Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2009

PICTURES: United vs Wigan

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"PICTURES: United vs Wigan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

We Love You Rafael

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We love Rafael for...
1. Assisting Wayne Rooney's goal.
2. Celebrating the assist as though he'd scored a goal himself.
3. Scoring a goal himself.
4. Dashing over to his brother to share the glory with him.
5. Getting stuck in whenever given the opportunity.

One of his best games in a United shirt.

VIDEO: Rooney, Carrick, Rafael, Berbatov and Valencia’s Goals Against Wigan

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"VIDEO: Rooney, Carrick, Rafael, Berbatov and Valencia's Goals Against Wigan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Rodallega: Red Mist Took Over After Vidic Incident

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Nemanja Vidic was probably lucky to stay on the pitch after bitch slapping Hugo Rodallega in our 5-0 victory over Wigan at the start of the season. Rodaellega feigned injury until it was apparent the ref hasn't seen it, so then he sprinted over to confront Vidic. The ref tried to get in the way, then it was Rodallega who was lucky to stay on the pitch, after pushing the ref out of the way.

Ron: United Fans Intimidate City and Liverpool

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Cristiano Ronaldo has complained about the lack of support received by Real Madrid fans when the team isn't play well, and asks them to be more like Manchester United fans.

"We know that we have the duty to put on a show but sometimes it's not possible," said Ronaldo. "We always try but at times the team are not playing well and the fans could give us more support.

Ahead Of Wigan’s Visit…

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Manchester United take on Wigan tonight looking to close the gap back to two points. It looked as though our chance to close in on them this side of New Year had passed when we lost to Villa and Fulham, but Chelsea's dreadful form has given us a reprieve. Their draws against West Ham, Birmingham and Everton over the past fortnight have given us a way back in, and if not for an own goal a couple of days ago against Fulham, we'd be even closer to the top.

RoM Reads

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Mark Ogden at The Telegraph looks at Ferguson at 68, 20 years after that Mark Robins goal.

Daniel Taylor writes for The Guardian about Ferguson and successful squad rotation.

Oliver Holt of The Mirror on the trials and tribulations of his local club Stockport County.

The Daily Mail looks at United's ability to counter attack.

City Star: I Like Rooney A Lot

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Craig Bellamy has revealed his liking for Wayne Rooney.

"I like Rooney a lot," said Bellamy. "Even when the team isn't playing well and he isn't playing well, he is still involved. Listen, if you were in a war, you would want to go to war with Rooney. No doubt about that."

"City Star: I Like Rooney A Lot" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Thoughts And Prayers With Edwin

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Reports emerged today revealing that Edwin Van der Sar's wife, Annemarie, suffered a stroke last week and is now seriously ill. Edwin has been at her bed side in Holland as they await test results.

Our goalie hasn't played since November, ruled out with a knee injury, and has been excused from any further duty for United until more is known about his wife's condition.

Berb: Rooney Got Three Assists Yesterday!

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Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for Manchester United yesterday, before giving a dreadful passback to the goalkeeper which resulted in a Hull penalty. Rooney then went on to amend for his mistake by assisting a further two goals, which Dimitar Berbatov has revealed left the players claiming Rooney had assisted all of the goals yesterday.

Rooney: I Didn’t Want To Let The Lads Down

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Wayne Rooney had admitted that it was the fear of the manager and the reluctance to let his team mates down which drove him on to turn around the result yesterday against Hull.

"Obviously when they got the equaliser it was a mistake by myself and thankfully we got the win, or I don't think the manager would have been too pleased with me," said Rooney.

VIDEO: Rooney and Berbatov’s Goals Against Hull

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"VIDEO: Rooney and Berbatov's Goals Against Hull" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Cleverley: Solskjaer Has Improved My Finishing

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Tom Clevlerley has scored 7 goals since joining Watford on loan this season and claims this is down to the shooting advice given to him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"Having Ole as a coach at United means your finishing is going to get better," said Cleverley. "You need a bit of luck, but I've been in the right spot to score.

Sign Up For The RoM Newsletter

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Sign up for the RoM newsletter

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Republik of Mancunia have finally got on the bandwagon and will sending out a weekly newsletter, which contains exclusive material, topics for debate, first word on any competitions, news updates and anything else that takes our fancy.

And The Injury Hell Continues… First Rio, Now Berbatov?

