All posts by Mark

Football has always been my passion, a passion fueled by my late Grandfather whose love for the game was impossible not to share. I grew up with stories of Duncan Edwards and the Busby Babes, who my Granddad had seen first hand, and it was there my interest in the greatest football story ever told began. From the tragedy of the Busby Babes to the resurrection through Best, Law and Charlton. Then back in to obscurity for a quarter of a century until a certain Sir Alex Ferguson rolled in to town. Once you learn the history of the club it's hard not to fall in love with it. And for that I'll always be grateful to my Pops.

Chris Smalling – The Rise of the Rock

Chris Smalling the Rock

Chris Smalling – The rise of the Rock

Since the days of Ferdinand and Vidic tearing up the Premier League, United have had a huge gap at the back for a no-nonsense defender who will risk everything to protect his goalkeeper between the sticks. Three seasons on from when Sir Alex left us, we’ve been none the wiser to who should fill the gap left by our parted veterans and with a different team selection almost every game, there has been no chance for any sort of defensive partnership forming. But are we starting to see the once huge gap beginning to close?

Since the reds signed Mike (Chris Smalling) back in 2010, there has been many debates whether Smalling was of the calibre that a Manchester United player needed to win titles for oncoming years. With performances not quite occurring consistently enough Mike only increased reasons to criticise with his sending off at the Etihad (Some may know it better as the Emptyhad) but after returning to the first team after his suspension he has become increasingly the better option compared to his fellow teammates. Will this year be the year he silences his critics? Although only two games into the season, Smalling has been in contention for man of the match in both games and his performance was hard to miss when he kept last season’s phenomenon Harry Kane quiet all game.

The partnership of Smalling and Blind has resulted in two clean sheets in two games even when United have a second choice Goalkeeper between the sticks. Is this finally the bond we have been waiting for to carry on the new philosophy? The blossoming of Chris Smalling has even helped secure himself a starting position in the England squad and with the ageing John Terry possibly reaching the end of his days, could Chris overhaul the likes of Terry and Cahill to become the Premier Leagues best centre half?

Although Wayne Rooney leading is our current captain, over the past year Chris’s leadership skills of the back four has increased tremendously, with him showing no hesitation to let his voice be heard and that benefits the team hugely. This year could be United’s time to surprise everyone with leaders like Wayne, Basti, Carrick and Young all being credited for their passion in the dressing room possibly leading the rest of the squad to glory including Chris.

Article Written By Jordan Clarke

Manchester United v Aston Villa Player Ratings Poll

Manchester United v Aston Villa player ratings

Manchester United v Aston Villa Player Ratings – YOU Decide

A fantastic three points away from home for Manchester United v Aston Villa. But who were the United players that stood out for you?

The United Stand is all about YOU! So to get YOU even more involved in our channel and website we want YOUR votes in our Manchester United v Aston Villa player ratings poll. Simply pick your three best performing Manchester United players from the list below and we’ll use your votes in our Sunday Review show LIVE at 9pm on The United Stand Youtube Channel

And if you feel like discussing the game more with fellow reds click here and go over The United Stand Forum and discuss everything United

Who was YOUR Men of the Match (Three votes allowed)

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Why are Manchester United Bad at Selling?

Why are Manchester United bad sellers?

Manchester United right back Rafael has been sold to Olympique Lyon for 2.5 million. Or to put it another way. Highly experienced Manchester United right back , only recently turned 25, with a contract that doesn’t expire until next summer, three premier league winners medals in his cabinet, and I repeat, only just 25 years of age. Sold for 2.5 million! Ridiculous isn’t it?

Manchester United are well known for selling players on the cheap but enough is enough. The fees we receive for our players is bordering on the insane. Yes the club is extremely wealthy but I don’t recall free tickets or United tops being randomly handed out to the people who fund that wealth – the fans – so why are we giving our players away for next to nothing? Rather than giving hand outs to other clubs how about getting a decent price for our players and giving back to the fans for a change.

Hull’s right back is 3 times better than Rafael?

