WAYNE ROONEY TO JOIN EVERTON


Wayne Rooney is to rejoin Everton, 13 years after signing for the Reds from the Merseyside team.

Jose Mourinho said, "It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne; he has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.

"It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton. His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future."

Ed Woodward said, "Wayne has been a fantastic servant to United since the moment he signed for us as a prodigiously talented, explosive teenager some 13 seasons ago.

"Who can forget his storybook debut hat trick against Fenerbahce, the spectacular overhead kick against City and the countless match-winning performances in his time here? But after much discussion, the club has decided to accept his request to rejoin his boyhood team.

"He goes having created some of the most magical moments in some of the most successful years in the club's history. Wayne leaves us as our greatest ever goalscorer and having won every major trophy in the game. His record will take decades for anyone to get close to matching and I am extremely grateful for the way he has led from the front since being appointed club captain three years ago.

"On behalf of the whole club and our hundreds of millions of fans around the world, we wish Wayne all the very best for the next phase of his incredible career."

*Taken from Manutd.com

United reach 2000 Premier League points


Manchester United made history with Saturday's 2-0 win over Watford, as the first Premier League club to reach a landmark total of 2000 points.

United have topped the all-time table for a long time, having won the championship in the competition's first season, 1992/93. Nearest rivals Arsenal are a long way behind on 1797 points and 2016/17 league leaders Chelsea sit in third place on 1755.

After playing 949 games, the Reds have reached 2000 points with 599 wins and 203 draws. The win ratio after the Watford match stands at 63 per cent.

United, one of only six teams to play every single game in the Premier League since its inception, also sit top of the standings when it comes to points-per-game with an average of 2.11. No other club has an average of more than 2.

The Reds can become the first club to achieve 600 Premier League victories by winning the next top-flight fixture, when Eddie Howe's Bournemouth visit Old Trafford on 4 March, but for the time being, Jose Mourinho’s side will prepare for four cup matches across three competitions in the remainder of February.

*Taken from Manutd.com

United Set New Record Against Champions


Manchester United set a club record with Sunday's 3-0 win at Leicester City.

The comfortable triumph ensured an aggregate success of 7-1 in the two Premier League fixtures against the Foxes - the biggest winning margin the club have recorded against the league champions since the Second World War.

The six-goal difference was greater than the previous best tally of five, which was achieved in 1955/56 and 1964/65. During Sir Matt Busby's reign, Chelsea were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford and 4-2 at Stamford Bridge, with powerhouse striker Tommy Taylor bagging three of those goals.

Liverpool were crestfallen nine years later as United won 2-0 at Anfield before securing a 3-0 home victory. Paddy Crerand and David Herd scored on Merseyside with Denis Law (2) and John Connolly on target at Old Trafford against Bill Shankly's men.

There have been other notable individual victories over the champions, including a 6-0 thrashing of Burnley in April 1961 as Albert Quixall and Dennis Viollet both claimed hat-tricks. There was also a 5-1 thumping of Everton in 1963/64, even if the Toffees won 4-0 at Goodison Park, and a 4-1 opening-day win over Arsenal when Neil Webb scored on his debut in 1989.

However, our research suggests the 3-0 scoreline at the King Power Stadium has set a new record for the Reds when it comes to putting one over the champions on a home-and-away basis.

Champions humbled:

1955/56 - 7-2:
Chelsea 3-0 (H), 4-2 (A)

1960/61 - 9-5:
Burnley 3-5 (A), 6-0 (H)

1964/65 - 5-0:
Liverpool 2-0 (A), 3-0 (H)

2004/05 - 6-2:
Arsenal 2-0 (H), 4-2 (A)

2016/17 - 7-1:
Leicester 4-1 (H), 3-0 (A)

*Taken from Manutd.com

Wayne Rooney: Record! Rooney is Reds' All-Time Top Scorer


He's done it! Wayne Rooney has surpassed Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton to become the club's leading goalscorer of all time.

