Category Archives: Man Utd

David de Gea: Oh he’s gotten United with life in Manchester lately

Last season’s end brought to an end the career of one of the best goalkeepers in United’s history, van der Sar went away to cool his heels in the calm realms of the Netherlands, away from the scrutiny of the Premier League. In his place, anointed was a young Spanish prodigy with limited match experience and whose age was only as much as the number of years that his predecessor had spent at the top level in European football.

The task while being obviously difficult in itself trying to follow up a legendary figure like van der Sar in the club’s history was added to by the unmatched hype and the continuous, and at most times, unwarranted scrutiny from sections of the media for both his on field and off field behaviour. The question of whether Manchester United goalie David De Gea was good enough, at the start of the season divided opinion due to some high profile gaffes that United hadn’t been accustomed to in the seasons gone by.

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Fergie at 25: A journey of belief, character and the hairdryer!

A quarter of a century, a mighty long time period by any scale or measure that humans would ever design. Back then it was a sorry story for the club from Manchester that Sir Alex was going to correct. Back in those days Liverpool FC were the undisputed top dogs of English football and the only one’s who could challenge them were rivals Everton, a totalitarian Merseyside affair. Footballing success at the time looked tough for Sir Alex and United, never mind success in Europe or achieving knighthood for footballing affairs.

Fast forward to the present day, 25 years gone by, Man Utd are undeniably the most successful club in the land, arguably the most supported club in the world and one of the world’s most valuable ‘brands’. And how times change, the real contenders for United are their city rivals Man City while the Merseysiders settle for lesser matters.

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Campeones Ole Ole Ole: Solskjaer in a new footballing Molde

The baby faced assassin they call him, a poacher was what they saw in him as a player, loyalty and selflessness is what characterized him and a Man United legend is what he shall always be.  Solskjaer had a long and successful spell at United winning a plethora of trophies and giving the fans a horde of unforgettable moments. Ole Solskjaer undeniably would forever be a part of United folklore, for he was the man who scored the winner on that epic night at the Camp Nou as Man Utd scripted perhaps the most unlikely comeback ever seen in modern football.

That night has since defined how Solskjaer would remembered at United, perhaps unfairly, because that one goal has overshadowed pretty much all else he did in the United shirt. It was a long and romantic playing journey that he had with the club but one cold night it ended, Ole finally surrendered to his crocked knee and his time at United was up, the era of Ole super show had ended at the Theatre of Dreams. “I can’t play any more” he said to Sir Alex but the wily Scot wasn’t letting go of his pupil so easily,  “Don’t worry, you were fantastic, you had a great career, why don’t you join my coaching staff?” the Scot retorted. Ole had been appointed as a part of Sir Alex’s staff merely seconds after his intention to retire was made known to Fergie. A new era for Solskjaer was about to dawn…

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Quote the quotes: The 25 most popular Fergie-isms

Just about twenty five years ago, a man by the name of Alex Ferguson had been setting alight the Scottish Premier League, he had achieved the unthinkable in the eyes of many by tearing apart the age old Old Firm domination on the Scottish territory. Quite naturally a move to an English team beckoned, Arsenal came close to getting him, but it was Man Utd who would eventually get the man who would go and become arguably the most important figure in the club’s history as well as the present.

And so, over to England went the man soon nicknamed ‘Fergie’, the Man Utd board thought he was a good choice and Sir Matt Busbie liked him, the fans were restless for a while before being pacified by a string of trophies in the years that followed eventually forging themselves into cult followers of the Scot. That man’s name today defines the club itself, just as much as the club helped define his legendary status. Over the years,  players have come and gone, managers been sacked and then reinstated again, yet one man survives who without doubt is the protagonist to everything ‘Man Utd’. And his legacy would be incomplete without his ramblings, at the opposing managers, to his staff, to the journalists or the hairdryer’s meted out to his players.  Here’s an attempt to recollect some of the most famous quotes ushered by one of football’s most famous men.

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Man Utd: A look at those who got away

Not many teams have dominated the English footballing landscape in its entire history quite like United have done in the last two decades and not many teams have produced as many high caliber players from within its own youth system quite like United have and still continue to do so with Cleverley and Welbeck going great guns before being bogged down by unfortunate injuries. Rather unsurprisingly, nearly 200 footballers(or a few more) have graduated through the United academy and went on to play for the club’s first team since the WW2.

Fergie- Believer of the youthful.

Regardless to say, there isnt a better youth academy and youth scouting system in the country that has consistently brought in and reared such prodigiously talented players, and the only one’s comparable on the continent would be Barcelona’s La Masia and the youth setup’s/scouting networks of Ajax, PSV and FK Partizan.  And during the quarter of a century long reign of Sir Alex alone, the likes of Mark Hughes, Lee Sharpe, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Neville brothers, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, and countless others, have either been brought through the various stages of the United youth setup or brought in at a tender age only to be moulded to play the United way, as envisioned by the gaffer.

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Man Utd’s Generation Next: Can They Keep The Legacy Going?

Nearly two decades ago, at a time when Man United were still struggling for a long awaited league triumph that had deserted the Reds for well over quarter of a century, an army of young kids, more ubiquitously known as the Class of ’92 were being groomed, kids who would go on and define how English Football was going to be seen in the coming decades as they swept aside all and sundry in the league and even in continental football, helping United conquer 12 league titles in 18 years to go along with 2 Champions League triumphs.

