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All Time Best XI Series

All Time Best XI Series: Strikers

Well I hope everyone enjoyed my first foray at top tens with my list of United’s all time best center forwards. Now I have been granted the privilege of offering you my take at the top ten strikers to have played for our illustrious Red Devils.  Let me start by saying that there is a difference in my mind between center forward and striker. CF’s play deeper and also imitate midfielders in an attacking way. Usually they are better passers, have greater patience and vision and are just smarter footballers all round. That is not to say strikers are not smart, they are, but CF’s for me just have more versatility, a larger skill set and a little more genius in their overall make-up.

 With that said, let me start by saying that United has a very long and very storied tradition when it comes to strikers. Simply put, I could easily have made my list of top ten into top twenty. I’ll start by offering my respect and apologies to some of the great strikers to not make the list.  Joe Cassidy, Joe Spence, Sandy Turnbull all played around the turn of the 20th century and although they qwere great, that’s just going back to far for me to say those players can compare in skill and class to many of the players post World War 2.  The game had changes and had gotten more sophisticated, faster and harder. A special apology must go out to Joe Jordan fans, of which I am a one. I loved Joe but he didn’t quite make it either.  And I do not include players like Norman Whiteside, Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best, Bobby Charlton, and Lou Macari even though they all had stints playing the striker role.  We all know they were either midfielders or wingers and their time there was not long enough to qualify.  So now let me begin with my list, hope it coincides with yours.


10)  Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez  2011-  No I am not jumping on the bandwagon and Ihaven’t lost my mind but I just know and feel that this kid is special and he before he is finished at United or Real Madrid break the bank to get him, he will go down as one of the greatest strikers to ever play for Man Utd.  20 goals in his first season and most of that while sitting on the bench as a sub is nothing to sneer at.  He has the tools, a great shot, predatory instinct of a big cat, aerial ability, flair, imagination and above all pace. His first touch is still a little inconsistent and his dribbling needs work but he has offered up so much already. This kid is going to be a super star.


9)  Brian Kidd  1963-74  Brian was to inherit the most unwanted job in all football when he arrived at Old Trafford.  He was supposed to be the heir apparent to the great Denis Law. Big shoes to fill and although Kiddo never quite reached those lofty heights, he didn’t do too badly at all.  70 goals in 266 competitive matches and 52 goals in the first division is nothing to mock.  Kidd was a consummate striker and kept up a good average of goals per game throughout his career.  I remember him best for scoring an vital goal vs Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final which helped United win their first big European honour.  Never prolific or world class, Brian is best known for being very dependable and consistent.


8)  Wayne Rooney  2004-  Yes he belongs here too.  Wayne has been primarily a center forward for our club but with Fergie constant tinkering and tactical roulette Wayne has often played as an out and out striker and in many games, especially road games against tough opponents he has been known to play the lone striker role in a 4-5-1 formation. Wayne has never been a great goal scorer as a striker but he still makes a great difference for his team in that role because of his strong work ethic, courage and willingness to pass and contribute play making for others.  His energy makes him valuable and yes, he still has scored some great goals as a lone striker and I am sure he will utilize the role again and score more in the future.


7)  Brian McClair 1987-98  What can I say, he may not have been a world beater but I loved “Choccy”.  Always played with a lot of heart and desire and scored some big goals like the lone goal vs Forest in the 1992 FA Cup final as well as having formed a decent partnership with Mark Hughes for a few years before King Cantona showed up and forced Fergie to move him to an attacking midfield role.  I think that alone says a lot about Brian.  Not a prolific scorer but a decent one, the truth though is he was a decent play maker and a hard worker and his unselfishness often opened up lanes and opportunities for players like Hughes and Cantona to exploit.  He was no slouch having scored 127 goals for United in his eleven year stay with the club.


6)  Andy Cole  1995-2001  The second highest goal scorer in Premier League history, Andrew (Andy to all of us United fans) was one of the biggest signing Fergie has ever made.  Already a star who had netted plenty of goals for his previous clubs, Andy came with a proven reputation and for most, he never really disappointed having scored over a 100 goals for the club and having been part of two of the most dynamic partnerships in football with Eric Cantona at first and then Dwight Yorke.  I place Andy on this list because the truth is he was a very good player and he scored a lot of goals.  Personally though, he was never my cup of tea.  Even though he scored over 20 goals in all competitions for three straight years, I always found him to be wasteful and to never score when it really counted.  I used to joke about the fact that Cole would score two goals in a game but he had twelve chances.  That is actually a credit to him that he could play himself into position to have that many cracks at goal.  He was quick and very strong off the ball and this helped him become so prolific.  But again, his wastefulness bothered the heck out of me.


