The season so far; the best, worst and most noteworthy of 2007…
July 30th 2007: Ronaldo Sets the Standard
Following a clean sweep of the individual domestic awards, Ronaldo made his intentions clear for the coming season. “The Premier League starts soon and I must be ready for that,” he said. “I hope to play well. My ambition is still the same – I want to play well, score goals and provide assists. I tried to do the same last year and I worked hard to do that. I hope things come good for me.”
July 31st 2007: Tevez Frustration and Heinze Confusion
Carlos Tevez still hadn’t signed, with the saga dragging out over the course of the summer. “I’m confident we’ll get the player, David Gill is also confident. It has been dragging on and it has been frustrating,” said Ferguson. Particularly as the deadline’s at the end of August, therefore we have to think about alternative plans.” Meanwhile, Gabriel Heinze looked like he was on the way out after claiming he wanted to leave United for Liverpool. “There’s nothing really to report. Gabriel Heinze is due to come back next Monday,” he continued. “Once I have a meeting with him we’ll be clear about what his intentions are, because they are a bit unclear.”
August 2nd 2007: Tevez Fears and Veron Warning
Carlos Tevez was not a happy chappy with the delay over the deal to United meaning he lost out on vital pre-season training. “To play for a super club like Manchester United without any pre-season work behind me is going to be a real handicap,” he said. “I am a fighter and am prepared for any challenge. But this is going to be very difficult.”
Former red, Juan Sebastian Veron, warned fitness wasn’t going to be Tevez’s only problem, if/when the deal goes through. “To triumph at the club is not easy, even if you are a superstar,” Veron said. “Some players leave because of the enormous and constant pressure. Carlos will find that United is not like West Ham in any aspect. The change will be enormous and if things do not go well he could suffer a mortal fall in fortune.” Always look on the bright side of life, eh Veron?
August 3rd 2007: Out with the old, in with the new
Alan Smith sealed the deal to make the move to Newcastle, but still had nothing but kind words to say about the club and fans. “The only disappointment for me was that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to the United fans who were great to me all the time I was there,” he said. “When you consider I came from Leeds and the clubs’ supporters are not exactly the best of friends, it was a big thing for them to accept me the way they did. They knew Leeds were the team I’d always supported but they never held it against me. I still have a lot of friends at Old Trafford and will be looking out for their results.”
Meanwhile, the latest teenager to join our ranks, Anderson, made his debut in our 2-0 victory at Doncaster, and Ferguson spoke out about our new signing, Owen Hargreaves. “Some players are worth waiting for – and Owen is one,” said Ferguson.
August 5th 2007: Champions win Community Shield
After a 1-1 draw, in which Giggsy got the goals for us, United beat Chelsea on penalties. Van der Sar saved all three of Chelsea’s penalties, taken by new signing Pizarro, Lampard and Wright-Phillips. Meanwhile, our lads showed England how it should be done, with Ferdinand, Carrick and Rooney all scoring from the spot. “It’s fantastic to win a bit of silverware at the start of the season and we’re glad of the win,” said Rooney.
August 6th 2007: Ronaldo Targets European Success
After reaching the semi-finals last season, the best player in the Premiership says winning in Europe is on the agenda for the coming season. “Our team is stronger than it was last year,” Ronaldo said. “It is always difficult to win the Premier League but we have bought four great players so we don’t just want to win the league, we want the Champions League as well.”
August 10th 2007: Tevez Deal Done and Gabby to Dippers?
“Manchester United is delighted to announce that Carlos Tevez has been registered as a member of its first-team squad by the Premier League,” read a statement on the club’s official website. Finally! Meanwhile, Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, was so confident he’d land Heinze that he stopped looking for another replacement. “The situation is very clear and I’m confident in the outcome. I’m not looking for any other left-back,” he said. D’oh.
August 12th 2007: Opening Day Disappointment
United draw their opening game of the season against Reading, with Rooney being forced off at half time due to injury. United plod on for the final forty five minutes with no striker on the field, starting a goal drought for United. “It just wasn’t our day,” said Fergie.
Augusth 13th 2007: Rooney Disaster
Rooney is ruled out for two months due to the injury he picked up against Reading. Bollocks.
Augusth 15th 2007: More Disappointment vs Neville return
United drew their second game of the season away to Portsmouth, and lose Ronaldo for three matches due to the red card he was given in the closing minutes. “He (Ronaldo) was surprised at the decision,” fumed Fergie. “But Steve Bennett has sent him off before, and I think he took great delight in sending him off too.”
On the up side, not long until Neville’s back, targeting the England vs Germany game on August 22nd. “First and foremost I have got to get fit. I think it will take me four or five (games with United) to get back match fit and I might get selected with England,” said Neville. “I would love to play in the Germany game and get back to full fitness in time.”