Staying with Rafael, let’s compare his sale to that of Hull City full back James Chester – coincidentally another Manchester United youth product. Chester joined West Bromwich Albion from Hull City for 8 million pounds last month and it doesn’t take a genius to establish – a Liverpool fan would do – that Chester isn’t anywhere near the same level as Rafael. So why the huge difference in price?

Contract length? No, both Rafael and Chester’s contracts expire at the same time next summer. Age? No, Chester is actually a year older than Rafael. Wages? Rafael was reportedly on 60k a week at United. Admittedly a large sum but for Manchester United far from crippling – to put it in to context Jonny Evans robs the club of 65k a week.

The fact is there is no logical explanation for Manchester United’s neglectful approach to selling players and the Rafael/James Chester deal highlights that perfectly. Maybe it’s incompetence, maybe there’s something more sinister going? But something is definitely amiss.

Manchester United is about making money

“So what?” may be the response of some fans. Well one thing Manchester United have always been exceptional at is selling their brand to their followers at premium prices. Whether it’s the latest Manchester United home kit or your very own Manchester United toilet brush – for cleaning off our latest win over the scousers from your toilet pan – United price high because they know they’ll sell high in huge volumes. Those in charge can go on about sponsorship deals funding the club way more than ticket sales etc but the reality is if you don’t have fans you don’t get sponsors. So why are United so obsessed in bleeding their fans dry but are more than happy to hand out gifts to other clubs for next to nothing?

As many United fans will know, it’s not just the Rafael deal. United have been offloading players for way below market value for years. This year alone we’ve reportedly let Nani (4.25 mil), Robin Van Persie (4.5 mil), Zaha (6 mil) & Rafael (2.5 mil) go for a combined total of just under 17.5 million. 17.5 million! It defies belief! Yes with Nani and RVP there were large wages to take in to account but it doesn’t excuse the fact you can buy one of the best forwards in the world, an established international in his prime, a 25 year old experienced right back and a young English player with bags of potential for half the price of Benteke! It’s not acceptable and it’s awful business sense.

I’m sure if the club were of a mind to explain these deals – I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one – they’d say there were valid reasons for accepting these deals and the club always works hard to achieve the best price possible for Manchester United football club. If fans want to believe that then that’s their right. But ask yourself this. If Arsenal were offered Rafael, Nani, RVP and Zaha tomorrow for 30 million we all know they, like every other club in the Premier League & Europe’s top leagues, would snap our hands off. Because 30 million is an absolute steal for all that talent. And we got barely half of that.

Manchester United are happy to sell to rivals

Some might say that the selling market is restricted when you can’t sell to rivals in the Premier League. If fans are still falling for that nonsense then they’d do well to look back at the Welbeck to Arsenal deal last August, or the fact that Zaha went to Crystal Palace, or that we just sold Cleverley to Everton. If a player isn’t good enough in the manager’s eyes then it clearly doesn’t matter where we sell them.

The harsh truth is United are terrible at selling. Something that may not concern a lot of fans but something that concerns me when the club is so happy to charge us fans top dollar.

Comment below or on the forum and give us YOUR thoughts.

Manchester United Season Preview Fan Polls 2015/16

Manchester United Season Preview

Manchester United Season Preview Fan Poll 2015/2016

Manchester United’s season kicks off next Saturday at Old Trafford against Spurs. What can we expect from the season ahead? Has it been a successful summer in the transfer market or do we go in to the season with the same uncertainty as last year?

