---------------------------------
[10] Stam hints he is on his way
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
>From News of the World first edition

'MANCHESTER UNITED have sensationally  agreed to sell 18 million Dutch defender Jaap 
Stam to Lazio. 

And last night a stunned Stam exclusively told the News of the World: "This has  come 
out of the blue, but it's true. United have accepted an offer from the Italian club 
this weekend. I have never wanted to leave but United have agreed a fee with Lazio and 
it seems both sides are eager to discuss a transfer. I have no choice but to consider 
my options. Lazio are now free to talk to me and we will see what happens over the 
next few days." 

The shock deal comes just two weeks after Stam's controversial autobiography was 
published in which he accuses manager Sir Alex Ferguson of tapping him up and attacks 
several of his Old Trafford team-mates. 

United spokesman Patrick Harverson revealed: "I can confirm we have had an offer from 
Lazio." 

The Italians made their move at Thursday's Champions League draw in Monaco when 
officials from the Serie A side's camp approached Reds chief executive Peter Kenyon. 

They expected to be told the United star was not be for sale at any price, but were 
stunned to find out the Reds were willing to consider a bid for the 28-year-old 
stopper. 

And within hours of offering 18 million for Stam, Lazio were told that bid had been 
accepted and the Italians were free to open talks with the Dutchman. 

Stam's UK agent Mike Williams confirmed: "This has come as a surprise. But if 
Manchester United are willing to listen to offers I'm sure there will be plenty 
interested in the services of a world-class defender." 

United have already identified Stam's successor, with Inter Milan's France World Cup 
winner Laurent Blanc the favourite. 

The news comes on the back of a torrid week for the defender. Stam, who arrived at 
United in 1998 from PSV Eindhoven in a 10.75 million deal, was dropped for the 
midweek draw with Blackburn amid claims Ferguson had axed him over comments made in 
his book. He has also been omitted from the squad for today's trip to Aston Villa. 

United are keen to recoup some of the 47 million they paid out in the summer for Juan 
Veron and Ruud van Nistelrooy.'

---------------------------------
[9] Early editions report Stam bid
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
>From News of the World

'JAAP STAM sat in his Wilmslow home last night, stunned and bewildered at the savage 
retribution taken by Sir Alex Ferguson. The giant Dutch defender, still bemused at 
being dropped from the team, was reeling at the news of Lazio's bid  and crushed by 
United's decision to accept it. 

United will insist the decision to axe him was made long before his  controversial 
autobiography called Head To Head came out. But it cannot be coincidence that Fergie 
and the board decided to accept  the 18 million bid from Lazio so soon after it was 
published. 

The book, out just two weeks ago, made startling allegations about Stam's United 
team-mates, and most importantly, the manager, including: 

How Fergie tapped up Stam before he left PSV to lure him to Old Trafford.
Condemnation of the Neville brothers as a 'a couple of busy c****' 
Dressing-room revelations, including details of one of Fergie's legendary team talks. 

Stam, who has struggled for form since the Achilles injury which kept him out from 
September to January last season, admitted: "The start of the football season has been 
disastrous for me. I realise that all the commotion around my book has not done my any 
favours. Sir Alex was not happy but it was all too late." 

He insisted: "The incidents I described with the manager, as well as Peter Schmeichel, 
Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers were not, in my eyes, things to shock 
the world. I have made headlines for many days with my book. The whole affair is 
irritating.  I know there are forces desperate to split our camp. I have spoken to the 
manager and I kept in touch with the players when I realised some of the things in the 
book were to appear in the newspapers. 

The players were not upset at all. I still think my book shows that even football 
superstars are ordinary people. It was an insight into what happens in a big club, but 
some of the things have been blown out of all proportion. It has certainly not gone 
the way I wanted." 

But the defender, signed from PSV for 10.75 million three years ago, could never have 
predicted the brutal and final retribution Fergie would take. Stam, who was part of 
United's famous Treble-winning side and played a part in two more Championship-winning 
teams, played against Fulham in the opening game of the season but made a dreadful 
mistake  and has not played since. 

He said: "Last Wednesday the manager left me out. I didn't like it, I really didn't. 
To be sitting at home while my team was playing at Blackburn Rovers left me with a 
horrible feeling.  I admit our defence has been playing below United's normal 
standards. I made one mistake in our opening Premiership match against Fulham." 

The giant Dutch defender swore he would never leave United but, in the  end, the 
decision was not up to him. The book's details were revealed while Stam was with 
Holland preparing for the England game. But when he got back to Old Trafford, Fergie 
hauled him in for a showdown. 

