Manchester United will cover the cost of every traveling fans visa needed for their trip to Russia. United play FC Rostov in the Europa League round of 16 on March 9th and will refund the processing fee of fans visas which will cost £118.20 each.
Around 500 United fans are set to make the nearly 2,000 mile journey from Manchester to Rostov, east of Ukraine, with each needing a visa to enter the country. United face spending up to £60,000 for the 500 visas that may be required. The act of covering the cost of the visa from United is said to be a gesture of good will as a result of the short time between the draw being made and the match.
Supporters who are successful in the ballot for tickets to the match will be asked to have their travel details supplied by 8pm on Wednesday so their tickets can be posted out. Fans will be able to send through a receipt for their visa and the club will contact them directly to organise a refund.
Jose Mourinho’s men face an arduous 3,744 round trip to Russia and will return to Manchester to play Chelsea just 4 days after the match in Rostov.
Let us know what you think in regards to this gesture of good will from United.
Jose Mourinho has talked up reserve team captain, Axel Tuanzebe, and said that the departures of Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay could pave the way for Tuanzebe to make his senior debut.
Tuanzebe was praised by Mourinho during the summer, who said “10 minutes was enough to see his potential” after he made a substitute appearance against Wigan during preseason.
Tuanzebe, 19, has been training with the first team to increase squad numbers and with United having a busy upcoming schedule Tuanzebe could well be an option with United still competing in 4 competitions.
Mourinho was asked if he felt Tuanzebe could make the step up and told MUTV: “He can. We lost Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, two players who didn’t play many minutes or many matches for us.
“They were two players from the squad, so we need numbers and probably Axel is one of the boys that’s in the Academy who is more close to playing with us.
“So we have brought him up to give him more experience, to make the first team more natural for him in case we need him to play in the upcoming matches and month, so he can be more adapted to us.”
Tuanzebe is a player who many United fans want to see given an opportunity in the first team, and with Jose’s latest comments, we may well see him sooner rather than later.
Let us know if your excited about seeing Tuanzebe given his first team opportunity.
Antonia Valencia has signed a 1 year contract extension with Manchester United, the club have confirmed.
Valencia signed a 3 year deal with United back in 2014 with the option to extend a further year which has now been triggered. The 31 year old is now contracted with United until 2018. Valencia has been one of the stand out performers for Jose Mourinho this season making 18 league appearances so far.
Questions were asked at the beginning of the season as to wether Valencia would be able to make the right back spot his own with United being heavily linked with Fabinho. However Valencia has been vital this season to not only United keeping 7 clean sheets in the league but also in the attacking 3rd, providing 5 assists in all competitions.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Valencia from Wigan in 2009 and has gone on to make 271 appearances for United scoring 21 goals and winning 6 major honours with the club.
Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has revealed why he was really sold by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2001, and it was not due to his autobiography ‘head to head’ that many believe. The release of Stam’s autobiography had revealed a number of inside secrets and intimate details about the club and even claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson had tapped him up whilst he was still at PSV.
Stam was sold to Italian club Lazio shortly after for £16million and many thought that Sir Alex was furious with the contents of his book and was sold as a consequence. However Stam has revealed that this was not the real reason for his departure from Old Trafford and was actually a much more mundane reason.
‘Every club has like three or four players who are, how you call it? Like the spokesmen, the committee, and I was in there as well and occasionally you speak with a couple of people from the board and about the situation of the club,’ Stam told The Telegraph.
‘That’s when they told us that budget-wise they needed to do something. They didn’t mention names but… It wasn’t about the book. We spoke about it with the board as well about having a problem with the budget at the time.
‘They needed to sell somebody eventually and, of course, if there had been an offer placed for a player. I had been there three seasons, a bit more, and won everything with the club. They paid, what was it, £10-11million for me? And they could sell me three years later for £15-16million.’
Jaap Stam was an integral part of the United treble winning side in 1999 and won 5 major honours in just 3 seasons at the club and whilst he did not want to leave the club he knew that his time was up.
‘I could have stayed because I had a contract. But I wouldn’t be playing…We don’t need to be dramatic about it. The club made a decision,’ Stam continued.
‘Of course, as a player you can sit there and say “I’m not happy with it” but for some reason – and I can understand after playing and going into coaching and management – the club needs to think about certain things as well… I am not saying I agreed with it but I can understand it.’
However in 2007 Sir Alex admitted that it was a mistake to sell the big Dutchman, something that Stam could well take heart from.
‘It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. But in playing terms it was a mistake because he is still playing for Ajax at a really good level. At the time he had just come back from an Achilles injury and we thought he had just lost a little bit.’
Was Jaap Stam sold due to budget demands like he claims or was he made an example of by Sir Alex Ferguson because of the contents of his book? Let us know what you think.
Ill never forget my first trip to Old Trafford. It was the 20th October 2011, a league game against Bolton Wanderers. I remember the crowds of people walking to the stadium chanting, the people selling match day programmes, the souvenir stalls selling everything from hats and scarfs to flags and face masks.
