Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2010

RoM Reaction To Beating Villa In The League Cup Final

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"Are you Norwich in disguise?" is how we were greeted by cheerful Aston Villa fans as we walked towards the ground. Their excitement was infectious, all clad in their 'Carling Cup 2010′ embroidered shirts and dopey grins on their faces. It was great to be at Wembley and I of course wanted to see us leave with the trophy, but I did feel a bit of a fraud in knowing I was nowhere near as excited as their lot.

COMPETITION: Manchester Is Red

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Manchester United have had larger attendances than City since the 1940's... even when we were playing at Maine Road! Manchester is red.

To win a Manchester Is Red mug, simply e-mail the answer to the following question with your postal address to: republik_of_mancunia_competition@hotmail.

RoM Links

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The Guardian looks in to who the Red Knights are.

Football365 talks about the ref's cup final performance.

Kickette responds to our cup final victory.

The Daily Mail shows world football's rich list.

The Times reckons Sepp Blatter is going to bin the offside rule.

A Different League has listed us in the nominations for top United blog.

VIDEO FROM THE STANDS: United vs Villa Final

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Before kick off
Uploaded by RepublikOfMancunia
Celebrating MO's equaliser
Uploaded by RepublikOfMancunia

Celebrating with the trophy
Uploaded by RepublikOfMancunia

Lap of honour
Uploaded by RepublikOfMancunia

For more videos from the day check out RoM's Dailymotion.

Evra: Fans Wear Green and Gold Because They Love This Club

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Patrice Evra has offered some support to our anti-Glazer protests.

"They are the original colors of Manchester United and the fans wear them because they love this club," Evra said. "They have their reasons for doing it and we don't think that they're crazy. They'd like things to change.

Owen: I Love Playing For United

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After scoring a crucial goal in yesterday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa, Michael Owen has dismissed rumours he is unhappy with his limited playing time at United.

"I am loving it at Manchester United," Owen said. "There are plenty of people who want to put negative spins on things.

Eckersley Fee Less Than We Hoped For

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Richard Eckersley joined Burnley at the start of the season, following in the footsteps of another United youth product, Chris Eages. He made just four appearances for United and left with the hope of more first team action.

However, it hasn't entirely gone to plan so far, with the 20-year-old finding himself sent off on his Burnley debut in September and has only played twice since, both in cup games.

Rooney Is Arsenal Captain’s Dream Signing

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Piers Morgan: "Which striker in the world would you most like to bring to Arsenal?"

Cesc Fabregas: "Wayne Rooney. He can do everything. A brilliant player."

"Rooney Is Arsenal Captain's Dream Signing" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Scenes At The Final Whistle and Trophy Lifting At Wembley

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The scenes at the whistle following Manchester United's 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Wembley.

"VIDEO: Scenes At The Final Whistle and Trophy Lifting At Wembley" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Evra: I’m Proud To Follow On From Cantona

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Patrice Evra lifted his first trophy as Manchester United captain, after Gary Neville started the match on the bench, as well as Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand missing the game through injury.

Our French full back has today revealed his pride in being the captain and becoming the second Frenchman after Eric Cantona to lift a trophy for us.

VIDEO: Smithy Gives United A Work Out For Sports Relief

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"VIDEO: Smithy Gives United A Work Out For Sports Relief" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Graham Poll Explains Technicality Which Saved Vidic

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Manchester United fans breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday after referee Phil Dowd opted not to send off Nemanja Vidic despite him pulling down Gabriel Agbonlahor as the last man.

Whilst a sending off would have ruined the game as a spectacle, Poll reckons there was another reason which saved Vidic.

VIDEO: Owen and Rooney Cup Final Goal’s Against Aston Villa

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"VIDEO: Owen and Rooney Cup Final Goal's Against Aston Villa" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Fergie Praises Patience Players and Fans

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Sir Alex Ferguson lifted his 34th trophy in 23 years as Manchester United manager on Sunday, with the reds beating Aston Villa 2-1 at Wembley.

After going a goal behind after four minutes, goals from Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney gave United the win.

Ferguson has praised the patience of our players in coming back from a goal goal and is pleased with the great support from our fans.

VIDEO: United Player Dressing Room Celebrations

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After beating Aston Villa 2-1 in the Carling Cup final, Manchester United players celebrate in the Wembley dressing room.

