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« on: May 12, 2008, 10:56:35 AM »
Man Utd wins 10th Premier League title in 16 yearsUpdated: May 12, 2008, 1:06 AM EST 1544 comments add this RSS blog email print WIGAN, England (AP) - Manchester United won its 10th Premier League title in 16 years and second in a row by beating Wigan 2-0 Sunday on the final day of the season.

Chelsea, which went into its final game even on points with United but way behind on goal difference, was held to a 1-1 draw by Bolton and wound up two points behind in an anticlimactic finish.

Premier League Fantasy Challenge

While Alex Ferguson celebrated his 21st trophy in 22 years at Old Trafford, Chelsea finished runner-up for the second straight season. But the team will get a chance to bounce back when it plays United in the Champions League final on May 21 in Moscow.

Lower down the standings, third-place Arsenal, despite its five-point lead in February and attractive style of play, failed to win a trophy for the third season in a row. Fourth-place Liverpool still aren't close to winning a first league title since 1990 after finishing 11 points behind.

United won with 87 points and Chelsea had 85, which was still the closest finish since United edged Arsenal by one point in 1999.

Now, 17-time English champion United is chasing Liverpool's all-time record of 18 league titles.

"I think it will come," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who has 21 individual trophies to his name in 22 seasons at Old Trafford. "This team is developing all the time. It's a good young team and there's plenty of years left in them."

Ferguson will get a chance at another trophy on May 21 in the Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow.

"The great thing is we're bouncing in to the (Champions League) final," Ferguson said.

Chelsea manager Avram Grant said his team got close but not close enough.

"We wanted very much to win the league, but it was never, ever even for one minute in our hands," Grant said. "Even today, when it was 1-0.

"You cannot say it was disappointing because we were never in first place to lose it, so we need to be very proud of what we did this year."

Arsenal finished the season four points behind United but effectively lost out after a 2-1 defeat to the defending champions left it nine points back.

"I feel quality-wise we have been remarkable the whole season," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said after his team finished with a 1-0 victory at Sunderland. "I have never had a team that has consistently produced quality games like this team.

 This year, the Premier League, for maybe the first time in the last four or five years, was exciting until the last day of the season, and we have contributed to that."

Theo Walcott scored Arsenal's only goal in the 24th minute.

At the other end, Birmingham and Reading were relegated despite winning with four-goal performances. Birmingham beat Blackburn 4-1 and Reading defeated last-place Derby 4-0. But Fulham survived after a 1-0 victory at FA Cup finalist Portsmouth on Danny Murphy's 76th-minute goal.

"I am delighted we did it but, at the same time, I can't help but think how close we were to going down and how sad it must be for Reading and Birmingham today," said Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, whose team won four of last five games. "In all the jubilation, I must say we were not that far away from it being us and not them, so they have all my sympathy tonight."

The most stunning result of the final day was Manchester City's 8-1 loss at Middlesbrough in what could be Sven-Goran Eriksson's final game as City manager. After Afonso Alves scored three times for Boro, Eriksson's future is in doubt after failing to get City into European competition next season after a ninth-place finish.

Eriksson, who has been in charge for one season, said he soon expected to hear about his future from the club's owner, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

"To live in the unsecure is never good for anyone but I hope to not be living in the unsecure very soon, within hours," the Swede said. "I expect to speak to people - or they speak to me - from the owner's side, people in the club who work daily within the club."

Liverpool won at Tottenham 2-0 with goals by Andriy Voronin and Fernando Torres, who finished the season with 24 in the league.

« on: May 12, 2008, 10:53:45 AM »
To ko za'a kwace mana?

« on: May 07, 2008, 03:57:50 AM »
Ryan Giggs has warned his Manchester United team-mates that Wigan will not roll over and hand them the title on Sunday.

United travel to their North West neighbours aware that victory over Steve Bruce's side would see them retain the title they prised from Chelsea last season.

