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Beckham shows true colours

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Phil McNulty | 07:13 UK time, Thursday, 11 March 2010

At Old Trafford

The sight of David Beckham standing at the Stretford End draped in the colours of the anti-Glazer movement crowned just about the perfect evening for Manchester United's fans.

Beckham, for all the glitz, has a sure touch with a populist gesture, and the chance to drape himself in the green and gold scarf that is now Old Trafford's public symbol of protest against the club's American owners was too good to miss.

He may have been wearing AC Milan's shirt, but this simple gesture of solidarity with the dissenters will have surely struck a chord with Avi and Joel Glazer as they watched from the directors' box, although Beckham later claimed the protests were "not my business".

By then, Wayne Rooney had wrapped up Manchester United's place in the last eight of the Champions League, two goals inside 46 minutes leaving plenty of time for those fans disheartened with the Glazer regime to register their discontent.

And they made good use of the opportunity. Thousands of green and gold scarves swirled, giant banners were unfurled and songs were sung.

Beckham's impromptu adoption of the campaign colours as he disappeared down Old Trafford's tunnel for perhaps the last time was merely the final flourish - a public relations coup beyond their wildest dreams from a man who knows a thing or two about such matters.

Beckham puts a green and gold scarf around his neckBeckham puts a green and gold scarf around his neck

The movement gathering momentum on the terraces also knows it is now firmly embedded in the psyche of the most important figure at Manchester United, namely manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson will not embrace the protesters but he openly acknowledges them, which they will regard as a significant development. He even referred to the protest scarves in his programme notes, although, surprisingly, Beckham did not warrant a single mention.

The campaign against the Glazers has moved up several gears since the announcement of a £500m bond issue in January, which was designed to ease United's £700m debt. This was its most impressive demonstration yet. The use of Beckham as a tool to add further leverage to their cause came as an added bonus.

The evening followed almost the perfect script for United. Ferguson wanted an early goal to dampen any optimism Milan may have harboured about overturning United's 3-2 lead from the San Siro - and Rooney's early header provided it.

He scored his 30th goal of a superb season seconds after the break to release the pressure valve even further. And when the unsung but excellent Ji-Sung Park added a third on the hour, the football business of the evening was more or less concluded.

Old Trafford could then turn its attention to other matters, namely welcoming Beckham for a 27-minute cameo that started with Milan 3-0 down and making its collective feelings known to the watching Glazers.

It was a success on all fronts. Beckham was always going to get the wonderful reception he deserved, all the better for Manchester United fans that they were able to lavish it on him from a position of such strength.

United were on a different plane to this somewhat decrepit Milan outfit, ageing and lacking fight. If there was a worry for those with England's World Cup hopes at heart, it was that Beckham did not make the starting line-up in this fading team.

In Beckham's defence, he posed as much of a threat as pretty much all of team-mates in his short stay, tossing in a couple of teasing crosses and bringing a sharp save from Edwin van der Sar with a stunning volley. It is almost impossible, not to mention unfair, to make a judgement on Beckham in the wider context because the contest was so emphatically over before he even got on.

Beckham's every sprint down the touchline to warm up, plus a few exercises during the interval, was greeted with applause and a flash of camera bulbs. Try as he might, however, he could not overshadow Rooney, who even had the nerve to interrupt one prolonged standing ovation for Beckham by scoring United's second goal.

Wayne Rooney puts Manchester United aheadRooney puts United ahead on the night with another header

Darren Fletcher silenced the protests briefly with United's fourth goal - and the good news just stacked up for United as Beckham's show of support was followed by news from Spain that Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and all, had been knocked out by Lyon.

We have to say almost the perfect script because, despite the impressive unity of the anti-Glazer lobby, the Americans, who have overseen plenty of success since their takeover in 2005, show not the slightest sign of a willingness to sell. This may change, but there are currently no indications they will.

But the protesters made their point, and it was done without any detriment to the team. A plan to boycott the first 10 minutes of Wednesday's game and leave a swathe of empty seats was wisely ditched, a signal that they are still united with Ferguson and his team, if not the owners.

And why shouldn't they be after the fare United served up last night? United were too quick, too powerful and simply had too many weapons for Milan, who crumbled after a promising opening.

United followed Arsenal in imperiously sweeping aside their opponents, and it was not just the predictable brilliance of Rooney that was at the heart of this display.

Park, as Ferguson so rightly said, played with an intelligence, intensity and selflessness that is his hallmark. He threw a wet blanket over the talents of Andrea Pirlo and chipped in with a goal.

And we even saw Gary Neville, perhaps inspired by the sight of old mate Beckham on the bench, create Rooney's first goal with a cross worthy of the man who played in front of him for so long on United's right flank.

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, while not yet restored to the force of old, provided reassurance in the centre of defence. Antonio Valencia and Nani offered athleticism and thrust down the flanks.

It emphasised that, while Beckham was rightly celebrated as a part of United's glorious past, the present and future belongs to younger talents. It was a pattern repeated all over the field as Milan grew old before our very eyes.

There was talk in the build-up to the game about the famous Milan Lab, the science and fitness centre in the Milanello training HQ where age, it seems, can supposedly be defied. On this evidence, it must have been closed when most of Leonardo's team were scheduled to go through their paces.

Ferguson and United have sights set on making amends for the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in Rome by marching on Madrid in May. This performance and result will be noted by their rivals.

For Beckham, it was a bitter-sweet return to the place he still regards as his football home, but the great showman still managed to grab the headlines while planting himself even further in the affections of Manchester United's fans.

You can follow me throughout this season at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Cracking performance by Rooney - shame, I had hoepd Ronaldhinho might turn up, but was not to be. Good game for United.

  • Comment number 2.

    Put Becks on the plane.. will give something different which planks like wright-philips / theo could not

  • Comment number 3.

    It was a near perfect performance from United last night, no team and I include Barcelona, Chelsea and a'hem Arsenal could cope with them in that form.

    The only problem is the final is a one off match and not at Old Trafford and more often than not on neautral territory the Man Utd we witnessed last night is not the one that turns up.

    If Rooney plays well though and they dominate the midfield area like they did last night (not so easy against Xavi and Iniesta mind) they have a very good chance of making a third consecutive final and record two wins from three.

  • Comment number 4.

    "United were on a different plane to this somewhat decrepit Milan outfit, ageing and lacking fight"

    That just about sums it up.
    Quite how Leonardo is still in a football management job is a mystery. That was the most inept performance from one of the former great Italian teams I have ever seen.
    I really feel sorry for their fans. What an embarrassment their team were.

  • Comment number 5.

    Terrific night, terrific result. I was pleased that Beckham got on and managed to 'show what he's about' despite the game being pretty much dead by then; I'd have been dead chuffed for him if that volley had gone in or if he could have lined up a free kick, but that would have only been garnish.

    The point I wish to make is about the protests. I'm for it and am even part of it with the green and gold - btu I'm beginning to question why. United danced with the devil when we were on the stock exchange (and I don't really blame Martin Edwards for that, what else was he supposed ot do with a club that Michael Knighton nearly bought for £30m a few years previously?!

    On the stock exchange we could be bought - and we were. Alright, I'm gobsmacked that someone can buy us with no money, ie borrowing it, and then say thanks, you can have this debt now - but that is where we are. If anyone else buys United, the debt will still be there, so what do we really want with Red Knights or any other band of money makers that comes along? Unless we get some Sheikh Yerboutti come along and wipe the debt out with a stroke of a pen, I repeat, it will still be there as a millstone around the club's neck, partially (or hugely, without the same success) compromising transfer activity. But do we want to be a billionaire's plaything and line up with the Chelsea's and City's that we so readily criticise?