"VIDEO: United Player Dressing Room Celebrations" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Owen: Great To Score And Win With United

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After scoring Manchester United's equalising goal in yesterday's Carling Cup final victory, Michael Owen limped off before half time with a hamstring injury.

Owen was surprisingly upbeat after the match though, insisting he was very happy to have scored and that United, with his only concern being doing well for us, not going to South Africa for this year's World Cup.

Fergie: I Am Not Selling Michael Owen

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Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed today that despite reports in the press that Manchester United are set to sell 10 players this summer to compensate for the debt, Michael Owen will still be a red next season.

Owen hasn't made the impact he was probably hoping for but from a fan perspective, I'm pretty happy.

Van der Sar: Not Another Bloke In The World Like Sir Alex

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After signing another year long contract extension which will see him playing Premiership football in his 40s, Edwin Van der Sar has hailed Sir Alex Ferguson and explained why he is staying on.

"There is not another bloke in the world like Sir Alex," said Van der Sar. "I really think he is a unique coach, unparalleled.

RoM Links

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The Times has a nice article on Darren Fletcher.

The Mirror says Martin O'Neil has ruled himself out of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Guardian is full of praise for Wayne Rooney.

Vote on The Spoiler over who will win the League Cup today.

The Chelsea Blog is not happy with the fans who booed Wayne Bridge.

Who Cares About The Carling Cup Anyway?

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The few years between our league title wins in 2003 and 2007 were fairly dark for United. We went on to the win the FA Cup in 2004 after beating Arsenal at Highbury in the semis and Dennis Wise's Millwall in the final, but we finished third in the league, a massive 15 points behind Arsenal. The following season was just dire, with our football appalling, us crashing out of Europe at the group stages before finishing third again, this time 18 points behind Chelsea.

Fletch: Roy Made Me Who I Am

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Following our humiliating 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough in 2005, Roy Keane had a massive rant on MUTV, ripping apart so many of our players for their attitude and performance.

Darren Fletcher was one of those players and the opinions of Keane were reflected by most of our fan base. Fletcher wasn't good enough, and as far as we were concerned, was never going to be good enough.

POLL: Should Fergie Rest Rooney?

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Sir Alex Ferguson is considering resting Wayne Rooney tomorrow for the League Cup final, with games against AC Milan and Liverpool to play in March.

"It has to be a consideration simply because we have important games coming up," said Ferguson. "The problem is, he is desperate to play, he is always desperate to play.

Chelsea Fans Just Sunk To A New Low

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Ahead of Chelsea's game against Manchester City today, Wayne Bridge made the sensible decision of refusing to shake the hand of John Terry, his former best mate who had an affair with the mother of his child.

When confronted with such a situation, it's hard to imagine how you would react. This is not a situation which is exclusive to football, there are of course scum bags in every day life who would royally fuck over their best friend for a bit of skirt, but what happens in those scenarios?

PICTURES: It Was Green and Gold Last Time Too

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Manchester United would have won the domestic Treble in 1994 if not for Aston Villa beating 3-1 in the League Cup final, with Mark Hughes scoring our only goal.

Interestingly, United wore the green and gold strip during that final, which is a colour that will be reflected in the crowd this Sunday.

VIDEO: Rooney vs Rooney

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"VIDEO: Rooney vs Rooney" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Can United beat Villa to win the League Cup?

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United have failed to beat Villa twice already this season but the market takes its lead from the history books by rating the Reds 1.89 (10/11) favourites to win the Carling Cup final on Sunday.

Those odds only apply to a Reds victory inside 90 minutes but the price is still well worth taking.

Carrick Greedy For More And More

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Michael Carrick has revealed today that once upon a time he dreamed of just winning any trophy but since joining United has been spoilt by success.

In his three seasons with the club he has won thee league titles, the European Cup, and the FIFA World Club Cup. On Sunday, he has the opportunity to add the League Cup to his collection.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Villa Fan On The Final, Dunne, Fergie’s Replacement and Barry

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In usual big game pre-match fashion, we've had a quick chat with Damian from The Villa Blog about Sunday's League Cup final.

Scott the Red: What would constitute a good season for Villa?

Damian: A good season for us will be winning the League Cup or even, if things go our way and we get a bit of luck, the FA Cup.