He eventually allowed Stam to rejoin training but the VIP party to launch the book at 
Old Trafford was cancelled. The news that United's prize defender is being sacrificed 
will come as a huge shock to the club's fans. 

The big stopper is a hero among the terrace faithful and United's willingness to 
off-load him in a season where Fergie is gearing himself up for another treble bid 
will shock them. 

United's dressing room is known as one of the most private and closely knit in the 
game, and divulging the most intimate moments of their day-to-day working lives on 
soccer's millionaire row is tantamount to high  treason. But Stam broke those rules, 
betraying players who stood alongside him during United's third successive 
Championships and the European Cup victory over Bayern Munich. 

No-one has ever turned over Fergie and got away with it and, as other great stars 
found out in the past, the world can turn from a cosy closet into a cauldron of hatred 
if you commit such sins. 

Stam's move to Lazio will keep him out of harm's way  but just you wait until he 
steps out for the Italians to face Manchester United. Stam still has to negotiate his 
move to Lazio  the only certainty was that he will not be at Old Trafford for long. 

Yet the biggest and most difficult question last night was whether Stam had jumped or 
been pushed. Fergie had been far from impressed with the big man's form in recent  
months. But maybe something was playing on Stam's mind. Insiders at Old Trafford 
believe that Stam's decision to put so much damaging detail in his book was because he 
knew that his future lay elsewhere. 

Today's multi-millionaire stars can change their allegiance almost overnight and Stam, 
the player who came out of a little known Dutch club is no exception.'

The spin has started.

---------------------------------
[8] Posh wanted Becks to move says friend
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
Tell us something we didn't know.

News of the World goes big with 'Posh secrets' type story today

'TODAY the News of the World can reveal the true story of Victoria Beckham that, until 
now, only her closest friends have known. 

Only they know how she stood weeping in the home she hated, pleading with husband 
David to leave Manchester United for the sake of their marriage. The homesick star'

(how many days was she up in Manchester?)

'...was at the end of her tether  and the bitter rows with her new husband over where 
they should live were beginning to take their toll...

Next month Posh will publish her autobiography, Learning To Fly. She was reputedly 
paid 1 million by Penguin books. But today we get to the true Victoria that no 
self-written book can reach...
    
The fact that she tried to prise her  husband away from Old Trafford will stun 
millions of United supporters around the world. 

"I did all I could to try to get David to leave Manchester," she told one friend, at 
the end of her tether. 

The friend explained: "She was a Hertfordshire girl and couldn't stand her life away 
from her family and friends in the south-east and around London. She begged David not 
to sign another contract with Alex Ferguson. But David wouldn't be persuaded, and 
there were some really massive arguments between them.  While Victoria has nothing but 
admiration for Manchester United as a club,'

(appease us time)

'...she pleaded with Becks to worry about her life for a moment rather than his own 
career in football." 

Posh said to her pal: "I've tried to get through to him how desperately I miss my 
family and friends down in London." 

The friend continued: "She thought Alderley Edge was like living in the middle of 
nowhere." 

But Beckham stood firm  and soon, however, their unhappiness behind closed  doors 
began to seep out into their public life. 

In February 2000 Becks was thrown off United's training ground after a furious row 
with boss Alex Ferguson because he had failed to show up for training and stayed south 
at Posh's parents' home in  Goff's Oak, Hertfordshire.  Fergie was becoming fed up 
with Beckham's failure to persuade Victoria to settle down properly at their Alderley 
Edge home. 

That turned to fury when David decided after all to re-sign his Manchester United 
contract in 1998.  Revealing feelings so long hidden from the public, Posh said: "I 
was a bit hurt because I was hoping deep down he'd sign for a London club." 

Those comments now add weight to the frenzied speculation at the time that Arsenal 
were considering a 25 million bid for the player. 

But for a time Posh was so consumed with the idea that he might move from Old Trafford 
that she had forgotten the family reason why she first wanted him to go. "I think 
David dreams of playing for Barcelona in the future," she said with a sigh. 

Soon she was even trying to negotiate his wages. When Beckham's team-mate Roy Keane 
landed a 52,000-a-week pay deal in December 1999 Posh told one confidant: "I don't 
really know what difference it's going to make but I know that David's money should go 
up. At some point he will move and I think that playing abroad is something he'd like 
to do." A friend told the News of the World: "She was determined to have some 
influence over his career. It helped her feel part of what he was doing, more a 
couple, and eased her loneliness." 

Predictably United manager Alex Ferguson, right, was furious at the interference. Yet 
only now can the full truth be told of the machinations that went on behind the 
headlines. 