On Sunday night LIVE at 9pm The United Stand will be previewing the season ahead, and as usual we want YOUR input. So how do you get involved? Well first of all tune in to the show LIVE on our United Stand Youtube Channel Sunday at 9pm. And secondly, we want YOU to cast your votes in the Manchester United season preview polls below

As always your votes will count and dictate how the show goes and give a real Manchester United view on how fans are feeling going in to the season ahead. Where do you think Manchester United will finish this season? Can we win the league or would you be happy with top four again? What are our chances in Europe, presuming we get through the Champions league qualifier? And who will be the player that shines the most in an Adidas Manchester United kit this season? Cast YOUR votes below and have YOUR say on the show Sunday night at 9pm

Mark and the panelists will be having their say as always but The United Stand is about gaging real United fan opinion and regulars viewers will know that this is the channel where United fans have their voice heard. So join us and join in LIVE on Sunday at 9pm

Finalyy, to those who’ve been messaging us about the format for the new season, we’ll still be doing LIVE reaction videos on The United Stand Youtube Channel the second every Manchester United game has finished. As well as our flagship Sunday night LIVE at 9pm review show and Thursday night LIVE at 9pm preview show. With European football hopefully in the bag we’ll also be continuing with our Tuesday night LIVE at 9pm show. So plenty to get involved with on the Manchester United Fan channel that’s all about YOU!

Now cast YOUR votes and see you on Sunday LIVE at 9pm for our Manchester United Season Preview Show

Where will United finish this season?

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How far will United go in Europe?

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Who will be United's Star player this season?

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Are confident LVG can deliver the title in his tenure?

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As of now, has it been a good summer of ins and outs for United?

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What's most important to YOU this season?

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Sergio Ramos to join Manchester United?

Sergio Ramos joins Manchester United

Sergio Ramos to Manchester United?

Is Sergio Ramos joining Manchester United? A couple of weeks ago the deal looked highly likely and those in the know in Spain state nothing’s changed, Ramos still wants the move to Manchester. But despite United’s amazing success in the transfer window so far this summer, is this a step too far? A fight we can’t win? One thing’s for certain. If Sergio Ramos does sign it will be the biggest blow Real Madrid and Spanish football has felt in decades.

When it comes to player acquisition Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world. Forget finances, fanbases, history, when it comes to getting a player Real Madrid are the undisputed champions. Yes Barcelona give them a run for their money but let’s not fool ourselves that English clubs ever have. If Madrid want a player they get them. Whether that’s through underhand tactics, geography, history, status or anything else, the last twenty years have shown that when Real Madrid come knocking, that door will be opened one way or another.

Which is why this Manchester United transfer window is so interesting. I’ve said before that winter is coming for Real Madrid and Barcelona. The new TV deal will bring so much money in to the Premier League that within a couple of years even smaller Premier League sides such as Stoke and Liverpool will be able to offer the big wages Madrid are paying. But the problems don’t stop there. So greedy have the two Spanish giants become, tying up their own domestic TV deals and neglecting the rest, that they’ve turned La Liga in to the new Scottish Premier League in the sun. Where the same two teams win the league year in year out and the product becomes irreversibly unattractive to potential suitors. The bottom line is the Premier League is the most entertaining brand in world Football and it’s only going to get stronger. Winter is coming and Madrid are going to be left in the cold.

If Sergio Ramos does sign for United it will be the first big nail in the Madrid coffin. Why? Because Real Madrid don’t want to sell Ramos. They can dress it up how they like if the deal actually does happen but if you listen to what’s happening now there’s no escaping the fact that Madrid don’t want him to go. So to be just in this position where we’re seriously unsettling Ramos is a huge shift in power towards United in their quest to be number one. Madrid will be furious, they’re used to being able to dictate things how they choose, and for that alone I congratulate Woodward and Van Gaal for orchestrating this pressure so perfectly.

Of course the deal may not happen? Casillas has left the Bernabeu and the rumour is Sergio Ramos will take over the captaincy. That plus the offer of a new contract should be enough to entice Ramos to stay. But what if it isn’t? What if Ramos is set on leaving? Then we’re in to unprecedented territory. One where Spain’s best defender wants to leave Spain’s biggest club to join Manchester United. Normally it’s United losing their best players to Madrid. So how will this deal play out when the boot is on the other foot?

Much depends on David De Gea. He is the player United have in this game of chess that must be used wisely. Madrid want De Gea and De Gea – naively in my view – wants Madrid. But the tables have turned. If Ramos truly wants to come to United then it’s a very simple situation. No Ramos no De Gea.