Chant For Mancini On Sunday

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"Mancini are you listening,
We're gonna keep our ticker ticking,
We'll be on Wembley Way,
34 years to the day,
While your choking on your scarf back home"

Stretford End Flags have asked Roberto Mancini to attend the official banner changing at Old Trafford, whereby the ticker will move on to 34 years, after the City boss earlier promised to take the banner down.

What Would England Fans Make Of Chelsea Captain If It Was Rooney’s Bird?

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Wayne Bridge has announced today that he will not be going to the World Cup after his position in the squad has been made untenable by John Terry, who as captain of England and Chelsea, had an affair with Bridge's then girlfriend and mother of his child.

Whilst I've found it hard to believe that Chelsea fans could offer up their wholehearted support for Terry, despite the fact he was getting off with a former Chelsea player's bird (can you imagine your feelings for Gary Neville is he was doing the mother of Nicky Butt's kid?

STATS: Rooney and Berbatov Compared To Drogba, Tevez, Torres, Bent, Defoe, Adebayor and Saha

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Wayne Rooney has had some early shouts for player of the season after going from strength to strength in front of goal, but how does he really compare with other strikers in the league? Dimitar Berbatov gets a lot of stick and labelled a "flop", from sections of our own support as much as elsewhere, but how has he really done this season?

Anderson Out For Rest Of Season

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Manchester United midfielder, Anderson, went off the rails recently after becoming frustrated over his lack of playing time. Whilst his form has been hit and miss this season, the Brazilian believed he deserved more time in the team so fled home to Brazil without the permission of the club.

He returned to Manchester though and at the beginning of the week said that whilst he'd had his doubts, he was now certain of his United future.

Ron: Rooney Has Always Been Brilliant

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Wayne Rooney has been on the receiving end of lots of praise this season, with him finally stepping in to the limelight which has been vacated by Cristiano Ronaldo, and before him, Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Ronaldo argues that whilst Rooney is definitely having a great season, our young forward has always been great.

34 Years

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"When we go to Old Trafford, we will take that banner down," Mancini said. "This is the last year because we will win."

Sadly for City, their fondly named "Bobby Manc", who was supposed to bring the glory days to the club, has seen them get knocked out of both cup competitions, therefore kissing any chance of silverware goodbye for yet another season.

STATS: Rooney Has Already Replaced Ronaldo and Tevez’s Goals

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored 18 goals in 33 games for Manchester United last season, whilst Carlos Tevez scored 5 goals in 29 games.

With February drawing to an end, Wayne Rooney has now scored 23 goals in 27 games.

Of course, Wayne Rooney scored 12 goals himself in the league last season, so it's not a case of us matching all our goals with last season, but with 11 games still left to play, you wouldn't bet against Rooney coming close to achieving it.

Capello: Ferguson Has Taught Rooney So Much

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England boss, Fabio Capello, has sung the praises of Wayne Rooney today following another two goals for Manchester United in our 3-0 win over West Ham.

"Rooney compared to Messi?" he said. "They are two players that everyone would like to have, along with Cristiano Ronaldo. Wayne is an extraordinary player, talented and willing to learn.

VIDEO: Rooney Goal Against West Ham

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Can't watch the game? Then follow it on the RoM live blog!

"VIDEO: Rooney Goal Against West Ham" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

LIVE BLOG: United vs West Ham – Red Perspective

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

Harris Needs To Get Real Over Boycott

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"Harris Needs To Get Real Over Boycott" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Anderson: I Thought About Leaving… But I’m Not Finished At United

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Anderson returned to Brazil without the permission of Manchester United after becoming frustrated with a lack of playing time.

The Brazilian midfielder has failed to replicate the impressive form of his debut season and faces stronger competition in the centre of the park. He hasn't played since the first leg of the League Cup semi-final derby, where he was subbed off with 20 minutes to play.

Fletch: I’m United For Life

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Darren Fletcher has revealed that before signing his latest contract at the club, he was tempted to move away from Manchester United after getting limited time on the pitch.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been a big fan of the midfielder long before the rest of us caught on, convinced him to stay after promising him more playing time, not more money.

Join Forces With Liverpool? No Ta

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"Join Forces With Liverpool? No Ta" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Gallagher’s Amusing John Terry Rant

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When Manchester City fans were getting giddy over the prospect of signing then England captain, John Terry, Noel Gallagher claimed he wanted his club to have nothing to do with the cockney cry baby.