    Sir Alex Ferguson says that the Glazer's are good owners. Alright, he's harldy likely to say otherwise - but he could say nothing if he felt differently. None of us FULLY know quite how, exactly, the debt compromises who Fergie can, would or will buy. But as eggs are eggs, that won't change with some Red Knight, Red Baron or Baron Knight in charge.

    I know that the Glazer's have pulled a good few million out of the club so that they can enjoy their lifestyles at the fan's expense, but let's not kid ourselves that the anyone else would do it out of philantrhopic largesse. So now that we've danced with the devil, do we stick with the one we know or prostitute the club to the next bunch that want to feather their collective nest?

    I'm all for we fans showing what we think and exerting some influence, if we can, over how the club is run. If the green and gold allows a better communication and forum to develop, or even just shows the owners that they are dealing with a living breathing animal and not just a commodity then I think it will have been a massive achievement. But I also temper that with the thought that we need to be careful what we wish for.

  • Comment number 6.

    Milan were poor. The opening goal killed the spectacle. Reminding me of the arsenal game, decent performance from the English team but against poor opposition. It'll be tougher in the next round

  • Comment number 7.

    I thought it was a nice gesture from Beckham to wear the Green and Gold anti-Glazer scarf.

    AC Milan are a poor side, but I think it they stick with Leonardo they will again come good, its time to ship out the old guard though...

  • Comment number 8.

    If Fergie highlighted Park's performance... how can he be unsung?

  • Comment number 9.

    GNev made Ronaldinho look like a sock-puppet

  • Comment number 10.

    I really do not think Beckham should go to the WC, as we saw last night, it just turns into the Beckham show. Even Sir Alex had nough of the constant questions about him. He really had no bearing on the tie what-so-ever. I really think we could do without the whole circus that surrounds him

  • Comment number 11.

    #1 - The great Brazilian was in Our Gary's pocket all night. Not bad for a 35 year old who's past it!

  • Comment number 12.

    I thought the general reception for Beckham when he came on last night was great, he's a model player and deserved it entirely.

    But am I the only one who heard all the booing fdirected at him shortly after when he was having his first few touches?? What was all that about?!

  • Comment number 13.


    That was a night when we witnessed the greatness of the White Pele,

    the immaculate management and the green & gold revolution in its infancy.

    Could you ask for anything more?

    P.S. If Ronaldo was sold for £81 million, so how much is SAF worth?

  • Comment number 14.

    Quite simply one of the greatest nights in my footballing life.

    First half was a little bit subdued after United got their first, with United happy to consolidate that lead up until the break. Milan like Porto has decent chances in the first half but failed to capitalise, - which you can't do against teams of United's callibre.

    If Milan weren't already doubting themselves - it appeared that way, - the second absolutely killed them. Nani who was back to his old tricks in the first half - giving it away cheaply, playing a sublime ball to Rooney, and you just new the outcome.

    Even with Milan needing 3 goals I still was a little edgey. When you see the name AC Milan on the other side of the scoreboard it does still strike fear. But this current group are simply living of their predecesors reputation.

    Park's goal then put me in total relax mode - another great performance from him.

    And then with the game gone, Milan introduced Beckham. As much as it was a nice gesture by leonardo he actually looked one of Milan's better players whipping some great crosses, and that volley, - well I wanted it to go in I can say without a hint of irony. I thik the whole of Old Trafford did.

    Fletches goal sort of put the icing on the cake, but to top all that was Beckham wearing the green and gold scarf as he left the arena.

    A showman if ever there was one!

  • Comment number 15.

    " Beckham's impromptu adoption of the campaign colours as he disappeared down Old Trafford's tunnel for perhaps the last time was merely the final flourish - a public relations coup beyond their wildest dreams from a man who knows a thing or two about such matters."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Impromptu my rear end, this was planned for weeks, it's Becks doing what he does milking it for his bank account,

    " and the good news just stacked up for United as Beckham's show of support was followed by news from Spain that Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and all, had been knocked out by Lyon."

    This is not good news, It would have better to have the same Scenario with Ronaldo coming back to Old Trafford and United going to the next Round, Lyon are going to be very tough for who ever gets them.

    "United followed Arsenal in simply sweeping aside their opponents, and it was not just the predictable brilliance of Rooney that was at the heart of this display.

    Park, as Ferguson so rightly said, played with an intelligence, intensity and selflessness that is his hallmark. He threw a wet blanket over the talents of Andrea Pirlo and chipped in with a goal"

    Finally some recognition for him and others besides Roo, thanks it's appreciated as a reader,


    "Ferguson and United have sights set on making amends for the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in Rome by marching on Madrid in May. This performance and result will be noted by their rivals."

    I am not sure, there are two views that it's Milan wow what a great team and Milan a bunch of OAP's. Both seem to evident in your blog too, and people dont seem to be able to decide this season if Man United are playing badly or Brilliantly.
    For me they are playing better , consistenly, and I would think this is the year they win the Champions league and League and IF they do, I would imagine Ferguson walking away at the end of it.

  • Comment number 16.

    OH and while you seem to be bigging up the protests, it's pretty good to get a more in depth view of the team and it's performance.Cheers for that.

  • Comment number 17.

    Brilliant night of footie. Great performance by Utd and it was specially good to see the old hero Beckham return. good riddance to Real Madrid and Ronaldo, I wonder who (if any) will take the fall for the failure to qualify? Bit dissapointed with Ronaldinho though, I was hoping he will make the Brazilian squad for SA but he was virtually non-existent in the game.

  • Comment number 18.

    Quite typically the Eulogy of Manchester United continues, hardly any mention about Milan being an aging team!

    i guess i was not to be disappointed! contrast this with the last blog!!

    surely you may as well pick up a "gold and green scarf". I could send you one.

  • Comment number 19.

    Beckham's impromptu adoption of the campaign colours as he
    ----------------------

    Lol at this mate; 'impromptu' my backside!!! Look, I have a lot of admiration for Beckham, he was a very good player in his day and a total 100percenter. But his ability to kick a ball is nothing compared to his ability to capture the money shot. Anyone who doesn't realise that him donning a green and gold scarf was discussed at length with his PR advisors prior to the match as the sure fire way for him to steal the headlines and the back pages from Rooney is an idiot.

  • Comment number 20.

    Interesting how people like Mr Mcnulty and others in the media (yes that's you Mr Winter from the Torygraph) are now jumping opn the anit-Glazer/Hicks and Gillett bandwagon. When Utd were sweeping up all the trophies and Arsenal were following a prudent economic model, the Glazers were held up as great owners allowing Fergie to get on with the football side of the business while backing him with riches to build his squad. Arsenal on the other hand were being stingy and would never succeed without spending big. Even at the time I remember people like Alex Flynn pointing to the huge elephant, in the shape of the Glazers debts, sat in the corner of the room...but no-one wanted to listen.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am an Arsenal fan and I think Rooney is going to ruin my season. He is on fire and going to win the league pretty much on his own. Let's hope he has plenty left in the tank for the WC.

  • Comment number 22.

    The idea that an American tycoon wrestles ownership of a club that for nearly a decade set at the pinnacle of the world's richest football clubs is sheer travesty. Manchester United's history boasts the most flamboyant footballers ever, with playboy-like greats from Denis Law, Eric Cantona to David Beckham and of course the departed Ronaldo. Its obvious that this successful football club not only represents the hallmarks of the beautiful game but also the guile of sustained finances.

