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All Time Best XI Series

All Time Best XI Series: Centre Forward

United Centre Forwards – God Amongst Real Men:

When one sits back to construct lists of the best players on a team or the best players of all time, obviously the position has to be taken into account. And let’s face it, one position that comes with players who showed true skill, pedigree and a touch of class is that of the center forward. Manchester United has been blessed throughout its history with extraordinary center forwards who transcended their position, redefined the duties of that position and above all either created or scored plenty of goals or both.

For me it is easy to make a top ten list but where within that list does one place such incredibly talented individuals like Mark Hughes, Wayne Rooney and of course the King, Eric Cantona? Well let me start by taking the drama out of my selections right now. Anyone who has known anything about me over the years on this blog knows my love and totally biased affection for King Cantona. Simply put, the best by a country mile and the title of King is there for a purpose. As for the rest, it’s a short list I am going to offer because after these names, nobody really has earned the right to be included in this list of exceptional center forwards. Cantona may be king but the rest are not chipped beef by any stretch of the imagination.

Let me start with players who were well before my time but thanks to books, documentaries and the Internet, I have learned a lot about over the years. It’s hard to know where to place such players on a top ten list, which is why I refuse to make my list a top ten in any specific order.

Cantona is number one – all the rest are number two.

So let’s begin shall we:

Tommy Taylor – 1953-58 One of United’s most prolific scorers, Tommy was also one of the unfortunate victims of Munich where he lost his life well before his career was over. Tommy scored 112 goals in only 166 matches for United which for me made him almost Gerd Mueller prolific. So good was he that Sir Matt actually turned down a massive transfer fee from Inter Milan in 1957 because he felt that Tommy was just too good to lose. Even more amazing is that in his role of CF, he scored goals like an out and out striker. Impressive numbers indeed.

David Heard – 1961-68 202 appearances and 114 goals. Top player for Busby and scored big goals in big games like the 63 FA Cup where he scored a brace. Presently 10th on the all-time list of scorers for United and a player who could have achieved more if not for a terrible leg break in 67 which rendered him useless and within a year he was sent packing and was never really the same player again. Heard scored over 200 goals in his entire career in just over 430 matches. Basically, a goal every other game speaks for itself.

Stan Pearson – 1936-54 Before Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat trick vs Liverpool this past season, the last player to have achieved that was Salford born Stan Pearson. One of the all-time favorites and home grown, Stan scored 127 goals in just over 300 matches for United and just under 200 goals for his entire football career. He spent 18 glorious years with United and left many with indelible memories.

Jack Rowley – 1937-54 Initially Jack was bought as a left sided winger, but soon after he was to develop into a highly effective center forward in Matt Busby’s first United team. He helped United to the 1948 FA Cup (scoring two goals in the final) and also in their championship run of 1952. Rowley is one of only three players in the history of Manchester United to score over 200 goals for the club along with of course Denis Law and Sir Bobby. A long seventeen year span speaks greatly of this player’s value to United.

Frank Stapleton – 1981-87 The only man to have ever scored for two different clubs in an FA Cup final was also one of the finest center forwards to ever play the game in the English league. Stapleton unfortunately wasted most of his years playing for the scum at Highbury and actually scoring for them against us in the 1979 epic final where United lost 3-2, but once he came to United, the club and fans embraced him as one of their own. Not as prolific a scorer as some of the other greats on the list, Stapleton still scored over 60 times for United in the league and 78 times overall and played major roles in United’s 1983 and 1985 FA Cup victories. Great pace and able to run well off the ball, Stapleton was the perfect complement to old school strikers and was often seen playing a deeper role which is a “staple” (sorry for the pun) in many of today’s center forwards. I know I really liked watching him play and yes, my memory goes that far back.

Teddy Sheringham – 1997-2001 For me one of the smoothest and truest finesse plays to ever play the game with English heritage. The greatest complement I can ever give Teddy is that he played the game like a continental. Not known for his speed but known for his ability to thread a perfect finesse pass and for intelligence that was second to none. Unfortunately, United bought Teddy late in his career. He was over 30 when we got him and for many players that is the time one retires, not accepts a role of trying to replace the King. But to Fergie he was the closest thing to Cantona before he showed up. Vision, skill on the ball, finesse, finishing skill and intelligence are what Teddy was about. Yes the arrival of Dwight Yorke cut into his playing time but even as a super sub along with Solksjaer, he was able to come in and make a difference. Key examples of that are his goal and assist in the 99 European final vs Bayern and the FA Cup final from that same year when he came in for the injured Roy Keane and scored a goal and assisted on the other. A clutch performer if there ever was one and to add to all his previous exploits, he napped the PFA and FWA player of the year awards at the age of 35 in 2000/01. Sheringham was a three dimensional player who achieved legend status in a short period of time and who will always be seen as a fan favorite at Old Trafford.

Dwight Yorke – 1998-2002 A great little player with great skills and touch which allowed him to play the role of a CF or even an attacking midfielder. I think many felt that when he was bought that the club was getting another striker but the fact is Andy Cole was the striker, while Yorky had the freedom to move around, create and support in a traditional CF role. 47 goals in 95 games leaves no doubt that he was a valued goal scorer but his pace and ability often opened channels and space for others to exploit. Like Sheringham, it is unfortunate we got Dwight so late in his career as he had already spent a decade and scored over 70 goals for Villa. But as they say, better late than never.

Mark Hughes – 1980-86 1988-95 Was he a striker or a center forward. Fact is Sparky had two stints for United and in both those stays, he played the role of striker and center forward depending on what the manager wanted. CF suited Sparky well because he had great vision and skill with the ball at his feet. He was not just about finishing. He scored over 120 times for United in the league during those two stints but he really came into his own under Fergie’s tutelage. His time playing for Bayern and Barcelona taught him a lot about the game and how to be a more rounded player. A great scorer Sparky was also a man who came up clutch for us at key times. Evidence of that are the numerous big goals in domestic cup finals but most of all, his two big goals vs Barcelona in the 91 Cup Winners Cup lifted United to their first European trophy since 1968. Andy Cole’s arrival ended his stay with United in 1995 but Sparky will always be seen as one of the all-time great and versatile forwards United has ever had. His ability to play deep and carry the football as well as pass it leaves me to the belief that he was not just a striker but in fact, floated around much like Cantona as part of a two CF system. Loved that Sparky.

Wayne Rooney – 2004 The always exciting Roonaroo. I have always loved watching Rooney play but have always been frustrated by him as well. Part of the frustration is his fault as he has shown bad judgment and a fierce temper at times that has cost him and the club, but also, his inability to be consistent for long periods of time has frustrated. Add to that Fergie’s inability to reign him in and also not play him out of position makes me wonder what would have been if Fergie allowed Rooney to develop as the player he was that first game he played for us when he scored three against Fenerbahce? Let Rooney be Rooney rather than placing shackles on him and above all, teach him discipline and patience. The skill is there as well as the football intelligence and vision. Rooney has already scored over a hundred goals for the club and almost at a one every two game clip, but I cannot help feel there is more to tap into and if only he would grow up a bit, then who knows. Still for me, Rooney is the second best CF United have ever had because of his outstanding multi-layered skill set and because he is still so young that the world is still his oyster.

Eric Cantona – 1992-97 Quite frankly, the best. Bow down to the King. Eric was and still is not only the best and truest United center forward of all time, but in my humble opinion, the best United player of all time. For me he is a football god. There were better natural goal scorers but nobody possessed all the tools of the trade like the King. Passing genius, finesse, cocky confidence, arrogance, aerial ability, able to use both feet, dribble, run to space, and score with free kicks and penalties and just basically deliver using every tool in the box as well as being a Kung Fu master. After all, he himself coined the phrase “I am not a man, I am Cantona”. 64 goals in the league in 144 games say a lot but I would count the assists and the presence as three times that amount and ten times more valuable. The man just made us so much better and elevated the English game with his presence which I felt led to the influx of foreign stars. Long live the King and there will never be another one like him.

Let me end by saying that my admiration for these players on the list is boundless. Great players, great gentlemen (perhaps I would exclude Rooney from the gentleman part), but above all, they all epitomize the very essence of what it means to wear United red. Playing center forward for Manchester United is not just a privileged position, but a honored position much like wearing the #7 jersey is for United legends. And what of the open case of Wayne Rooney? The book isn’t even closed on him yet. He still has so much to offer and so much untapped potential to draw from that by the time he retires he may be knocking on the King’s castle gate for entrance into his royal parlor.

