Archive for August, 2007

The Stretford End tribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Posted on August 28, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »

Few players throughout United’s history have managed to touch fans in the way and to the degree Ole has. While a very good player it is doubtful he would make the first 11 of many fans top united teams ever, in fact over his United career he was rarely a first team regular unless injuries suspensions or players needed to be rested.

Moreover he joined the club not as a fan of the club but of all things a Liverpool fan. So what magical qualities have projected him to legendary status? Firstly he is a likeable man, he has no side or ego, whether he is, playing, scoring or creating a goal or being interviewed it is about the team the team come first, he sees himself as just another cog in the wheel. Never once in his United career can I think of a single incident his ego has come out.

Despite as we know numerous clubs after him and despite often being 3rd or 4th choice striker putting in superb performances when asked to play and always giving nothing less than a 100 percent we never heard Ole moan or even hint at a complaint to want away. Nor did we hear about him seeing out his contract or trying to manipulate a better deal. And when he was injured what did we hear – the likes of Alan Smith singing his praises saying how much he helped players recover both mentally and physically!

Ole can also consider himself very unlucky; he has had critical injuries at just the wrong time to become the number one striker at United and to take over Beckham’s place on the right. Many forget that in Becks last season at OT Ole had taken over the right birth and had been playing superbly well, unfortunately for Ole and United injury was to wreck what could have been a wonderful last four or five years as a regular.

And although it is easy to get carried away as Ole the man we shouldn’t forget that while he may not have made the all time great United 11 he would certainly have been the first choice on the bench. I seriously doubt we would have won as many trophies as we did without Ole, I genuinely believe he was irreplaceable when he was required he produced over and over and over again.

Hopefully Ole will stay with United in various capacities for life.

Paddy Crerand, “Ole is a man who is respected and loved by everyone at Old Trafford and, as far as I’m concerned, he’s up there with the likes of Law, Best and Charlton as one of the legendary figures in United’s history. Of course, that goal in Barcelona in ’99 is the one that everyone will always remember him for, but we mustn’t forget all the important goals he scored throughout his Reds’ career.

Arthur Albiston, “Ole has been a fantastic ambassador for the club and an icon for the kids. He will be a sad loss as he has made a huge contribution to United and none more so than in that European Cup final. I cannot listen to that radio commentary and not get emotional over it. I was behind the goal jumping up and down. We will never forget that.

Fergie –“In the case of Ole, he has 11 fantastic years he can look back on. Ole has achieved everything a player could ever wish to achieve.

“He has been a great servant to the club and has always remained a model professional in his responsibility as a player, in his demeanour and his manners have always been.”


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Ole Ole Ole Ole Ole!

Posted on August 28, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »

Well it was only a matter of time before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to retire through injury.  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a legend at Old Trafford and rightfully so.  His commitment to the club is second to none, he spoke out against the Glazer take over and could play a bit!

The summer of 96 saw us lose out to Newcastle for the signature of Alan Shearer, but the gaffer had made some shrewd purchases.  In came Karol Poborsky (after a great Euro 96), Jordi Cryuff, Ronny Johnson and the legend that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck a formidable partnership with Eric Cantona who compared him to his French striking partner in the early 90’s – Jean Papin.

Most red will remember Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the goal he scored in the Nou Camp in May 99 and the memory of him sliding along the Barcelona turf with the rest of side coming to congratulate him.  He also scored a late goal in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool at Old Trafford – which helped us on to win the treble.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a legend but he was also a great forward.  He will be sadly missed at Old Trafford and I hope he remains at Old Trafford in some capacity.


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No deal for Heinze

Posted on August 21, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »

So after an embarrassing display in the public eye, Gabriel Heinze’s appeal has been rejected and it has been ruled that he will not be joining Liverpool. What did he expect? When does a piece of paper stating that he can leave for the right price become a legally binding document. It is an absolute disgrace the way Heinze has conducted himself over the past two months.

