into life st before the half time eak when a Giggsâ€&#x; oss was met by Valena at the far post. Van rsie equalised with 20 nutes remaining bere Welbeck slammed me on the 81st mine. Not quite the huliation of 8-2 but an portant three points.

THE STORY United, who so often find themselves saved by a late goal, found themselves on the wrong end against Liverpool, which saw them crashing out of the FA Cup. Controversial circumstances threatened to overshadow the match as Evra found himself booed on every touch he made. Goals from Agger and Park meant a tentative final period before Dirk Kuyt securing the win and progression for Liverpool.

THE STORY Penalties from Hernandez and Berbatov secured all three points against Stoke on a cold Tuesday evening. Unitedâ€&#x;s Ben Amos made his Premier League debut for the club following injury and illness to Lindegaard and de Gea respectively. Hardly the most vintage performance from United but on hearing former whipping boy Darron Gibson scored the winner against City it was an good evening all round.

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PREMIER LEAGUE UPSETS Over the New Year weekend we saw three massive upsets which warranted combined odds of 1517/1 as Blackburn beat United, Sunderland beat City and Villa at some of the 24 beat Chelsea. Jack Harvey ISSUE looks 12, FEBRUARY 2012 biggest league upsets of the modern era.


Southampton 6-3 Manchester United (26/10/96) Just ten days before this trip to Southampton, Manchester United had shipped five goals to Newcastle in an embarrassing defeat at St. James Park. Southampton were relegation candidates and The Dell seemed an ideal place for Fergusonâ€&#x;s men to get back on track. The first fifteen minutes, however, saw Eyal Berkovic break the deadlock and Roy Keane sent off. Up until the 80th minute, the Saints only led 3-2, but the oneman disadvantage eventually told and United succumbed to a 6-3 defeat. The Red Devils went on to lose their next two games - home fixtures against Fenerbahce and Chelsea, but ultimately went on to win the Premier League by seven points. Southampton, meanwhile, avoided relegation by a single point.

Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough (14/04/01) This home defeat to Middlesbrough brought an abrupt end to Arsenalâ€&#x;s title aspirations, as the trophy went to Old Trafford for the third consecutive season. Boro, who had recently brought in Terry Venables to assist Bryan Robson at the helm, were fighting relegation and were considered long shots at Highbury - but the shock victory went a long way to maintaining their top-flight status. The Gunners were the masters of their own downfall, as own goals from Brazilian pair Edu and Sylvinho gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at half time. Hamilton Ricard netted midway through the second half to end any chance of a comeback, and the title headed to Manchester with a little help from a former captain of the club. Middlesbrough eventually finished comfortably in 14th place, while Arsenal trailed United by ten points.

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Arsenal 2-3 Leeds (04/05/03) You may be noticing a theme developing here - and yes, this is another Arsenal defeat which handed the title to Manchester United. This was more damaging for the Gunners though. In 2001, Manchester United were regarded as the best team in the country, whereas here in 2003, Arsenal were. They were the reigning champions and, going into March, were eight points clear at the top of the table. Their ability to self-implode was epitomised in this must-win match with Leeds, who were riddled with debt and fighting for their Premier League status. Harry Kewell‟s early opener was cancelled out by Thierry Henry‟s equaliser, before goals from Ian Harte and Dennis Bergkamp made it 2-2. Arsenal weren‟t able to find the all-important winner and instead Mark Viduka settled the game in Leeds‟ favour just two minutes from time. The following season would represent contrasting fortunes for these two - Arsenal were literally invincible and reclaimed the league title, while Leeds were unable to avoid relegation.

Arsenal 1-2 Hull (27/09/08) Hull‟s debut season in the Premier League was like a rollercoaster. Not one that goes up and down, up and down, round and round - more like one that starts by taking you vertically to the very top of the ride before plummeting back to the ground again. In fact, they picked up just eight points from a possible 57 in the second half of the season. Luckily, a memorable start to the campaign - including this victory at the Emirates, kept them in the top flight. The Gunners had started the season well, winning four of their opening five games. They even took the lead against Hull through a Paul McShane own goal, but a wonder strike from Geovanni levelled the scores and just minutes later, Daniel Cousin completed the comeback. Hull overtook Arsenal after this win and moved to 3rd in the table, though they would finish the campaign just one point off the bottom three. Arsenal finished 4th a huge 18 points off eventual winners Manchester United.

Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool (03/10/10) After a successful season with Fulham in 2009/10, Roy Hodgson made the move to Anfield at the start of the 2010/11 campaign. He was hardly welcomed with open arms, and a poor run at the start of the season (their worst start since 1953/54) only made things worse. Liverpool picked up just six points from their opening eight games, one of which was this home defeat to newlypromoted Blackpool. Ian Holloway‟s side were a breath of fresh air, though before this trip to Anfield they had shipped six goals at the Emirates and four at Stamford Bridge. The Seasiders, boosted by a fantastic performance from Charlie Adam in central midfield, were two goals up at half-time Sotirios Kyrgiakos pulled one back early in the second half but the Reds couldn‟t beat Matt Gilks for an equaliser.

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Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland (14/11/10)

Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal (29/10/11)

The Blues were unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in almost a year, and had a 100% record on home turf in the 2010/11 season. Furthermore, from those six home fixtures, they had scored seventeen and conceded none. So a 3-0 win for Sunderland, without an away win all season, looked unlikely. But, when Nedum Onuoha dribbles past three opponents and slots the ball into the corner, you know it‟s your day. A great team move finished off by Asamoah Gyan doubled the Black Cats‟ lead, before onloan Danny Welbeck rubbed salt into Chelsea‟s wound. This defeat started a run of six games without a win for Carlo Ancelotti‟s side, and it was a spell that ultimately cost them the championship.

The Gunners have been on the wrong side of an upset three times in this list, but this time it is Arsenal who won against all odds. They are hardly minnows, but their 5-3 victory at Stamford Bridge was unimaginable given the circumstances. Chelsea had a 100% record for the season at the Bridge. It was a strange game - Chelsea took a 2-1 lead into half-time, but Andre Santos equalised immediately after the break. Theo Walcott then put Arsenal ahead with a fantastic goal, before ten minutes from time, Juan Mata levelled the score at 3-3. At that point, most would have expected Chelsea to win, but Robin Van Persie struck twice in the final stages to help turn the Gunners‟ season around. Chelsea have since lost two more games at Stamford Bridge - signs that it is not the fortress it once was under Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn (31/12/11) Manchester United‟s mandate was simple win at home against the bottom club and you‟ll top the league going into 2012. It seemed like an easy task - Blackburn had just one win in thirteen, and hadn‟t won a game away from Ewood Park. United were playing square pegs in round holes due to injuries, with Antonio Valencia at right-back and Michael Carrick at centre-half. Dimitar Berbatov gave away a penalty which Yakubu tucked away. The hosts looked a little better at the start of the second half but a defensive mix up allowed Yakubu in on goal and the Nigerian fired through De Gea‟s legs. Berbatov scored two in quick succession and the typical Manchester United comeback looked certain. Heading into the final minutes though, David De Gea‟s weakness from set-pieces cost the Reds. Grant Hanley headed home at the second attempt to keep Steve Kean‟s critics quiet, if only for a couple of days.

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TRIBUTE

THE FORGOTTEN BABES As the 54th anniversary of Munich is upon us Steph has looked into those who‟s players who weren't on the plane that fateful day. The Busby Babes evokes strong feelings in any Manchester United supporter‟s mind. Whether this is as a result of seeing them live during the 1950s or, like me, hearing the many stories about just how revolutionary this football side was. With great tragedy the Munich air crash cut short the careers of many of the Babes who were destined to go on to great achievements within the sport. Thinking of the Babes automatically generates names such as: Bobby Charlton, Eddie Colman, Tommy Taylor, Billy Whelan, Roger Byrne and, of course, Duncan Edwards. Names that, despite many of us not being fortunate to witness live, are synonymous with our great club‟s history. But what of those who helped United following the crash - those players who, for various fateful reasons, did not travel to Belgrade in February 1958? This piece attempts to go some way in retelling the story so often missed by many when discussing the aftermath of Munich – that of the forgotten Babes. All of Manchester wanted

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United to win. In fact, the whole country wanted a United victory on the 19th February 1958 – the club‟s first match following on from events in MunichReim Airport, some 13 days later. Sheffield Wednesday were the unfortunate opponents that evening as 59,000 supporters packed into Old Trafford for a 5th round FA Cup tie. Only two survivors made the squad that evening, Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes. The rest of the starting XI was unknown prior to the match. The match programme famously left blank spaces where the line-up would normally feature.