Fergie Classes!

But looking at in hindsight, the way of the Fergie’s Fledglings, as they were(and still are) famously known amongst the United faithful, was not the easiest or devoid of critics, it was towards the end of 1995 summer tansfer window that Alan Hansen made his egregious rant against United’s youth-oriented team after their opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

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The pointers from the Community Shield final!

Another day, another final(well at least technically), another trophy- the story of a club that has become a trophy magnet over the course of the last two decades. While the trophy that was being fought for might itself be insignificant in the larger scheme of things but this game for Manchester United was about sending down, rather hammering down, a message to the bitters from the blue side of Manchester.

After another summer of big money purchases by the oil-backed Man City, the hoopla surrounding the Community Shield had consistently been on the up, their fans had been gearing up for what was going to be the long awaited dethronement of Man Utd from their trophy laden mantle and City were supposed to replace them. What followed in the game was another one of a long line of embarrassments for the Eastlands club on the pitch. United hammered them and a scoreline of 3-2 is quite flattering to them, for one side was distinctly superior on the day. And as they say, every moment is one where you learn new things and this one was no different, you would learnt new things or reaffirmed old beliefs, here’s a look at some of them (City fans can start to turn away right now).

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English Premier League: A look at the future stars

In a league as arduous and as tough to handle as the English Premier League and in an era of massive windfall of proven overseas talent being brought through at colossal prices to provide an immediate fix to match most premier league clubs’ ephemeral first team ambitions and targets, it isn’t really hard to see why the number of academy graduates at most Premier League clubs breaking into the first team picture have steadily dwindled in recent years, more so after the continued foreign investment in some of the now prominent clubs in this much publicised and talked about English Premier League .

Regardless to say, the path that a lot of these youngsters is blocked by more experienced ‘pros’ which has served as a deterrent to the budding careers of many a young footballers in recent years. It only takes a moment to remember the potential the likes of Michael Johnson, Fabio Borini, Jack Cork once displayed but have since moved on to other clubs permanently or on loan, for the longing of first team football. But on the flipsoide for every Johnson, Borini and co, there are young success stories who have broken through at their clubs having clutched at their oppurtunities that have arisen due to a multifarious set of reasons- from injury to lack of squad depth or even due to prolific performances for the reserves. The likes of Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, Seamus Coleman, Andy Carroll, Marc Albrighton, Phil Jones have all announced their arrival to the big time in the last twelve months. And there’s no reason why others would not emerge from the shadows this season, announcing their arrival. So here’s looking at some break through kids who could well breach the cuffs and make their way to their destiny of first team football.

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Fergie XI: The best of Fergie’s best

More than 25 years ago an up and coming Scottish manager, who had achieved the unthinkable by tearing apart the Old Firm domination in Scotland, was appointed Manchester United’s manager to wake United up from its slumber and get the club a League title that it had failed to garner since 1967 under Sir Matt Busby. The expectations surrounding the arrival of the young Scot were immense, for he was going to bring United back to its glory pedestal, but even the most ardent of ‘mancs’ would not have forseen the impact Sir Alex was going to have on the club and its functioning winning 12 domestic league titles and in the process overshadowing the bitter rivals Liverpool.

Sir Alex- then and now

Today, quarter of a century later, time that has seen analog watches being replaced by digital stopwatches for training drills, from the times of unnamed shirts turned to an era of proper merchandising at the club, from a mid table club to the forefront of the battles for European trophies, Sir Alex has seen it all and been through it, being the only constant in numerous transitions that the club has gone through over the years, still putting out one top bunch of players after another for United each passing year. The colour of his hair may have changed but the hunger and passion for more has’nt, today he stands synonymous with the club itself, its greatest protagonist.

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The player, the legend and the fanboy in Red Nev

Its been almost six months and it already seems so long to not have seen that guy called ‘Gary Neville’ on the pitch for Man Utd. Veteran of over six hundred appearances for Manchester United and over 80 caps for his national side England, senior Neviller not being around Man Utd after all these years leaves around bit of a wrench in the heart, it was always going to, just that a sense realization finally seems to be flowing through about what had long been a painful thought of his departure has transposed to actuality. The chants about him(remember them?) havent been heard for a while, it pains but they might not be heard again.

Neville Neville, Your future’s immense,
Neville Neville, You play in defence,
Neville Neville, Like Jacko you’re bad,
Neville Neville, Is the name of your dad!

To the Manchester United fans, he will always be fighter that he was on the pitch battling for the colours of his club, he was afterall a fan who made it onto the pitch. He was what a run of the mill United fan would stand for, passion for the club and nothing but hate for that team from Merseyside, the Anfield Kop and the noisy neighbours from Eastlands, long bereaved of major silverware. Its not as if his exuberance or over-enthusiasm as you might call it hasnt got it him into trouble, but that was the fan in him to go with the legendary player that he was, victory tasted sweeter if it had been rubbed into the rivals- players and fans alike. What they thought of him or still do is immaterial, he still doesnt give two hoots to them, while most rival fans still get riled up by him which is like a cherry on top of the cake for him, for there is nothing better for the United  fan in him to cause a sense of vexation among them.

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