That walk down Sir Mat Busby Way was like being in another world for a 13 year old boy on his first trip to see his beloved football team. As I got closer to the stadium the excitement grew further along with my nerves. I still can’t quite believe I am here. I walk through the turn stiles and start the long walk up the stairs.
I reach the level were my seat is and am met with the talk of fellow fans and the rumble of the crowd. I walk up the last few steps into the stadium and see inside Old Trafford for the first time. It was incredible. The Theatre of Dreams it truly is. It was something I had dreamt of for so long and finally I was here.
For many United fans this will only be a dream. The ability to visit Old Trafford and watch a game, to be able to go on the stadium and museum tour will forever remain a dream for many fans living overseas.
I was lucky enough to visit Old Trafford a number of times over the next few years and witnessed some incredible moments. I was there for United’s 4-3 Champions League win over Real Madrid and lucky enough to be there for Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible debut against Bolton in 2003.
However shortly after this my family and I moved. Not just to a new town but to a new country. We moved over 11,000 miles away to New Zealand and with this my trips to Old Trafford had ended. Living on the other side of the world does not make watching United easy. The time difference between England and New Zealand can range anywhere from 11-13 hours depending on daylight savings.
The hardest thing about being a United supporter whilst being on the other side of the world is definitely the time difference. Most United games are on in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning. It means going to bed and setting an alarm for 2am or 3am in the morning, watching the game and then maybe getting another hour or two sleep before getting up for school or work. Midweek games can be the most frustrating. An 8pm kick off in England can mean a 8am or 9am in the morning kick off here.
There have been many occasions where I was ‘sick’ and took the day off school to watch a Champions League final or changed shifts at work so I could watch United. For me its just not the same recording the game and watching in the evening whilst trying to go the whole day without finding out the score.
There is a very small portion of United fans that seem to think that if you don’t go to Old Trafford to watch United or you are not from Manchester then you are not a real supporter. To me this is incredibly ignorant and insulting. There are millions of fans all over the world that would love to be able to go to The Theatre of Dreams and watch their football team. There will also be many fans living in England who don’t have the financial means to go to games or work or have family commitments that prevent them from going to Old Trafford. Is somebody who works weekends to support their family less of a fan who works during the week so is able to go to games?
The millions of fans all over the world is a part of what makes United the biggest club in the world. How are these fans any different from fans who go to Old Trafford on a weekend or who are from Manchester. These fans, like myself, also buy a new home kit every season, they read everything that is written about United from autobiographies to news articles. They do everything they can to stay connected to United.
I know of many fans on this side of the world that pay incredible amounts of money to be able to watch United on TV and even then there is no guarantee that United will be shown. If United are not shown then we have to resort to other means to try and watch United. There is no Match of the Day here to watch on a Saturday night to watch highlights so it means resorting to watching the few minutes dedicated to football on the news or trying to find highlights on the internet.
There are over 200 official Manchester United supporters clubs in over 50 countries around the world dedicated to bringing passionate and devoted Manchester United supporters together. For many fans these supporters clubs are not in their home towns or cities and have to travel to be able to get involved. Its not just fans that are involved in these official supporters clubs, ex United pro’s who are now ambassadors for the club travel the world to talk and meet with members. Ex United captain Bryan Robson was in Brisbane, Australia last year at the Brisbane supporters club.
Football isn’t just the beautiful game but its also the Worlds game. You don’t have to be from Manchester to support United. Having grown up and lived in England and now living on the other side of the world I know how lucky and privileged people are that are able to go to games and it should not be taken for granted. United fans that live in America, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia are as much United fans as those that live in Manchester or England.
It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night Manchester United are playing, if it means changing shifts at work or getting up at 3am, I just set my alarm and open up my laptop or turn on my TV. I know I am not the only fan that does this and I will not let anyone tell me I am not a true fan because I don’t go to Old Trafford to watch United.
Everton are preparing an improved offer for Morgan Schneiderlin after their initial offer of £19million was rejected by the Old Trafford hierarchy.
United want to recoup the full £24 million they paid for Schneiderlin from Southampton, despite the fact he has failed to impress. West Brom are also interested in the French International and have had their opening offer of £13 million rejected.
Schneiderlin was bought in by ex United boss Louis Van Gaal but failed to nail down a permanent place in the United midfield. Upon the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer many thought Schneiderlin would be an important member of Jose’s team and rediscover the form that made him one of the best central midfield players in the league.
However with the arrival of Paul Pogba in the summer, and Mourinho favouring Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in the midfield, Schneiderlin has had limited game time this season and may feel he needs to leave Old Trafford to resurrect his career.
January may be a busy month for United in transfer market with Memphis Depay wanting to leave to gain regular first team football and on loan goalkeeper Joel Pereira returning from his loan spell at Belenenses giving Sam Johnstone the all clear to join Aston Villa on loan.
The sight of Schweinsteiger training with the first team will be something that many United fans will be glad to see. However it is unlikely to signal a return to the match day squad. United are known to still be wanting to offload the German International and a move to America is looking like the most likely outcome when the MLS window opens in December.