The championship race could not be more evenly poised heading into the campaign's final weekend, with Chelsea level on points with their Manchester counterparts but trailing significantly in terms of goal difference.

While United are odds-on to get the required result, Wigan have shown this season in taking points off Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea that they are no longer the whipping boys of the 'big four', a fact not lost on Giggs.

"It's in our hands, which is all you can ask for," he told MUTV.

"It's going to be a tough game. Wigan have got some decent players. They showed that when they played Chelsea and got a draw.

"But no matter what happens with Chelsea, it's still in our hands and we've got to be professional and do our job."

« on: May 07, 2008, 03:55:29 AM »
Manucho is looking forward to the chance of training with Manchester United this summer.

The Angolan international joined United in January from Petro Atletico after impressing Sir Alex Ferguson during a trial spell.

The 25-year-old, who had an outstanding Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where he scored four-goals, was loaned out to Greek giants Panathinaikos.

After a slow start to his time in Athens, Manucho has figured prominently over the last month - including a goal on his debut against Larisa.

Now Manucho is to report to United's Carrington training HQ in July with the rest of the first-team.


"This is great news because my dream is to play for Manchester United since I signed for them in January," said Manucho.

"I hope I can take my chance and prove that I can play in The Premier League.

"During my time in Greece, I feel that I've adapted well to European football and it's been a good test for me ahead of playing in England."

Ferguson's immediate plans for Manucho remain unclear and it is also not yet known whether he will qualify for a work-permit after failing to land one in January.

« on: May 07, 2008, 03:53:21 AM »
06/05/2008 09:01, Report by Ben Hibbs

Nani says sorry for red cardNani has apologised for getting himself needlessly sent off against West Ham in the Reds' 4-1 victory at the weekend.

With United 3-1 up at Old Trafford at the time, the Portuguese winger got involved in a scuffle with Lucas Neill. The Australian defender certainly looked to have provoked Nani, but the United starlet was correctly dismissed for reacting by going head-to-head with the Hammers defender.

Sir Alex Ferguson described Nani's actions as "immature", especially considering that, at this stage of the season, United could have done without playing half a game with only ten men.

In the end it made no difference to the overall outcome of the game, but 21-year-old Nani has since recognised his misdemeanour and is clearly contrite.

"I recognise my action was a thoughtless one," he said. "But I also have to say I was provoked and attacked.

"I regret what I did and want to publicly ask for forgiveness."

« on: September 07, 2007, 02:53:31 AM »
Ferguson: Happy with youngsters

Sir Alex Ferguson has highlighted the latest group of young players that he thinks will become the back-bone of Manchester United's future.

Despite spending huge money on bringing the likes of Carlos Tevez, Anderson, Nani and Owen Hargreaves to the club this summer - Ferguson is quick to point out his current haul of starlets will have a huge part to play this season, and beyond.

Ferguson has revealed that he expects the likes of Dong Fangzhuo, Fraizer Campbell, Darron Gibson, Chris Eagles, Gerard Pique, Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson all to make major strides in the near future.

Tipped for top

"I think we've got a terrific bunch with Dong, Campbell, Martin, Gibson, Eagles - who has come on unbelievably well - Pique, Evans, Simpson... they're all excellent," he told Inside United.

"The hardest thing will be to manage the situation, but we have plans that'll ensure they get enough football.

"We have to have players here who understand the dynamics of the operation of the club.

"When we're going for everything, some of them will have to be patient. They're going to get chances, and play games, and in those matches they can be important players.

"It's a challenge for me and the staff to make sure we're being fair and picking the right team.

"It's also a challenge for the players to show loyalty to us, and if they don't think that we're being fair, then they have every right to come and see me. The door is always open."


Ferguson insisted his young stars must be patient, but if they are, then they will get their rewards.

"Look at players like Phil Neville and Nicky Butt. For three or four years they weren't regular starters, but they loved the club, they were patient and prepared to accept that they wouldn't play every game, but they always got 20-odd games a season," he said.

"You can't do it forever, and you have to be fair to them, and let them move on when they want to.

