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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Match of the decade?

By Derek 'Robbo' Robson
The Tees mouth

Management is a tricky old business sometimes. Managing to keep a straight face must be a tricky skill to master.

And Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has mastered it all right, judging by his comments after the win over Arsenal.

"Maybe the media put more emphasis on the game than there really was but it was an important victory," he said.

The media? I don't think it was them who were out there slagging the opposition before a ball was kicked.

Of course, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's no better, bleating away afterwards about ref Riley, Ruud and all the rough stuff on Reyes.

They knew what was coming, Arsenal, and unfortunately their forwards never showed up.

But, arsey Arsene's right about Van Nistelrooy - that was a shocker of a challenge and the trial by TV should see him having a good rest.

Fact is, the best players on the pitch were England's back four, which gives you a bit of heart if you're an England fan.

Arsenal will still win the league, United have not turned the corner and Kenyon and Abramovich must have had the wodka out on the way home.

By the way, if that was the Match of the Decade, then God help the six years to come.

And what about Fergie supposedly landing himself in hot soup, although I really don't think Arsenal would have used the pea or tomato variety.

Being a cosmopolitan side they must have used gazpacho or some other fancy type. I'd have thrown the stuff with it still left in the flask.


Farewell Bill Nick

Bill Nicholson was a brilliant manager and a cracking bloke and he was a North Yorkshireman.

Hard but fair he was, and when I were growing up every one used to bang on about the double-winning team with Blanchflower and Mackay.

Doubles weren't ten-a-penny in them days, children. Actually I think double whiskies were cheaper than that but I digress.

Nicholson let his teams do the talking from the moment the first team he put on the pitch beat Everton 10-4!

You look at Santini's miserable set-up at the moment and you wonder if old Bill's looking down and shaking his head.

Maybe Jacques should note that the approach road to the ground is called the Bill Nicholson Way and have his teams play accordingly.


Baseball Boost

Because some mates starting going on about it, I was forced to sit down and watch the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox World Series semi-final.

And I have to say I found meself enjoying it. A bit. Of course, basically, it is rounders for ugly blokes with fat bums.

And there are some really dumb things about it. Like, how come if you hit a batter with the ball, they get to walk?

In cricket, you get a pat on the back and another dig at the fella. And are all the coaches sponsored by some manufacturer of chewing tobacco?

And how come baseball teams can't spell 'socks'? But this match-up was pretty exciting stuff, especially as the Red Socks hate the Yankees, with the kind of deep loathing that can only be born of years of failure against them.

And I like Boston. They have a couple of interesting blokes in their team. David Ortiz, a man who looks like he has to hit home runs, cos he's never run anywhere.

Not so much a brick outhouse, more a giant toilet block. And Johnny Damon, my favourite baseball player, who looks like a weird apeman who's been using a top lasses' shampoo and conditioner.

So I'm backing the Red Socks to beat the St Louis Cardinals and take the World Series title. (World Series! You're the only country involved, you fools!)


Trouble Glazer

Man Utd fans may be on a mission to stop Malcolm Glazer buying the club out, and I can well understand their frustration.

But they seem to forget they support something called Manchester United plc.

If you were Crewe Alexandra plc, there'd be no weirdy beardy Yank treating your club like a burger and fries and chomping you up bit by bit, the ketchup spurting out the side looking like blood spilt by many a loyal fan.

All right, I took that metaphor-type thing too far there, but you know what I'm on about.

And what are the fans afraid of exactly? That Glazer'll bring in lorry-loads of cash and minibuses full of talent and the club will start winning titles again?

Cos that's what's going to happen! Personally I think there's nothing more appropriate than for Man U to be run by an armchair fan who lives bleeding miles away.

And no matter how many shares you fans buy they'll always be another billionaire biding his time - I thought you'd be used to that concept by now.




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