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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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Manchester Evening News

'Paddy's the one that we want'

IT might be a forlorn hope, but the player Manchester United fans would love to see running out at Old Trafford in the number four shirt is Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira.

United, thanks to the joys of squad numbers, have been without a number four since Juan Veron joined the Russian revolution at Chelski.

And after a spell high on style, low on substance from the Argentinain, United fans have turned their attention to the all-action style of the Arsenal enforcer-in-chief.

In a poll commissioned by Wilkinson Sword Quattro and Football365, Vieira picked up 24 per cent of the vote, with his nearest rival, Barcelona loanee Edgar Davids getting 21 per cent and Alessandro Nesta 20 per cent while Liverpool's Stephen Gerrard was surprisingly unpopular with the punters, bagging just nine per cent of the vote.

Best of the best

If, and it's as big an if as they come, United did sign Vieira, the Frenchman would find himself in competition with Steve Bruce to be named as United's greatest number four. The former centre back received 41 per cent of the votes in the poll to name United's best number four, well ahead of Paddy Crerand, who managed 22 per cent. Bringing up the rear was a player who United fans felt didn't cut the mustard - Eddie Colman receiving a mere three per cent of the vote.

"With the transfer window soon to close and United's number 4 shirt having remained unfilled since the departure of Veron, we wanted to find out from fans where they felt the future of United's number four lay," said Wilkinson Sword Quattro spokesperson David Warren.

"Vieira is a vital influence on Arsenal's chance of silverware this season, so it is understandable that fans voted him their favourite to step into United's number four shirt to boost their title chances - no doubt much to the annoyance of their great rivals and their supporters.

"Steve Bruce's crucial role in securing United's domination throughout the nineties was perhaps the guiding factor in him also coming out top."

Would Vieira be your ideal number four - and is Bruce the best ever? Have your say.

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