When Manchester United won the European Cup, Terry obviously wasn't high up on Gallagher's favourite person list for missing a decisive penalty, and the uncontrollable crying session which followed obviously didn't help.

VDS: United Want Me To Stay… So I’m Staying

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Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak look away now...

Edwin Van der Sar has agreed to signed another year long contract extension which will see him stay at United until the end of next season, at least. Absolutely brilliant news!

"I would like to keep on playing so I have decided to sign another contract," said Van der Sar.

Rooney: I Didn’t Want World Cup Mess With Ron To Ruin United’s Chances

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With the World Cup only months away, Wayne Rooney has been asked about his feelings on Fabio Capello and the last World Cup.

Today he revealed that after his red card in 2006 he was focussed on making sure that it didn't have a negative effect on Manchester United's title challenge.

"Cristiano is rightly the World Player of the Year and, in my eyes, is still the best in the world," said Rooney.

VIDEO: Berbatov’s Goal Against Everton

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"VIDEO: Berbatov's Goal Against Everton" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Fergie: We Kept Ron Another Year But He Wanted To Leave

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Sir Alex Ferguson has today revealed the details of the conversation which lead to Cristiano Ronaldo being sold to Real Madrid.

"Ronaldo was sold simply because the boy wanted to leave," said Ferguson. "I did well to keep him another year. When we sat down, you could see it in his eyes.

STAT ATTACK: Our Defence Compared To Arsenal and Chelsea

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Football has changed dramatically since the 1990's. Whilst United have always prided themselves on their attacking football, the mentality that said you may score three but we will score four has gone.

We won the league by 18 points in the 1999-2000 season and conceded a massive 45 goals, an average of 1.

Fergie: Green & Gold Catches Your Attention

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With calls from a small minority of United fans for Sir Alex Ferguson to resign, it is becoming apparent that maybe the guilt of sitting back and saying nothing about our ridiculous debt situation under the Glazers has got to our manager.

After already showing sympathy to our green and gold movement, Sir Alex Ferguson has given an interview with The Observer where he claims he is not against our protests, but that his priority has to be the well being of the team.

LIVE BLOG: Everton vs United – Red Perspective

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"LIVE BLOG: Everton vs United Red Perspective" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

All Eyes On Rooney At Goodison

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Sir Alex Ferguson

"He always gets a rough ride there although he is probably used to that now. There is a special motivation for Wayne to do well against Everton but we couldn't have him in better form really and it doesn't matter where we are going. He has been the main player.

Fergie: I Understand Where Protesting Fans Are Coming From

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"Fergie: I Understand Where Protesting Fans Are Coming From" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RoM Links

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

VIDEO: Diouf and Stewart Goals For The Reserves

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Read the match report.

"VIDEO: Diouf and Stewart Goals For The Reserves" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: LUHG Sung As Gill Jnr Interviewed

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As Oliver Gill is interviewed following the Reserves 2-0 victory over Everton, a fan can be heard singing "Love United, hate Glazer!" in the background.

What would daddy think?

"VIDEO: LUHG Sung As Gill Jnr Interviewed" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Looking Back At Milan And Forward To Everton

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With ten minutes gone at the San Siro, I started to wonder whether my confidence in the team had been totally misplaced. Rafael da Silva was getting murdered by Ronaldinho, who kept cutting in to our box with ease. He may have needed a deflection to open the scoring but we were left with the terrifying prospect of what might occur over the remaining 88 minutes.

Free Tickets For Carling Cup Final

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Fancy being at Wembley to see United pick up their first silverware of the season in the Carling Cup Final? Betfair is offering you the chance to do just that.

It could be a classic when the Reds go head-to-head with Aston Villa on Sunday February 28th. Having failed to beat Martin O'Neill's men in two attempts already this season, United might need your support to make it third time lucky.

History points to a tight United win over Everton

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After conquering AC Milan at the San Siro, Manchester United face their second tough road game in five days when they go to Everton on Saturday.

But the Betfair layers are taking no chances with the champions and rate the Reds as just 1.85 (5-6) chances to win at an opponent in very good form at present.

Sticking Up For Wolves Over Premier League’s Ridiculous E20 Decision

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On December 12th 2009, Wolves fought to win three points away at White Hart Lane. A couple of weeks earlier Spurs had beaten Wigan 9-1 at home so this was definitely a great result for Wolves. They had scored after three minutes but as the game progressed, had to pull out a massive performances to secure all the points.

