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It doesn’t get much bigger than this (A short story)


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Mark Saggers: It’s 7 o’clock on Wednesday the 1st of June 2005, and we’re less than an hour away from kick off now in one of the biggest ever matches in history. It’s not often that England has a participant in the Champions League final, so to have both sides hailing from the Premiership is something special. The venue tonight is the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund where this time next year we’ll be gearing up for the World Cup. But for the fans of both Manchester United and Arsenal, it’s the next three hours or so that are the most important to them. It’s a fitting final as well as both these sides have battled it out for the Premiership title over the last few years, and we can expect another fantastic tussle tonight. We’ll be going to the stadium shortly for team news, but before we do that let’s join Jonathan Pearce to recap how both sides got to the final.

Jonathan Pearce: Thanks Mark. Yes, both teams have overcome some excellent opposition on their way to the final tonight, and no one can really argue that they don’t deserve it.

Both clubs had very good group stages, and between won 11 of their 12 matches. Arsenal won all six of their matches against Olympiakos, Estonia’s Flora and Dortmund, with Jérémie Aliadière scoring in every game, and taking his tally for the competition to an enormous twelve after the group stages. Manchester United’s campaign started well with a 2-0 win at Deportivo and a 3-0 home win over Monaco, but they fell apart in Israel, going down 2-1 to Maccabi Haifa. Back at Old Trafford an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal gave them victory in the return, and progression to the second round was ensured with victories against Deportivo and Mocano again.

The tabloids dubbed Manchester United’s second round tie with Rangers as “The Battle of Britain,†but it was all to easy for the Old Trafford side as they raced into a 3-0 lead. Scott MacLean scored late on in the first leg to give Rangers hope, and in the second leg, Rangers won 1-0 with United having two players sent off. It wasn’t enough though to take them through, United winning 3-2 on aggregate. Arsenal had a much tougher tie, taking on last season’s runners up Real Madrid. Thierry Henry had Arsenal ahead at half time in the Bernabeau, but Raúl levelled in the second half to leave it finely poised for the second leg. Arsenal got off to a wonderful start as Highbury when Aliadière scored after just three minutes, but they didn’t turn their domination into goals, and Ronaldo took the game into extra time. Eight minutes in though Guti put the ball through his own net, and Arsenal held on to progress to the quarterfinal on the silver goal rule.

They met German side Bayern Munich there, and a drab 0-0 draw ensued at Highbury. Back in Germany Robert Pires had Arsenal in command, and despite an aberration from Stuart Taylor that allowed Dietmar Hammann in, Arsenal held on to make it through on the away goals rule. Manchester United eased past Dinamo Kiev by three goals to nil at Old Trafford, and although Kiev went 2-0 up in the Ukraine going into the last few minutes, Ruud van Nistelrooy made sure of a 4-2 aggregate victory in injury time.

They were pitted against holders Chelsea in the semi-finals, but two first half strikes from Ruud van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford had them in control. Hernan Crespo put Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge to make things interesting, but Eidur Gudjohnsen returned to score twice for Manchester United in the second half, and they were through 4-1 on aggregate. Arsenal’s semi-final opponents were Juventus, and two quick-fire goals early in the second half had them in control at Highbury. Juve had Igor Tudor sent off, and Thierry Henry scored a crucial third with a minute to go. It got even better for the Gunners as Aliadière put them ahead in Torino, and Henry then had them 5-0 up on aggregate. Marco Di Vaio pulled one back immediately, but Henry scored a third after Sol Campbell had been sent off to send Arsenal through 6-1 on aggregate.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for that Jonathan. As you say, Arsenal had Sol Campbell sent off against Juventus in the second leg, and so he’s suspended tonight. We can go over to Dortmund now where I think Alan Green has team news.

Alan Green: Good evening Mark, yes we’ve just been handed the team sheets, and both sides are pretty much as we expected them. Arsenal replace the suspended Sol Campbell with John Halls whilst Kieron Dyer and Eidur Gudjohnsen are still on the Manchester United bench. We expect both sides to stick to their traditional 4-4-2, and we should be in for a good match.

Manchester United line up with Fabien Barthez in goal, a back four of Mikaël Silvestre, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville. Roy Keane and Paul Scholes will marshal the central midfield, with Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo on the wings. Up front they partner Miroslav Klose and Ruud van Nistelrooy. On the bench they have strikers Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ediur Gudjohnsen as well as Kieron Dyer, Edgar Davids, Joseph Yobo and Phil Neville, as well as goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Arsenal play with Stuart Taylor in goal, a back line of Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, John Halls and Philippe Senderos. Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant will play on the wings with Patrick Vieira and Edu in central midfield, trying to feed the front pairing of Theirry Henry and Jérémie Aliadière. Their substitutes are Kanu, Francis Jeffers, Giovanni van Bronkhorst, Ray Parlour, Gaël Clichy, Moritz Volz and goalkeeper Graham Stack.

Mark Saggers: Thanks Alan. Our match summariser in Dortmund tonight is former Watford, Aston Villa and England manager Graham Taylor. ‘Evening Graham.

Graham Taylor: Good evening Mark. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Mark Saggers: Graham, how do you think it’s going to go tonight?

Graham Taylor: That’s an interesting question Mark. If you just looked at the league table you would have to go for Manchester United, but you just can’t count Arsenal out. They’ve come through three former winners from the last decade to get here, and in a one-off game they’ll fancy their chances.

Mark Saggers: Graham, Manchester United won the league with five games to go – do you think they’re more rested than the Arsenal players.

Graham Taylor: To be honest Mark, Arsenal have had 10 days to prepare for this game since playing their last game, so they’ll be totally fresh for this game. You might even argue that by resting players, some of the United players won’t be fully match fit – at least for the opening exchanges.

Mark Saggers: Who do you think will be the key players tonight for both sides Graham?

Graham Taylor: Well, I think that all four strikers on the field could have a big say. Klose and van Nistelrooy have banged in the goals this season and both Aliadière and Henry have scored more than 40 goals each this season. That will put the pressure on the defenders, and it remains to be seen how John Halls and John O’Shea cope.

Mark Saggers: Losing Sol Campbell is a big blow for Arsenal – how do you think John Halls will cope with the pressure?

