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Manchester Unit…

Manchester United’s Midfield Madness

 
Kagawa United

Rob Critchley gives his take on the state of Manchester United’s midfield…

Robin Van Persie looks like a great signing for Manchester United and Shinji Kagawa looks like he will be able support, once he adjusts to the Premier leagues physical nature. Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner have both impressed in their limited playing periods.

A relatively successful transfer window for Sir Alex Ferguson, right? Wrong!

It is becoming all too obvious the importance Paul Scholes still exerts on the centre of the field. The man has retired once, and as good as he is, he can not dominate a game the way some of his younger adversaries in the centre of the park can.

Spurs dominated the United midfield at the weekend, and in midweek Cluj didn’t have to work as much as they would have against a side with more power in the engine room.

Alex Ferguson has repeatedly stated that he feels that there is a lack of value for money in that area, which is why he is biding his time and waiting for the right option at the right price to come a long. How long can he afford to wait though?

From an outside perspective, it seems that United are always a step or two behind others when it comes to grabbing the next big thing. Is this because when it is United, the price suddenly rises, or is it because United’s information and scouting network is just not comprehensive enough, and not picking up these players early enough?

Newcastle in particular and other “lesser’’ sides such as Fulham and Everton have midfielders who United fans covert and would slot straight into the side.

It’s no coincidence that the two games the reds have lost so far this season, players like Fellaini, Dembele (who has been value for money for Fulham, and looks like he will be for Spurs too) Sigurdsson and Pienaar have all performed.

It is hard to see what Ferguson is waiting for. As good a player as Kagawa is, he is not what most observers would have considered top of United’s priority list, and for the amount of money they have paid for him, it is possible that there could have been more value for money signings elsewhere.

Southampton, for instance signed Gaston Ramirez for a reported £6m less, and he looks as good a bit of business done in this transfer window.

This season United do not have the legs in midfield to compete with the very best. Giggs and Scholes, as good as they have been can’t do it game in game out, and haven’t been able to for a couple of seasons now.

Anderson, when he is fit has not developed as expected, Carrick is not good enough, Nani is not interested and wants out and cleverly is still learning about what playing in the centre of the park for Manchester United is all about.

Darren Fletcher is only just coming back from a career threatening illness and Ashley Young is not fit again. Only Antonio Valencia, who has been one of United’s best players over the last 18 months, is contributing fully to United’s midfield cause.

Talk of Wesley Sneijder arriving at Old Trafford will not go away, but this is the position that Kagawa plays in. Although the Dutchman is quality, he would be another luxury and certainly not the value for money signing that Ferguson is craving.

A Dutchman that would have been more required, and was available was Nigel De Jong, who was deemed unrequired at Manchester City. Whether the two clubs could have done business is another question but a £4m transfer fee for the 27 year old would have suited United’s budget and needs.

When the transfer window comes round in January, United’s league season could be all but over, if they continue to drop points at regular intervals. Assuming they progress through the group phases of the Champions League the majority of best players will be ineligible, so Ferguson will have to go with what he has.

What he has in the middle of the park at the moment is not good enough to have a concerted attack on the major prizes. Unless there is a major transformation of form in one of the players already at Old Trafford, it will be a second trophyless season in the red half of Manchester.

Do you agree? How urgent is the need for a new central midfielder?

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The truth about referees, conspiracies, and Manchester United

The truth about referees, conspiracies, and Manchester United

There have been all kinds of fantasy inspired theories spreading the internet this week about Manchester United and referees. Some of them penned by absolute loons, some pushed on by those looking for approval and others by people who would take anything that Jeff Winter says as valuable. 