RoM Reads

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In Behind looks at why AC Milan won't beat United.

The Times looks at the future of Dimitar Berbatov.

Birmingham blog, Joys and Sorrows, is a fan of Wayne Rooney.

The Daily Mail reckons Barca want John O'Shea.

The Chelsea Blog looks at Rafa's latest rant.

Monkey Mag has Ashley Cole as their Twat of the Week.

Vidic: United Made Me Who I Am So I’m Not Leaving

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Nemanja Vidic's agent and Sir Alex Ferguson said the player wasn't going anywhere this week. Now Vidic has spoken out.

"I have never had a conflict of any kind with Sir Alex Ferguson and rife speculation that I want to leave United is completely untrue," Vidic said. "I have a contract until the summer of 2012 and I have every intention of seeing it through to the very last day.

PICTURE: Evra Recognises A Genius When He Sees One

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"I am very happy for him because every time he plays, he respects the shirt," Evra said after our 3-2 win over Milan. "He is a world-class player and I hope he stays like this because we want to win the second leg and we are also focused on the league. Wayne is Wayne Rooney now, he is more mature now, he has learnt a lot and now he wants to score, he has the hunger to score, not just to press the ball but to score and now he is a goalscorer.

Becks: Nice To Play In A Full Stadium

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Manchester United beat AC Milan at the San Siro last night in what was David Beckham's first appearance against his former club.

After delivering the cross which lead to Milan's opening goal, Beckham became more ineffectual as the game went on, and was eventually subbed off with twenty minutes to play.

Carrick: I Didn’t Kick The Ball Away

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Michael Carrick was shown a red card in Manchester United's 3-2 victory over AC Milan at the San Siro last night, although it took a while for anyone to work out why.

The referee believed that our midfielder had intentionally kicked the ball away to waste time so produced a second yellow, which will keep Carrick out for the return leg.

“Own Goal” Scores An Own Goal

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With United somehow managing to mount a title challenge, despite playing for weeks with no defence, the media has really been scraping the barrel to find ways to criticise Manchester United. The Cristiano Ronaldo angle long disappeared with Wayne Rooney scoring more goals by January than Ronaldo did all of last season, so they had to find something new.

VIDEO: Scholes and Rooney Goals vs Milan

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"VIDEO: Scholes and Rooney Goals vs Milan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Fergie And Agent Agree: Vidic Staying Put

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Silvano Martina agent

"There is nothing true in these reports. Me and Nemanja are becoming tired of such rumours. He still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract and he's not for sale."

Sir Alex Ferguson

"Of course we want him to stay.

Rooney: Beating Chelsea In Moscow Was Best Moment

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Wayne Rooney has today revealed that he uses the pain of Rome and the ecstasy of Moscow as inspiration to succeed in the Champions League.

"It was a weird night," said Rooney. "It was obviously an achievement to get there, but then it was just a horrible, horrible feeling losing to Barcelona.

Manchester United to put Milan ghosts to rest

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Never mind David Beckham – Manchester United have a score to settle with AC Milan. The Reds have played the Rossoneri four times in Europe's premier competition and the Italians have prevailed on each occasion. So will it be fifth time lucky for the Reds? And should you back them to qualify at odds of 1.

Ronaldinho: United Game Like The Final

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Ronaldinho has claimed AC Milan are treating tonight's game like the final and reckons that their defence will be good enough to stop us from scoring.

"I am prepared for this ­battle," said Ronaldinho. "I want to be the star of this knock-out round and I am playing the best football in my time at Milan.

COMPETITION: The Rebel Who Would Be King

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When Philippe Auclair's brilliant book on Eric Cantona came out, RoM gave away a signed copy in a competition.

Auclair's book gives a great blow by blow account of Cantona's career, including that insane evening at Selhurst Park.

We're working in partnership with Pan Macmillan again to offer you the chance to win a signed copy of the new hard back edition.

VIDEO Flashback: 3-2 vs Milan

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"VIDEO Flashback: 3-2 vs Milan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Ahead Of Our Match Against Milan

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It was one of the most demoralising matches of United's in the modern era, with us crashing out to Milan following a 3-0 defeat at the San Siro. We were flying high in the Premiership, with us going on to be named Champions four days after that defeat, but this was the game that let us know we still had some way to go if we were going to be the best in Europe too.