It truly is a fascinating tussle and one that’s outcome will say a lot about where Manchester United are in world football and where they’re going. If United do take Ramos this summer then Real Madrid will have to accept winter is coming sooner than they expected and give up ground they’ve held uncontested for so long. If Ramos stays then Madrid should take this as a warning to their inevitable downfall. United aren’t going away and the Madrid empire is crumbling from both sides.

Leave us YOUR comments below & don’t forget to join in our Youtube Channel The United Stand, where you can join in LIVE every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 9pm GMT

Manchester United Quiz – Week 1

Manchester United Quiz Week 1

Manchester United Quiz

How will you do in the Manchester United Quiz that separates the real United fans from the plastics? We’re joking of course. But how well do you know United? This week in our first United Stand Fan Quiz we’re looking at goals and forwards. You have 60 seconds to answer 10 questions so compose yourself, take your time and focus.

Are you a ten out of ten Manchester United hot shot in the making like Wayne Rooney? Or are you a one out of ten flop like David Bellion? Who was he? Exactly

Enter the quiz by clicking below to get started. You only get one chance at the quiz and at the conclusion of the quiz you can see where you rank on our leaderboard and what questions you got right. Good Luck!

And remember you only have 60 seconds to answer the 10 questions

[WpProQuiz 1]
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Manchester United Transfers – How would YOU spend 150 million?

Manchester United Transfers

Manchester United Transfers Special – How would YOU spend 150 million?

You’re Manchester United’s Manager, you’ve got 150 million pounds to spend. Who would YOU buy?

This Sunday at 9pm LIVE on The United Stand Youtube channel we’re putting YOU to the test. The United Stand prides itself on being the only Manchester United Fan Channel that is 100% about the fans and this Sunday will be no different. As usual we want the voice of those who matter most – Manchester United fans – and as an extra incentive we’ve got a fantastic prize to give away to the viewer who uses the 150 million the best.

So how does it work? Well it’s quite simple, you’re in charge of Manchester United transfers budget for the summer and you’ve got 150 million to spend. Mark has put together a realistic pricelist below – none of this nonsense you get on transfer value sites where Otamendi is valued at 15 million – and you can spend the money as you please. You could spend the lot on Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos, or you could spread it out and bring in Leno, Fabinho, Hummels, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Felipe Anderson & Higuain. The choice is YOURS. The main thing is you can’t go over 150 million.

UNLESS. You can justify realistic sales to get more money in. For example, selling De Gea will get you another 20 million. Selling Jonny Evans will cost you 10 million. Because let’s be honest you’re going to have to pay someone to take him. That’s a joke by the way. So you could go for Ronaldo (70mil), Muller (40mil) & Harry Kane (60mil) and then sell De Gea for 20 million. Giving you a net spend of 150 million. The main thing is not to have a net spend of more than 150 million.

So how do you enter? Well get commenting below & give us your ideas because we will be taking note of any comments on the website. However, the best way is to watch The United Stand 150 million Transfer Special on Sunday LIVE at 9pm – Click here to go direct to the video. Anna will be presenting the show as usual and grilling our panellists on how they’d spend the money. But it’s YOU who matters most. You’ll be able to join in our LIVE comment box and Mark will be reading out your thoughts and suggestions LIVE on air – if you’ve got an issue with any of Mark’s valuations that will be the time to air them.

Then once the show is over the video comments section will open and you can comment on the video’s comments section and give us YOUR thoughts on how you’d use the money. The video will be up on our United Stand YouTube Channel permanently and we’ll pick a winner LIVE on our Tuesday Transfer Roundup show at 9pm.

So get your pen, paper and a calculator and get spending.

Below is a list of players United have been linked to. Feel free to use your own players but remember to be realistic in price and likelihood.