"I mean, Nicky and Phil can sit back and think: 'I've got eight or nine medals from my time there', which is a fantastic achievement.

"Nicky played in the European Cup final, mainly because of the suspensions of Keane and Scholes. Phil played in the 1996 FA Cup final against Liverpool, Gary didn't make that one, he was on the subs' bench. Those are great rewards for being patient."

« on: September 07, 2007, 02:32:49 AM »

« on: August 25, 2005, 03:46:26 AM »
Gary Neville will be out for at least a month after tearing a groin muscle in Manchester United's win over Debrecen.

The full back was hurt after just 10 minutes of the game in Hungary and was taken from the field on a golf cart.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed at half time that Neville would be absent for 'four to five weeks'.

The injury is not only a blow for the Red Devils boss but also for England coach Sven Goran Eriksson.

Neville will be missing for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Northern Ireland as he would have been an automatic choice for the right back berth.

"It was a typical groin injury you suffer on pitches like that," said Ferguson.

"It was a soft surface which is unusual for this time of year that contributed to the problem.

"Gary's experience is vital to us. He has been such an important player over the year for us.

"But I believe we have adequate cover."

Reflecting on the UEFA Champions League triumph over Debrecen, Ferguson was buoyed by the performance as United won 3-0 in Budapest.

The success gave the Premiership club a 6-0 aggregate triumph and Ferguson was delighted with the display, particularly the two goals scored by Gabriel Heinze.

"That was a surprise but you don't care where the goals come from," Ferguson told Channel Five.

"I'm quite happy that anyone scores a goal and Kieran Richardson also scored.

"I'm pleased with the performance. It was a difficult pitch and we kept good discipline, passed the ball well most of the time and to win 3-0 away from home is a very good scoreline.

"There was too much importance attached to the game to lose concentration and focus and that showed tonight."

« on: August 25, 2005, 03:45:23 AM »
Cristiano Ronaldo has backed new signing Park Ji-sung to be a big success at Manchester United.

The South Korean has started the first two Premiership games of the season for United in place of Ronaldo, but the Portuguese star is not bitter.

Ronaldo says that although he is disappointed not to start a game, he understands the need for a strong squad for the season.

The 20-year-old believes former PSV Eindhoven man Park is a great addition to Sir Alex Ferguson's side and is backing him to be a success at Old Trafford.

"We already have some great midfielders," Ronaldo told United Review. "We have another now Park has arrived - I'm sure he's going to do very well.

"Of course, you all want to play every game, but the most important thing is that the team is winning.

"That's something every player here believes. And the competition for places can only be a good thing for the team.

"We have a very talented group of youngsters and I believe we can only improve as a group as every season goes by."

« on: August 25, 2005, 03:44:10 AM »
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged Alan Smith to prove he can become Roy Keane's long-term successor.
The former Leeds striker is being handed the chance to reinvent himself as a midfield terrier with the sale of Phil Neville increasing the likelihood that Smith will become Keane's deputy.

As the England international prepares to line up in that role against Debrecen in Hungary, Ferguson has few doubts regarding the switch.

"We've got two players with small injuries to John O'Shea and Mikael Silvestre," Ferguson informed Sky Sports News. "So they're out anyway and Roy Keane is left behind, simply because it's a good opportunity to make that change.

"Alan will play in the centre. There won't be many changes but those three are out from Saturday.

"It's worth utilising his abilities in there. He's got great personality, great character and is a very committed player. He's quick and has got a lot of great assets to play that position and, obviously, I think he relishes that challenge.

"Someone has to eventually [replace Keane]. Manchester United have always been able to find someone to turn the corner and do a job. From a great player like Bryan Robson or Roy Keane or whatever. That happens and the history of our club is like that, it will happen eventually and Alan is going to get an opportunity to see what he does."

Ferguson is pleased with his side's form going into the UEFA Champions League match in Budapest, as United hold a 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

"We have to be sensible about it," he explained. "I feel we had to play well to win our last game and I think they're a very good team. Their form has been fantastic in the Hungarian league.

