Fergie’s 10 greatest matches as Man United manager
Nottingham Forest 0-1 Man United, 7th January 1990, FA Cup Third Round
Seen by many as the game that saved Sir Alex’s tenure at Old Trafford.
Humiliated 5-1 earlier in the year by Man City, United arrived at the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest, having gone eight games without a win and languishing in 15th place in the League.
The story goes that Sir Alex would be given the boot if progress to Round Four wasn’t secured, but Ferguson has since shown he writes his own story, and a Mark Robins effort duly ended the losing streak to give the Scotsman some breathing space.
United promptly went on and won the FA Cup that year, and the rest is history.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Man United 17th May 1990, FA Cup Final Replay
The trophy that got the Ferguson behemoth up and running was the 1990 FA Cup Final win against Crystal Palace.
Both United and Palace ended Division One on 48 points that year, and the initial Cup Final had ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw.The replay was a much tighter affair, but Lee Martin popped up on the left hand side on the hour, chested the ball down and crashed a right-footed strike into the net to seal Sir Alex’s first trophy as Man United boss. The goal was Martin’s only strike for the Red Devils, but it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Man United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday, 10th April 1993
The first season of the Premier League brought the birth of a monster. No, not the Keys/Gray double act, but an Alex Ferguson shaped juggernaut that propelled United onwards as they won 13 championships.
With the Reds 1-0 down at home to Sheffield Wednesday Steve Bruce chose the perfect time to end a six month goal drought with a headed double that put his side two points clear of Aston Villa and laid the foundations for their first title. Oh, and also made Brian Kidd do that funny dance, jump, pitch invasion thing.
Man United 4-0 Chelsea, 14th May 1994, FA Cup Final
Sir Alex and Man United really began to assert their authority on the domestic game with this thumping victory over Chelsea sealing a first ever domestic double triumph.
In pouring conditions, United stepped it up a gear in the final half an hour, netting four goals past an average Chelsea side.
The talisman behind the United revival, Eric Cantona, coolly slotted home two penalties whilst Mark Hughes and Brian McClair also got themselves on the scoresheet to round off their most successful season yet under Sir Alex.
Newcastle 0-1 Man United, 4th March 1996
Newcastle appeared to have run away with the title in the 95/96 season with The Toon 12 points clear in January and seemingly set to lift their maiden Premier League crown. United visited St James’ Park in March just four points behind Kevin Keegan’s crumbling Toon. Eric Cantona popped up with a volley in a 1-0 win that cut the gap to a single point and was the catalyst to The Reds claiming arguably their greatest top flight title.
Man United 2-1 Arsenal (AET), 14th April 199, FA Cup Semi-Final Replay
Giggs taking his shirt off after that quite magical goal and displaying the forest he had been carrying under his shirt will live long in the memory.
After a tepid attempt first time round the replay of this FA Cup semi-final had everything. Roy Keane was sent off, Peter Schemeichel saved a penalty and the game went to extra-time. With 10 minutes left Giggs got the ball and left Martin Keown and Tony Adams on their backsides before rifling into the roof of the net, keeping the dream of the inevitable treble alive.
Juventus 2-3 Man United, April 21st 1999, Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg
A game that captured the very heart of the never-say-die attitude of the 1999 side. Two Filippo Inzaghi goals inside the first 11 minutes had every United fan in despair at 3-1 down on aggregate.
They hadn’t banked on Roy Keane producing the performance of a lifetime, heading in a lifeline on 24 minutes, before Dwight Yorke dived in to head home a second 10 minutes later.
Keane was booked a minute before Yorke had scored, and knowing he would miss the final, ensured his team-mates wouldn’t suffer a similar fete. The Irishman produced the epitome of a captain’s performance, and Andy Cole slotted home a third with six minutes to spare, to send Sir Alex and his side to a date with destiny at the Camp Nou.
Bayern Munich 1-2 Man United, 26th May 1999, Champions League Final v Bayern
A quite unbelievable game that brought United their first European Cup since 1967/68.
After trailing Bayern Munich going into added time the game was completely turned on its head as Teddy Sheringham netted in the 91st minute and then Ole Gunnar Solksjaer just two minutes later to leave Sammy Kuffour in a crumpled heap and send the Mancs in the Camp Nou delirious, while Fergie performed his embarrassing ‘Dad’ celebration on the touchline.
Man United 1-1 Chelsea (United win 6-5 on pens), 21st May 2008, Champions League Final v Chelsea 2008
By no means Ferguson’s classiest of victories, but a second Champions League success was always going to be present in this list.
A tight affair saw the north-west club take the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo before Chelsea squared things up through Frank Lampard. Ultimately, it was John Terry’s inability to stay on his feet and Nicolas Anelka’s weak mentality, as they both missed penalties, that saw Sir Alex holding ‘Ol’ Big Ears’ aloft for the second time.
Man United 4-3 Man City, September 20th 2009, Premier League
Perhaps the most enthralling of Manchester derbies, as City, under new owners, tried to shake their noisy neighbours tag.
1-1 at half-time, Darren Fletcher fired home either side of a Gareth Barry strike to send United 3-2 as injury time loomed, before a careless Rio Ferdinand backpass allowed Craig Bellamy to run clear and slot home the most dramatic of equalisers.
But just as Mark Hughes though he’d got one over his old boss, Sir Alex had one final trick up his sleeve. Free-signing Michael Owen latched on to a Ryan Giggs pass, and with a flick of his right boot, sent Old Trafford wild with delight.