Ernie Woodcock, Chairman of the Fleetwood United Supporters‟ Club, told The Flowers of Manchester documentary (2011), “The programme did not contain one Manchester United name, because you couldn‟t name the team on the morning of the match even.” Gregg and Foulkes were joined by five recognisable names against Sheffield United, all of whom had featured previously for the Busby Babes: Ian Greaves, Alex Dawson, Freddie Goodwin, Colin Webster and Ronnie Cope. Greaves, Dawson and Goodwin had all part of United‟s title winning sides prior to Munich.

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“United will go on.” Match programme vs Wednesday

Perhaps to compound the enormity of the situation Assistant Manager, Jimmy Murphy, faced in his team selection both Mark Pearson (18) and Shay Brennan (20) made their debuts for the club. To round off the team, Murphy had been given special dispensation to sign Stan Crowther from Villa and Ernie Taylor from Blackpool. Whilst neither Crowther nor Taylor went on to make much of an impact in later United sides, „the forgotten Babes‟ went on to make 899 appearance for the club between them. Ian Greaves should have been on the plane to Belgrade but injury forced Geoff Bent, who sadly died, to travel instead. Greaves had already won a title medal from the 1955/56 season as a result of an injury to Bill Foulkes, which

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Captain and crash survivor Bill Foulkes leading out United against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup, 1958.

saw the full back deputise with success. However Greaves had not featured at until in the 1957/58 season before the crash, at which point he came into the side and made 20 appearances throughout the remainder of the campaign. After 34 appearances the following season it looked as though Greaves had cemented his way into the starting XI however following on from the rebuild that was required after the crash he only featured twice in 1959/60 and found himself transfer to Lincoln Town in 1960. Alex Dawson, 18 a couple of weeks after the crash, had made his United debut the season before, netting three times in three games against Burnley, Cardiff and West Brom. However, like Greaves, Dawson barely

featured for United during the 1957/58 season prior to the crash, appearing once in a 3-0 loss to Portsmouth at Old Trafford. Nevertheless the Scottish forward took his opportunity when afforded to him and made a 17 starts between February and May, scoring ten goals along the way – perhaps his most emotional goal coming against Wednesday in the aforementioned FA Cup tie. Dawson played more than a bit-part role for United in the coming seasons, adding a further 41 goals to his tally. By the time Dawson left United for Preston North End in 1961 he had an impressive strike rate of 54 goals in 93 appearances. Lancashire born, Freddie Goodwin, had only made 19 United appearances since his debut in 1954 up until the crash three and a half

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years later – yet in the 1957/58 season he more than doubled his tally by featuring 26 times, 20 of which came from the Wednesday game, onwards. During United‟s restructuring the following season Goodwin impressively started all of their 43 matches, scoring six goals in the process. However by 1960 he was sold to Leeds for £10,000. In 2011 Goodwin told Washington newspaper, The Olympian, “They took four players above the 11 with them in case they were needed. I didn‟t think so at the time, but fortunately I wasn‟t amongst them.” Colin Webster, the Welsh inside forward, avoided a place on the plane to Belgrade due to a bout of illness which saw him not selected for the squad. Prior to this Webster had made eight appearances for the club that season, having featured 42 times prior to the 1957/58 campaign since his debut in 1953. Webster helped himself to eight goals during this tough season and despite featuring for Wales at the summer‟s World Cup in Sweden he was transferred to Swansea City later on that year. Ronnie Cope, 23 years old at the time of Munich, was highly praised during the Wednesday game by Greg James of The Times who stated that both his and Pearson‟s “maturity, polish and skill left one wondering what other magic is hidden away at Old Trafford.”

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Despite having only made two appearances for the club prior to the FA Cup tie, Cope was a stalwart in defence, playing all but one match of United‟s remaining 22 fixtures of the season (the exception being a 2-1 victory away to Sunderland). He was similarly reliable throughout 1958/59 and 1959/60 campaigns, playing 33 and 43 matches respectively.

