Manchester United


from the views of SPURs fans.

There is no doubting Michael Carrick quality as a player; he also plays the kind of passing game that Tottenham have been missing for years. But can we really not survive with out him?

I think he will certainly be a loss but if we look to what we already have within our ranks we will find a perfect substitute, if not an out and out replacement! One comment that springs straight to my mind whenever anyone has asked me how we would cope without Carrick is ‘what about Tom Huddlestone?’.

Tom, from the games in the first team and the reserves I have seen him in, is every bit as good as Michael and given the needed games and experience will prove to be a better player. People have been branding Carrick as one of the world’s best central, holding midfield players and I don’t wish to doubt that because he is but he, in my opinion, has one vital floor in being shy in the tackle. Like Glen Hoddle he is one of the best passers in the game but he ‘couldn’t tackle his dinner’. Tom Huddlestone is a great tackler (and is built like a brick outhouse – unlike the sticklike Carrick), and he has a passing ability every bit as good as Carrick and in
him I can see a perfect replacement for Michael.

But Tom is not the only player we can look to, we have Edgar Davids who has been one of the best central midfielders in the world for over a decade! Teemu Tainio, over the last season has proved he is an excellent midfield player, he is always active, never seems to run out of energy and is a childhood spurs fan after all! Hossam Ghaly, he arrived at the Lane carrying an injury which didn’t totally clear until the end of the season therefore he didn’t get any first team action last season but from the reserve games he got at the end of the season and the performances in pre-season he seems a good player, he delivered the final ball for one of
Dimitar Berbatov’s goals and was usefully involved in the making of the other. We also have Didier Zakora, Danny Murphy, Jermaine Jenas, and the young and up-coming Jamie O’Hara so to say we have a few options in an understatement.

No player is ever worth silly amounts of money either in transfer fees or weekly wages. If Carrick wants mega-money he will have to look elsewhere as Spurs have an excellent wage structure and ‘breaking the bank’ to keep him hear will harm the club in the long run. And if the reports are true in him stating he wants to move to Manchester United then fine let him go as it is obvious his heart is not in playing for Tottenham and the club want player who want to play for us.

£14.5 million (as reported in The Sun) is a good profit from a player we originally bought for £2.25 million. We are not a club in crisis in terms of finance I know but a deal like that is well worth it, and will give the ‘Three Musketeers’ (Jol, Levy, and Comolli) a nice little sum to play with while looking for a Left Midfielder if this is their wish. All I could ask, and I know they wont be anyway, is not to panic buy like we did with Gregorz Rasiak, we have a great squad already and all we now need are the final touches.

Article by Chigwell Spur

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Solskjaer clocks up 10 years
Stuart Brennan profiles Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

REDS LEGEND: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
HE put the ball in the Scousers’ net, he put the ball in the Germans’ net, and he even put the ball in Nottingham Forest’s net four times in 11 minutes.

But those feats of goal-scoring glory only make up half of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer legend.

Solskjaer, who celebrated 10 years at Old Trafford last weekend, is the longest-serving foreign player in United’s history.

And yet it almost seems disloyal to give him that “foreign player” tag, because he has been welcomed into the hearts of Red Mancunians without reservation.

When United fans saw Solskjaer back on the pitch last Christmas, as a substitute against Birmingham and then starting against Burton Albion in the FA Cup, the emotions were churning.

It was great to see the baby-faced assassin back on a football field, when it seemed like we had seen the last of him. Even Sir Alex Ferguson had believed the player would never pull on the red shirt in earnest again. It appeared that only Solskjaer himself had the belief and unswerving dedication to make it happen.

Even then, it seemed like these were the last throes of a stunning career – a career studded with golden highlights and shot through with a vein of loyalty and commitment to the cause, in an age of mercenary footballers.

Goal trail

And yet, here we are on the brink of another season and Ferguson has enough faith in Solskjaer to cite him as one of five strikers vying for a place in the first team. Now he is in line for a return to the Norway squad for a friendly against Brazil later this month. Perhaps his career will have a deserved Indian summer, after all.

United fans took to the lad almost immediately. Just six minutes into his debut as a sub against Blackburn in 1996, Solskjaer scored. The fresh-faced kid from Norwegian champions Molde netted five goals in just 233 minutes of football, with just one start, and the super-sub tag, which would irritate him throughout his career, was fashioned.

Solskjaer bagged 18 goals in that first season, as United retained the Premiership title, but could not nail down a place in the starting-up.

But with Teddy Sheringham arriving at Old Trafford to replace the retiring Eric Cantona, and then Dwight Yorke scorching into town the following summer, Solskjaer was again destined to be frustrated.

Solskjaer, however, would not be denied. The ultimate professional, he saw the subs’ bench as a challenge and an opportunity.

In the summer of 1998, inevitably, another club was ready to pay big money for his services. Tottenham offered £5.5m, United accepted the bid, and it was down to Solskjaer.

No-one could have blamed the lad if he had taken the money and run, especially with Yorke’s £12.6m arrival meaning his opportunities would be further restricted.

Solskjaer would have none of it. He took the view that any move away from United was a step down, and that view was all the encouragement Ferguson needed.

It set the tone for the incredible events of the following season, culminating in Solskjaer’s roof-lifting, knee-sliding, tear-jerking injury-time winner in the Nou Camp. The image of Solskjaer, all alertness and reflex, watching the ball bulge the roof of the Bayern Munich net, adorns many a Manchester chimney breast.

Solskjaer’s own contribution to the mother of all seasons was immense, with 18 goals in 18 league games. His four goals in 11 minutes after coming on as a sub in the 8-1 win at Nottingham Forest was breathtaking.

And, of course, it was that season that he stuck the ball in the Scousers’ net, an injury-time winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round.

Wondrous

It all led to that wondrous night in Barcelona.

But while some players allowed their games to slide after that ultimate achievement, Solskjaer was hungry for more.

In December 1999, he was at it again, scoring four against Everton in a 5-1 Old Trafford thrashing, and netting twice as the Reds beat Sunderland 4-0 to break the Premiership `goals for’ record with five games to spare. He even nabbed a goal as the Reds secured the title again with a 3-1 win at Southampton.

Another outstanding memory came the following season at Charlton. Ryan Giggs’ audacious lob from half-way sailed high into the murky south London sky.

Goalkeeper, players and spectators all stood in open-mouthed awe and suspense as the ball dropped on to the crossbar. It appeared that the only movement in the ground, apart from the arc of the ball, was a flash of red darting into the goalmouth as Ole volleyed the rebound into the net. It was a goal that summed him up – alert, quick and too smart for dumb defenders.

And still there was no guarantee of a first-team place.

When David Beckham was injured in 2002, Solskjaer popped up on the right wing, and brought grace and devotion to his new role and scored 16 goals.

Everything began to unravel the following season when he was injured against Panathinaikos which led to extensive knee surgery. Even after his comeback last Christmas, the future was still gloomy, and at one stage Ferguson appeared to prepare the media for the news that supporters had dreaded.

Then Solskjaer popped up at a training session, a spring in his step, a twinkle in his eye, and United backtracked.

Even when a fractured cheekbone sustained in a reserve team game in March added to the supporters’ fears, Solskjaer was not giving up the ghost.

Ferguson responded by handing him a new two-year deal and outlining his intentions to keep him at OT for as long as he could, as a coach and an ambassador.

It’s not the end for Solskjaer, or even the beginning of the end. There is no end to legend.