"It's a matter of not being complacent, make sure our game is high-tempo and they have to work hard to get anything they think they can get.

"It's been a good start and I think the spirit of the team is very good.

"I think Saturday was one of these games where [Aston] Villa provided a fantastic challenge to us.

"The way they shaped their team and never had one chance was very encouraging from my perspective of the team. Any game at United over the years, the opposition has always had a chance. On Saturday, no chances were given away and that's encouraging and the attacking play, especially, in the second half was excellent."

Sports / 05/06
« on: August 25, 2005, 03:38:13 AM »
Sir Alex Ferguson believes in Edwin van der Sar he has finally found the goalkeeper he has been searching for since the departure of Peter Schmeichel.
Manchester United boss Ferguson has used a string of keepers with differing results since Danish legend Schmeichel left Old Trafford for Lisbon side Sporting in 1999.

The likes of Mark Bosnich, Fabien Barthez, Massimo Taibi and Tim Howard have failed to truly impress the demanding Scot, but he feels he has now landed the right man in Dutch star van der Sar.

Ferguson admits the capture comes six years too late, having missed out on his signature in 1999, but feels the giant Dutchman can help put United back on top of the Premiership tree.

"It was left too late and he signed for Juventus," Ferguson commented on when he contemplated landing the keeper from Ajax in 1999. "Now he is here and I think his arrival will improve our chances of success. He certainly won't do us any harm."

Ferguson feels the former Ajax keeper is the missing piece of his defensive jigsaw.

"We've pace and strength and huge experience in Gary Neville, Gabriel Heinze and Edwin and I think this is probably the best defence since Schmeichel's day in 1994," he added.

"With Edwin in goal there are great possibilities for us."

Ferguson claims van der Sar is a different character to Schmeichel, but feels his goalkeeping talents compare favourably with those of the Dane.

"He is laid-back by nature but he also has a presence," added Ferguson. "His personality and his experience show through.

"There is a calming influence, a reassurance, about him that is just what we require.

"He has made two or three good saves already and he has the ability to play 60-yard passes to team-mates - very important in the modern game.

"We are delighted with him."

Ferguson took his team to Hungary on Tuesday for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier with Debrecen, and he reportedly had a verbal spat with a couple of supporters at the airport.

It is believed the supporters vented their frustration at the Malcolm Glazer takeover, but were given short shrift by the Scot.

« on: November 15, 2004, 11:44:47 PM »
Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer blasted the decision to award Manchester United a decisive penalty during Sunday's Premiership clash at St James' Park.

The Red Devils were granted a spot kick just three minutes after Newcastle had equalised, when Shay Given clumsily bundled Paul Scholes over.

Ruud van Nistelrooy converted the penalty and Wayne Rooney completed a 3-1 win with his second of the game in injury time.

But Magpies hero Shearer, who had hauled his team back into the game, was fuming with both Mike Dean's penalty decision and the referee's failure to spot an incident in the build-up.

Rooney appeared to push Andy O'Brien in the back, causing the defender to stumble, prior to the scramble which resulted in Given's foul on Scholes.

Shearer was miffed that Dean did not spot the push and questioned whether the penalty itself would have been given had the situation been reversed at Old Trafford.

The Newcastle striker also claims Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson's recent comments had an impact on Dean's decision.

"Maybe he felt under pressure because of Alex Ferguson's comments after the game with Manchester City when he said he was never going to get a penalty," bemoaned Shearer.

"We are disappointed in our dressing room and I am very angry about the penalty.

"I was 50 yards up the pitch and I could see a push on our defender Andy O'Brien before Scholes went down.

"The referee was only 10 yards away, yet he can't see it.

"I think Fergie's been given one here, rather generously. A decision like that changes the match.

"I'm not sure a ref would give that to us at Old Trafford. In fact, I know that because I had one disallowed last year when I was brought down by their keeper Tim Howard."

