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'Angry' Sir Alex Ferguson fired up to reclaim title

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Phil McNulty | 11:00 UK time, Saturday, 18 August 2012

From the very instant the final words of congratulation left Sir Alex Ferguson's lips and headed in the direction of new Premier League champions Manchester City, the Scot will have fixed every fibre on reclaiming the crown.

And the eve-of-season signing of striker Robin van Persie from Arsenal marked what Ferguson hopes will be the defining moment in his fight to restore Old Trafford's supremacy.

Ferguson was keen to make a gesture of such significance that it would serve as a savage reminder to the new champions and anyone else daring to doubt his or United's hunger for continued success.

The signing of a player who illuminated the Premier League so brilliantly as the Arsenal captain last season, and who almost single-handled kept their campaign on course when it threatened to disintegrate, will do Ferguson nicely.

Indeed, such was Ferguson's determination to show how much United mean business, he laid aside his insistence on "value" in the market and paid £24m for the 29-year-old striker.

United have also agreed a not inconsiderable salary package over the length of a four-year contract.

An added bonus is that it was an open secret that his City counterpart Roberto Mancini would have loved to have made Van Persie one of his major summer signings.

The battle lines with City have been drawn - but will it be enough to get the title back from a squad of all-encompassing quality at the Etihad, a squad with attacking riches of their own in the shape of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez (back on message and on solid ground according to close observers) and Mario Balotelli?

The signing of Van Persie signals a statement of intent by Ferguson. Photo: PA

Ferguson thought United had silenced the growing force he labelled "the noisy neighbours" by claiming title number 20 with victory at Sunderland as City faced devastating failure at home to Queen's Park Rangers in the closing seconds of last season.


The mask of desolation that spread across the faces of Ferguson and his players as they waited anxiously on the turf at Stadium of Light when Sergio Aguero confirmed City's first title since 1967/68 was an enduring image of that emotion-charged title climax.

Ferguson had hoped an inability to cross the line would inflict "untold" psychological scars on City that would take years to heal - instead the expensive renewal at the Etihad was confirmed in the shape of the Premier League and the task at Old Trafford became even greater.

The Scot hinted at the pain he insists will drive his players to feats of recovery they have accomplished before, bouncing back from the loss of losing the title Ferguson treasures, when he spoke during United's pre-season tour of South Africa.


He said: "I've lost my temper and I'm angry. People may say Manchester City are the team to beat but I don't agree with that. We are the team to beat because of the way we react, the way we have bounced back from losing the league in the past. We will be strong this season."


Typical defiance from the greatest managerial streetfighter - but can Ferguson really take the title back to Old Trafford or is he simply attempting to turn back what many now regard as an unstoppable tide sweeping in his direction from Etihad Stadium?


The factor that must never be ignored at Old Trafford is the Scot himself. The Ferguson Factor is still their biggest weapon in an increasingly difficult battle.


In simple terms history tells us only a fool would dismiss Ferguson and United's status as the most serious of contenders to City - and anyone who does will only heap fuel on the fire that still rages inside the 70-year-old.


And while City will once again cast a considerable shadow, Ferguson can also point to shafts of optimism ahead of United's first test at Everton on Monday even before the signing of Van Persie.


The Dutchman's acquisition apart, Ferguson has injected energy, youth, intelligence and adaptability into his midfield with the signing of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund while the arrival of gifted teenager Nick Powell from Crewe is a typical marker for the future.


Last summer's signings such as goalkeeper David de Gea and young England defender Phil Jones will be better for their Old Trafford experiences.


The young Spaniard was an increasingly assured presence after a harrowing introduction to the Premier League while Jones, despite a mixed second half of the season, has real pedigree.


The biggest lift of all will come with the return of inspirational captain and defensive lynchpin Nemanja Vidic after a serious knee injury robbed Ferguson of his presence for the last five months of the season.


Wayne Rooney can be relied upon to put his curtailed and disappointing Euro 2012 behind him once he returns to familiar territory at his club. Antonio Valencia continues to develop into an attacker of the highest quality while Javier Hernandez will be a potent threat.


This most demanding of managers will also be casting a keen eye on the likes of Nani and Anderson in particular - insisting upon the consistency and delivery United will need from all areas of their squad to ensure they challenge again.

Shinji Kagawa

Manchester United have signed Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund to bolster their midfield. Photo: Getty

Ferguson has also confessed he will learn from his own mistakes last season, most notably when a desire to experiment with selection in the Champions League saw United fail to advance beyond the group stage for only the third time in 17 years.

For Ferguson and United, however, old doubts and questions remain about areas that still need to be strengthened in this team - even one that thought it had won the Premier League once more until virtually the final kick of the campaign.

The return of Paul Scholes last season after his brief retirement proved he could still be of service to United in central midfield while Ferguson's faith in Michael Carrick is clad in stone - but does he possess that truly high-class central midfield operator required to restore the measure of supremacy he requires at home and abroad?

