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Ahead Of Our Game Against West Ham…

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It’s been a long time since we last won the FA Cup and every season the desire from the fans to win it seems stronger. We have played in two FA Cup finals since we last lifted the trophy in 2004 and were desperately unlucky in both.

In 2005 we were knocked out by Arsenal on penalties after battering them for two hours. This was when the rivalry was still fierce between the two clubs and it was absolutely gutting. I was sure that Tim Howard would be subbed on to save the day, with him surely the better option than Roy Carroll for penalties, but Arsenal scored all of their penalties and Paul Scholes missed one of ours. The journey home from Cardiff was long and silent, with my dad and I opting not to discuss the game for fear of winding the other up. I spat my dummy out, angrily sent a text to a few Arsenal fans I knew saying how bloody jammy they were, and they gleefully responded agreeing with me.

The next FA Cup final was at the new Wembley after upsurping Chelsea from the top of the table to win the league, following three years without. On the train down to London we were held up for an hour or two after somebody committed suicide further down the line. “Mourinho’s lost his bottle!” someone joked, probably not in the best taste. That awful start to the day should have been an indication of what was to follow. It was a dreadful game of football, again going in to extra time, with both teams dead on their feet after a long, hard season. Four minutes before full time and penalties, Didier Drogba scored. The sick feeling of two years before wasn’t quite as strong but it was still hard to stomach. At least that season we had the consolation of the Premier League, even if those gimpy Chelsea fans were jumping around singing “chin up if you’ve won the cup!”, mimicking Mourinho’s reaction to Chelsea losing to title at Arsenal a few weeks earlier. Looking back, it’s incredible to think how close we were to winning the Double that season, when at the time I was terrified on a weekly basis that we’d end up potless again. It was a cracking season though, one of my favourite, but we just fell short at Wembley.

We’re now approaching the ten year anniversary of our last success in the FA Cup which is too long for a club like ours. As Sir Alex Ferguson will remind us every year, Rio Ferdinand has never won the trophy, missing out on the 2004 victory over Millwall serving his unjust eight month ban. With the possibility of him hanging up his boots at the end of the season, at least for United, it would be nice if he could get his hands on the medal that is missing from his collection. He obviously isn’t the only one though. Looking at our current squad, Giggs, Scholes and Van Persie are the only ones to have won the FA Cup.

The FA Cup dream for 2013 was almost ended very early on, with United needing substitute Van Persie to keep us in the draw with a late equaliser against West Ham. After selling tickets for £20 at Upton Park, United have opted to charge full price for the replay, with tickets ranging from £30 to £52. West Ham were offered 9,000 tickets but have only taken 1,400, and it’s unknown how many of those have actually been sold. There are 100s of tickets still on sale in the home stands too.

A game against Fulham awaits us, with United handed the favourable home draw, meaning a return for Dimitar Berbatov, but we have to beat West Ham first. Thankfully, we should see the return of Nani and Rooney tonight, after both have been looking good in training. We should all be desperate for Nani to have a good game, following Valencia’s poor form and Young’s recent injury. Valencia will probably start though, after being dropped for Liverpool, as will Chicharito.

“We’ve got a big squad but it’s also an important tie for the club,” said Ferguson. “We want to try and have a go at this FA Cup. We haven’t had a run for a long time, two or three years, as we had some bad draws of course. We’re at home and we have got to take advantage of that. If we get through, we have got another home tie so there’s a big incentive for the club to make sure we get through.”

Come on United!

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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88 Comments

  1. Dan-young says:

    Dan .. But nobody watches the german league other then people who live in germany. Look at the cost for tv rights to the premier league. The best coaches and players that arent money motivated want to show their talents on the biggest stage of all, and there isnt a bigger stage then manchester united. On the other hand you could turn down a move to united and have the greatest manager in the world help you fulfill your potential in exchange for money at psg coff*moura .. Who watches the french league anyway!

    P.s. ‘dan’ what kind of a gay ass name is that!

  2. fergie is the boss says:

    Dan – the top jobs are hard to come by, and pep cannot wait around hoping fergie retires so he can get the job, working as a top manager is like playing a guitar, stop playing and you can get rusty. Plus pep took over a great group of players, this will be a different type of challenge, it also tests pep himself if he is actually good enough to manage a top club.

  3. kanchelskis says:

    COLD in Manchester tonight. Let’s hope any Mediterraneans / S Americans in our side are prepared for that.

  4. DreadedRed says:

    ex ESPN:

    United are part of a ‘Gang of Four’ top clubs with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham pushing for the Premiership to implement UEFA’s financial rules in full which would oblige clubs to break even.

    Another group of clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City, Fulham and West Brom – are opposed to any form of regulation but it looks likely that a compromise will be agreed at the next meeting on February 7 which would allow owners to cover a fixed amount of losses.