How lucky we all are to have a team that not only wins silverware regularly, but has since before the days of Sir Matt Busby always believed in exhibiting the finest and most attractive aspects of attacking football. And that mentality or attitude has gone far in allowing such talented player to shine and reach their full potentials on their way to becoming United legends. Old Trafford is known as the Theatre of Dreams thanks in great part to the great and sometimes epic contributions of these players playing that esteemed position. They definitely have helped maintain the fact that the Old Trafford pitch is hallowed ground indeed. Apologies to those who feel I neglected anyone for the list.

Van Wilson (Grognard)

 

151 Comments

151 Comments

  1. RedDevilEddy

    31 July 2011 at 20:16

    Grog?! 😯

    • Owen

      31 July 2011 at 20:21

      Grog always breaks his promises… 😈

  2. Rimmerstweets

    31 July 2011 at 20:32

    He’s not back……just written before he turned his back on the site. I think it’s a great article and proves what a shame it is that he couldn’t just stick to the football instead of getting distracted with silly bullshit!

    Sorry to disappoint Eddy.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      31 July 2011 at 20:55

      Milking the man after his passing… nice one, Ian. I am sure he OK’ed you publishing this. 😉

    • RedDevilEddy

      31 July 2011 at 21:28

      I smell Milk here…

  3. Jonny

    31 July 2011 at 20:38

    possibly written before he left

    good read Van…groggy!

    • RedTan

      31 July 2011 at 20:40

      A post from beyond the grave

  4. [OPTI]Madschester United

    31 July 2011 at 20:54

    I read dead people’s!

  5. [OPTI]Madschester United

    31 July 2011 at 20:56

    Wonderful piece by Groggy. Perfectly suits him and his wide range of knowledge on the subject that is: United and Football.

    Interesting read as well. Never heard of most of these guys. Who is Teddy Sheringham? (OK, j/k :D)

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      31 July 2011 at 21:01

      One comment. It would have been extra nice, if a headshot/picture of each players and/or an embedded YouTube video was included to highlight the specific players and associate the name and achievements with their faces and skills.

  6. Stephen

    31 July 2011 at 20:58

    Er, no Ruud, Ole or even Andy Cole? Teddy, Stapleton and Dwight Yorke are simply personal choices and not remotely better at all than the three I have mentioned.

    • Rimmerstweets

      31 July 2011 at 21:07

      They’re ready and waiting in the Strikers edition of the series 😉

      • RedDevilEddy

        31 July 2011 at 21:26

        Just wondering, how many pieces did Mr. Wilson write for this blog?

        • Rimmerstweets

          31 July 2011 at 22:23

          He’s more than ok’d it he’s positively encouraged me to keep him as a guest writer. At the moment I’ve just got his Strikers article and that’s it, but I expect there’ll be more!

          He’ll be back one day…….seriously, who thought he wouldn’t be?

      • Stephen

        1 August 2011 at 09:57

        I should have the read the article better, the joys of a boozy BBQ!

  7. [OPTI]Madschester United

    31 July 2011 at 21:02

    Teddy and Dwight were better than Ole and Andy Cole (who became a Citizen :/).

    Ruud was class, but a dick — his exclusion is fine with me. I would pick Berbatov > Ruud 🙂

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 22:39

      The 4 strikers we had in Yorkie, Cole, Ole and Teddy was just an amazing set of strikers. I have so much love for Teddy and Ole but for me Yorke and Cole had some thing telepathic going on. Some of the play between the two of them in the treble season was some thing else and one of the greatest strike partnerships I have seen

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVFTyaJO3ko&feature=related

  8. Lars

    31 July 2011 at 21:12

    Yorke and Cole are one person; without one of them they were nothing! They were the best duo in ALL of football during their primetime at United. I am glad we settled for Yorke after Shearer snubbed us…Biggest mistake of his career.

    Also, how is Yorke a “CF”, but Cole a “ST”?

    • RedDevilEddy

      31 July 2011 at 21:24

      The same way that Rooney is a CF and Hernandez is a ST.

      I know people rarely mention this, but in the Treble season, Dwight Yorke not only became top-scorer, but also gained the most assists with David Beckham. They both choked up 22 I think, meaning “Big Smile” contributed to 49 of our goals that season. The fact that he came deep, sprayed some passes around and contributed to the all-round play made him more of a CF than a striker.

  9. tonymontanna4united

    31 July 2011 at 23:35

    Thought grog was back for a minute before i read on, seems it was just a leaving piece written before his departure. Hopefully hes back again soon, but in the meantime more write ups from you grog please, it was outstanding as usual.
    Bit surprised you left out the other king, law, and ruud whose an all time fave of mine, but then theres been so many great talents over the years, i guess its unavoidable a few will be left off the list.
    Really great to see a few names from the past, like taylor, heard, pearson and rowley. I know from regular chats with my grandad, he has always believed had he not perished in the munich disaster, tommy taylor would have gone on to have been top scorer for both united and england. Considering he was only 26 when he passed, and had 112 goals in 166 apps, and 16 in 19 for england, its not that far fetched is it.
    Amazing to think in days gone by, we were capable of producing such players, from little old barnsley eh.
    But yeah great write up again grog, agree eric the king has to top the list. Fans of other clubs always try to tell me he was over rated, and despite the fact i remember very little of him due to be being so young, i only need look at the success we enjoyed, with him leading from the front, and the way he nurtured the kids like butt, becks, neville x2, and scholes, to see the man was an absolute god.
    Were it not for his ban after that infamous kung fu kick, we’d have won the league every year he was here. Amazing really. There’ll never be another eric thats for sure.

    If i was going to do a list of my own, based on what i saw of them and nagging in the ears of family members about their personal faves, i think id go for:
    1. Cantona (nothing needs to be said)
    2. Law (same)
    3. Rooney (seems a bit of a twat off the pitch, but on the pitch is amazing, and our talisman)
    4. Ruud (best finisher i have seen in my lifetime)
    5. Taylor (amazing goalscorer, and so sad as he could have been even better had he not perished in munich. RIP)
    6. Ole (super sub, great reader of the game, and not bad as a starter either. Still have this feeling for some reason one day he could return as manager but dont hold me to that)
    7. Hughesy (scorer of some of the greatest goals ever seen, fa cup final equaliser 30 yard volley against oldham?, 91 cup winners goal v barca all come to mind. Great player, strong as an oxe, and the ideal foil for eric)
    8. Dennis Viollet (another one my grandfather continuously raves about. With 178 goals in 291 games, i guess you can see why).
    9. Probably any one of sheringham, cole or yorke, who were all fantastic and some of my personal faves growing up.
    10. Joe Jordan (his record wasnt great, but my dad loved him for some reason, and is forever going on about him so i have to include him somewhere).

    • RedDevilEddy

      31 July 2011 at 23:39

      If you’d read the whole piece you would see that he talks about centre forwards ONLY, and not strikers. Great strikers like Ruud, Ole, Cole and Law will be in his next article, where he talks about true-good attackers who rely on goalscoring, and only goalscoring. A centre forward at United has to contribute AT LEAST as much to assisting goals as well. Or if you are Cantona or Rooney, have a presence that shows on the pitch by being the most powerful man you’ll find.

    • Rimmerstweets

      1 August 2011 at 00:04

      Grognard’s made the distinction between CF and ST, so some ‘obvious’ omissions might not be omissions after all……I’ll post his Strikers article in a couple of days……I don’t want to spoil you now do I!!

      😉

  10. Russel

    1 August 2011 at 04:51

    NO question in my mind that Eric was far and beyond the best CM Man U has ever had. Not only did he get the job done but he did it with a swagger about him that was matched by no man.

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 11:26

      He was at the club at the perfect time. The Frenchman who swaggered around like a lad from Salford

      • Stephen

        1 August 2011 at 11:39

        Agreed with that, he was the right player who arrived at the perfect time. He was an awsome player and had the personality to shine at OT. I was there for his debut and his first goal away at Chelsea, but what I remember best was his side foot pass that season to Irwin against Spurs, class.

  11. RedTan

    1 August 2011 at 11:55

    Speaking of united legends. The ginger prince in a dads v lads game at Stalybridge Celtic

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2020874/Retired-Manchester-United-star-Paul-Scholes-turns-charity-game.html

    Paul Scholes = Absolute Class

  12. RedTan

    1 August 2011 at 15:10

    Manchester United target Bastian Schweinsteiger coy on future

    Break the bank and the legs of any chairman that gets in you way Mr Gill

    http://givemefootball.com/premier-league/you-never-know-says-german-united-target

    probably utter ball sacks but…………………..