The manner in which this club bounced back, and the personnel that helped them do it, is really rather extraordinary. However much like many of the other forgotten Babes, as United rebuilt the squad, their positions in the side became challenged and in August 1961 Cope left United for Luton, having made 106 appearances for the club. Teenager Mark Pearson had joined United as a trainee in 1955, signing as a professional two years later. Pearson‟s debut against Wednesday saw him assist two of the three goals scored. Despite his inexperience, Pearson went on to make 13 further appearances that season and continued to progress until he left the club

for, ironically, Sheffield Wednesday in 1963. Of the forgotten Babes it was Shay Brennan who went on to make the biggest impact for United, making 359 appearances over a 13 year span, winning two league titles, two FA Cups and United‟s inaugural European Cup title in 1968. Despite his favoured position being full back Brennan was played out of position in his debut against Wednesday, filling the role of David Pegg on the outside left – it was a debut to remember as the local lad scored a brace. Interestingly a third of his goals for United came in that match, as throughout the rest of his Old Trafford career he only netted on another four occasions. It has become understandably easy over the years to remember Munich when thinking of United during the middle of last century but they also had a lot to celebrate. The manner in which this club bounced back, and the personnel that helped them do it, is really rather extraordinary. These players lost both friends and teammates on 6th February 1958 but they, along with many others who came into the club throughout this transitional period, honoured those who lost their lives in the best way possible – by continuing the Manchester United tradition. Their commitment and achievements will never be forgotten.

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BORN AN This month we have put James Booth into the Born & Red hotseat as he discusses David de Gea, disliking the former Nani and his thoughts on Ferguson’s replacement. Name: James Booth or Boothy Age: 17 Occupation: Student Where do you reside? Chorley, Lancashire How did you become a United fan? Dad supported them, I followed him. First match you attended? Everton at home, 2001. Lauren Blanc‟s debut. Preferential seating area at Old Trafford? Stretford End Tier 2. Favourite ever United player? Paul Scholes.

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Favourite current player? Phil Jones. Signing you were most excited by? David de Gea. I‟ve always rated him. He‟s a bit under fire from some but I‟m sure he‟ll come good. Least liked United player? Nani, of the past. I couldn‟t stand him but he‟s a bit better now eh? Gibson has a shout too.

Best away experience? Last year, the European Cup vs Chelsea when Rooney scored. The atmosphere was outstanding. Are you a shouter or a thinker at matches? Shouter. Best and worst things about the club? Best: Travelling the world to watch the best team in the world. Worst: Either the owners or the label of “glory supporters” people

Are you an away match goer? When tickets permit! Best away ground? Hate this question, it‟s always really tough. Probably Craven Cottage.

Image Right: Best away ground Craven Cottage

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ND RED automatically give you. Who do you want as the next United manager? Whoever it is won‟t be a patch on Fergie. Got to be Jose though, surely?

Biggest rivals and why? Used to be Liverpool but I think Citeh have overtaken, purely because of the challenge for the title that the Scousers are not part of anymore!

Any experiences with players to share? Not really. Rangers away last year I ended up in the ground very early (not sure why) and Ben Amos was warming up, I shouted “Ben” at him and he seemed genuinely surprised anybody knew who he was and we had a little chat, nothing special, I know.

Best moment as a United fan? JT penalty miss/Owen‟s goal (in the derby).

Best match you've ever attended? The 4-3 derby, without a doubt.

Sum up United's last season in ten words or less. 19.

Favourite piece of United memorabilia? Signed picture saying “Happy Birthday James,” from Giggsy.

Our best United XI? VDS. Irwin, Stam, Vidic, Nev. Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Ronaldo. Cantona, Nistlerooy.

Worst moment as fan? 1-6 or the 0-1 against Leeds. Biggest prick in ootball? Tufty.

Next manager? Got to be Jose , surely? Ronaldo or Messi? Ronnie. Evening or weekend fixture? Weekend. Champions League or Premier League? Premier League. Old Wembley or New Wembley? Never went to it, but I hate the new one, so old. Scholes or Giggs? Scholes (just). Home or Away? Away. Stone Roses or Oasis? Stone Roses, without any doubt.

Image Right: Best away experience: Champions League vs Chelsea, 2011.