    Bring in Glazer and his nepotism; a man who applies his business trade in American football (seriously football?); whose main goal it seems is to cash in on the global brand that is Manchester United.

    Sure, apart from their academy Manchester United may lure unknown talents from far and wide but the club is British. Should it not be owned, at least primarily by those who at least wish to preserve its legacy rather than consider it a mere investment? £700m casts a long, worrying shadow and for those that crowd into Old Trafford week in week out their fears are more than justified...

    Well done Manchester United! On the field anyway.

    A passionate South African fan.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a Suprise Phil, unlike Arsenals convincing 5-0 win over Porto, in which you had us all believe that it was Porto's poor performance that helped Arsenal win. Man United's win is purely down to the fact that every player on the pitch played amazing (even Gary Neville gets a mention in their) And only a slight reference to the fact that A.C Milan are an ageing poor side.

    Once again you your biaised views towards United are plain to see.

  • Comment number 24.

    "I really think we could do without the whole circus that surrounds him"

    You prefer the circus that surrounds low life plebs like John Terry and Ashley Cole, then ?

  • Comment number 25.

    Fantastic result for Manchester United.They played really well.

    I hope they go on to win the trophy.

  • Comment number 26.

    That was possibly Manyoos strongest team with the exception of maybe Giggs and Brown/JoS(!) in the team. Arsenal were missing Gallas, Fabregas, Van Persie, Ramsey, Gibbs - all influential players.

    Bring on anyone for the next round! Bendtners finally turned up!

  • Comment number 27.

    Where's Ronaldo?

  • Comment number 28.

    From a neutral standpoint, I though United played well, although their performance was made to look better by how woeful Milan were.

    With regard to the current protests against the Glazers, I was glad to see the fans didn't boycott any of the game, and they seem to be able to protest without unduly affecting the team. How long this continues remains to be seen.

    Another well done to United fans for their reaction to Beckham's return. @Shrimp05- the 'booing' was ironic, even Beckham was smiling about it.

  • Comment number 29.

    For all the prematch analysis Wayne Rooney and Beckham still made the headlines......Simply unstoppable now its seems about Wayne The Rooney.

    Keep it coming

  • Comment number 30.

    But am I the only one who heard all the booing fdirected at him shortly after when he was having his first few touches?? What was all that about?!

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I think you'll find it was light hearted banter my friend, that's all.

  • Comment number 31.

    I have to say that was a hell of a performance from Man Utd last night. I don't, as some people have suggested, think Milan were poor, I just think that United stifled them and stopped them playing anything like their normal game. Lets not forget this is the same Milan team that went to the Bernabau and beat pre-Tournament favourites Real Madrid.

    Also, there are a lot of people talking about how old Milan is. However, a comparison of the starting line up showed 4 of their team were over 30, Manchester United had 4 over 30 too, so i fail to see this as an youth over age argument either.

    For all the goals, my moment of the night would have to be that pass from Nani with the outside of the boot, striaght into Rooney's path for the second goal - what a pass that was, and it just reminds me what he is capable of when watching him 90% of the rest of the time.

    With a slight touch of schadenfreude, i have to confess to chuckling at Real Madrid's elimination from the competition. £232m spent on attacking players, when what they really needed was a decent defence! Now i read that Kaka has blasted the managers tactics.....is this the start of the unravelling of the 2nd generation of galacticos??

  • Comment number 32.

    #12 - But am I the only one who heard all the booing directed at him shortly after when he was having his first few touches?? What was all that about?!
    ----------
    Its called irony. Live with it.

  • Comment number 33.

    To Shrimp05...the booing of Beckham was of the comedy, pantomime variety. It was all very good-natured and with not the slightest hint of animosity. He got the great reception he fully deserved given what he achieved at Manchester United.

    I was surprised, however, that he barely rated a mention in Sir Alex Ferguson's programme notes. Maybe Ferguson thought enough had been said about Beckham and that it was time to focus on the game itself.

    What did you all make of David Beckham's performance? It was hard to judge in many respects because it was pretty much a testimonial atmosphere when he got on, but he did some good things. As I said, if I had a serious query, it would be why he does not make the starting line-up of a Milan team that is so average when measured against the standards of past sides.

    And to pidgeGULL...the point I am making about Ji-Sung Park is that he is never a player that claims the headlines or gets a high-profile, but does an excellent job for Manchester United. Ferguson trusts him totally in the big games.





  • Comment number 34.

    I am stunned at the sensitivity of supporters who's teams have won nothing for ages.....Get over it, United were Brilliant over the two legs, Milan were poor. It will be a different story in the next round. United V Arsenal methinks.

  • Comment number 35.

    When Nev picked up the loose ball for the first goal in the Milan half Ronaldhinho had a choice: track back (pressure Neville) or get ready for the next attack by walking back to the 1/2 way line.

    He chose the latter. As he turned his back the ball hit the back of the net....

  • Comment number 36.

    The circus surround Terry and Cashley will die down. I mean when the WC is on, the media scrum around Beckham will be an unwanted distraction in my opinion. They guy is a media slave and I think the negatives far outweigh the positives for taking him.

  • Comment number 37.

    #4

    "Quite how Leonardo is still in a football management job is a mystery. That was the most inept performance from one of the former great Italian teams I have ever seen. I really feel sorry for their fans. What an embarrassment their team were."

    Well I agree except that that Milan is no great team.

  • Comment number 38.

    Sorry are we a football correspondent or the celebrity one? Beckham played half an half, he changed the direction of the game not one dot. If you wanted to waste time on a substitute appearence from last night maybe you could have larged it on Seedorf, his contribution to football in the last 12 years being 10x that of Beckham.

  • Comment number 39.

    Shrimp05 and Phil:

    - Becks booing was good humour. He was given an ovation for being a great servant for United. And, within minutes was booed because he was now playing for an opposition; he was an adversary. I thought it was a nice little gesture by the fans.

    ---

    Now, the game was an anti-climax. It's difficult to say whether Milan were sub-ordinary or United played great. The result was good. But, we played a team that would have been beaten by any of our mid-tables!

    Even Roma of the 7-1 were better than this Milan!




  • Comment number 40.

    Leonardo was a scout at AC Milan before becoming manager - and it shows. The team has no fluidcy to it and most of the players are too old to play the way the used to - most of them played the 2003 ECL Final.

    AC Milan are in trouble. They require a new manager, that might be Capello, or a young Maldini might be given a go. The team also needs completely replacing.

  • Comment number 41.

    Beckham must be on the plane to SA. If we are bringing on Crouch/Cole (ie a big target man) then who better to bring on and make sure the ball is put on the top of their head? I certainly wouldn't trust Lennon/SWP/Walcott to do it time after time.

    The right side of the England team has by no means been tied down by any one player- on last nights evidence there is a good shout for Beckham to be pushing for a starting role. Each cross sent in was menacing and in the "corridor of uncertaitny" for Van der Sar. One of them should have produced a goal for Inzaghi. Testimonial atmpshphere or not- no team in the world would have been able to get a touch on some of those crosses and the volley was world class.

    Beckham is a must for England.

  • Comment number 42.

    @# 12
    Yep, some of the crowd were booing whenever Becks touched the ball. What was that all about?

    Regardless, with his experience and the ability that is still there, he should be on the plane to South Africa.

