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'It's still ridiculous' – Van Persie's 2012-13 season at Manchester United

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 20:00

Jonny Evans and Anders Lindegaard pull back the curtain on how the Dutchman gave Sir Alex Ferguson his final title

This was Robin van Persie in the 2012-13 season: 26 goals, two hat-tricks and the Premier League golden boot. It was a campaign in which the Dutchman elevated new teammates and was the X factor in Manchester United’s 20th and most recent championship triumph.

Van Persie’s move from Arsenal in the summer of 2012 was the final masterstroke of Sir Alex Ferguson’s gilded 27-year tenure. The £24m purchase on 17 August had echoes of the Scot’s signing of Eric Cantona from Leeds United in November 1992 for £1m.

Related: Premier League at 25: the best player – Eric Cantona | Paul Doyle

Related: Manchester United v Galatasaray, 1993 – podcast

His biggest contribution was making everyone else 10% better. There was a sense nothing could stop us from winning

Related: Nemanja Matic: 'I've had my doubters. I knew I would prove them wrong'

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Premier League: the 10 most in-form players before lockdown

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 14:32

Harry Maguire, Mo Salah, Harvey Barnes and Sébastien Haller will be hoping to pick up where they left off

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

With a return date now in place and anticipation building, it is easy to forget just how the season was left off. Bruno Fernandes had made a fine start to life in England after his arrival from Sporting in January, yet others had dipped. Having looked back at the last six rounds of fixtures, here are the 10 players who were enjoying the best form before the league was suspended in March.

Related: The footballer who signed his first EFL contract a fortnight before lockdown

Related: Football quiz: when Manchester United won the 2008 Champions League final

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Football quiz: when Manchester United won the 2008 Champions League final

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:54

Manchester United beat Chelsea in the first all-English Champions League final in 2008. Do you remember the details?

More Champions League final quizzes: 1999, 2005, 2006, 2012

Manchester United did not lose a game in the Champions League that season (the most recent winners who can say that). Which team beat Chelsea over 90 minutes earlier in the competition?

Liverpool

Fenerbahçe

Schalke

Olympiakos

What was the local time in Moscow when the game kicked off?

5.45pm

9pm

10.45pm

11.30pm

Which member of the Chelsea squad had already scored in a Champions League final before the game kicked off?

Michael Ballack

Nicolas Anelka

Juliano Belletti

Michael Essien

How many times did Alex Ferguson select the starting XI that he picked for this final?

One

Three

Six

Nine

Which players started at right-back?

Rafael and Ashley Cole

Fabio and Branislav Ivanovic

Wes Brown and Michael Essien

Mikaël Silvestre and Paulo Ferreira

Who scored in the game and the penalty shootout?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Frank Lampard

Ryan Giggs

No one

Who was the last player to touch the ball that night?

John Terry

Nicolas Anelka

Ryan Giggs

Edwin van der Saar

There were 14 penalties in the shootout. Who would have taken the 15th?

Rio Ferdinand

Nemanja Vidic

Owen Hargreaves

Carlos Tevez

This was the first all-English Champions League final, but not necessarily the first final between two clubs from the same country. Which country was the first to provide two finalists in the same year?

Italy

France

Germany

Spain

Which of these anniversaries did Manchester United observe in 2008?

40 years since they won their first European Cup

50 years since the Munich Air Disaster

100 years since they first won the league

All of the above

Fourteen Chelsea players made it on to the pitch that night. How many of them retired without having won the Champions League?

None

Two

Four

Six

When looking back at the final two decades later, Alex Ferguson said he had one regret about the night. What was it?

That he forgot to set his TV to record the game

That he did not deliver a line as iconic as “football, bloody hell” for the post-match interview

That he did not learn some Russian to speak to Vladimir Putin

That he did not find a place for Park Ji-Sung on the bench

Which Chelsea player followed up losing the Champions League final by losing the European Championship final a month later?

Juan Mata

Michael Ballack

Claude Makélélé

Nicolas Anelka

What went wrong for United during their celebrations?

Rio Ferdinand dropped and damaged the cup and it had to be taken away to be fixed

Their team bus broke down on the way to their after party

There power went off in the stadium at 2am and they had to light candles in the dressing room

They could not find any champagne

Why was Ferguson given "plenty of stick by the players" at the after party?

He said it was the 'happiest moment of his life' and his wife did not look amused

He had sworn on live TV after the game

He was wearing trainers

He got a little drunk and nearly fell off a chair while giving a speech

1 and above.