Scholes is 37 and his great cohort in United's glory years, Ryan Giggs, is 39 in November. Ferguson has shielded them expertly from the advance of time - but it is an inevitability that their influence will wane.

The time is coming for Tom Cleverley to put his injury problems behind him and show he is worth the rave notices so many give him - but this central area is still in need of attention.

United, though, will be a force once again and those tempted to write them off may need to be reminded that, as well as the newly-arrived Van Persie, they still have that most deadly of weapons in their arsenal - a wounded and angry Sir Alex Ferguson.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    City to win again this season....Ferguson to retire in May... Newco Manchester United to be formed just within the M25 near Heathrow.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Apart from Evans, who is not a high quality player, pretty much all of United's defenders are too old or too young- they should have bought Vertonghen! they also lack creativity in midfield, Kagawa should remedy that but they're only really looking like having strength in depth for the wing and striker positions.

  • Comment number 4.

    A lot of this has been copied and pasted from one of your earlier blogs, but aside from that, I believe Manchester United will win the title again this year. I'd go so much to say that there will be a 66 point difference.

    Man Utd didn't lose the title in the dying seconds of the season, they did when they gave up the huge lead they had weeks before. Not this season.

  • Comment number 5.

    United will win the title because the mistake they made last season was to "become complacent". I dont expect the same mistake again.

    At the start of the season, they thought the group stage of the Champions League was a gimme and at the end when City lost at Arsenal, given United's remaining fixtures, Wigan a gimme, they lost the clinical nature they are so renowned for at "squeaky bum"time.

  • Comment number 6.

    Captain Hindsight, perhaps you need new glasses; Vidic, Evans, Smalling, Rafael, and Phil Jones probably fit outside your description of "too old, or too young."

  • Comment number 7.

    It's my contention that last season United were caught napping by City's quality and stamina for a title push.

    This season, Ferguson has made it plain that the Premier League title is his main focus, so it would not surprise me if they failed to progress from the Group stages of the Champions league yet again in order to keep themselves fresh for the League.

    With the arrival of Kagawa and Van Persie, goals are the focus.

    I expect them to win the title back.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=4049

  • Comment number 8.

    Agree with a lot of this and Man Utd's biggets asset is Ferguson, something they will have to cope without soon. However good they will be going forward however, they have major problems at the back and in central midfield. Vidic will help a lot but Ferdinand is well past his best, Smalling, Evans and Jones are not fully proven yet and Rafael and Evra both need replacing. I don't see the We will score more than you approach working when they meet the big teams in EPL and CL.
    City for the Title again.

  • Comment number 9.

    @6 well: Vidic turns 31 in October, Smalling 23 in November, Rafael is 22, Jones is 20. I don't really rate Evans that much. My point was that they've got great players coming through but they're not at 'peaking' age just yet.

  • Comment number 10.

    PHIL

    Only Chelski(1st time), retained the Prem after winning it.

    Arsenal, three times, Chelsea & Blackburn didn't.

    So there's plenty of pressure on Citeh, because they are now the team people will want to shoot down. Basic psychology-you are the manager at Wigan/Swansea/Soton etc, you tell your lads when they visit you, let's beat the CHAMPIONS today, not just let's beat a big club, the CHAMPIONS.

    Not to say Citeh can't do it or overcome that, but it will be a new fence for them to hurdle.

    Midfield wasn't packed with big names two years ago & we won the title, so let's stop pretending that made any difference. A fit Vidic & Cleverley will also make a big difference.

  • Comment number 11.

    #8

    Dalglish won the old Div 1 with just that philosophy, buying Barnes,Beardsley & co. Don't forget we scored 4 less & conceded 4 more than Citeh last season without Vidic, so we aren't talking huge gaps here, especially if RVP helps us put 4's & 5's in the net as often as we should do, and which we didn't last year

  • Comment number 12.

    It's a two horse race between City & United again.. Can't see Arsenal , Chelsea compete for title.. RVP will prove to be a great addition to us. April fixtures will decide the title for us..

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Come on United!!! We've got the greatest manager of all time at the helm, who has overcome so many obstacles to keep United winning. Our noisy neighbours are just another one.

    We've strenghened, City haven't besides signing Rodwell for the reserves. Combined with more mature performances from youngsters like De Gea and Jones we can win the League and European double.

  • Comment number 15.

    Good signings in RVP and Kagawa - jury out on Nick Powell at the moment. Although in our youthe we have Barmby who could well make the step up early doors.
    Still think we need a midfield enforcer (will the game today be able to house one? You can't tackle anymore!), and a dedicated left and right back - Evra has been found wanting the past 2 seasons and Rafael is not a right-back by trade anyway.
    Here's hoping!

  • Comment number 16.

    I recall when Liverpool sold Torres to Chelsea they start with Drogba, Torres and Anelka up front, and it seemed terrifying.