5)  Mark Hughes  1980-86  1988-95  Again forgive me as I add another of my previous center forwards to the list of strikers but the fact is, Sparky qualifies completely in both.  I’d say the beginning part of his first stint was as a striker and also the latter part after Eric Cantona showed up.  In between he was the CF next to McClair who was the striker.  But when the King showed up Hughes was placed in the striker position and he excelled.  I’ve already written about him so I won’t repeat myself other than to say that he scored well over a hundred goals for this club and many came as a striker.


4)  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  1996-2007  What more can be said about Ole other than he is a legend and a true red Devil to the bone.  His loyalty and character far outweighed his abilities and number of goals and they too were all very extensive indeed.  The consummate professional and team player, his unselfishness and willingness to accept any role the manager gave him has endeared Ole to all United supporters.  And who can forget the big goals like the winner in Barcelona over Munich in 1999 and the four he scored in 12 minutes as a sub vs Forest in that famous 8-1 destruction job.  Like Chicharito he was an instant success scoring 18 goals in his first year.  The “Baby Faced Assassin” went on to net 126 goals for the club in all competition and holds the club records for goals as a substitute with 28.  Unfortunately most of these goals were scored in the first half of his United career because from 2002 and on serious injuries curtailed his playing time considerably until he had to finally retire in 2007.  But United showed him just how valued he was as a servant for the club by giving him a testimonial match 2008 where over 68,000 fans showed up to pay their respects for this fantastic Norwegian.  A true legend.


3)  Dennis Viollet  1953-62  The strike partner of Tommy Taylor’s for the Busby Babes, Dennis was one of the greatest and most prolific goal scorers in the history of English football.  A terrific goal poacher who scored 178 goals in only 291 games for United, Dennis was a very quick player with excellent skill on the ball.   He was the perfect partner to the tall and very savvy Taylor as these two conjured up goal after goal as a combo helping the Busby Babes to league championships in 1956 and 1957.  After being one of the few who survived the Munich air disaster he came back in 1960 to net an astonishing 32 goals in 36 games.  Shockingly, Sir Matt decided to sell him to Stoke in 1962 when he was only 28 and at Stoke he continued to score finishing with 218 goals in the English first division.  A great player and the true definition of striker, Viollet is truly one of the greats but surprisingly only played twice for England.  But then again, when has England ever gotten their team selection right?


2)  Ruud van Nistelrooy  2001-06  Where do I start in describing how good the Rude Boy was?  I loved van Nistelrooy but I will not forget or forgive the way he left the team and the bitterness he caused from his forced departure.  To pick a fight with my boy Ronaldo just turned me off.  Still, I think he is the second greatest striker to ever play for United and should never have been benched and replaced by the useless Louis Saha.  The man was simply an assassin in front of the goal.  I always joked that he was incapable of scoring a goal outside of the 19 yard box but within that box he was bloody lethal.  23 league goals in 32  league  games in his first year as well as ten goals in the Champions League says a lot.  Add to that the PFA award in his first full season with United and we all get a feel for what was to come.  Twice he had eight game scoring streaks and followed up his first season with 25 goals in 34 games the following year.  In 2004 he scored two goals in the FA Cup vs Millwall and was chosen player of the game even though I feel Ronaldo should have won that award.  The following year was a frustrating won because of a long injury but he still managed to lead everyone in the Champions League with eight goals.  Bottom line is Ruud was just a goal machine. 150 goals in 219 total matches for United and 95 in the Premier League in 5 season and only 150 games.  Simply put, only one man in the history can better those numbers in terms of goals per game, and he is next.


1)  Denis Law  1962-73  One of the famous players depicted in a statue outside Old Trafford along with George Best and Bobby Charlton as the “United Trinity”, the only Scottish born player to ever win the European Player of the Year award back in 1964.  A true legend and the greatest goal scorer in United history having scored a colossal 237 goals in 409 total appearances and 171 goals in the English league.  Overall, he scored 301 in 587 goals and for me his only blemish is having also played for Manchester City.  Despite his greatness and prolific goal scoring form Denis never had it easy having crossed swords with Sir Matt Busby on a few occasions and having almost been sold in 1965 just because he asked for more money.  He was forced to make a public apology which did not go over well with him and from that point on his relationship with Busby was strained. Unfortunately a bad knee cost him the chance to play in the 68 European final and the damaged knee progressively got worse and by 1973 he was granted a free transfer to hated derby rivals City.  Still, despite the sad ending, nobody can ever forget the contributions of “Denis the Menace”, United’s greatest goals scorer and best striker ever.


