Tag Archives: charlton

Cardiff could move for Jamie Mackie

Cardiff eye Mackie, Ramsey and Ledley as they plan for life at the top

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

21:33 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:00 GMT, 22 April 2013

Premier League new boys Cardiff have put QPR striker Jamie Mackie on their wish list.

Ex-Cardiff players Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley have also been touted.

The Bluebirds sealed their return to the top flight for the first time since 1962 after a nervy draw at home to Charlton Athletic last Tuesday.

Fancy it Jamie Mackie (left) is likely to be relegated with QPR

Fancy it Jamie Mackie (left) is likely to be relegated with QPR

Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will carry on at Manchester United "forever"

Fergie's time will never end: United legend Charlton backs Ferguson to 'go on for ever'

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

14:25 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 10 April 2013

Sir Bobby Charlton fired an ominous warning to Manchester United’s main title rivals by insisting Sir Alex Ferguson looks like he will ‘go on forever.’

The United manager is closing in on his 13th Barclays Premier League crown at the ripe old age of 71, but any thoughts of bowing out after avenging last season’s late surrender to bitter rivals Manchester City could not be further from his mind, according to Sir Bobby.

‘There is nothing in his posture that suggests he is beginning to tire,’ said the United director. ‘Far from being tired, he has the same enthusiasm as ever. He is an unbelievable character, and I don’t see him ever losing that drive and enthusiasm.

Carry on, Fergie: Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will go on for ever at Manchester United

Carry on, Fergie: Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will go on for ever at Manchester United

‘He tried to retire once, and it was an absolute failure. Everyone wants to know the answer to that, because he can’t go on for ever. But I look at him and think that’s exactly what he will do.

‘He is a fantastic lover of football, and he is very clever when it comes to identifying a player he wants and coming to the board about it. He knows exactly what to do in those situations, and, to be fair, we try to give him exactly what he wants.

‘We haven’t got many directors at Old
Trafford, and we adopt the view that we need good players to be a top
team and that the manager is the best person to decide on who they
should be.

United heroes: Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law get together at Soccerex in Manchester

United heroes: Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law get together at Soccerex in Manchester

'We look after the business side of things, Alex the football side, and we give him what he wants. We leave pretty much everything to Alex, in a football sense.

‘The rivalry with City, and the way they have re-emerged, has probably provided him with an extra incentive. He just hates losing, no matter who the opposition are, and the defeat on Monday night will have hurt him.

'But the great thing is, he will pinpoint exactly why we lost and make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

Class of 68: Charlton exchanges shirts with former Benfica and Portugal legend Eusebio

Class of 68: Charlton exchanges shirts with former Benfica and Portugal legend Eusebio

A World Cup winner in 1966, Sir Bobby despairs of England ever lifting the trophy again.

‘When I’m asked about our prospects, I always feel obliged to say we’ve got a chance, but really it’s a fool’s errand,’ he said. ‘If so many places in Premier League teams are taken up by foreign players, we’ve got no chance.

‘Spain are absolutely my favourites for the finals in Brazil. Heaven forbid, but Germany are in with a chance as well, because they are so well coached, and Holland seem to be re-emerging as well.’

The Footballers" Football Column – Alan Curbishley:

ALAN CURBISHLEY: The pressure of a relegation battle is huge… you're playing to keep the dinner lady and groundsman in jobs – as well as themselves

PUBLISHED:

07:19 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:12 GMT, 3 April 2013

Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley is one of the most experienced managers in the Premier League – yet he has been out of work for more than four years. After 15 years and 729 games managing Charlton he decided to leave for a new challenge. That came in 2006 when he took over at a struggling West Ham. He kept the Hammers in the Premier League on the final day of the season against Manchester United at OId Trafford. In his debut Footballers' Football Column Curbishley writes about the pressures of a relegation battle and who he believes will go down this season. He also discusses his desire to return to the dug-out after his long absence. Before you read his column, make sure you watch his video.

Alan Curbishley: Footballers' Football column

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I feel for all the managers who are fighting relegation this season because I know how tough it is. There are so many different pressures being a Premier League manager and even more so when you are in a relegation battle.

The main pressure is the finances. You’re aware that if you get relegated you can lose up to 70 per cent of your income.

And if that’s the case you’ve got to start thinking about not just the players and the staff, but the ordinary people at the football club, the people who work in the restaurants and at the training ground. People whose livelihoods depend of the job and when there are cutbacks after relegation, they’re often the first people that take the hit.