The general gist of them and the underlying message is: It’s not fair, Ferguson picks the referees and runs the show and that’s why Manchester United have been successful, it’s an establishment thing, it’s all fixed, everyone knows it, it’s true, look at the FACTS, you’re in denial if you don’t agree, I bet you believe the American government about 9/11, it’s there for everyone to see, blah blah blah

These things normally slip away but when they’re picked up and pushed by some of Twitterati (shouldn’t that first i be an a?) they get a whole new life. The main snippet which has been passed around the internet is this:

It sounds damning but when reality is applied it falls to pieces. Our friends @United_Stuff started to debunk it and we’ve taken it on from there. The referees to have Premier League matches at Old Trafford last season were:

Dean

Jones

Walton

Dowd

Probert

Oliver

Mason

Halsey

Foy

Clattenburg

Attwell

Webb

Only 5 referees, those in green, got more than one game and 7, those in blue, didn’t. Therefore it’s more likely for a referee to have just the one match, and this is the situation with both Dean and Clattenburg. So what was painted to be an odd situation was anything but, indeed Mike Dean was the referee for the last game at Old Trafford of the previous season, against Blackpool.

All in all, Manchester United had 15 different referees for Premier League games last season. There’s nothing strange at all, and it’s odd that people still spend so much time trying to find a conspiracy.

Regarding Foy, the referees association said “There is absolutely no truth in suggestions Chris has been demoted or punished in some way.

“Chris has refereed more Premier League games than most this season and there is a rota system in place.

“We have been delighted with the standard of Chris’s performances. He’s having a good season.”

Referees are allocated six weeks before matches but changed if there’s an injury, Foy was always scheduled for the League Two game. Unless The FA were physic that Manchester United would lose then it’s another conspiracy theory debunked. 

But why was Pluto relegated from a planet? What did Pluto know? The Americans will do anything to hide  the fact they know there’s aliens watching us, are they on Pluto and was Pluto about to talk? See, paranoid football fans, there are far more important things out there to question.

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Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders | PCWorld

Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders | PCWorld.

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What are your thoughts on the National broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR.

What are your thoughts on the National broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR.
Dear Compatriots,

A week ago, I had cause to address Nigerians on the security challenges we are facing in parts of the country, which necessitated the declaration of a state of emergency in 15 Local Government Areas in four states of the Federation. That course of action attracted widespread support and a demonstration of understanding. With that declaration, government had again signaled its intention to combat terrorism with renewed vigour and to assure every Nigerian of safety.

The support that we have received in the fight against terrorism from concerned Nigerians at home and abroad has been remarkable. We believe that it is with such continued support that progress can be made on national issues. Let me express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has expressed a commitment to support us as we strive to improve on the country’s security situation, and build a stronger foundation for the future. The recent mindless acts of violence in Gombe, Potiskum, Jimeta-Yola and Mubi are unfortunate. I urge all Nigerians to eschew bitterness and acrimony and live together in harmony and peace. Wherever there is any threat to public peace, our security agencies will enforce the law, without fear or favour.

This evening, I address you, again, with much concern over an issue that borders on the national economy, the oil industry and national progress. As part of our efforts to transform the economy and guarantee prosperity for all Nigerians, Government, a few days ago, announced further deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. The immediate effect of this has been the removal of the subsidy on petrol.

Since the announcement, there have been mixed reactions to the policy. Let me seize this opportunity to assure all Nigerians that I feel the pain that you all feel. I personally feel pained to see the sharp increase in transport fares and the prices of goods and services. I share the anguish of all persons who had travelled out of their stations, who had to pay more on the return leg of their journeys.

If I were not here to lead the process of national renewal, if I were in your shoes at this moment, I probably would have reacted in the same manner as some of our compatriots, or hold the same critical views about government. But I need to use this opportunity as your President to address Nigerians on the realities on the ground, and why we chose to act as we did. I know that these are not easy times. But tough choices have to be made to safeguard the economy and our collective survival as a nation.

My fellow Nigerians, the truth is that we are all faced with two basic choices with regard to the management of the downstream petroleum sector: either we deregulate and survive economically, or we continue with a subsidy regime that will continue to undermine our economy and potential for growth, and face serious consequences.

As you all know, the subject of deregulation is not new, we have been grappling with it for more than two decades. Previous administrations tinkered with the pump price of petroleum products, and were unable to effect complete deregulation of the downstream sector. This approach has not worked. If it did, we would not be here talking about deregulation today. I understand fully well that deregulation is not a magic formula that will address every economic challenge, but it provides a good entry point for transforming the economy, and for ensuring transparency and competitiveness in the oil industry, which is the mainstay of our economy.