Well there you have it.  Hope you all agree, if not please contribute in your replies and let us all know who your top ten would be and why?  It was a tough list to build because there were so many good strikers over the club’s entire history.  Denis Law was just before my time and so if I had to pick a favorite from that list it would be Mark Hughes and then Oie.  Loved watching Sparky score big goals assisted by Cantona.






  1. John

    September 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Where’s cantona?

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Cantona was not an out and out striker. He was more of a second striker or CF. He was #1 on my list when I did CF’s about a month ago.

  2. tonymontanna4united

    September 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Well seen as though nobodys commented on this so far, just wanted to say great article, as always, and i agree pretty much 100% with that list although id have probably had wazza higher than choccy and cole personally, but there you go.
    So so far weve had best keeper, full back, cf, striker and cm series (that i can remember) so is there anymore to come for the wingers, cb categories if they havent already been done, because as ive said before, i love these sort of articles so thanks for you taking the time and effort to write them up mate.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

      Glad you liked the article mate. As for the other positions, they are all coming from a variety of contributors. They will show up over the season as to not impede the day to day talk about this season’s events. Season cannot restart fast enough for me.

  3. Roopansh

    September 8, 2011 at 5:27 am

    How the hell do you forget Cantona????? Completely useless article without the greatest ever striker!

    • Rimmerstweets

      September 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Do you honestly class Cantona amongst a list of Strikers? Personally I have him down as a Centre Forward hence why he WAS in the Centre Forward article. And coincidently, that was written by the same author.


    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Never heard of you mate. Never seen your name so I assume you are either new to the sit or a lurker. Nevertheless, if you were a regular you would have noticed Cantona number one on my list of all time center forwards, which is the true position he played as he could create playing farther back than say a van Nistelrooy or Law did. So before you trash the article and the effort, know a little more about your team and the true positions players played.

      I will be doing Right Midfielders next and I fully expect many to ask where is Best, when those in the know realize that his primary position was on the left side. Like I said, know your team.

  4. Nikos

    September 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Rooney is not a striker but a typical player filling the gap between midfield and the striker. Other than that, thank you for the memories and I agree with the order at least for the first five.

    Why Rooney is not a striker? Even SAF once said “WR can’t score tap-ins”. Now, this is not the only element for a good striker recipe. There are more than that. Rooney is not the player who can wait inside the are so as to score a goal with one or two touches. He is not that kind of forward. He can do that , too but not as good as having the ball to his feet and helping the build up plus score some spectacular goals.

    I was always a fan of this opinion : We made Rooney stron (and fat) so as he could be able to play as an out and out striker. He had some average seasons as a No.9 but this is not how Rooney should be used.

    11/12 season. Rooney is back. Weighing less, and being able to show his class as a Rooney.

    Maybe some people would argue with my view but I can’t see how you can call him a striker. Even when Ronaldo played he was very often out of the area or in the wings so as to be able to pull some assists. OK, he is a great scorer but not a striker.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

      I call him what he is mate, a CF and a striker because he has been known to play both roles extensively. For as many games as he has played as just a striker or even a lone striker, he needs to therefore be included on this list.

      • Nikos

        September 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

        I would never judge Anderson as a defensive midfielder (that’s the tactical position he starten under Ferguson) or Rooney as a lone striker. I know that’s my point of view and you could say “he is used in this position” but I can’t do that… just can’t… pffff… so difficult 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Nikos

    September 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Rooney (10) Ruud (9)

    typical of them and on of my top 5 MU goals

    Ruud scoring a spectacular goal.. for RM , but who cares?


  6. Grognard

    September 9, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Rooney is low because he is more of a CF and not a striker, but because he has played the role of striker on numerous occasions, I thought adding him to this list as well was fine. His career is far from finished and I can guarantee he will move up the list by the time he retires.

