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Repeat of first home game 2006/2007 – Fulham

Manchester United’s first home game of the brilliant 2006/2007 season was that 5-1 stuffing of Fulham. We sold our top scorer, Ruud van Nistelrooy and didn’t buy a replacement. We brought in Michael Carrick as our new number 16 but there weren’t many who had him as their first choice to replace Roy Keane. In contrast, Chelsea, having won consecutive titles, bought one of the best defenders (Ashley Cole), one of the best midfielders (Michael Ballack) and one of the best strikers (Andriy Shevchenko) in Europe. To add to this, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, our brightest prospects had apparently fallen out massively following the events of the 2006 World Cup and wouldn’t be able to play together. We had no chance, right?

That opening day was one of my favourite starts to the season ever. Whilst no one knew at that stage we would be eight points clear on the day the title was won, all the people that had been slagging us off for months had to hold back with that criticism and rethink whether we actually were dead and buried.

Our first home goal of 2012-2013 is Fulham again and RoM has two tickets to give away thanks to bwin. Simply follow @R_o_M on Twitter and tweet #RoMFulhamTickets or simply retweet this.

Kristian Balkin from the Fulham website, Cottagers Confidential, has shared his thoughts ahead of the new season.

Scott the Red: What would have to happen this season for you to class this as a successful one?

Kristian Balkin: A cup run, of any form, would be perfect for us. Our Premier League form over the past few years has been consistent and, on the whole, positive but you get the feeling that, with our squad at least, we’ve hit a ceiling with finishing 8th or 9th ish. With a few more signings I think we could definitely push on in that respect but, of course, while we may improve, so will everyone else. That’s why a cup run would do us some good – we’re not bothered if it’s the Carling Cup or the FA Cup, just any success would be great. If Birmingham City can do it, while getting themselves relegated, so can we!

STR: How do you feel about your club’s business in the transfer window this summer?

KB: Good, but unambitious. As I write this, we haven’t spent a penny, instead bringing in Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric on free transfers, and supplementing our defence with the loan signing of FC Koln’s Sacha Riether. If Petric’s pre-season form continues into the Premier League campaign then that deal will prove to be an incredible piece of business while, in his own right, Rodallega is a good signing. He’s not a goalscorer – something we’ve lacked for a while – but he has the quality to impress at the top level, which is all that matters. Riether looks good enough to make the right back spot his own so the three signings we have made are solid. No-one is doubting that we need more, however, and Martin Jol has made suggestions that perhaps even four could come in. We’re leaving it incredibly late, however, and the names we’re being linked with are hardly inspirational. David N’gog, Jordan Rhodes and Paul Taylor won’t have our rivals quaking in their boots. Maybe if you guys give us Berbatov though…

STR: Who do you think will be your most important player this season?

KB: Depends who stays, really. Clint Dempsey would likely have another brilliant campaign but it doesn’t look like he’ll be around in SW6 to carry his form on. Moussa Dembele would definitely be huge but, again, we can only speculate as to where he’ll be by September. For that reason, I’m going to throw in a curve ball and put forward Bryan Ruiz. He was disappointing last season but he was marred by injuries and a quite distinct failure to acclimatise with haste to the English game. He’s had a year now, though, and he has started to look sharp. Jol may be tempted to pop the Costa Rican international behind the striker and I think he could really do a job there. He’s wonderfully gifted and he can strike a ball with quite some craft – just ask Tim Howard!

STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?

KB: Jol is more progressive than any of our other recent managers – perhaps even Roy Hodgson. Hodgson was an amazing manager – undoubtedly one of the best we’ll ever have – but he doesn’t look forward in the way the Dutchman does. In only one season at Craven Cottage, he has blooded Matthew Briggs, Kerim Frei, Alex Kacaniklic and, to an extent, Marcello Trotta. I’d expect at least two of them to be very important this season. Jol always has one eye on the future and, quite palpably, that’s key to progression.

STR: Who do you think will win the league this season?

KB: You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve vouched for Manchester United. It will be close though, don’t get me wrong. Man City still have the superior squad – sorry guys – but I don’t see enough about them to keep you at hold for a second season. United still have that unnerving ability to win when they’re nowhere near their best and, with Ferguson at the helm, you’ll always have that extra air of experience, that extra self belief, that you’re deserving of the Premier League title. That is key.