August 19th 2007: From Bad to Worse
United lose 1-0 to City at the Council House. 14 shots compared to their 7, 11 corners to their 0, 60% possession, and still we walk away with nothing, Tevez missing the best chance of the game in the dying moments.
August 21st: Unlucky Gabby
“My idea has not changed and my objective is to go to Liverpool,” said Heinze.”I will always be grateful to United, but now I hope they allow me to get my wish.”
Later that day, his appeal to the Premier League was rejected.
August 22nd 2007: More Heinze Mess
“It emerged Heinze had been holding out for a switch to Liverpool after receiving a letter from United saying he could go for £6.8million,” reported Sky Sports. “However, United’s stance that the letter did not permit Heinze to join a rival club was supported by the Premier League. But in an attempt to work around the situation, evidence from the hearing suggests the player’s agents wanted to arrange a deal for Heinze to join Palace before being sold on to Liverpool. Palace chief executive Phil Alexander is understood to have informed the panel of the proposal to enable Heinze to eventually secure his desired move to Merseyside.”
Real Madrid agreed a four year contract for the wantaway Argentinean later that day. “I always said I wanted to leave for one of the big clubs in Europe and Real are one of those,” Heinze said. He has since played five games for this big club in the league.
August 24th 2007: Berbatov Coming to Old Trafford?
“ We had a 90-minute meeting with Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy and with sporting director Damien Comolli over Dimitar’s future,” Danchev, Berbatov’s agent, said. “They informed us that there’s a query from Manchester United about the possibility of Berbatov joining them. They (Tottenham bosses) let us believe that they want Dimitar to stay for another season because they have ambitions to finish among top four teams in the Premiership but they told us they’ll have a meeting in the next day or two to decide his future.” Aww, remember, when there was still talk of Spurs finishing in the top four?
August 26th 2007 A win, finally!
Nani scores a wonder goal as United beat Spurs 1-0 at Old Trafford.
August 28th 2007: Bye Bye Ole
“I would like to thank the manager, the coaching and medical staff and most of all the supporters, who have supported me through my career,” Solskjaer told the club’s official website. “They have been fantastic and were a real inspiration to me when I was out injured. The support the fans and the staff showed me during that time was the main motivation for me making my comeback. I feel proud to have represented Manchester United for 11 years and have some very special memories.”
August 30th 2007: Champions League Draw
United are drawn in the same group as Roma (who we beat 7-1 the season before), Sporting Lisbon (Nani and Ronaldo’s former club) and Dynamo Kiev.
September 1st 2007: Winning Ways Continue
Another three points under our belt after Louis Saha scores our only goal in a victory over Sunderland. The result was possibly overshadowed by the return of former captain Roy Keane and the farewell which was given to Solskjaer. Songs for both players were belted out by the crowd for the ninety minutes.
September 2nd 2007: Not For Sale
The tabloids report that groups from Dubai and China are lining up a £1 billion takeover. “Manchester United is not for sale,” said a spokesman for the Glazers. “The Glazer family are not engaged in any discussion with any prospective bidder and are not courting bidders for Manchester United.”
September 9th 2007: Glazer’s Deny Debt Concerns
“The debts continue to be comfortably serviced by the business, which is performing better than ever,” a Glazer family spokesman said. “As always there have been substantial funds for the manager to purchase players over the summer.”
September 10th 2007: Neville Back in 2-3 Weeks
“Hopefully in the next week or two I’ll be back and I hope to be playing games in the next couple of weeks definitely,” said Neville. “Because I’ve been out for such a long time I think the Everton game is going to be too soon, I think it will probably be after that.”
September 15th 2007: Three Points Against Everton
Time was running out at Goodison, as an organised Everton team snuffed us out. Scholes had saved us by clearing an Andy Johnson header off the line, whilst the combined efforts of Van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand kept out chances McFadden and Anichebe. However, with seven minutes to go, Nani’s corner was met by the head of Nemanja Vidic, with his goal earning us another 1-0 victory.
September 18th 2007: More injuries
Owen Hargreaves joins Neville, Fletcher, O’Shea, Park, Silvestre and Foster on the sidelines due to a thigh strain.
September 19th 2007: Ronaldo Scores
Ronaldo’s second half header earns United their first three points of the 07/08 European campaign. The Sporting fans were remarkable, with Ronald receiving a standing ovation from the fans of his former club. “The reaction of the Sporting fans towards me was very special,” he said. “It made me feel very proud, maybe the proudest moment of my career so far. When I scored the goal I felt joy for United, but immediately that sensation went because it was against Sporting, which I consider to be my second home. My dream is for both Sporting and United to go through to the knockout stage. That would mean so much to me, the perfect outcome.”