    That was before the match of course - it never worked, and neither will Van Persie and Rooney.

    Ferguson should have strengthened at the back and midfield - I think he's slowly losing his marbles.

  • Comment number 17.

    It is hard to fathom that Malcolm Glazer has never once been to Old Trafford, having said that, he has my 100% support.

  • Comment number 18.

    United may well win the title this season, but if they do, it will be a temporary stem to the tide. Modern-day football is all about finance. United's era of superiority was built upon one good team of youngsters, and primarily superior purchasing power. That has gone. City and Chelsea can outbid to attract every player they want. United have serious financial problems to deal with. They are close to becoming as much of a 'selling club' as Arsenal. Just like Liverpool before them, their cycle is grinding to a close, and the next era will belong to somebody else. I remember my dad saying 'it all goes in cycles' and he is right. Their supporters need to come down from their 'glory horse' and smell the coffee. Times change.

  • Comment number 19.

    @goonermichel #13: ROFL what a hilarious comment, just need a second to collect myself after that. Phew, well that really was so funny.
    Hang on, wait -didn't City actually win it last year? in injury time? (that's fergie time to u) on goal difference? have they strengthened their squad this summer?
    Clearly you are an idiot.

  • Comment number 20.

    @19 - Georgito - LOL :D

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 22.

    SAF has made a real bargain in getting Van Persie. People are (conveniently) forgetting that the actual sum paid is only £15m!!! The add-ons only come into effect when silverware is won and SAF will then obviously be all too happy to pay up. A real masterstroke!

  • Comment number 23.

    i can see Utd being very difficult to beat, not least because of vidic's return. De Gea was awful in the beginning but turned it around to have a fine season. the save from mata against chelsea in that 3-3 game was astonishing.
    despite what they paid for RVP it represents a key signing. A huge boost for their players/ fans and a real concern for any defenders facing the prospect of an afternoon marking Fatman and Robin! a 2 horse race this season for me... london clubs picking up the scraps.

  • Comment number 24.

    I remember 20 years ago, we fans were urging Fergie to unleash Giggsy more often and his refusal to do so, citing nurturing him in, is bearing fruits now as we wring another year out of his legs.

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    It seems to me (before the first kick-off) to be a two horse race at the top between City & United again. Then there are a group fighting for the next 4 places in no particular order; Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Newcastle. Then there's the also rans (incl Liverpool, where even a good coach like BR has too much to do in one season) hopefully the owners give him time.

    It seems to me that the difference at the top between City & United last year was that they were very close, but City were more determined and the goal difference was boosted by the 6 - 1 drubbing at OT. The mind games between Fergie and Mancini showed that Fergie had become complacent and nobody should underestimate Mancini or take any notice of what he says to the media. Fergie being angry won't fix that, they need to get better, and I don't think injury-prone RVP will be the answer.

    United need to get a lot better as several players are past their prime. City need to get a bit better and gel and be more consistent, and they need to have a more varied tactical shape which a big squad allows and if they play a wider formation to the strengths of Edin Dzeko. I am glad City did not get RVP (were they really interested). He would been a repeat of Allison signing Rodney Marsh as the last piece of the jigsaw and we all know how that worked out. I liked Rodney Marsh, but he was just the wrong guy for that team, and RVP at United could be a similar situation.

    Before the first whistle, everone is an expert, so lets see where they all are after six games at the end of September.

  • Comment number 27.

    I dont share this view, up front ManU looks great, but the lack a great midfield or a creative midfielder. Still its a questin if RVP will perform as he did in his last year at Arsenal, which normally would not be case when a star attraction moves to another team, or it will take some time. Just too many old guard in the back and midfield. In short think they will play second tier to Man City and Chelsea; after Ronaldo left, there has been hardly any great buys, so more a desparate attempt to buy RVP to please the sponsors. But a lot at stake, since can imagine a second year without any prizes would be unthinkable but a possibility, since I assume Fergie wants to retire with 'bang' not this dreadful scenario, what people will remember, hence the great gamble what could be nonetheless work for all parties, but have my doubts and cant see them have a big presence in europe this year, so its up to the homefront.

  • Comment number 28.

    @22 galeo69 why are Utd fans so keen on saying the fee is 15m + add-ons when all reputable sources give it as 22.5 + add-ons? You are convincing no-one that it's a bargain (especially at 220k pw) but it may still pay off.

    Wenger has said on more than one occasion only one team was prepared to make an offer Arsenal considered acceptable. Hardly a masterstroke if Utd just kept throwing money at it until it stuck.

  • Comment number 29.

    Fergie is desperate to win the Champions League this year, as the nightmare exit last year to Basle and the 2 final defeats to Barcelona, have left an open wound that is still festering.

  • Comment number 30.

