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Congratulations United

I`ll post the Sunderland match report later, but first, duties need to be performed. With football, as in life, some duties are not always pleasant or palatable, but you are obligated to do them. I`ve been very much bought up with this football club and I have always liked to think that, as a club and as a set of supporters, while we can moan with the best of them, that we have always had a generous spirit.

So here goes, congratulations to Manchester United. The best team always wins the championship and no dispute, and they have been the best and most consistent side this season. In Cristiano Ronaldo, they have a true talisman and one of planet Earth`s best footballers, last summer I said that Ronaldo is to United what Thierry Henry was to us circa 2001-2005, I see little reason to renege on that recourse. The back four of Brown, Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra has been practically impenetrable. It is of course with no little regret that our own challenge fell away so swiftly in the spring. As far as our starting eleven is concerned, I think we match United and possibly outstrip them. However, United`s squad is superior. What I think United have that we have lacked are experienced players who are familiar with the ins and outs of a title race. Whereas we displayed a lack of experience when it mattered, with Gallas being the sole bastion of established experience, we didn`t have the know how to see the league out. What United have is players such as Scholes, Giggs and van der Sar who add a blend of knowledge to a set of younger charges such as Rooney and Anderson. They also have the likes of Ji Sung Park and John O`Shea who, whilst unspectacular, can plug gaps. My own view is that in the summer, our squad doesn`t so many Wayne Rooney`s as it does a couple of John O`Shea`s. If there is a player who I feel embodies United`s current side it`s Carlos Tevez, an equal measure of grit and flair. I have to grudgingly say that Chelsea`s maintained challenge after a tumultuous start to the campaign surprised me, they showed some real guts but United were worthy winners.

On a slightly happier note I would also like to express congratulations to Fulham on their miraculous escape. My reasons for wanting them to survive so badly is a sound and sapient one. Craven Cottage has the best pubs. Commiserations to Reading and to Birmingham City. I thought Birmingham conducted themselves poorly in the wake of the Eduardo incident, nevertheless, I would much rather Bolton had gone! I am a great admirer of Steve Coppell, I had the fortune of being in a series of training sessions run by him when I was nine during one of his tenures at Crystal Palace and the man has impressed me ever since. I`m a great admirer of the way Reading came up and were not intimidated and played the game in the right way, it`s a shame they`ve come up short this year, but I`m sure Coppell can bring them back up. Well done also to Everton for securing UEFA Cup football again, Everton are the benchmark for clubs chasing the top four rainbow; an excellent manager who has received the backing of his board through good times and bad and a stable playing squad. Shiniwatra and Ashley take note. And finally, congratulations to Tottenham, who managed to finish top of the bottom half of the table. Alright, so I can`t be generous and conciliatory all the time.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 12 2008

Time: 10:21AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Yeah well done United, worthy winners. Glad that's over and done with.
Professor Calculus
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12/05/2008 10:37:00

Fair call. There's no arguing with the table after 38 games. Scored the most, conceded the least, hats off to Man U. I can't help but think for the next three months I'll be saying to myself "If only!". Agree with your Fulham comments as well, and recently said as much on their site. The premiership is a better place with Jimmy Bullard playing in it!
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12/05/2008 10:41:00

The table does not lie. Congrats Utd. You deserved it. Lookin forward to seeing you next season! ;)
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12/05/2008 10:54:00

Agreed on the Cristiano part, agreed on our lack of experience bit, but am not too sure about the "best team" conclusion. Aside being more consistent than the rest, United had just that little more luck and big decisions going for them than us. If the key decisions made by Bennett had been any different at Wigan, the script might yet be different. With all the ill fortunes, considerable lesser $$$ (wages + Transfer), lapses in defence and the gloomiest picture painted by the press, we finished FOUR points off the champions. hence, something just feel not right when the tag "best team" is labelled o United. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that United are not deserving winner. I just feel that we need to overcome more obstacles if we are to win the league.
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12/05/2008 11:01:00

I think we were the best team from August to Mid feb. And it the ref had not given a wrong penalty against Arsenal against Birmingham in the 93rd min we would be champions right now. It Shows what small margins there are between failure and success. Thats goes for the Champions league, a penalty in the first leg and we would of been in the semis, possibly the final. But that appart. Congratulations to Man United for the consistancy & good football the played. Worthy champions & lets be thankful it was not Chelsea.
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12/05/2008 11:20:00

We were the best from August to February, unfortunately for us the league runs until May. We have actually lost two less games than United in the league, but, as their goal difference will attest, they've been much better at putting the 'smaller' sides to the sword. United are the best team because, having played every team home and away twice, they have more points, have scored more and conceded less than everyone else. Ifs and buts are all well and good, and maybe if McFadden had missed that penalty, we'd be Champions. But the penalty was conceded from an horrendous error and the sort a side as ruthless and experienced as United wouldn't have made. We had that coming to us in that game, with ten minutes left a mate and I predicted we'd concede because the team switched off and thought they had the match won in the last ten minutes. United would have gone on and made sure by scoring a third, or at least would have had the good sense not to muck around in their own area in injury time. The losses United did incur were quite spread out over the season, which shows they had the heads not to fall away in the manner we did, the responded to defeats at West Ham, Bolton, City and Chelsea. I am certain that Arsenal will win the league next season, you can quote me on that absolutely, but for now United are the league winners and they deserved it. No question.
Little Dutch
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12/05/2008 11:57:00

