United 'cherry pickers' under fire

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The Independent Football

Manchester United's players came under an unprecedented attack at the club's annual meeting yesterday over the recent slump in results.

Keith Thorpe, a fan and shareholder, said they had been misfiring for the last 12 months and accused them of "cherry-picking their performances". Thorpe, who warned that the fans may stop filling Old Trafford if performances do not improve, was applauded by the floor when he said: "What we have seen over the last 12 months has been shocking. Don't go down the road of using the excuses that we sold Jaap Stam or that Steve McClaren has gone because the performances were putty when they were here."

On a brighter note for United, David Beckham, along with Raul and Luis Figo, has been named on the shortlist for the Fifa World Player of the Year 2001 award.

The Aston Villa midfielder George Boateng has pledged his future to the club after attracting the interest of Borussia Dortmund. Boateng said: "I've got two years to go on my contract and in any case that isn't an issue. I am very happy here."

Rigobert Song is about to end his stormy spell at West Ham with a move to Cologne next week. The Cameroon international, who has been in and out of Glenn Roeder's side, will sign on loan for the rest of the season.

Mark Hughes can leave Blackburn Rovers if he wants more first-team football – but he has snubbed Stockport County. The veteran striker was in Graeme Souness's side for their last game but his days as a front-line Premiership forward are nearing an end.

"Mark has been magnificent for me and whatever he wants to do I would listen to," Souness said. "Mark knows his mind and if a club comes along that offers him the chance of starting games that would have to be attractive for him." Stockport wanted Hughes on loan but the Welsh national coach ruled out the switch.

Portsmouth's Dave Beasant has joined Tottenham on loan for two months. Spurs' second-choice goalkeeper Kasey Keller is injured and Beasant will act as cover for Neil Sullivan against Arsenal tomorrow.

The Internazionale striker, Hakan Sukur, said he knows nothing of reports that he may move to Ipswich Town. "I am not aware of the news," he said. "I would like to stay at Inter Milan."

The Nottingham Forest defender Christian Edwards is to join Crystal Palace on loan with a view to a permanent move. Rotherham United have completed the permanent signing of the on-loan defender Martin McIntosh from Hibernian for £125,000.

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