    Gill said: “It’s a debate – we’re having a discussion on financial fair play. The impact of the new TV money has clearly focused the minds. Seven or eight clubs are going to have to abide by UEFA’s regulations in any case. The league are working on this and will put a paper together to be discussed at the February meeting. Whatever’s decided is dictated by 14 clubs.”

  5. Dan says:

    @Dan-Young

    Seriously lame name, man. Sort it out, son.

    Ha, anyway. The Bundesliga has the highest average attendance of any league in Europe (I’m 99% sure I read that somewhere), they also have the same Champions League co-coefficients as the English leagues. There are also plenty of world class players in the Bayern squad (Neuer, Lahm, Ribery, Robben, Lahm, Muller, Gomez, Schweinsteiger etc). Remember, Bayern paid 40 million for Martinez in the Summer, so they’re probably in a healthier financial position than us. I would say Manchester United are at a similar level to them as far as football prowess goes, remember they reached the Champions League final last year, whereas United were out at the group stage (and believe me, I’ve been trying to forget about that ha). If we were to play them in the Champions League, I’d say there would be no favourite in that game.

    Their historical pedigree is top-notch as well, plenty of marvelous players over the years and as I said, they’ve won more domestic and European trophies than United in what has always been a competitive and strong league. You’re right, there isn’t a stage bigger than Manchester United, but there are several clubs at the exact same stage. Bayern are one of those clubs.

  6. Dan says:

    Ooops, mentioned Lahm twice in my last comment. He’s just too damn good ha…

  7. Brooka says:

    Off topic.

    Apparently the club are selling half season tickets and around 2,000 have already been snapped up. If you ‘ve got a couple of hundred quid lying about after Christmas it may be worth a punt. I’ve heard many have been sold since the Madrid draw. Can’t remember the club as ever selling half season tickets before. Despite the costs of attending games these days, as a United fan it’s probably the best time to get tickets on a pretty regular basis.

  8. DreadedRed says:

    Watch out, he’s Second Dan.

  9. Bobby Charlton's combover says:

    @dreaded dan……boom boom

  10. Bobby Charlton's combover says:

    @dreaded RED….dan on the fucking brain ..that’s depserate.

  11. DreadedRed says:

    Bobby’s locks – boom boom yourself!

  12. Anthony says:

    Admittedly Kaka would shift some shirts but i for 1 think he would improve our 1st 11. The guy has it, he just ain’t a Mourinho man.

  13. wayne says:

    Costas exactly mate if a manager wants to continue to pad his resume with no risk or pressure go to the dominant team in another 2 or 3 team league
    Conspiracy theorists saying Pep has it already worked out with Sir Alex,I. See it as a kop out

  14. DreadedRed says:

    With liverpool’s hopes of European participation fading fast for the foreseeable future, perhaps they should start their own League Of One (LOO)

    Going to the LOO would enable them to add another crown to their busted flush.

  15. DreadedRed says:

    Hey wayne! What’s up? All good here, sunny days, balmy nights; and matchday is here.

  16. WeAreUnited says:

    @Rd5454

    maybe that’s why I prefer Muniain, cause he’s direct, but that lad has more closecontroll though than Isco, watched some games and it proved me right.

    Muniain has teared Barca at the age of 18 when they played against each others two times last year the lad was on fire. and Isco couldn’t do much this season and he’s 22, but he played very well against Real Madrid.

    Anyway, Muniain is a better ballcontroller and a faster option. I hope he comes to us and DeGea advises SAF and him to join us.

  17. wayne says:

    Dreaded hi mate cold weather,7hrs of daylight and visit most little shitholes in Alberta,just pulled into Sangudo as I speak will be listening on the radio
    Just living the dream mate.lol

  18. DreadedRed says:

    Suarez latest vomit:

    ‘I am accused of cheating here. People say I throw myself all the time inside the box. Let’s see: they said that when we played against Stoke, for instance, and in that case they were right. I invented a foul because we were drawing 1-1 against Stoke and I wanted to win.’

    ‘Sometimes on the pitch I say to myself, “what have I done?” But the name of Suarez sells papers. The other day, for instance, I touched the ball with my hand accidentally, and I was criticised because I kissed my hand.’

    ‘The media make up a lot of things about me. I say to the media: you should talk more about football, not about other stuff.’

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    So, he admits to cheating against Stoke.

  19. DreadedRed says:

    wayne – walking in a Fergie Wonderland!

    A cup of cheer will see you right, as we cheer United on to the cup. It’s dismal to only have radio coverage, although much better than nothing, no doubt. How are the action replays?

  20. wayne says:

    I’m taping the game watch it later,when I’m on the road radio is better than nothing action replays could be better mate

  21. DreadedRed says:

    TV here started in ’76, with live `United coming on air in the ’79 final. My first game.

    When do expect TV around your parts? Just kidding. Around here, if you watch any sport, you know a lot about the Premiership. At the very least you can go to almost any pub and ask for it.

