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In the mag: Inside the new Manchester United, Pirlo the manager, Rush, Drogba, Bury, Belarus, latest signings and more

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First a message from our editor, James Andrew

Following Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was always considered one of the hardest jobs in football. As it turned out, it wasn’t just a difficult task for his successor David Moyes, but also two of the game’s all-time greats in Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. 

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge, however, the tide finally appears to be turning. A ‘new’ Manchester United are on the rise. Exciting academy graduates like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have blossomed into key first-teamers, while international class has burnished the Reds’ squad in Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek. 

As Solskjaer continues to build a United squad capable of claiming Premier League glory for the first time since 2013, we go behind the scenes at Old Trafford and speak with a string of insiders about the club’s future – brought to you by long-time FFT contributor and United fan, Andy Mitten.

Elsewhere, we assess several of the Premier League’s new arrivals, chat to those behind phoenix club Bury AFC, and revisit Didier Drogba’s very own Last Dance at Chelsea. Plus, if you remember a time when big stories were broken with paper and ink, you’ll enjoy the tales of seven journalists and their iconic scoops. 

Enjoy the magazine!

Inside the new Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is taking Manchester United towards the light, but his improving Reds face a huge task to restore former glories. FFT hears from key figures and club moles to get the inside track on their quest to overhaul Liverpool and noisy neighbours Manchester City once more.

Meet the new guys

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Introducing the new stars who’ll grace Premier League grounds in 2020-21: starring James Rodriguez, Ferran Torres, Kai Havertz, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rodrigo and more. It's time to get excited...

Andrea Pirlo: the manager

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Juventus stunned even their own fans when they announced Andrea Pirlo as Maurizio Sarri’s successor in August – just nine days after he’d taken the under-23s job. So, what to expect from the bearded idol who once insisted he’d never be a boss?

Alex McLeish answers your questions

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The Scot spills the beans on Fergie at Aberdeen, trophy-winning with Birmingham City... and trying to sign Andres Iniesta at Rangers.

Didier Drogba's Last Dance

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Chelsea’s talismanic striker knew that the 2012 Champions League Final was his one chance to win Europe’s top prize before the Blues’ stars were split up. In an astonishing season of turmoil at Stamford Bridge, that waltz to glory never looked likely – and yet...

Bury AFC: a cause for hope?

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With Bury FC expelled and still lacking a league to play in, a new team has sprouted and begins life in 2020-21: Bury AFC. But with 135 years of Shakers history at stake, the upstarts’ brave arrival has split a heartbroken town.

Ian Rush exclusive

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Over 15 seasons and two spells, Ian Rush carved out an incredible legacy as Liverpool’s greatest ever goalscorer – fuelled by a burning desire to punish his boyhood club...

How Belarus went bonkers

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Diego Maradona’s fleeting visit was a sideshow to more troubling events in Belarus. A nation gearing up for a once-in-a-generation European Championship play-off has also been blighted by a rigged election causing anarchy on its streets.

The scoops that stunned football

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Remember when the biggest stories weren’t always broken within seconds on Twitter? FFT hears the personal accounts of seven top journalists who heard these famous tales first...

The truth about burnout

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The new season will be crammed into eight intense months of relentless action before a rescheduled Euro 2020, but is it all too much? Behind the scenes, experts work around the clock in search of answers.

In the Players Lounge...

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Neil Ruddock rips apart an alleged hardman list, Julio Cesar remembers Brazil's dreadful night against Germany, Lubo Moravcik regales tales from Celtic and Jermaine Jenas explains the impostor syndrome that affected his career.

Gabriel Barbosa interview

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How real was Manchester United interest once upon a time? The Brazilian goal-getter – currently thriving back home with Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo – reveals all...

Wait! There's still more...

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The Dutch Ali Dia fesses up, Lee Trundle tells FFT why he's still playing on in Wales at 43 years old, Lukas Podolski remembers his greatest games, DJ Spoony reveals why he wouldn't want to share a room with Craig Bellamy, Brian Horton explains how he got on stage with Vera Lynn and Joey Barton goes all ’Allo ’Allo!

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