    And boy is it quiet out there. Understandable. International break tends to numb us into silence. And I’m busy watching the NFL beginning tonight. WHOOAAAAA FOOTBALL! 😀

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      September 9, 2011 at 4:22 am

      *chirp chirp*

      International break has me a daze…

  7. Craig Mc

    September 9, 2011 at 5:58 am


    NANI- MAGIC AND ALWAYS NUMERO UNO whether he plays in goal, midfielder, defender, on any wing or main striker – so put that in your pipes and smoke it – and remember you heard it from the Craigster 1st. 😀

  8. Craig Mc

    September 9, 2011 at 6:04 am

    It’s 6am in the feckin morning and I haven’t been to bed yet – INSOMNIAAAAAAAAAAAAC disease is the main striker in my life 🙄 👿 . Grog – you want to sign the great striker INSOMNIA – even tho you don’t like Italian players much? 😉 😆 .

    • Stephen

      September 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

      I suffer from the same thing, it drives me mad! 😈 👿 😐

      • Craig Mc

        September 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

        Wow – we should start the red rants insomniac club Stephen 😀 . It is as Eddi says – a WASTING disease! 👿

      • Nikos

        September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

        It was ten o’clock in the morning when I was finally able to sleep yesterday… Nop, it’s 4 and a half hours, so I slept today for yesterday night.

        • Craig Mc

          September 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

          😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 – Nikos – insomnia ia certainly doing the rounds. What’s up with us all eh?

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      September 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Insomnia associated with lack of entertainment, when the mind wanders to new pastures in hope of finding that elusive Premier League football in a sea of international friendlies and a mosh-pit of EURO qualifying games that border on being illegally boring…

      I feel for you my Red Brother!

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      Sounds like insomnia is a problem with a few of us on here. I call it Uniteditis. We just love our team so much we can’t sleep. I once felt that way about my ex but eventually she nearly bored me into a coma. 😀

  9. RedDevilEddy

    September 9, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Craig is wasted again! 😆 😆

    • Craig Mc

      September 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

      😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 – only wasted by persistent INSOMNIA Eddi mi man!

  10. RedDevilEddy

    September 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I don’t like international breaks too much, but at least it gives us a perspective on how much United mean to us… No football for 2 weeks=borefeeeeeeast! 🙄

    Btw, my condolences go to the Lokomotiv Moscow hockey team for what happend, a truly disasterous occasion and my heart goes out to everyone involved. May their soul’s rest in peace, and their families stay strong.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      September 9, 2011 at 11:10 am

      When I heard about this, I thought about Munich… poor souls!

      • Grognard

        September 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

        Very sad thing to hear about. I think one of the players who died used to play for my home team here in Vancouver for a time. Really brings back Munich to me.

  11. Craig Mc

    September 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Opti – all sympathy gladly accepted mate! Insomnia is brought on more, when teams like England put me to sleep watching their boring shit supposedly called football! Lampard is a downer for England – we had just won a game 3-0, then Lampard back in MF and Wales show us up for good football – Wales did not deserve to lose that game!

    • Stephen

      September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      If you take out his goals, Lampard is a very average player. His goals are what det him apart, his passing is Ok but he has the foot speed of Carrick, which is similar that that of a pregnant elephant.

      • Craig Mc

        September 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        😆 😆 😆 😆 pregnant elephant – good way of expressing it mate!

      • Grognard

        September 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm

        I could understand if he sucked against national teams like Spain or Germany but his skills with Chelsea should naturally show up against minnow nations as they are no different in class to the minnows of the Prem who Frank scores his majority of goals against. I have always thought him the great pretender and it’s about time Capello woke up to the fact his time is up and it’s time to build England around Cleverley and Wilshere and Rodwell in center midfield. Smalling, Jones, Cleverley and Rooney make up the spine of United and will eventually make up the spine of England. Problem is and always will be however, England has no Fergie.

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 9, 2011 at 10:58 pm

          Unfortunately in a couple of years even United won’t have Fergie! 🙁

        • Grognard

          September 10, 2011 at 4:42 am

          Nonsense. Fergie will manage United until he is 102.

  12. RedDevilEddy

    September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Looks like Pat nearly broke his ankle this week, and I doubt he’ll be able to play tomorrow.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm

      Too bad for the team it wasn’t a nice clean break and a few months off. 😉 😉 😀 😀 I know I am a sadistic and mean bastard.

  13. Stephen

    September 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Garry Cook has “resigned” from Citeh, that guy has to be the biggest muppet in football, good riddance.