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All I want for Christmas is... a fit defence? Well, I'd be disappointed! Despite Rio Ferdinand insisting that he will be back for the World Cup (glad to see he has got his priorities straight), it appears as though there isn't actually a return date for our centre back.

Just last week Rio claimed: "The treatment on my injury is going well.

Giggs: This Is First Christmas Off In My Entire Career

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With Manchester United not playing until Sunday, Ryan Giggs has welcomed the first Christmas Day off in his entire career.

Since the birth of his children, Libby in 2003 and Zach in 2006, Giggs has craved some time off to spend with his family and now he finally has the chance to do so.

"Until I had kids I never got excited about Christmas," said Giggs.

Christmas Sing Song – 12 Cantonas

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"Christmas Sing Song 12 Cantonas" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Happy Christmas From RoM

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"Happy Christmas From RoM" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Tottenham Boss: I Love Rooney

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Tottenham Hotspur boss, Harry Redknapp, has ruled out signing unhappy City striker, Craig Bellamy, whilst also acknowledging he doesn't have much chance of signing Wayne Rooney either.

"He's a good player," Redknapp said. "He belongs to Manchester City, I'm sure they wouldn't want to sell him.

PICTURES: Owen, Rooney, Hargreaves and Co. Visit Children’s Hospital

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Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Gabriel Obertan, Ben Foster, Park Ji-Sung, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans visited the The Royal Children's Hospital in Manchester as part of their annual hospital visit for this time of year.

The Manchester United Foundation has helped raise over £80,000 towards providing parental accommodation facilities so that parents can stay close to their child during treatment.

Fergie: I’ve Spoken To Hughes About City’s Unacceptable Behaviour

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When news broke that City were now The Richest Club in the World, their delirious fans were interviewed outside Wastelands. The general consensus was us lot down the road had been doing it for the past couple of decades, so why couldn't they? Buying success.

The difference with Chelsea's money or City's money is that it's new, not earned, but given.

Best and Worst Of The Noughties: Goals

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Following RoM's best and worst signings of the decade, we will now take a look at some of the best goals we've scored over the past ten years, as well as some of the most painful goals scored against us.

It's important to note that in the past ten years we've won seven league titles, two European Cups, two FA Cups and two League Cups, so we would be here all day if we were to name every great goal, so these are the ones that stood out for me, and I welcome any Youtube links for any other videos you think deserve a mention (as I have struggled to find older goals).

Before The Boredom Sets In…

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Off work? Shit telly? RoM finds some ways for you to fill the boredom...

Take a look at the Website of Dreams to read up on some United stats.

Play the big red quiz on the official site.

Watch the best 50 United goals from the past decade.

Read RoM's best articles.

Have a laugh at Garry Cook throwing his dummy out.

Keano: Hughes Shouldn’t Have Gone To City After Playing For United

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Mark Hughes was tipped by some to be the successor of Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager, the club where he had become a legend after playing at Old Trafford for 13 years.

But he took the job at City, ruling out any possible future as United boss. 18 months later he was sacked, with a 10th placed finish all he had to bring about over his time at The Richest Club in the World.

Arsenal Boss: Giggs’ Goal Still Hurts

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Arsene Wenger's player of the decade? Ryan Giggs, of course.

"Ryan Giggs is my Premier League player of the decade because he combined style with winning. But his goal in the 1999 semi-final still hurts me."

Don't think you've seen that goal often enough? Ok, here you go.

"Arsenal Boss: Giggs' Goal Still Hurts" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RIP Albert Scanlon

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Albert Scanlon was 22 when the Munich Air Disaster occurred and he suffered terrible head injuries and a broken leg in the crash. Recovered and played well for several years on the wing, scoring 16 league goals the season after the crash.

Born in Hulme, Scanlon came through United's youth system and made his début for Sir Matt's first team when he was just 19-years-old.

Were United Captains More Honest Than Chelsea’s With FIFA Vote?

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Lionel Messi was rightly named the FIFA World Player of the Year this week with a record breaking number of votes. Cristiano Ronaldo was voted second, Xavi third, Kaka fourth and Andrés Iniesta fifth.

The coaches and captains of international teams are given the opportunity for this prestigious award, with the first round of voting taking place in October.

