The record books show that Viv Anderson was the last big name player to be transferred from Arsenal to Manchester United in 1987 but two earlier signings proved to be just as significant. Few players have shown the knack of finding the net better than former great David Herd did in the sixties. During his seven years at Old Trafford, the Scotland born striker scored 145 times in 265 appearances. Then there was the Irish centre forward Frank Stapleton who had been rejected by United as a teenager. It was therefore ironic that Ron Atkinson had to pay the Gunners £900,000 for his signature in August 1981. Both Herd and Stapleton proved to be inspirational signings for which the Arsenal contribution has to be recognised.
Despite the heavy 0-4 defeat suffered at West Ham in the Carling Cup last week, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to again leave a number of senior players out of his starting lineup for Tuesday night’s Champions League meeting with Valencia. Both clubs have already qualified for the knockout round although top spot in Group C is still up for grabs. United have 13 points from five games and will win the group if they avoid defeat against the Spaniards.
The 4-0 thumping West Ham handed to Manchester United last night was not the first, nor will it be the last of such upsets in the Carling Cup. Remember Coventry City at Old Trafford three years ago? The second tier side avoided relegation by just one point that season while United went on to win the second of three successive Premier League titles yet the champions were bundled out of the cup by two goals from little known Michael Mifsud who has barely been heard of again.