Gareth Bale 100 million
Cristiano Ronaldo 70mil
Harry Kane 60mil
Sergio Ramos 40mil
Karim Benzema 45mil
Tomas Muller 40mil
Edison Cavani 40mil
Arturo Vidal 35 mil
Gonzalo Higuain 30mil
Arda Turan 30mil
Nicolas Otamendi 30mil
Matts Hummels 30mil
Hugo Lloris 30mil
Seamus Coleman 30mil
Felipe Anderson 25mil
Morgan Schneiderlin 25mil
Carlos Bacca 22mil
Ilkay Gundogan 20mil
Gregory Van Der Wiel 20mil
Alexandre Lacazette 20mil
Bernd Leno 15mil
Fabinho 15mil
Bastian Schweinsteiger 10mil

Manchester United Transfer Battles – YOU Decide!

Manchester United Transfer Battles

Manchester United Transfer Battles – You Decide

Manchester United Transfer news is a bit like Radamel Falcao in front of goal, lots of hype but no finish. But goals are coming. And by goals I mean transfers, not Falcao’s guaranteed resurgence at Chelsea next season.

Manchester United have been linked with everyone over the last few weeks. From Morgan Schneiderlin to Morgan Freeman, we’ve been linked with them all. And whilst a large amount of those players mentioned will be total nonsense, it’s fair to say some won’t be.

That’s where our Transfer Battles show comes in.

On our weekly LIVE show on Sunday at 9pm we want YOUR input as usual. Because this week we’ll be looking at all the transfer deals where there’s a potential battle. Whether it’s Otamendi or Hummels, Gundogan v Schweinsteiger or Roberto Firmino v Felipe Anderson, we want YOU to pick YOUR winner.

Below we’ve broken seven potential Manchester United transfer deals down in to battles. Some involve a choice between two potential transfer targets and some involve the choice between getting rid of a current United player for a new one. We’ve even thrown in a pie in the sky battle just for a bit of fun.

So cast YOUR votes below and join in the LIVE debate with our LIVE comment box Sunday at 9pm on this link.

As always it promises to be another lively debate on the Manchester United Fan Channel that is all about YOU!

Who would YOU sign at Right Back?

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Who would you prefer up front?

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Who would you pick from these attack minded Brazilian's

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Who should be our New Sweeper Keeper?

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Who should be our Rock at the back

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Who would be YOUR German United Signing?

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Who would be YOUR dream signing?

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Wayne Rooney – Where’s he gone?

Where's the real Wayne Rooney gone?

Where’s the real Wayne Rooney gone?

With more pressing needs, such as tactics, team selections and an overall lack of cohesion in United’s play, Wayne Rooney has slipped somewhat under the radar of many United fans this season. Played out of position, the only realistic candidate to captain the side and unquestionable effort and desire week in week out in a United shirt are three major get out of jail cards in Rooney’s favour. But should we have expected more from his inaugural season as Manchester United’s captain?

It’s a compliment to the player Rooney is that the question is being asked at all. Van Gaal himself has struggled in his first year in charge at United and if Louis is struggling to implement his philosophy on the team then surely it’s to be expected that his leader on the pitch will struggle too? Of course the flipside to that coin is Rooney looked a far better player last season under the disaster that was David Moyes’s tenure than he has under Van Gaal. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a Manchester United fan putting Rooney in their top five players of the season. An unthinkable scenario considering Rooney has played nearly every game. The question therefore has to be does captaincy actually suit Rooney? The responsibility seems to have tamed him too much.

If Rooney truly is the right man to lead the team, Van Gaal needs to seriously look at why the role has impacted so badly on his natural passion and determination for the game? Looking back to the start of the season, some criticised Rooney when he publicly berated a young Tyler Blackett in the disappointing loss at Leicester but surely that was an example of a passionate and frustrated captain United desperately need? Why has that fire been extinguished by Van Gaal? And then there was the sending off against West Ham. Petulant yes and not acceptable from the figurehead of the team. But remember a certain Mr Keane? United’s most successful captain of all time was known to lose his cool throughout his entire career. Aggression and passion are two of the most desirable traits in a Manchester United captain and coming in to the season Rooney had both in abundance. For some reason they’ve gone missing and without them Rooney’s natural game has suffered immensely.