  14. Stephen

    September 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Great write up Grog and agree with all the guys you have identified. I feel a little sorry for Gary Birltes I must say!! 😆 😆
    With Brian McClair he did play a lot in cental midfield which obviously cost him in the goal stakes.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      Trust me mate, if this was a Nottingham Forrest blog I would have included Birtles. Not for United though. And yes, the toughest thing to do is to differentiate between strikers and Center forwards and even attacking midfielders. Brian played all those positions a bit as does Rooney and as did Cantona. I’m going to have fun holding back the anger after I post the Right Midfielders article. Is Nani a left midfielder or a right midifelder. Yes he is both but which one is primary. And he’s not the only one.

      • Stephen

        September 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

        Birtles was a useless peice of shit.
        I will save you the effort Giggs was the best left midfield player and it is a toss up between Best and Ronaldo for the right sided spot, but I will leave that tricky one for you! 😐

  15. colver

    September 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Rooney has shown he can be a 30 goal season striker. That in itself elevates him into the top 10 ranks. Of course we cannot discount that it was just a one off season. But then you consider he did this playing on his own upfront with a very average midfield. He didn’t have a Yorke or a Cantona providing him with support. Not to mention all the other qualities he brought to the team creating space for other players.

    A player like Rooney is so special he can play very well in any number of positions. And I would say he fully deserves to be in this list. I’d put him ahead of Ole and Choccie (but behind Cole, Hughes and the rest).

    The decline of Lampard is great news for us. His goals were massive for Chelsea and Meireles just isn’t on that level. Chelsea are stuck in a 4-3-3 and that only really works with a goalscoring midfielder and Lampard was one of the best even though the rest of his game sucked.

    • Stephen

      September 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Fergie would have Mark Robins at the top of his list. 😀 😆

  16. Rimmerstweets

    September 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm


    De Gea, Young and Jones…….Love it!

    Thanks to Andy (Goodison_MUFC) for creating it for me.

    • Grognard

      September 10, 2011 at 4:45 am

      Love it. Want more of them.

    • despicable

      September 10, 2011 at 8:16 am


  17. NicoQB

    September 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Cole > Solskjae.

    In 20 given games Cole would score more as he would have found more opportunities through his runs. Also he was a better team player – great understanding with Giggs, Yorke, Beckham… THe thing is that his style was a bit ungraceful, hence underappreciated imho.
    Of course, Solskjaer would have been more lethal, but he would not have had the same number of opportunities.

    Also, in typical grognard style, he is negatively biased towards Saha. Fact is Saha was an effing great player, dodgy physically and (maybe) mentally, but at the time RVN was (rightly) benched Saha was twice the player RVN was.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Saha? Are you fucking kidding mate? I do not include players who spent their careers in the infirmary. As for Cole, a great player who made more opportunites because of his skill and field sense but who quite often had a hard time finding the side of a big red barn from two yards out. He was very wasteful mate, and a true fan would know this. Solksjaer was not as he was a true assassin but without the speed and elusiveness of Cole. Still, it’s just my opinion designed for debate. Nobody said you had to accept it as gospel, although that would have been appreciated. 🙂

  18. RMJ

    September 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    wheres teddy sheringham? 😈

    • Rimmerstweets

      September 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Not sure, possibly in with the Centre Forwards where he belongs?

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      He was in the last article titled CENTER FORWARDS. Didn’t you get the memo? 😉

      • Rimmerstweets

        September 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm

        Centre 🙂

  19. RedDevilEddy

    September 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Best striker I’ve ever seen play for United is Saha, if you base the guy on pure mentality and talent he is the best we’ve ever had.

    But just like Hargreaves, his talents were wasted because of his fitness… So unfortunate 🙁

    • Nikos

      September 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Was Saha ever a more talented striker than RVN ? The best striker of his time and second to Marco Van Basten ?

      Even in potential I can’t see Saha ahead of RVN.

      • RedDevilEddy

        September 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm

        As a goalscorer, no-one was like Ruud. But when it came to being a striker, Saha’s all round game was better than Ruud. Although Ruud could score in every way, and his movement was second to none, that exact movement was based on him and him only. Whenever he played, he got himself into goalscoring positions in the box so he could finish the box. Same goes for Chicharito.

        While Saha, just like Welbeck, is a striker who not only can score goals in every way, but also creates a hell of a lot of room for his collegues. Rooney thrived next to Saha, same for Ronaldo. With Saha’s movement, they both got more room to expose, while with Ruud they had more room to find. It’s a difference in striker-personality, and is based on personal preference. I prefer strikers like Tevez, Rooney, Saha and Welbeck, over the likes of Ruud, Chicharito and Cole. Team play means a lot to me, and of course that’s why we all value different kinds of players. Some people wanted Sanchez because he made himself look good, while I wanted Young because him makes the whole team better. Same goes for Nasri, a central midfield player who does a job and gets into position which makes him look good, but who may not give the team much help as a whole.