STATS: Quick Comparison With Last Season

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2007/2008
Played 18
Goals 29
Points 38

2008/2009
Played 18
Goals 37
Points 37

Goalscorers in all competitions

08/09 Valencia 6 goals in first 24 games
07/08 Ronaldo 9 goals in first 24 games

08/09 Owen 7 goals in first 23 games
07/08 Tevez 7 goals in first 23 games

08/09 Rooney 13 goals in first 21 games
07/08 Rooney 7 goals in first 21 games

08/09 Giggs 3 goals in first 15 games
07/08 Giggs 2 goals in first 15 games

08/09 Scholes 3 goals in first 17 games
07/08 Scholes 1 goal in first 17 games

08/09 Gibson 3 goals in first 10 games
07/08 Gibson 2 goals in first 10 games

08/09 Anderson 1 goal in first 18 games
07/08 Anderson 0 goal in first 18 games

08/09 Fletcher 3 goals in first 18 games
07/08 Fletcher 3 goals in first 18 games

08/09 Carrick 2 goals in first 24 games
07/08 Carrick 2 goals in first 24 games

"STATS: Quick Comparison With Last Season" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Best and Worst Of The Noughties: Signings

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As another decade draws to a close, the Republik of Mancunia will be looking at the best and worst of United over the past ten years.

BEST SIGNINGS
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Date: April 23rd 2001
Transfer fee: £19 million
Random quote: "In spite of what has happened in the past year, my feelings for the club have never diminished.

Neville: Arsenal Boss Was Wrong

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Arsene Wenger played a team with the average age of 21-years-old for Arsenal's last game of the Champions League group stages against current Greek champions, Olympiacos. Wenger sensibly looked to the weekend and rested his best players with the hope of picking up three points in their next league game.

Ronaldo: I Really Miss Manchester

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Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted to missing Manchester, despite being happy in Madrid.

"I think Manchester United are doing very well this season they have lost the last two games but they are still second in the league," said Ronaldo ahead of the FIFA World Player of the Year awards in Zurich.

Fergie: No January Signings

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Sir Alex Ferguson has told Mancunian radio station Key 103 that we will not be dipping in to the transfer market in January.

"That has not come onto the agenda," said Ferguson in response to the possibility of buying next month. "We hope that Wes Brown will be back in a week or 10 days' time, Rio Ferdinand is improving, Gary Neville is getting there and Rafael Da Silva has now started training.

RoM Reads

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Oliver Kay writes for The Times about United's current situation.

Make sure Ryan Giggs is voted player of the year on The Spoiler.

United Rant reviews our defeat at the weekend.

Gary Lineker reviews the year for The Daily Mail, with Rooney as his favourite player.

The Chelsea Blog looks at why City really are the new Chelsea.

If It Makes Pep Cry, Maybe Club World Cup Isn’t Waste Of Time!

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Pep Guardiola couldn't have done much better in his first year or so of management, winning the league, the European Cup and the Copa del Rey, amongst others.

However, it was winning the FIFA Club World Cup Championship last week that reduced him to tears. When Manchester United travelled half way across the world to participate in this competition last year, it was deemed to be a waste of time.

Former Tottenham Secretary: I’m Now At Biggest Club In The World

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News broke over the weekend that Tottenham Hotspur's club secretary, John Alexander, would be replacing Ken Ramsden when he retires at the end of the season.

Alexander is becoming just the fifth post-war secretary and has been chosen very carefully. He is known as one of the best in the business and Spurs were understandably keen to hold on to their secretary, who had spent almost ten years at the club.

PICTURE: New Stretford End Banner For Giggsy

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Stretford End Flags have been working on a new banner for the Stretford End, which incorporates the old Wonderfuel Gas advert as well as honouring United legend, Ryan Giggs. His squad number would be used within the design in spelling out wonderfu11 (ignoring of course that there is only one 'L' in wonderful!

It Could Be Worse, We Could Be Scouse

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Need cheering up over this Christmas period? Thank you Sport.co.uk for another amusing cartoon.

Always remember, it would be worse, you could be scouse!

"It Could Be Worse, We Could Be Scouse" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

The Obvious Problems and More Worrying Problems

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Where's it all going wrong?

Obvious problems
1. Defence

Our first choice goalkeeper, Edwin Van der Sar, has played in just 5 of the 18 league games we've played in this season, meaning we've been playing our second/third choice keeper for 72% of the season.

Our first choice centre half, Rio Ferdinand, has played in just 5 of the 18 league games.

Was It Worth It, Sparky?

