Marking Mancunian mastery
Charlie Scott winds the clock back to 6 November 1986 to see what Alex Ferguson's modern day rivals were up to...
As Alex Ferguson was first making himself comfortable in the manager’s office at Old Trafford – washing out the smell of Ron Atkinson - his current Premier League managerial rivals were dotted around the globe enjoying varying degrees of success as players, managers and school children…
Roberto Mancini (21, Sampdoria)Ferguson’s current city rival was a first-team regular at just 21 for Serie A side Sampdoria, forming a successful strike partnership with another future Premier League coach, Italian international Gianluca Vialli. Two days after Ferguson was installed at United, Mancini was busy tormenting AC Milan in a 3-0 win for the Genoa-based side.
Mick McCarthy (27, Manchester City)Across Manchester, Mick McCarthy was approaching the peak of his playing career wearing the sky blue of Manchester City. Happily for United fans, Ferguson’s arrival coincided with a disappointing season for McCarthy and his club, with City being relegated to Division Two in 1986/87.
Paul Lambert (17, St. Mirren)The Norwich City manager was beginning his career as a player at St. Mirren, the club Ferguson had managed between 1974 and 78. Lambert made his debut during the 86-87 season and went on to play over 200 times for the Scottish side before moving onto bigger and better things with Borussia Dortmund – with whom he defeated Ferguson’s United in the 1997 Champions League semi-finals - and Celtic.
Steve Bruce (26, Norwich City)A future Manchester United captain, Bruce was a key figure of the Norwich side that finished fifth in the 1986/87 season. It was not long before Bruce and Ferguson joined forces, with Sir Alex forking out £825,000 on the rugged defender in 1987.
Alex McLeish (27, Aberdeen)McLeish was another future Premier League manager whose playing career was impacted by Ferguson’s arrival at Old Trafford. After playing under Ferguson for seven seasons at Aberdeen, it was reported that Fergie had attempted to take McLeish with him to United in 1986, only for the deal to fall through. Player-Manager
Kenny Dalglish (35, Liverpool)‘King Kenny’ made his final international appearance just four days after Ferguson’s appointment at Old Trafford, helping Scotland to a 3-0 win over Luxembourg in a Euro 88 qualifier. At club level, Liverpool’s player-manager rattled in eight goals in 23 matches in a rare trophyless season for the most successful side of the 1980s.
Arsene Wenger (37, AS Nancy-Lorraine)Arsene Wenger was reaching the end of his first managerial post at French side As Nancy-Lorraine. The 1986/87 season was not a happy one for the Frenchman. He suffered his first relegation as a manager as Nancy finished in 19th position in Ligue 1. Harry Redknapp (39, Bournemouth)Redknapp was enjoying himself at Bournemouth when Ferguson arrived at United. He led his side to the Third Division title, accruing 97 points in the process - still a club record for most points in a season.
The Young Ones
Andre Villas-Boas (Nine, a school)It would be seven years after Sir Alex was made United boss that a 16 year-old Villas-Boas would meet Sir Bobby Robson, whilst Robson was manager of Porto, with the youngster making such an impression that the Englishman handed him a job as part of Porto’s observational department. Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, would both have been 13 years old and doing all the things 13-year-old lads do. Probably the less said the better…
PLAYERS: Alan Pardew (25, Yeovil), Tony Pulis (31, Bournemouth), Martin Jol (30, ADO Den Haag), Steve Kean (19, Celtic), Owen Coyle (20, Dumbarton) and David Moyes (23, Bristol City). MANAGERS: Neil Warnock (37, Scarborough), Roy Hodgson (39, Malmo FF).
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