JT, is that you?

3 and above.

JT, is that you?

2 and above.

JT, is that you?

5 and above.

JT, is that you?

4 and above.

JT, is that you?

6 and above.

You made it to the final but lost on penalties

7 and above.

You made it to the final but lost on penalties

8 and above.

You made it to the final but lost on penalties

9 and above.

You made it to the final but lost on penalties

10 and above.

You made it to the final but lost on penalties

11 and above.

Sir Alex, is that you?

12 and above.

Sir Alex, is that you?

13 and above.

Sir Alex, is that you?

14 and above.

Sir Alex, is that you?

0 and above.

JT, is that you?

15 and above.

Sir Alex, is that you?

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'This has to stop': Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford join calls for change

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 19:06
  • Manchester United teammates react to death of George Floyd
  • Pogba: ‘Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated’

Manchester United teammates Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have both posted powerful anti-racism messages on social media, as outcry continues to build over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days,” said England forward Rashford in a message posted on Twitter and Instagram. “I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world.”

I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world. At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to me more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers. Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter. #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaudarbery #justiceforbreonnataylor

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Manchester United extend Odion Ighalo's loan to 31 January

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 12:08
  • Striker due back at Shanghai Shenhua on 31 May
  • Ighalo has scored four goals in eight United games

Odion Ighalo is staying with Manchester United after the club agreed a loan extension with Shanghai Shenhua until 31 January 2021.

Eyebrows were raised when the former Watford striker made his deadline-day switch from the Chinese Super League side in January but the 30-year-old quickly made an impression at Old Trafford.

Related: Jürgen Klopp: 'Tony Yeboah had a big impact on German society'

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Workington raise funds reliving day they stunned Manchester United | Jamie Jackson

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 12:05

A charity webcast recalling a famous 1958 FA Cup tie is being held to help people hit by the coronavirus crisis

A Friday night in early January 1958 in Cumbria and Keith Burkinshaw of Workington Reds is meeting Duncan Edwards of Manchester United. Burkinshaw, who was in the army with Edwards in Wales, enjoys a catch-up with one of United’s greatest footballers before tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round tie, when he will play for fourth-tier Workington against Matt Busby’s English champions of the past two seasons.

The game takes place in front of a record home crowd of 21,500 at Borough Park and they see Workington stun a first-choice United XI featuring Harry Gregg, Roger Byrne, Bill Foulkes, Mark Jones, Eddie Colman, Edwards, Kenny Morgans, Albert Scanlon, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Viollet and Tommy Taylor, via a six-minute Clive Colbridge goal that gives them a deserved half-time lead. It was a moment to remember even if United did go on to win 3-1.

Related: Lask Linz win will help Manchester United play with no fans, says Solskjær

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Lask Linz win will help Manchester United play with no fans, says Solskjær

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 09:59
  • United’s last game before lockdown behind closed doors
  • Solskjær: ‘That must play positively in the boys’ heads’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said playing Premier League games behind closed doors will be a challenge but believes Manchester United’s recent experience of doing so will help his players.

Related: Pogba and Rashford ready to return for Manchester United, says Solskjær

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Pogba and Rashford ready to return for Manchester United, says Solskjær

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 15:11
  • Midfielder and forward recovered from injuries
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjær: ‘They’re looking good’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford will be ready to play when the Premier League resumes given each has impressed in training after returning from injury.

Manchester United began working at their Carrington base last week. Pogba’s ankle problem and Rashford’s back injury had ruled them out since late December and mid-January, respectively, but each are now fit.

Related: Odion Ighalo's stay at Manchester United likely to end next week

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My favourite game: Gerrard and Torres humiliate Manchester United

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 12:00

They fell just short of winning a league title, but on a glorious afternoon at Old Trafford Rafael Benítez’s Liverpool thrashed one of the finest sides Alex Ferguson ever assembled

It is a measure of Liverpool’s recent progress that the closest shot at a Premier League title under Rafael Benítez doesn’t feel that close any more.

Related: Football quiz: when Manchester United won the Champions League in 1999

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Football quiz: when Manchester United won the Champions League in 1999

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 10:29

Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær saw off Bayern Munich in the last minute but can you remember the details?

Which airliner did United use to fly to Barcelona?

Boeing 747

Learjet 45

Concorde

Easyjet

What was special about the date of the final?