Nigel Adkins

Harry Redknapp

Paul Lambert

Roberto Martinez

Tough times: Nigel Adkins, Harry Redknapp, Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are all feeling the pressure

So you’ve got the financial pressure, the pressure on yourself, because obviously you don’t want to be associated with relegation, and you know that it could be a long way back for the football club if that happens.

And then it’s the fans and the press and the media that seem to thrive on every bad moment. So there’s loads of different pressures going on, and I’ve not even mentioned the football, but you’ve got to be aware of all that and it takes its toll.

Every situation is different and it all depends how long you’ve been in that struggle for, if you’ve been in that all season it does take its toll and you do have to go game by game. You’re just hoping for that one match, that one thing that turns it around and starts giving people confidence.

Feeling down: Christopher Samba and Clint Hill look dejected after losing to Fulham

Feeling down: Christopher Samba and Clint Hill look dejected after losing to Fulham

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But then there are the other clubs who feel safe and suddenly drop into it the last few games and they’re not used to that pressure, they’re not used to playing under than intense scrutiny and you can’t cope with it.

Sometimes the club that stays up is the battle-hardened one, who has been in it most of the season and just manages to get out of it near the end before the trap-door closes and that’s it.

When you are down there you look for positives but in reality there’s nothing better than winning a game. I’ve often thought, ‘What comes first – confidence winning you matches, or winning matches giving you confidence’

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you get a win, as long as you’ve gone and got the three points on the Saturday, you know it can change the whole atmosphere around the club.

If you are down there then you have got to try different things to turn your fortunes around. Look back to last season, Wigan looked doomed.

But then Roberto Martinez switched his defence to three at the back and gave them a bit more stability, they won a couple of games 1-0 and suddenly the confidence was there, they went on a terrific run until the end of the season and stayed up.

Players react differently when they are in a relegation battle. Some players are affected by it, you know they are good players but they are struggle being in that position.

But then other players thrive on it and can handle it. When you’re in that battle you like to look around the dressing room and perhaps look at six or seven players, or even eight, and know what you’re going to get. Because unless that amount of players are performing you’re not going to win anything.

A relegation battle is tough for everyone and I certainly did not enjoy it. When I went into West Ham they were third from bottom, 14 points from 17 games, and so you know, even if you start taking a point a game, you’re going to be involved in it for the rest of the season. Anything better than that is European form.

I knew when I went into West Ham we had to get out of it quickly and we didn’t. Obviously we stayed in it and with 10 games to go we were doomed, but we got a bit of luck. We won a game at Blackburn where we scored a goal that never went over the line, and suddenly it changed.

We picked up the next result, the team selection was consistent, which it hadn’t been before I was at the club, and along with that came a bit of belief.

Has the luck run out Will Wigan be relegated this season after a number of years of narrow escapes

Has the luck run out Will Wigan be relegated this season after a number of years of narrow escapes

We won seven of our last nine games. Look at who we played – Arsenal, Everton, Bolton who were in a European position, Middlesbrough, who were just outside of European spots, and then the last game of the season at Manchester United.

What I remember about that game at Old Trafford is that nine of the players who played in that game were at the club before I arrived, so it got me thinking, and it’s what I thought all along, the players had the ability, so why were they in the position they were in

I had players in that run-in playing with so much confidence and doing things I couldn’t imagine they could’ve done weeks before. Consistent team selection helped, and results, and obviously the fans.

Often people talk about Tevez, but he hadn’t scored for 20 games before that. We kept five clean sheets, Robert Green was fantastic, Bobby Zamora scored two fantastic winning goals when we won 1-0 at Arsenal and 1-0 at Everton, but the fans played a massive part.

Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley

Contrasting emotions: Alan Curbishley shows the strains of West Ham's relegation battle and celebrates staying up on the final day of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford

One of the games was Wigan away where I
think we took more fans than Wigan had there, it was just incredible, we
just responded and won 3-0 there and that was the first time, after
that game that I felt, ‘We’re going to do this’.

I look at the teams down there at the moment, and Wigan especially, is it finally their year They’ve survived so many times in the last games of the season. And I’ve just got a feeling this FA Cup run is going to cause them a problem; they’re a game behind the rest of the league at the moment, when they play their semi-final they’re possibly going to be two games behind.