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MUFCBoothy ISSUE 12, FEBRUARY 2012


THE RETURN Six months after retiring from the professional game Paul Scholes made a surprise return to United in their recent FA Cup victory over City. Al Monger tells us why it’s the right decision for the club. First an apology. As a rule, unless you're on the payroll of Rupert Murdoch of course, no writer likes to write stuff that's not true. So please accept my humble and sincere apologies for something I wrote back in August last year.In my defence, at the time I believed it to be true. I hacked no phones, I merely wrote from a firmly held belief borne from events unfurling in front of my very eyes.I had no reason to doubt the veracity of the information I conveyed. I now feel so stupid... My mistake? Simply that I wrote of a certain ginger headed legend that on 5th August, at precisely 9.06 pm, "so the curtain came down on his career as he left the Old Trafford pitch for the last time, substituted to the backdrop of the whole of the Theatre of Dreams standing as one to him. The end of an era. A great era." What tosh. Perhaps I should

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have envisaged that as with any great performer who has just finished their 'act', so, after sustained applause, the curtains always re-open and an encore or two is always given. You know they wanna, you know they're gonna etc...Know what I mean? Well in this instance, I guess I, and pretty much everybody else, just figured that oh-so-typical of the man, Paul Scholes had made his mind up and there simply was no turning back. No encores from this star performer. So what did I feel as news started filtering through pre the derby that he was on the bench, that he was back, that he would be adorning the famous old red shirt again, albeit with a 22 rather than the trademark 18 on his back now? I'm not ashamed to say that in the almost two weeks now since he returned my view has slightly changed. At first, whilst delighted,

and yes even giddy, at the thought of seeing him again I did feel that it didn't say much about our current midfield situation that not content with having a 38 year old performer in there already, we were now going back to a 37 year old who less than six months ago had called time on his career stating, in effect, that he felt he could no longer hack it anymore. On the face of it, it didn't send out great messages about the younger members of our midfield, albeit that some are currently not available for selection. But then I started thinking a bit more deeply. As per above, it was Scholesy himself who had called time on his career. And now, apparently, it was Scholesy himself who was telling Sir Alex that actually he was missing it, and that maybe he had been mistaken in his original decision. The fact that SAF had tried to persuade him to stay on beyond last

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versus Barcelona in 2008, but a throwback to the old days when he'd arrive with perfect timing in the opposition box to score with aplomb. A heartening sight indeed, and surely that game, with Scholes actually starting the match, was enough to convince most doubters that his return wasn't going to be akin to a prize fighter returning to the ring searching for past glories and instead finding the game has moved on and left him behind. No, Scholesy still has what it takes. And long may he continue. And long may we enjoy. season is important too, in that it shows it's not quite the panic measure that some harbingers of doom would have us believe. SAF truly believed that Scholes could continue. Only his utter respect for Scholes, and his understanding of him, convinced him that it would be fruitless to badger him to reconsider. He reluctantly accepted that Scholesy knew best. And so in effect all that has happened is that Scholesy has changed his mind. It may indeed be a short term measure, possibly, probably even, resulting in retirement Mark II this summer, but that shouldn't detract from what he can still bring to the table at present and in the not-too-distant future. I wasn't at the City game when he returned, but

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apparently on hearing of his inclusion on the bench so the concourse containing United fans launched into a spontaneous and continuous rendition of "He scores goals!". Hardly suggestive of massive disappointment at his U-turn. And a couple of hours later, reflecting on the match stats (and ignoring his part in the City second goal) the fact that in a mere thirty minutes or so of action he made more passes than any other player in the entire game (71 at a completion rate of 97%.... Ooh, look at me, 'Statman', way to go!) straight away tells you that he's not exactly lost it. The "He scores goals" chant was more cacophonous at the Bolton game of course when lo and behold the little maestro did indeed score. And what a goal it was. No, not a thirty yard special a lรก

One last thing. Who else read that so hurried was his return to action that Scholes had to go to a local sports shop and purchase a pair of boots? In a period in our history when certain unproven teenagers seem to think it a God given right to be paid the earth and be sponsored to the hilt before they've achieved anything of substance, how refreshing that a true United legend thinks nothing of going out and with minimum fuss just buying himself the essential tools of his trade. A lesson to be learned, and a potential reality check all bundled in there together methinks. Oh that some may pay attention and look to Paul Scholes as the perfect example of what can be achieved with the right attitude.

@Almanuman

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THE DAY THAT... No Way Beck...David leaves United

club and manager in the world. Granted I‟m incredibly biased, but I‟m still always shocked. The only player who had left the club and really upset me before this was King Eric. That said he was leaving football altogether so somehow that made it easier to accept. He wasn‟t leaving to play for someone else like Beckham was.