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One of the most regularly discussed items amongst the football press is who will be the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United when he eventually retires. Given the length of time he has been with the club and masses of success he has enjoyed, it is clear that the man who takes over from him will have to do incredibly well to impress.

LIVE BLOG: Fulham vs United

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Fulham vs United "LIVE BLOG: Fulham vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Fergie Can’t Wait For Milan Match

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Sir Alex Ferguson has today claimed he can't wait to face AC Milan in the round of 16, after the draw was made yesterday.

The manager reckons the impact of losing in Rome last year had on us will make us come back stronger in this year's competition.

"We've come up against AC Milan many times in the quarter and semi-finals, so it will be a fantastic setting for two great clubs and we're very much looking forward to it," said Ferguson.

What’s The Fuss About Wolves Selection All About? Look at Arsenal, Liverpool and United!

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Mick McCarthy has been centre of attention all week have choosing to change ten players to face Manchester United, after their 1-0 victory of Tottenham Hotspur days earlier.

Arsene Wenger claimed McCarthy had the intentional credibility of the league at stake whilst Gary Megson has looked to the rules of the Premier League.

Betting Tip: United to struggle against the Cottagers

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Betfair, Manchester United's official betting partner, has offered Republik of Mancunia readers a free £25 bet when you register with Betfair through us and place a bet on a United game or any other game. Bet with Betfair and claim your free £25 bet.

Injury problems continue to dog United and this Saturday's trip to Fulham could be trickier than Betfair layers predict – the champions trade at 1.

Phil Bardsley Is Still A Red

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Former Manchester United defender, Phil Bardsley, reflects on growing up in Salford, playing for United and the influence of Ryan Giggs.

"In Salford where I grew up everybody knows everybody. We used to live on the streets as kids playing football. And everybody knew who you were," Bardsley said.

POLL: Would You Still Love Becks If He Knocked Us Out?

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"I've never said that I'd never move away from Manchester, and I've never said that I'd end my career there," David Beckham said less than a month before he left us for Real Madrid. Some fans won't be told though. Because Beckham watches United knock Arsenal out of the Champions League with a grin on his face, he is a United legend.

Our Attitude Versus Chelsea’s: Which Is Better?

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Just three points separate Manchester United and Chelsea, with the blues yet to visit Old Trafford and arguably their two most important players about to leave for the African Cup of Nations.

Sir Alex Ferguson has looked at all the rivals to our title this week, whilst John Terry and Frank Lampard have talked up their chances.

Hargreaves “Hopefully” Back For END Of Jan

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Owen Hargreaves was registered to play for Manchester United drawing the group stages of the Champions League, which finished during the first week of December.

The manager has today claimed he hopes Hargreaves will be ready for the end of January.

"Owen's doing a bit better this week, and he's coming along slowly," said Ferguson.

Evra: I Intend To Make Sure Becks Doesn’t Do Well

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Earlier this week David Beckham said he hoped to face Manchester United in the Champions League, on the road to winning the Champions League with AC Milan.

His wish was granted but Patrice Evra, who will likely mark Beckham in our European clash, wishing our former winger plays badly.

"I am very happy for David Beckham," said Evra.

Giggs Delighted To Stay Another Year At United

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In the week that Ryan Giggs was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, he has agreed another year long extension on his contract with United.

This season, only one player has more assists than him in the Premiership (Cesc Fabregas, 14 years younger) as Giggs goes on to prove he's still got what it takes to be a success at this club.

More Stupid Comments From Chelsea Captain

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You can write a book filled with the moronic statements made by John "British bulldog" Terry. Some of my favourites: 1. At the start of the 2008-2009 season, he claimed United had peaked and Chelsea were ready to improve. United went on to win the league for a third successive season, seven points clear of third placed Chelsea.

Who Could We Play Next Round In CL?

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The Champions League draw takes place tomorrow morning at 11am. Who could we face?

Bayern Munich
Currently: 3rd in the league, 2 points off the top.
Top scorer: Club record signing, Mario Gómez, who joined the club for £30m in the summer.
Dangerous players: Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Luca Toni
Last season in CL: Beat Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16, before getting thrashed 5-1 on aggregate by eventual winners, Barcelona.

Fortunately Everyone Else Is Crap Too

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Following our disappointing performance and result against Aston Villa at the weekend, we were looking for a reaction on Tuesday night against Wolves.

