On Sunday two sides, made up of players from the famous 1999 Champions League final, played each other at Old Trafford. The day marked exactly 20 years since Manchester United managed the dramatic comeback. The match was in aid of the Manchester United Foundation, a charity that uses football in the community to engage and inspire young people to improve their lives.
61,175 fans filled out Old Trafford to see the star-studded line ups of 1999 take each other on. Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of Man United, as he was in 1999, with Steve McClaren next to him as his number two. This was the first time Ferguson had been in charge since he retired in 2013. It was also the first time he had been seen pitch side since his brain haemorrhage in May 2018.
Man United’s team was nearly identical to the one that started in the Nou Camp. The only player missing was Ryan Giggs as he was away on a training camp with the Welsh National team. Paul Scholes replaced Man United’s all-time record appearance holder for this game. The English midfielder missed out on the final due to suspension meaning David Beckham had to move to the centre of midfield that night.
Bayern Munich’s team, however, was far different from the one in ’99. 58-year-old German legend Lothar Matthäus was present in the starting eleven as was Stefan Effenberg. Three more players who played in the starting line up that night were on the bench at Old Trafford. The German side’s players were a fair bit older than the United players which is why less were able to play on Sunday.
The match was played in a fantastic spirit with some excellent football on show as well as big tackles. Solskjaer came off the bench for Man United on Sunday as he did in the Champions League final. He also went on and scored just like in 1999. A good pass from Blomqvist found the current United managed who tapped the ball into an empty net after just four minutes.
As the game progressed the old United players looked like they had never retired. David Beckham was the stand out performer of the day, putting in some fantastic crosses with his trademark technique. It was easily up there with some of the best passing that Old Trafford has seen for many, many years.
Paul Scholes also showed he still had a bit about him. He was as calm as ever on the ball, picking out passes that no one else on the pitch could see. However, he also showed that since his retirement he still hasn’t learned how to tackle. A late Fakaza Music challenge on ex Bayern and Man City player Martin Demichelis saw tempers fly between the two players.
Dwight Yorke added to the scoreline with a fantastic volley inside the box. A ball in from the left-hand side saw the striker volley it first time into the back of the net. Maybe Solskjaer should be giving him a call up this summer as United could do with some more goals!
But, it’s not just there, they are lacking. A centre-half is said to be the top of Ole’s list and Jaap Stam also made a good case for himself. A solid performance capped out with a 10 second moment of madness which saw him put three Bayern players on the floor.
The game finished 5-0 with the rest of the goals coming from Nicky Butt, Louis Saha and David Beckham. It was a brilliant day at Old Trafford, with it being the first time fans had seen United score five goals at home since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
Man United we wearing their new home kit, which is inspired by that Champions League final. The kit is a similar design with the right sleeving have “90+1” and the left sleeve have “90+3” on it to mark the time Teddy Sheringham and Solskjaer scored their late winning goals.