In a relatively new feature for the magazine, Rachel reminisces about a particular day in United’s history that was important to her... The official transfer completion date is down in the record books as the 1st of July 2003. The day that David Beckham, a United fan and player, would leave the club to join Spanish giants Real Madrid. It wasn‟t a surprise, rumours had been rife for a while that Becks was heading to Spain, be it for Real or Barcelona. It was also public knowledge that Ferguson and Becks had fallen out and there really was no way back. Ferguson was unhappy with the way Beckham had changed since getting married. He stated in 2007 “he was never a

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problem until he got married. Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing. He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part”. As we all know, Fergie is not one for letting any player be considered bigger than the club. So he was sold for £25 million. I‟m not going to pretend I was anything but devastated. I never believe any of our big players are really going to leave until they officially do because I can never understand why they would want to leave the best

David Beckham obviously wasn‟t just any player either, he was and still is United through and through. He was a fan of the club during his childhood and was of course one of Fergie‟s Fledgings. He signed with United on his 14th birthday and to me it seemed like he would stay forever as in my eyes, all the 1992 FA Youth Cup winners would. Naïve maybe but I was a young fan learning the hard way that football doesn‟t always work out that way. When Beckham left, all of Fergie‟s Fledgings were still intact, including the likes of Nicky Butt and Phillip Neville. This really was a

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big day in United‟s history. At the time of leaving he was the joint second longest serving player behind Giggs having joined at the same time as Scholes, Gary Neville and Butt. Becks made 399 appearances for United scoring 87 goals. He was with the club for 11 years, between 1992 and 2003. In his time with the reds he won six league titles, two FA cups and the Champions League. He was also voted PFA young player of the year for 1996-1997 and BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2001. Other than what he won he will be best remembered for his pinpoint crossing, his equally impressive free kicks, his crazy

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variety of hair-dos and that wonder goal against Wimbledon from the halfway line. So how an earth were we going to replace him? No player is meant to be irreplaceable but it felt to me like Beckham was close to that. Especially considering his love for the club, that‟s not easy to come by. We needed a big name and we needed one quickly. Ronaldinho was heavily being linked with the club as was Xabi Alonso but obviously neither ended up transpiring. Instead Fergie opted a for a relatively unknown and unproven player, one Cristiano Ronaldo. He would be United‟s first Portuguese

signing and would wear none other than the number 7 shirt. He was only 18 and cost the club £12m, or half a David Beckham if you will. I hoped he would prove to be even half as good. Looking back now, Beckham leaving the club worked out rather well for us and for him, proving that Fergie really is always right. I couldn‟t see it at the time of course, but maybe if he hadn‟t left, we would never have signed Ronaldo. I‟m sure we would still have achieved many trophies with Becks but Ronaldo as a player, in my opinion, is even more special, which takes some doing. Without him I‟m not sure we would

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have won the Champions League for a third time and maybe we wouldn‟t have more league titles than any other English club. Having said that, Beckham did quite well for himself as well. He won La Liga with Real in 2007 as well as the Supercopa de Espana in 2003. He then went to LA Galaxy in America wining the MLS cup last year. He has also improved the popularity of football in the US and it is no coincidence that other big name players have followed him over there as their careers come to an end. Beckham always said he would never join another English club and to be fair to him, he stuck by that as well. Given the nature of the way Becks left United, he could have criticised the club and Ferguson but he didn‟t. The story of Fergie kicking a boot at Beckham and cutting him just above his eye has become famous. If you haven‟t yet seen Rooney act the incident out on Manchester United‟s Christmas quiz, I urge you to take a look. Ferguson‟s reaction is priceless. Despite that incident, Beckham has only ever had kind words to say about Sir Alex and United. Just last year he was praising the manager and explaining his love for the red devils. “When I first went to Old Trafford as a young boy, you had the feeling straight away of it being a family

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club with a welcoming atmosphere. It was a big family. That‟s the reason I wanted to play for Manchester United. I was a huge Manchester United fan as a kid but if I had got a bad feeling when I first went up there, that might have changed. But the moment I stepped into being a part of that family, well, the way the manager treated young players like me was the reason why they wanted to play for Manchester United. The moment I got up to Manchester and moved into my digs, his [Ferguson's] door was open whenever I needed it. He had an arm round me when I was a young kid. He always said the door‟s open.” On his fall out with Fergie he added “He wanted to kill

me at times I‟m sure but he was a father figure to me and he was also the man who gave me the chance of playing for my dream club. There are no hard feelings from me about the boot in the face thing. It was forgotten straight away, within the club and within the team. There were other people who continued to speculate and talk about it but, with me and the boss, it had been forgotten the day after. As a manager he‟s got everything. I am honoured to have played under him.” Beckham leaving the club was a very sad day, but ultimately I think it may have been one that helped shape United‟s recent history into being a very successful period. That said, I‟m not sure I ever stopped missing him.