The pal added: "She read them like the rest of us, but Posh can be so determined. She 
really wanted to make things happen in David's life.  But she now accepts her husband 
was entirely right not to quit United. She said she'd learned from the rows with David 
 and was never going to interfere with his career plans again." 

But some believe there is still a residue of ill-feeling for Alex Ferguson and she 
recently gave vent again to her feelings. 

She was asked, as a joke, that if she could save one person from drowning would she 
help Alex Ferguson or Geri Halliwell. Her reply was: "I'd let them both drown." 

Another pal said: "I'm sure it was a joke as far as Sir Alex was concerned. She now 
realises he's a great influence for good on David."

---------------------------------
[7] How others reported Stam bid
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
>From Sky news

'Manchester United have confirmed that they had received an offer for Jaap Stam - amid 
reports that Lazio are ready to lure him to Serie A.
                                                   
The Italian club are understood to have lined up a 16m bid for the Dutch 
international who has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford following the publication 
of his autobiography. United spokesman Patrick Harverson said: "We can confirm we have 
received an offer for Stam." 

The former PSV Eindhoven stopper, who recently signed a new lucrative long-term 
contract, moved to United for 10.75m three years ago. 

However, he has been widely criticised for his part in the Charity Shield defeat 
against Liverpool and the two goals the champions conceded on the opening day against 
Fulham. He also missed the 2-2 midweek draw at Ewood Park, and is not expected to take 
part in United's Premiership Plus clash with Aston Villa on Sunday.  

Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking earlier this week, tried to defuse the perception of a 
growing rift between himself and the player over the aforementioned book.

He said: "There is no problem with Jaap. Sometimes you need a break, it is no problem. 
He will come back in at some point. Sometimes you need to come back out to see how 
things are."

The Italians, who finished third in Serie A last season to claim a Champions League 
place, sold Juan Sebastian Veron to United for 28m, and also traded Pavel Nedved and 
Marcelo Salas to Juventus for around 33m. Their biggest summer acquisition was 
midfielder Gaizka Mendieta from Valencia for 29m.'

---------------------------------
[6] How others are reporting it
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
www.eplsoccer.com

Stam's been sold

'Manchester United have sold Jaap Stam to Italian giants Lazio for a fee believed to 
be in the region of 15 million, according to The Sunday People sport. 

In a move which is sure to outrage all United fans, Peter Kenyon and Sir Alex Ferguson 
have decided to cash in on Stam while  they feel his value will be at its peak. It 
again proves that no player is bigger than Manchester United, and any player prepared 
to take on Ferguson will lose. 

Peter Kenyon met officials from Lazio in Monaco on Thursday whilst both parties were 
representing their clubs at the draw for the first round of the Champions League. 

The clubs have agreed the fee - Stam is yet to agree personal terms - but he will 
NEVER pull on a United shirt again. 

United spokesman Patrick Harverson said: "We can confirm we have received an offer for 
Stam." 

United are hoping that Stam will fly out to Rome either on Sunday or Monday to 
complete the formalities and undergo a medical. 

Lazio have been long time admirers of the Dutch giant, and tried to sign him from PSV 
Eindhoven at the same time as United in 1998. 

It's no secret that Stam has been ostracised by his fellow United players since 
extracts of his autobiography were published in a national newspaper criticising some 
of his teammates. 

Stam had been dropped by Ferguson after lacklustre performances in both the Charity 
Shield and the opening Premiership encounter with Fulham. Stam's agent was instructed 
to contact all the major clubs in Europe by the player himself last week, when it 
became apparent that he had no future at Old Trafford. 

When Sir Alex Ferguson became aware of this Stam was offered to Lazio. Whilst it seems 
the decision to sell Stam is a recent one, EPLsoccer sources close to the club have 
confirmed that Ferguson has not been happy with Stam's form since he returned from 
injury last season. 

Ferguson does not feel that Stam has the character, or personality to get the best out 
of Wes Brown. United now face a race against time in trying to sign a world-class 
defender before the Champions League deadline next week. Laurent Blanc looks like the 
obvious choice - the 35-year-old will be available on a free transfer from Inter 
Milan.'

---------------------------------
[5] A United insider repeats to us
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
The deal is not "100% definite". But certainly looks that way from here!

---------------------------------
[4] How Red News reported events Saturday evening
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
What do you mean you don't check with us 24 hours a day

Red News wrote Saturday evening...

'Red News contacted Paddy Harverson to find out the score.

He told Red News:

'We have received a bid for Jaap Stam'

[12] Breaking news - Stam off to Lazio? 
Saturday, August 25, 2001

Story breaking now and one first mentioned on Red Issue on Thursday
is that the bust-up between Fergie and Stam over his book - which only
on Thursday Fergie was saying was "in the past" - has now reached
crisis point.

