Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Man Utd v Stoke City 20:00 GMT

Manchester United are the most successful Premier League club having won the title 11 times. It all began in 1993 when manager Sir Alex Ferguson ended a 26-year wait to lift the Premier League crown.
The signing of Eric Cantona for £1.2m from Leeds United proved a masterstroke as the Frenchman was instrumental in the title victory, along with the likes of Gary Pallister, Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs and Paul Ince.
United retained the trophy in the following campaign and romped to further titles in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003. More silverware was added to the Red Devils' burgeoning trophy cabinet with FA Cup success in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2004, plus League Cup victories in 1992 and 2006.
Perhaps the most memorable time in the club's history was the treble-winning season of 1999 when they added the European Champions League trophy to the league title and FA Cup.
Chelsea briefly broke their league dominance with title wins in 2005 and 2006. But in the 2006/07 season, the Red Devils roared back to regain the Barclays Premiership.
They went one better in 2007/08, enjoying their most successful campaign since winning the treble. They saw off the challenge of Chelsea and Arsenal to win an exciting Barclays Premier League title race and defeated the Blues on penalties in the Champions League final after a 1-1 draw between the two sides in Moscow.
In 2008/09, United made it a hat-trick of titles, also winning the Carling Cup but narrowly missing out to Barcelona in the Champions League final.
They retained the Carling Cup in 2010 but finished a point behind Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League after a tense race which went to the final day of the campaign.

Stoke City secured a third season in the Barclays Premier League with an impressive 11th place finish at the end of 2009/10.
Manager Tony Pulis again exceeded expectations by confirming the Potters' place in the top flight with a handful of matches to spare a year after they placed 12th.
This is Pulis' second spell in charge at the club. He originally parted company with the Potters at the end of the 2004/05 season. Dutch manager Johan Boskamp stepped in but left at the end of the season after a mid-table finish.
Boskamp's departure came as former-chairman Peter Coates was completing a takeover of the club and he reappointed Pulis who, after leading the club to eighth in the 2006/07 season, guided them to promotion.
Prior to their promotion, Stoke had not competed in the top flight since the 1984/85 season.
Their most recent trophy was won in 2000 when their first overseas manager, Gudjon Thordarson, guided them to The Auto Windscreens trophy. It was the Icelander who led them to promotion into the First Division in 2001.

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