Lamps: Rooney Will Be England Captain After Rio

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John Terry, who has been a very unpopular man on RoM for some time, has finally been able to convince the country of what an odious fool he really is. Cheating on his wife with the mother of one of his best mates' kid has ensured that whatever he goes on to achieve with always be mentioned alongside this footnote of disloyalty and infidelity.

Ferguson: Ronaldo Still The Best In The World

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After Cristiano Ronaldo left the door open to a Manchester United return, after confessing he missed us after signing for "dream club" Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson has named him as the best player in the world.

"Ronaldo is the best player in the world, but I am biased," said Ferguson.

Nev: United Fan Becks Will Get Great Reception

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Manchester United captain, Gary Neville, has claimed that David Beckham will be received warmly by the United fans when the clubs meet in the Champions League tonight.

"I'm sure it will be a special night for him," said Neville. "He will get a fantastic reception when he returns to Manchester.

RoM Reads

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Oliver Kay writes for The Times about Ferguson's correct decision to sell Beckham.

The Guardian has an interesting article on Eric Harrison.

The Daily Mail doesn't think AC Milan will pose much of a problem.

Red Rants previews tomorrow's game against Milan.

The Chelsea Blog looks at the impact of the media on England's World Cup chances.

Becks: I’ll Do Everything I Can To Make United Lose

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Manchester United fan, David Beckham, who is currently on loan for a few months at AC Milan, has today claimed he will do everything he can to knock United out of the Champions League this season.

"I will do all I can to beat Manchester United," said Beckham. "Manchester United are a great team, and to beat them we need a great Milan performance, but also some luck.

What Exactly Did Gill Say About The Glazers?

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Following the confrontation between David Gill and a fan last week, as well as Gill's comments about the fans' "ridiculous" protests, it's interesting to see what Gill used to think of our fans' protests and the Glazers' plan before they became his boss.

MUTV: Can you explain the reason why the Board have terminated discussions with the Glazer family?

Ron: I Miss United… Only God Knows If I’ll Return

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After a frustrating final few months with United, Cristiano Ronaldo finally left for Real Madrid. RoM had become weary with the Ronnie's antics, with it becoming blatantly obvious that our star man was ready for a move to Spain.

We made our peace when a fee had been agreed and to his credit, he has had nothing but great things to say about our club in the press since leaving.

RoM Reads

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The Daily Mail reports on a row between David Gill and a fan.

Off The Post has a ticket for the United vs West Ham to give away.

The Times says Rooney needs to improve his big game goal ratio.

Rossobianchi looks at the own goal issue.

The Big Time blog writes with Glazer specs.

Saha: United Mates On The Phone After Chelsea Win

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Louis Saha had to leave Manchester United because we couldn't afford to compete in four competitions with a striker who was so unreliable thanks to his injuries. When fit and ready to play, Saha really was a good striker for us and scored some important goals. It was his performances in the League Cup 2006 which helped us win the trophy, with him being the top scorer that year, which then went on to start our revival after "the decline".

COMPETITION: The Referee’s A…

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It's competition time again. Up for grabs for the week to come is a book about the best chants in football.

Throughout the country every weekend, football stadiums ring with the sound of hundreds of thousands of supporters singing the praises of their favourite players, rubbishing the opposition, having a go at the ref and waxing lyrical about past legends.

From Too Many Good Wingers… To Not Enough

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With Nani hitting great form, Antonio Valencia, who had been voted by the fans as our best player in November and December, was pretty much forced out of the starting team. It was apparent Nani played better on the right wing, which understandably better suited his right-footed ability. Valencia, who was last seen touching the ball with his left foot approximately three years ago, also needs a spot down the right wing.

Fletch: Own Goals Come From United Pressure

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Yesterday, Ryan Giggs powered the ball in to the six yard box, hit at such pace that James Collins didn't have time to get out of the way, which allowed the ball to bounce off him and beat the excellent Brad Friedel.

Lucky Manchester United, was the conclusion.

Before yesterday, Aston Villa had conceded fewer goals at home than any other team in the Premiership, letting in just 7 goals in 12 games.

VIDEO: Was It A Red Card?

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"VIDEO: Was It A Red Card?" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Louis Saha Is Still A Red

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Louis Saha could have had a hat-trick against Chelsea tonight, after scoring two and having his penalty saved. Saha got the better of John Terry for both goals.

Our away draw against Villa and Chelsea's 2-1 defeat means we are now within one point of the blues at the top and have a goal difference better by two.

