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David Pleat's programme notes v Manchester United

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).

Manchester United are once again deeply involved in a scrap to win the Championship. It is always possible to gain success in football but it is mighty difficult to maintain that success over a period of years whatever your resources. It takes a skilful blending of finding and signing players to complement home grown talent.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been doing exactly that for over 15 years at Manchester United. Because of their success they have at times incurred the wrath of the rest of the Premier League by their motives which can be opposed to the other members. They are, of course, capable of earning through individual agreements more monies than they can achieve from collective Premiership arrangements.

With a crowd capacity of almost 70,000 it seems incredible that at each home game they play their income is £1million more than our neighbours Arsenal who have now committed themselves to a new ground at Ashburton Grove. The chasm in revenues between United and the other Premiership clubs gets wider.

This summer I will no doubt be having a good informal chat with Sir Alex when we both come up for
re-election on the League Managers' Association committee - on this committee Alex shows his affinity with managers starting their apprenticeships lower down by always being ready and prepared to offer advice and help.

I have now served 25 years on this committee and have to say that, at present, our Chief Executive John Barnwell has his work cut out more than ever before - not just dealing with the stresses and strains of management but the continual harassment and manner of dismissals through the leagues which can never help the stability of football clubs.

After this afternoon's attractive game, the PFA awards take place in London. It will be the normal glittering affair and one of the contenders for the Young Player of the Year will be John O'Shea of our opponents who has proved the importance of being able to kick and pass with both feet. He looks like he is going to be a mainstay of United's side for years to come.

However, I was disappointed that Ledley King, who has done superbly for our club this season, hasn't received a nomination. His performance last week against the forceful Jason Roberts of West Bromwich Albion was excellent in the back line alongside Dean Richards and Anthony Gardner.
The result at The Hawthorns was a just reward for a recovery of spirit and determination after our very poor display at home against Manchester City. The race is on at the top of the Premiership but as games run out surprises become more difficult.

After the Blackburn home game, our boys will travel to Washington to play a game against D.C. United. This is very much a goodwill trip helping to cement relationships after the game at Tottenham earlier in the season. We will also be involved in some coaching work out there and I'm sure the players will get a hospitable welcome. Incidentally, Manchester United are also out there this summer, amongst their opponents will be Barcelona and Celtic.

Several clubs who were going to the Far East have now dropped out because of the problems with the virus that has hit this part of the world. A proposed trip to Japan by ourselves in late July may now be in doubt.

The new season will begin on August 16 with pre-season training around July 9 and we all know that, come that time, we will be refreshed and looking forward with optimism. Again we will be hoping for an injury free start and to get quickly out of the stalls. The experience of some of our brighter younger talent on loan this year will have stood these boys in good stead and hopefully some will be ready to challenge for a senior place.

Before that there will be the task of informing several players that their services are no longer required. Like most clubs we would hope and help players to get new contracts elsewhere but it is going to be a summer where clubs have to sacrifice playing staff to ease their bank deficits.

Enjoy the game.