Graham Taylor: He’s come in quite a bit during this season when Campbell or Cygan haven’t been available, and whilst he hasn’t done brilliantly, he’ll be very ably supported by Pascal Cygan, who has really improved over the last 18 or so months. I think it will just come down to how he controls his nerves. But then nerves can affect even the best players in the world, and it’s just a matter of how you control them.

Mark Saggers: A prediction Graham?

Graham Taylor: I think it’s too close to call an actual winner; there are just too many factors to take into account. But I think it will be a very tight game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into extra time and maybe even penalties.

Mark Saggers: Nicely dodged, Graham! We’ll be back at the stadium in time for kick off, but before that, let’s look at how recent games between the two sides have gone, Jonathan Pearce.

Jonathan Pearce: There have been a few good tussles between these two sides over the years, but things have been rather strange over the last two seasons. In 2003-4 Arsenal won at Old Trafford whilst United won at Highbury, and this season things went in a similar fashion. The Old Trafford tie at the end of November saw Arsenal edge a five-goal thriller, thanks in part to a Joseph Yobo own goal. And in the return fixture at Highbury only five and a half weeks ago, Arsenal led 3-1 going into the last two minutes, only for Cristiano Ronaldo and Edgar Davids to rescue a point for United. The last meeting on neutral ground was the Community Shield in 2003, which Arsenal won 4-1, Theirry Henry scoring a hatrick. Maybe that’s an omen for tonight’s game.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for that Jonathan. Right, it’s getting very close to kick off now, and the time for all of the talking is almost up. Your team at the Westfalenstadion is Alan Green, Graham Taylor, and first, Mike Ingham.

Mike Ingham: Good evening everyone, welcome to Dortmund. The two sides are coming out on the pitch now, Vieira and van Nistelrooy leading out their troops as the Champions League theme tune blasts out across this packed stadium. It’s a sea of red in the stands, but tonight Arsenal are playing in their away strip of yellow shirts and blue shorts.

Arsenal will be kicking from right to left in the first half and line up with Stuart Taylor in goal, Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, John Halls, Philippe Senderos, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Edu, Jermaine Pennant, Jérémie Aliadière and Thierry Henry. On the bench they have Graham Stack, Kanu, Ray Parlour, Giovanni van Bronkhorst, Francis Jeffers, Gaël Clichy and Moritz Volz.

Manchester United line up with Fabien Barthez, Mikaël Silvestre, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose and Ruud van Nistelrooy. They’re substitutes are Tim Howard, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Edgar Davids, Kieron Dyer, Joseph Yobo, Kieron Dyer and Phil Neville.

The referee is Norway’s Tobias Mårtensson. He checks his watch, and Manchester United get the 2004-5 Champions League final under the way. Your early thoughts Graham Taylor?

Graham Taylor: Well both sides are set out just as we’d expect, playing a straight 4-4-2, with Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane looking to marshal the midfield, and Paul Scholes and Edu looking to break forward. I think we can expect the nerves to be there for the first few minutes, but a goal would change everything.

Mike Ingham: Fifteen minutes played here in Dortmund, and we’re yet to see a real chance on goal. But Manchester United have a free kick just inside the Arsenal half. Ferdinand will take it, Klose brings it down, and that’s just over Stuart Taylor’s bar. The German got free of John Halls there, and did well to get his shot in.

Graham Taylor: That was a good effort there Mike. Klose will be disappointed not to have got that on target, but at least we’ve had an effort in the match now.

Mike Ingham: Taylor takes the goal kick. Silvestre heads it towards Giggs, Pennant wins it and lays it off to Senderos. The Swiss full back sends the ball forward, Thierry Henry latches onto it, Aliadière’s in there, Henry lays it back, Aliadière scores. Decisive breakaway from Arsenal and they lead Manchester United by a goal to nil. Jérémie Aliadière continues his love affair with this tournament – that’s his sixteenth goal in the competition this season.

Graham Taylor: Well, Arsenal used their excellent pace there to break really well, but Manchester United will be looking at their defending there. Gary Neville lost Aliadère, but this is just what we’ve needed to liven up the game.

Mike Ingham: There’s still plenty of time to go, and I’m sure that Manchester United won’t be panicking just yet. Pascal Cygan finds Vieira. He tries to find Henry, but O’Shea gets to the ball first. The Irishman lifts it forward towards Klose, John Halls cuts it out. The ball bounces clear to Giggs, Senderos robs him and sent it forward. Jermaine Pennant won’t reach that, and O’Shea can pass this back to Fabien Barthez. Roy Keane, searches out Cristiano Ronaldo, but Cygan gets there first and Pires picks it got. Robert Pires, moves infield, it opens up for him, and that’s well over. A bit wasteful there from Pires Graham.

Graham Taylor: You wouldn’t have said that if he’d scored, but perhaps he could have got a little closer there. He hit that from about thirty yards out, but it was the work of Aliadière and Henry to draw the defenders wide that was really impressive about that move. Arsenal looking like they might start to take a grip on this game.

Mark Ingham: We’re getting towards the mid-way point of this first half, and Arsenal lead 1-0 thanks to Jérémie Aliadière’s 16th minute effort. We’ll have the thoughts of Graham Taylor, and then it will be Alan Green to take you through to half time.

Graham Taylor: The game hasn’t been brilliant so far, and we’ve only had two half-chances apart from the goal. I don’t think Manchester United will be too worried just at the moment, but they need to make inroads into Arsenal’s defence if they want to get back into the game.

Alan Green: Thanks Graham, good evening everyone. I don’t think the conditions here help to be honest. It’s muggy, but very windy as well, and that seems to be stifling the play. Anyway, back to the game. Roy Keane for Manchester United. The influential Irishman lifts the ball forward for Miroslav Klose. Pulls Cygan out wide, van Nistelrooy’s in there. Klose finds him and Ruud van Nistelrooy equalises for Manchester United. Ashley Cole was nowhere, and Stuart Taylor was completely out of position, and van Nistelrooy just had to get his header on target.

Graham Taylor: Great play there by Klose, and great vision as well to spot van Nistelrooy. I thought he might have gone it alone, but it’s great to see some unselfish play, and it paid off. I think Taylor was in two minds about what Klose was going to do, and ultimately that proved costly as he was out of position when van Nistelrooy got his header in.