  13. Traverse

    1 August 2011 at 16:03

    Bad news. Joey Barton just became available on a free transfer 😯

    • Stephen

      1 August 2011 at 16:13

      I am concerned…….

      • Traverse

        1 August 2011 at 17:09

        He’s just the right role model for Ravel Morisson…..

    • Jonny

      1 August 2011 at 18:14

      if that’s not value in the market, then i don’t know what is…. 😈

      • RedTan

        1 August 2011 at 18:24

        Strawberries, 2 punnets for £1.50

  14. Jay wire

    1 August 2011 at 18:16

    Concerning the tour in general, some things have become clear to me.

    1. Abide as wide

    We ought to stick to what we understand. Okay, this fact has been clear to me since 2009, but it’s really been openly pronounced over the last 6 months. We play well when we play wide with two strikers. 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. I’ve long irritated ppl with long comments on how utterly clueless we’re at playing narrow. Well most of the time. We haven’t figured out how to pass well and the movement that is a prerequisite for such systems is,if not absent, disjointed. This is what confuses us. Anyway, with a more traditionally inclined formation and system, it’s simpler for our coaches to understand and instruct. Everytime we’ve played wide, we’ve looked great and have played great. Opposite with the narrow tactics(or whatever that was).

    2. Iron Man vs The Amazing Lazyman

    Cold hard industrialism, wins over super heroic powers in the real world. Berbatov without doubt is one of the few magicians in England right now. Probably one of 2, if you think of his former Spurs teammate who’s being linked with us. He chooses to play like art. Bringing color to the black and white nature of passing and shooting. His very nature demands that he be a class act, not even bothering to glance at Manchester neighbors,City, who were offering serious money. His interviews,reflect a man who feels privileged and indebted. A Champions League Final snub for the League’s top scorer,didn’t inspire Adebayor-Tevez classless reactions of injustice. He has shown great loyalty. Ferguson on the other hand, is an industrialist. He is ruthless. He doesn’t want him anymore and is doing all he can to drive it home. A complete snub for the Barca friendly may not seem much but to me it says a lot. “you’re not very necessary here.”.

    I don’t think Ferguson is cruel and sadistic, but he can be coldhearted if he feels it’s necessary. Ask Ruud or Paul”110%”Ince. The Guvnor was informed that a bid from Inter had been accepted, whilst playing golf with Roy Keane in the summer. He didn’t even know he was up for sale. Beckham and Stam have testimonies of the iron fist. I don’t fault him because even if I don’t agree with his decisions, he acts in good faith in trying to better the team.

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 22:24

      Interesting thoughts on Berbatov and I suppose only time will tell. But it does make you think when we have Rooney and Chico looking so good together. I felt Chico really did bring the best out in Rooney. I never thought Rooney and Berba complimented each other as a front 2. Add to that the fact that Fergie has openly said he will use Owen more this season, not to mention young Danny boy, who deserves games and also needs them in order to continue the excellent development he showed at Sunderland. It realy does make you think how Berba will fit in.

  15. Jay wire

    1 August 2011 at 18:19

    3. Not too bad….

    …for the worst midfield in the world. Barca is Barca. Messi or no Messi, their strong point has always been an unmatched technical standard. And with Barca’s 7 first team members playing, our midfield of Anderson,Cleverly and Giggs were not outclassed by the world’s best creative midfielder as well as better-than-Fabregas rising star Thiago Alcantara. Yes it was a friendly, but just as much as our players will be trying to prove themselves,so were Barca’s players. So they were not taking it lightly as cynics and perpetual naysayers will have you believe. Just as serious as they were about the Audi Cup.

    ….for Danny ‘TG’ Welbeck. The Talentless Git,has been impressive in pre-season, showing the type of ability he showed for our Reserves and on loan. He’ll definitely be giving the likes of Owen and TAL,sleepless nights. The power of correct roles and position.

    4. Buying Dutchman

    Is Wesley Sneijder the man to transform the World’s Worst Midfield into the best? Rather, is he an absolute necessity, lest we drop out of the top four(finally)? I say not. I believe in what United have always believed in. Making stars. We have mostly been patient with young players, and if this tour among other things is anything to go by, we have enough quality in midfield. We have great potential as well. And the following names and case studies tell me all is risky and it’s better to give potential a real chance.

    Anderson

    When played correct he plays well and vice versa. The Headless But Dreadlocked Chicken is lately showing that he can hit a barn door from 5yards, but for me his passing,vision and creativity have not always been matched with precision,timing and execution. But last season saw major improvements in this area.

    Critique:-“how long blah blah blah”

    Keyword- Patience

    Case study- Deco, Ronaldo and Nani

    Cleverly,.Morrison, Pogba

    Creativity, drive, ability. This is real potential we have here. Simple. Pogba for me will probably need some bit part action this season because I believe he has what it takes to be undroppable in 2012. Cleverly is just so clever. Intelligent. He reminds me of Iniesta when he was young. Morrison needs time and mental growth. But Cleverly for me is ready.

    Critique:- “not proven on the big stage”

    Case study- 1. So what 2.Rossi(07-present) 3. Pique,Busquets,Pedro(2008)4. Jack Wilshere

    Wesley

    the risks are the same, and so could the results be. In fact when u factor in the level of investment and the chance that we could impede the chances of younger and already adapted talent,from progressing, the risk is higher. And given that we have a squad that has taken us to 2 Champions League finals and domestic success, it’s obvious we can repeat it without him.

    Case study- 1. Veron 2. Mendieta 3. Torres 4. Maradona(Barca) 5. Huntelaar 6. Kaka

    • ash is the man

      1 August 2011 at 18:43

      that is some analyis. i absolutely agree that we are a far better team when we play wide- hence the fact fergie completly dropped the 433 mid way through last season ( thank god )

      i also do agree we have great talent coming through the ranks but right now if we sign either modric, nasri or wes we would be very close to the perfect team. Preferably i hope for modric but he seems chelsea bound, so hopefully we will get nasri 😉

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 22:30

      I am also not sure if Sneijder is the man for united at the present time. He would be a massive investment for us (in the region of 80 million) If stories about his wage demands are true. I do not deny we need to bring some body of a high standard in to our midfield, but I do not think the Dutchman is the answer. 80 million plus for a player with very little resale value does not seem to fit our current recruitment strategy.

  16. Jay wire

    1 August 2011 at 18:32

    on topic. One thing is for certain, Manchester United has brought the best forwards and strikers at least to England. Mark Hughes was a goal machine, but for me Ruud was just superb. It was so unreal at times. David Beckham crosses van Nistelrooj nods, and the ball is in the back of the net. How this process perpetually eluded defenders across Europe, is a mystery to me. The man couldn’t miss. Then you’ve got the likes of Ole. He was heartless in front of goal. Sometimes he’d be the least advantaged an in an impossible position, but you’d blink and he’d already scored. Top class player. Bobby Charlton I never saw live, but the footage I’ve seen is remarkable. His record is unbelievable. Where do we find these goalscorers and target men?

  17. godzilla

    1 August 2011 at 18:51

    Why are we being linked to Barton? For Free he is value for sure but given the history – is it a punt worth taking?

    Traverse, any inside news? 🙂

    • ash is the man

      1 August 2011 at 18:53

      he good be a decent enforcer?? i dont know- he is free though……..

      • tonymontanna4united

        1 August 2011 at 19:47

        Good player, but a total tit, and his hatred off all things united means i dont want him anywhere near the team.
        Amazing though newcastle are punting him out for nothing. Just what is wrong with that club, they always seem to reach for the self destruct button and bring all kinds of shite upon themselves.
        Shame really, as they could be an absolutely massive club with the correct set up and man in charge.

        • ash is the man

          1 August 2011 at 21:13

          ya letting him go for free is a bit strange, well the circus goes on :mrgreen:

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 22:14

      Its a classic case of agent links player to united shock horror. You link a player to a top 4 club and you stick another X% on the price of the package

  18. Traverse

    1 August 2011 at 20:16

    Barton on a free scares me, cause Fergie loves an English player and could see this as an opportunity to mentor him and get the best out of him. Wouldn’t command silly wages either. I can see it happening, but I’m not sure if it’d be his biggest gamble, or biggest masterstroke.