The United captain reached his remarkable tally of 250 strikes when he netted a stunning late equaliser against Stoke City in Saturday's 1-1 draw.

Sir Bobby Charlton told ManUtd.com: "It’s over 40 years since I scored the last of my 249 goals for Manchester United, so I must admit that I have become used to the honour of being the club’s all-time top goalscorer!

"We have had some incredible strikers here at Old Trafford and they have scored a lot of goals, but it has been fairly obvious for a while now that Wayne Rooney was going to be the one likeliest to break my record, and now that day has come, I would be lying to say that I’m not disappointed to have lost the record. However, I can honestly say that I’m delighted for Wayne. He deserves his place in the history books.

"He is a true great for club and country, and it is fitting that he is now the highest goalscorer for both United and England. It has been great to watch him every week since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2004; he set the tone with a wonderful hat-trick on his debut and he has thrilled us all in the years since, going on to enjoy a hugely successful career.

"I was 35 when I retired. Wayne is only 31 and still going strong, so I don’t think he’s done by a long stretch yet. He continues to show that he can contribute goals, assists and performances whenever called upon, he will raise the bar even further before he calls it a day. Now he’s the man to beat, and I can’t see anybody doing that for a long, long time."

Rooney the record-breaker was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson at the age of 18 after rising to stardom at Everton and has been a consistent contributor to the Reds' scoresheet since netting a hat-trick on his debut, in the 6-2 Champions League victory over Fenerbahce on 28 September 2004.

Sir Alex told ManUtd.com: "I would like to say huge congratulations to Wayne on reaching this milestone. It is no mean feat to score so many goals and he breaks a record that has stood for over 40 years. Wayne thoroughly deserves his place in the history books of this great club and I am sure that he will go on to score many more goals. Well done Wayne, I am absolutely delighted for you, you have been a great servant to this club and long may it continue."

Rooney, now aged 31, equalled Sir Bobby's long-standing record of 249 United goals when he opened the scoring against Reading in the FA Cup third round earlier this month.

The stage seemed to have been set when Rooney started against Hull City in the EFL Cup and came on at half-time against Liverpool last weekend but, although it wasn't to be against our arch-rivals, he has now achieved the feat to write his name in the club's history for years to come.

Congratulations to Wayne from everyone at the club.

*Taken from Manutd.com

IBRAHIMOVIC: I AM ZLATAN THE CONQUEROR



Summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels he has already conquered English football with Manchester United - and it only took him "three months".

The Swedish marksman missed the EFL Cup win over Hull City due to illness after sitting on the bench throughout the FA Cup triumph against Reading. But Jose Mourinho expects to have him back leading the line for Sunday's mouthwatering showdown with rivals Liverpool.

Ibrahimovic, United's top scorer this season, is only one behind Chelsea's Diego Costa in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot but insists it is not in his thinking as he is pursuing team glory. That said, he believes he has achieved his individual targets already by proving his class in the Premier League.

"No, I’m not chasing anybody," he said, when asked by ManUtd.com about the prospect of chasing down Costa. "I’m chasing the head trophy – the Premier League. That is my aim. The individual things come as part of the main objective because that is like a bonus for every individual player.

"If the collective does well, then the individuals will do well. I try to help the team and try to do what I’m best at – scoring goals, playing good and creating chances for my team-mates. As long as I can do that, I know I will help my team. The same thing with them, they help me the way they can for the team. I have no individual targets because that I did already, after three months in England. After I conquered England – it took three months."

The striker feels United cannot be discounted from the title race as the crunch encounter with the Merseysiders approaches. Victory would leave the Reds only two points behind Jurgen Klopp's side and the Swede has been consistent in his view that things would click eventually into gear.

"We had our dips, our ups and downs when we were winning, losing, winning and losing," he explained. "Lately, we have been winning, where we have been more stabilised as a team. The coach has found his base, which is not easy when you’re a new coach coming to a new team and want to put in your philosophy, your game and the way you want it to be.