    Last year hurt United fans a lot; their fans basked in the glory and the bragging rights in Manchester when they won the premiership year after year.
    What they must understand is that City fans got 19 times the pleasure by winning it just once!
    No one can deny that Ferguson has been brilliant, he's worth 15 points a year on top of his players. This year we'll see what Mancini is made of!

  • Comment number 31.

    Utd's biggest squad problem, and has been for several seasons, is the midfield. SAF talks about the strikers reminding him of the '99 squad but that is disingenuous to the midfield of Giggs, Keane, Scholes, and Beckham, they were the driving force who steam-rolled through many teams. Compared the midfield of then to now, and it's clear we aren't as aggressive or creative as then. We need to significantly improve the midfield, it has been the heart of nearly all Utd's successful teams over the decades. I think RvP is a great signing, but he's been signed to help score more goals to hopefully set off the inadequacies the midfield, i.e. his thinking is the top teams will over-run us in midfield so we have to hope we can out score them. I think RvP is a short term solution until we can acquire a world class midfielder.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's all speculation, from Phil down, some of it entertaining, some of it pub talk. Fact is City won by a whisker with an arguably much stronger squad than Utd. In addition to the Manchester two the usual suspects - Chelsea & Arsenal - are in with a chance, as are several well-documented outsiders. 'Nuff said.

  • Comment number 33.

    No question - City to win the title again, Arsenal to finish 2nd ,united will scrape 3rd place!

  • Comment number 34.

    City will win the title, Van P ....remember Berbatov and what happened to him at Utd, same will happen to the one year wonder

  • Comment number 35.

    #25 funkymc1 - Of Man Utd's supposed 660 million fans i wonder how many have ever been to England let alone OT...

    What an idiotic statement to make in the 21st century. When English clubs attract talent from far and wide so too do they attract fans. We now live in a global village. Better get used to it.

  • Comment number 36.

    Now here is a thought for contemplation: the so-called United Team of Manchester's debt stands at around a marvellously whopping 450 million Pounds Sterling. Glasgow Rangers FC's debt, which has condemned them to the Scottish Third Division, comes in at around 150 million Pounds Sterling. This is one-third of the sporting empire from Manchester, right? The day may very well come soon, when we shall see the total and complete institutional collapse of the united Manchester empire.

  • Comment number 37.

    All the city fans i've spoken to are thrilled. The only thing is, I never realised they were City fans until 2008. They didn't realise it either!

  • Comment number 38.

    An interesting insight into the fascinating psychology of this man, and a good example of why he isn't well liked. Just look at the Olympics, think of the magnanimity of Phelps and Blake when they lost big races. Then contrast this with Ferguson a man who reacts to adversity with bitterness and the rage of entitlement.

    As for signing Van Persie, well so what if VP makes the difference people will just shrug and say, well if you have the muscle to wait and wait until another club develops a top player and then you lure him away, you should win.

    What stinks is Ferguson's hypocrisy if anyone dared to woo one of his top players he'd be screaming for an FA enquiry and throwing the insults around.

    In the spirit of the Olympics legacy its time we rejected the values of a discredited corrupt and disgusting sport.

  • Comment number 39.

    All conjecture at moment, should be good season though. Not sure Mancini wanted RVP really or just an admirer. He had great season last year, but Arsenal had no one else who could score for them so no surprise he was top scorer. Everyone talks about Utd losing it in last few games, but if City had maintained the momentum through complete season it would have been over by March. They missed Yaya and Vincent at crucial time when cruisin.

  • Comment number 40.

    Whilst Liverpool strengthen their grip on mid table, their deluded fans will have to keep supporting man city and barca too

  • Comment number 41.

    38 what exactly was insightful about it?

    Your post is hackneyed nonsense. Sorry to have to break it to you.

    For what it's worth, Ferguson mostly reacts to adversity with humility and always has. As for wooing van Persie I suggest you consider what Van Persie himself had to say about his decision to opt for United before you open your mouth on the subject again.

  • Comment number 42.

    40. What utter tosh.
    Ferguson doesnt know the meaning of humility. He is a bully plain and simple, that was evident with the touchline spat with Mancini. When Mancini stood up to him he was fit to burst.

  • Comment number 43.

    liberalbedwetter

    I assume you will be at the next athletics tournament. What is it again? Where is it? Or will you just wait four years until the brasil olympics?

    Every day people bring up the olympics on FOOTBALL threads. WHY? I kn ow it's flavour of the month at the moment. These same people get their tennis rackets out during wimbledon and play snooker when it's on tele and moan about horses being killed when the grand national is on. Petty whingers that don't give two hoots when the sport isn't on TV.

  • Comment number 44.

    City bought the title last year when Man Utd choked for the second time in three years in their run in. Utd look set to buy it back this year. For everyone else you have to be worried when the team that finishes third can have it's best player bought by the team that finished second. Unfortunatly it means that the list of Premier League winners which is already pretty exclusive is unlikely to differ this season. Can we please have rules that allow new teams to challenge without the risk of their best players being poached?

