FLASHBACK: First Man United team of the Millennium
Oh dear, Becksie was at it again
With the next decade winking suggestively on the horizon, The Spoiler has made a mission of celebrating some of the great teams that lined up on football pitches all over the world at the dawn of the 21st Century.
Today, it’s the turn of Man United no less.
Here’s how they lined up on 6th January 2000, to play Necaxa in the Fifa Club World Championships. Fact fans might be interested to note that the game ended 1-1, Beckham got his marching orders, and Dwight Yorke scored one and missed a penalty…
Goalkeeper, Mark Bosnich
Bosnich was supposed to be the natural successor to United’s great Dane, Peter Schmeichel, but it didn’t quite work out so well. United bought Barthez, Bosnich moved to Chelsea. He then went on to have regular intercourse with a supermodel, whilst out of his mind on cocaine. Something that was rather frowned upon at the time.
Right Back, Gary Neville
Neville has been United’s preferred right back since around 1994, and that’s still pretty much the case, injuries aside. Quite probably a Man United icon, the rest of the nation is split right down the middle. Great player? Or just another moaning Christian Bale in The Machinist-alike?
Centre Back, Mikael Silvestre
Silvestre never quite nailed down a spot in the United defence, where he was forever covering for Irwin, or Ferdinand, or Blanc. Then, latterly, Evra or Vidic. Finally, after nine years and 249 appearances, he decided that enough was enough, and headed off to Arsenal… to occasionally cover for their first-choice defence.
Centre Back, Jaap Stam
Alex Ferguson will probably admit that selling Stam in 2001 was his biggest mistake at United – and that includes signing Kleberson and Djemba-Djemba two years later. But after lifting the lid on some dodgy signing techniques in his autobiography, Stam was hoofed out of the club. Since retiring, he has returned to United as a scout, somewhat ironically.
Left Back, Denis Irwin
Many would argue that Irwin was United’s greatest ever full back. And they might be right. He could play on both sides of the pitch, he was brilliant at free kicks, and he had a spot in the first team for about twelve years. Not bad going. He now occasionally works on MUTV, so they say.
Right Midfield, David Beckham
In 2000, Beckham was still a bit of a rough diamond, and was actually sent off in the first half of this match, for a nasty studs-up challenge. Fast forward to 2003, and he’d lost his place in the team to Solskjaer, taken a boot in the face from Ferguson, and decided that Madrid might make for happier times. He’d need a personal assistant though, to help with any language issues. Uh-oh.
Centre Midfield, Nicky Butt
Initially drafted into the team in the early/mid-1990s to fill a Paul Ince-shaped gap, Butt look set to become a United legend. Never more so than when a presumably drunk Pele named him the greatest player at the 2002 World Cup. Unfortunately for Nicky, a young striker called Paul Scholes was then moved back into the midfield, and the rest is history. Now at Newcastle.
Centre Midfield, Roy Keane
Things came to a rather abrupt end for Keane in 2005, when he started airing his views about the United youngsters, which basically involved slagging a bunch of millionaires off. But in 2000, he was still at the height of his terrifying powers, although later that year, he did upset some fans by making a famous remark about prawn sandwiches. Conclusion: Doesn’t like wealthy/posh people.
Left Midfield, Ryan Giggs
Now one of the oldest men in the world, Giggs has been playing for United since 1991, he’s just signed another one year contract, and many view him as the best player of the year. No mean feat for a man who must be about 60 or something.
Striker, Andy Cole
Cole was a goal machine for both Newcastle and Manchester United, and in the 1999/2000 season he knocked in a very impressive 19 goals in 28 Premier League matches. He then went on to prove that he has no fear of crossing divides by turning out for both Man City and Sunderland. Brave.
Striker, Dwight Yorke
Yorke only called time on his career in May after a spectacular twenty years in top flight football. Everything was rosy at United until Ruud van Nistelrooy came along, and he was bundled over to Blackburn. It was at around that time that he also enjoyed unprotected sex with Jordan and created a baby.