You will get people stating that ‘A player should be able to leave if he wants to leave’ or ‘If he’s not first choice then he is entitled to be unhappy’. Lets start with the first quote. As stated previously when does a letter confirming that a club is willing to sell a player for a specified asking price become more important than a contract? Yes if Juventus, Lyon, Madrid or any other non domestic side had come in for him i’m sure Fergie would have let him go. But to a domestic rival, a domestic rival who can be considered our most loathed and hated rival?? Heinze, Benitez and Liverpool in general are having a laugh if they think that. Why would Fergie sell a great left back to our rivals for, lets be honest, a cut price of £6.8 Million? He shouldn’t and he won’t. I have nothing but praise for Fergie for the way in which he conducted himself in this fiasco. Which leads me on to my second point about why he isn’t playing.

Gabriel Heinze signed for us in 2004 and was named fans player of the year in 2005. You can (well used to) hear on a regular basis around Old Trafford the cries of ‘Argentina, Argentina’ which although could be construed as a two finger salute to the FA it was mainly for the gutsy and impressive performances of Heinze. As time went on Heinze became more and more subject to injury – injured at the end of his first season and injured at the start of his second season. Fair enough, some players (Saha for instance) do get unlucky with injuries. Fergie brought in Evra in January 2006, when Heinze was still injured, in my opinion as cover and to be used in squad rotation behind Heinze.  Heinze then proceeded to declare himself fit for the World Cup 2006 finals and play a major part in Argentina’s tournament in which they where eliminated on penalties to the host nation Germany.  Heinze was then injured for the start of the 2006/07 season. Fergie had ever right to start Evra ahead of Heinze, which he did, and was rewarded with some great performances from the Frenchman.  Heinze obviously didn’t like being second choice to (in my eyes still) an inferior player and has thrown his toys out of the pram. He has shown no loyalty, before or after being second choice, as he continued to rate his country higher than his club who looked after him whilst injured.

Heinze was a fans favourite, but he is no more. Of course we aren’t that naive to think that a player loves his club simply because we want him to. Footballer players have a career and aren’t tied down to any club. They are free to move from club to club if they wish. However, the praise and treatment Heinze received from fans week in week out are only reserved for fans favourites, and he really has stuck two fingers up.

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Another game another draw

Posted on August 16, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   3 Comments »

So two points so far out of six, not the great start that we all imagined. You could argue that we should have won both games because we tried to win both games. But Reading and Portsmouth both did their job – not lose.

Last season we won our first five games and then lost at home to Arsenal. It was a great start, especially after Chelski’s won their first 12 games the season before. ‘It is important to get off to a good start’ where the gaffers words, and although there can’t be any fingers pointed at the effort put in by some of the players – it is clear that we haven’t got off to another great start.

So come Sunday we have derby day with an edge. Sven Goran Ericksson in charge of his first Manchester derby and at the moment the press are labeling him untouchable. I for one believe that we will win at Eastlands and win well. Ericksson has done well so far with his results but I believe that we have the quality, drive and attitude to over come an inferior side. We may not have done so in our past two games but Citeh will try and play more football and that is the reason that we will win.

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The Stretford End

Posted on August 06, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   3 Comments »

The Stretford End was once one of the most famous stands in football. It was never the largest standing are, the Holte End the Kippax fought for that award but the Stretford End for many years was hailed at one of the nosiest vibrant stands in Britain. On a Saturday the turnstiles would open at mid-day and the fans would already be queued up in their thousands ready to find their favourite place and stand with their mates, later arrivals had to contend with the youngsters in front of the fence immediately behind the goal.

The place to be was over the main entrance where a famous United flag draped over every game, unfortunately for many of us this place was all but reserved by reputation and age and more often than not was the starting point of most songs.

While probably the Stretford End’s only major competitor the Kop had a history and tradition of humour and friendly banter the Stretford End turned away from any such pretensions. The Kop had earned a reputation of clapping and cheering goalkeepers as they came towards their end, the keeper would put is arms up in recognition or clap the stand, the Stretford end took note of this tradition and clapped and cheered the keepers, the keeper naturally obliged with a thankful gesture only to be booed whistled at and heckled by every fan once he had made the acknowledgment, keeper often looked bewildered as if they had done something wrong. But the Stretty only cared about United it didn’t care how the world saw it.