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    Phil - the last match of the season technically sorted the destination of the PL but lets be honest United should not have been in that position, the Everton game at OT was the 'turning point' for United last season, twice they were two goals up and twice they let Everton equalise; however this year Vidic is back, hopefully Cleverely and Valencia will both get a full season in and then there's the little matter of RVP 'chipping in' with a few goals a well!

    SAF is still capable of feeling the pain, as when when City finally made it over the line, this year he will be focused on the PL, but as he got it wrong in Europe last year he will be anxious to make up for that lapse as well. Should be a great time in Manchester this season, football's premier location.

  • Comment number 47.

    I definitely think it is between the two Manchester clubs, City will shade it though.

    [Unsuitable link removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 48.

    SAF said he lost title due to the result against Everton, then he buys a teenager wonder from the lower leagues, totally unproven player, then he signs another player with no experience in the Prem in Kagawa.

    Surely SAF should address his defence, he still has a young inexperienced goal keeper who is probably no better than Butland in terms of adjusting.

    So my question is has he really thought deep and hard to regain the title.

    Yes RVP will add goals, but if his midfield and defence which were the main problems are not fully given attention then surely he isnt preparing as much as everyone hopes for.

    If i was a Man U fan i would be slightly unhappy that he did not bring another midfielder and at least one top rated defender.

    Pinning your hopes on 2 new players, Giggs and Scholes may just be the wrong gamble and lets face it he has gambled.

    Man U are not really short on fire power, its the defence he needs to address. He also needs a flair player in midfield and again all this talk about Cleverly is just not fair to the lad himself as he seems slightly injury prone and not enough experience to galvernise his sqaud to push for the title against Man City.

    I can see Man U finishing 3rd this year.

  • Comment number 49.

    it's funny reading comments from united fans saying the city fans are glory hunters.. I just love the irony. who is the noisy neighbours now? I ask you?

  • Comment number 50.

    39 When Kompany was sent off in the derby game United were already in the lead. and when Yaya went off to the ACON City had drawn 1 and lost 2 of their previous 6 league games. One of the wins was very fortunate as well, with Van Persie scoring a perfectly good goal for Arsenal disallowed and a clear handball penalty against Zabalata iirc waved away.

    In short, City, just like every other side whoever won the league, were having a dodgy spell before those players went missing. That dodgy spell carried on basically until they were so far off the pace the pressure completely lifted off them.

    It was City's incredible good fortune that United then dropped point to Wigan in the league for the first time ever and the momentum shifted. Even then, after United had thrown away a decisive win at home to Everton City still had to rely on some dodgy antics from ex player Barton and 10 man QPR already knowing they were safe with 5 minutes left - after all the other games had finished.

  • Comment number 51.

    I can even see Chelsea as contenders this year, so lets not write them off, its an usual season really with Arsenal seemingly more weak, Tottenham with a new and tested failed manager, Liverpool is who knows where so it that respect it has become a 3 horse race, anyone not giving Chelsea a chance should take another look at their squad, i think its really only RB where they are weak, and DM seems to be a great manager and can get his squad playing great football this year.

    Its far to early to say who can win the title but its not a 2 horse race.

    Man City didnt really add much but then again they dont need to add much, but can they take the tests of a whole season as pressure will moount and when they were under pressure last year they didnt always handle it well and if not for Man U slipping up and Chelsea under achieving and Arsenal slow starters Man City may not of looked so good.

    But lets hope its a good season wich i am sure it will be

  • Comment number 52.

    The problem still remains with Rio, Carrick and the midfield in general. While Van Persie is a huge boost to the morale and energy of the squad, I feel Ferguson should have pursued Modric instead. The games are won and lost in the midfield and Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs are all sub-par in 2012/13. Cleverly is still unproven. Rio is five steps slow physically and mentally in the Prem. And DeGea... My God, what a disaster he is. A terrible bit of money spent. Better to have bought a Gigi Buffon and had 2/3 solid years of fumble free seasons. I believe DeGea is one of the worst keepers to have played for United. But the midfield again is the real issue for United - It is amazing to me that Ferguson has not learned from two CL final embarrassments. That being said, I think it will be another fantastic season full of surprises.

  • Comment number 53.

    Man U is a great club with a fantastic manager and i love the way they play, good squad, great set up, just the worst fans ever. Fans should be the cherry on the top of the cake, but with Man U the fans are like a rock of salt

  • Comment number 54.

    it's funny reading united fans calling city fans glory hunters, just love the irony. who is the noisy neighbours now? I ask you? lol

  • Comment number 55.

    ABU's should have their own division of the Manchester United supporters club, pushing the global fan base up to 1 billion. Given the amount of time, passion and dedication they put into reading and commenting on threads about the club. Keep up the exposure and revenue streams please!