Alan Green: So the lead lasted just ten minutes, and we’re level again at one-all. Can Manchester United build on this, or will Arsenal be able to bounce back quickly? Keane for Manchester United now. He finds Klose, and takes it out wide to the left. Lays it off to Giggs, and that’s gone woefully wide. Terrible effort there from the Welshman.

Graham Taylor: That’s a really disappointing effort there from Giggs; that must have gone a good ten yards wide. To give him credit he didn’t have much time to think about it, and he clearly just didn’t hit that properly. Let off for Arsenal.

Alan Green: Ten minutes to go before half time, one-one. Giggs tries to find Klose, Senderos wins the tussle. Plays it across field to Pires, and he’s fouled by Cristiano Ronaldo. That was late from young Portugal man, and he’s going to pick up the first booking of the game. He’s going to have to curb his temperament for the rest of the game.

Graham Taylor: I thought that was a bit harsh actually, but if you miss the ball, you’re always going to run the risk of incurring the wrath of the referee, and this occasion was no different. Actually, I’ve been really impressed about the manner in which this game has been played. You’d probably have expected this to be a bit of a battle, but as you say Alan, that’s the first booking we’ve had in the game. Full credit to both sides for that.

Alan Green: The fourth official is signalling that we’re going to have one minute extra at the end of the first half. Still one-one here in Dortmund between Arsenal and Manchester United. Tobias Mårtensson looks at his watch, and that’s it, we’ll go in level at one-all at half time. Arsenal took the lead after sixteen minutes through Jérémie Aliadière, and ten minutes later Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised.

Mark Saggers: So, one-one it is, and still everything to play for. Jonathan Pearce is still with us in the studio. Jonathan, how do you see the game panning out?

Jonathan Pearce: Well, I think one of the interesting battles that’s developing is between Miroslav Klose and Philippe Senderos. Klose is drifting out to the left quite a lot, but Senderos has done well against him. When he got the cross in for the goal it was Pascal Cygan who let him go. Another interesting battle is that between Cristiano Ronaldo and Ashley Cole. I would have probably said that the Portuguese winger was winning that, but his booking towards the end of the first half might have just swung the advantage back in favour of the England left back.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for your thoughts Jonathan. Let’s go back to the stadium and our summariser Graham Taylor. Graham, what will the two managers be saying in the dressing room? More of the same? Or will they be looking for something else?

Graham Taylor: Well I certainly don’t think either manager will be making too many changes to their lineup or tactical setup. Manchester United have probably shaded the efforts during the first half, but to be honest we haven’t seen too much in an attacking sense. I think both managers might be looking to their midfields to try and force the issue a little, but then they don’t want to give anything away at the back. It’s going to be a very interesting tactical battle from the touchlines in the second half.

Mark Saggers: OK, thanks for that Graham. Half time is drawing to a close, and it looks like the teams are about to come out again for the second half. So, it’s back to Dortmund and Mike Ingham.

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Mark Saggers: It’s 7 o’clock on Wednesday the 1st of June 2005, and we’re less than an hour away from kick off now in one of the biggest ever matches in history. It’s not often that England has a participant in the Champions League final, so to have both sides hailing from the Premiership is something special. The venue tonight is the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund where this time next year we’ll be gearing up for the World Cup. But for the fans of both Manchester United and Arsenal, it’s the next three hours or so that are the most important to them. It’s a fitting final as well as both these sides have battled it out for the Premiership title over the last few years, and we can expect another fantastic tussle tonight. We’ll be going to the stadium shortly for team news, but before we do that let’s join Jonathan Pearce to recap how both sides got to the final.

Jonathan Pearce: Thanks Mark. Yes, both teams have overcome some excellent opposition on their way to the final tonight, and no one can really argue that they don’t deserve it.

Both clubs had very good group stages, and between won 11 of their 12 matches. Arsenal won all six of their matches against Olympiakos, Estonia’s Flora and Dortmund, with Jérémie Aliadière scoring in every game, and taking his tally for the competition to an enormous twelve after the group stages. Manchester United’s campaign started well with a 2-0 win at Deportivo and a 3-0 home win over Monaco, but they fell apart in Israel, going down 2-1 to Maccabi Haifa. Back at Old Trafford an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal gave them victory in the return, and progression to the second round was ensured with victories against Deportivo and Mocano again.

The tabloids dubbed Manchester United’s second round tie with Rangers as “The Battle of Britain,†but it was all to easy for the Old Trafford side as they raced into a 3-0 lead. Scott MacLean scored late on in the first leg to give Rangers hope, and in the second leg, Rangers won 1-0 with United having two players sent off. It wasn’t enough though to take them through, United winning 3-2 on aggregate. Arsenal had a much tougher tie, taking on last season’s runners up Real Madrid. Thierry Henry had Arsenal ahead at half time in the Bernabeau, but Raúl levelled in the second half to leave it finely poised for the second leg. Arsenal got off to a wonderful start as Highbury when Aliadière scored after just three minutes, but they didn’t turn their domination into goals, and Ronaldo took the game into extra time. Eight minutes in though Guti put the ball through his own net, and Arsenal held on to progress to the quarterfinal on the silver goal rule.

They met German side Bayern Munich there, and a drab 0-0 draw ensued at Highbury. Back in Germany Robert Pires had Arsenal in command, and despite an aberration from Stuart Taylor that allowed Dietmar Hammann in, Arsenal held on to make it through on the away goals rule. Manchester United eased past Dinamo Kiev by three goals to nil at Old Trafford, and although Kiev went 2-0 up in the Ukraine going into the last few minutes, Ruud van Nistelrooy made sure of a 4-2 aggregate victory in injury time.

They were pitted against holders Chelsea in the semi-finals, but two first half strikes from Ruud van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford had them in control. Hernan Crespo put Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge to make things interesting, but Eidur Gudjohnsen returned to score twice for Manchester United in the second half, and they were through 4-1 on aggregate. Arsenal’s semi-final opponents were Juventus, and two quick-fire goals early in the second half had them in control at Highbury. Juve had Igor Tudor sent off, and Thierry Henry scored a crucial third with a minute to go. It got even better for the Gunners as Aliadière put them ahead in Torino, and Henry then had them 5-0 up on aggregate. Marco Di Vaio pulled one back immediately, but Henry scored a third after Sol Campbell had been sent off to send Arsenal through 6-1 on aggregate.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for that Jonathan. As you say, Arsenal had Sol Campbell sent off against Juventus in the second leg, and so he’s suspended tonight. We can go over to Dortmund now where I think Alan Green has team news.

