This weekend we welcome Manchester United to St James’ Park, no longer Champions, no longer winners, just the second best team in Manchester.

Who Manages Them?

Sir Alexander Chapman Humourless Ferguson.

The hairdryer took over an alcoholic Manchester United team in 1986 and spent a fortune trying to lure them out of the pub with little success, until the dominant but ageing Liverpool and Arsenal teams of the time fell apart with internal indiscipline and back-hander bung prosecutions.

England’s top tier was in chaos, even Leeds won the title with Howard Wilkinson in charge, that’s how easy it was.

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In 1993, 7 years into Ferguson’s reign, it was Manchester United’s turn.

Since then, Ferguson has never looked back, winning 37 trophies to date in his 26 seasons in charge, as well as getting personal honours of an OBE, CBE and Knighthood and, for contributions to Comic Relief, a red nose, which won’t come off.

He’s never liked us, which is fine by me. We’ve never liked him either with his pretendy socialist Scottish nationalism and yet money-obsessed expensive wine drinking bravado, not forgetting his finger jabbing, constantly moaning-on manner.

However, over the past few months he’s said nice things about Alan Pardew and the job he is doing in TOON, which has made me like our Manager a little bit less and made me uncomfortable in praising Pardew on the same subjects as Ferguson has. He’s a master at the MIND GAMES that Fergie. He can even turn me against my own club by praising us. Genius.

Who Have We Seen before?

If we do have any players with links to the TOON then only Michael Carrick has anything obvious. Carrick, a gangly 6 foot 2 centre forward from Wallsend somehow ended up at West Ham as a youth rather than NUFC but only when the Hammers moved him into midfield did he start to realise his potential.

He went on to play for Spurs and now Manyoo after an £18 million transfer and whatever the reason why he’s never played for us, he’s never looked back and I’m sure we’ve regretted not having him in our midfield on many more occasions than he’s regretted not signing for the TOON.

He’s got a face that would make the children cry, but he’s a canny player all the same and when he plays well, Manyoo do too.

A Special Mention For:

Wayne Rooney. This year PFA loudmouth Gordon Taylor said that he wanted the ‘Rooney Rule’ to be brought into effect in English football.

The ‘Rooney Rule’, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, was adopted in the NFL in 2003 and states that American NFL teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation opportunities. Gordon Taylor suggested that this be the case in English football, that a minority candidate should be interviewed for all Managers jobs, which sounds a lot more plausible than having to interview a bald, plug-eared, knuckle-dragging scouser for each position.

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How Will They Do:

Top 3 in the Premier League this season is definitely on, they have more chance of winning a domestic cup than us after knocking us out of one and they will qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League.

The Red Devils have the firepower to  win the Premier League or Champions League this season, but their experienced defenders don’t seem to be what they were because of injury or age, their young defenders are quality but prone to scoring the occasional outrageous own goal and their central midfield players now over the hill or over-rated. I can’t see them winning the big competitions this season.

They’ve got enough up front to out-score anyone but I can’t see that being enough against the muscle of Chelsea, Man City, Bayern and Real Madrid, or the mastery of Barcelona.

Are We going To Win?

We won last year because we dominated them in the areas we could, right from the off.

That central area of the pitch occupied by Cabaye, Tiote, Cisse and Ba has to be ours from the word ‘go’ to get a result on Sunday.

The likes of Rooney and Van Persie are always going to get a sniff or do something magical on their own, but we need to make sure Manyoo don’t dominate possession or get comfortable at the back to win. Let’s make them uncomfortable right from the off.

Sing the lads to a win on Sunday. You know we love it when we beat them.

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