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ISSUE 12, FEBRUARY 2012


about three hours, I have long since stopped asking the staff to put Rooney on the back of my shirt, then when I have been escorted off the premises I head back home to Stockport.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CITY FAN By Vinnie Shaw Hello readers, I have been asked by those good chappettes in this fanzine to describe a day in the life of a City fan. Well I have to say that, in the main my day is just like any other day of an unemployed person but being a blue I must say that my days are just that little bit more special. I wake up in my house in Stockport at around 10.30am. One doesn‟t like to arise too early just in case I start a dream about Denis Tueart‟s overhead kick and I wake up half-way through it. The first thing I do is a spot of exercise. This usually involves standing in front of my tall mirror in the bedroom, turning around so my back is facing it and doing ten or so Poznans. Then I nip downstairs for some breakfast which is usually a slice of toast and a cup of lemon tea, extra bitter of course. I get dressed, I have quite a wide selection of City tops so it can

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sometimes take me sometime to select the right one, groom my moustache and get ready to start my day. Most days I make sure that I make at least three separate visits to Manchester whilst wearing a City top. I do this to ensure that any foreign visitors or media types see me in my City shirt and go away believing that Manchester is full of blues rather than reds. We must all do our bit during this bright new blue dawn to spread the word. When I am in Manchester I visit the City shop just in case there are players hunting for fans to give autographs to. A lot of people say that this shows how desperate the players must be if they need to look for people so they can sign autographs but I disagree I think that this, once again, shows how City are a club of the people. I usually hang around the City store for

When I am home I enjoy looking up the latest football news as one must always be ready with some kind of fact, made up or not, when debating football with a United fan. The first thing I do is log onto the internet and search through the various United websites. Redcafe, Republik of Mancunia, Red Issue, Football-UnitedBlogs. I visit them all to see if they mention City at all. Most of the time they don‟t mention City which shows how we have got those rags running scared and why I have volunteered to do this little piece for you, just so that we get a little mention on your websites. That‟s all we want, we want to be noticed, we want to be acknowledged. Just note our presence! Please! I beg you! Er, anyway, back to my day. After trolling the United websites I log onto Bluemoon. All my blue mates are on here. Blue Barry, Dave the Dude and Lorry driver Larry (he isn‟t called Larry but we needed a name to fit into his job as a lorry driver). We all have a nice chat about City and occasionally meet up to watch re-runs of the 5-1. After I have finished on the

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internet I make myself some tea. It could be anything really so long as there is no red in it. I have never eaten a tomato and red sauce will NEVER cross the threshold of my house. After tea I play a bit of online FIFA,my log on ID is Kinkladze4Eva in case you fancy a game, then I watch a few re-runs of all time great City performances. My favourite DVD in this range lasts for a massive twenty minutes and shows all five City goals from the 5-1 on a loop. After that it is time to put on my blue pyjamas and head off to bed where I dream wonderful dreams of the day when City conquer Europe and we are mentioned in the same breath as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

@TheShaw2009

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The Final Word This is historically the period in which we kick up a gear and show all the clubs around us exactly what we are made of. Tough games are on the horizon as we maintain pressure on City at the top of the table. The distraction of European football is also back, albeit not in the competition we all want but perhaps this could work well for the club. Another chance to give the likes of Pogba and Fryers more game time, as well as others who will be returning from long term injury. As we say every month, weâ€&#x;re in for an exciting period and hopefully by next issue weâ€&#x;ll be on top.

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ISSUE FEBRUARY Issue 13 is out on Monday 5th12, March 2012 2012

Football United Fanzine Issue 12 - Manchester United's premier online magazine  

Football United Fanzine is back with its 12th offering. Manchester United's first exclusively online magazine is written by United fans for...

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