Charlie Mitten's signing-on fee was reputedly pounds 5,000 plus a weekl y wage of at least pounds 40 when he played in Colombia

FAN'S EYE VIEW: No 112 Manchester United's wingers
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Alex Ferguson's decision to sell the Ukrainian-born Russian international winger Andrei Kanchelskis to Everton for pounds 5m may have been one of the more predictable events during Manchester United's crazy mid-summer clear- out.

After all, Kanchelskis had barely been on speaking terms with Ferguson since the United manager dropped him for a League game - ironically at Everton - back in February. A very public feud between the two soon broke out.

For outraged United fans, though, this open clash of personalities was nothing new. Kanchelskis's spat with Ferguson represented merely the latest in a line of run-ins between brilliant wingers and Old Trafford bosses who like to stress the virtues of attacking wide play while remaining mindful of the need to churn out results.

One of the earliest of these encounters began during United's close season tour of Amerca in 1950 when Charlie Mitten, who wore the No 11 shirt in the late Sir Matt Busby's first great side after the war, was approached by a representative of the Bogota club, Santa Fe, to play in Colombia.

Mitten's signing-on fee was reputedly pounds 5,000 plus a weekly wage of at least pounds 40 - nearly three times the then maximum wage at home. He played in Colombia for a year, but United's form suffered so much in his absence that Busby was forced to deny rumours he was about to be sacked. Mitten was banned and transfer-listed by Busby on his return before being sold to Fulham.

The Mitten episode was a foretaste of future problems for United managers with recalcitrant wingers. But nothing could have prepared them for that most sublime, most wayward winger of all: George Best. Four successive managers - Sir Matt, Wilf McGuinness, Frank O'Farrell and Tommy Docherty - failed to tame the Irish genius.

Best's legendary extra-curricular activities were tolerated to a degree, his sudden and unexplained absences from United's Cliff training ground less so.

Despite this tendency to go walkabout, Best almost single-handedly kept United in the top flight - in each of the four seasons after the 1968 European Cup win, he was the club's top scorer. Having "retired" for almost a year, Best returned to Old Trafford for one final fling in September 1973. Tommy Docherty was now at the helm, and Best made a dozen consecutive appearances until he was dropped for the FA Cup third round against Plymouth in January 1974 after arriving 20 minutes before kick-off.

"George had always turned up at 2.40," Eamon Dunphy recalled in his biography of Sir Matt. "Busby understood. The Doc was not willing to accommodate this idiosyncrasy."

Best had played his last game for the club. He was 27. United were relegated to the Second Division later that season.

The Doc had problems of a diffirent kind with another winger he inherited from Sir Matt. Willie Morgan was made captain for a while during Docherty's reign, but the honeymoon was short-lived. The pair became embroiled in a legal battle over remarks Morgan made in a Granada TV interview in which he accused Docherty of being "about the worst manager there had ever been."

The case went as far as the Old Bailey, where Docherty was eventually acquitted on two charges of perjury in 1981 after admitting discrepancies in his evidence.

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