WHEN United played Barcelona a few years ago in the European Cup final at Wembley, there was an air of inevitability about the result before anyone kicked a ball in anger. Many a United supporter had the feeling we’d be destroyed by them and that was one thing, there was also the United fan who sounded almost grateful to be on the same pitch as them and that no matter how United did in the game, it was an honour just to be in the same stadium. How nice of Barcelona to delay collecting the trophy in order to have a kick around with us!

That did not sit well with me, although it was men against boys on the night and a lot of predictions came true, the fact that almost all of the United fans I spoke to had absolutely no belief in anything other than that we were just there to make up the numbers was hard to handle.

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La Chispa Adecuada

REAL MADRID versus Manchester United was a game that very much lived up to expectations and we cannot argue, the men from Manchester should be the happier of the two sides. We needed to trust the men doing the job out there and those men would need to turn up and put in a shift. That is exactly what happened, everyone turned up. Some may have wobbled occasionally but we can be proud of our team.

Some amongst the United following continue to question Sir Alex’s continued faith in Danny Welbeck, against Madrid he went a long way to proving that his place in the team is the product of quality and not, as some have mused, due to Danny’s possession of compromising pictures of the manager.

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Get Down and Get With It

GIVEN TO SCORE makes no apologies for joining the thousands of voices that proclaim tonight’s game with Real Madrid one of the most exciting encounters in our recent history, at least potentially. Given the epic build up on television, in print and in fan voice, there’s a chance that it could fail to deliver; but it’s a small chance so let’s just sit back and think of what is to come.

Ronaldo is good but he still shits and wipes his arse. He is still human.

The Manchester United team are saying all the right things, pointing out that we have waited for a night like this since the disastrous European adventure last year. The team let themselves down last year and in voice at least they seem determined to right that wrong. We have long memories, we know how last season’s European failure hurt and we can only hope it was felt by each man in red but further back than that was Munich, Milan, those hurt too.

I know it’s easy to analyse when you are safely behind a notebook. You can be proper brave with a pen in your hand and as I sit here looking out of my window at snow, Madrid feels like a zillion miles away but for those about to step out and attempt to do the business for Manchester United, there’s reasons to be positive.

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Real Gone Kid? All a bit Shakespearean

WE’VE DONE THIS DANCE BEFORE.  Another summer and yet more speculation about Cristiano Ronaldo and the future he may have at Real Madrid. GTS has been reluctant to write on this topic because in the early days it seemed like a bit of a non story.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s repeated comments about happiness at Old Trafford, and reaffirming his desire to ‘one day’ play in the Spain was absolutely nothing new. United had heard that before. In interviews we heard the question continue to be asked and Ronaldo again would state his dream to play in Spain in the future.

The story was quickly brought into focus as soon as United had won the European Cup, Ronaldo was away from the club and with Portugal preparing for the European Championships, these are times that worry fans because when players are away from the secure environment of their domestic club sometimes comments can be made to alert potential buyers.


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United: Love It Or Leave It

I AM becoming less and less concerned with Gabriel Heinze and whether he will stay at Manchester United. The player was a breath of fresh air when he first joined the club and his playing style earned him that ‘fan favourite’ tag that newspapers throw around. Recently, injuries and the emergence of Evra have left Heinze frustrated with his lack of first team chances and this is something I understand. It seems that throughout the summer someone has been trying to engineer him a move away from our club. Messages are mixed as to whether this is Gaby himself or his agent’s handy work.

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That Boy Ronaldo

RONALDO is class and I have said so many many times, so has everyone else with any emotional investment in Manchester United. United fans offer no apologies for the support we offered that player when he was blamed for everything and the kitchen sink at the World Cup, we are reaping the benefits of the boy being at the right club for him at that stage of his career and now at this, the squeaky time of the season. Newspapers make me laugh, every single part of the media makes me laugh. During this season at various points we have had “he’s off, he can’t play in England again”, “He won’t play with Rooney” – tabloid exclusives apparently, who were then sent wheeling backwards when he didn’t in fact leave England, leave Manchester United, hate Wayne Rooney or even have a problem with the manager. The only problem was that Sir Alex hadn’t updated his phone book with Ronnie’s new number, easily done, Sir Alex, easily done.

Then the Gods of the Spanish Press over at Marca thumb their nose at Ronaldo’s happiness at United and the club’s stance that he is not for sale, by reminding us of all the times Real Madrid have been told a player was not for sale. Yet again, if the lad himself said anything it was big news, if he said I am happy at United, they added ‘at the moment’, if he said nothing on the subject it was taken as a sure sign he is leaving. Manchester United and Ronaldo himself cannot win in this situation. The club and the player are making all the right moves, discussing a new contract, and the boy is making statements with his feet. The statement being, United = Premiership. Full stop. If there are more competitions that come up between then and now, you get the feeling that our boy Ronaldo would happily represent Manchester United on his own. In this form, he would probably beat the opposition too.

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David Beckham Used To Play Football Y’Know?

That’s it then. David Beckham has moved clubs for the last time in his playing career, if you believe what you read. His move from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy has been announced with almost as much fuss as the reaction that greeted his move from Manchester United toSpain. Years ago I spent some time working for a newspaper in the North West, inBlackburn, of all places. On the desk next to mine sat the sports photographer who figured out I was a Man United fan and thought I’d be interested to know he had just been to Bisham Abbey to photograph the new England caps. You will know the pictures if you see them, Gary Neville and co in horrible burgandyEnglandjumpers holding the flag of St. George. He gave me the David Beckham one and said I could keep it, I still have it, he said the lad would be worth watching. By then I’d been to Old Trafford to know he was worth watching.

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