  • Comment number 56.

    United look very strong going forward, but I never thought they had a problem in this department last season. In the games against Manchester City and Bilbao, for example, United were outbattled and outmanoeuvred in midfield. The addition of Kagawa should add more craft and Cleverley adds a nice blend of creativity and industry. I've always been an admirer of Carrick, but I still feel that United lack a genuinely dynamic presence in the middle of the park. Still, only the most embittered fans would say that United are not significantly stronger than last season. With 2 weeks to go until the end of the transfer window, City still have the time to make a similar impact in the transfer market.

  • Comment number 57.

    BRILLIANT GOAL! west brom 1 lfc 0.

    I can't recall a liverpool shot on target in the first half. Suarez has spooned about 5 off target

  • Comment number 58.

    Suarez waving imaginary red cards again. No wonder he won more penos last season than any other player. There wasn't even an offense with this latest whinge at the ref

  • Comment number 59.

    On a separate but related topic, a news update from NY via the Cayman Islands:

    The NYSE was spooked a couple of months ago by the greedy owners of Facebook, when it went public with a share sale planned at $40 each, but eventually opening at $28 each, and which closed today at $19.05 Verdict greedy owners over-valued company, poor investors taken for a ride losing 22% in an uncertain market. Remember NYSE is not a stock market, its a casino.

    So last week the NYSE was more cautious, but still greedy owners of ManU went public with a share sale planned at $25 each, but eventually opening at $14.05 each, and which closed today at $13.42 despite a week of support from underwriters. Verdict greedy owners over-valued company, poor investors now own non-voting non-dividend share in a company registered in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes, and most of the new cash went to Glazers not to Manu. Maybe they should change the name to CayManU.
    NYSE is not a stock market, its a casino..Remember the old joke about the gambler who went to Vegas in a $40,000 car and came home on a $400,000 bus.

  • Comment number 60.

    Balothello &other bitters.
    Yeah,we have a debt. But it's one of the yanks making!
    For more years than I care to remember,my beloved Utd have made bucket loads of profit. This and the regular addition of club reared players,has kept us at/near the top for nearly 40yrs.
    If you are one of the newby berties who has discovered citeh these last 2/3yrs...a lesson in history. At your peak in the late 60's,having won a title,you bought one player,Arthur Mann. A couple more came through the system,but essentially,you stagnated. Marsh and Hartford were brought in but the best days had gone.
    In 1979,you went mad in the transfer market in a concerted effort to overtake Utd.Big Mal had a vision to become Manchesters No1 club. This lead to citeh spending the next TWENTY NINE YEARS IN DEBT!
    Even when sold by the Thai in exile...your club was £70m in debt with little hope of repayment.
    Utd made over £100m profit last year.
    City lost £192m last year.
    If any club should fear a financial meltdown....it aint the Reds.

  • Comment number 61.

    Agreed Man Utd need better midfield, better defence, especially in Europe, but who is available? In the absence of anyone, more attacking fire-power is a bonus, given they lost on goal difference, but of course whether Vidic & VDP will counter City's new-found belief in themselves remains to be seen.

  • Comment number 62.

    "Scholes is 37 and his great cohort in United's glory years, Ryan Giggs, is 39 in November. Ferguson has shielded them expertly from the advance of time - but it is an inevitability that their influence will wane."

    You're on pretty safe ground there Mr McNulty - or was it a typo, and you meant to say something about the influence they will have on Wayne?

  • Comment number 63.

    53 United has the best support in the country. Just like every other club the sanitising of stadiums affects the home support and United by definition has more watchers than most because it has at least 15,000 more people than anyone else.

    but there is still occasionally a genuine wall of noise at Old Trafford, and United's away support is as good as any and still better than most.

    fwiw I was at Stoke for 2 of the last 3 visits and their fans spent 80% of the game sat in silence and the other 20% singing 2 or 3 chants. it's like Anfield where they're virtually asleep most of the time but then every 10 minutes they pipe up with one of the Celtic songs they ripped off...

  • Comment number 64.

    Dear Oh Dear!
    The season isn't even underway and the chief football journalist at the BBC writes a "Rah, Rah aren't Man Utd wonderful blog".

  • Comment number 65.

    Man Utd, soon to be the 'Rangers of the South'

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    Joe who? Consider yourself replaced by Michu a £2mil snip!

  • Comment number 68.

    64. Yeah,McNulty is to Manchester United & the chief gum chewer like the BBC is to Islam & 'Palestine.'

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    Ooops, I thought I was on a football page but it seems it's the kids' page!
    All these immature and infantile claims and counter claims, and no real appreciation of the game.
    Yes, I'm a Utd fan; they threw the title away last year because the team was not good quite enough (look at the points gap between the top two and the rest). But the best team won it, sorry to say - but, well done City. All the rubbish about money is just kids spitting their dummies out, again, well done City for getting some backing.
    Utd's team still have weaknesses, some of the kiddies here have highlighted the issues. Don't forget though that all teams have weaknesses, even City.
    I am looking forward to a great season. I hope no-one walks it. Gutted though I was at the end of last season, what a finish, "right to the wire" is inadequate. I wish all the teams good fortune, but especially Utd - and remember kiddies, it's a league, individual results mean zilch - look after your dummies till May - that's the only meaningful month.