        Saha > Ruud any given day for me

        • Nikos

          September 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

          That’s true. RVN was a typical “selfish” Number 9 but was THAT good that it would be better for the team to play him rather than a fit Saha.

          So, to me RVN is the only one who can be compared to Van Basten as a goalscorer and he helped the team mainly in this way but to you RVN doesn’t offer so much to the team. All understood. Nothing to discuss really. 😉

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

          It all comes down to personal preference really 🙂 Some guys prefer us scoring lots of goals over beautiful goals, while I am not one of them. Although I love it when we score lots of goals, I’d rather have us win 1-0 scoring a goal like Nani’s first in the Charity Shield, or Ando vs Spurs, over winning 5-0 scoring only toe-pokers after a simple cross or chaotic defending.

        • Grognard

          September 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

          Sha was the only player I know whop could score while on a hospital gurney. 😀 😀 He was a useless twat.

        • Grognard

          September 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

          I mean Saha of course. Even spelling out his name makes me ill.

      • RedDevilEddy

        September 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm

        It’s a reason why Ruud was benched for Saha. While Ruud may have been the best goalscorer this club has ever seen, playing Saha gave Rooney a real outburst in joyous football! Same with Ronny, as we saw at the start of the 2006/07 season.

        Here is the difference. If we played Ruud, Ronaldo and Rooney for 20 games, Ruud would have scored about 20 goals, while Rooney would get about 10 and Ronaldo 9.

        With Saha, Ronaldo and Rooney, they played 20 games. Saha scored 13, Rooney scored 12 and Ronaldo scored 14.

        As a team our lads grew better and became a more beautiful team to watch with Saha, while Ruud made us more deadly and effective.

        • Nikos

          September 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

          That’s just guessing. Another guess (my guess an maybe SAF’s guess) is that SAF was thinking “This boy Ronaldo can’t deliver the ball in the box. He wants ball to feet and wants to shoot the ball whenever possible. I already got RVN who wants the ball to his feet and rarely will help the team with his passes, but I must protect my property,too. I will sell the “old Ruud” now that he is still catchy and go with Ronaldo.”

          So, the reason he benched him was so as to be creative again, but not just because RVN wasn’t creative. Ronaldo was not, too (as a winger he should be far more better crosser so as he could accompany with Ruud <— maybe that was the reason).

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

          Actually those stats where genuine from the 2005/06 and 2006/07 season… Not guessing.

          We could see from the way we played the game that Saha did much better to our team than what Ruud did. From 2001 to 2006, we played well, winning a couple of trophies and scoring LOTS of goals. But it wasn’t until Saha came in that we became really exciting to watch! Not only did we score goals, but we created chances at will! Now of course this is not only because of Saha, the progress of Rooney and Ronaldo meant a great deal as well. But you shouldn’t forget the contribution that Saha made, especially his role as a team player with his movement and talent.

        • Nikos

          September 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

          Yes , but wether you find him better or worse you are still talkin hypothetically for RVN . That’s why I’m sayin MAYBE that was the reason.

          Nothing else to say here.

        • Nikos

          September 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm

          I would have to agree that we played exciting football, but it was a maturing Rooney and Ronaldo companionship that was given more opportunities plus some more things
          1. The way Saha played. It’s not just Saha.
          2. Queiroz’s ability to finally teach us how to play the 4-3-3 formations.
          3. Stronger presence of our defenders (yes, you can attack all day long as long as you have a fit Rio-Vida pair)

          Think it eitherwise. It’s not just Saha the prodigious striker that help poor United, but the whole squad that helped Saha show his qualties.

          Anyway, if Saha was physically strong and fit we would have “our Henry” (I mean a striker who can create space and pass the ball plus score goals) but that never happened.

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 10, 2011 at 7:55 am

          Yes, my point exactly. That while Saha was a talented player, he fitted very well into the United-game. His movement, pace, power and abilities fitted perfectly in this team and made veryone shine, unlike Ruud. That’s why I will always prefer Saha, because as a striker he had all the necessary attributes, and he was a United player. His skillset matched our team, I will never dislike anyone who do that! 😀

        • Grognard

          September 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

          No the reason RVN was benched was because of his fight with Ronaldo. It made him come across as selfish to Fergie which Fergie would not tolerate. RVN and Fergie have both come out and admitted that was the reason for his banishment to the bench and eventually out of OT. Saha was nothing more than the lucky beneficiary to this and earned nothing in the process. And how did he thank Fergie for his big break, he got himself sent to the infirmary for the rest of his United career.

