Previous
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
AFC Bournemouth
0
3
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Reading
2
0
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Sheffield United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Norwich City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Sunderland
Stoke City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Everton
3
0
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Doncaster Rovers
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Celta Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz
2
2
FT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg
3
3
FT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
Schalke 04
0
3
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Marseille
0
5
FT
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Toulouse
0
3
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Swindon Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Livingston
4
0
FT
Game Details
Falkirk
Rangers
1
3
FT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
St Johnstone
0
1
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ross County
Hibernian
0
2
FT
Game Details
Clyde
Montrose
1
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Lanciano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
Pro Vercelli
1
2
FT
Game Details
Crotone
Catania
1
1
FT
Game Details
Frosinone
US Avellino
0
0
FT
Game Details
Livorno
Varese
1
0
FT
Game Details
Modena
Perugia
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ternana
Bologna
0
1
FT
Game Details
Trapani
Virtus Entella
2
2
FT
Game Details
US Pescara
Latina
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vicenza
Bari
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Ingolstadt 04
FC Erzgebirge Aue
1
1
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
VfR Aalen
1
1
FT
Game Details
St Pauli
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
1
0
FT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
TSV 1860 Munich
1
0
FT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Le Havre AC
0
1
FT
Game Details
Angers
AJ Auxerre
0
0
FT
Game Details
Arles
Stade Laval
2
3
FT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Tours
2
1
FT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
Créteil
2
1
FT
Game Details
Nimes
Chateauroux
1
0
FT
Game Details
Orléans
Ajaccio GFCO
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sochaux
Brest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Troyes
Niort
4
1
FT
Game Details
Capelle
FC Volendam
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rijnsburgse Boys
Sparta Rotterdam
0
3
FT
Game Details
Scheveningen
Lisse
4
1
FT
Game Details
VVSB
Vitesse Arnhem
1
2
FT
Game Details
Spakenburg
NAC Breda
3
4
FT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Twente Enschede
Postp
Game Details
Ajax Amateurs
NEC Nijmegen
2
2
FT
Game Details
Almere City
ADO Den Haag
2
2
FT
Game Details
Deltasport
Willem II Tilburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Exelsior Maassluis
FC Emmen
1
4
FT
Game Details
Flevo Boys
DOS '37
1
0
FT
Game Details
HHC Hardenberg
RKC Waalwijk
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kozakken Boys
Sportlust '46
1
2
FT
Game Details
ONS Sneek
Dordrecht '90
0
3
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
FC Utrecht
Postp
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Eindhoven
0
0
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Heerenveen
2
1
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
FC Vaduz
3
1
FT
Game Details
FC Thun
Lucerne
3
2
FT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Real Estelí
3
0
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Alpha United
2
0
LIVE 48'
Game Details
César Vallejo
Universitario de Sucre
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Independiente del Valle
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Argentinos Juniors
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlante
Mérida
1
1
FT
Game Details
Correcaminos
At. San Luis
3
3
FT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Oaxaca
3
2
FT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Dorados de Sinaloa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santos
Monterrey
1
0
LIVE 47'
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Queretaro
0
0
LIVE 46'
Game Details
UNAM
Toluca
1
1
LIVE 46'
Game Details
Veracruz
Chiapas
1
1
LIVE 50'
Game Details
ABC
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Luverdense
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bragantino
Icasa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
América Mineiro
1
1
FT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Avaí
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
AA Ponte Preta
0
3
FT
Game Details
Ceará
América RN
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Náutico
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
CR Vasco da Gama
2
2
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Oeste
3
0
FT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Vissel Kobe
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Nagoya Grampus Eight
1
2
FT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Sagan Tosu
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rangers de Talca
Palestino
0
1
FT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Colo Colo
3
0
FT
Game Details
Next
Aug 14, 2006

United front masks deficiencies

Manchester United have become a club shrouded in uncertainty. The full effects of the Glazer takeover are yet to be realised but the club enters its second season under American rule as a force regarded by most to be fading. And growing dissatisfaction may yet become greater should the team again fall short on the field.

The superiority that Sir Alex Ferguson's team once exerted over the rest of the Premiership and much of Europe had long faded by the time of the Glazers' arrival and they arrived at Old Trafford to a team in need of overhaul. The signs of regeneration are there yet faltering.

Roy Keane's overbearing presence has gone from the dressing room and the wage bill and perhaps joining the Irishman in the irreplaceable stakes will be Ruud Van Nistelrooy, sold to Real Madrid for looks a cut price, taking his 20 goals a season with him. Though losing such a guaranteed goal tally does not always mean a team becomes less of an attacking force, any games that see United profligate in front of goal will always lead to reminiscing for Ruud.

In many fans' eyes Ferguson is staking a hard-fought legacy through his continuing involvement with the club. Diminishing returns are the accusation, with last season's Carling Cup a mere bauble compared to the silverware the Scot has hauled into Old Trafford in the last fifteen years. For the fans, a challenge for the title is the least they expect, though the suspicion is that for the Glazers, a 3rd-placed finish and some near-guaranteed Champions League cash to pay off the club's £800m debt is all they require to be happy with a season.