To learn that Mick McCarthy had made an incredible ten changes to the side that beat Spurs at the weekend meant this was not just a time for reaction, but to bolster goal difference.

Becks: I Would Love To Play United And Win CL With Milan

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David Beckham says it would be 'beautiful' to play against 'Manchester' in this year's Champions League and is hoping to win the competition with AC Milan.

He couldn't possibly mean that he wants to knock United out of Europe, could he.

"I would really like to face my former team in the next round," said Beckham.

VIDEO: Rooney, Vidic and Valencia’s Goals Against Wolves

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Manchester United beat Wolves 3-0 last night following a penalty from Wayne Rooney, a header by Nemanja Vidic and probably our goal of the season, scored by Antonio Valencia.

Today is the last day for standard shipping on the Republik of Mancunia shop if you want items to arrive before Christmas!

Stan YSB Collymore On Disappointment Over Missing Out On United

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Stan Collymore is not the most popular man in the country, even less so with Manchester United fans. If beating women doesn't turn you off him, or his liking for watching others get it on in carparks, then his irritating ABU stance on TalkSport and in his column in The Mirror ought to.

In his playing days, Collymore left Nottingham Forest for Liverpool in the summer of 1995, after an impressive record of 41 league goals in 65 games.

Manchester United to beat Wolves but unlikely to keep a clean sheet

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Betfair, Manchester United's official betting partner, has offered ROM readers a free £25 bet when you register with Betfair through us and place a bet on a United game or any other game. Bet with Betfair and claim your free £25 bet.

Saturday's defeat wasn't in the script for United backers but if we don't lose to Villa for another 26 years we can probably afford to let them have that one – especially after Chelsea dropped points again.

RoM Competition Update

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"RoM Competition Update" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Giggs: Fergie Treats Me As A Friend And Asks My Advice

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In Ryan Giggs' acceptance speech at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, he called Manchester United "the greatest club" and Sir Alex Ferguson "the greatest manager that has ever lived."

Today, Giggs has claimed that he will retire before the manager does.

"I think it will be me," replied Giggs when asked who he thought would retire first.

Berbatov: I Love Being At This Great Club

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Dimitar Berbatov was dubbed as "lazy" when he first came to Manchester United. That claim has slowly started to die down, although there are still plenty of fans who think he slows our attacks down.

Berbatov has today claimed that he will ignore criticism of his style because he believes it is important to play with beauty and grace.

Giggs: No Club But United For Me

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Whilst rumours sometimes circulate that Paul Scholes will move to his boyhood club, Oldham, before retiring from the game, Ryan Giggs has today revealed that once he finishes playing for United, he will finish playing football.

"It is a case of seeing how I feel at the end of each season," Giggs said.

Keane: I Was Privileged To Play Alongside Giggs

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Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has sung the praises of Ryan Giggs.

"Ryan is streetwise and very clever. It's a credit that he's pulling the strings at United at the age of 36," said Keane. "Ryan is so professional. He's always on time for training and has a terrific attitude.

Chelsea Fans’ Behaviour Signal Of Sad State Of Support

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Before the weekend, Chelsea had beaten United, Spurs, Liverpool, Blackburn, Hull, Burnley and Wolves at home this season. They had scored 20 goals and conceded just 1. They were top of the league, two points clear.

On Saturday they dropped points at home for the first time this season, drawing 3-3 with Everton.

Berbatov: Fans Have Seen Glimpses Of My Best

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Dimitar Berbatov has today confessed that he does feel the pressure of £30m price tag which enabled him to join Manchester United from Spurs.

He reckons the fans have seen some of his best in the year and a half he has been at the club, although there is more to come.

"The fans have probably seen glimpses of my best goals, passes and games," said Berbatov.

COMPETITION: Andy Cole Signed Book For Christmas

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The phone rang. It was Stretford (Cole's agent).
"Andrew, you know you said you'd leave Newcastle to go to one other club?"
"Yes."
"The deal's on. Man United. I'm not messing about. Get yourself and your essentials together and I'll be up in three or four hours."

Glory Glory!

Cantona Explains… The Collar, Missing Manchester, Nou Camp 99 and Listening To Us Sing

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After leaving Manchester United at the end of the 1997 season, Eric Cantona moved to Barcelona with his family. This of course meant when he was in the same city as our lads when they lifted their first European Cup since the Busby era.