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

          No mate. The reason Ruud got benched in the first place was because of Saha. He scored in every single cup tie he played that season, leading Ruud to spend the Carling Cup final on the bench. He them acted like a child, and had a fight with Fergie. Still didn’t stop him from starting three out of our five next games though! In the following game against Wigan Ruud had a stinker, and although he set up the goal for Ronaldo, it was Saha who, from them bench, had the shot in extra time which went off the bar an onto Chimbonda who scored an own goal. Saha started the two following games, scoring twice, with Ruud going 5 games without scoring before he got our matchwinner against West Ham. Then he scored the winner against Bolton, from the bench, although it was Saha who stole the show with one goal and the assists for Ruud’s strike. Ruud went on to start our next three games, where he hit the post against Spurs and missed a penalty against Boro. Before the Sunderland game he had a fight with Ronaldo, and because of that Fergie decided to leave him out for Rossi. The Dutchman left the stadium, and never returned… Both Ronaldo and Saha scored in that game.

          Saha forced his way into the team mate, and you who know your history should bloody well know it. Saha was our best player in the whole of 2006, and had it not been for Saha-Rooney-Ronaldo at the start of tje 2006/07 season we wouldn’t have won anything that year. His long range curler against Chelsea stands out for many of you, but I will never forget his sizzling strike against Benfica at their ground which gave us our first win away from home in Europe for over 3 years.

        • Grognard

          September 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

          Mate read what Fergie and Ruud both have said. You can think what you want, but the player and his manager say different. As Rafa would say, it is fact.

        • RedDevilEddy

          September 10, 2011 at 7:52 am

          I have read it multiple times, and I think you have misunderstood. There was one argument which went on after the Wigan game where Ruud complained over being on the bench, then there was one just before the Sunderland game where he had a fight with Ronaldo, and Fergie decided to leave him out form the starting line up, so Ruud left and never returned. An argument with Fergie isn’t a fight mate, what happend with Ronaldo on the last day of training was what made up the master’s mind!

    • Grognard

      September 10, 2011 at 4:49 am

      You have been sheltered then haven’t you? You need to get out more mate. If Saha is the best you’ve seen, I’d say watch some videos and see what you have missed. I wouldn’t rank Saha in my top 50 United forwards yet alone in my top ten list.

      • RedDevilEddy

        September 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

        Listen mate, I do not like fox-in-the-box strikers who only score simple tap ins. They bore me. Inzaghi, Ruud, Raul and Klose, although they are deadly goalscorer’s they fucking bore me. Had it not been for Chicharito’s personality and enthusiasm I doubt I would have loved him at all! Because these kinds of strikers are brilliant, they are fucking brilliant when it comes to creating a chance for themselves. Getting into space, covering ground which others may not see, and finishing off almost every chance they get… They are fucking brilliant, but from a personal point of view I take them boring.

        Hughes, Cole and Solskjær(not only because of his personality, but his movement opened up space for others as well) are some of my favorite strikers from that list. I wouldn’t mention Rooney in my favorite list, not because he isn’t a striker. He can be a fucking good striker, but he’s fucking boring when he is! In the season where he scored 34 goals for us I didn’t think he was that good, I never looked at him as one of our best players albeit him scoring almost all our goals! As a centre forward he is the best in the world, and will probably be better than Cantona when the Scouser has retired! But as a striker he just bores me, 34 goals, no-one outside the penalty are and 23 of them on the first touch. That’s not the Rooney I know. Hughes and Cole, on the other hand, contributed a lot to our team. Sparky may have finished off plenty of easy chances, but his eye for the spectacular, his work-rate and his all round contribution to this team was what impressed me the most. Then there is Cole, who was a fucking EPIC striker, by the means that he was fast, strong, got into position, could score with both feet, good header, good passer, and could score everything from simple tap ins to overhead kicks from 20 yards… He was brilliant! And his movement, my God did both he and Yorkie relish that! Their movement made eachother good, and that for me will always be the best strike-partnership we have ever had. Looked brilliant, played well, and they both contributed with assists and goal and all you can ask of some strikers.