« on: November 15, 2004, 11:42:11 PM »
Wayne Rooney remains upbeat about Manchester United's prospects of reclaiming the Premiership title.

The England international netted twice during The Red Devils' 3-1 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday.

The three points ensure United stay within hailing distance of Chelsea and Arsenal, who also picked up wins at the weekend.

Though The Red Devils languish 11 points off the pace being set by Chelsea, Rooney is refusing to concede defeat in the title race.

He feels his team can never be dismissed as title contenders and acknowledged the importance of beating Newcastle.

"With Chelsea and Arsenal winning this weekend, we needed a win to keep ourselves in the title race," said Rooney.

"I think we can still win it.

"It's going to be a difficult job to catch the teams at the top but you should never write us off.

"We all believe in ourselves, especially after coming to a hard place like Newcastle and winning.

"We still have enough quality to win the title."

« on: November 15, 2004, 01:22:44 AM »
Final score: Newcastle 1 Manchester United 3

90+4 mins: Almost straight after the restart the final whistle goes. Manchester United thoroughly deserved their win and this was one of their most impressive displays of the season. There looks to be plenty of work for Graeme Souness to do at Newcastle though.

90+4 mins: GOAL - ROONEY. It's all over now. Great work from Smith gives van Nistelrooy a gilt-edged chance but his attempt is cleared off the line by Bramble, only for Rooney to lash in the rebound.

90+3 mins: Shearer wins a freekick against Ferdinand in a dangerous position on the right edge of the area. The ball is played in by Robert and Johnsen eventually stabs it into the net but long after the whistle goes for a foul from Shearer.

90+2 mins: The crowd is unusually quiet - there seems a real lack of belief that Newcastle can find an equaliser.

90+1 mins: Bellamy tries to spark a Newcastle attack but his ball forward is too strong and goes straight through to Carroll.

90 mins: There will be four minutes of added time.

89 mins: Given lets the ball go out of play, seemingly unaware that the last touch was from a Newcastle player so it's a corner to Manchester United. Luckily nothing comes of it though and Newcastle resume their search for an equaliser.

88 mins: The cross into the Newcastle area from Giggs finds van Nistelrooy but he can't get enough power on his header and Given scrambles clear.

87 mins: Smith wins a freekick for Manchester United out near the right corner flag.

86 mins: There's a half chance for Rooney as the ball breaks to him on the edge of the Newcastle area but his low shot is well blocked.

85 mins: Smith is straight into the action to win the ball back well for Manchester United deep inside his own half.

84 mins: Alan Smith, sent off in the Manchester derby last week, is on for United as he replaces Ronaldo.

83 mins: A great run from Ronaldo isn't matched by the finish as he mis-kicks horribly wide when a square ball to van Nistelrooy looked the better option.

82 mins: A Robert freekick from 30 yards out almost gets over the Manchester United wall but just catches Scholes' head and loops harmlessly back to Carroll.

81 mins: There's a late tackle from Scholes on Bellamy but the referee resists putting the Manchester United man's name in the book.

80 mins: Newcastle's frustration shows as Butt chops down former teammate Scholes. It's a freekick to Manchester United.

79 mins: Manchester United are keeping possession well and almost create a chance for Giggs but Johnsen gets in well to hack the ball clear.

78 mins: Rooney does well to keep possession for United as the clock ticks down.

77 mins: It appears that Bramble and Jenas were both booked for dissent after the award of that penalty.

76 mins: Manchester United make a change for the final quarter of an hour as Ryan Giggs comes on for Fletcher.

75 mins: Newcastle are shellshocked by the award of that spot-kick - it looked a 50:50 call.

74 mins: GOAL - VAN NISTELROOY. The Dutchman makes no mistake with a clinical spot-kick as he sends Given the wrong way.

73 mins: It's a penalty to Manchester United after Given brings down Scholes.

72 mins: Some of the credit for that Shearer goal must go to Bellamy whose run helped things open up - Shearer took advantage superbly though.