    He’s got all the tools to be a Roy Keane style enforcer, it’s just he’s a twat and always thinks he’s the biggest fish in any of the various ponds he’s been at. There is no way he could think that at United, and Fergie could be the right man to sort him out. In fairness to him he’s had a brilliant season on the pitch and off.

    In even stranger news, Souleymane Mamam is playing for our reserves tonight against Morcambe. We tried to sign this Togolese kid in 2003, but he didn’t qualify for a passport. Sent him off to Antwerp and after 4 years didn’t renew his contract. Almost signed for Birmingham in 2008 but work permit got in the way. He’s still only 24. Amazing comeback if we sign him!

    “According to official FIFA records, on 6 May 2001, he became the youngest player to ever play a World Cup qualifier when he played for Togo against Zambia at the age of 13 years and 310 days.”

    Also we’re sending a first team XI to play Marseille and Pogba has been called up.

    • godzilla

      1 August 2011 at 20:36

      Good stuff. Not sure if even Fergie can get the best out of Barton or sort him out. On the field, probably, but off it even Fergie will fall short given Bartons colorful past! But probably a good enforcer we keep talking about. Hasnt he been playing more on the right for newcastle tho?

      Strange news on the Mamam fellow – at 24. Another Bebe story ? 😀

    • tonymontanna4united

      1 August 2011 at 20:57

      I can see where your coming from, it is the sort of move i could see fergie having a good think about, but any move for barton would most likely spell the end for fletcher, and i cant see that, what with darren being fergies blue eyed boy.
      Shame really, as personality aside, on the football pitch hes a very good player, and would certainly fill one of the holes in our midfield, to a certain degree anyway.
      Cant see it happening though at the end of the day. Fletcher, and the fact bartons a cunt all round who hates united, probably means this is a no go.
      He’ll be an excellent piece of business though for whoever ends up getting him, thats for sure.

    • RedTan

      1 August 2011 at 22:12

      Bartons agent says he has had contact from a top 4 club. How ever believing an agent is a little like believing a used car sales man. Any way a crazy decision by the bar codes to just let him go on a free,

      • ash is the man

        2 August 2011 at 00:01

        I think he will end up at spurs or arsenal. I just cant see him coming to united and anyway him and fletch are just too similar

  19. colver

    2 August 2011 at 00:29

    Ridiculous Roma got Steckelenberg for £5.5 million.

    Now if we had gone for him we would have £15 million spare so Sneijder’s demands would be a total non issue

    • Traverse

      2 August 2011 at 00:49

      If we were in for him, he wouldn’t have gone for £5mil. It’d have been £18mil at least. United tax, innit.

      • Eddie Griffin

        2 August 2011 at 02:00

        Ding ding ding. Might not have been 18, but at least in the eight figures. Besides, we got the right man anyway.

  20. Traverse

    2 August 2011 at 01:03

    The Mirror are reporting that Inter Milan have accepted a bid from United for Sneijder. Here’s hoping, right?

    Also PSG have bid £18mil for Berbatov. Here’s hoping, right?

    😉

    • ash is the man

      2 August 2011 at 01:07

      two birds one stone comes to mind 😆

      • Traverse

        2 August 2011 at 01:40

        That’s it. If we offload Berbatov’s wages and get £18mil for him, then we’re laughing all the way to Sneijder. I think Welbeck and Owen have shown pre season that we can cope with them as backup to Rooney and Hernandez. That’s not including Macheda too. We can afford to loose Berbatov, and if we gain Sneijder then I very much doubt we’d miss him!

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          2 August 2011 at 02:27

          that’s silly.

          We have gotten an offer accepted a WHILE AGO. That’s why Fergie said (in person) that Sneijder has been given a contract offer and it was up to him to accept it, because United we’re done negotiating [it is always OFFER then CONTRACT].

          PSG bid for Berba is old news too…

          I’d also rather keep Berba and ignore Sneijder — keeps Glazer’s on their toes. If we get Sneijder, they can use it as an excuse to say: “We spent money, now shut up for 3-5 years!”

        • Don

          2 August 2011 at 04:04

          much rather keep Berba as well..he has shown his loyalty and fight for the cluband is a matchwinner…he offers something differnet none of our other forwards have…granted hist style doesn’t always fit nicely with our most effective way of playing he offers an irreplaceable xfactor…rooney, chicha, welbeck abd berba for teh striking quartet..I’m sorry for all the finishing micheal own provides he is just too slow these days and injury prone to be relied on…nice lad but i really hope he doesn’t take away time from welbeck and berba…

          to be honest sneijder is quality and would add a set piece threat and midfield grafter we have lacked for a while..but for me i’d much rather modric who’s more workmanlike style would compliment the likes of ROoeny and chicha much better..too bad he is set on joining chelscum..

        • Traverse

          2 August 2011 at 11:27

          Don’t get me wrong, I love Berbatov. I’ve defended him from the start on here. But as far as I’m concerned we’re over subscribed up front with younger players and under subscribed in midfield.

          £18million for a 30 year old is massively good money. Too good to turn down. That means Berbatov will have only cost us £13mil!

  21. Stephen

    2 August 2011 at 08:55

    Truthfully I would be sad to loose Berba. He is a superb player with a great attitude and loves the club. He scored 20 goals last season and a hattrick agianst the old enemy. It is a shame that he never stamped his authority on the side like Chicharito but if he goes it is probably for the best, for him and the club.

  22. colver

    2 August 2011 at 10:47

    The real reason Sneijder is holding out for such high wages is because of the crazy wage package we gave Rooney. Can you blame Sneijder for wanting to be our top earner?

    There is no need to let Berbatov go. His experience will be invaluable in nurturing players like Chicharito and Welbeck. And besides it is best for Chicharito and Welbeck’s development if they don’t play every game. Plus Berbatov really does offer something different from our other strikers.

    I say we splash out whatever it takes to land Sneijder because central midfield is a pressing priority and Sneijder is the best player available on the market by a country mile.

    Unfortunately Ferguson has begun his usual habit of building up Anderson and Cleverley and trying to make out like we don’t need to sign anyone.

    Funny that even when we had a forward line of Tevez Rooney Ronaldo he still felt the need to splash out £30 million on Berbatov.

    Funny that with a first choice midfield of Giggs and Carrick that Ferguson feels no need to buy someone like Sneijder

    • godzilla

      2 August 2011 at 11:26

      Agree. Berba was a strange buy at that time anyways, unless Fergie was dead sure of not buying Tevez the next year after his 2 year loan ended. Maybe he had a feeling that the cunt agent will try to fleece them beyond the agreed upon 25MM option over the 10MM already paid, but Berba was definitely not a need at that time. But fans forget that Berba was one of the reasons we won the title last year. He carried the team till Christmas when Rooney was getting over the hookers and Lil Pea was settling down. He has shown great professionalism and attitude even while being treated like rubbish by Fergie!

    • johnsom33

      2 August 2011 at 14:57

      How is it best for chicha and welbeck development to not play every game? That doesnt make any sense to me. Chicha is 22, rooney played every game at that age when fit. I coudlt disagree more. The more games they get the better for their development. I am thinking more in terms of welbeck because Chicha is alreadya first choice striker. Welbeck had a fantastic preseason, now hopefully he can build on that and establish himself in the first team this year.

  23. johnsom33

    2 August 2011 at 14:52

    If PSG really offered 18m for Berbatov then we would be foolish to not accept. Yes Berbatov has been nothng but profesional in the way he has handled things but that doesmt mean we should keep him. At this point he is surplus to our needs. I am more than happy to ride with rooeny,Chicha,Owen,Welbeck, Macheda and Even Diouf. Not saying Berba isnt better than the youngsters, just that I am cool with those guys providing cover for our established strikers.

    I also pray to God we dont sign sneijder, we dont need him. Our MF was good enough last year to cope with everyone not named barcelona, and adding Sniejder isnt going to bridge that gap. Give me Modric over Sneijder any day of the week.

    • Stephen

      2 August 2011 at 17:09

      Really 😯 Our midfield was outplayed numerous times last season. Do you really think we have a World Class midfield, with the overweight and inconsistant Anderson, Carrick who’s form is up and down. Fletch who is still suffering from and illness and wasn’t great last season, the unproven Cleverley and Giggs who is 37.
      I agree Modric would be a better signing but he wants to sign for Chelsea, we need another top class player and Sneidjer would do just fine.