LIVE BLOG: Aston Villa vs United

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

Nani: I Never Wanted To Leave United

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Nani suffered from poor form at the start of the season, rarely started in the team and then disappeared for a couple of months. The reason given later was injury, although there had been plenty of talk of a falling our with the manager.

Since then, Nani has hit some brilliant form, putting in good performances against the likes of Arsenal and City, and is receiving praise from all over the place.

Club Sack Steward For Trying To Return Banner

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It has been revealed today that a steward at Old Trafford has been sacked for returning an anti-Glazer banner to United fans protesting about the state of our club.

Granville Boden, who has worked as a steward at United for 19 years, was sacked after he tried to return a banner which was confiscated by stewards during the league game against Burnley.

Nev Compares Nani To Ronaldo

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With Nani making sure he distanced himself from Cristiano Ronaldo with every interview he gives, claiming that he is his own man and a different player to his International team mate, the comparisons keep arising.

Nani was scoring goals in his first season at United that Ronaldo could only compete with in his final season, if you look at the goals Nani scored against Boro and Spurs and compare them with Ronaldo's goal against Porto.

RoM Links

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Martin Samuel writes for The Daily Mail about holding off judgement on Rio Ferdinand.

The Guardian talks about the two horse race.

Between The Lines sees the error of their ways in regards to Nani.

Soccerlens talks about the Shakhtar Syndrome.

Studs Up takes the piss out of Wenger.

Steaua Bucuresti 1986

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Liverpool fans tend to lump together the disasters of Hillsborough and Heysel. Whilst I've never sung a Hillsborough song in my life, I see Heysel as fair game. The actions of Liverpool fans lead to the deaths of 39 people, yet after the tragedy, their club washed their hands of the disaster.

They blamed Chelsea fans and didn't appologise for what happened until 20 years later.

Club’s Not So Subtle Hint – No Green & Gold Banners In Milan

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"Flags not in club colours may not be allowed into the San Siro."

"Club's Not So Subtle Hint No Green & Gold Banners In Milan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

PICTURE: Embarrassed Wayne Rooney With Awards

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Wayne Rooney became the first player to score 20 Premiership goals by January and has already outscored Cristiano Ronaldo for his total for last season.

He was named January's Player of the Month but was also presented with a special award for his achievement.

Not one for being centre of attention, Rooney looked fairly embarrassed to be presented with the awards, whilst his team mates had a laugh in the background.

Reaction To Portsmouth

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As expected, Manchester United continued on with their great form to thrash struggling Portsmouth 5-0 at Old Trafford.

With Chelsea starting the day with a goal difference which bettered ours by 2, it was really important that we made the most of our chance to score goals.

With Wayne Rooney in the form of his life, you had to believe that was going to be possible.

PICTURE: Rio Reacts To Berbatov Miss

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Five minutes before United opened the scoring today, Dimitar Berbatov missed an absolute sitter. Gary Neville burst in to the box and played in a perfect ball to the Bulgarian, with half the ground on their feet in celebration, only for Berb to fire wide. It was an absolutely dreadful miss.

VIDEO: Rooney, Nani, Carrick and Berbatov’s Goals Against Portsmouth

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

Never Forget – The Flowers Of Manchester

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The singing of The Flowers of Manchester will take place under the Munich plaque at 2pm before the Portsmouth home game. The singing will be conducted by Pete Martin of the folk group Hanky Park.

The lyrics can be found on the Munich 58 website so if you're going down to the ground, print out a copy of the lyrics so you can sing along, and if possible, print out copies for others.

Back United to steamroll Portsmouth

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Manchester United are the classic 'good things' for favourite backers with struggling Portsmouth the opposition at Old Trafford this Saturday afternoon.

Odds of just 1.14 (1-7) are for the big bettors or multiple backers only, but it's hard to argue that United are almost as close to a certainty as you'll find in the Premier League.

Finally Capello Makes The Right Choice

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"Finally Capello Makes The Right Choice" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Evra: Truly Very Proud To Wear Captain’s Armband

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Patrice Evra has been chosen as Manchester United captain in the absence of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand.

Unsurprisingly, he doesn't take the responsibility lightly.

"I do what I have to on the pitch. I'm not like Ferguson's son. But as soon as I'm not good, Ferguson will give me the 'hairdryer'," said Evra.