As a President, elected and supported by ordinary Nigerians, and the vast majority of our people, I have a duty to bring up policies and programmes that will grow the economy and bring about greater benefits for the people. Let me assure you that as your President, I have no intention to inflict pain on Nigerians.

The deregulation of the petroleum sector is a necessary step that we had to take. Should we continue to do things the same way, and face more serious economic challenges? Or deregulate, endure the initial discomfort and reap better benefits later? I want to assure every Nigerian that whatever pain you may feel at the moment, will be temporary.

The interest of the ordinary people of this country will always remain topmost in my priorities as a leader. I remain passionately committed to achieving significant and enduring improvements in our economy that will lead to sustained improvement in the lives of our people.

I am determined to leave behind a better Nigeria, that we all can be proud of. To do so, I must make sure that we have the resources and the means to grow our economy to be resilient, and to sustain improved livelihood for our people. We must act in the public interest, no matter how tough, for the pains of today cannot be compared to the benefits of tomorrow. On assumption of office as President, I swore to an oath to always act in the best interest of the people. I remain faithful to that undertaking.

To save Nigeria, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices. On the part of Government, we are taking several measures aimed at cutting the size and cost of governance, including on-going and continuous effort to reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending. In this regard, I have directed that overseas travels by all political office holders, including the President, should be reduced to the barest minimum. The size of delegations on foreign trips will also be drastically reduced; only trips that are absolutely necessary will be approved.

For the year 2012, the basic salaries of all political office holders in the Executive arm of government will be reduced by 25%. Government is also currently reviewing the number of committees, commissions and parastatals with overlapping responsibilities. The Report on this will be submitted shortly and the recommendations will be promptly implemented. In the meantime, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies must reduce their overhead expenses.

We are all greatly concerned about the issue of corruption. The deregulation policy is the strongest measure to tackle this challenge in the downstream sector. In addition, government is taking other steps to further sanitize the oil industry.

To ensure that the funds from petroleum subsidy removal are spent prudently on projects that will build a greater Nigeria, I have established a committee to oversee the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme. I sincerely believe that the reinvestment of the petroleum subsidy funds, to ensure improvement in national infrastructure, power supply, transportation, irrigation and agriculture, education, healthcare, and other social services, is in the best interest of our people.

Fellow Nigerians, I know that the removal of the petroleum subsidy imposes an initial burden on our people, especially the rising cost of transportation. Government will be vigilant and act decisively to curb the excesses of those that want to exploit the current situation for selfish gains. I plead for the understanding of all Nigerians. I appeal to our youth not to allow mischief-makers to exploit present circumstances to mislead or incite them to disturb public peace.

To address the immediate challenges that have been identified, I have directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to embark immediately on all projects which have been designed to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal in the short, medium and long-term, as outlined in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Document.

Tomorrow, 8th January, I will formally launch a robust mass transit intervention programme to bring down the cost of transportation across the country. The programme will be implemented in partnership with state and local governments, labour unions, transport owners, and banking institutions, and supported with the provision of funding at zero interest rate as well as import duty waiver on all needed parts for locally-made mass transit vehicles, which will create additional jobs in the economy.

We will keep these incentives in place for as long as it takes. I want to assure you that Government will not rest until we bring down the cost of transportation for our people. Let me thank the transporters’ associations that have agreed to reduce transport fares. I have directed the Minister of Labour and Productivity to work with these associations to come up with a sustainable plan to guarantee this within the shortest possible time.

In addition, I have ordered the mobilization of contractors for the full rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt –Maiduguri Railway Line and the completion of the Lagos-Kano Railway Line. I have also directed the immediate commencement of a Public Works programme that will engage the services of about 10, 000 youths in every state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. This will create an additional 370, 000 jobs.

Government has taken these decisions in the best interest of our economy, so that we not only have benefits today, but to ensure that we bequeath even greater benefits to our children and grandchildren.

Let me assure Nigerians that every possible effort will be made to ensure that we march forward, with a collective resolve to build a Nigeria that can generate greater economic growth, create and sustain new jobs, and secure the future of our children.