"I said from the beginning – slowly, slowly, we will get better and everything was about the click. We needed to click as a team. Now you the see the identity of the team. We are finding each other but I think we can do much more and be much better. And we will do it – we are working hard for it.

"The last one and a half months have shown the right way, the gap [at the top] has been bigger but now it’s better. So we are closer to that now. We wait for the other teams to have their dips, to make their mistakes, and we will be there. We will give them hard work until then because I think the second half of the season is the decisive one and that will decide. Whatever you want, wherever you will come, let’s see what we want. I know what we want. We want to show it."

*Taken from Manutd.com

December 2016: Zlatan Ibrahimovic named PFA Fans' Premier League Player of the Month


Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won the PFA Fans' Premier League Player of the Month award for December.

Ibrahimovic, 35, enjoyed an impressive month for United, scoring five goals in six league appearances for the club, including a brace against West Bromwich Albion.

The former Sweden international also helped the Red Devils remain unbeaten throughout December, winning five consecutive Premier League games. United are currently enjoying their longest unbeaten run since Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, having gone 13 games since their last defeat.

Ibrahimovic has silenced critics who thought he would be too old to play in the Premier League following his arrival at United last summer and he currently sits joint-second in the Premier League's top scorer chart with 13 goals for the season.

The striker received 24,092 of the 64,000 votes to win PFA's monthly award, ahead of Liverpool's Adam Lallana, Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, Tottenham's Dele Alli, Sunderland's Jordan Pickford and West Ham's Dimitri Payet.

*Taken from Soccernet.com

HOW SIR ALEX WAS APPOINTED 30 YEARS AGO


Thirty years ago today (Sunday), Manchester United confirmed the name of the club's new manager - Alex Ferguson, the firebrand boss who had won the European Cup Winners' Cup and every major trophy in Scotland with Aberdeen. Here's the story of how Martin Edwards, then the Reds' chairman, engineered arguably the most pivotal appointment in the history of British football...

In the autumn of 1986, Manchester United were languishing in the top flight’s relegation zone - a year after being apparent shoo-ins for the league title. With the club’s demands of excellence scarcely realised since Sir Matt Busby’s abdication, the board of directors recognised the time for change had again arrived.

THE END OF RON'S REIGN

In five years at the helm, manager Ron Atkinson had won two FA Cups and had never finished below fourth in the league, but it was Big Ron’s inability to top second spot which proved his undoing.

"Manchester United is a club with exceptionally high standards," stated then-chairman Martin Edwards, now the Reds’ honourary life president, in an interview in 2011.

"Ron had been with us five seasons and had done reasonably well, but it started to go wrong the season before we decided to make the change. After the game at Southampton I think we were 21st in the league, so we had a meeting on the plane on the way back to Manchester and we all decided it was the right thing to do at the time.

“It was very difficult to tell Ron, because he hadn’t been a failure and he was very enthusiastic, and it’s never an easy job telling a manager that you want him to leave. That bit was difficult, but making the actual decision for the right reasons wasn’t difficult.”

The previous campaign had started with 10 straight league wins, but had sputtered out long before the Reds juddered over the line in fourth place. Understandably, the early months of the 1986/87 season had been soundtracked by incremental discontent on the terraces, while Atkinson was repeatedly subjected to questions about his future in the media.

NAMES IN THE FRAME

The list of potential replacements had been drawn up long before the axe fell. The Guardian’s Frank Keating named the contenders as Brian Clough, Howard Kendall, Don Howe and even Bryan Robson in a player-manager capacity. Others had Terry Venables as the favourite. For the board, however, one figure had long since been elevated above the rest.

“There might have been a few names mentioned – probably just whoever was popular at the time – but none of them was seriously considered,” recalled Edwards. “It was a unanimous decision from the board to go for Alex Ferguson. He was absolutely the preferred choice of all of us.

