How United downloaded victory out of left field
Baseball pioneered iPod tactic for technological coup in Carling Cup shoot-out
Tuesday 03 March 2009
Manchester United copied from baseball the idea of using an iPod to give Ben Foster tips on which way Tottenham's players would take their penalties in Sunday's Carling Cup final shoot-out.
Eric Steele, United's goalkeeping coach, adopted the research aid after studying the methods used in the American sport. He downloaded clips showing which way various Spurs players have taken penalties in the past – including Jamie O'Hara, whose effort was saved by Foster.
The video iPods were first used by the Colorado Rockies baseball team more than three years ago – after their assistant video coordinator Brian Jones was given one of the devices as a Christmas present, soon after they had gone on sale, and he realised it could be adapted to help in coaching.
Traditionally, players are given DVDs to study but the iPods are a more portable variation. In baseball, for example, clips of hitters' swings are downloaded on to the machines owned by pitchers, who can then use them when inside the stadium. Such was its success that the Rockies' idea was copied by many other baseball teams across the US.
Steele's use of the iPod – he took two on to the Wembley pitch for Foster to study – does not contravene any Football Association rules. "He [Foster] broke no laws of the game and as far as we are concerned we don't have a problem with it," an FA spokesman said. However, the FA will consult with Fifa, football's world governing body, as to whether a loophole is being exploited.
At the last World Cup, Germany's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had a crib sheet in his socks detailing which way Argentina's players usually take penalties, but United's idea is one step on from that.
Ryan Giggs admitted that winning the Carling Cup was "last on our list of priorities" during a season in which United could win an unprecedented quintet of trophies, having already secured the World Club Championship.
However, he said that winning the trophy on Sunday was a key to the rest of the season. "It's a final and no one wants to lose a final," the midfielder said. "There were young players out there who will now know what it's like to win something. And it builds momentum into a big game on Wednesday [in the Premier League] at Newcastle. We won the World Club Championship just before Christmas and that built some momentum. We got a lot of confidence from winning that competition. We've got to keep the momentum."
Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, insisted he should not have been booked by the referee Chris Foy for diving, following a challenge in the penalty area by Ledley King in which the Spurs defender appeared to stand on his foot. "If you see the replay you will see that their player kicked me in the foot," Ronaldo said. "The referee did not make the right decision then and he didn't give me a lot, all match. I don't know why."
Medal detector: Giggs can equal record
Ryan Giggs already holds the record for most games played for Manchester United, 791, and, after Sunday's Carling Cup glory, the Welshman is closing in on Portuguese goalkeeper Vitor Baia's record of most club winner's medals. The Welshman can win three more competitions this season.
1 Vitor Baia (Porto, Barcelona) 32 club winner's medals
2 Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) 29
3 Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid) 27
4 Pele (Santos) 26
5 Paolo Maldini (Milan) 25
6 Phil Neal (Liverpool), Oliver Khan (Bayern Munich) 23
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food