If they get to the final they’re going to have to make up at least two or three games when there are only eight games left.

It’s going to take an emotional toll, we’ve seen it before with teams getting to a cup final and going down, I’m just wondering if it’s a bit too much for them. They’ve still got to win games. Having games in hand is nice, but you’ve got to win them.

When I look at the table I think Reading, QPR and Wigan are the three who are going to go down.

Staying up: Carlos Tevez celebrates scoring the goal that kept West Ham in the Premier League

Staying up: Carlos Tevez celebrates scoring the goal that kept West Ham in the Premier League

Playing his part: Bobby Zamora scored some key goals for West Ham in their survival bid

Playing his part: Bobby Zamora scored some key goals for West Ham in their survival bid

Stroke of luck: West Ham beat Blackburn with a goal from Zamora that never crossed the line

Stroke of luck: West Ham beat Blackburn with a goal from Zamora that never crossed the line

I think the timing for Reading to sack Brian McDermott was poor. December is traditionally the vulnerable time for managers as the chairman will think, ‘If I bring a new man in, he’s got to have a chance to bring some new faces in and change it around a little bit.’

But history has shown that no club in the bottom three who have changed their manager in March have managed to survive.

But when you consider whatever the compensation involved in letting McDermott go, the prize, if
they do manage to turn it around, is massive. You’re talking 60-70million, so I can see why they’ve done it.

But I think most people in football would look at it and think, ‘Perhaps if you’d have done it earlier then you might have had a better chance’.

Brian McDermott

Nigel Adkins

Poor timing: Curbishley says it was the wrong time for Reading to sack McDermott (left) and get Adkins

All managers in football, especially in the Premier League, who find themselves down the bottom, know that if they don’t pick up results soon they’re in trouble. I just think that this was so late in the day.

I have not worked in management since I left West Ham in 2008, but my exile has been self-inflicted. When I left West Ham I felt they were in the wrong and I was in the right, and it took its time to be sorted out and that was detrimental to me.

But I’ve had opportunities to come back in and maybe I’ve been a bit too picky. Perhaps the advice to managers that have been out of the game would be to get back in as quickly as possible, because you are easily forgotten.

Plenty of experience: Curbishley managed Charlton for more than 700 games between 1991 and 2006

Plenty of experience: Curbishley managed Charlton for more than 700 games between 1991 and 2006

Final bow: Sir Alex Ferguson is one of only a few managers to have taken charge of more Premier League games than Curbishley

Final bow: Sir Alex Ferguson is one of only a few managers to have taken charge of more Premier League games than Curbishley

I’m still the sixth most experienced Premier League manager and I haven’t worked for some time now. It goes Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce then myself, so I think I’ve still got a lot to offer.

But someone’s got to be attracted by my record, and, not take a gamble, but I only really want to come back in the Premier League and that is difficult. I’d like a Premier League job. Certainly if it was a Championship club it’s got to be one I think is going to go somewhere.

I’m quite happy doing what I’m doing at the moment, and there’s a lot less pressure. But if anyone wants to look at my record it stands up with the best of them, so we’ll have to see.

Charlton 3 Bolton 2 – match report

Charlton 3 Bolton 2: Addicks come from two down to record long overdue home win

PUBLISHED:

17:37 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 30 March 2013

Charlton came from two goals down to end their home hoodoo and dent Bolton's play-off hopes.

The Addicks were staring at a fourth straight Valley defeat, and 10th of the season, after Wanderers raced into a two-goal lead through Marvin Sordell and Medo Kamara.

But skipper Johnnie Jackson pulled one back before half-time and Bolton fell to pieces in the second half when Sam Ricketts was sent off.

Turnaround: Yann Kermorgant scored from the spot to complete a remarkable comeback for Charlton

Turnaround: Yann Kermorgant scored from the spot to complete a remarkable comeback for Charlton

MATCH FACTS

Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard, Hughes (Gower 72), Jackson, Harriott (Wilson 86), Kermorgant,
Fuller (Haynes 86).

Subs Not Used: Button, Green, Obika, Feely.
Booked: Hughes, Solly, Kermorgant.

Goals: Jackson 25, Dervite 60, Kermorgant (pen) 63.

Bolton: Lonergan, Ricketts, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Medo, Spearing, Pratley (Odelusi 82), Ngog, Sordell (Butterfield 59), Lee (Craig Davies 69).

Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Eagles, Kevin Davies, Wheater.

Sent Off: Ricketts (58), Craig Davies (90).

Booked: Ricketts, Dawson, Spearing, Craig Davies.

Goals: Sordell 4, Medo 20.

Att: 17,322

Ref: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Dorian Dervite immediately dragged
Charlton level and Yann Kermorgant struck the winner from the penalty
spot to complete an unlikely comeback, while Bolton finished with nine
men after a late red card for Craig Davies.

Charlton were missing two of their
senior defenders, Leon Cort and Matt Taylor, through injury and illness
and their patched-up back four were under the cosh from kick-off.

Chung-Yong Lee had already shot over and David Ngog forced a save from Ben Hamer before Bolton took a fourth-minute lead.

Sordell collected Ngog's pass and
turned makeshift centre-half Dervite inside out before tucking the ball
past Hamer.

Charlton attempted to hit back and midfielder Bradley
Pritchard was twice denied by Trotters keeper Andy Lonergan.

But Bolton doubled their advantage in
the 20th minute when Ngog found Medo 25 yards out and the Sierra Leone
midfielder beat Hamer with a swerving drive which went in off the post.

However, five minutes later Charlton
grabbed a lifeline when Bolton cleared a corner only as far as Jackson
on the edge of the area.

The midfielder took the ball past two
defenders before rifling it low into the net.

Captain's strike: Johnnie Jackson started the Charlton revival with his 25th-minute goal

Captain's strike: Johnnie Jackson started the Charlton revival with his 25th-minute goal

They almost grabbed an
equaliser before the break, but Pritchard could not quite get a toe on
Ricardo Fuller's ball across goal.

At the start of the second half
Lonergan could only parry Callum Harriott's deflected shot but Craig
Dawson was on hand to clear.The game swung Charlton's way on the hour
when Ricketts was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Fuller.

Bolton were hit with a double
punishment as, from the free-kick, Kermorgant's curler came back off the
post and Dorvite reacted first to lash in his first goal for the
club.And three minutes later they were ahead.

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Fuller burst into the area and was brought down by Darren Pratley, with Kermorgant stepping up to take the penalty.

The Frenchman has form for fluffing
his lines from the spot, having famously tried and failed with a chip in
a play-off penalty shoot-out while playing for Leicester.

But as The Valley held its breath,
Kermorgant wisely opted for power and blasted his shot wide of
Lonergan.Charlton had to endure seven minutes of stoppage time but
Bolton substitute Davies used up most of it by earning himself two
yellow cards to complete Bolton's second-half meltdown.

Off: Dougie Freedman speaks to referee Trevor Kettle after his Bolton team finished the game with nine men

Off: Dougie Freedman speaks to referee Trevor Kettle after his Bolton team finished the game with nine men

Red card: Samuel Ricketts is given his marching orders in the 58th minute

Red card: Samuel Ricketts is given his marching orders in the 58th minute

CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE – AS IT STANDS

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Former Liverpool defender Djimi Traore of comic own goal fame hits wonder strike

Djimi Traore once scored a comedy Liverpool own goal, but now he's struck a superb effort (and it went in at the right end!)

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 13 March 2013

He doesn't score many great goals, or many goals for that matter, but Djimi Traore yesterday hit one of the strikes of the year to help his Seattle Sounders side reach the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals.

Best remembered for his comical own goal for Liverpool against Burnley in the FA Cup third round in 2005, this time Traore hit a rocket from 30 yards to put Seattle 2-1 up in the tie against Mexican side Tigres.

Scroll down for videos…

Better times: Traore (above left) in action Seattle Sounders yesterday, but his own goal against Burnley (below) is what he will be remembered for

Better times: Traore (above left) in action Seattle Sounders yesterday, but his own goal against Burnley (below) is what he will be remembered for

Liverpool's Djimi Traore looks back as he knocks the ball into his own net

Better times: Traore celebrating with Luis Garcia during his time at Liverpool

Better times: Traore celebrating with Luis Garcia during his time at Liverpool

The spaghetti-legged defender, who played for Liverpool, Charlton,
Portsmouth and Birmingham City fans during his time in England, saw the
ball bounce perfectly for him on the half volley, before hitting an
unstoppable shot past Jorge Diaz de Leon, and in off the crossbar for
good measure.

Seattle went on to win the match 3-1 (3-2 on aggregate), making history in the process by becoming the first MLS team to beat a Mexican club since the launch of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2008.