It was Sir Alex Ferguson’s birthday

It was the 31st anniversary of United’s last European Cup win

It would have been Sir Matt Busby’s 90th birthday

It was Erik Nevland’s birthday

Who captained United in the absence of Roy Keane?

Jaap Stam

Ryan Giggs

Denis Irwin

Peter Schmeichel

Who started on the right wing for United?

Ryan Giggs

Jesper Blomqvist

Dwight Yorke

David Beckham

Name the missing United substitute: Raimond van der Gouw, David May, Phil Neville, Wes Brown, Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and …

Jordi Cruyff

Phil Mulryne

Mark Wilson

Jonathan Greening

At half-time, with United 1-0 down, Alex Ferguson told his players that, if they lost, they would have to walk past the European Cup without being able to touch it. Which of Ferguson’s former players gave him the idea for that teamtalk?

Eric Cantona

Bryan Robson

Alex McLeish

Steve Archibald

Who won the corner that led to United’s equaliser?

Ole Gunnar Solskjær

David Beckham

Ryan Giggs

Gary Neville

Who was the last United player to touch the ball before the final whistle?

Nicky Butt

David Beckham

Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Ronnie Johnsen

Which Bayern player was Jaap Stam talking about when he said to Ronnie Johnsen during the match: “I’m going to hit the arrogant wanker if he carries on”?

Lothar Matthäus

Stefan Effenberg

Oliver Kahn

Mario Basler

How many times during the Treble season did United come from behind to win or draw a match?

Three

Eight

12

17

Which United player had a punch-up with James Edwards, son of the chairman Martin, at the hotel party?

Roy Keane

Ryan Giggs

Peter Schmeichel

Nicky Butt

Before the final, what were the odds on Alex Ferguson being knighted?

10-1

50-1

200-1

1,000-1

1 and above.

Don't worry. It was 21 years ago

2 and above.

Don't worry. It was 21 years ago

3 and above.

Don't worry. It was 21 years ago

4 and above.

Don't worry. It was 21 years ago

5 and above.

You were in front, but lost in the last minute

6 and above.

You were in front, but lost in the last minute

7 and above.

And you have won it

8 and above.

And you have won it

9 and above.

And you have won it

10 and above.

And you have won it

11 and above.

And you have won it

0 and above.

Don't worry. It was 21 years ago

12 and above.

And you have won it

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Odion Ighalo's stay at Manchester United likely to end next week

Mon, 05/25/2020 - 14:12
  • Shanghai Shenhua refuse to extend striker’s loan
  • Nigerian’s Old Trafford deal expires at end of month

Manchester United’s wish to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan beyond next Monday is set to be rejected, with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua unwilling to allow the striker to finish the Premier League campaign at Old Trafford.

While the top flight could return in June following its suspension because of the coronavirus crisis, talks between United and Ighalo’s parent club have stalled. His deal expires on 31 May and United’s expectation is that the player will be forced back to Shenhua.

Related: Manchester United sues Football Manager makers over use of name

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Luke Chadwick: 'It's worth going through the torment if it helps others'

Sun, 05/24/2020 - 08:00

The former Manchester United winger on the fallout from discussing jokes about his appearance affecting his mental health

It says a lot about Luke Chadwick that he ended up feeling bad when he saw Nick Hancock apologising on BBC Breakfast for making fun of the former Manchester United winger’s looks on They Think It’s All Over all those years ago. “It made me feel a little bit guilty,” Chadwick says. “It looked so uncomfortable. Obviously people had given him stick and even though whatever happened years ago happened it wasn’t an eye for an eye. The apology is completely accepted but it’s not something I was searching for.”

There is no hint of bitterness about Chadwick during a conversation about his days at United, how his mental health suffered when he became a figure of fun on a popular quiz show and the importance of learning to love himself. While he is no longer the painfully shy teenager who once hid away from the world, revenge was not on his mind when he tweeted about the taunts this month and opened up about They Think It’s All Over in subsequent media appearances. The apologies from Hancock, the show’s former presenter, and Gary Lineker, a team captain, were nice, but Chadwick just wants people to know that it is good to talk.

Related: Nick Hancock says he is 'appalled' at himself for mocking Luke Chadwick

I’d rather people close to me were happy, even if it meant I was unhappy a little bit

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Manchester United sues Football Manager makers over use of name

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 16:34

Premier League club alleges that its trademark is infringed in simulation video game

Manchester United is suing the makers of the Football Manager series for allegedly infringing its trademark by using the club’s name “extensively throughout the game”.