      • johnsom33

        2 August 2011 at 17:30

        Do I think our MF is the best on the world? Of course not, but I think its good enough to compete with anyone beside the catalans. I think this team as a whole has been grossly underrated for far to long. We are currently in one of our most dominant stretches under fergie and people are still acting like we have a bunch of rubbish players. I am very happy with Carrick, Anderson, fletcher and Cleverly as crrent midfielders. That also leaves room for the occasional call up of Tunnecliffe or Pogba.

        I just think we are in a good position where we still have the best team and the ability to blood youngsters. We would forfeit that if we signed Sneijder. A player that would help us in the short term but its debatable how much impact he will have. The only team we cant beat in the world is Barcelona, and Im not sure if he bridges that gap.

        now if your talking bout Modric… well thats different 😉

        Fergie sign him up!

        • Stephen

          2 August 2011 at 17:41

          Modric would be a dream, but unfortunately he is looking like a fantasy.
          Personally I think our midfield simply isn’t good enough, we would struggle against Real as well bro. We were outplayed against a lot of sides last season and just about got away with it. We also at the start of the season had an inform Scholes.
          Sneijder is World Class, he also from there will offer us a goal threat, which currently we don’t have.
          I want to see more of Pogba, but the Dutchman plays totally in a different position to him and he is only 17, so a little way off yet.
          Carrick, Anderson and Fletch are not World Class and will never be, as a club we have been crying out for a fantasy player like the Dutchman, he can create, score goals and is a leader.

        • johnsom33

          2 August 2011 at 18:15

          And thats probably where you and I disagree. I feel Carrick is more than good enough, and I would place Anderson in the grossly underrated category.

          Is our midfield good enough to win the league? I think so.

          Is our Midfield good enough to beat Barca? I think maybe 1 out of 5 times(aka not good enough)

          Is our Midfield+Sneijder good enough to win the league? I think so.

          Is our Midfield+Sneijder good enough to beat Barca? I think yeah maybe 3 out of 10 times.

          Obviously Sniedjer would improve our team but he isnt addressing our needs except for peoples perception that we need to spend.

          This is the season for Anderson. If he stays healthy and he still doesnt produce then to the haters liking then I will stop banging on about him.

        • RedTan

          2 August 2011 at 19:36

          agree

        • Stephen

          2 August 2011 at 20:43

          Johnsom, Anderson having a full preseason will help.
          Cleverley is having a stormer!

  24. johnsom33

    2 August 2011 at 15:53

    Why do journos keep trying to link Nani with moves away from the club? He is going nowhere unless he personally is looking for a move.

    I also pray the Sneijder deal rumour is false and that he hasnt signed. Truth be told the only reason I wanted him was so that people would stop banging on about how we dont have anymoney.

  25. Traverse

    2 August 2011 at 18:15

    How many games last season could we not unlock a defence away from home? We need something extra, and while I rate Cleverly he needs easing into the first team and a Nani Sneijder Carrick Young Rooney Hernandez combo would scare defences into mistakes, which we haven’t really done since CR7 left.

    • johnsom33

      2 August 2011 at 18:25

      Dont forget that Mr Rooney didnt show up until the second half of the season. By the end of the season we were tough to beat. Starting the season with a inform rooney is going to be a big help.

      I am happy with this line up…
      Chicha up top with Rooney playing in the hole. Young on the left Nani on the right. Ando and Carrick in the midfield, and a back four of Evra, Vidic, Rio and a DST. Not too mention Smalling and Jones can slot into virtually any spot along the back.

      That team has so much attacking power its scary, and its balanced with threats all over the pitch.

  26. johnsom33

    2 August 2011 at 18:17

    Does anybody have any info on the friendly against Marseilles? The only thing I heard is that Pogba is going, but I cant find a team sheet anywhere.

    @Traverse where did you see the pogba thing? Either way Im watching the game.

    • Don

      2 August 2011 at 18:22

      It’s on manutd.com

      http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2011/Aug/united-squad-for-marseille-friendly.aspx

      ESPN Deportes is showing the game..looking forward to seeing how pogba performs…

      • johnsom33

        2 August 2011 at 18:27

        Thank you sir.

        • Traverse

          2 August 2011 at 18:33

          It’s on ESPN in the UK, and more importantly, myp2p.eu :mrgreen:

        • RedTan

          2 August 2011 at 19:28

          aye streaming as i type

        • johnsom33

          2 August 2011 at 19:29

          yeah fortunately its on ESPN here as well, which means I can watch it on my Xbox360!

    • RedTan

      2 August 2011 at 19:30

      Ji-sung Park, Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley in the squad and rumour has it fabian Bartez in goal

  27. colver

    2 August 2011 at 19:42

    Sneijder should be an absolute priority as we do not have anyone with his skillset in our squad or even our reserves and youth team.

    Buy Sneijder and one midfield berth is taken care of. Then Pogba, Tunnicliffe, Anderson, Fletcher and Carrick can fight it out for the other spot.

    Anderson lacks any sort of consistency and cannot stay fit. That is his problem. I’m sure there are those on here who will rise to his defence and say “Oh but all he needs is regular games”. But I would much rather buy someone who is proven quality and has been for the last ten years then place all my hopes on Anderson getting his act together and staying injury free for a whole season.

    Besides I think Anderson would benefit greatly from having someone like Sneijder alongside him, as I never truly felt Anderson had much chemistry with Carrick or Fletcher. In fact the best games Anderson had for us was when he was playing alongside Hargreaves. And Hargreaves and Sneijder are not that dissimilar in their offensive skillset.

    • johnsom33

      2 August 2011 at 20:58

      Is sneijder proven quality in a 2 man midfield? Not to mention he is joining a new league which has proven to be unpredictable.

      Where do you see Sneidjer playing and if he is here what would be your ideal line up?

    • Tevez

      3 August 2011 at 08:29

      Hargreaves and Sneijder are absolutely nowhere near similar in their offensive skillset. If Hargreaves had Sneijder’s ability he would have been the best midfielder in the world by miles. But he didn’t, so he wasn’t….

  28. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 19:45

    Fuck Sneijder 🙄

  29. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 19:46

    Why are we playing this game? And why do we only have 7 Manchester United players out there? 😕

    • RedTan

      2 August 2011 at 20:01

      Its a select 11 for a charity that Fergie is a patron of.

  30. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 19:56

    No fucking way Pogba is 18, if he is then I am 12 😯

  31. Traverse

    2 August 2011 at 20:00

    Marseile vs ‘Manchester’.

    Bathez
    Malicuit Jones Smalling Evra
    Cleverley Mansouri Belhaid Blehhazouiani
    Welbeck Park

    Ginola’s on the bench for Manchester. POGBA IS A MAN BEAST.

    • RedTan

      2 August 2011 at 20:04

      Such a shame Eric could not play

    • RedDevilEddy

      2 August 2011 at 20:15

      He is not a man. He is Pogba.

  32. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 20:14

    Nice goal!

    • RedTan

      2 August 2011 at 20:16

      cracker

  33. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 20:38

    Welbeck and Cleverley really putting on a show here…

    • RedTan

      2 August 2011 at 20:40

      2 very good goals indeed

  34. johnsom33

    2 August 2011 at 20:56

    Welbeck and Cleverly are linking up for some lovely goal. The second goal was class finishing from cleverly. nice 1-2 with welbeck.

  35. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 21:03

    The big boy is on 😀

  36. johnsom33

    2 August 2011 at 21:55

    What a waste of time bringing Pogba at all, by the time he got on he was playing with randoms.

  37. RedDevilEddy

    2 August 2011 at 22:01

    Who else switched the channel after 70-80 minutes?

    That wasn’t Manchester United, as soon as all the United lads went off that was a game of randoms and a French Beast who could do nothing because everyone else sucked.

  38. colver

    2 August 2011 at 22:44

    I can see Sneijder playing with anyone in a 4-4-2. He has played in leagues where 4-4-2 is out of fashion. But so what? He is a versatile player with a great skill set, a great engine, a combative nature.

    Loads of players have come from foreign leagues and been a success here. Sneijder has played in Holland, Spain and Italy. Clearly adaptability is a strength of his.

    Why the attitude against Sneijder? He is under contract at Inter and out of respect to them isn’t going to force a move. His wage demands are steep but then again he is one of the best players in the world and that is what he is worth. If Rooney is worth £250,000 a week then clearly Sneijder is worth the same.

