Tag Archives: United

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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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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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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The rise and rise of Spanish super Stopper David de Gea.

Just as the ink was drying on the five year contract agreement signed by 20 year old Spanish goalkeeping sensation David de Gea, a sense of optimism was ushering through many a Manchester United supporters worldwide, for arguably the most promising young goalkeeper in the world had signed for the club in a rather prolonged transfer move worth some 18-20 million pounds, depending on the sources that you might look to believe.

And while some would still argue that the  transfer fee paid for his services to Atletico Madrid is pretty steep for a 20 year old with very limited experience of playing in a European top league, what needs a bigger mention here  is the fact that United have extensively scouted him during his matches over the last year and a half, almost as if he had already been hand picked to be the heir to the legendary Dutchman Edwin van der Sar and it was going to be a matter of when rathern if Sir Alex was going to get him, with the first contact that United made for him dating to as far back as January 2010. And while Sir Alex has made the odd error in buying young players with potential, more often than not he does get it right often unearthing previously unknown gems(Chicharito being a glittering example of a previously unheard name, now having a worldwide fan following), and to bank against the great man’s judgement is a risk you take at your own peril(cue-Alan Hansen).

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Dimitar Berbatov: The story of a failed genius

For the last 3 years, or slightly less, Dimitar Berbatov has perhaps been that one player to have shouldered the disappointment of not one but several United fans (read millions and still counting). But the disappointment which bothered him the most, and still does, is the one of himself.

The big Bulgarian’s impending move to Manchester United was followed with great curiosity across the footballing world. Sir Alex openly admitted interest in him, breach of code they said. Tottenham were determined to milk it and sure they did when Berbatov moved to MUFC rejecting City in the process who also had their bid accepted. The fee was supposedly something around 30.5 million pounds and here I am writing this.

Berbatov signing with MUFC.
Berbatov displaying his new jersey amidst much razzmatazz

The new no.9 started off his United career with an assist against Liverpool. Mesmerizing ball control, turning around the defender and sliding a neat pass for Tevez. Sign of things to come? The match ended in 2-1,and yes United lost. First league defeat of the season and first to Liverpool since 2002 in the league coincided with his debut. The next game could not have come at a better time for Berba, Chelsea away and maybe time to mark his arrival. In retrospect, had his shot gone in that day the story could have been far different. Ji Sung tapped in of the rebound from Berba’s shot which was parried by Cech. Still waiting.

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