Alan Green: Good evening Mark, yes we’ve just been handed the team sheets, and both sides are pretty much as we expected them. Arsenal replace the suspended Sol Campbell with John Halls whilst Kieron Dyer and Eidur Gudjohnsen are still on the Manchester United bench. We expect both sides to stick to their traditional 4-4-2, and we should be in for a good match.

Manchester United line up with Fabien Barthez in goal, a back four of Mikaël Silvestre, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville. Roy Keane and Paul Scholes will marshal the central midfield, with Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo on the wings. Up front they partner Miroslav Klose and Ruud van Nistelrooy. On the bench they have strikers Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ediur Gudjohnsen as well as Kieron Dyer, Edgar Davids, Joseph Yobo and Phil Neville, as well as goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Arsenal play with Stuart Taylor in goal, a back line of Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, John Halls and Philippe Senderos. Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant will play on the wings with Patrick Vieira and Edu in central midfield, trying to feed the front pairing of Theirry Henry and Jérémie Aliadière. Their substitutes are Kanu, Francis Jeffers, Giovanni van Bronkhorst, Ray Parlour, Gaël Clichy, Moritz Volz and goalkeeper Graham Stack.

Mark Saggers: Thanks Alan. Our match summariser in Dortmund tonight is former Watford, Aston Villa and England manager Graham Taylor. ‘Evening Graham.

Graham Taylor: Good evening Mark. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Mark Saggers: Graham, how do you think it’s going to go tonight?

Graham Taylor: That’s an interesting question Mark. If you just looked at the league table you would have to go for Manchester United, but you just can’t count Arsenal out. They’ve come through three former winners from the last decade to get here, and in a one-off game they’ll fancy their chances.

Mark Saggers: Graham, Manchester United won the league with five games to go – do you think they’re more rested than the Arsenal players.

Graham Taylor: To be honest Mark, Arsenal have had 10 days to prepare for this game since playing their last game, so they’ll be totally fresh for this game. You might even argue that by resting players, some of the United players won’t be fully match fit – at least for the opening exchanges.

Mark Saggers: Who do you think will be the key players tonight for both sides Graham?

Graham Taylor: Well, I think that all four strikers on the field could have a big say. Klose and van Nistelrooy have banged in the goals this season and both Aliadière and Henry have scored more than 40 goals each this season. That will put the pressure on the defenders, and it remains to be seen how John Halls and John O’Shea cope.

Mark Saggers: Losing Sol Campbell is a big blow for Arsenal – how do you think John Halls will cope with the pressure?

Graham Taylor: He’s come in quite a bit during this season when Campbell or Cygan haven’t been available, and whilst he hasn’t done brilliantly, he’ll be very ably supported by Pascal Cygan, who has really improved over the last 18 or so months. I think it will just come down to how he controls his nerves. But then nerves can affect even the best players in the world, and it’s just a matter of how you control them.

Mark Saggers: A prediction Graham?

Graham Taylor: I think it’s too close to call an actual winner; there are just too many factors to take into account. But I think it will be a very tight game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into extra time and maybe even penalties.

Mark Saggers: Nicely dodged, Graham! We’ll be back at the stadium in time for kick off, but before that, let’s look at how recent games between the two sides have gone, Jonathan Pearce.

Jonathan Pearce: There have been a few good tussles between these two sides over the years, but things have been rather strange over the last two seasons. In 2003-4 Arsenal won at Old Trafford whilst United won at Highbury, and this season things went in a similar fashion. The Old Trafford tie at the end of November saw Arsenal edge a five-goal thriller, thanks in part to a Joseph Yobo own goal. And in the return fixture at Highbury only five and a half weeks ago, Arsenal led 3-1 going into the last two minutes, only for Cristiano Ronaldo and Edgar Davids to rescue a point for United. The last meeting on neutral ground was the Community Shield in 2003, which Arsenal won 4-1, Theirry Henry scoring a hatrick. Maybe that’s an omen for tonight’s game.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for that Jonathan. Right, it’s getting very close to kick off now, and the time for all of the talking is almost up. Your team at the Westfalenstadion is Alan Green, Graham Taylor, and first, Mike Ingham.

Mike Ingham: Good evening everyone, welcome to Dortmund. The two sides are coming out on the pitch now, Vieira and van Nistelrooy leading out their troops as the Champions League theme tune blasts out across this packed stadium. It’s a sea of red in the stands, but tonight Arsenal are playing in their away strip of yellow shirts and blue shorts.

Arsenal will be kicking from right to left in the first half and line up with Stuart Taylor in goal, Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, John Halls, Philippe Senderos, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Edu, Jermaine Pennant, Jérémie Aliadière and Thierry Henry. On the bench they have Graham Stack, Kanu, Ray Parlour, Giovanni van Bronkhorst, Francis Jeffers, Gaël Clichy and Moritz Volz.

Manchester United line up with Fabien Barthez, Mikaël Silvestre, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose and Ruud van Nistelrooy. They’re substitutes are Tim Howard, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Edgar Davids, Kieron Dyer, Joseph Yobo, Kieron Dyer and Phil Neville.

The referee is Norway’s Tobias Mårtensson. He checks his watch, and Manchester United get the 2004-5 Champions League final under the way. Your early thoughts Graham Taylor?

Graham Taylor: Well both sides are set out just as we’d expect, playing a straight 4-4-2, with Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane looking to marshal the midfield, and Paul Scholes and Edu looking to break forward. I think we can expect the nerves to be there for the first few minutes, but a goal would change everything.

Mike Ingham: Fifteen minutes played here in Dortmund, and we’re yet to see a real chance on goal. But Manchester United have a free kick just inside the Arsenal half. Ferdinand will take it, Klose brings it down, and that’s just over Stuart Taylor’s bar. The German got free of John Halls there, and did well to get his shot in.