The Mali defender is also remembered for being one of the most average players to win a Champions League medal, starting for Liverpool against AC Milan in the 2005 final in Istanbul.

Just four months after his mistake at Turf Moor, he gave away a free-kick in the first minute of the famous final, from which Milan scored through Paolo Maldini.

But he later atoned for his error with a crucial goal-line clearance, and picked up a winners medal after Liverpool's heroic comeback.

In his seven years at Anfield, the 33-year-old also won the FA Cup in 2006 and the League Cup in 2003.

His wonder strike for Seattle is only his fourth ever senior goal.

Traore has also appeared in European competition 35 times throughout his career.

And to think Matt Le Tissier, who scored goals like this for fun, didn't make a single appearance on the continent…

What was he thinking With no player surrounding him, Traore rolled the ball into his own net with a Zidane-esque spin then got tangled up in the net, just for good measure

What was he thinking With no player surrounding him, Traore rolled the ball into his own net with a Zidane-esque spin then got tangled up in the net, just for good measure

Djimi Traore of Liverpool

VIDEO: Traore's wonder strike for Seattle

Traore wonder goal

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VIDEO: Traore's less than wonderful own goal for Liverpool

Jonjo Shelvey could be available for 7m with Stoke City ready to move in summer

Shelvey could be available for 7m with Stoke lining up a summer move

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

11:47 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 3 March 2013

Stoke City are considering a move for out-of-favour Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey during the summer.

The former Charlton prospect has
recently fallen out of Brendan Rodgers first-team plans and the Sunday
People suggest that he could be available in a cut-price transfer in the summer.

Stoke are
understood to be observing the 21-year-old’s progress with Tony Pulis having sent a two-man party to watch the England international
in a reserve match last week.

Outcast: Shelvey (right) could be available in the summer after disappointing recent form

Bleak future: Shelvey (right) could be allowed to leave Anfield after disappointing recent form

Shelvey impressed earlier in the
season for the Reds in his 14 appearances, earning a first England senior cap against San Marino in October.

However, the youngster has been
criticised for his latest displays and he was hauled off by Rodgers after
60 minutes in his last start, an uninspiring performance during their 2-0 defeat against
West Brom in February.

Stoke look set to lose unsettled
former Liverpool man Charlie Adam in the summer and Pulis has now eyed up Shelvey in a 7million swoop as the ideal replacement for the
Scottish international.

Grieving: Adam lost his father just before Christmas which could see him depart Stoke

Grieving: Adam (left) lost his father just before Christmas which could see him depart Stoke

Eden Hazard ball boy: Don"t let Charlie Morgan tarnish reputation, says former Arsenal ball boy

Inside the mind of a ball boy: Swansea lad wasn't doing it right… and I should know, it was my job at Arsenal for a season

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

10:42 GMT, 24 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 24 January 2013

'It is a fact,' Glenn Hoddle proclaimed. 'You will tell people who are instructing ball boys that if you're winning the game, don't get the ball back quickly.'

Well, sorry to disappoint you, Glenn. But that's not the case – fact.

I spent one season marshalling the Clock End for Arsenal Football Club and never was I ordered or told to influence play. We were simply under instruction to retrieve the ball and get it back on the pitch as soon as humanly possible.

There were no towels, no multi-ball system – other than games in the Champions League where this was compulsory – and certainly no instruction to treat one team differently from another.

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

Hoddle, speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports after last night's stunning events, also suggested that all home teams use the multi-ball system to their advantage on European nights.

Not in my experience. The message was clear: 'European officials are watching tonight, and they want you to retrieve and return the ball as quickly as you can. Don't mess it up.' As a 14-year-old representing Arsenal Football Club, I made sure I didn't.

What Eden Hazard did last night was wrong. He shouldn't have kicked out. But the self-proclaimed 'king of ball boys' Charlie Morgan hardly covered himself in glory either.

Before the game he hinted at
deliberately slowing down play under the hashtag 'timewasting'. As such,
there can be little sympathy.

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is ent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's Capital One Cup match

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is sent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's semi-final clash

Eden Hazard sent off

Social media hadn't been invented during my stint as a ball boy back in 2002. A 'hash' was a term which went before a figure, or used to determine the kind of telephone you were using during an automated call. But even in this era obsessed with Twitter and Facebook, I'd still be surprised if you found a current Arsenal ball boy gloating about his or her role. From the boardroom to the ball boys, the same strict rules apply to any employee of the north London club.