September 20th 2007: Fuck off Mour-in-ho
In the middle of the night, it is announced that Jose Mourinho and Chelsea have parted company, just three days before we are due to play them. “I enjoyed the competition with him,” said Fergie. “I think he was something fresh and new to our game. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with my wine now! I wish him well. I think he’s been good for the game.”
September 23rd 2007: Champions March On
United beat Chelsea 2-0, a scoreline which flatters the spineless Chelsea outfit, but still, the first occasion we’ve scored more than one goal in a game so worth celebrating. Tevez scores his first goal for United. Arguably the worst refereeing performance of the season so far, which sees Mikel sent off, much the amusement of the United fans, Joey Cole remain on the field despite two red card challenges, a penalty given for little contact, and a stonewall penalty waved away.
September 26th 2007: Back to the Drawing Board
United lose 2-0 at home to Coventry in the League Cup. “We’ve been trumping the youngsters for over a year now, so it’s a bit disappointing,” Ferguson fumed after the match. “They didn’t enjoy the battle in the first half. They were second to every ball.”
September 29th 2007: Ronaldo To The Rescue
Ronaldo scores our only goal in a 1-0 victory over Birmingham at St Andrews. “My form is coming,” Ronaldo told MUTV. “I always try to work hard in training and hopefully I will keep improving and more goals will come as well.” Rooney plays in his first game since going off injured against Reading in August.
October 2nd 2007: Another one nil
United see off Roma 1-0 thanks to a great Rooney goal, picking up another three points in the Champions League. “I felt good tonight. It was a difficult game. Roma came here and played really well,” said Rooney. “I love playing in the Champions League. It’s a massive tournament.”
October 4th 2007: Ronaldo Sets New Goal Target
“Twenty-three goals is a lot for a winger,” said Ronaldo. “To score that number made it a special season indeed. But I believe in myself. I feel I can do better, or at least equal what I did last year and I will be trying hard to do exactly that.”
October 6th 2007: Finally, the goals come…
United can always rely on Wigan when they need to boost their goal difference, and this season is no different. United beat them 4-0 at Old Trafford thanks to two Ronaldo goes, and one each from Rooney and Tevez.
October 7th 2007: Neville Almost Ready
“We are hoping to use Gary against Liverpool reserves this week. That’s the plan,” said Ferguson. “He is getting better and he is improving all the time. He’s over his last injury and he has been training now for over two weeks and he is at a good level.” Now, where have we seen this before?
October 10th 2007: Ronaldo Dishes out Chelsea Dig
“Chelsea without Mourinho, that’s a completely different team,” said Ronaldo. “You can never write Chelsea off, but I have a feeling that this will not be a good season for them.”
October 16th 2007: Giggs Signs
Ryan Giggs signs yet another contract extension. “Ryan Giggs epitomises the word loyalty,” Ferguson said. “He signed here as a 14-year-old school boy and is still with the club 20 years on. Apart from his playing ability he has a fantastic demeanour and is a great role model to the younger players. I am sure he will be at the club for a long time to come.” Wes Brown is expected to do the same any day now…
October 20th 2007: Another Four Goals
After going 1-0 behind to an extremely dubious Aston Villa goal, United dig deep and win 4-1 at Villa Park, with Rooney scoring twice, as well as goals from Giggs and Rio.
October 23rd 2007: Another Four Goals
Following a rush of injuries, ruling out Evra, Scholes, Hargreaves, Carrick and Saha, United put on a great performance and win 4-2.
October 27th 2007: ANOTHER Four Goals
United equal a 100 year old record after scoring four goals for a fourth consecutive match. Middlesbrough cancelled out Nani’s brilliant goal, but there was no stopping Rooney and Tevez, who linked up beautifully to score three goals between them.
November 3rd 2007: Arsenal Rivalry Returns
United drew 2-2 at the Emirates. Just as the season before, United were denied three points due to a late goal. The only consolation for United fans was seeing how overjoyed Wenger’s men were to draw at home to us.
November 7th 2007: Next Round of Europe Here We Come
Pique, Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo all scored as United beat Dynamo Kiev 4-0 to secure their place in the next round of the Champions League. “We’re delighted we’re through,” Rooney said. “Maybe we can rest a few players in the next few games and make sure we’re right for the knock-out stage.”
November 8th 2007: Gary Neville to Return
Ferguson does his best ‘broken record’ impression, insisting Neville will return soon. “Gary will be okay next week,” Fergie said. “He felt a bit of a strain in his calf, so panic immediately sets in with everybody because he has had such a hard time. But the projection is that it is more precautionary than treatment requiring, so he will be back in the game after Blackburn.”
November 9th 2007: The White Pele
Rooney claims the Premier League player of the month for October on the same day as picking up an ankle injury which should rule him out for four weeks.