Graham Taylor: That was a good effort there Mike. Klose will be disappointed not to have got that on target, but at least we’ve had an effort in the match now.

Mike Ingham: Taylor takes the goal kick. Silvestre heads it towards Giggs, Pennant wins it and lays it off to Senderos. The Swiss full back sends the ball forward, Thierry Henry latches onto it, Aliadière’s in there, Henry lays it back, Aliadière scores. Decisive breakaway from Arsenal and they lead Manchester United by a goal to nil. Jérémie Aliadière continues his love affair with this tournament – that’s his sixteenth goal in the competition this season.

Graham Taylor: Well, Arsenal used their excellent pace there to break really well, but Manchester United will be looking at their defending there. Gary Neville lost Aliadère, but this is just what we’ve needed to liven up the game.

Mike Ingham: There’s still plenty of time to go, and I’m sure that Manchester United won’t be panicking just yet. Pascal Cygan finds Vieira. He tries to find Henry, but O’Shea gets to the ball first. The Irishman lifts it forward towards Klose, John Halls cuts it out. The ball bounces clear to Giggs, Senderos robs him and sent it forward. Jermaine Pennant won’t reach that, and O’Shea can pass this back to Fabien Barthez. Roy Keane, searches out Cristiano Ronaldo, but Cygan gets there first and Pires picks it got. Robert Pires, moves infield, it opens up for him, and that’s well over. A bit wasteful there from Pires Graham.

Graham Taylor: You wouldn’t have said that if he’d scored, but perhaps he could have got a little closer there. He hit that from about thirty yards out, but it was the work of Aliadière and Henry to draw the defenders wide that was really impressive about that move. Arsenal looking like they might start to take a grip on this game.

Mark Ingham: We’re getting towards the mid-way point of this first half, and Arsenal lead 1-0 thanks to Jérémie Aliadière’s 16th minute effort. We’ll have the thoughts of Graham Taylor, and then it will be Alan Green to take you through to half time.

Graham Taylor: The game hasn’t been brilliant so far, and we’ve only had two half-chances apart from the goal. I don’t think Manchester United will be too worried just at the moment, but they need to make inroads into Arsenal’s defence if they want to get back into the game.

Alan Green: Thanks Graham, good evening everyone. I don’t think the conditions here help to be honest. It’s muggy, but very windy as well, and that seems to be stifling the play. Anyway, back to the game. Roy Keane for Manchester United. The influential Irishman lifts the ball forward for Miroslav Klose. Pulls Cygan out wide, van Nistelrooy’s in there. Klose finds him and Ruud van Nistelrooy equalises for Manchester United. Ashley Cole was nowhere, and Stuart Taylor was completely out of position, and van Nistelrooy just had to get his header on target.

Graham Taylor: Great play there by Klose, and great vision as well to spot van Nistelrooy. I thought he might have gone it alone, but it’s great to see some unselfish play, and it paid off. I think Taylor was in two minds about what Klose was going to do, and ultimately that proved costly as he was out of position when van Nistelrooy got his header in.

Alan Green: So the lead lasted just ten minutes, and we’re level again at one-all. Can Manchester United build on this, or will Arsenal be able to bounce back quickly? Keane for Manchester United now. He finds Klose, and takes it out wide to the left. Lays it off to Giggs, and that’s gone woefully wide. Terrible effort there from the Welshman.

Graham Taylor: That’s a really disappointing effort there from Giggs; that must have gone a good ten yards wide. To give him credit he didn’t have much time to think about it, and he clearly just didn’t hit that properly. Let off for Arsenal.

Alan Green: Ten minutes to go before half time, one-one. Giggs tries to find Klose, Senderos wins the tussle. Plays it across field to Pires, and he’s fouled by Cristiano Ronaldo. That was late from young Portugal man, and he’s going to pick up the first booking of the game. He’s going to have to curb his temperament for the rest of the game.

Graham Taylor: I thought that was a bit harsh actually, but if you miss the ball, you’re always going to run the risk of incurring the wrath of the referee, and this occasion was no different. Actually, I’ve been really impressed about the manner in which this game has been played. You’d probably have expected this to be a bit of a battle, but as you say Alan, that’s the first booking we’ve had in the game. Full credit to both sides for that.

Alan Green: The fourth official is signalling that we’re going to have one minute extra at the end of the first half. Still one-one here in Dortmund between Arsenal and Manchester United. Tobias Mårtensson looks at his watch, and that’s it, we’ll go in level at one-all at half time. Arsenal took the lead after sixteen minutes through Jérémie Aliadière, and ten minutes later Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised.

Mark Saggers: So, one-one it is, and still everything to play for. Jonathan Pearce is still with us in the studio. Jonathan, how do you see the game panning out?

Jonathan Pearce: Well, I think one of the interesting battles that’s developing is between Miroslav Klose and Philippe Senderos. Klose is drifting out to the left quite a lot, but Senderos has done well against him. When he got the cross in for the goal it was Pascal Cygan who let him go. Another interesting battle is that between Cristiano Ronaldo and Ashley Cole. I would have probably said that the Portuguese winger was winning that, but his booking towards the end of the first half might have just swung the advantage back in favour of the England left back.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for your thoughts Jonathan. Let’s go back to the stadium and our summariser Graham Taylor. Graham, what will the two managers be saying in the dressing room? More of the same? Or will they be looking for something else?

Graham Taylor: Well I certainly don’t think either manager will be making too many changes to their lineup or tactical setup. Manchester United have probably shaded the efforts during the first half, but to be honest we haven’t seen too much in an attacking sense. I think both managers might be looking to their midfields to try and force the issue a little, but then they don’t want to give anything away at the back. It’s going to be a very interesting tactical battle from the touchlines in the second half.

Mark Saggers: OK, thanks for that Graham. Half time is drawing to a close, and it looks like the teams are about to come out again for the second half. So, it’s back to Dortmund and Mike Ingham.

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Mike Ingham: We’ve just been given the attendance here tonight, and it’s a highly impressive eighty-two thousand, nine hundred and seventy two. There’s hardly a yellow and black seat to be seen here amongst the fantastic fans, and let’s hope that the second half is a better spectacle than the first half. So, one-one and Arsenal are going to kick off. Your early thoughts Graham Taylor.