STR: If you could pick one United player to have in your squad who would it be?

KB: I’m sure you’ve heard it before but we’d quite happily take Wayne Rooney. He’s everything you need in a striker and, with him, I needn’t worry about the qualities of Rodallega or Petric because we could guarantee goals, work-rate and all that is important is already at a premium. Failing that, I’d have Javier Hernandez for similar reasons.

Follow Kristian on Twitter and read Cottagers Confidential.

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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  1. Giggs12Gerrard0 says:

    Roonie and Rooney were unplayable that day, it was interchange wonderment

  2. CedarsDevil says:


    Morning mate. How about that counter attack goal vs Bolton at OT? Bloody hell

  3. mig78 says:

    Let’s go one level better, make it 6-1 against everton. A double hattrick for two or a triple brace for three.

  4. Giggs12Gerrard0 says:


    I do mate it was a pronominal goal, i do miss Ronni marauding down the wing. It was similar to 2009 semi final goal against Arsenal.

  5. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Ronaldo scored one of the best united goals against fulham at craven cottage to emphasise he was on the way to being a world class player. Fulham have turned their home into a fortress, very very difficult to beat. Martin jol is a good manager and has been recruiting quality players, expect another tough game down there.

  6. aaronaldo says:

    Our lads are going to take every match to be even more seriously this season now, every matches count. Possibly going for the unbeaten streak. Come on United!

  7. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Giggs12 – both Rooney and Ronaldo are different but they complimented each other. Some of the counter attacking brilliance they pulled off together was great to see.

    Ronaldo always seemed to take the attention though, Rooney seemed the craft man who was over shadowed at the time.

  8. edhardy says:

    Good morning to you all!
    Just cant wait for Monday. Carrick, Vidic, Valencia, Rooney, kagawa, RVP all in one team !!!!!. Almost feeling sorry for Everton.

  9. Zino says:

    Though most people will remember the season after for obvious reasons but the 2006/2007 season is the one i’m most fond of. We had not won the title for 3 seasons running so every bit if emotion was felt by the fans as well as the players. We had to start the season as strongly as we could and live with chelsea and boy we didn’t disappoint. The football was enjoyable and even until arsenal drew with chelsea to hand us the title, I was still imagining a big catastrophe to take the trophy from within our grasp. Can never forget the feeling when our trophy came back home. Watching the season review even up until now still makes me smile

  10. coomy says:

    Hi romer’s,

    never expected the signing of RVP will send such a shock among the ABU nations, it was so funny watching their faces these last days and there was even one loserpool fan who say we should be ashamed of such a signing :D . anyway just going through previous thread and have to say that football is coming soon so relax chilled down soon we will all be brothers n all this fight will disappear and we will all be UNITED.

  11. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    You know what I find most funny about the whole RVP affair, it is watching all the ABU journalists and Arsenal fans try to put a negative spin on it. It is seriously their lowest behavior yet.

    For one, I do believe it is ultimately a good deal in terms of money for Arsenal. They get over 20 mil for a player in the last year of his contract. That is good value, something we’re not going to get for Berbatov. However, RVP is also coming off his best season yet and is probably worth that amount, if not more, provided he stays injury-free.

    In terms of personnel, it is funny that Wenger is trying mind-games with his players by saying that RVP is a huge loss. I am sure he is hoping that it will inspire them to greatness. However, RVP is, in fact, a huge loss simply in terms of quality for them. The new players might all have splendid seasons like we did in 06-07. Or they could all find it difficult to settle in. Who knows? Either ways, saying that losing RVP (their top scorer last season) is a good thing is the highest form of denial I’ve read so far.

    In terms of the ABU journos, what a load of crap. It is clear that they “want” RVP to fail. They hope RVP and Rooney don’t click. Because if they do, then the league is pretty much fucked. They hope RVP picks up an injury and they hope Rooney doesn’t click like he did with Berba.