In Andy Mitten's brilliant book, Glory Glory!, Cantona reveals he wishes he had been able to join in.

Now For The Knighthood, Giggsy!

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Ryan Giggs has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, edging out Formula 1 champion Jenson Button and World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis secured third spot.

2009 marked a year which saw Giggs win his eleventh league title, two more than any other player in English history, as well as playing in his third European Cup final.

Fletch: I Promised Crying Family I’d Reach Another CL Final

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Darren Fletcher was robbed of his place in the European Cup final after the referee in the semi-final wrongly judged him to have fouled Cesc Fabregas in the penalty area.

Barcelona's midfield ripped us to shreds and we will always be left to wonder what would have happened if Fletcher had been playing.

What To Make Of Aston Villa Defeat

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Just one of those days. Unfortunately, it feels like whenever United have the opportunity to make the most of our rivals slipping up, we blow it. Of course, this can't be the case, as we've come from behind to win title after title but it doesn't make it any less frustrating on days like yesterday though.

Chelsea Star: I Want To Be Like Giggs, Scholes and Neville

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Chelsea winger, Joe Cole, has sung the praises of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville today, claiming they're where he wants to be.

"I look at Giggsy and just think he's the guv'nor, what a legend," says Cole. "I've just got so much respect for him. And Scholesy and Gary Neville, all them boys.

VIDEO: Fanzone From Our Last Meeting With Villa

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"VIDEO: Fanzone From Our Last Meeting With Villa" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

New Contract For Giggs and Scholes

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Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that both Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs will be offered contract extension at the end of the season.

Giggs has more appearances for Manchester United than any other player, whilst Scholes currently lies in fourth, 68 appearances away from equalling Bill Foulkes' record.

Sympathy For West Ham’s Dean Ashton

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Former Manchester United players are typically the only players to get a warm reception at Old Trafford. If a previously unheard of sub makes an appearance, they will get a chorus of "who the fuckin ell are you?". If they've mouthed off at the ref over an incident or made a particularly nasty challenge on one of ours they will get booed every time they go near the ball.

Would You Want Benzema Now Anyway?

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The deal for Karim Benzema was painfully close to go through in the summer, until Real Madrid offered more money and the striker made it clear he wanted a move to Spain.

Benzema was paraded around the Bernabeu, kissing his badge as he went, talking about how this was a dream come true.

Sol Campbell, You Got Merked

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Earlier in the week, I claimed the Sol Campbell rumour simply had to be the press making mischief. We were having a defensive crisis and Sol Campbell was a free agent.

However, after signing Michael Owen, I wouldn't say any transfer deal was totally out of the question anymore!

Still, Campbell was all over the press, claiming he would love to join United.

RoM Reads

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"RoM Reads" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Beating The German Champions With Our Bare Bones

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No Van der Sar, no Nemanja Vidic, no Rio Ferdinand, no Jonny Evans, no John O'Shea, no Rafael, no Fabio, no Ryan Giggs, no Wayne Rooney, no Dimitar Berbatov, no Federico Macheda, no Owen Hargreaves.

Things weren't looking good ahead of our trip to Germany.

After casting an eye over the ridiculous situation in defence, of Park at right back, Carrick and Fletcher as central defenders, without our first choice keeper Van der Sar in goal, and Evra as our only defender, you had to wonder how we were going to keep the goals out.

Poker tournament – win free Manchester United tickets, signed shirt and more

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As Christmas approaches, Betfair is giving all Man Utd fans something else to get excited about – a free to enter poker tournament with tickets to an Old Trafford fixture for the winner and a signed United shirt for the runner-up.

Entrants go head-to-head with other Reds fans, making the winner the finest poker playing United fan unofficially at least!

Owen: I’m Enjoying Playin For United

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Michael Owen scored three goals against German champions, Wolfsburg, last night, to confirm Manchester United's place as top of the qualifying group.

Owen now has now scored seven goals for United and says he is enjoying playing for the club.

"I am enjoying playing for Manchester United," said Owen.

Ljajic Reveals Reason For Deal Collapse

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News broke last week that Manchester United's deal with Partizan Belgrade for up-and-coming star Adem Ljajic had collapsed.

The press quickly latched on to it and claim it was down to lack of funds at our club, thanks to the massive debt given to us by the Glazers.

However, Ljajic today claims the reason he won't be joining United in January is because he couldn't get a work permit.