This Administration will aggressively implement its programme to reposition and strengthen our economy, while paying adequate attention to the immediate needs of our citizens.

I assure you all that we will work towards achieving full domestic refining of petroleum products with the attendant benefits.

As I ask for the full understanding of all Nigerians, I also promise that I will keep my word.

Thank you. May God bless you; and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR

President

Federal Republic of Nigeria

January 7, 2012

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Mozilla Plans to Kill Firefox 3.5 and Force Upgrades to New Browser Version

Mozilla Plans to Kill Firefox 3.5 and Force Upgrades to New Browser Version

By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld    May 16, 2011 2:20 pm

Mozilla plans to push 12 million users of the aged Firefox 3.5 to a newer version next month by taking the unprecedented step of automatically upgrading their browser.

Firefox 3.5, which debuted in mid-2009 , is already on life-support: Mozilla gave users their last version 3.5 security patches three weeks ago.

But in June, Mozilla will use another strategy to make Firefox 3.5 “being dead,” as one page on the company’s site said.

While it will continue to “dangle the carrot” of Firefox 4 to those users — Mozilla started offering an upgrade to Firefox 4 to people running Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6 last week — it will “force 3.6 on 3.5 stragglers not choosing to update to Firefox 4 or 3.6 (give them the stick),” wrote Christian Legnitto, the Firefox release manager, in a message posted to a developer mailing list .

Later, Legnitto said his choice of the word “force” was ill-advised, and noted that only Firefox 3.5 users who had left the default automatic updates setting enabled would be moved to Firefox 3.6 automatically.

That step is a first for Mozilla, as Legnitto acknowledged in an explanation.

“We are treating the automatic update checkbox enabled as a ‘Yes, I want Mozilla to keep me updated,'” Legnitto wrote. “Previously as a courtesy we had people opt-in between major versions due to the potential jarring nature of the update. We feel the difference between 3.5 and 3.6 is not severe and with 3.5 reaching end-of-life 3.6 is the security update for 3.5 users.”

Mozilla would prefer that the estimated 12 million Firefox 3.5 users upgrade to the much newer Firefox 4 instead, but will settle for migrating them to Firefox 3.6 , the version that launched in January 2010.

On June 21, the day Firefox 5 is supposed to ship , Mozilla will automatically push Firefox 3.6.18 — a standard security update — if the company resolves a few remaining bugs. If those bugs don’t get fixed by then, the auto-update will hit Firefox 3.5 users some time later.

Before that, however, Mozilla will rev up the warnings to Firefox 3.5 users that they’re running a now-unsupported browser .

According to a detailed planning document on Mozilla’s site, beginning Tuesday Firefox 3.5 users will see a message on the default Google search home page that reads , “Your version of Firefox is no longer protected against online attacks. Get the upgrade — it’s fast and it’s free!”

Mozilla has already told Firefox 3.5 users that they’re running an out-of-date browser .

Firefox 3.5 users can avoid the message and June’s auto-update by downloading and installing Firefox 4.0.1 , which runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux .

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Cleverley Ready For First Team Action

Cleverley Ready For First Team Action

17 May 2011 by Man United Devils, No Comments »

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has been sent out on loan for the past three years but he now believes that he is ready for United’s first team.

The 21-year old has been out on loan with Wigan this season, they are in 19th position with one game remaining, which is against Stoke this Sunday.

Cleverley told Sky Sports News:
“Hopefully first of all I can have a good finish to the season on Sunday and a good summer with the Under 21s if selected, and then into next season hopefully I can get a good pre-season under my belt and start featuring for Manchester United.”

Cleverley has been assured that he will be part of the first team, when asked if he is in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans for next season, Cleverley said:

“Yes, from what he’s been saying.

“I feel fully part of the team there and the squad, and hopefully I can just hit the ground running in pre-season and play my way into the team.

“That is what the plan has been for the last few years. I went out in League One, the Championship and now the Premier League, so it has been building up to next season when hopefully I can start featuring for the side and that will save the club from going out and having to buy another midfielder.”

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