The act of a ball boy may seem like a menial task to most but we were under clear instruction to do our job professionally and properly. I wasn't paid but that wasn't the point. Watching Arsenal from the front row of the Clock End was payment in itself. We actually used to win things back then.

Wearing the Arsenal tracksuit, taking my designated seat for every game of the 2002-03 season – I was given the section nearest the away fans as I was one among the eldest of the group – and walking on to the hallowed Highbury turf to wave the Champions League flag on European nights are memories I will always cherish. As a defender who didn't like tackling or heading (and still doesn't) I knew this was the closest I'd get to playing for my childhood team. It was an honour.

Take your seat: A ball boy at WhTake your seat: A ball boy at White Hart Lane ite Hart Lane

Take your seat: Fans at White Hart Lane share a joke with a ball boy

Twenty of us between the ages of 12 and 16 were trialled and picked for one season, and one season only. There were clear rules. Don't celebrate an Arsenal goal (although, I must confess to ignoring that one). Don't kick the ball, or use your feet. And don't enter the field of play to retrieve the ball.

I remember one instance when Peter Schmeichel, who was playing for Manchester City, berated one of my colleagues for refusing to go on to the pitch to return the ball to him. He was simply obeying instructions. The Clock End responded by chanting 'ball boy give us a wave'. He did.

Speaking this morning, Pat Nevin, a former Chelsea player said, like Hazard, he too would have kicked the ball boy. And I'd have to agree. By smothering the ball, and then appearing to feign injury, the 17-year-old let himself down, he let Swansea down, and he called into question the integrity of ball boys across the country.

Nevin then suggested that ball boys should be banned. Nonsense. Retrieve the ball. Throw it back. Assume your position. Job done. Just do it the right way, the Arsenal way.

Manchester United squad among best in English football history

Marching towards history: Fergie's United have more points now than Shankly's Liverpool, Wenger's Invincibles and Clough's Forest… and they are on course to become the greatest EVER team

-1355Projected: 95

NB: In seasons when two points were awarded
for a win points tallies have been converted into today’s equivalent

*42-game season

The Busby Babes, featuring Duncan Edwards and Dennis Viollet, had the equivalent of 49 points from the opening 22 games of their 1956 championship-winning campaign while Sir Matt Busby’s next famous side, starring the ‘Holy Trinity’ of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, secured just 44 points from their first 22 games of the 1966-67 season – the year before they won the European Cup by defeating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley.

But it is not just the great United sides that Ferguson’s squad is seeing off in their seemingly unstoppable pursuit of a 20th Premier League title. They have equalled the points haul amassed by a Jack Walker-funded Blackburn in 1994-95 and are three points better off than the Arsenal Invincibles were at this stage of the 2003-04 season.

However, Jose Mourinho’s 2005-06 Chelsea team – who share the record with United’s 1999-2000 side for the highest final points tally over the course a 38-game Premier League season with 91 points – are the only side in the Premier League era to better the standards being set by this United team, having gained 61 points from their first 22 league games.

But should United continue to gather up the points at the same rate as they have done so far this season they will be on course to beat that record for the most points gained during a Premier League campaign, with a projected 95 points at a ratio of 2.5 per game.

When we delve further back in time it is revealed that United’s haul of 18 wins from the opening 22 games has only been matched or bettered on four occasions – by Preston in 1888-89, Sunderland in 1891-92, Tottenham in 1960-61 and Chelsea in 2005-06. Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool only secured 17 wins from their first 22 games of the 1987-88 season, but five draws saw them on to 57, two points better off than United today.

Record-breakers: Chelsea amassed 91 points in 2005-06

Record-breakers: Chelsea amassed 91 points in 2005-06

This places this much-maligned United squad in a better position than all but one of Liverpool’s championship-winning sides, and comfortably sees off the points hauls secured after 22 games by Don Revie’s title winning teams at Leeds and Brian Clough’s league winners at Forest.

Teams to have won at least 18 of their opening 22 games of the season:

Team
Season
Won
Drawn
Lost
Points
Chelsea
2005-06
20
1
1
61
Tottenham
1960-61
1921
59
Preston
1888-89
18
4
0
58
Sunderland
1891-92
19
0
3
57
Man United
2012-13
18
1
3
55

It seems difficult to believe that this United side is comfortably seeing off competition from some of the most celebrated sides in the history of English football.