To be a successful captain it’s a given that you’ve got to be performing on the pitch. Think Vidic, the rock solid leader at the back, Robson, captain marvel from the midfield, or Cantona, the maestro conducting things from the attack. If a captain is to lead they must first perform. Too many times this season Rooney has struggled to perform to the standards we expect. In his defence, there’s only been one or two bad performances and any player can be afforded that in a season. The issue is the far too many average performances and lack of standout games. Of course, Rooney has spent a number of games playing out of position and for this he should be commended. He hasn’t performed fantastically as a midfielder but as captain of the side he’s took on the instruction from the manager and tried his best without making a fuss. We reappear at the root of the problem though, a captain must be performing well to lead.

The solution for next season is Rooney must play where he’s most impactive, higher up the pitch. Rooney is simply not a midfielder. Or to clarify, Rooney is not a midfielder of the quality Manchester United require. Comparisons to Paul Scholes are fantasy and whilst I’m sure Rooney could chisel out a career as a midfielder at a Hull City or Aston Villa, the question has to be why are we trying to mould a twenty nine year old top class forward in his prime in to a mediocre midfielder? Not only that, why are we doing it to our captain and effectively blunting his performance and impact? Rooney is our best forward, he’s our captain and he should not only be the first name on the pitch, it should be an absolute priority that he’s played in his preferred position where he performs best and where he can do what he does naturally.

There’s no need to sound the alarm bells yet. If Van Gaal deserves time to mould his team then it’s only right that Rooney deserves time to come to terms with what is arguably the pinnacle of any footballers career? Next season Rooney needs to come back wiser for the experience of this year though. Pumped up to quite literally lead from the front.

Manchester United 1999 vs Manchester United 2008

Manchester United 1999 v Manchester United 2008

Manchester United 1999 vs Manchester United 2008 – Battle of the Champions

Manchester United may have missed out on the Champions League this year – thanks Mr Moyes – but to celebrate Champions League Final weekend we’ve got a Manchester United debate to end all debates. Manchester United Champions League Winners 1999 v Manchester United Champions League Winners 2008. Who wins? You will decide.

This Sunday at 9pm LIVE on our Youtube Channel – The United Stand – we’ll be opening up the debate on what promises to be the most heated debate we’ve ever had on The United Stand. Two fantastic sides! Both treble winners – well the 2008 side would have been if it hadn’t been for a dodgy ref in the FA Cup tie at home to Portsmouth – Both managed by Sir Alex. Both brimming with World Class talent. It really is too close to call. But you will have to call it. A draw will not be allowed in this tie, a winner must prevail.

Some will say the 1999 Treble side was light years ahead with the midfield dynasty of Beckham, Scholes, Keane and Giggs. Others will state the 2008 side was Sir Alex’s best ever. With Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney leading the line it’s hard to disagree. Whichever way you’re leaning we’ve got ten categories below that will test any United fan.

So cast your votes in our polls below and tune in LIVE at 9pm on Sunday here – The United Stand Youtube Channel – The LIVE comment box will be open and YOUR input will be crucial. The United Stand is 100% about the fans and YOUR voice will be heard on this one.
Manchester United Tracksuit top

ENTER OUR PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!! To celebrate what will be the biggest United Fan Debate we’ve ever had on Sunday night, we’re also giving away a classic Manchester United 1985 Tracksuit top. Look the business in this classy piece of United history. All you need to do is subscribe FREE to our Youtube Channel here – The United Stand Youtube Channel – and tune in on Sunday night where we’ll be announcing the winner LIVE on air.

So get voting below, enter our competition and join us and join in LIVE at 9pm on Sunday night. Live link to the video is here – United 99 v United 08 Fan Debate Show – we’ll aslo be tweeting it out on our twitter page @UnitedStandMUFC. In the meantime, get voting!

Who was the Best Captain?

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Who was the Best Star Player?

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Who was the Better Scholes?

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Best Centre Back Pairing?

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The Biggest Imposter?

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Best Goal?

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Best Strike force?

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Better Goalkeeper?

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Better Opposition in the Final?

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The BIG one! Which was the Better side?

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