    Apart from the fact that he is widely respected in the dressing room, his impact towards the end of a game against tiring defenders is potentially match winning.

    I was supposed to be backstage at a Spandau Ballet gig in Brussels last night but, United v AC Milan? No contest. The Reds were Gold!

  • Comment number 43.

    #33 - I was surprised, however, that he barely rated a mention in Sir Alex Ferguson's programme notes. Maybe Ferguson thought enough had been said about Beckham and that it was time to focus on the game itself.

    -------------
    Phil, you must understand by now that enough is enough. One of the main reasons why Sir Alex was rid of Beckham in the first place is because his persona off the field was becoming a liability for him on it - possibly due to the influence of Mrs Beckham. I understand the programme notes are there to comment on the game at hand, not which movie premier he may be attending in the coming weeks!

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't understand why anyone would think an over 30 year old sub for the opposition should merit a mention in program notes before a game, what am I missing?

  • Comment number 45.

    Phil,

    I'm not convinced the booing was of the pantomime variety. I'd sweepingly label typical United fans double crossers before comic geniuses.

    However, regarding your surprise that Beckham wasn't mentioned in Ferguson's notes. Why does that surprise you? What did you expect Ferguson to write?

    Ferguson got rid of Beckham because he was a celebrity as much as a footballer. If Ferguson were to big up his return in the notes he'd be buying into the media circus surrounding Beckham that he clearly detests. It would have been completely contradictory for Ferguson to bring Beckham into the equation. He mentioned the Glazer protests because that has the potential to affect the performance of his team, by discussing this he can bring solidarity to the club. Discussing Beckham doesn't gain anything.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think the early goal from Rooney killed the tie. Up until then, Milan had passed the ball well and had created a couple of good chances. After the goal, they quite obviously began to lose interest, though Ronaldinho kept looking for that killer pass all night. Credit to Rio & Vidic who kept the Milan strikers very quiet. Psychologically a 4-0 victory (7-2 aggregate) will do United no harm as it will bury a few ghosts - this is the first time United have put Milan out of the tournament after all, and at the fifth attempt. However, no-one should be under any illusions; whatever/whoever comes next is likely to be a lot tougher and Barca are still the team to beat...

  • Comment number 47.

    Will people please remember that before Beckham was famous, he was a die-hard united fan who as a kid would prefer to stay in and watch match of the day rather than go out. If Beckham makes a gesture to the united fans, i take the attitude that it comes from the heart rather than merely being a publicity stunt. The way Beckham plays football and the way he plays for Man Utd and England, that is how he plays... all heart, total commitment. People forget how he became such a revered role model and hero to begin with. Especially fickle 606 posters. If anyone noticed, Beckham was close to tears in his post-match interview if you look closely and for me, he didnt seem genuinely sad about Milan losing at all. A united boy until the end...thank you becks!

    also, great performance from Park and Nani last night. The main highlight though was actually Gary Neville putting Ronaldinho in the shade defensively and offensively...left foot curler from over 20yards, wuda been great had that gone in! Milan were below par but united made them look like that.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oh and as always the tiresome McNulty bashing by people who don't seem to have actually read the article. At the end he addresses the issue of Milan's aging team and all he does is talk about the fact there were protests, there is no opinion on whether they are right or not here (I have no idea where he stands on the issue, but the answer to that is not in this article).

    As an Arsenal fan, I do find it a shame that no matter how convincingly they win a match there will always be a lot of negatives drawn, but to be honest that criticism has been earned over the last few years. Man U get a pass from it sometimes becuase of years of consistancy.

  • Comment number 49.

    Let's not beat about the bush. United's performance last night was excellent. It was professional and classy. But, and it's a big but they are not a patch on Barcelona and if people are thinking Utd are better this year then they are not. the difference is that Ronney has matured and has become more selfish.

    Barcelona are still a different class and as Ferguson said last year, their midfield will make teams look like they're on a merry-go-round. Until United sign a new world class midfielder then they won't compete against the likes on Iniesta and Xavi.

  • Comment number 50.

    Why is everyone obsessed with whether Beckham starts a match, plays the full 90 mins etc & that is the apparent key to whether he makes it to the WC? What is wrong with taking him in the full knowledge that he most probably won't start matches, a squad player who can be brought on as & when needed. I think he'd be great to take in those circumstances, chuck him on for the last 30odd mins & let him throw in those accurate, dangerous crosses, passes, freekicks, corners...throw on Crouch with him & surely that'd bring some goals if they are much needed in the last minutes of a match. I don't see why he can't be taken simply as a squad player, not every player taken to the WC is a guarateed or even planned starter, they are backups & alternative tactical options. I thought Beckham played very well for the time he was on, especially considering the match was over, he showed good crosses as always & I think showed what he could offer England as a 2nd half sub if England needed to change things up or get basically guaranteed high quality service into the box for the last 20-30mins of a match.

  • Comment number 51.

    I was curious about what I will read on this blog today.
    Journalistic incompetence in its usual english sports coverage.
    Last night wasn't about Beckham. It was about Manchester United showed how poor Italian football is now and how stable and competent Manchester United really are.

    Manchester United displayed that:

    a) without the need to go further than second gear, they are able to beat AC Milan 4-0 at Old Trafford. Perhaps they were polite to the history of the Italian club and didn't go to score more - they could.
    b) Ferdinand and Vidic are close to being the defencive duo that shuts the door to the opposition and provide the security in the back line again.
    c) The Manchester United midfield, with Carrick missing, displayed what a job Fletcher, Park, Scholes, the missing Giggs, the perhaps returning Hargreaves can do to push the team forward.
    d) Nani and Valencia can provide the terror to the opposition from the flanks, accompanied by Evra on the left and Rafael or Neville or whoever from the right, allowing Manchester United to take advantage of the full width of the pitch.
    e) Rooney can break the Ronaldo record of 42 goals scored in one season.

    It was a no nonsense, professional execution of AC Milan.
    And what does the english media talk about? Beckham.
    Beckham who?

  • Comment number 52.

    Post #5 spot on mate!
    Would we prefer 20 or 30 owners fighting each other to get more and more % of the club as their own. Imagine if there is unrest with all those owners. Where would all the decisions come from. Under the Glazers United have produced their most success in a period EVER! The money is there for transfers but if SAF thinks Tevez and Benzema, are not worth the money then he wont pay and who are we to argue with SAF (he made offers for both). Would you rather we were able to buy the Madrid team and under perform as long as we had money in the bank. The Glazers were very clever how they brought the club and at first it seemed too much debt but that issue is now sorted with bonds. It is said the Red Knights need 1.2 billion to make a realistic bid, thats not a bad price for a club going under....

    During the 2nd half United were able to show the green and gold colours while chanting get the Glazers out. It did kind of stifle the crowd for about 15mins as half didn't know whether to sing about the glazers or sing about United. Imagine what it would have looked like if 70K+ fans were swinging red, white and black scarves whilst ALL singing United. Well done for the protest and its great to see the fans commitment while they still backed the team but the club looks like its doing ok and SAF likes the owners. His opinion matters more to me than all the protests.

    Well done United

  • Comment number 53.

    Phil, re post 33. Glad you cleared that up about the 'booing'. Thanks

  • Comment number 54.

    I think it is wrong to consdier Milan did not turn up - They did, but could not cope with Man U who were awesome. Saying they did not turn up detracts from the Man U performance.

    I loved the reception Beckham got, both the standing ovation and getting boo'ed when he first played the ball. Brilliant!!