71 mins: GOAL - SHEARER. Newcastle needed a moment of inspiration or a slice of luck and they get both as Shearer takes advantage of an error from Wes Brown to collect the ball and then he bears down on goal and fires past Carroll to make it 1-1.

70 mins: Robert and Bellamy link up well and Dyer almost gets in on goal but Newcastle fail to get a shot on target.

69 mins: Gary Neville gets a foot in to thwart another Newcastle attack and the Magpies have to start from square one again.

68 mins: There's a freekick to Newcastle out on the left but Robert's effort is easily headed clear by Manchester United.

67 mins: Robert nips past Gary Neville down the left but fails to get in a cross - much to Shearer's displeasure.

66 mins: Rooney tries a hopeful ball down the left flank but it's too long and goes straight through to Given.

65 mins: Manchester United will be delighted with the way things are going - Newcastle are struggling to create much in this second half and the crowd noise has dropped accordingly.

64 mins: A mazy run from Ronaldo comes to nothing as Ronny Johnsen stands his ground well.

63 mins: Newcastle make a change as Laurent Robert takes over from Kluivert.

62 mins: Another great run from Scholes, this time down the right, sees him find Rooney who cuts back but then fires high and wide.

61 mins: Rooney races clear down the left and wins another corner for Manchester United but again the delivery from Scholes isn't great and Given easily collects.

60 mins: There's a corner to Manchester United but it's a poor one and Newcastle gratefully clear.

59 mins: Manchester United are forced to make a change before the corner is taken, Wes Brown coming on for Silvestre. When the corner is eventually taken it's straight into Carroll's arms.

58 mins: Newcastle win a corner after Keane nudges the ball out under strong pressure from Kluivert.

57 mins: We''re back under way now - there's sure to be plenty of injury time at the end of this half.

56 mins: After a couple of minutes of treatment Silvestre is back on his feet but he hobbles off for more attention.

55 mins: There's a stoppage after Bowyer's boot accidentally goes into Silvestre's face as the pair tumble over. That proves to be Bowyer's last involvement as he's replaced by Kieron Dyer.

54 mins: Kluivert has the ball in the net after a slick Newcastle move but the flag has gone up for offside - incorrectly, suggest the replays.

53 mins: A great piece of skill from Rooney sees him take down the ball superbly but O'Brien is up to the challenge and wins it back for Newcastle.

52 mins: Great play from Scholes tees up Fletcher just inside the area but the Scotland youngster blazes over the bar.

51 mins: Ronaldo skips clear down the right but his cross is too long and Manchester United didn't have numbers in the box either.

50 mins: Fletcher tries a snapshot from the edge of the area but Given gets down well to gather.

49 mins: A great crossfield ball finds Ronaldo but he can't get past Bernard and Given hacks clear.

48 mins: There are calls for handball against Keane but they come from the crowd rather than the Newcastle players and play is waved on. Replays show it never went near his arms.

47 mins: Ferdinand leaves his foot a bit high as he challenges Shearer and Newcastle win a freekick but Heinze gathers well and clears when it's played into the area.

46 mins: We're back under way at St James' and neither side has made any changes at the break.

45+2 mins: Rooney so nearly bursts through the entire Newcastle defence just before the whistle goes for half-time. Manchester United deserve their lead but Kluivert's had two great chances late on for Newcastle.

45+1 mins: Bellamy breaks clear through the centre and passes to Shearer and the ball eventually finds its way to Bowyer inside the area but his shot is charged down well by Silvestre.

45 mins: There will be two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.

44 mins: Kluivert should have done much better with that chance and Newcastle have another opportunity when Shearer nods the ball across the six-yard box to the Dutchman but his header is embarrassingly poor.

43 mins: There's drama aplenty as a poor back pass from Rooney almost lets in Kluivert but he makes a real mess of it after rounding the goalkeeper as he shoots wide. All that happened after a clash between Shearer and Heinze which leaves the Manchester United defender clutching his back.