Further to that story the Sunday tabloids are saying that we are selling Stam to Lazio 
for a figure close to 18m.

We have checked with our snouts who say that it does not look good - a
move is likely but, and Stam fans can cling to this, not 100%. The move is as of 
Saturday night not definite.

Red News contacted Paddy Harverson late Saturday night as the man
was deluged with hacks. He told us: 'We have received a bid for Jaap
Stam' but no comment as yet as to whether it will be accepted or not.

Expect Sunday to be d-day and for this to be settled one way or the
other in the next few days.'

---------------------------------
[3] More from Stam - but early quotes
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
So stil wait and see

"I have spoken to the manager and I kept in touch with the players when I realised 
some of the things in the book were to appear in the newspapers. Sir Alex was not 
happy but it was all too late. The start of the football season for me has been 
disastrous. Last Wednesday the manager left me out. I didn't like it, I really didn't. 
To be sitting at home on the couch while my team was playing at Blackburn Rovers left 
me with a horrible feeling."

---------------------------------
[2] Stam quotes made early Saturday - before it all broke
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
>From the BBC and carried in the Mail of Sunday. Looks positive but it has all changed 
>since then, so we'll have to wait to see what Fergie, Paddy H and Stam himself say 
>Sunday. One thing - BBC - check your facts, Utd DID know the book was coming and 
>being touted around the papers. Just ask anyone at United and they will tell you this 
>is the case.

'Jaap Stam has been left in the cold at Manchester United because of his controversial 
autobiography and he could leave the club altogether. Reports suggest that United have 
already agreed a 16m fee for the Dutch defender with Lazio. 

United spokesman Patrick Harverson has confirmed in the Sunday Mirror that the club 
have "received an offer" but he declined to elaborate on who made it. 

However Stam is adamant that his future remains at Old Trafford despite his 
"disastrous" start to the campaign. 

"I know there are forces desperate to split our camp but I can tell you it will not 
happen," he told the Mail on Sunday. 

"My fellow players at United know the game and how it is being played. The incidents I 
described with the manager, as well as Peter Schmeichel, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and 
the Neville brothers were not things to shock the world," Stam added. 

Stam declared that his peers in the dressing room were not "upset" by his revelations, 
however he admitted that Sir Alex Ferguson was "not happy". 

The 29-year-old's claims that Ferguson made an illegal approach to him when he was at 
PSV Eindhoven and that the United supremo encouraged his players to dive in European 
games left the Old Trafford supremo fuming. 

Staff at United were apparently not even aware that Stam was releasing his 
autobiography "Head to Head".  Ferguson gave Stam a dressing down when the player 
returned from international duty last week.  And the player was dropped for the first 
time in his three-year United career at Blackburn on Wednesday. 

According to newspaper reports Stam has also been stripped of the club's unofficial 
vice-captaincy and fined 100,000.  But Ferguson has insisted that Stam's future at 
United is not in doubt. 

"Players need a break from things now and again. There isn't a problem with Jaap and 
Gary (Neville).  They will get back in. But Wes and Ronny did well on Wednesday - I 
had no complaints about them."

---------------------------------
[1] Comment on Stam shocker
---------------------------------
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2001 by bar-knee:
One take on all this from a RN contributor...

Fergie spent the imminent arrival of the new season as happy as he has been - if not 
ever - then in quite some time at Manchester United. He got what he wanted last May 
and now gets on better with Peter Kenyon than he has done with any off pitch chief 
since he arrived. He knows how much cuddly Peter stuck his neck out for him back in 
the summer. But he is determined to go out with a bang in his last season in charge, 
and the fireworks he wants come purely in terms of success.

Nothing will stand in his way to achieve that for him and us. And so it should be, and 
must be. Time and time again it has been clearly shown that Fergie has taken the right 
decision over the years - those that may have been the odd duff choice clearly shown 
as rare instances mixed with so many right decisions. That is why if Stam, as looks 
likely, is to go, we back it. Fergie thinks it is right - so it is right with us. It 
has to be, we have so little time left, even though we will disagree that if it is 
cited as a good bit of 'footballing businness' - getting rid of World class standard 
players always gives you cause for concern. We have to replace that - that would make 
us two players short at the back.

Red News has been delving deep since rumour first started that a sale could be on the 
cards. Apparently Fergie hasn't been happy with Stam's form since he returned from 
injury last season. Also maybe crucially Jaap isn't enough of a defence leader to get 
the best out of Wes Brown. We'll let you be the judge of that - definitely a pick me 
up is needed if the sale is to go ahead for it will stun both fans and some players 
alike - and we hear that as we mentioned earlier in the week we may actually get 
Laurent Blanc at our fifth attempt. It looks on the cards that Blanc will now come. 
Barthez will be happy.