  • Comment number 55.

    "Ferguson and United have sights set on making amends for the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in Rome by marching on Madrid in May."

    So no parallels with yesterday's article about why Barcelona should NOT fear United thanks to last season's game? Why not? That seems like an interesting discussion point, given that it dominated yesterday's entry.

  • Comment number 56.

    Beast of a performance by Man U. Rooney gets all the praise for the finishing but really you have to look at the unsung performances of the support acts this season as well, especially Darren Fletcher, who not so long ago was getting pelters from their support.

    Milan are an old team and have been for some seasons now.

    If I was an Enlgand fan I wouldn't want the Beckham circus at the WC: great set-piece taker but he's too old now with even less pace, and he never had much of that to begin with. He's never had the ability to beat players to justify a wide right berth. SAF got rid of him at the right time after his best years were done and he became a football fashion celeb.

    Mind you since I'm not England fan then...?

    But since I'm not an england fan then

  • Comment number 57.

    United fans chanting "Fergie, Fergie, Sign him up" whenever Ronaldhinio touched the ball was priceless.
    Milan looked like a side made up of over the hill superstars who have been through the ranks of the really big teams (United, Barca, Real ect.) and headed to Italy to slowly fade into obscurity.
    United V AC Milan was Men against old Men.
    Rooney was outstanding, Park magnificent. Even Scholes managed a 20 yard slide tackle that had it connected, would have earned a red.
    Protests or no protests, United fans the world over can look forward to many happy years of football from this squad.

  • Comment number 58.

    thehandofhenry wrote:

    That was possibly Manyoos strongest team with the exception of maybe Giggs and Brown/JoS(!) in the team. Arsenal were missing Gallas, Fabregas, Van Persie, Ramsey, Gibbs - all influential players.

    Bring on anyone for the next round! Bendtners finally turned up!

    My response:

    I would disagree with you I would say that was United's strongest team at least for the Champions League format.

    Playing the 4-5-1 formation has worked wonderfully well for United this season, - particularly in the Champions League.

    Having two wingers with frightening pace goes without saying is a great asset to have. When United lose the ball Valenica - willingly, and Nani a little more reluctantly (caught out a couple of times last night) drop back create a five-man midfield, - difficult to play against, as your team know from personal experience.

    Of the players you listed (Gallas, Fabregas, Van Perise, Ramsey and Gibbs)only the first three would realistically start, - injuries apart.

    We were missing (all realstic starters, - Giggs, Brown, carrick, Anderson, Hargreaves) and obviously Owen who would admittedly have only been a substitute.

    Now to this cocky comment.

    Bring on anyone for the next round! Bendtners finally turned up!


    Answering the first part of the question. You should have wrote:

    Bring on anyone for the next round, - who can't attack and defend!

    I can say with total confidence if you come up against a team that can do both, - and your history.

    Now to the second part - 'Bendtners finally turned up.'

    Credit to the lad, he responded well after a dismal display of finsihing against Burnley, but it was when of those things where it was virtually inevitable it was going to happen (he would score not necessarily get a hat trick).

    Without reviewing his performance with glass 'half-empty' I could have scored each of his goals. Yes he was in good positions for the first two, but they both came about via a chunk og luck.

    Goal 1) Arshavin initially offside, so the official does his job a freekick is awarded. The way the ball came to him was also very forteutious.

    Goal 2) Goal 2 Bendtner is border-line offside, better defending and the goal doesn't happen. Nonetheless finished off well.

    Goal 3) Penalty taken well.

    Lets not blow his performance out of proportion. Rooney only scored 2 last night but played far better than Bendtner. Goals can be mis-leading my friend.

    Response welcomed!


  • Comment number 59.

    Come on Phil. Be fair.

    If you told Beckham wearing a Manchester City kit last night would have made him more popular with United fans, he would have done.

    You know, how many time has the guy called Rooney “the world’s best” or United “the best team in the world” or Ferguson “the best manager in the world”.

    Granted he has obvious affection for the club, but at least 50% of it is prime “sucking up” to fans, to make sure he remains popular with them.

    He’s slowly morphing into Manchester United’s “rent a quote” man. He’ll just go to the media and say “Wes Brown is the best defender in the world” for no particular reason.

    50% honesty. 50% pure sucking up to fans

    Hard to respect if you ask me.

  • Comment number 60.

    Wow the tone of today's blog was totally different to yesterdays.
    The one on Arsenal's (great?) win against Porto was filled with negative reporting such as: -
    1) 'Wenger rolled out the welcome mat for two teams who have inflicted four defeats, three of them emphatic, on Arsenal this season.'
    2) 'Wenger insists revenge is not his motive, and his explanation that "we can't do any worse than we did in the league" does not exactly present the most convincing argument.'
    3)'But no-one does conviction and confidence, even when it is wholly misplaced, quite like Wenger'
    4)'And of course Manchester United have memories of dismantling Arsenal in last season's Champions League semi-final, as well as at the Emirates in January, to call on should the sides meet again this season.'
    5)'It is hard to imagine Chelsea or Manchester United reeling back in terror at the thought of facing Arsenal when they have proved so superior in direct opposition this season.'
    6)'Chelsea and Manchester United may allow themselves a smirk of their own at Wenger's audacity given their record against Arsenal'
    7)'A note of caution though. While the variety and creativity of Arsenal's game was enough to put paid to Porto, better sides may take more ruthless advantage of uncertainties at the back when placed under serious pressure.' (No mention in today's blog that if Milan had taken their early chances they could have been 2-0 up before Manchester United scored their first goal though).
    8)'Arsenal wobbled at the start of the second half……they may not get away with it against a Didier Drogba (let's face it, when do they ever get away with it against Drogba?) or a Wayne Rooney.'
    9)'The unlikely spearhead was the man dubbed "Barndoor Bendtner", and the striker with the Devon Loch approach to a finish'
    10)'Arsenal's fans are sometimes accused of impatience' (not content with just giving it to the team here, he even has a pop at the fans too!).

    Whereas searching through today's blog I struggled to find any of the same negativity towards Manchester United. The nearest I could find to any sort of criticism is this one (lonely) line: -
    'Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, while not yet restored to the force of old, provided reassurance in the centre of defence'.
    Instead it was just filled with positive comments like these: -
    1)'crowned just about the perfect evening for Manchester United's fans.' (Obviously thought of a lot more highly than Arsenal fans)
    2)'The evening followed almost the perfect script for United'
    3)'...all the better for Manchester United fans that they were able to lavish it on him from a position of such strength.'
    4)'...and the good news just stacked up for United'
    5)'And why shouldn't they be after the fare United served up last night? United were too quick...'
    And finally the main thought to be planted into everybody's minds...
    6)'Ferguson and United have sights set on making amends for the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in Rome by marching on Madrid in May. This performance and result will be noted by their rivals.' (Whereas Manchester United will ‘make amends’ for their defeat, Arsene Wenger’s ‘conviction and confidence’ that we can do the same is ‘wholly misplaced’).

    Thank you very much for your balanced views.

  • Comment number 61.

    Manchester United displayed that:

    a) without the need to go further than second gear, they are able to beat AC Milan 4-0 at Old Trafford. Perhaps they were polite to the history of the Italian club and didn't go to score more - they could.
    b) Ferdinand and Vidic are close to being the defencive duo that shuts the door to the opposition and provide the security in the back line again.
    c) The Manchester United midfield, with Carrick missing, displayed what a job Fletcher, Park, Scholes, the missing Giggs, the perhaps returning Hargreaves can do to push the team forward.
    d) Nani and Valencia can provide the terror to the opposition from the flanks, accompanied by Evra on the left and Rafael or Neville or whoever from the right, allowing Manchester United to take advantage of the full width of the pitch.
    e) Rooney can break the Ronaldo record of 42 goals scored in one season.