United have already conceded 29 goals, leaving them on track to break the club’s worst defensive record in a single season in the Premier League era – the 45 goals conceded in the 1999-2000 title-winning campaign.

Class of 2000: Ferguson's sixth title was won at a canter

Class of 2000: Ferguson's sixth title was won at a canter

Doubts remain over the goalkeeping position, with David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard being rotated once again this season, while question marks hang over the defensive capabilities of full backs Rafael and Patrice Evra with Nemanja Vidic still being eased back in after long-term knee injury.

Further forward, many spectators still believe United to be short of a player with the drive and determination of a Roy Keane or Bryan Robson in the centre of midfield, while on the wing, Nani has fallen out of favour and Antonio Valencia has failed to produce anything like his best form for some time now.

Man Utd v the best teams in history (all points totals are three for a win):

Team
Season
Points after 22 games
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd
2012-13
55
Don Revie’s Leeds United
1973-74
54
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal
2003-04
52
Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest
1977-78
49
Bill Shankly’s Liverpool
1963-64
47
Brian Clough’s Derby
1971-72
40

Injury and sluggish showings have hindered Wayne Rooney’s season this time around, with the striker having scored just eight goals, compared with the seventeen he had this time last year. Fellow England forward Danny Welbeck may have impressed with his work rate and pace against Liverpool on Sunday but he must improve on his solitary United goal so far this term.

In spite of all the frailties, there is
no doubting the integral contribution being performed by Michael Carrick
in midfield and Van Persie, of course, up front – while Tom Cleverley
and Javier Hernandez have also been in sparkling form.

More to come: Rooney (centre) has been far from his best this season

More to come: Rooney (centre) has been far from his best this season

And whatever this United squad may lack in quality, they make up for with their strength of character and determination to win – a trait undoubtedly drilled into the squad by Ferguson. United have beaten Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea away from home and Liverpool and Arsenal at Old Trafford – edging all five games by the odd goal – demonstrating their ability to find a way to win a match.

United’s intensity will surely have been heightened after the heartbreak of losing the title to Manchester City last season – and it is a testament to Ferguson’s management that he is driving this squad to such record-breaking heights.

Harry Redknapp argues about Frank Lampard with a West Ham fan

You were spot on Harry! The moment Harry Redknapp backed Lampard to go 'right to the top' in 1996 row with West Ham fan

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

14:18 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

Harry Redknapp was spot on when he said that his nephew Frank Lampard would go right to the top.

In 1996, Redknapp had a row with a sceptical West Ham fan who thought Lampard wasn’t good enough and was being favoured for being family.

But how wrong could that supporter be…

Scroll down for video

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

What happened next: Frank Lampard…

Lampard moved to Chelsea in 2001 for 11million and hit double figures for goals scored every year since 2003.

He has won three league titles, a Champions League, four FA Cups and Football Writers' Footballer of the Year award in 2004/05.

Then West Ham manager Redknapp said: 'I’m telling you now, and I didn’t want to say this in front of him, but he will go right to the very top.

'He’s got everything needed to become a top class midfield player.

'His attitude is first class, he’s got strength, he can play, he can pass it and he can score goals.'

After watching the video, former West Ham team-mate and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: 'Is the fella who was doubting Frank Lampards ability at a WHUFC Fans Forum yrs ago on twitter! Harry knows a player when he sees 1!'

Matt Holland…

Holland left West Ham for Bournemouth in 1995 before six-year spells at Ipswich and then Charlton. He then went into a career in media, appearing on Final Score and Talksport among others.

Lampard showcased his vast talent for nine years at West Ham before making an 11million switch to west London to join Chelsea in 2001 where his career scaled new heights.

He was ever-present in Chelsea’s dominant title-winning teams under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006 and has gone on to become a club legend.

Scott Canham…

West Ham is as good as things got for Canham. He had spells at Brentford and Leyton Orient before dropping down even further to Woking, Farnborough, Grays and then Thurrock. Canham was also assistant manager at Leyton Orient but only for one season and he left in 2009.

For a midfielder, his goal-scoring record is imperious. Lampard has reached double figures every season since 2003 and he racked up 34 in the double winning season of 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti.