42 mins: Van Nistelrooy hits the side netting after cutting in well and unleashing a shot from the left-hand edge of the area.

41 mins: Carroll reacts quickly to get in ahead of Bellamy after the ball ricochets into the area.

40 mins: Ronaldo goes to ground theatrically after a tackle from Bramble and quite rightly doesn't win a freekick.

39 mins: The corner from Manchester United is too long and Newcastle are able to clear.

38 mins: Olivier Bernard needs to time his tackle on Ronaldo perfectly as he slides in inside the area and knocks the ball out for a corner.

37 mins: That was a great chance for Shearer and came straight from a punt downfield by Given.

36 mins: Newcastle's best chance of the match falls to Shearer after a comical mis-kick from Ferdinand but he can't take advantage as he lashes his effort just wide of the goal.

35 mins: Bowyer takes the freekick but it's cleared straight back to him and when he heads it back in the ball goes straight to Carroll.

34 mins: Shearer wins a freekick for Newcastle against Mikael Silvestre out near the right corner flag.

33 mins: Butt is quick to close down Rooney near the centre circle and Manchester United are forced to play the ball back.

32 mins: Jenas is penalised for a foul on Ronaldo in the middle of the park.

31 mins: Rooney takes advantage of a slip by Andy O'Brien and gallops clear down the left flank but Butt rescues Newcastle with a perfectly-timed challenge.

30 mins: Bramble bursts into the Manchester United half, dinks the ball to Shearer on the edge of the area and he chests it down for Kluivert but the Dutchman can't keep his shot down and it doesn't trouble Carroll.

29 mins: The offside flag goes up against Ronaldo to halt another slick Manchester United attack.

28 mins: There's almost a flare-up as Bowyer and van Nistelrooy tangle when battling for the ball, but both are quickly on their feet and no action is taken.

27 mins: Referee Mike Dean again resists showing a yellow card, this time Ronaldo being the man to escape with a lecture.

26 mins: Keane is lucky not to go into the book for another late tackle on Bowyer.

25 mins: United are playing possession football right now - to the frustration of the majority of the St James' crowd.

24 mins: Butt is penalised again for a foul on Ronaldo and it's a freekick to United out on the right but the delivery from the Portuguese starlet is awful and Newcastle hack clear.

23 mins: Jenas almost breaks clear for Newcastle but he's shepherded to the edge of the area and when he passes the ball back to Bellamy the shot that comes in is a tame one and goes straight into Carroll's arms.

22 mins: Manchester United break swiftly and Butt blocks Ronaldo - to the protests of the United bench.

21 mins: The freekick is taken short by Newcastle but it's nothing like as effective this time and Manchester United clear.

20 mins: Roy Keane catches Bowyer late and it's a freekick to Newcastle from 35 yards out - almost the same spot from which Shearer tested Carroll earlier.

19 mins: Nice play from Newcastle is wasted when Jermaine Jenas over-hits a ball out to the right and it goes out of play.

18 mins: Newcastle clear from the corner but are then forced to make a change at right-back as Carr limps off and is replaced by Andy O'Brien.

17 mins: Another excellent ball in from the right by Fletcher causes all sorts of problems for Newcastle but they escape as it goes out for a corner.

16 mins: Rio Ferdinand coolly chests back a cross to Carroll to break up another Newcastle attack.

15 mins: That was a great save from Given - but a square ball from Ronaldo could have given van Nistelrooy a virtual tap-in.

14 mins: There's a fantastic save by Given after Ronaldo takes advantage of a slip from Stephen Carr and beats Titus Bramble before unleashing a powerful shot which the Newcastle keeper does well to block.

13 mins: There's the first real lull in the game - which isn't a surprise given such a frantic start - as Newcastle play the ball back to Given.

12 mins: Fletcher upends Lee Bowyer and is perhaps a little fortunate not to collect the game's first caution.

