Custom Search

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Region honours Reds

United capped another successful year on Monday night by topping five categories at the North West Football Awards, including Club of the Year.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson received individual awards at The Midland Hotel in Manchester - the former was honoured for his Lifetime Contributions to football in the region, while the latter was voted Manager of the Year by the North West public after guiding United to title glory.

"I thought I was presenting the award to someone else, that was the idea when I came," Sir Bobby told MUTV.

"I've enjoyed my football life here, it's been great. The North West is a hotbed of football. This award means a lot."

Speaking before the event, Sir Alex told MUTV: "It's a special night, the first of its kind. There's plenty to celebrate, as over the years, North West clubs have been very successful."

The awards honoured excellence on and off the field. United's staff scooped the Best Club Sponsorship prize - in recognition of the partnership with AIG - and Best Commercial Team.


Foster's road to recovery

Ben Foster was forced out of action at the end of the 2006/07 season and subsequently went under the knife to repair a damaged cruciate ligament in his right knee. Here he tells of his long road to recovery and his hopes for the rest of the season.

I've been injured since May and when you can't do what you're paid to do it's massively frustrating.

I had a lot of expectations surrounding this season and what it might hold for me but I have to put those aside for now. When you're told you're going to be out for eight months and no sooner you just have to knuckle down and get on with it.

I've been spending a lot of time in the gym, working on all the static cardio-vascular machines. I've been on the exercise bike, the cross-trainer, the treadmill… all the machines that aren't going to put too much pressure on my knee but will help me to keep my stamina up. There have also been lots of leg weights and upper body weights.

After all that, my knee is getting stronger. I've recently stepped up my training and I've had no pain in it whatsoever. The next step will be doing some more goalkeeping work. Earlier this month, I started doing a few things – just having someone hit volleys into my hands. But I'll start doing some proper sessions soon with the goalkeeper coach and that will push the knee a bit further. The aim at the moment is to be doing full training and getting involved with the lads sometime after Christmas – probably early February.

I can't wait until I'm playing again. I guess that might be around March next year. It's something to look forward to and something to aim for. Whether it's at United in the Reserves or somewhere else on loan, I'm not bothered – I'll take anything!

Speaking of loans, I spent two seasons at Watford and they were good years. We got promoted and then relegated but it was a massive test for me and I gained some invaluable experience. At Watford, I tended to have quite a lot of work to do, which was good, but we didn't pass it out from the back a lot, which is what United are all about. So while I'm out I've been watching Edwin van der Sar closely. That way, when my turn comes around I know what's expected of me.

I come to all our games at Old Trafford and I watch the away games on television. To be honest, it's incredibly frustrating and I'm not a good spectator because I would much rather be out there. But these things can't be helped and I'm determined to remain positive. Read more...

United licensed to thrill

The secret to United’s exquisite attacking play is a freedom for players to express their ability, which all stems from Sir Alex Ferguson’s attacking football philosophy.

The Reds boss claimed on Sunday that this is the strongest squad he has ever had, and United’s recent performances merely endorse his assertions.

While some teams have achieved success on the back of regimented tactical organisation, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and co. are given free licence.

“The manager really wants everyone to be care-free in the sense of expressing themselves on the pitch, and at the moment we are doing it to great effect,” Darren Fletcher told

“We’ve had some great attacks during the time I’ve been around the first team, but what defines this team’s attack is the youthfulness of it. It’s a long time since we’ve had such a young group of forwards and wingers.”

Ronaldo got the goals to give United a 2-0 victory over Blackburn. But it’s by no means been a one-man show; the Reds have had ten different goalscorers already this season. “Like last year, the goals aren’t just coming from one area, everyone is chipping in,” adds Fletcher. “You need that, you have to be a threat from all over the pitch otherwise you’ll become predictable, and that’s an accusation you certainly can’t throw at this team.

“We didn’t score that many goals at the start of the season, but we all knew it would come, and it has. Opposition teams can’t look at us and say, ‘mark that player and we’ll stop United’. We attack from every direction, up front, from either wing, or from deep in midfield. Each game, somebody new steps up and puts in the star performance.” Read more...