Lampard’s future may be uncertain but what he has achieved at Chelsea proves that Redknapp knew what he was talking about at a fans forum all those years ago.

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Leeds v Chelsea classic clashes: It"s the neutrals" nightmare… but tonight"s tie is set to be another belter

Classic Leeds-Chelsea clashes: It's the neutrals' nightmare… but tonight's tie is set to be another belter

|

UPDATED:

13:49 GMT, 19 December 2012

No one likes them, but we don't care… on this evidence tonight's clash between bitter rivals Leeds and Chelsea is set to be a classic.

It's a fixture which can lay claim to being a neutral's nightmare – you don't know who you'd rather see lose – but down the years these two titans have produced some memorable moments on the field.

Here Sportsmail picks some of our favourite moments between the Whites and the Blues, they're not necessarily the best matches but we defy you to not come over all misty-eyed at the nostalgia…

1970 – Chelsea 2-5 Leeds: 'Terry Cooper starts the goal riot'

Don Revie's famous Leeds United were 2-1 down at half-time but scored three goals in seven minutes in a remarkable turnaround that commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme described as a 'truly wonderful victory' which began when Terry Cooper started the 'goal riot'.

Check out the pitch and this rather special punditry from Johnny Giles and Sir Bobby Charlton…

1970 – FA Cup Final: Chelsea 2-2 Leeds… Replay: Chelsea 2-1 Leeds watched by 28million

It takes a special kind of fan – but most Leeds and Chelsea supporters – to appreciate the on-field brutality of the replay at Old Trafford, which was watched by a TV audience of 28 million.

Referee Eric Jennings let so much go that Hugh McIlvanney wrote: ‘At
times, it appeared that Mr Jennings would give a free-kick only on
production of a death certificate.’ There was one booking. David Elleray ‘re-refereed’ the game years later and said there should have been six reds and 20 yellows.

The Leeds great, Peter Lorimer, remarked that Chelsea ‘kicked everything above grass’. No foul was given for Eddie McCreadie’s kung-fu kick on Billy Bremner’s head. ‘It was just the way the game was played back then,’ Paul Madeley said on Monday, from Yorkshire. Fantastic stuff.

Winner: David Webb (left) heads home to win the 1970 FA Cup for Chelsea in the re0play at Old Trafford against Leeds as Terry Cooper (No 3) attempts to challenge

Winner: David Webb (left) heads home to win the 1970 FA Cup for Chelsea in the re0play at Old Trafford against Leeds as Terry Cooper (No 3) attempts to challenge

1972 – Chelsea 4-0 Leeds… but only because Lorimer was in goal

Way before the days teams could call a multi-million-pound goalkeeper off the bench, Leeds' David Harvey had to go off injured. Peter Lorimer left his right-wing posting to put the No 1 jersey on and Chelsea made hay.

It was very much a case of 'first-half good, second half not so good' for Hot-Shot Lorimer, who came over all Gary Sprake near the end.

Keep a special eye out for Peter Osgood's simply amazing sideburns – eat your heart out Bradley Wiggins – and the famous Leeds sock tassels. Classic.

Tassels and tussles: Leeds captain Billy Bremner tackles Chelsea's Steve Kember during the 1972 clash at Stamford Bridge as Johnny Giles looks on

Tassels and tussles: Leeds captain Billy Bremner tackles Chelsea's Steve Kember during the 1972 clash at Stamford Bridge as Johnny Giles looks on

1994 – Leeds 2-3 Chelsea… Whelan scores with a bicycle kick… yes, really… And Lukic gifts Chelsea win with a clanger… yes, again!

John Spencer, remember him He won this thriller for Chelsea at a sold-out Elland Road. The match had everything: A masterly performance from Gary McAllister, a Noel Whelan overhead kick, another John Lukic howler and some grand old names from the past: Philemon Masinga, Dmitri Kharine anyone

JOHN LUKIC

JOHN SPENCER

Long Johns: John Lukic (left) made a mistake in 1994 to allow John Spencer (right) to pounce for Chelsea

Bonus goals… Viduka (2008) Gudjohnsen (2003)

VIDEO: Top-class Mark Viduka finish (but take note of John Terry's awful positioning)…

MARK VIDUKA

Eidur Gudjohnsen

Goal-getters: Mark Viduka (left) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (right) became cult heroes at their clubs

Wowsers, Gudjohnsen's sensational overhead kick in January 2003 – it's no Ibra effort…