    Anyway are you seriously going to believe Sneijder and Gill who seem to be blaming Inter and Sneijder for the move not going ahead. I find it highly more plausible that we have submitted an insulting transfer bid to Inter and an insulting contract offer to Sneijder.

    Fuck sneijder is simply sour grapes.

    • johnsom33

      2 August 2011 at 23:36

      Well for starters Sneijder didnt exactly come good at Madrid, he was shipped off with the rest of the trash. Is sneijder trash? Of course not, but when he isnt played to his strengths(like damn near every player) he isnt nearly as good. At Inter he is allowed to play towards his strengths. and If we go for a straight 442 he might struggle having only one midfielder(carrick) behind him.

      If we want our moneys worth out of signing him then we would have to change our whole system around, and after going thru a highly productive 3 week preseason it would be foolish to change all that for one player who isnt head and shoulders above everyone in our team.

      I selfishly dont want him because I like when we play with two forwards. If he came in, Chicha would be relegated to the bench. As a big fan of the young Mexican I simply cant have that :-D.

      Also We cant discuss terms with Sneijder until a deal has been reached with Inter. If we are already discussing personal terms with him than we must have already had the bid accepted. Either that or Tapping up is legal.

    • RedDevilEddy

      2 August 2011 at 23:40

      No, me saying FUCK SNEIJDER is not me having sour grapes. Far from it actually. I don’t get it! I really don’t fucking get it! Why does anyone want to destroy a absolutely WONDERFUL player, and a WONDERFUL team?! Everything about Sneijder at United screams “misfit” and “ruin”. 🙄 I’ve written this a couple of times, and I’m sick to death as to why some people don’t get it. This is the last time I will write it, so please read on if you care.

      1. The problem that is Wesley Sneijder: He is almost a complete midfielder. Despite being a very small man he possesses good strength, and can handle most physical challenges. I bet he would have no difficulties with this in the Premier League. His all around skill set is marvellous really! He is agile, great vision, great shot, great range of passing… all in all, just fucking great. But here is the thing people seem to forget: He is an attacking midfielder. That is his natural position, and where he is one of the best players in the World. This is the position he played at Ajax, at Inter, and every game he has done well in for Holland. Not a fucking central midfielder, but an attacking midfielder.

      2. Carrying on from that, we will talk tactics. If we use Wesley Sneijder in a 4-4-2 it would mean one of two things: a) we either fuck him up by playing him to deep, a role in which his skillset would fit, but mentally we would suffocate him by playing him literally out of position. Staying deep and spraying passes is not his way of doing things, I’m sorry. He may be the best playmaker you’ll find in this world, but no fucking way it is deep. And if we use him as an attacking midfielder in our 4-4-2 we would kill ourselves, by going out too attacking and let Carrick be on his own. The fact that Carrick actually helps out a lot in our defence actually means that we have no fucking midfielder at all, but instead we have basically three centre-backs and three strikers on the pitch at the same time. How the fuck does this mean we win the midfield battle?

      3. Use him in his natural position, which is as a CAM in a 4-2-3-1 formation, means we ruin Rooney. Not only that, but we still lack that ball hustling midfielder who can help out Carrick. Doesn’t need to be particularily strong, or a criminal like Joey Barton, but must be able to run a lot and read the game well. A Hargreaves, De Rossi, Schweinsteiger or whatever! I bet Fletch would do a decent job, but we still don’t know if he’ll be able to fully regain his fitness. Now back to Rooney, using him as a lone striker would mean a lot of goals. Yes, it really would. But no way Rooney will play his natural role then, no fucking way! Actually Rooney’s natural role is the role you guys want Sneijder to play in! Just a little further up the pitch. Rooney is a centre forward, not a striker, or to use the term more loosely he is a “free-role” player. Could be a fox-in-the box player, but he just isn’t. That is not Wayne Rooney, and I don’t want to ruin the best player we actually have at this club just for the sake of buying Sneijder. We don’t need a replacement to Rooney, because we already have the lad and we don’t need to sell him.

      4. The mentality and personality of a player means a lot more than whay you guys think. This is not FIFA 11, or FM. This is fucking real life. If a player is mentally installed on playing his game a certain way, at that age, means that he will do it. He has done it for fuckings 26 years, he knows his natural role, and where he does best. His skillset makes him a perfect CM, but his mentality doesn’t. He is undisciplined defensivly and putting that kind of shackles on him would be destroying a lad we pay £35 million for. I don’t see why we should. Besides, from all I’ve read Sneijder is a real dick. I don’t want those guys here, we are a club based on humble, ambitious and strong men! People who never give up, but still don’t act arrogantly or look down on people. This is United, my United.

      • RedTan

        3 August 2011 at 09:33

        I agree with RedDevilEddy. I have been pretty much saying what he says since we were linked with him. Why would we finally start getting the best out of Rooney and change our system or spend 35 million on a player to play him out of position

      • Tevez

        3 August 2011 at 12:27

        I agree with everything except your opinion on Rooney as a lone central striker. Rooney has excelled throughout his United career both as a lone frontman or playing off someone else, and although he wasn’t quite on the same level with a teammate playing off him he was still great. The only real dips were whenever he played out wide and ofcourse the early part of last season, otherwise he has been consistently excellent in his general play and has always scored a satisfactory number of goals. His 34-goal haul saw his strike rate explode but his build-up play was just as good as it had ever been, so for me that has to go down as his best season to date. Goals make a huge difference, they are the reason why Messi and Ronaldo are so special – each have a massive influence on the general play and being so clinical just takes that influence to another level. There is no reason to think playing Rooney as a lone striker will mean goals and nothing more, and shouldering the responsibility of being the main goalscorer shouldn’t mean he becomes exclusively a fox-in-the-box and he has already demonstrated that it isn’t the case. In fact, I was slightly disappointed in his latter part of last season because he did plenty of dropping into space and spreading the play out to the wings in a not too dissimilar fashion to the season before, but the desire to get in the box and take up goalscoring positions was absent when he had clearly developed the attitude for it merely one season before then. Just as playing the lone striker role should not stop him from marrying his abilities in build-up play and in goal-poaching, neither should playing in a supporting role. He still occupies an advanced position, playing close to Hernandez. The big difference is that he is now permanently stationed in the hole whereas before he started against the centre-halves and came into that space to receive the ball. Once the ball is moved to a wide man in an advanced position that should be his cue to get in the box regardless of which of these positions he’s playing.

        I don’t think it matters if he plays up front alone or if he plays off another striker, but the key is to leave the space in the hole available for him to occupy. So do not use anyone else in the hole(Tevez) if you play Rooney up top by himself, because he would play in the space Rooney would look to come into. Similarly, do not play him off another striker who wants to do exactly the same(Berbatov), as that leads to his partner dropping into the space where Rooney is stationed. Play him off any striker who maintains their high position – typical target men(Alan Smith), pure poachers(Van Nistelrooy) or those who threaten in behind(Hernandez). Both roles allow Rooney to play naturally.

        • RedDevilEddy

          3 August 2011 at 15:36

          Exactly this is where a lot of people disagree. Some people complain about Rooney not scoring too many goals, but when he plays in the free role in which he exels, that is not his main job. People have to remember that although Cantona scored many vital goals for us, he wasn’t a great goalscorer and I don’t think he scored more than 20 goals for us a single season! Goals may decide games, but they do not define a player. Berbatov got a lot of stick before this season for not scoring too many goals, but fact is that wasn’t what he was bought for. Even this season, although he scored a lot of goals I was not pleased with him. In 2010, when Wayne scored 34 goals and was louded player of the year, I didn’t think too much of it. He didn’t score a single goal from outside the box, he only got 5 assists the whole season, and he was the reason our midfield was easily outrun when we played a 4-4-2. The main reason why Fergie went for 4-5-1 towards the latter stages of the season, was to complement the loss that Wayne Rooney brought to it. Rooney may be an attacker, but when he plays in our 4-4-2 it almost is a 4-5-1/4-4-1-1! That is why we can get away against top teams playing 4-4-2 on paper when Wazza is in the team, while playing 4-5-1 everytime he isn’t. And when we don’t do that, we crumble, as we saw various times last season while he was out injured.