    =======================================================================

    a) AC Milan wouldn't even finish in the top 6 of the premier league. They struggle to even finish in the top 4 of Serie A every year. Average team, by European standards.

    b) Typical United fan. Ignores the 50+ hapless displays either have had this year, one the basis that they managed to shut out AC Milan for 90 minutes. Even though Milan should have scored at least 3!? Sure was magical defending when Ronaldinho had a free header. Or when the Dutch guy was 5 yards clear of Vidic, unmarked, with the goal gaping, only to let United off. Average defence United. With or without Vidic and Ferdinand

    c) Again, average team. United fans need to get out of the

    "everything is perfect" - when we beat an average team

    "everything is awful" - when we lose to the best teams

    Mentality. You will forever be frustrated. AC Milan lost to Portsmouth last year..........

    Carrick, Nani, Scholes will forever be totally average players as soon as they line up against a Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Gerrard.


    d) Rooneys just a bully. Loads up against the poor sides. Still dissapears against the best defences.

  • Comment number 62.

    Make no mistake about it Utd were very good last night, but Milan were extremely poor more so than Porto on Tuesday night. The work rate of the Milan front three was terrible. Gary Neville could attack down the right flank as he pleased and was made to look like he was 10 years younger.

    I thought Beckham did really well when he came on. He alone offered more attacking threat during those last 25 minutes than Milan did as a whole. He showed that his delivery from out wide is still top class. I would say that if Milan were playing against top opposition like Utd week in week out then I think Beckham would get in the team as he offers great work rate on top of his other well known qualities. The standard of Serie A is poor (Inter aside) and AC Milan can get away with playing the way they do (i.e with three strikers who don't get back.) Last night against a team who are very strong at defending and attacking collectively they were horribly exposed.

    In my eyes Beckham still has a lot to offer and very few players in the world can deliver a cross like he can. He also has great technical ability and experience which is going to be needed if England need to see out a game by retaining possession. He should go to South Africa. What are your thoughts Phil? Still think he shouldn't go?

  • Comment number 63.

    #45 - I'm not convinced the booing was of the pantomime variety. I'd sweepingly label typical United fans double crossers before comic geniuses.
    ----------
    Are you Alan Green in disguise or just a "typical" ABU?

  • Comment number 64.

    Who cares how many goals Wayne Rooney has scored when only 22 of them are actually in the league? You know, Darren Bent has scored 19.

    Please be quiet about this “beating Ronaldo’s 41 goals rubbish”. Ronaldo was so devastating as most of them were actually in the league. And most of them were in big games. Not like Rooney – loading up in games they’d win even if he wasn’t in the side.

    You know, sorry to break this to you, but unless United win both the league and champions league, these goals will mean NOTHING.

    Who cares how many goals he has scored. Unless he matches Ronaldo’s trophies, the team is quite obviously much worse.

    United will struggle to win anything this season, I’d suggest.

    That’s you difference between Ronaldo and Rooney

  • Comment number 65.

    "He even referred to the protest scarves in his programme notes, although, surprisingly, Beckham did not warrant a single mention"

    This just about sums up society and the celebratory culture that we live in today. Explain why ferguson should mention beckham in his programme notes, when he had already spoke about him during the press conferences in milan in the build up to the first leg.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Rooney was class again last night. He's having a better personal season than both Ronaldo and Messi, and if United can win the league or the European Cup then I think he will be crowned world player of the year.

  • Comment number 68.

    sure everyone else has already said this...but what the hell!

    what a player wazza is now! makes me proud to be english..the boy is an assassin! everyone fears him, roll on the world cup

  • Comment number 69.

    26. At 09:14am on 11 Mar 2010, thehandofhenry

    Gallas, Fabregas, Van Persie - Yes, players who can majorly influence the game. Ramsey, Gibbs - No.
    United were missing Giggs, Hargreaves, Carrick.

  • Comment number 70.

    If we're to believe what Clive Tyldesley said last night, than Berlusconi seems to have some sort of input into team selection, and presumably which players to buy. Maybe it's Berlusconi who wants to hang on to all these 'old-timers', but it's been a problem with Milan for a few years now and not just since Leonardo's arrival. I'm all for mixing youth with experience, but over the last couple of years, Milan has been not so much a football club as a hospice!

  • Comment number 71.

    Re "....as Milan grew old before our very eyes".
    Disturbingly true.
    Look at the photo of Beckham - he has the hands of a ninety year old.
    Maybe somebody pressed the wrong switch at the Milan Lab when he was in there?

  • Comment number 72.

    Good show by Beckham. What a cracking volley, though United were all over them.

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm sure an attendance of 74,595 had the Glazers quaking in their boots.

    Let's be honest - for the vast majority of them, wearing those scarves is just a fashion statement. They're just following the trend. I especially like the ones who wear them paired with AIG shirts - missing the point somewhat, but then again I doubt they even know what the point is.

    Maybe one day we'll see an actual protest or boycott (what happened to that, by the way?) instead of this pointless posturing.

  • Comment number 74.

    Good.

  • Comment number 75.

    First of all, in regards to post #45 DaveWalnut;

    ''I'm not convinced the booing was of the pantomime variety. I'd sweepingly label typical United fans double crossers before comic geniuses.''

    You would 'sweepingly label' ALL United fans double crossers??! On what basis? Why would United fans give Beckham a standing ovation and fantastic reception and then proceed to boo him? Was it to lure him in and give him a false sense of security??! What a load of tosh!!

    As for the Arsenal fans on here who have that pesky chip on their shoulder and constant taste of sour grapes in the mouths....give it a rest! I was more tha happy to praise Arsenal for their performance against Porto. Weak side/aging side/inexeperienced side is irrelevent, you can only beat who is put in front of you, which both Man U and Arsenal both did convincingly.

    Bring on the next round

  • Comment number 76.

    Congratulations to Controlledmagic. Ive been waiting for ages for someone to talk some sense about football club ownership. Its about time all of these Manks stopped moaning on about the Glazers. They own you. Thats it plain and simple. Martin Edwards and his mates thought they would make some money and they took the yankee dollar and scarpered. You dont you see any protests about Edwards do you! You can wave your green & yellow scarves all you want it wont change a thing, but if it makes you feel important carry on. If it helps you delude yourselves that you are excerting some influence then you are free to continue in your own delusion. Glazer will do exactly what he wants to do when he wants to green and yellow scarves or no green and yellow scarves. Grow up the lot of you. Oh and by the way, great line Controlledmagic "Red Knight Red Baron or Barron Knights", brilliant, and your right it could have been another Knight(on), Michael, wonder what he's doing now ??? (sic) Last nights performance was brilliant and it was financed by GLAZER. Do you remember the banners "Not for Sale At Any Price" WRONG ! For sale ,sold and bought whether you liked it or not so get used to it. But wave your little green and yellow scarves if it makes you feel better. And keep putting up those ridiculous banners at OT. They look brilliant on MOTD and Sky. Your letting the entire world see how stupid you all are. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 77.