  • Comment number 71.

    liberalbedwetter...
    "In the spirit of the Olympics legacy its time we rejected the values of a discredited corrupt and disgusting sport."
    And in the spirit of the Olympics lets embrace the values of respect. I suspect your vitriol against SAF is rooted in jealousy and bitterness. Put your own personal achievements on the table and if they come slightly close to that of the greatest manager the English football league has ever seen then I'll let you win the arguement - otherwise your comment is childish drivel.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    RoyalinthePresmiership...
    "Can we please have rules that allow new teams to challenge without the risk of their best players being poached?"

    Surely you're not suggesting forced labour? The hysterical, it's-not-fair moaners on this site is truly staggering. And the purile rubbish about how "many of your fans live in Manchester/go to OT?" Dear oh dear - the 'bitters' strike again.

  • Comment number 74.

    The wheel has gone round another circle and Man Utd are not longer the big spenders any longer and it shows too.

  • Comment number 75.

    "Ferguson has also confessed he will learn from his own mistakes last season, most notably when a desire to experiment with selection in the Champions League saw United fail to advance beyond the group stage for only the third time in 17 years"

    What a load of nonsense! They were simply not good enough period! Could not beat Benfica or Basel even when they desperately needed to to advance. Athletic Bilbao showed just how poor and far behind the top dogs of Europe they were

  • Comment number 76.

    arturo

    what is the meaning of what you wrote. I'm sorry if you are not English and that is a perfect excuse for your statement to make absolutely no sense on any level

    can you ask an English person to rewrite it so it makes even the slightest bit of sense?

  • Comment number 77.

    Vidic, Cleverly, Fletcher and Anderson all out most of last season plus new signings RVP, Kagawa and Powell means Utd. have strengthened. Add to that City with one eye on Europe and more clubs wanting to beat them and City will fail. Utd. by 5 pts.

  • Comment number 78.

    The big difference this season, if he stays uninjured will be Vidic. We surely would have won last season had he not been out for 5 months. At times the makeshift defence was VERY shaky and look at the points City dropped when they lost Kompany for a while! I'd say with RVP, Vidic and the added dimension of Kagawa and possibly Powell if he's given the opportunity, we should be able to get our title back!

  • Comment number 79.

    70 great post aside from the bizarre dismissal of the sugar-daddy aspect.

    75 United didn't desperately need to advance, they expected to advance which is slightly different I hope you see. United had been in 3 of the previous 4 finals. they played something like 50 games in the process, losing very few and smashing all sorts of CL records. for the likes of you to then bang on about a couple of half arted Europa League ties as if they and not the CL defines United seems willfully ignorant at best.

  • Comment number 80.

    All these title predictions remind me of those tips-merchants on who would win the Olympic gold medal in football. Some never learn.

    The first day of the Premiership so far sees Arsenal worrying if they found new Chamakhs and a continuing nightmare for Liverpool strikers into the new season.
    Fulham fans could start asking "Dempsey who?", while Swansea fans can dream.

  • Comment number 81.

    The sure thing about this new season is Kroenke has already made another killing. After finalising the sale of Song to Barcelona, there is a suspicion that Arsenal fans might eventually wake up and realise that, once upon a time, they were supposed to pay off The Emirates stadium so that they can compete without seeing their club sold to foreign investors. Perhaps, they might even realise that they pay big-cost season tickets so that Kroenke's assets are paid off faster.

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    @#36

    'Of the other clubs, 11 made losses, totalling £458m. Manchester City, in the third year since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi's ruling family bought the club and began to pour in money to acquire a team capable of winning the Premier League, lost £197m, the greatest financial loss in the history of football.'

    ...United made a profit of £12M

    Just because citeh have untold finance doesn't mean the club is in profit - this is the advantage of having 660 million fans, they spend, ManU survive

  • Comment number 84.

    If Ferguson really wants it this year he can have it- all he has to do is sign a couple or three truly world-class, mid-career players between now and the transfer deadline. If he doesn't more league titles are marginal at best and more Champions League success out of the question.

  • Comment number 85.

    The Trawler @ 79...if you remember, Utd went to Basel needing a result to guarantee qualification, they lost! and finished 3rd in the group....they desperately needed a win and were not good enough to get it...hence the Europa league where again they were shown up....unless of course you are desperate to believe that they did not care

  • Comment number 86.

    BlueMadrid

    If you remember, City won ZERO for over 3 decades and failed to qualify for Europe for over 2 decades until they accepted charity from Mansour.