          Wayne Rooney is too important to this team, and although I may not like it, right now he means more to the side than what Ronaldo, Becks and Ruud meant to our team back in the days. Hey, I would say he is on the level of Cantona and Keane when it comes to importance! Being able to deploy two strikers, with one of them acting like the third midfielder when we defend, is something very few teams can do! Rooney is out playmaker, our talisman, the only player in our team who exels in a free-role, and is both a striker and midfielder depending on what stage of the game we are in. He has matured a lot, and with Chicharito he has come of age. I don’t want to ruin that by buying Sneijder, it just seems like a waste of Rooney’s talent 😐

  39. RedDevilEddy

    3 August 2011 at 02:05

    • Johnsom33

      3 August 2011 at 07:53

      I was kind of hoping he didn’t come back from that.

  40. godzilla

    3 August 2011 at 04:41

    Fergie said post match that Berba might leave for PSG. Sad day that United does not understand such a talent and appreciate it. Insulting way to let a talented player leave!

    It is very clear we need the money to buy Sneijder – just shows the sorry financial state of our club where we prefer a crocked Owen contract extension over a talent like Berba!

    • Don

      3 August 2011 at 06:06

      I agree that if we do sell berba it is strictl A business decision but I really don’t think we need the money… I think it’s just as much being able to rationalize the fact that in Rooney, chicha and welbeck we have 3 top strikers and let’s face for all his talent berba has looked like a round elegant peg in a square hole in uniteds sometimes frantic counterattacking style. I would be gutted to see him leave but would be just as gutter to see him rot on the united bench with the likes of Owen trotting ahead of him. I donlike the fact that we don’t throw moneyaeoynd aimlessly signing players and we do actually have some great young talent coming through. Yes the glazers debt sucks but I won’t lay this at their feet. Let’s face 20 mill for a 30 year old player who can be considered a luxury player might justbe to good to pass up

    • despicable

      3 August 2011 at 10:09

      Actually if someone comes in for Owen.. Fergie might be happy, but he knows that he can do the job without crying.. Also there will be no one will throw money for him.. So berba will suffer as he most sell-able commodity in the squad without whom we can survive.

  41. Eddie Griffin

    3 August 2011 at 06:10

    I’d miss him, but we can live without him.

    He needs to be starting regularly, needs to be in a position where he show his talents as much as he deserves. Hard to see that happening at United past this season, or even this season…won’t be long before Chicharito’s commanding an every-match starting role (it can be argued that he does already), and Welbeck’s taking the right strides towards proving he merits his share of chances as well.

    Not a matter of not understanding, not appreciating, not respecting, or insulting him. Just might be time for him to move on, and for United to move on as well. Were we not in a favorable position in terms of numbers and quality up front, it’d be a different story.

    • despicable

      3 August 2011 at 10:05

      Did fergie Really understood the question when he replied “Yes OfCourse”, it seemed as if he misunderstood it.

      Surely i have never seen fergie say openly about someone leaving especially having denied the report earlier in last month.

      What you feel?

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 10:10

      I won’t read too much into that snippet from Fergie… we don’t know the question nor the full response.

      If Berba leaves, I wish him the very best, and I mean that very sincerely. I will likely follow him wherever he goes, because he is art.

  42. Robbie

    3 August 2011 at 10:10

    Where smalling and jones on the field for the goals ?? How long were they on for??

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 10:26

      they weren’t really to blame. They were playing on a silly team with no cohesion. At half-time it was 2-2… they were subbed in 2nd half before the massacre. They both did a good job, I thought with some nice headed clearances and passing (and ball control).

  43. despicable

    3 August 2011 at 10:11

    Fergie was smiling all the way during the interview and it was loud, is there any chance that he misheard the question?
    Berba will be devastrated listening to that interview.. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 10:32

      “Is Berba going to be play for ‘Paree’?” vs. “Is Berba going to play next week?”

      I think Fergie heard the latter… the smile is weird given the question.

      • despicable

        3 August 2011 at 10:36

        The girl asking question had poor english.. She asked ” is berbatov going to Paris?” , its normal to hear it as “is berbatov going to Play/stay/*something*

        I don’t think fergie will discuss such things in the middle of the ground on a mike..

      • despicable

        3 August 2011 at 10:40

        I am amazed that the official site hasn’t denied it yet. 😥
        Are they all sleeping?

  44. Traverse

    3 August 2011 at 10:36

    The Gazetta in Italy is reporting that Sneijder will be a Manchester Untied player by Monday. He’ll play in the Italian Super Cup on Saturday, tell Inter he wants to leave on Sunday and sign for us on Monday, as contracts and everything are already sorted. Boom.

    Let’s hope it’s true. I doubt we’ve gone to £35mil. Probably more like £32mil.

    • despicable

      3 August 2011 at 10:38

      is it reliable source? i heard too many rumours from that site..

      • Traverse

        4 August 2011 at 01:59

        We’ll find out soon enough I guess. They’ve put a pretty definitive timeline on things.

  45. colver

    3 August 2011 at 10:45

    Eddy, thanks for putting your points clearly. I’m glad your reasons are football reasons not simply loyalty to our current team.

    But it isn’t quite as clear cut as you make out. Sneijder would be replacing Scholes and Ultimately Giggs. Neither is particularly well known for their defensive qualities. Scholes was an attacking midfielder early in his career. Giggs was a winger with virtually zero defensive responsibilities. And Sneijder isn’t as defensively undisciplined as you make him out to be. He is a winner and will do whatever needs to be done to win.

    In any case even if you are right, many games where we play a 4-4-2 there is no need for two defensive midfielders because teams park the bus. Sneijder would be great to unlock these defences and chip in some goals and assists just as Giggs does for us.

    And in many of the bigger games a 4-5-1 is much more effective as it is best not to concede any numerical advantage. We’ve been using 4-5-1 loads the last few seasons with considerable success. So don’t knock it.

    I understand people on here are loath to see us play without Chicharito and Rooney. But games are won and lost in midfield and sometimes the extra man in midfield can make all the difference.

    Sneijder does not have to play every game. And he won’t. Ferguson rotates his central midfield according to the demands of the opposition. But you can bet there will be many games where someone like Sneijder will make all the difference especially when Giggs goes.

    • Shaun

      3 August 2011 at 12:22

      To your point about neither Scholes nor Giggs being well known for their defensive abilities, a part of it could have been due to the caliber of midfielders they’ve played with in the past. There’s always been a clean up enforcer guy in the form of a Butt, Keane or Hargreaves (to some minimal degree). We don’t have that kind of player now who can anchor things down defensively in midfield if/when played behind Sneijder. Fletch could perhaps be that player, but who knows when he’ll fully recover. I would like to believe that Ando can be that player. But if he doesn’t, then as Eddy already mentioned above, we would have a huge gap in being able to win the “midfield battles”.

      I’m not saying I would bang my head on the wall if we sign Sneijder. Personally, I would still rather us sign a Schweinsteiger or de Rossi.

      • RMJ

        3 August 2011 at 22:09

        i dont get the hargreaves analogy because even in his fittest season 07-08 he played only 16 games in the league and that too a gud deal at right back. the bulk of that season was with scholes and carrick in the middle and that was probably scholsey’s best season in the last 10 years for me. hargreaves was quality but no where did he actually replace anybody in our line up or have the impact that keane or butt or carrick did. To that end i think Scholes defensive abilities are a bit misinterpreted…he reads the game much ahead of most and sure he is flat footed when tackling but too say his caliber of defending is on par with giggs is an injustice

    • Tevez

      3 August 2011 at 12:46

      Rooney contributed just as much, if not more, defensively in our set up second half of the season than Sneijder did for Inter. So to mention Rooney as a striker and Sneijder as a midfielder, or indicate that Rooney’s inclusion with Hernandez means 4-4-2 and Sneijder’s means 4-5-1 is a bit false and misleading. There is a significant overlap between the two.

    • Jonny

      3 August 2011 at 13:08

      what i dont get, is why people use the lack of a defensive midfielder as an excuse to not sign WS. if we don’t sign him, some one else will play in the position that WS would fill, and we would have the same problem

      WS’s got nothing to do with it, and if the choice is between Anderson and WS… well sorry Eddy but i’ll go with WS

    • RedDevilEddy

      3 August 2011 at 15:43

      Here is the thing where I feel a lot of people get me wrong. Although I have a lot of faith in our players, our manager, and all in all our team, I always wish the best for my team. If it meant that we become the best team by replacing Anderson with Sneijder, then hey! I wouldn’t mind it at all, it’s always team over player for me! But I fear buying Sneijder would be a massive mistake, and with his price, wages, and reputation/pressure, that would be too big of a risk to take. When we buy one of the best players in the World, we should use him properly, not make him change his game because we want him too. It just doesn’t seem right to me, and I can’t really fault Sneijder for not wishing to come if that’s what it’s all about. I can see Inter accepting United’s bid, I can see us offering him big wages, and I can see Sneijder refusing to come because we won’t use him properly. As a player myself, I know how frustrating it can be to be used out of position, or in a different role than what you suit in. If Sneijder really is as ambitious and great that he belongs in United, he shouldn’t wish to be anything else than at his best at this club. And if not used the right way, he knows that that won’t happen.