Of course below is only our take on things for now, waters that are muddy at the 
moment have a habit of clearing within days and vice versa but the mood doesn't look 
good inside Old Trafford in the early hours of Sunday for Stam to be here in the next 
few weeks. It is his decision at the moment - amazingly a player so hopeful just a few 
weeks ago about the season now may leave the club he was desperate to join. As one RN 
source told us: "united aren't outside his house begging him to stay, they've actively 
sealed the deal themselves and then told him'.

But again let us not dispute the decision. Fergie showed how much the ruthless streak 
is needed if we really are to appear at Hampden this year when he had a pop at not 
only Jaap and Gary Nev but Barthez as well in the past week. Unusual at anytime but 
especially after just a few games of a new season - unlike waiting for the inevitable 
as with Real and Bayern European defeats, Fergie did not want to be caught out again 
and miss very telling warning signs.

It is however very bizarre that it has all kicked off over Stam's book. As certain as 
no Utd player will ever have such a reign in an out of house production autobiography 
so Stam seems adamant that he has done nothing really wrong - and that things were 
taken out of context. 

Certainly Utd should have been more on the ball with this - they certainly will next 
time. After so many endless crap ghost written comic books from the Utd stable eyes 
were taken off the ball even though they knew it had been written and that they were 
seeking a paper to carry the story. It doesn't take long to ask for a copy yourself to 
read does it? Indeed the Mirror only took serialisation at the last minute - most 
papers apparently declined to take it without even looking at the manuscript. 
Apparently a thought of 'another crappy book, why bother' amongst the tabloids. The 
Mirror always seemingly on a anti-Utd slant then saw what they had - a dynamite 
opportunity to increase sales and have a pop at Fergie. That it was the paper that has 
given him so much grief over recent years was also one of the main points of anger. It 
should be well known that only the great man himself is allowed to reveal the 
skeletons every so often and Stam fresh from always trying to be open and !
honest on his own web site infruriated his bosses and team-mates.

That is apparently as much as anything to do with all this - not just the tap and dive 
comments but the revelation of behind the scenes details that aren't the usual 'X is 
the best dresser at the club' about his colleagues. One journalist told us last night 
that the main Utd cliques have not spoken to Stam since it blew - and they have to be 
on your side to succeed at Old Trafford.

When it was serialised Fergie blew his top. Utd officials tried to contain the damage 
and protect Stam's arse - for which he appreciated this help. The publicity for the 
book was cancelled to help cool things off but the week before Fulham was crucial; the 
teams' preperation for the new season had been disrupted and a lot of words were being 
aired, not many for the Dutch positive.

We bemoaned privately how the Champs league draw had been bought forward to the 
Thursday so as to give football officials a night in Monaco before the Super Cup. 
Certainly it allowed for all concerned to have open discussions about a number of 
issues (more of that in the coming weeks) - teams would not have known about Stam's 
'price tag' surely without it being hinted at - and Utd's refusal to tell the 
bidder(s) to f*ck off was indication that the deal could be on if the player wants it.

This is not what any of us would have wanted just a few weeks ago. It was bad enough 
reading Andrew Cole saying he would be prepared to leave if chances didn't come - 
before the season had even started. So to stop these clouds hanging over us decisions 
must be taken by all sides quickly. It is obviously fair enough that Fergie shows 
everyone just who is boss, but as we have commented before, of course talk to fanzines 
(we would say that!) who don't want to stitch you up but do be bloody careful about 
who and what you say to journalists with no interest in making it look good for player 
or United.

If Stam is to have his very own Damascus conversion and stay then he, Fergie and the 
team must sort it out as quickly as they can. If not then the bid must be accepted as 
quickly as possible - which seems the likely route judging by what those 'in the know' 
are saying. Fergie has a hunger like no other for this season - and nothing must get 
in the way if we are to plan a Scottish pilgrimage.

The waters will clear, muddy and clear again no doubt even whilst you read this. 
Fergie is right no matter what happens over this, because he thinks it is right for 
the club - but that isn't hiding the fact that I for one will be gutted that the 
player with a great song may leave Manchester United.

United of course always moves on - but that isn't to say I hope that this will be the 
last of the back page headlines for the wrong reasons for the time being.

---------------------------------
[13] Red News Exclusive - Stam bid confirmed to Red News
---------------------------------
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2001 by bar-knee:
Red News contacted Paddy Harverson to find out the score.

He told Red News:

'We have received a bid for Jaap Stam'

More to follow here post midnight and Sunday.

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