“We’d first met him when we signed Gordon Strachan from Aberdeen. Gordon had already signed a contract with Cologne and we really wanted to extricate him from that deal, so that’s when Alex came in. He was batting on Manchester United’s side, probably because he wanted him to come to United but also because the move would get Aberdeen more money if he did. So he was very helpful to us and that’s when I first got to know him.

“We knew how well he’d done in overtaking Glasgow Rangers and Celtic and he’d won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983 against the mighty Real Madrid, so his pedigree was there. When we actually met him and realised what a firebrand he was and saw the way he conducted himself, that really just confirmed how impressive he was.”

MAKING THE MOVE

With the target agreed, United’s kingmakers nevertheless had to tread carefully. There was no guarantee that Ferguson would either want or be allowed to leave Pittodrie, especially in the midst of such spectacular and sustained feather-ruffling of Glasgow’s Old Firm.

“We didn’t want to end up with egg on our face,” admitted Edwards. “We decided we’d better find out if Alex was willing to join us, so one of our directors, Mike Edelson, rang Aberdeen’s switchboard and put on a Scottish accent, used an assumed name [that of Alan Gordon, Gordon Strachan’s accountant] and asked to be put through to Alex Ferguson. Alex came on the phone, Mike told him I would like a word with him and he put me through.

"We arranged to see Alex that evening – Bonfire Night - up in Scotland and it was the usual cloak and dagger thing: myself, Mike, Bobby [Charlton] and Maurice [Watkins] met him at a petrol station, he drove us round to his sister-in-law’s house and we all met him. It just confirmed that he was the one that we wanted."

DONALD TRIES A TRUMP CARD

Edwards continued: "What we really wanted to know from Alex was if his chairman at Aberdeen, Dick Donald, would allow him to leave. Alex made it quite plain that he wanted to join us, and he also said that he had an agreement with his chairman that he could leave if United came in. Alex had actually said that he wanted something in his contract that he could join a big team, and Dick Donald had said: ‘You’re only leaving if Manchester United come in’. That wasn’t difficult really. So I rang Dick Donald the next day and he agreed to see me."

Donald made a last-ditch bid to keep his man, with the staggering gesture of offering Sir Alex ownership of Aberdeen FC but to no avail. Compensation was quickly agreed and permission was granted for talks to begin. They didn’t take long. As Sir Alex later admitted in his autobiography, Managing My Life: "To a great extent I was a captive candidate, and happy to be so."

REDS IN NEED OF REPAIR

Two days after his appointment as United manager, Sir Alex watched on as his new charges were dealt a chastening 2-0 defeat at Oxford United; a result which laid bare the poor fitness levels of the squad he had been bequeathed. Further unsettled by confirmation that a drinking culture had been established within the club, the Scot assembled his players in the gym at The Cliff.

"I made it plain that I meant to put an end to Manchester United’s reputation of being almost as much of a social club as a football club," he wrote in his book. "I told them that they would have to change their ways because I certainly wasn’t going to change mine."

Further concerns were raised about the physical strength of the existing squad, and a short-sightedness which had gradually decayed the club's youth and scouting systems. By the time Queens Park Rangers arrived at Old Trafford for Sir Alex's home bow, he used his first column in United Review,the official match programme, to spell out the enormity of his task, while also conveying a stony determination to realise it.

MISSION STATEMENT

"Taking over a club of Manchester United's magnitude is an awesome task," was Sir Alex's opening gambit in the programme. The sobering clarity continued: "I am not really interested in what has happened here in the past. I don't mean any disrespect to the great achievements of Manchester United over the years. It's simply that there is now only one way to go, and that is forward. The aim at this club must clearly be to win the championship. That is the only real way to lay the ghosts of the past.

"There always has to be a starting point, and I see the league championship as the basis for Manchester United's future. Success has a snowball effect as I found at Aberdeen… it’s not something that can be built overnight, and it could take a few months before I can create a true relationship with the players. But that is what I shall work towards and I am going to love every minute of it here."



*Taken from Manutd.com

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