Mourinho exiled Schweinsteiger,32, during pre-season with Schweinsteiger being categorised as ‘no longer considered a member of the first-team playing squad’, had his spot in the dressing room taken away and his £6.7m transfer fee being written off by the club as an ‘exceptional cost’.
Schweinsteiger tweeted his delight at his return to first team training however saying “Felt great today! Team is in good shape, results will follow!”
After training Luke Shaw expressed his happiness in having Schweinsteiger return and the influence he has over the team.
“It’s great to see him back. We found out the news a couple of days ago and it’s so great to have him back.
“He’s a big influence in the dressing room and obviously on the pitch, especially for the young players like myself.
“It’s a great boost for us, the experience and the quality that he brings. The quality he possesses is a boost for our team and I’m so glad to have him back.”
The return to first team training is thought to only be a ploy by United in the hope that it will improve Uniteds chances of offloading Schweinsteiger and recouping his weekly wages of £130,00 a week.
Should Bastian Schweinsteiger be given another chance in the United first team? Let us know what you think!
Memphis has far from lived up to his £25million price tag during his time at Old Trafford. Memphis arrived from PSV at the start of last season after scoring 22 goals in the Eredivise but has suffered with poor form and inconsistent performances.
Memphis stated that United is his dream club but has admitted he wants to be playing more.
“Things are going well on the training pitch.
“I am fresh and fit. Mourinho is a great coach. He has told me he believes in me, both in person, but also publicly.
“I would rather not talk about last season. That is something of the past. I should have performed better. Being a fringe player is not the role I want.
“I am not happy just because I play for Manchester United. This is my dream club, but I still want to play.
“It is difficult that I am not always part of the match squad [at United], I feel like a loaded gun. I am ready to play, but I have to wait for my chance.”
Mourinho is yet to give Memphis his chance this season with Mourinho handing him just 1 start and making 4 substitute appearances across all competitions.
Tell us what you think about Memphis Depay and his career at United so far. Do you think he will prove a success or will he be sold next year?
He was once touted as the future captain of Manchester United and England but Phil Jones career at United has not just stalled but seemingly come to an end. A career that started so promisingly for the young English defender has been blighted with injury and an inability to stay fit.
Phil Jones has been ruled out with another injury and will miss at least the next month with a knee injury. Jones injury record has become some what of a joke among United supporters and most will now surely be asking if his time at Old Trafford has come to an end.
Jones was signed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson for £16.5 million from Blackburn Rovers in June 2011 after just two years with the Blackburn senior team. Sir Alex was particularly impressed with his commitment and leadership skills at centre-back, even at the young age of just 19.
His debut for United came during the 2011-2012 pre-season tour of the USA against Chicago Fire and he made his competitive debut in the 3-2 Community Shield win against Manchester City. Jones first season with the club was a successful one appearing 41 times in all competitions, scoring twice, with his first goal coming in a 1-0 away win over Aston Villa.
Jones received rave reviews for performances against Bolton, in which he provided 2 assist, Chelsea and Liverpool early on in the season. During 2011, then England manager Fabio Capello, compared Jones to former Milan and Italy captain Franco Baresi and former Real Madrid and Spain captain Fernando Hierro.
The 2012-2013 season for Jones was halted by injury and he only managed 24 appearances in all competitions for United. However he came back strong during 2013-2014 season, which was arguably his best season in a United shirt, making 39 appearances in all competitions for United and scoring 3 goals.
In 2013, after a game against Aston Villa, Sir Alex said after the match “You saw Jones tonight, arguably, the way he is looking, he could be our best-ever player.” With Sir Bobby Charlton also being known to have said that Phil Jones reminded him of Duncan Edwards.
Those words of praise for Phil Jones by Sir Alex Ferguson have yet to materialise and seemingly never will. From the end of the 2013-2014 season until now Jones has only managed 37 appearances for United in over 2 years. His season last year was wrecked before it began with yet another injury and during September Jones even admitted that Chris Smalling and Daley Blind were ahead of him in the pecking order.
The injuries sustained at the start of the 2015-2016 season may well prove to be the most costly in regards to Jones long term future at the club. Whilst Jones continued with injuries Chris Smalling was able to stay fit, become United’s starting centre back and never looked back. Jones has become United’s Mr Unreliable and unreliability is a death sentence at any big club.
The vast amount of injuries have more than prevented Jones from developing and evolving into a powerful, commanding and top class centre-back. Jones was tipped for the very top and was certainly heading that way early on in his United career. However the consistent and unrelenting injuries seem to have stopped Jones from reaching his potential and have left him at a crossroads.
Jones is still only 24 years of age, still relatively young for a centre-back, and could yet force his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans. However with the consistent run of injuries and inability to stay fit the more than likely outcome will be that United will look to sell the defender at the end of the season. Jones will then need to fight to save his footballing career and make sure he does not fade away into obscurity.
How do you feel about Phil Jones? Do you feel sorry for him? Do you feel he could have been a United great if not for injuries? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below.