11 mins: A lovely ball from Keane through the middle so nearly sets Ruud van Nistelrooy clear on goal but the Dutchman can't quite control it and it runs through to Given.

10 mins: A raking 60-yard ball from Scholes almost finds Ronaldo down the right but it just runs out of play.

9 mins: The game is incredibly open at the minute and Nicky Butt wins the ball for Newcastle to break up the latest Manchester United attack.

8 mins: There were question marks over Newcastle's central defensive duo for that United goal but Fletcher's pass over the top and Rooney's finish were both outstanding.

7 mins: GOAL - WAYNE ROONEY. It's been a fantastic start to the match and Manchester United strike first. The goal was pure quality as Rooney's first touch tucks the ball from Fletcher past Shay Given.

7 mins: A lovely chest-down from Bellamy tees up Patrick Kluivert who doesn't disappoint as he volleys in a fantastic shot which only just fizzes over the bar.

6 mins: Fletcher makes a great run down the right and whips in a decent cross but Ronaldo can't quite get on the end of it and Newcastle head clear.

5 mins: Carroll is again called on to paw away the corner which almost curls in underneath the bar - it's been a great start to the match.

4 mins: Gabriel Heinze hauls down Craig Bellamy 35 yards out and it's a freekick to Newcastle. Shearer is over the ball and lashes in a fearsome shot which Roy Carroll is grateful to deflect away with his legs for a corner.

3 mins: There's an early corner to United which is taken short by Paul Scholes but when the ball is chipped into the box it's headed clear by Newcastle.

2 mins: Darren Fletcher and Cristiano Ronaldo link up well but Ronaldo loses possession on the edge of the Newcastle area.

1 min: We're under way with both sides bidding to cut the gap at the top between themselves and Chelsea. Manchester United trail by 13 points while Newcastle are 15 behind.

Pre-match: Sir Alex Ferguson pairs returning striker Ruud van Nistelrooy with Wayne Rooney in attack as his side look to get their season back on track at Newcastle. The Dutchman and the man the Magpies tried to lure to St James' Park in August are just two of 10 changes to the side which knocked Crystal Palace out of the Carling Cup in midweek with skipper Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Cristiano Ronaldo among those recalled and only Darren Fletcher retained. Newcastle boss Graeme Souness dispenses with Andy O'Brien from the team which started against Chelsea on Wednesday night to restore the fit-again Stephen Carr and Lee Bowyer. That means that the central defensive partnership of Titus Bramble and former United man Ronny Johnsen is retained for a vital game.


Newcastle: Given, Carr, Bramble, Johnsen, Bernard, Bowyer, Butt, Jenas, Bellamy, Shearer, Kluivert.

Subs: O'Brien, Dyer, Harper, Ameobi, Robert.

Man Utd: Carroll, G, Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Fletcher, Keane, Scholes, Ronaldo, van Nistelrooy, Rooney.

Subs: Howard, Brown, Saha, Giggs, Smith.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

« on: November 15, 2004, 01:17:09 AM »
Ryan Giggs' long term future at Manchester United has been plunged into doubt after the flying winger admitted he has turned down the club's latest offer of a contract.

The 30-year-old has been a fixture in the United team for 14 years, making over 500 appearances, and is keen to see out his playing days at Old Trafford.

However, Giggs has confirmed that he has rejected the club's offer of a one-year top up on his present deal.

"I have been offered a one-year extension to my current deal but I turned it down," he said.

Giggs claims he wants more security and has asked the club's paymasters to reconsider their position.

"The club have gone away to consider it and we're now waiting to arrange a second meeting," he added in the News Of The World.

"I hope that they come back to me with a longer deal. For the moment, I'll just have to wait and see."

Giggs has not been at his penetrating best this term and has found himself on the bench on occasions recently, but it is believed that Red Devils chief Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to keep the left winger at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, though, has seen the club's board reject his recommendation and this could prompt a sale - either in January or next summer - with Bolton rumoured to be keen on offering the Welsh wizard a Premiership lifeline.

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