Graham Taylor: It’s as I was predicting at half time Mike. Neither side wants to risk losing what they have at this stage, and as a result we’re seeing a very tight game, with very little in an attacking force.

Mike Ingham: It’s still one-all here, and if it ends level after ninety minutes, we move into the silver goal. What that basically means is that we have an extra 15 minutes to find a winner, and if that fails, we have another 15 minutes. Only then will we have penalties.

Gary Neville, heads onto Rio Ferdinand. He pumps the ball forward to Miroslav Klose. The German makes a beeline for the byline, pulls it back, great save from Taylor to deny Cristiano Ronaldo.

Graham Taylor: Great vision there from Klose, and Ronaldo did well to get above Cole and get his header in. Great save from Taylor to keep it out though.

Mike Ingham: Giggs will take the corner. It goes long, van Nistelrooy picks it up, goes for goal, and Taylor tips it over again. Fantastic save from the young goalkeeper. Giggs will take the corner again, and Vieira clears that.

Graham Taylor: Another fantastic save from Taylor, and it looks like Manchester United are just starting to turn the screw. Actually, it looks like they’re about to make a double substitution, I can see Joseph Yobo and Phil Neville down there.

Mike Ingham: That’s right Graham, Yobo and Phil Neville are coming on. Yobo’s on for John O’Shea and Phil has come on for his brother, Gary.

Graham Taylor: Straight swaps there. I don’t think either O’Shea or Gary have done too badly today, perhaps they just wanted a few fresh legs to deal with the threat of Aliadière and Henry.

Mike Ingham: Arsenal are responding immediately with their own double substitution. Mortiz Volz is coming on for John Halls, and it looks like Edu is making way for Ray Parlour. We’ll get Graham Taylor’s thoughts on that, and then it will be Alan Green to take you through to full time.

Graham Taylor: Edu has been a bit disappointing today, and it looks like Parlour will slip into his central midfield role. He should provide some extra bite in there, and we can also expect him to spur the field on with his determination for his only club. John Halls has also struggled this evening, and it looks like Senderos will move into the centre alongside Cygan, with Volz taking over at right back.

Alan Green: Right then, twenty-two minutes left to play in the 2005 Champions League final here in Dortmund. Giggs, plays it to Keane. Keane lifts it into Klose, gets past Volz, and shoots straight at Taylor. Good play there from Klose, but the shot was weak.

Graham Taylor: Volz was caught out there, and he’s going to have to get up to speed quickly. You would have expected a better shot there from Klose as well, but it was straight at Taylor.

Alan Green: It looks like Manchester United are going to make their final throw of the dice. Cristiano Ronaldo is coming off, and Kieron Dyer is coming on. Straight swap there Graham?

Graham Taylor: I think so Alan. Ronaldo’s done OK tonight, but I think he might be tiring, and Dyer will just add some extra pace down the right to challenge Cole. Also, Ronaldo’s on a yellow card, so that might have been another factor.

Alan Green: Free kick to Arsenal. Senderos spreads it left, Vieira knocks down to Ashley Cole, Cole, shoots from 25 yards. Barthez makes a wonderful point-blank save and Ferdinand clears.

Graham Taylor: Great save from Barthez there. He didn’t see it until quite late, and he made a wonderful save on the goal line to prevent Cole there. That’s the closest Arsenal have come to a goal in this second half – but can they build on this?

Alan Green: Just over a minute to go, and we’re no nearer finding a winner than we were at 7:45 this evening. The last fifteen minutes have been a bit disappointing, but any goal now would surely win it. Vieira in the centre of the park. Scholes wins it, tries to pick out Klose. He beats Volz, saved by Taylor, Klose again, Taylor parries and Volz is there to slide the ball out for a corner. Great chance there at the death for Klose to win it.

Graham Taylor: Good double-stop there from Taylor, but the danger’s not over. Manchester United have a corner.

Alan Green: And Ryan Giggs will swing it in. Volz rises above Klose. It falls to Giggs, feeds Keane, and Ray Parlour gets in and clears it into touch. We’re going to have three minutes of injury time, and that’s all we’ll have to find a winner.

Second minute of injury time. van Nistelrooy, skips past Senderos. Takes it left, gets the cross in, but Cygan is on hand to clear it into the stand.

Graham Taylor: Poor cross there from van Nistelrooy. And there was no one in the box either to connect to it.

Alan Green: Last minute, Arsenal one, Manchester United one. Phil Neville will launch this throw into the box. Volz gets up to clear it, Yobo gets ahead of Henry. Klose, lays it off to Keane, back to Klose. The German takes it into the corner, crosses, and that’s cleared by Vieira ahead of the advancing Paul Scholes. Arsenal are hanging on here. Ferdinand, spreads it wide to Keane. Klose now, leaves it for Giggs, crosses and Cygan clears. And Tobias Mårtensson blows his whistle, and we’re going into silver goal time. Full time here in Dortmund, it’s finished Arsenal one, Manchester United one.

Mark Saggers: We’ll be back in Dortmund in time for the silver goal time. Let’s just explain how this is going to work. In the past we’d have had a 30-minute extra time period, after which a winner would have been found or penalties would decide it. FIFA though have decided that after 15 minutes we look to see if there is a leader. If so, they win with the so-called silver goal. If it’s still level we move into a second 15-minute period, and if it’s still level then we’ll go to penalties. Graham Taylor how did you see the second half?

Graham Taylor: It was a bit poor to be honest, but if anyone deserved to win the game you’d have to say it was Manchester United. Arsenal only had one effort on goal in the second period, and if they want to win this without going to penalties they’re going to have to change something. That being said, Manchester United haven’t look too sharp either, but at least they’re creating the odd chance.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for that Graham. We’re almost to kick off again, and so it’s back to Dortmund and Mike Ingham.

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Mike Ingham: Fifteen minutes then to find a winner. If we don’t, we’ll have another fifteen minutes, and if that fails then we’ll have penalties. Arsenal are going to make a change before we get started, and it’s an interesting one. Thierry Henry is coming off, and on in his place is Kanu, the tall Nigerian. What do you make of that Graham?