  22. FletchTHEMAN says:

    What did Pep Guardiola’s move to Bayern do for English football?

    1. Proved once and for all that English football ITKs have absolutely nothing to offer.

    2. Returned england to the way it was since Pep retired. Still waiting for the return of the special one!

    3. Made Owen Hargreaves slightly more relevant then he was 5min
    before the announcement (Waste Of Space)

  23. wayne says:

    Dreaded get all Utd games on TV I’m just working for the CL games I rearange my whole week and take the day off FA Cup radio and watching it later is fine

  24. Marq says:

    I’d take Kaka over Sneijder. Then again, both of them have had their injury problems, so perhaps maybe no thanks. Fellaini would give us something different, so if anything he’d be a good addition. Still, the need for someone more defensive minded would be prefered, to eventually take over Carrick, or simply to rotate with him. Who would have thought replacing Carrick could be so hard

  25. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Isco munain.. Fucking hell, granted they’re all talented but united have enough young players coming through and wanting an opportunity, it’s not going to happen. Quit the buy everyone football manager game mentality. Deary me!

  26. samuel - united WE stand says:

    When did fellaini become a defensive midfielder? He gets brought up constantly without the acknowledge that he actually plays further up the pitch as a second striker. Fergie will never buy a water carrying basic defensive midfielder, he prefers an all round top midfielder. The game these days is all about readingof the game and intercepting than crunching tackles. Rule out the Tiotes and De jongs.

  27. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Reports that DeGea is not on the coach. Lindegaard and Amos!

  28. Dan-young says:

    I want to see a midfield 3 of anderson – scholes – fletch tonight. I dont remember seeing that combination before

  29. FletchTHEMAN says:

    ManUtd Starting XI:

    Lindegaard; Rafael Smalling Jones Buttner; Valencia Ando Giggs Nani; Rooney Hernandez

  30. Dan-young says:

    Marq .. Thats what tunnicliffes for. Cannot wait till hes 22/23 and commanding our midfield

  31. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Bench: Amos Carrick Rio Scholes Kagawa Welbeck van Persie

  32. WeAreUnited says:

    @samuel

    cmon dude, it’s an effin opinion, AND IKER MUNIAIN would be a great answer.
    which players coming???? if they come through, it’s not guaranteed that they make it.

    Cmon dude, it’s not like it’s football manager, it’s one effin player. I would buy Iker Muniain at the age of 19 than waiting some players to pop up and shine our world, which rarely happens at the wings for us.

    beckham comes in mind lately.. and it’s what 20 years since?

    It’s not football manager. It’s being sane and reasonable. That’s a ridiculous statement from you who understands football. Was Kagawa a crazy buy? or do we wait someone to pop up?

    So when people said buy Ronaldo at the age of 17, you would say:
    No lets not buy him and wait for academy players.
    Where are those academy players that would have made it without Ronaldo? Richardson? Eagles?? Not any did pop up, and is not popping up at the wings. IF Zaha comes, he would be one, but he’s not ours.

    @samuel, does any winger pop in mind for you from our academy to be a star winger?? Maybe Januzaj, but he’s 15 or 16 or 17?

    And don’t say it’s different with Ronaldo,
    We know NOW that Ronaldo is a different class, but you wouldn’t know that he would become like he did. We knew he’d be great, but not that great.

    And so many spanish talent coming through, so why not catch Iker Muniain at the age of 19, HE TORE US APART! TWICE!

    cmon dude, be reasonable and don’t bring us down, soon as we mention one name. Nobody dismissing you.

  33. WeAreUnited says:

    Rafael Smalling Jones Buttner;

    Our future back four??? or fabio in it?

    Love the line-up.

    CMON !

  34. DreadedRed says:

    Wayne, that works well. Enjoy both versions mate. See you later.

    Come on United!

  35. FletchTHEMAN says:

    West Ham XI Starting XI

    Jaaskelainen, Spence, Tomkins, Reid, Potts, Diarra, O’Neill, Diame, Taylor, Vaz Te, C Cole

    via Mark Froggatt

  36. FletchTHEMAN says:

    West Ham Bench: Spiegel, Nolan, Jarvis, Collison, Demel, Lletget, Lee

  37. FletchTHEMAN says:

    SAF makes 10 changes from the team that faced Liverpool

    Big Sam makes 6 changes from the team that faced Sunderland.

  38. WeAreUnited says:

    @samuel

    Nani came here at the age of 19-20, where you against it?? or waiting for academy players to show up?

    I think you got the picture.

    I would be the first one to want a new David Beckham to play for us again, he was the reason I started rooting for ManUtd while watching him at the 1998 world-cup. So yes, of course I want academy players to show. But it’s not going to happen for wingers.

    I know that Iker Muniain can play also as a AM, but he can play in the left and the right, imagine him and Kagawa switching positions also with Rooney there, and Nani at the right. Now tell does that sound good.

    end of story.

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