United’s sheer marvels prove Ferguson wrong

Time go back to my “Name on the Trophy” blog from last September where by I wrote about three e-mails I found from back the 26th May 2004.

The e-mails were entitled “Name on the Trophy!!! 26/05/1999 (1), (2) and (3)” and it was a load of quotes from the world of TV commentary from the day, as well as various newspaper reports from the days after the event. Below are another two of those reports and I have many more to come, enjoy reading them. I have.

SHAME on the Manchester United supporters who sneaked out before the dramatic denouement. They should have known that, in this year of living dangerously, Alex Ferguson’s team would conjure their most extraordinary comeback yet. 

Their fightback against Juventus in Turin was classed among the greats, most people assumed that it would prove unique and even the United manager believed that his side had run out of luck. 

“My players never give in,” he said. “I always expect that they can do something, but this time I thought we were beaten. It is fantastic. The players are incredible human beings.” 

Just as they had in the semi-finals against Juventus, United appeared to have been outfought before the match had even begun and they quickly found themselves chasing the game. “You can talk all you like about tactics,” Ferguson countered, “but the spirit is unbelievable.” 

Ferguson was forced into throwing on Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer more in hope than expectation and the weight of United attackers eventually paid off. “I had to gamble,” Ferguson said. “It’s a European final, so why not do it? I brought on Teddy and Ole and it paid off. We didn’t play as well as we can, but I feel we were the better team over 90 minutes. We had a bad start and had a bit of luck in the last 20 minutes, but we deserved it.” 

The finale to the game also witnessed the closing moments of Peter Schmeichel’s eight-year career at Old Trafford and he can never have anticipated it concluding with him in an opposition penalty area and contributing to a winning goal. Schmeichel, 35, admitted that he had no hope of touching the ball when he charged forward, but a glancing header played a part in Sheringham’s equaliser. “I went up to create chaos and confusion and, at 6ft 4in, I probably did it,” Schmeichel said. “They had been very strong at set-pieces, so we had to try something different. Maybe that was the thing that worked. 

“It is not very often that I get to be in the penalty area when all the players are celebrating, so that was different and great.” 

Schmeichel is expected to announce shortly where he will move to this summer, but last night he was too carried away with emotion to even think about packing his bags. “You’ll have to ask me about this game again in two weeks because I cannot even think of summing it up now,” he said. 

“I said back in November when I announced that I would retire from English football that I would work until my last day to help United win trophies and now we have lifted all three. It is a fantastic feeling. 

“Even though time was running out, I thought we might get something because we played the game as we have this whole Champions’ League campaign by being positive. 

“Obviously you can feel sorry for Bayern after being 1-0 up for so long, but that is the beauty and cruelty of football.

#13 United’s sheer marvels prove Ferguson wrong – THE TIMES
FROM MATT DICKINSON

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