Graham Taylor: It’s an interesting one, that’s for sure. I think Henry has had a quiet game, and that might be why he’s been taken off. But we all know that Henry can turn a game in a moment, so it’s a big risk that Arsenal have taken. But you’ve got to be brave in football, and if Kanu scores the winner then we’ll be hailing a master tactician. If he fails, we’ll be lambasting the decision. Such is football.

Mike Ingham: We’ve got less than two minutes to go in this first half of extra time, and surely a goal now would win it. Manchester United have a throw-in. Phil Neville finds Dyer. Cole goes in for the challenge, Dyer’s far too quick for him. He’s spotted van Nistelrooy. van Nistelrooy in space, lifts it into the box and Klose scores. The Manchester United fans go wild as Miroslav Klose has surely won the Champions League for the Old Trafford side. Great ball into Klose by van Nistelrooy, and Arsenal were caught out by Klose’s excellent header.

Graham Taylor: They’ve finally found a way past the Arsenal defence, and overall I think you have to say that they deserve it. Arsenal have only a minute to rescue their chances.

Mike Ingham: We’re a minute into injury time at the end of this silver goal time. Arsenal have to score. Volz finds Pennant, spreads it left to Aliadière, can he make this count? Aliadière puts it into the box, Ferdinand’s headed it into the path of Kanu, two-two. Kanu volleys in an equaliser, and Arsenal are back in it. What drama Graham Taylor.

Graham Taylor: What a masterful substitution bringing on Kanu turns out to be. He did really well to continue his run and he just got to the ball ahead of Barthez to stab the ball home. The referee’s blown up, and we’re going to have another fifteen minutes.

Alan Green: So, can Arsenal build on that fantastic equaliser to win this tie before penalties. We’ve got another fifteen minutes to go, and Arsenal will off. Just to remind you that if it finishes level after the next period of extra time, the game will be decided on penalties.

Parlour, finds Pennant. Ferdinand beats Aliadière to the ball, but Vieira picks it up. Pires, Phil Neville nips in to win it, it’s come to Aliadière, and that’s gone over the bar.

Graham Taylor: Positive start there from Arsenal. They’ve got all the confidence coming into this final stint, but that was no where near the target from Aliadière.

Alan Green: Ten minutes to go. Arsenal two, Manchester United two. Pires for Arsenal. Neat one-two with Aliadière, threads it through to Kanu, Barthez can’t hold, and Silvestre clears.

Graham Taylor: To be honest, Kanu has already done more than Henry since he’s come on, and that was another good chance. He didn’t have much chance to think about it, and it was straight at Barthez.

Alan Green: Silvestre will take this throw in. Giggs picks it up, tries to find Keane, Parlour gets there first. Straight to Pennant, into Kanu, he spots Barthez off his line and tries to lob him. Barthez though gets back in time and holds onto the ball.

Graham Taylor: It has to be something special to beat Barthez with a lob, and he wasn’t far enough off his line to have any realistic chance of scoring there. Good effort though.

Alan Green: Pires heads it to Aliadière, there’s no where to go so he plays it back to Vieira, Keane gets in there. He finds Klose, and Senderos is very late there. There was no need for him to do that and Senderos is going to be the second player to go into the book tonight.

Graham Taylor: Completely unnecessary. Klose wasn’t posing an immediate danger, and that was very silly from the Swiss right back.

Alan Green: Ashley Cole for Arsenal. Plays it down the left flank for Aliadière. He’s got the beating of Phil Neville, but Neville gets back to win the ball from the Frenchman. Neville to van Nistelrooy, Cygan gets in to clear it. Vieira now, finds Pennant. He tries to find Kanu, but Joseph Yobo is there to clear. Giggs looks to get to it, but Volz brings him down and that’s going to be a free kick to United.

Graham Taylor: It’s getting very nervy at the moment, and both sides are desperate not to lose this. It looks like we’re going to penalties.

Alan Green: The referee has the whistle in his mouth. He gives his watch one last look, and that’s it. Tobias Mårtensson blows up and the Champions League will be decided on a penalty shoot-out. Just to recap what’s happened here tonight. Jérémie Aliadière gave Arsenal the lead after sixteen minutes. Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised for Manchester United ten minutes later, and after 90 minutes it was still one-all. Miroslav Klose looked to have won the game with his effort in the penultimate minute of silver goal time, but Kanu equalised in injury time to take us to where we are now.

Mark Saggers: Amazing stuff there in Dortmund, and now we’ll have that lottery that is a penalty shoot-out. Any thoughts on how it might go Graham Taylor?

Graham Taylor: You just can’t tell with these things. I’m sure both sides will have practiced penalties in training building up to tonight, but you just can’t create the atmosphere in the stadium on the training ground.

Mark Saggers: Will they know who the penalty takers will be? Will they have decided that?

Graham Taylor: The problem with trying to do that is you don’t know who’ll still be on the pitch. For instance, you might have expected Thierry Henry to take one for Arsenal, but off course he’s no longer on the field. I think it also comes down to how players are feeling right now. For all the best laid plans, if the player’s not up for it right now, then it’s not worth putting him up for the first five.

Mark Saggers: Interesting point there Graham. It looks like we’re ready for the shootout. So, it’s back to Dortmund and Mike Ingham.

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Mike Ingham: The referee is talking with both captains, and it looks like we’re going to move to the end where the Manchester United fans are. Fabien Barthez is heading towards the goal, and it looks like Jérémie Aliadière will take Arsenal’s first penalty. He’s become their regular penalty taker over the last year or so, and he should be confident of scoring here. The Frenchman takes a short run up, and it’s straight into the top corner. One-nil.

Graham Taylor: Excellent penalty from Aliadière, and it’s a good start for Arsenal.

Alan Green: Paul Scholes will take the first penalty for Manchester United. The ginger-headed midfielder steps up, and drills it low under Stuart Taylor.

Graham Taylor: That was almost down the centre from Scholes, and if you’re going to do that, you have to hit it hard. That’s what Scholes did, so it’s one-one.

Mike Ingham: Robert Pires steps up for Arsenal now. Straight down the centre and Barthez had no chance. Two-one to Arsenal.

Graham Taylor: Pires got a bit lucky there. Barthez didn’t really move, but he was beaten by the sheer power of the penalty.