  • Comment number 87.

    Regretfully I think Utd will be above City in the table this year simply because Mancini does not seem to have a long term plan on how he wants to develop the team and unless both Toure and Kompany (neither a Mancini signing) play they look ordinary. Utd suffered from a lack of investment last year but still did reasonably well even though they finished without any silverware so this year I expect them to do better even though I think van Persie and Rooney may struggle to find a working partnership

  • Comment number 88.

    Trawler

    And how did that historical fact help united 'win' the EPL and CL and how did it stop winning the EPL...face it utd were inferior in competitions hence the trophyless season

  • Comment number 89.

    I thought Ferguson would prove the vital difference this time last season, and Man City proved that was not enough. Think again mate.

  • Comment number 90.

    Trawler

    And how did that historical fact help united 'win' the EPL and CL and how did it stop City winning the EPL...face it utd were inferior in all competitions hence the trophyless season

  • Comment number 91.

    Ferguson won't retire until Yoonited win the title again..this could get amusing....

  • Comment number 92.

    At the end of this season and especially after meeting Man U in their league fixtures they will need to change their song to Black and Blue Moon

  • Comment number 93.

    chelseatart

    I thought torres was good until Roman Abramovich spent £50mil on him.


    top manager casualties (predicted) for this season:

    1 Brendan Rogers
    2 RDM
    3 AVB

  • Comment number 94.

    "Now here is a thought for contemplation: the so-called United Team of Manchester's debt stands at around a marvellously whopping 450 million Pounds Sterling. Glasgow Rangers FC's debt, which has condemned them to the Scottish Third Division, comes in at around 150 million Pounds Sterling"

    Are you crazy?

    Rangers are/were in debt of £150 million and could not afford it.

    Manchester United on the other hand pay over £50 million a year to pay for the debt the Glazers took on, and have shown that they can afford it, and make a profit still.

    Not only that, the recent share sale in New York showed that Manchester United is now valued at £2.4 Billion.

    So there is absolutely no chance or worry of the Liverpool fiasco, the Rangers fiasco etc.

    The problem for most of us is that the club has been put into debt in the first place. ie. think of the players we could have bought if it wasn't on debt!

    Sponsorship of Manchester United has reached unparalled levels. Chevrolet announced earlier this month a deal worth £175 million, DHL announced (training kit) worth £40 million, and now Bwin have announced a sponsorship deal.

    I hate the way the Glazers are using and abusing Manchester United. But I'm not worried about their existence. Just that there is cash available to better our chances.

    I trust Ferguson, and for the record - I think RVP is a brilliant signing. Proven Premier League quality is better than any import.

    United to win their 20th league title this season.

  • Comment number 95.

    Man U will start hard and be up there with City all the way to the wire - but it could all fall apart if vidic trips over giggs' zimmerframe and rio tweets a treasonous remark by 'mistake' and gets hung in the tower of London as Wenger watches on in glee or Anderson runs studs-first into cleverley and jones and wipes them all off the squad sheet in one fell swoop and the rest of the team develop chronic bowel disorders (a la fletcher) or Rooney has a Tevez-style tantrum and refuses to play unless he gets another bag of cheesy wotsits. So apart from that possibility, all will be as it should be with the 2 manc teams waiting for the other to trip up and throwing psychologically challenging compliments into the mix to try and show they're in control. It's just like Real and Barca but without the superstar players and attractive tippy-tappy football! Bring on the premiership!

  • Comment number 96.

    Jonny R wrote:

    I trust Ferguson, and for the record - I think RVP is a brilliant signing. Proven Premier League quality is better than any import.

    ___________________

    At just 7 months oplder than torres (who was bought despite being out of form for about 18 months) and half the price (and player of the season/golden boot winner) he was an absolute steal!

  • Comment number 97.

    Need to get the builders in to triple the size of the home dressing room....... so that they can get Rooney's and van Persie's ego's in at the same time. It will either be an unmitigated disaster or a genuine key to success. Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 98.

    ManU dont have the depth needed Phil.
    Last year Citeh bought the title with someone elses money- it will happen again. THis season the (obscene) Russian money will put Chelsea up there again. ManU and Arsenal will be chasing. Spurs Newcastle and Liverpool behind that lot.

    ManCity
    Chelsea
    Man U
    Arsenal
    Tootenham
    Liverpool
    Newcastle
    Sunderland
    Fulham
    Everton
    West Brom
    Stoke
    Villa
    Swansea
    West Ham
    QPR
    Norwich

    Reading
    Wigan
    Southampton

  • Comment number 99.

    Fergie has got his chequebook out to try and buy the title.

    Whats new?

    (But its called rebuilding when he does it).

  • Comment number 100.

    In spite of all the spending usual rhetoric at Old Trafford,I'm predicting the bacon slicer will be put to good use at the end of the season.

 

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