The Sol Rumour Has To Be A Wind Up…?

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When we were first linked to Michael Owen in the summer, I laughed it off. Another bollocks transfer rumours with too many reasons for it to be impossible.

Then, when the pictures of him arriving at Carrington were all the net, we all had to face the strong possibility that the player that ranked fairly highly on our most hated list would soon be wearing our shirt.

PICTURES: Who Are These Former United Players?

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Feeling Christmassy yet?

A RoM Santa hat of your choice is up for grabs if you can correctly identify all of the following former United players.

By the end of the week, send your answers to: republik_of_mancunia_competition@hotmail.

PICTURES: Wolfsburg vs UNITED

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"PICTURES: Wolfsburg vs UNITED" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Michael Owen’s Goals Against German Champions Wolfsburg

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Michael Owen bagged a hattrick in United's 3-1 win over German champions, Wolfsburg.

The third goal to follow...

"VIDEO: Michael Owen's Goals Against German Champions Wolfsburg" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Bring On The Leeds Scum!

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After taking a 1-0 lead, our hopes of playing Leeds United in the next round of the FA Cup took a huge hit when non-league Kettering pulled a goal back.

The game went to extra time and what had been the dream draw suddenly seemed in doubt.

They were just teasing us though. They went on to win 5-1 and book their place in the next round at Old Trafford.

LIVE BLOG: Wolfsburg vs United

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Wolfsburg vs United "LIVE BLOG: Wolfsburg vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

How To Solve A Problem Like No Defenders

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Last week, I argued that Sir Alex Ferguson hadn't made a mistake in playing our youngsters against Besiktas in the penultimate Champions League group stage game. It was important for the youngsters to be given a go and we have to recognise that the only way for them to improve and be ready for occasions like that, is to play them in occasions like that.

VIDEO: Would Ronaldo Have Done This At United?

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I wasn't Cristiano Ronaldo's biggest fan in his last season at United, with him appearing to be far more concerned about himself than he was the team.

You might have thought that once he got his 'dream move' to Real Madrid, that maybe this selfish attitude would change somewhat.

However, I was totally shocked at the weekend to see that when Ronaldo's penaty was saved, leaving Karim Benzema to put away the rebound, our former winger was not at all impressed.

VIDEO: Kuszczak Celebration Against West Ham

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"VIDEO: Kuszczak Celebration Against West Ham" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Which Fans Fired Golf Balls At United Players?

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To win the prize pictured above, simply answer this really easy question by the end of the week.

Question: In 2008, ahead of a match with Manchester United, which clubs' fans had cardboard cut outs of our players erected at the local driving range so they could fire golf balls at them?

VIDEO: Pogba Scores Screamer

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"VIDEO: Pogba Scores Screamer" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RoM Reads

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The Evening News gives the player ratings from Saturday.

The Mirror looks at why we've got to play a strong team against City.

The Telegraph wants to see Owen at the World Cup.

Kickette reveals the truth over Tiny Tears' and Fwank's relationship.

On the Republik of Mancunia shop there is 25% off selected 12 products until December 12th.

VIDEO: Steven “Diving Is Ruining The Game” Gerrard’s Dive Against Blackburn

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Ideas for Christmas pressies at the Republik of Mancunia shop

"VIDEO: Steven "Diving Is Ruining The Game" Gerrard's Dive Against Blackburn" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

A Big Thank You To Carlos Tevez, Frank Lampard and Manchester City

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After thrashing West Ham 4-0 away from home, with two central midfielders making up half of our defence, alongside our second/third choice goalkeeper, we were put within two points of league leaders Chelsea.

After the ball bounced of Emmanuel Adebayor's back and in to the goal to put Chelsea ahead, I assumed it was going to be another one of those days where Chelsea were concerned.

VIDEO: Scholes, Gibson, Valencia and Rooney’s Goals Against West Ham

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Manchester United thrashed West Ham today, despite having the most make shift defence I can remember us playing for some time. Tomasz Kuszczak played in goal, Darren Fletcher started at right back, Evra at left back, and Wes Brown played with Gary Neville in the centre, until our captain was injured in the first half and replaced by Michael Carrick in defence!

LIVE BLOG: West Ham vs United

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West Ham vs United

Free £25 bet with Betfair for West Ham vs United

"LIVE BLOG: West Ham vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Ahead Of Our Clash Against The Hammers

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We travel to London to face West Ham today, knowing that we could close the gap to two points, as Chelsea may the reverse trip up to Manchester to play City.