    And those calling this a move of desperation. How funny is that? What is desperate about signing arguably the world’s best striker on top of his game for under 25 mil. I am sure if Mancini had signed up RVP (which was definitely on the cards), these same fuckers would be calling it a stroke of genius. They’d be saying it is great to get the league’s top scorer to make up for two troublesome strikers. They’d be saying how Mancini bought RVP right under Fergie’s nose, and how it was already a pre-season win for Mancini over Fergie. But now that Sir Alex has got one over Mancini and City with the signing of RVP, they’re trying to put every negative spin on it, which is absolutely disgusting. Another show of how ABU the English press truly is.

    Also, I don’t think we’ll have the Berba problem with RVP. Berba is totally a different quality of player compared to RVP, who is sort of similar to Ronaldo in terms of dribbling with the ball and taking players on. I can see Rooney and RVP clicking along with Kagawa to back them up. That has the potential to be one of the most lethal partnerships in the world right now.

    Also, it is funny how people aren’t praising Sir Alex’s genius more. You look at any other side and they all have one form of attack. They don’t have a Plan B going forward including Spain and Barcelona. You look at the current squad Sir Alex has assembled and all you see is dynamism there. We can play the quick one-twos to split open defenses with Kagawa, Cleverley, Rooney and RVP. We can bang in crosses from either wing all day through Young, Tony V and Nani and exploit any weaknesses on the wing. If it’s late in the game and we don’t have a goal, we can bring on Chicharito and use his lethal threat to get a quickie in.

    Really, the options in terms of going forward are limitless right now. We have plans A, B, C and even D if that is needed. Sure, it all depends on how good our back line is, but I am sure Sir Alex has something worked out for that too. If Wenger did the same thing, the press would be wanking all over him and singing his managerial praises. But because this is Sir Alex, most of the press is trying to come up with all negative conclusions to this signing.

    Another pathetic show from the ABU English press.

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Credit to Fulham, they buy well and seem to stay in most games to give themselves a chance. Don’t know if they will be top half this year. Always wish them well for the good lads we have taken from them.

    Van der Sar

    Andy Cole also had a spell at Fulham before finally making it to OT. Bit indirect but still.

    As to our opener: Hope we play the game very very fast and confident. No way will Everton stay with the pace. Bit in the teeth. But can’t stand the wait Get in United!

  13. Giggs12Gerrard0 says:


    I was at Cravan Cottage the day Ronnie scored that goal, picked it up at LB ran the field cut inside and smash……….the away end went mental

    Viva Ronaldo Viva Ronaldo running down the wing hear United song Viva Ronaldo

  14. 911_DEVIL says:

    Nothing else come close

    I don’t think I need to say much to convey the magic of this brilliant, ruthless counter attack to be honest.
    All I can add on to is – 9.2 seconds
    That’s the time it takes between ji sung park to win the ball at arsenals own penalty area and rooney hitting the net at the other end

    9.2 seconds to cover almost 100 yards
    Its pretty much the equivalent of usain bolt and two other 100 metre sprinters running an olympic 100 meter race while having to simultaneously dodge defenders and pass a ball between themselves. Its unbelievably quick

    One of my fav counters that…
    And the other one involving park, rooney and ronnie
    Another fucking unbelievably quick counter.

  15. Redbilly says:

    Balajl- if the jurnos. Put a positive slant on the transfer I would be suspicious. Laughed at rod marsh saying it smells of desperation. Maybe he means the same type of desperation city have shown buying all and sundry at over inflated prices.

    If we go on to win the title back and RVP plays an integral role lets see what they sat.

    Desperation for signing him?. Yes, stinks of it :-)

  16. DreadedRed says:

    Thanks Scott the Red and Kristian Balkin.

    I wish that United fans would be as supportive of our Manager’s transfer dealings.

    You say “Good, but unambitious. We haven’t spent a penny, instead bringing in Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric on free transfers, and the loan signing of FC Koln’s Sacha Riether. ”

    Upon hearing the news that we have signed:
    - “the best player in England last season” – RVP, and
    - “the best player in Germany last season” – Kagawa
    the United fans commonly respond with “WTF! Doesn’t Fergie know we need a midfielder?”

    Ungrateful, impertinent, presumptuous, arrogant and insolent good-for-nothings.


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