The English Premier League club has taken legal action against Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI), the publisher and developer of the popular football management simulation.

Related: Manchester United's net debt increases by £127.4m to £429.1m in a year

Related: Footballers' names: are these players real or digital regens? – a quiz

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Manchester United warn of long-term economic effect of virus to clubs

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 18:27
  • Club suffered £28m loss in first three months of year
  • Broadcasters due £20m rebate even if season completed

The Premier League will suffer an economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic for “years to come”, with clubs facing a broadcasting bill of at least £20m even if the season is completed, Manchester United have warned.

United underlined the gravity of the financial crisis afflicting the wealthiest league in the world as they posted their financial results for the three-month period to the end of March. The club recorded a pre-tax loss of £28.55m between 1 January and 31 March, compared with a £11.117m pre-tax profit in the same period last year, as a result of the pandemic and the adverse change in the exchange rate with the US dollar.

Related: Manchester United's net debt increases by £127.4m to £429.1m in a year

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Manchester United's net debt increases by £127.4m to £429.1m in a year

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:57
  • United make pre-tax loss of £28.55m from 1 January to 31 March
  • Financial results show impact of coronavirus pandemic

Manchester United’s net debt increased by £127.4m to £429.1m in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, their latest set of accounts reveal.

United made a pre-tax loss of £28.55m in the third-quarter from 1 January to 31 March, compared with a £11.117m pre-tax profit in the same period last year, because of the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and adverse movements in the US$-exchange rate. Net finance costs for the quarter were £25.3m because of the rate, an increase of £22.2m on the same period the previous year.

Related: Forgotten stories of football: Manchester United v Galatasaray, 1993 – podcast

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Our new series, Forgotten stories of football: Manchester United v Galatasaray, 1993 – podcast

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:00

The Guardian has launched a brand new podcast series, Forgotten stories of football, which is something like a football version of Audio Long Reads – some of the best tales from the beautiful game that you might not have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists.

In this episode, the second in the series: few had expected much from Galatasaray in the European Cup, but United were out of their depth on the pitch, amid terrifying hostility and harassment off it


Read the text version here


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Forgotten stories of football: Manchester United v Galatasaray, 1993 – podcast

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 05:00

A new series from The Guardian, featuring the best stories from the beautiful game that you may never have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists, and spanning more than 100 years of sporting history from across the footballing planet. In this episode: few had expected much from Galatasaray in the European Cup, but United were out of their depth on the pitch amid terrifying hostility and harassment off it

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Manchester United urge their fans to stay away from stadiums

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:09
  • Prospect of crowds gathering has been a concern
  • ‘Keep your friends, family and all United fans safe’

Manchester United have urged supporters to stay away from behind-closed-doors games if the season restarts.

The prospect of crowds gathering has been a significant concern for police amid the coronavirus pandemic and such messages from clubs are regarded as important if games are to go ahead, particularly without the use of neutral grounds.

Related: David Squires on … biosecurity and the Bundesliga: fussball is back

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Nick Hancock says he is 'appalled' at himself for mocking Luke Chadwick

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 11:11
  • Broadcaster apologises for running ‘joke’ 20 years ago
  • Chadwick said jibes about appearance ‘lowered self-esteem’

Nick Hancock says he is “appalled” at himself after the former Manchester United player Luke Chadwick opened up on the torment the broadcaster’s TV show caused him. Hancock was speaking as a former host of the BBC panel show They Think It’s All Over, which Chadwick has said he used to “dread”.

Related: I still get abuse from Twitter trolls, says Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington

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My favourite game: Lask Linz v Manchester United, Europa League | Tim de Lisle

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 10:54

In their last game before lockdown, United played with the very thing we’re all lacking right now: freedom

The times they are a-changing us in ways, large and small, that we didn’t see coming. Normally, sitting on the sofa soaking up some sport, I’m a sucker for a cliffhanger. Watching cricket, which is part of my job, I’d rather see England lose by a whisker than win by an innings.

With football, I’m less professional and not quite so sporting. So let’s hear it for a match nobody would pick as the best game ever, unless they are Odion Ighalo’s mum: Lask 0-5 Manchester United.

Related: 'Industrial espionage': Lask Linz hit back after claims club 'torpedoed' guidelines

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