        But Saha… I loved the guy. From February 1st 2006 until our last game against Sunderland that same season, he picked up 7 goals and a staggering 8 assists. He didn’t start half the games either! Then came the 2006/07 season, and in the period where we played our best football for years(!!!!) he scored 12 goals and made 9 assists in the period of 20th August-9th December. Scoring goals with his right, his left, his head, one-on-one, outside the box, overhead kicks… You name it, and his one touch passing and vision set him apart from any other striker we had seen at United those years. Ruud was a finisher, Saha was an all round striker, and he will always be the best for me.

        • Nikos

          September 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

          Raul can pretty much do many things outside the area and has succesfuly played several times outside the box.

          RVN … well, I think in his MU time he has never scored outside the area. I’m not kidding.


          But sometimes, you know it’s the good old big man that misses from a squad, or the long shots , or the good crosses. It’s not that the No.1 choice is good and the No.2 choice is bad. Sometimes it’s good to have both of these choices. For example, against Inter, Barcelona had no long shots and they tried to get the ball in the small box. That’s not what a very tight Mourinho defence will be beaten by. They needed a good crosser, too. They did none of them and they lost. So, wether something is boring to our eyes or not , the gaffer is the one who knows better. BUT, I’m not saying that only tactical choices benched Ruud.

  20. RedDevilEddy

    September 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I love how you write these things Groggy, although I do feel a little bias in here! 😉 Where is Alan Smith for example?! 😆 😆

    Keep it up mate, will there be a “All time best United XI” coming up as well?

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      Some of you guys need to move beyond the last ten years. Alan Smith? Are you fucking serious mate? I wouldn’t place Alan Smith in the top 25 of all time. He was here a very short time and did very little other than score a nice goal vs Roma. I went back to the beginning of this club and picked players who in most cases scored over 100 goals or even 200 for this team. Not a guy who scored a handful. Bias is 100% involved but intelligence, research and historical relevance is as well not to mention cold hard stats. Chicharito was my real cheat as his one year for us was nothing less than fab.

      • Rimmerstweets

        September 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

        He scored a great goal on his debut though v Norwich at OT.

        Haha would he even get in a Leeds United Best XI????

        • Grognard

          September 10, 2011 at 12:01 am

          Actually yes, he would make the Leeds list, but then who would be able to hold his head up high being on any Leeds list?

        • Nikos

          September 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

          Cantona would always be able to hold his head up.
          Same goes for Ian Rush.

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          September 10, 2011 at 1:48 am

          Groggy got burned 😳 😳

        • Grognard

          September 10, 2011 at 4:51 am

          I got burned? Wha????? I don’t get it. Did I miss something? 😕 😕

      • RedDevilEddy

        September 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

        Smudge was a joke……………. I thought you’d get that? 🙄

        • Nikos

          September 10, 2011 at 12:25 am

          In the other hand David Bellion is a winger-striker (multi black & decker) who should not be overlooked.
          It’s not wrong if I say that during the year he spent in Manchester he taught the lads how to kick the ball.

          All hail the teacher! The professor! The master!

          ——————–DAVID BELLION——————–

      • Stephen

        September 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

        Alan Smith was well out of his depth at United and did not have the technique at the highest level. I also agree with you about Saha, he would get injured taking a piss. He was not useless but very overrated, really again not good enough at the highest level.

  21. Rimmerstweets

    September 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm


    When you play sports…….I garuantee you’re defensive! 😆

    Anyone listened to the new podcast? New tab if you haven’t seen it yet. I’d appreciate some constructive feedback about it being here and its quality, thanks.

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      No mate I am truly offensive, offensive in every way. Meaning I take the offense on attacks rather than the perceived defense. Like I say, I believe the best defense is attack. 🙂 🙂

    • Grognard

      September 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      And yes I heard the podcast and I have to say I really liked it. The lads were organized and articulate and made very good points. Too many pod casts contain fanboy logic and Neanderthal-like wit and sentiment but this was very well done. More of it please.

  22. [OPTI]Madschester United

    September 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

    4 hrs until footy!!!
    7 hrs until United!!!!

    If I sleep, does time pass more quickly?

    • RedDevilEddy

      September 10, 2011 at 10:49 am

      I prefer jacking off to United-Arsenal again 😆

  23. [OPTI]Madschester United

    September 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Rumors say De Gea benched against Bolton…. hope not.

    • Stephen

      September 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

      I agree, for him to settle he needs games.

  24. Apple Jax

    October 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Where’s Yorke? He formed the greatest partnership with Cole! He should definitely be up there!

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