    You really have to hand it to 'brand' Beckham, there is not a trick in the book that the 'brand' doesn't know. The ready willingness to court the headlines. The faded footballer always first to leap onto the shoulders of a goal scoring colleague who plants himself straight in front of the rows of photographers. Yip there is not a PR ruse that the 'brand' will miss in order to appear the populist and more importantly make sure the 'brand' reamins the headline.

    The only thing more pathetic than this tired old has-been flashing his wares for public consumption is the army of lazy hacks willing to swallow it hook, line and sinker.

  • Comment number 78.

    Seriously does anyone genuinely think Fergie is happy with the Glazers? As current manager, he has absolutely no choice but to publicly support the owners. I would love to know his private opinion but we won't know that until the Glazers are gone. Personally, i think the fact that he couldn't reinvest most of the Ronaldo sale into new players must annoy him and he would love new ownership.

    For people to comment 'If Fergie is happy with them I'm happy' is naive. Would you publicly castigate your boss and expect to stay in a job? Even with the aura Fergie has it would be an unwise move and he knows how to play the game.

    As for last night, I'm an unabashed Park fan and glad to see him getting recognition. He always tends to play the big games and rarely lets the team down. I thought his goal was superb as when you watch it, he was never fully balanced and almost stumbling towards the ball. That he could still angle it past the keeper was pure class.

    Depending on the draw now, I still think the CL winner can only come from Manchester United, Barcelona or Chelsea now that Real Madrid are gone

  • Comment number 79.

    Jamie Riley

    I think your response was a bit harsh. Porto are a decent attacking team. I admit there are better teams than them in Europe, but likewise there are better teams than Milan. You can only beat what is put in front of you.

    Secondly, it is hardly fair to compare Bendtner with Rooney. Rooney is arguable the form player in the world at the moment. Plus he has been a regular since he was 16. He is the best English player in my lifetime. So a little unfair to compare Bendtner to him. Bendtner will be a top player i think, he has the attributes for sure. But he is unlikely to reach Rooney status (but who is?). Finally belittling his goals on Tuesday is also harsh. You are not a professional footballer (I assume) so you wouldnt have scored those goals as you wouldnt be in the position in the first place. The movement from Bendtner was great. That is one big improvement in his game as he now gets into positions to score goals. Once he improves his finishing he should score a lot of goals. That takes time, Henry was not the greatest finisher when he arrived.

  • Comment number 80.

    My local Conference North team would have given Milan a good game last night so please dont get over excited with Man United?
    Italian football is very poor the style of it will drive fans away from the game and the format of it all does not belong on the world stage any more it is out dated and simply appalling.
    To sum it all up Roberto Mancini was seen at the match,now here is the biggest clown of all,a tactically unaware coach shamefully managing Man City a so called top four candidate but unless the 'clown' ditches this awful style of football City will be lucky to finish in 6th place... this comes from a City fan by the way!

  • Comment number 81.

    Phil -Good blogg. It was a good night for United, Rooney and Beckham, in that order. I also thought Park had his best performance for ages and Fletcher is just getting better and better.
    I also agree wholeheartedly with #5 controlledmagic - spot on with the analysis and likely outcome - as much as I hate the idea the Glazers (or anyone-else for that matter) is making money out of the club I have followed for 50+ years, I too worry about what we are wishing for might come true and the next owner(s) management of the club (and its world-wide brand) make the Glazer family look like 'benign benefactors'.
    I think United fans have to face the reality that a multi-billion pound business is not going to be owned by fans, even if the 'Red Knights', managed to oust the Glazers, they will still have to make some decisions which fans will disagree with, in order to operate successfully. Also because the 'Red Knights' are apparently fans themselves, the conflict of interests could lead us down the route that eventually nearly ruined Leeds -perish the thought! Sometimes it really is 'better the devil you know....etc'

  • Comment number 82.

    61. At 10:38am on 11 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    --------------------------------------------------
    Mike great stuff well written, you should do stand up.

    What defences does Rooney go missing against that are so great?
    I agree Scholes is average... HA HA HA,
    I hope you are having a laugh otherwise you are showing what you don't know about football. Even Benetez will tell you Scholes is a class player albeit getting old.

  • Comment number 83.

    At 10:38am on 11 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    "Carrick, Nani, Scholes will forever be totally average players as soon as they line up against a Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Gerrard."

    Scholes schooled Gerrard for ten years every time they played, until he hit his mid thirties and Gerrard had Alonso and Mascherano for protection.
    Fabregas will never be that good.
    And Xavi and Iniesta when he was 33 in the Champions League semis. He's as good as those two, but would offer 15 goals a season as a bonus.

    Kick a guy when he's 35. He's adapted into a deep-lying midfielder and subsequently helped his team win a Champions League and (perhaps) a record 4th title in a row whilst playing that new, foreign position and you group him with chancers like Carrick, Nani and Gerrard?!

  • Comment number 84.

    At 10:31am on 11 Mar 2010, Jamie Riley wrote:

    --------------------------

    You nailed it - Bendters goals were a gift, his performance certainly didn't merrit a hattrick but against a poor oposition it can always happen!

    I would love UTD to get Arsenal next round, Chelsea to be knocked out by Barca and UTD to get the revenage in madrid in MAY :)

  • Comment number 85.

    Having critisised Beckham in the past, I thought he played very well last night. Also nice loyalty to the true fans. I`ve switched camp to think maybe he should go to world cup as would be a valuable sub.

  • Comment number 86.

    At 10:44am on 11 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    ---------------------------


    Mike that was an awful, bitter comment.
    I hope that was a joke? it seems that way.

    Who do you support you complete joke.

  • Comment number 87.

    Want to comment on post 61/64 by Mike...

    You say Rooney has ONLY scored 22 league goals.... that is more than anyone else and is the top goalscorer in the league....

    Loads up against poor teams....does this mean practically every team in the league is poor? fine, he didnt score against liverpool, he scored against chelsea in comm shield, he scored 4 versus Milan, scored against arsenal,city,villa and tottenham this season. u say Milan wouldnt get into our top 6... well rooney is scoring against our top 6 anwyay..

    Rooney has been a fantastic player for 5 years for united and has now become a prolific goalscorer in the process...what more do you want from the guy..he has true all round ability, is strong, fast, and can pass, tackle and shoot with great vision and awareness. he is the all round package, the real deal and deserves every bit of praise he gets.

    Milan did not actually lose to Portsmouth so you also factually wrong there, Portsmouth were winning until a late rally from Milan. This was back when Portsmouth hadnt sold most of their squad either.

    If you want to call Paul Scholes average, you havent been wathcing man utd for the last 15 years.... our team has come up agaiast iniesta, xavi, fabregas (especially fabregas) and gerrard and put them to the sword before.... football is a results business and over the last 3/4 years man utd have been the most successful side bar none.

    50 hapless displays...really....cumon really....how can u even justify that...

    then u call our defence average..Vidic and Ferdinand..need i say anymore... their partnership has been disrupted this season but over the last 4 years, they have been as formidale as any defensive pairing in the world.. u say milan had chances..every team in every game has at least 1/2 chances...there is no better left back than Patrice Evra who plays every game with amazing consistency and neville still has class, rafael is developing well and brown can fill in well there too. if u think we are average coz we had 8 defenders out through injury at one time, u are well and truly blinkered or as we all know, jus anti united and jealous...

  • Comment number 88.

    dudewheresmyfootie

    You can hardly call Hargreaves a first choice, he has been out for 2 years! Giggs is not in your strongest 11 surely? Great player though he is.

