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Lowdown on United

Posted on 5 March 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

New contracts are all the rage at Old Trafford at the moment.

After a year of contemplating a new role at Manchester United, seeing numerous managerial candidates linked with his job and pondering more time at the racecourse, Sir Alex Ferguson, to nobody's great surprise, decided that it was all too much to give up.

The veteran boss reasoned that it was a mistake to announce his intention to retire in advance and did a swift spot of backtracking shortly after Christmas. He will now be at the helm for another three seasons after this one.

It works out well for Manchester United too, as every likely replacement for him appeared to be tied to contractual agreements with their current clubs. Fergie can now oversee his team progress further as he still insists they have not reached their peak.

On the back of Ferguson signing a new deal, skipper Roy Keane swifty followed suit. Next up, the big one - David Beckham. The England captain is now making positive noises about staying put too.

Perhaps the fact that United have not had it all their own way this season has galvanised the Fergie enthusiasm to remain in the hotseat. He has always insisted that his players relish the 'dogfight' in the Premiership and have not particularly enjoyed the cakewalk of the last two seasons.

Having no competition on the homefront inevitably affects their chances when the business end of the Champions League comes into play and it would be churlish if anyone attempted to use that excuse should events not go to plan this season.

Manchester United have been well and truly tested.

They have suffered a staggering four home defeat sand three on their travels. The bonus for them over their nearest rivals is that they don't draw too many.

Bolton, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea have all triumphed at Old Trafford this season, while Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle have been the cause of acute travel sickness.

It was a nine-match winning run after defeat to West Ham in early December that put United back on top, a run that coincided with most of their main title rivals suffering a dip.

United's 'dip', to many, was due to the fact that Ferguson was tinkering with a winning formula to accomodate the talents of Juan Veron, a £28m import from Lazio.

Ruud van Nistelrooy spent much of his time playing as a lone striker with Paul Scholes playing behind him. 'Go back to 4-4-2' they screamed in the press, although it didn't appear to have an adverse effect on the Dutchman who has already registered 30 goals this season.

In the league, Ferguson did opt to pair him in tandem with Ole Solskjaer, but when United resumed European action van Nistelrooy was running solo again.

Derby County slowed the United stampede with a battling draw at Pride Park on Sunday and Glenn will be hoping to further stem the tide on Wednesday evening. It makes a change not to be a guest at a United title party on the final day of the season. Here's hoping that we can be rowdy guests this time that run off with the points.