The turnstiles would click for the first time for a 3.00 kick off at 12 and thousands would be waiting already, the fight to obtain the key positions began. The most prestigious spot was over the entrance to the goal where a large United flag would be draped every United game no matter what, these positions were held by the main men, youngsters would often try their dandiest to take them but were shoved aside. The terraces were usually full by 1.30 and you daren’t go for a refreshment or use the facilities as you would be lucky to get back before 3 and with little if no chance of making it back to your original position.

From 12 to the end of the game song after song would be sang getting louder and louder as more people entered, we were the 12th man and we knew it. The songs usually elevated from the converted position from above the tunnel, many of those songs still live on over 3 decades after they came in to being. Hello Hello we are the Busby boys, We are the Pride of all Europe….etc.

Today the Stretford End is no more it is known as the West Stand it is still the main area for singing and will always be known to some as the Stretford End but it has lost the fear factor, the reputation of yester year which it fought so hard to obtain. The King of the Stretford End – Denis Law has a proud statue at the top of Tier 2 a fitting tribute to a great man.

Many United fans have fought to bring back standing and have fought the authorities and stand up all the game for certain games especially Champions League games it is a tradition, the fans only sit down at half time.

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Manchester United trivia – Record British Transfer Fees

Posted on August 05, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   6 Comments »

United record Buys

Albert Quixall September 1958
From Sheffield Wednesday 45,000

Dennis Law July 1962
From Torino 115,000

Gordon McQueen Feb 1978
From Leeds United 495,000

Bryan Robson 1981
From West Bromwich Albion 1.5 million

Gary Pallister August 1989
From Middlesbrough 2.3 million

Roy Keane August 1993
From Nottingham Forest 3.75 million

Andy Cole Febuary 1995
From Newcastle United 7 million (6 million plus Keith Gillespie)

Seba Veron July 2001
From Lazio 28.1 million

Rio Ferdinand July 2002
From Leeds United *29.1 million
* This may not have been a record fee as United could have agreed to finish the installments early by paying less as a consequence it isn’t know if it broke the Veron transfer fee!

Gordon McQueen deal wasn’t as expensive as Kevin Keegan’s from Liverpool to Hamburg in 1977 for 500,000 but we selected it because he was bought by a non English club.
United have broken the British transfer record 9 times
Sunderland have broke it 5 times
Liverpool 4 times
Arsenal 4 times

United British Record Sales

Charlie Roberts October 1913
To Oldham Athletic 1,500 (also a world record fee)

Johnny Morris 1949
To Derby County 24,000

Mark Hughes June 1986
To Barcelona 2.3 million

A Scottish Club has only broke the record once Rangers buying Duncan Ferguson for 4 million from Dundee United in August 1993

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Giuseppe Rossi leaves for £7 Million

Posted on August 01, 2007  by Stretford-end  in Man United   1 Comment »

The inevitable transfer of our young starlet happened last night to what now looks like our feeder team for strikers. Villarreal sold Forlan earlier in the summer and needed a ready made replacement and they seem to have found one in Giuseppe Rossi. Quick, two good feet and very good finisher for his age, Rossi seemed destined to have a full and long career at Old Trafford.

Sadly for him and a number of fans who saw him develop since his 2004 move from Parma he will not get that chance as Fergie offloaded him to the Spanish club. Good piece of business for a player that we signed for free or an impulsive act? Rossi’s first team appearances where limited at Old Trafford and only made five first team appearances in a 3 year spell.

Where we expecting too much from him physically? After all we are now used to the likes of a Ronaldo/Rooney physique at a young age. Ronaldo and Rooney are two years older than Rossi but in terms of being physically ready for the Premiership are miles ahead.

I believe Rossi would have made a valuable asset to the side in years to come, but £7 Million for a player that has not played many games for us is a decent piece of business. What I mean by ‘playing many games’ is that he can’t be considered a valuable part of the side although has an abundance of potential. But how long can a manager wait? Rossi hasn’t really grown since he first came to England and you could question whether he can handle what some Premiership players dish out.

I would have liked to have seen him maybe go out another year on loan and then re-assess the situation next summer. Fergie obviously believes his chances will be limited after the signings of Anderson and Nani and decided to cash in on the promising youngster. Villarreal seem to do pretty well with out former strikers and I see this transfer being no exception.

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