November 11th 2007: Ronaldo rolls over Rovers
Ronaldo scores two goals in less than two minutes to give United all three points at home to Blackburn.
November 12th 2007: Best Side Ever
“I believe this is the strongest squad I’ve ever had, so much so I think I would be pushed to name my overall best team,” says Sir Alex Ferguson.
November 18th 2007: Ronaldo’s The Best
With Ballon d’Or and World Player of the Year set to be decided, Brazil’s Kaka says Ronaldo is the best player out there. “He is the best, not only for his technical ability, but also for what he has done with Portugal.”
November 21st 2007: Unitedless England
Steven Gerrard lead England out as they lost 3-2 to Croatia at Wembley. Despite undeservedly clawing back the two goals they had given away, they couldn’t get the draw they needed to give them entry to Euro 2008. For the first time in years, not a single United player was representing England. “In my heart I am disappointed but I have to laugh at them because they would do the same if France had not qualified,” said Patrice Evra. “I was singing ‘England, England’ in the dressing room, which I found quite funny, even if they didn’t.”
November 24th 2007 Second defeat of the season
United lose 1-0 to Bolton at the Reebok. Fergie watches the second half from the stands after laying in to referee Clattenburg at half time.
November 27th 2007: Top of the Group Confirmed
United beat Sporting Lisbon 2-1 at Old Trafford to guarantee a top spot finish in the group with one game still to play. Ronaldo wrapped up the points with a stunning injury time free kick after Tevez scored United’s equalising goal in the second half.
December 2nd 2007: Ballon d’Or
Kaka wins Ballon d’Or with Ronaldo coming in second.
December 3rd 2007: Two more for Ronaldo
Ronaldo scores another two goals, this time against Fulham at Old Trafford. He should have bagged his first hatrick for United, as was through to take the ball around Niemi who raced off his goal line. However, Ronaldo’s reputation preceded him, and he was booked for diving after he jumped over the keeper, who made no attempt to go for the ball. In future Ronnie lad, stick your boot in and get the penalty you deserve! “In my opinion, it’s a penalty,” said Ronaldo. “But the most important thing is the three points.”
December 6th 2007: Best Partnership Since Yorke and Cole?
Before Tevez put pen to paper on a United contract, the press doubted whether he’d be able to play alongside such a similar player, Rooney. Thanks to numerous goals the pair have already created for each other, that theory has been squashed. “The main factor is that we both have a great desire to play together,” said Tevez. “I love playing alongside Wayne and he loves it too, which is essential if the partnership is to succeed. That is shown in the way we play together on the field. We both enjoy it and you can see that. So far I think we are doing well. We understand each other on the pitch.”
December 7th 2007: Bye Bye Brown?
Despite undergoing contract negotiations for some months, Wes rejects our final contract offer. “We have had several meetings with Wes’ agent but they have rejected our last offer,” said Ferguson. “It is a good offer but it is our final one. That is the end of it now and we won’t be going back.”
December 8th 2007: Derby Demolition
In the pissing down rain, United manage to put four past Derby at Old Trafford, Giggs and Ronaldo scoring on top of Tevez’s double. Tevez was on for his hatrick when a penalty was awarded in the dying moments. ‘No chance’ said Ronaldo, despite the crowd chanting Argentina. Another three points.
December 9th 2007: Saha Slams Psychological Effect
After claims Saha has refused to play even though fit, our French striker responds angrily, dismissing the rumours. “People who talk like that are badly informed. They hear things said and they speculate,” said Saha. “I had six pieces of cartilage in my knee. Was that psychological?”
December 12th 2007: Captain Roo
United draw 1-1 away with Roma thanks to a Pique header. Roma were desperate for revenge, but couldn’t deliver against our second string team. Wayne Rooney convinced Fergie to make him captain, even though most other first XI players were rested for the trip. “I’ve missed enough games this season to be sitting out of any game,” said Rooney. “I want to play in all the games. I didn’t want to miss any more, especially after the start of the season.”
December 16th 2007: Defeat the Dippers
Carlos Tevez scores against another of the top four teams, getting the winner against Liverpool at Anfield, after Rooney played the ball in to him.
December 23rd 2007: Happy Christmas Merseyside
A week after beating Liverpool at Anfield, we beat Everton at Old Trafford, thanks to another two goals from Ronaldo. In a tough game, Giggs won us a penalty with two minutes to go.
December 26th 2007: Top of the League
Saha bagged two goals, alongside goals from Rooney and Ronaldo, in the thrashing of Roy Keane’s team. United, top of the league, United United top of the league!
December 29th 2007: West Ham Woes
Yet again, we lose to West Ham. After taking the lead through a Ronaldo header, we sat back and let them come at us. West Ham were worthy winners, scoring two goals from set pieces.