Valencia: I’m Really Enjoying My United Career

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Antonio Valencia has made a great start to his United career after joining us from Wigan in the summer.

He was voted by our fans as our best performing player in November and December on the club's official website.

Valencia has today revealed he didn't expect to get so much playing time this early on in to his United career and sees this as just the start.

Is It All Over For Hargreaves?

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Yesterday, Sir Alex Ferguson said he was putting Owen Hargreaves in the Champions League squad to face AC Milan.

Today, Hargreaves has been withdrawn from the squad and his people aren't revealing anything.

Is he ever going to come back?

"Is It All Over For Hargreaves?

No Wonder Fergie Has Spies For His Players!

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Four years before signing for Rangers, where he scored 44 goals in 57 games, Sir Alex Ferguson was trying to get himself a professional deal at St. Johnstone. He wasn't happy there and kept requesting to leave, with him dumped in the Reserves and out of favour.

Then one afternoon he was selected to play against Rangers which completely changed his life.

Cole: Keano The Only Boss On The Pitch Captain

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In light of the debate of whether John Terry should remain England captain following his disgraceful behaviour towards team mate Wayne Bridge, former United player and current United season ticket holder, Andrew Cole, has spoken about the role of the football captain.

"Captaincy in football is massively overrated, almost to the point of being irrelevant," said Cole.

You’ve Got To Laugh At Robbie Keane

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Robbie Keane left Tottenham Hotspur a couple of years ago because a dream move to the club he had supported all his life came about.

A year and a half later he left Tottenham Hotspur because a dream move to the club he had supported all his life came about.

Feb 1st 2010: "It's been no secret over the years that I'm a Celtic fan and that one day I would love to play for them," said Keane.

Just Two Points In It

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Ahead of the weekend, there are no just two points between us and the top, after Chelsea failed to beat Hull with their game in hand.

We take on bottom of the table Portsmouth at home on Saturday, where a win would see us go top of the league. The following day, Chelsea take on Arsenal, who you imagine would be looking for a big reaction following their dismal display against us at the weekend.

Hargreaves Back For Milan?

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Sir Alex Ferguson has today suggested that Owen Hargreaves could be back in time to face AC Milan.

"I would like to see him make the squad for the Champions League fixtures against AC Milan," said Ferguson. "But we won't rush him. We are being patient. Owen is alternating his training with the reserve and first-team squads, working for two days and then resting a day.

RoM Reads

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The Times reports on the problems with the bond issue.

The Chelsea Blog is not at all happy with the JT affair.Â

Sky Sports show that City and Garry Cook don't know what they're doing.

The Guardian wonders why players can't take corners anymore.

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

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Arsenal Fan On Sunday, Ronaldo and Winning The League

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Andrew Weber, from the popular Gunner blog, Arsenal FC Blog, has been big enough to have a quick chat with me following our 3-1 victory over them on Sunday.

Scott the Red: At the start of the season, did you think winning the league would be beyond United in light of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure?

It’s Too Early To Say I Told You So, But…

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I get a lot of stick on the blog, from our own fans and rivals unlike, because of my unwavering optimism. If we have a dreadful game, I will take it on board, but try and find the silver lining, however difficult that may be. There are optimists and pessimists (or realists as they would probably refer to themselves) within every fan base and of course neither one is better than the other.

Stat Attack – The Season So Far

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"Stat Attack The Season So Far" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

And The Winner Is…

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Thanks to the support of readers on RoM, this blog has been voted the best team blog of 2009. I've also been named the best team writer.

See all the winners from the 2009 Soccerlens awards.

Cheers you lot!

Best blog: ROM proved to be the most popular team site this year – there may be other sites with as much following but ROM edges it for it's consistent improvements in 2009 and month-on-month growth as the #1 destination for United fans.

RoM Links

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Henry Winter from The Telegraph reckons it can be argued Fabregas is more "anti-football" then Fletch.

The Guardian reckons the last 10 days have been the best for the club since 199.

Le Grove reviews the spanking we dished out yesterday.

The Spoiler asks would you rather Rooney or Ronaldo?

“Red Knights” Should Send Gill Packing

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"We could borrow money but it would not be good business for a football club. Borrowing large sums of money is the road to ruin." David Gill, August 2004.

At the recent MUST/IMUSA meeting, there were calls from some supporters for all those there to give up their season tickets and stop going to games.