Thursday, 4 November 2010

What really happened at Manchester United - The Skype call that changed everything in the controversial Wayne Rooney exit saga

Date: Friday 22nd October 2010. Time: 10:00am BST, 5:00am EDT

Skype Call participants:

The Owner: Malcolm Glazer; The Player: Wayne Rooney; The Agent: Paul Stretford; The Chief Executive: David Gill; The Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Gill: Are we all in?

Stretford: Yes

Ferguson: Aye

Rooney: Is this thing on? Can you hear me?

Gill: Loud and clear Wayne, loud and clear

Glazer: Yes I'm here. It's 5 o'clock in the freaking morning so please make it quick...

Gill: Right. Yes. I trust we all know what’s on the agenda today. Wayne you’ve asked to leave, we want you stay...

Rooney: Yeah well it’s not that I don‘t want to stay it‘s just…

Stretford: [Cough] Erm yes well either you up your contract offer or Wayne’s off to City

Gill: As I’ve already told you Paul, we’re able to offer £110,000-a-week...

Stretford: And I assume that’s after tax?

Gill: You would be correct

Stretford: Right so that’s… what… a £20,000 increase? Are you having a laugh?

Ferguson: You don’t know when you were born lad. [Under muttered breath] Bloody agents…

Gill: Right we’re clearly not getting anywhere fast. Malcolm, do we have any room to manoeuvre?

Glazer: Let me just grab the calculator… [Sound of keys tapping] [Pause of 10 seconds]

Gill: Malcolm are you still there?

Glazer: Right on. Okay. £150,000-a-week. That’s about as far as we can stretch

Stretford: Not good enough. I’ve got Garry Cook waiting on the other line, back in a …

Ferguson: Woah let’s calm down and all take a step back a minute. For Christ sake. Do you all understand the repercussions if we lose the boy? He has to bloody stay, anything and everything else just isn’t an option. Malcolm, I know I don’t speak to you very often and I don’t ask for much when I do but you need to give the boy what he wants here. For the sake of the future of Manchester United

Glazer: [Pause]. You’re busting my balls here Alex… [Longer pause]. Right. What exactly does Wayne want?

Stretford: £250,000-a-week - that’s basic wage - goal and assist bonus of £5,000 each, win bonus of £7,500. I, I mean Wayne, also wants a cut of 50% for all Wayne Rooney merchandise sold. There’s a few other requests but I can put that all in writing. Let’s just agree on this basic wage first…

Glazer: No can do. £175,000 - take it or leave it

Rooney: That sounds like a more than acceptab…

Stretford: Right I won’t even begin to discuss clauses but okay, what about assurances with regards to investment in playing staff?

Gill: We are not obliged to discuss transfer policy with agents. [Puts Stretford on hold]

Gill: Right Wayne, that’s the offer, I’m afraid we can’t go any higher than that. Five years, £175,000 a week basic. In terms of future signings, I can confirm, no promise, we will be in a position to operate effectively in the transfer market in the summer of 2011

Rooney: That sounds good to me, I’m on my way to Carrington now to sign…

Gill: Then that settles it. Alex, Malcolm, Wayne, thanks for your time.

[Call ends]

Stretford: Hello?!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Podcast Episode 15

On episode 15 of the Podcast the lads discuss the upcoming Premier League clash with the Toffees and chat about the latest round of International matches.

Also Steve, Dan and Dov talk (or rant) about minor footballing nations such as New Zealand having the chance to display their ‘talent’ on the world stage at the expense of some of the larger footballing nations.

Everton fan Bill from the ToffeeTalk forum will give us his opinions ahead of their trip to Old Trafford and there will be a special clip from the Manchester United Brazilian supporters club as they provide a rendition of one of United’s most famous songs!

You can subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes.

Do make sure you keep an eye out for regular Twitter updates and get yourself signed up to the Podcast Facebook group too!