  46. Jonny

    3 August 2011 at 13:13

    Do you guys think Fergie will experiment with a back 3?

    as long as Vidic is in the middle, any of Smalling, Jones, and Rio could play along side him, with possibly Jonny Evans as well.

    That would allow for two DMs, WS, and two wingers to go along with two strikers.

    thoughts?

    • Stephen

      3 August 2011 at 13:55

      No.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 14:03

      I don’t think so. But it could be a stretch of an explanation as to why we sold two RBs and have used DSTs as wingers …,.

      • Stephen

        3 August 2011 at 14:06

        It is a system which is simply archaic, we have never played it and not worth discussing as it will never happen.

    • Tevez

      3 August 2011 at 14:13

      Nah. A back three is set up to deal with two strikers, which the vast majority of teams don’t use. Also, that formation requires wing backs which the twins are ideal for but then it wastes the good wingers we have. Although I could see Valencia playing as a wingback it is not a suitable position for Ashley Young or especially Nani. A major problem with the formation would be dealing with opposition wingers as they will cheat defensively and pass on the responsibility of marking our wingbacks to their fullbacks. So who marks them? Our wingbacks can’t without sacrificing all attacking intent. The back three can’t – having a back three covering the width of the pitch marking man for man would leave the team far too open. Also, the opposition fullbacks are both theoretically free so if we played against any good fullbacks they would control the game and provide a great attacking outlet on the overlap. 3-4-3 is a better formation for dealing with fullbacks and is great for wingbacks aswell as it forces the opposition wingers to track back fully, however there is always the danger of being overwhelmed in centre midfield as any team not playing 4-4-2 will likely have a numerical advantage. That 3-5-2 only has one advantage – a free player in the hole against a pure, straightforward 4-4-2. Which renders it fairly useless, as is a back three in general simply because teams play with only one out-and-out striker meaning your team has two defenders marking no-one and therefore the opposition has two free players elsewhere and so you completely concede the game and allow them to dominate. That’s not desirable unless you are playing against a team who are much, much stronger and who will completely dominate the game anyway, so then at least you have two covering defenders. Perhaps we should use a back three against Barcelona?

  47. colver

    3 August 2011 at 15:16

    If we get a bid for Berbatov in the region of £15-20 million we would find it difficult to say no. It would not be the first time we cashed in on a striker. We sold Yorke, Cole, Ruud, Hughes.

    It would be sad to see him go because he seems to be learning how to be a squad player and it is hard to find players of his quality prepared to sit out the big games.

    But if it is a case of balancing the books and perhaps funding a midfielder, then it is perhaps a sacrifice we have to make.

    As for Owen he has no resale value which is why it is better to keep him around to help out the youngsters and help in the domestic cups.

  48. Johnsom33

    3 August 2011 at 16:11

    Spare me with the poor berba sob stories. He is a fantastic player but he just doesn’t fit this team. It’s not personal it’s just business, with him being a fan of the godfather he showed know this. We would be absolutely mad to not cash in on a 30 year old striker who is now surplus to requirements. I’m happy with Owen and welbeck as cover. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if fergie didn’t want to send welbeck out on loan again because he knew Berbatov would be off.

    I appreciate everything he has done at the club, and I hope the best for him. I just think at his age in the last few years of his prime he deserves better than to be a third choice forward.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 16:41

      You have a heart of stone and ice in your blood. My heart melts upon the thought of a Berba-less United. The sun doth not shine upon the Theatre of Dream, lest Berbatov’s shadow emerges from the tunnel.

      It is for naught to dream of colors without an artist that is Berbatov. In my dreams, in my heart, Berbatov remains forever!!

      [OK, I couldn’t help it when you asked for sob stories… hehe… 8) ]

      • RedDevilEddy

        3 August 2011 at 17:04

        Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! 😆

  49. RedTan

    3 August 2011 at 17:00

    Just got Eds testimonial on and watching the under 13’s It is realy great to see the kids playing in front of a big crowd in a fantastic stadium.

    Should be a good evening of football

    RedSpect to Edwin you will be missed

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 August 2011 at 20:50

      what a boring game. Edwin’s fairwell… snoozefest.

      • RedTan

        4 August 2011 at 10:36

        Was a shamne, great to see Saha though, if it was not for the injuries……………………………

  50. Jay wire

    3 August 2011 at 23:49

    Johnsom33-while i agree that it may be economically sensible to sell Berbatov at that price, it is absolutely incorrect to say he doesn’t fit into our style. The way this busted myth is ever declared is irritating. Recall our best games last season in terms of performance and dominance before February. Blackburn, Birmingham and Sunderland. The fluidity of the football was great to watch and it was easy on the eye. Berbatov was playing well and combined well with Rooney,particularly against Birmingham. It was almost a telepathic partnership.

    In my opinion, and almost everyone will disagree, Berbatov and Rooney is our best partnership. When they play together and score, it’s usually an assist for the other. The problem last season was we were generally not playing well early on because of the idiotic formations and tactics. This affected everyone. I’ve always said we can’t play narrow systems but the coaches insisted on doing that up to February. That’s why Rooney was struggling, and the conclusion was he has no understanding with Berbatov.

    But look closer. We played Birmingham at home in a 4-4-1-1 formation. We completely dazzled them and it was my 2nd most entertaining game. The passing and movement and combination was reminiscent of the 2006-07 season. We played wide, with Anderson and Carrick in midfield and Rooney just behind Berba. Check out the Giggs goal as an illustration of how telepathic these two forwards combined. Seven Days later we visit Blackpool and set up in a wierd 4-3-3 with Fletcher-Scholes-Gibson in midfield and Rooney(LW),Berba(CF) and Nani(RW) in attack. Wayne and gibson were massive flops and were replaced by Giggs and chicharito and it was 4-4-2. We all know what happened after.

    i luv chicharito, but he was really fortunate. Almost everytime he played the system was wide with a creative striker behind him. Berbatov and Anderson had the exact experiences. Both suffered because of tactics. Both played well with correct tactics. When we started playing 4-4-2 Berbatov was dropped(right in the middle of his best matchwinning form) and Anderson got injured. Chicharito and Giggs were the beneficiaries. So you see that your logic also suggests that Anderson doesn’t fit in well with the style or team because he was quite poor in the games we played narrow. Even hernandez

    • Johnsom33

      4 August 2011 at 03:08

      I’m sorry but I just don’t agree with you. Berba needs ways to many touches, he has stick feet. And anytime someone doesn’t return a 1-2 with him he throws his head back and starts walking. It’s not a myth that he doesn’t fit our style. He simply doesn’t. And his situation with Anderson is different because tactics or no tactics he got much more runouts than Anderson ever did. Yes Berbatov was joint scorer but his goals came in only a handful of
      Games. Scoring 5 in one game is great but it was still only three points. Chicha scored consistently and against many teams. I know you have a hard on for Berbatov and you think you could never possibly be wrong but I just don’t agree with you on this one.

      Fergie showed last year that he prefers chicha as rooneys partner over Berbatov. So unless Hernandez has a severe drop in form or gets hurt. Berbatov is going to spend more time watching United rather than playing for united.

      • godzilla

        4 August 2011 at 09:22

        COmpeltely agree with Jay Wire. It is a myth that Berba and Rooney dont combine well. THe setup matters as much as players like Berba. GOd forbid, if Rooney is injured or loses form for whatever reasons, you actually think a combination of Chicharito/Owen/Welbeck/Macheda will be good enough to pull us through a couple of months ?? Berba would be the first player on the team sheet in case Rooney is missing. All this 30 year old and 15-20MM talk about it being a business deal is bullshit. Even at 31 Berba will sell for 10-15MM if he has another season of scoring 20 goals. I dont think CHicharito is as effective whenever Rooney is missing and as Jay wire has rightly said, he was good because he had Rooney behind him.

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