The difference between being an also ran and a champion is never as pronounced on a football club company balance sheet as it is on a club's roll of honour.

The Michael Carrick deal's high eventual price masks an overall transfer spend of not very much at all. Van Nistelrooy's £10.5m and the £12m that came into the club through the mysterious Mikel John Obi affair with Chelsea, the money for the England midfielder and a mooted deal for Villarreal's Marcos Senna hardly burn a hole into the £25m-a-season transfer injection mooted on the Glazers' initial PR drive, even taking into account January deals for Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, a mysterious addition to Fergie's left-back collection.

That the relationships that Keane and Van Nistelrooy had with Ferguson had come to a close is undoubted. That both had seen better days is undoubted in the case of Keane and with the jury waiting on the Dutchman's first season at the Bernabeu. And Ferguson has made a career of falling out with stars to claim glory in short succession.

From Joe Harper and Gordon Strachan at Aberdeen to David Beckham via Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside, success has usually followed, though since Beckham's departure in 2003 the return of an FA Cup and League Cup is hardly enough for Manchester United or, one suspects, Ferguson.

Much has been made of Ferguson building a third team to succeed the Double winners of 1993/4 and the 'Fledglings' that swept all before them in 1999. There may well be a newer look to this team, with only Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes remaining of the fabled class of '92. But that trio remain mainstays of a side that looks a shadow of its precursors and does not share their financial eminence over Premiership rivals.

Ferguson has been much mocked for his repetition of his phrase that getting players like Scholes, Alan Smith and Gabriel Heinze back into his squad after missing much of last season through injury is like getting new players, as if to make up for the loss of twin totems Ruud and Roy and the addition of just Carrick. Has the great man been listening to pal and PR guru Alistair Campbell far too much? Now a confirmed champage socialist, Fergie's words on such subjects bear the hallmarks of a defensive Tony Blair, though they are delivered in the iron-hard diction of Govan

Another issue to sweep under the red-coloured carpet is the enticing prospect of supposedly warring factions Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo lining up in attack together. Rooney's autobiography has put a positive spin on the pair's falling-out in Gelsenkirchen while the Portugese player's mooted dream move to Madrid has failed to materialise, perhaps in no small part to the presence of old adversary Van Nistelrooy in the Real ranks. Only the end of the transfer window will confirm the pair will have to become friends again for the next season

Both players have looked sharp in their minimal pre-seasons. However, Rooney's chip over the Porto goalkeeper in Amsterdam was followed by a sending off that may preclude early involvement in the Premiership. Similarly, Paul Scholes, whose stupid tackle in the same game saw him dismissed may stop that 'new broom' of his being involved. And, even more catastrophic is the ankle inury to Carrick, who limped from the scene when United beat their Ajax hosts. A month out is the projected length of absenceand the Geordie may have to sit out two or three of the opening weeks of the season and though an opening trio of Fulham, Charlton and Watford look hugely winnable for United, the next pairing of Spurs and Arsenal less so.

Ferguson, for whom another pre-season mantra is to 'hit the ground running' has been hit by an injury list as bad as those he has used as an excuse in previous seasons. Carrick joins Ferdinand, Neville, Vidic and Smith on the injury list, a grouping that may yet deprive Ferguson of three of his chosen back four.

The bright side of the pre-season injury crisis in Holland was the performances of some of his youngsters. Jonny Evans, a young defender set to spend the season at United's Belgian finishing school at Antwerp was the brightest star after a late call-up to replace Rio Ferdinand and his twisted ankle. Fellow Irishman Darron Gibson showed his ability in the centre midfield in pre-season and will be joining Evans in Belgium.

Of the younger players set to feature this season, and despite being linked with many a loan move, striker Giuseppe Rossi has been given his head and, while short of goals in pre-season, has shown glimpses of his burgeoning talent. Another young man whom fans have been waiting to see play for some time is David Jones, a young midfielder who spent half of 2005/6 at Preston North End and the rest, more successfully, at NEC Nijmegen in the Dutch Eriedivisie where his box-to-box style made him a real favourite.

At 21, the time to break through has arrived and the likes of Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea may find themselves fighting for places in the midfield with the Southport native. Jones has a three-year contract to his name, reflecting the faith United have in him.

For Ferguson the breakthrough of this talented quartet may yet come too late. Time is not on his side and results have to be good from the start of 2006/7. He has not been able to access the galaxy of the stars that Chelsea have signed, nor has he been able to add players in the quantity that Liverpool have. And Arsenal may well have lost some proven class in defence but seem to be producing faster maturing talent at a quicker rate than United.

So, pressure will have to be heaped on Wayne Rooney's shoulders, an expectation that he has not always succeeded in dealing with. And the days when a midfield quartet of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham bestrode Europe are long gone with the two remainders on the wrong side of 30.

Have United become also-rans? Do the Glazers have what it takes to win over the disaffection? And, the question that will be repeated every summer until he finally retires, can Ferguson prove everyone wrong again?

Three questions for which some may claim to already have the answers. The new season of 2006/7 should go a long way to answering them to all of us.


  • Any thoughts on this article? Feel free to email John Brewin