    Anyway, I think both Arsenal and man Utd are a great credit to the league. There is not much difference between the two sides, just Man Utd have that habit of winning trophies, so have a bit more killer instinct. Could all change over the next month or so though, should be a great finale to the season.

  • Comment number 89.

    For those of you banging on about the booing of Beckham......

    It was pantomime and humourous, nothing nasty or negative about it at all!

    Get your collective brains into gear and stop trying to put a negative slant on the fans!

  • Comment number 90.

    Phil, as a Man U fan, I have to say the game was too delicious to ignore. I wondered what would capture the headlines, though... the brilliance of the players of Becks in 'that scarf!' well, they both did. I do not believe Becks was sacking up to the fans; he is a fan and for all its worth, Man U was and will always be his first and only true love.
    Brilliant article - this just means I agree with you.

  • Comment number 91.

    76. At 11:06am on 11 Mar 2010, thevoiceofreason wrote:

    -----------------------

    Got a chip on your sholder, pal?

  • Comment number 92.

    Sir Alex is the best. Without Tevez and Ronaldo, he has put us on top of the league and in the last 8 of Europe. The way we are playing and with the kind of trouble brewing at Stamford Bridge, we can definitely go on to win two more trophies this season. Barcelona is not unbeatable - with due respect to their midfielders. They have been beaten very recently by clubs like Athletico and Sevilla.

  • Comment number 93.

    60. At 10:38am on 11 Mar 2010, Realstoned wrote:

    -------------------------------

    well said that man!

  • Comment number 94.

    Re: Post 41 - Mike,

    Arsenal played well, against a mediocre Porto, on Tuesday, and I posted a very kind post about your performance: a great demonstration of flawless attacking, with a goal by Nasri worthy enough to pay the ticket just in order to see it. I didn't for a moment mention how poor Porto were. And it was the right approach, because, still, the score was 5-0 and it could be heavier. On top of that, I wished Chelsea to go on and demolish Inter Milan in a similar manner. And I meant it.

    I understand the bitterness
    a) my team won the last three premiership titles and pozes at #1 position right now.
    b) my team won, more or less, half the premiership titles since its birth with this name?
    c) my team has appeared in the last two champions league finals, having won it two years ago?
    d) my team has reached a point where winning another trophy sounds like one more day in office.

    I do understand the bitterness.
    But not in one moment I said that we beat a great team, because AC Milan were not great. Yet, they are second in the top Italian division, something that shows how poor the Italian league is. Having said that, the ease with which Man Utd brushed them aside is a good indicator that the team is ready for more serious opposition that surely will come in the next round.
    Well, they are so good that they spoil us. But what's wrong with that?
    Do I wrongly sense jealousy?

    I am so sorry that, never mind the 'one man team' you guys keep chanting, we also have an array of bad players that have made it possible for Man Utd to win the champions league two seasons ago and the last three premiership titles. (Well, I am not sorry - actually, I am laughing my head off).

    Why show bitterness though?
    Wouldn't it be great if Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal establish a holy trinity in the champions league? Now, this would be something good. Wouldn't it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Phil,
    I'm pretty suprised by the title for this blog and the fact that you immediatly talk about Beckham wearing the Greena dn Gold to "show solidarity" with the campaign. Yes you later quote Beckham as saying that the ownership/protests were not his business. Howvere his full interview would lend a lie to that assessment. Taken from the aricle on this website:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/8561285.stm
    Beckham left the field wearing a green and gold scarf thrown to him by a fan protesting against the Glazer family, who own the club, but he denied that meant he is anti-Glazer.
    "I'm a Manchester United fan. I saw the scarf there, I put it round my neck," he said. "It's the old colours of United, that's all I knew.
    "To be honest it's not my business. I support the club. I always have done and I always will do.
    "It's nothing to do with me the way everything is run, that's to do with other people but I'm a United fan and I will always support them."

    Does this not suggest that he was unaware of the significance of the scarf, denying that he is anti-Glazer and that all he realised was its the clubs old colours (he wore the green-gold away Kit during his time at OT).
    So whats going on? Is Beckham trying to play down his actions (which is hardly showing solidarity with the campaign) or are you, like a good tabloid journalist, trying to make an issue or a major story out of something which does not exist?

  • Comment number 96.

    There is a point somewhere here. I think United fans should count themselves lucky, some say that Milan's tactics could be directly influenced by their owner - the Italian prime minister.

    Would you want to have Gordon Brown running your club?!

  • Comment number 97.

    Interesting behaviour from Beckham with the scarf. And don't for a minute think he is as naive as he suggests.

    I wonder if he is involved in the Red Knight movement as a silent investor.

  • Comment number 98.

    MR DAVID BECKHAM IS ABSOLUTELY , EMPHATICALLY AND CATEGORICALLY A MUST FOR ENGLAND. I DON'T UNDERSTAND , CAN NOT UNDERSTAND AND NEVER WILL UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE ARE STILL HAVING ISSUES WITH BECKS BEING CHOSEN AS A PART OF THE ENGLAND TEAM THAT WILL BE GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA.
    I DO WISH ENGLAND AND BECKS ALL THE BEST AND IT WOULD BE A VERY FITTING FINALE IF ENGLAND WILL BE ABLE TO WIN THE WORLD CUP GOD WILLING WITH BECKS LIFTING ALOFT A CUP THAT HE SURELY DESERVES TO HOLD!

  • Comment number 99.

    "As for the Arsenal fans on here who have that pesky chip on their shoulder and constant taste of sour grapes in the mouths....give it a rest! I was more tha happy to praise Arsenal for their performance against Porto."
    ---
    And for that your impartiality is respectable. But you should be able to easily notice that not everyone is being so balanced with their blog entries.

  • Comment number 100.

    United were excellent last night and managed to stifle a Milan side on an admittedly downward spiral, but who still caused a few moments of worry (Ronaldinho's header & Huntelaar's run through).

    Mentally, we'd have the beating of Arsenal if we drew them in the next round (after taking them apart at their own place so recently). That's not arrogance, just basic footballing psychology. In a one-off game you never know, but over two legs I think we'd edge the tie. As for the other teams United might get, all have their strengths & weaknesses of course, but our overall work rate & skill will hold us in good stead, one would hope.

    Speaking of the above, Park, bless him, has the former in abundance. His skill isn't of the same calibre as several of his more illustrious team-mates, but Fergie is right to trust him in the big games. There aren't many players about with his stamina (Fletcher, Milner, Lampard, Rooney, Kuyt & Essien also spring to mind) and pure team ethic. My bro, like me a United fan of over 30 years, loves the guy and won't hear a bad word said about him. He can look like a headless chicken sometimes, but his work off-the-ball is second-to-none. Crucially, you also sense he's loved & respected by his team-mates. Take Scholesy's reaction to Park's goal last night; he gave him a full-on hug. Normally, the Ginger Genius pats you on the back & then jogs away, leaving the more emotional types to go wild (eg Rooney, Rio, Evra & Fletcher).

    Without good, honest squad players like Park, O'Shea & the like no team can be successful. Arsenal have benefited from this more than in recent seasons & it's good to see them maintaining their status of title challengers & ECL contenders. It must be disheartening for Liverpool fans that their own back-up players don't cut the mustard (no offence meant, just an opinion). Chelsea have no excuses whatsoever, as they have a seemingly endless supply of cash to help bolster their squad.

    Let's hope, regardless of who wins the Prem or ECL, football itself is the real winner (if that means Messi/Xavi/Iniesta lift the ECL again, then so be it!)

 

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