Alan Green: Roy Keane steps up for Manchester United. He places the ball on the spot, takes a few steps backwards. And that’s straight into the right corner of Taylor’s net. Two-two.

Graham Taylor: That’s a much better penalty, and the experienced head of Keane certainly helped there.

Mike Ingham: Kanu now. He scored that vital equaliser that kept Arsenal in the game. Short run up, and Barthez saves it. Manchester United have the advantage.

Graham Taylor: Poor penalty there from Kanu. It was at just the right height for Barthez, and it was easy for the Frenchman to keep out the kick.

Alan Green: Ruud van Nistelrooy can give his side a tangible advantage if he can put this penalty away. Runs up, Taylor moved early and that’s all too easy for the Dutchman. Three penalties each gone, and United lead three-two.

Graham Taylor: What was Stuart Taylor doing there? He went to his left before van Nistelrooy had hit the ball, and the Dutchman just rolled it down the middle. Terrible goalkeeping there.

Mike Ingham: Ray Parlour. He really needs to score to keep Arsenal in this. Parlour, and Barthez saves again. Manchester United are on the verge of lifting the trophy again.

Graham Taylor: That was almost a carbon copy of Kanu’s penalty, except that Kanu tried to go right, and Parlour went left.

Alan Green: Miroslav Klose can win the European Cup for Manchester United if he scores this penalty. The lanky German takes a few paces back, Taylor saves. Arsenal are still in. Great save by Taylor going to his right to deny Klose.

Graham Taylor: I can’t believe what I’m seeing tonight, it’s just amazing. Good save from Taylor to deny Klose.

Mike Ingham: Jermaine Pennant must win or the title goes to Manchester United. The England winger takes a short run up, and fires it into the left corner. Arsenal three, Manchester United three, but United have the next penalty in hand.

Graham Taylor: He kept his head there Pennant, and full credit to him. United though still have the advantage.

Alan Green: They missed their first opportunity to win this game, but Kieron Dyer can now win the Champions League for Manchester United. The former-Newcastle and Ipswich man steps up, and it’s saved. Taylor has pulled Arsenal from the brink yet again, and we’re going into sudden death penalties.

Graham Taylor: This is amazing stuff. Another good save from Taylor to rescue the Gunners. Of course, what it means now is that we’re into the players who didn’t really want to take penalties, and it just comes down to who can keep their nerves in check the best.

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Mike Ingham: Ashley Cole is going to take the next penalty for Arsenal. Of course he’s left footed, and I wonder if this will help or hinder him. Short run up, and into the top left hand corner. Barthez had no chance.

Graham Taylor: Excellent penalty from Cole. Gave the goalkeeper no chance there, and that was a textbook penalty. Shame we had to wait so long to see it.

Alan Green: Joseph Yobo must score this to keep Manchester United in the game. Arsenal lead four-three at the moment. The Nigerian puts the ball on the spot, and the ball hits the post and goes out. Arsenal have won their maiden Champions League four-three on penalties.

Graham Taylor: What an unlucky way to lose it for Manchester United. One inch to the right and Yobo would have equalised. As it was though it’s hit the post, and it’s a fantastic moment for Arsenal.

Mark Saggers: Graham, do you think Arsenal deserve it?

Graham Taylor: I think they were slightly second best on the night, but you have to give them credit for fighting back, not just once tonight, but twice. Firstly with that great comeback from Kanu to deny the silver goal, and then coming back from missing two penalties to win on the penalty shootout. Also, they’ve beaten Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester United on the way, and they’ve all won the competition in the last ten years or so. So yes, I think they do deserve to finally claim this European tie.

Mark Saggers: Thanks for the Graham. It looks like the podium has just been put up, so we’ll go back for the presentations.

Mike Ingham: Yes Mark, the Manchester United players are just going up to get their runners-up medals, but as you would expect they’re taking them straight off. There goes Ruud van Nistelrooy, the captain, Roy Keane, former captain. Miroslav Klose now collects his medal. He thought he’d won the game at the end of the first period of extra time. Cristiano Ronaldo is looking very tearful, and now the coaching staff are picking up their medals.

Alan Green: The Arsenal players are starting to make their way up to the podium now. There goes the hero Kanu, collects his medal from UEFA president Lennart Johanssen, and just eyes the trophy as he moves up to the podium with the rest of his teammates. Aliadière, who scored the first goal, Edu, who had a poor match tonight, and there goes Sol Campbell, bedecked in his suit having sat out the game due to suspension. Stuart Taylor is last but one to go up, the hero having kept out two penalties, and up now comes club captain Patrick Vieira. Lennart Johanssen puts the gold medal round Vieira’s neck, and now both men advance towards the trophy. Vieira turns towards his teammates, picks up the trophy, and slowly turns round to face the Arsenal fans and lifts it high above his head. Arsenal are European champions 2005. icon_smile.gif

The End

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Thanks for the kind words everyone - glad you enjoyed it. icon_smile.gif I just couldn't believe what I was watching when it actually happened, so I had to share it with you.

As for being an author - you should probably take a lot at some of my other stuff, and then make a judgement. icon_eek.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by binny:

Thanks for the kind words everyone - glad you enjoyed it. icon_smile.gif I just couldn't believe what I was watching when it actually happened, so I had to share it with you.

As for being an author - you should probably take a lot at some of my other stuff, and then make a judgement. icon_eek.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL

I Presume you wasn't manager of either team

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Grizzy:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by binny:

Thanks for the kind words everyone - glad you enjoyed it. icon_smile.gif I just couldn't believe what I was watching when it actually happened, so I had to share it with you.

As for being an author - you should probably take a lot at some of my other stuff, and then make a judgement. icon_eek.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL

I Presume you wasn't manager of either team <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Arsenal manager actually - check my profile icon_rolleyes.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by binny:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Grizzy:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by binny:

Thanks for the kind words everyone - glad you enjoyed it. icon_smile.gif I just couldn't believe what I was watching when it actually happened, so I had to share it with you.

As for being an author - you should probably take a lot at some of my other stuff, and then make a judgement. icon_eek.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL

I Presume you wasn't manager of either team <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Arsenal manager actually - check my profile icon_rolleyes.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Alright sorry it's just that you didn't mention it in your story.

Well Done the Gunners then !!!!

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