We've picked up a goal difference of three goals in each of our last two games but we may struggle to do the same today.

West Ham are struggling, no doubt about it, but we don't have too many fond memories of Upton Park is recent years.

Rooney: United Medals > World Cup

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Wayne Rooney has his priorities straight.

"With all the trophies I've won so far, it's involved so much hard work from myself and my team-mates, so I'd never give them away for anything," said Rooney. "But to win a World Cup would be an unbelievable feeling."

"Rooney: United Medals > World Cup" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RoM Reads

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Mark Ogden writes for The Telegraph about our lack of transfer activity since the Glazer takeover.

The Evening News reports on Welbeck's claims that Fergie should stick with youth in the League Cup.

Red Rants talk about the Ljajic deal.

West Ham fans will all receive a free scarf when they play us at the weekend.

City Player Still Not Over United

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Carlos Tevez has insisted that even if he scores against Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final, he will not celebrate due to the feelings he still harbours for our fans.

He used to grab our badge as he warmed up on the touchline, waiting to come off the bench, but hasn't seemed to find that connection at yet.

Ron: I Don’t Want To Play Against Friends At United

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Manchester United have been handed two dream cup ties in the past week, facing hated rivals Leeds and City in the FA and League Cups.

With our hatred for Real Madrid growing steadily over the past few years, could we be in for meeting them in the first knock-out stages of the Champions League?

Nev: You Can’t Call Them Kids

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With the latest fuss conerning Sir Alex Ferguson's selection of the youngsters, Gary Neville has moved to defend the players, claiming he doesn't see them as just kids.

22-year-old Darron Gibson has 5 caps for Ireland, whilst 21-year-old Jonny Evans has 19 caps for Northern Ireland, and Neville believes that even though they're obviously still developing, they are certainly Premiership quality players.

Was Fergie Wrong To Play Kids In Europe? No Effin Way!

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I had a heated discussion with one of my mates last week after he was fuming over Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to play a weakened side against Besiktas. Not known for my Fergie bashing, it was fairly obvious which side of the fence I was going to stand.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for one second claiming the manager always gets it right and never fucks up, because of course we all know that he does.

BREAKING NEWS: United Pull Out Of Ljajic Deal

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The talk of Adem Ljajic has started to gain momentum over the past couple of months, with more videos of his goals floating about the internet, in anticipation for his arrival in January.

"Given all the talk about him and the fact he plays for Serbia's Under 21s even though he's only 18, we hope we will be granted the permit.

GET IN! Another Great Cup Draw

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Manchester United vs Manchester City in the semi-finals of the League Cup!

At the weekend the great Leeds United (or Kettering) draw came in and now we've been given another of our rivals.

Given their desperation for silverware, the possibility of us denying them their best opportunity of a trophy this season is almost too good to be true.

United Looking At New Keeper Afterall?

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Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly claimed that Ben Foster is good enough to be England's number one and will be replacing Edwin Van der Sar when he retires. Problem is, he doesn't back up these claims with actions, with Tomasz Kuszczak getting more and more game time at Foster's expense.

Ferguson recently claimed that we were not looking at signing the impressive young keeper, Igor Akinfeev.

“I’m Very Happy To Commit My Future To United”

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Federico Macheda has signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2014.

"I am very happy to commit my future to Manchester United," said Macheda. "I really enjoyed myself last season when I came on and I hope to get more chances like that and contribute to the team's success.

RoM Reads

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"RoM Reads" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Ahead Of Our Cup Clash Against Tottenham…

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"Ahead Of Our Cup Clash Against Tottenham..." was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

United Have 3.5 Players In Top European 20

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The Ballon d'Or results have been announced today with Manchester United players ranking pretty well.

1. Messi
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (6 months with United, 5 months with Real Madrid)
3. Xavi
4. Iniesta
5. Eto'o
6. Kaka
7. Ibrahimovic
8.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: On Berbatov, Displacing Liverpool, Cantona, Modric and World Cup

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Ahead of United's quarter-final clash against Tottenham Hotspur, the team we beat in last season's final, Spooky from Dear Mr Levy has given up a few minutes to have a chat.

Scott the Red: With Liverpool struggling in the league season, currently fifth and possibly sixth if City win their next game (however unlikely that may be!