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Podcast Episode 14

Coming up on episode 14 of the podcast, Steve, Dan and Dov look back at the defeat to Chelsea and ask where it all went wrong. The lads also chat about the Rooney ‘12th Man’ and where he works best for the side.

We have, as usual, club cabbage and player of the week plus another Legends profile and Dov looks at the recent reserve match against Manchester City.

You can subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes.

Do make sure you keep an eye out for regular Twitter updates and get yourself signed up to the Podcast Facebook group too!

Thanks very much for all your support and enjoy the show!

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Podcast Episode 13

On episode 13 of the Podcast, Steve, Dan and Dov analyse the victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League and the last-gasp draw with CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

As a special treat in Reserves Review we have Tony Park or, more commonly known to the ‘caf’, Mr. MUJAC. He provides us with some in-depth news about the United academy and reserve games, plus we get his views on the up and coming stars working under Ole Solskjaer.

Our Legend this week is Billy Meredith, a maverick on and off the park, his playing style marked the beginning of the proud attacking tradition the club has today. His spirit still permeates the club… especially this season.

Finally we look ahead to the massive game against Chelsea. We get the opinion of a ‘true blue’ and give our predictions on a potential Championship defining game.

You can subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes.

Do make sure you keep an eye out for regular Twitter updates and get yourself signed up to the Podcast Facebook group too!

Thanks very much for all your support and enjoy the show!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Manchester United vs Blackburn: Preview

After the effective, if not inspiring, performance of the second string in the Carling Cup earlier in the week, normal service resumes this weekend as United face Blackburn in the Premier League.
Rovers enjoyed a relatively safe passage into the quarter finals of that competition that none of the big guns tend to take very seriously the League Cup themselves on Tuesday night although Saturday should prove a much tougher hurdle for Sam Allardyce and his swine flu-hit charges to negotiate.
With Ferguson guaranteed to reshuffle the pack following the victory over Barnsley, expect atleast eight or nine changes from the team that started at Oakwell. Edwin van der Sar will certainly replace Ben Foster in goal and you would expect that John O’Shea and Patrice Evra will slot back in to the two full-back positions.
Having served his one-match suspension in the Carling Cup, Nemanja Vidic could return to the side although a calf problem renders him a doubt. The much maligned Rio Ferdinand is also struggling with a calf injury so don’t be surprised to see either Jonny Evans or Wes Brown featuring from the start.

In midfield Owen Hargreaves, Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher remain on the sidelines while Ryan Giggs is reportedly struggling with a knee injury. That could see both Nani and Antonio Valencia starting on either flank with Anderson and Michael Carrick forming a central midfield partnership. Gabriel Obertan gave a good account of himself against Mark Robins’ Tykes on Tuesday although a place on the bench looks like the most he can hope for at this very early stage of his United career.

Up top, one would anticipate that Ferguson will opt for the familiar partnership of Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney although Michael Owen will also be in with a shout having took his goal superbly well the other night and generally looked sharp in the limited cameo role he played against Liverpool.

Speaking to the media, Ferguson explained that he is anticipating a difficult encounter with Blackburn, praising the role of Allardyce in picking up the pieces when Mark Hughes departed Ewood Park back in June 2008.

"I saw them recently against Burnley and they played really well in that game," he said.

"They have always been difficult to beat at Blackburn and I think Sam has built a different team from Mark Hughes' Blackburn.

"Quite a few decent players have left like David Bentley and Stephen Warnock and Sam has had to pick up the thread of what was left and replacing players of that quality was not easy."

Blackburn are likely to be without Christopher Samba and Jason Roberts who are both suffering from the effects of swine flu and Ferguson moved to insist that United have so far been unaffected by the pandemic.

"It's an interesting thing. Flu does happen. Whatever you call it, you had Asian flu a couple of years ago with players missing games," he added.

"Fortunately so far we have been okay."

Sir Alex may have called for caution ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Old Trafford although anything but a resounding three points would surely fan the flames of the critics even further.