I hope you're right LD! The team can surely only learn from their mistakes. At the end of the day, we still overachieved compared to what a lot of people (myself included) thought. We need to improve, because United won't rest on their achievements over the summer.
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12/05/2008 12:04:00

i dont believe they are better than way,defending and playing counter attacking football at home ,then when we were one nil up at united and they were bricking themselves,the league was ours for the taking,until they got a very soft penalty,crucial decisions played a major part,also it comes down to wenger would say mental strength...congrats least chavski didnt win it
fran merida
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12/05/2008 12:25:00

Did you got to Sunderland yesterday Tim? Notice how it was hot and sunny up until about 2 miles from the stadium. Suddenly the temperture dropped by about 10 degrees, the sun was blocked out, and this mist descended in through the top. Stadium of light my ar**. I was a mug standing in shorts and t-shirt. After the game and back on A1(M) and the sun reappears & the temp goes back up...
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12/05/2008 12:42:00

Yes, talks of if and buts are all but redundant. It's not a one-off match where fluke could play a part in deciding the winner. It's a long season where every team played each other twice home/away and the fact remains that United ended with 4 points better than us. (that is the GAP between what they have done so right and what we were found lacking) But it is also said that things even up during the course of the season. Unfortunately, this theory doesn't seem to apply to us for this season.
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12/05/2008 12:53:00

Absolutely Paul, I actually started shivering in the second half, I don't think I saw a game in the sun all season. I have to say though, the Sunderland fans conga line in the first half more than made up for it. The Mackems always have and always will have far more class than the Geordies. Nice to see a few people dressed up as well, I was sat a few seats away from Ali G and the Pope, presumably he was on his way back from Rome having told Tottenham to ***** off.
Little Dutch
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12/05/2008 12:59:00

You know.. we can whine all we want about the refereeing and all that but, that was the basic difference between us and Man Utd.. when we lost a game, we moaned, continued moaning and that basically affected our game.. Utd also did moan.. but for some reason they came back and gave their next opponents a battering.. we really need to get rid of this persecution complex and become a confident unit.. as long as referees adjudicate stuff on the pitch, mistakes are bound to be made.. even against B'ham.. we should have scored something liek 4-5 goals.. we didn't and paid for it.. I still believe that it was a majority of naive defending that lost us the title.. and those horrific draws against Villa, B'ham and Boro cost us big time.
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12/05/2008 13:11:00

When I said lost a game.. I meant because of the refereeing.. and moaned abt the decisions..!
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12/05/2008 13:12:00

congrats to arsenal.....another year of winning FA, and what a surprise another year another player wants out
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12/05/2008 13:19:00

The temperature getting back off the bus at the Emirates at 23:00 was a helluva lot hotter than Sunderland at 15:00. Strange. The conga line was superb, as was our support, hence us getting clapped out of the city. We love you arsenal, we do.
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12/05/2008 13:40:00

yeah, so MU win the English Premiere League solidifies for one more season into a two-club contest between the world's two richest clubs. Boresville. At least if Chelsea played like MU or us, the contest would be more exciting to watch. No question MU are deserving champions but so what? A super-rich club buys the title again. I supported MU last season against Chelsea because I was sick of the crap football on offer from Mourinho dominating England's PL title. But if the PL title is just going to be year after year a contest between these two mega-rich clubs (like the endlessly boring Scottish league, tho those 2 clubs aren't as rich), so what? Who can find any of this interesting? In the post-2004 era, is it possible anymore for a rich club like Arsenal without a suggar daddy outside investor to win the title? I honestly don't know anymore. (and I'm vehemently against the sugar daddy principle for Arsenal). And I desperately hope LD is right about next season but the fact is Wenger has never won the title in the season immediately after a Euro championship or wc. Our players will no doubt be tired (or even injured) after playing in the Euros and wc qualifiers. Sorry to be doom-and-gloom, I'm not always this depressing about Arsenal, just venting.
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12/05/2008 16:53:00

My genuine congratulations go to Everton, Portsmouth, West Brom and Fulham. I was very sorry to see Reading go down, I'd hoped Bolton would take their place. I'd also like to congratulate Man City for their overall dramatic improvement from last year but what a horrible way to finish out the season!!
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12/05/2008 16:55:00

as tony adams said earlier this season in an interview, "the best back four wins the league". this was definately the case for utd. excellent defence in some very tense games. this was the difference between them and us. we conceded goals this season which really costed us. draws which should have been victories. also i would like to see wenger protect our players better next season. i am referring to his response to eduardo's incident etc. if that was fergie, he would have blood on his hands by now.
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14/05/2008 02:24:00


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