While Sunderland recently caused something of a stir when they deservedly left the Theatre of Dreams with a point, Rovers have only won once in the Premier League at the home of the champions, back in September 2005.

You would hope that the lads will be ready to prove a point following events at Anfield last weekend and with Blackburn’s dismal recent away record in England’s top flight (nine away defeats on the trot), United should be looking to dominate this one from the off.

Prediction: 2-0 United

The Podcast Episode 12

Coming up on episode twelve of the podcast, Steve, Dan and Dov attempt to work out exactly what went wrong against Liverpool, while praising the performance of the youngsters in the Carling Cup.

The lads will also be discussing whether it’s time for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to move aside and Dov attempts to explain just how Jamie Carragher didn’t get sent off on Sunday.

As well as the rest of the regular features, Dov will be looking at Alex Stepney’s fantastic United career in his legend’s profile and the pod will preview the visit of Blackburn to Old Trafford this coming Saturday.

You can subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes.

Do make sure you keep an eye out for regular Twitter updates and get yourself signed up to the Podcast Facebook group too!

Thanks very much for all your support and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Barnsley vs Manchester United: Preview

You’re only as good as your last game and following eleven without defeat, Sunday proved something of a wake-up call. United certainly need to up the ante and fortunately they won’t have to wait very long to attempt to put things right. A little over 50 hours to be precise as a trip to Barnsley in the Carling Cup will hopefully lift spirits, if ever so slightly, following the depressing result at Anfield.

It’s been eleven years since we last visited Oakwell where Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham were on target in a 2-0 win. You may or may not be aware that the current Barnsley manager, Mark Robins, once scored a winning goal against Nottingham Forest for United back in 1990 that is widely believed to have saved Sir Alex Ferguson’s bacon at Old Trafford. He certainly hasn’t looked back since.

You would expect that Ferguson is bound to make a plethora of changes for the tie although he should stop short of picking an entirely different eleven to Sunday. Ben Foster or Tomasz Kuszczak will replace Edwin van der Sar in goal and the back four should definitely see starts for both Wes Brown and Jonny Evans. Gary Neville or Rafael could feature at right-back while Fabio may replace Patrice Evra on the left-hand-side of defence despite his red card in the third round against Wolves.

Following Gabriel Obertan’s return from injury, it has been confirmed that he will make his first appearance for the first team. Darron Gibson should definitely vacate a central midfield slot and Darren Fletcher could come in alongside him having missed out in recent weeks through injury.

Magnus Eikrem will be desperate to show what he is all about following a string of polished performances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second string although one would suspect he will only make the bench. With Obertan expected to start on the right, Nani or Zoran Tosic will most likely be selected on the left.

With Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov all involved against Liverpool, Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck could be given the chance to impress up top. After a lively debut in the previous round, expect Josh King to appear later on in the game as an impact sub too.

Speaking prior to the match on Tuesday evening, Ferguson has challenged the Reds to prove their credentials by recovering from the defeat to Liverpool.

“Part of the challenge is to get over disappointments,” he said.

“Last season we lost at home 4-1 to Liverpool which was a travesty but we went on to win the league.”

While Sir Alex may be directing his comments more specifically at those who are to be involved against Blackburn this coming weekend, a result against Barnsley will be the first step in the right direction before the vitally important visit of Sam Allardyce’s side. The critics have already surfaced once again despite 10 wins from our previous 12 although anything but a victory against Barnsley and the knives will be sharpened even further.

So what exactly stands in the way of United and a safe passage to the quarter-finals of a competition that has served us so well in recent times? Well Barnsley are struggling in the Championship where they currently sit in 20th place, four points above the relegation spots. Having put together a decent run at the beginning of October, the south Yorkshire club have lost their last two on the spin.

Despite their relatively poor league standing, the Tykes put on an impressive show to knock Burnley out in the last round of the Carling Cup and watch out for Daniel Bogdanovic, the Maltese striker who has scored four goals in eight for Barnsley so far this season.

Prediction: 3-0 United