2004 FA Community Shield

The 2004 Football Association Community Shield (also known as The FA Community Shield in partnership with McDonald's for sponsorship reasons) was the 82nd staging of the FA Community Shield, an annual football match contested by the reigning champions of the Premier League and the holders of the FA Cup. It was contested on 8 August 2004 by Arsenal, champions of the 2003–04 Premier League, and Manchester United, who beat Millwall in the final of the 2003–04 FA Cup. Watched by a crowd of 63,317 at the Millennium Stadium, Arsenal won the match 3–1.

This was Manchester United's 23rd Community Shield appearance and Arsenal's 18th. Manchester United were without seven of their first-choice players for the game, which meant David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba came into the starting 11. Cesc Fàbregas started alongside Gilberto Silva in midfield for Arsenal as captain Patrick Vieira was absent. After a goalless first half, Arsenal took the lead when Gilberto scored in the 50th minute. Striker Alan Smith equalised for Manchester United soon after, but José Antonio Reyes put Arsenal back in front after United's defenders failed to clear the ball. Mikaël Silvestre scored an own goal 11 minutes before the end that ensured Arsenal's victory.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was complimentary of his opponents afterwards and was pleased there were no new injuries to report. Opposing manager Arsène Wenger praised Fàbregas's performance and reiterated his desire to keep Vieira at Arsenal, after speculation regarding the player's impending transfer to Real Madrid.

2004 FA Community Shield
2004 FA Community Shield programme.jpg
The match programme cover
Arsenal Manchester United
3 1
Date8 August 2004
VenueMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
Man of the MatchJosé Antonio Reyes (Arsenal)[1]
RefereeMike Dean (Cheshire)
WeatherLight rain
20 °C (68 °F)
83% humidity[2]


Founded in 1908 as a successor to the Sheriff of London Charity Shield,[3] the FA Community Shield began as a contest between the respective champions of the Football League and Southern League, although in 1913, it was played between an Amateurs XI and a Professionals XI.[4] In 1921, it was played by the league champions of the top division and FA Cup winners for the first time.[5][a] Wembley Stadium acted as the host of the Shield from 1974.[7] Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was hosting the Shield for the fourth time; it took over as the venue for the event while Wembley Stadium underwent a six-year renovation between 2001 and 2006.[7]

Arsenal qualified for the 2004 FA Community Shield as winners of the Premier League.[8] They finished their league campaign without a single defeat and earned the nickname "The Invincibles", akin to the Preston North End team that went unbeaten in the inaugural Football League season.[9][10] The other Community Shield place went to Manchester United who had defeated Millwall 3–0 in the 2004 FA Cup Final.[8][11] This was the fifth meeting between the two clubs in the Community Shield; Arsenal had won three of those meetings to Manchester United's two.[12]

Meetings between Manchester United and Arsenal were often eventful encounters, as both clubs vied for domestic honours.[13] A goalless draw between the two clubs in September 2003, in which Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a penalty in stoppage time, resulted in an altercation between both teams.[14] Several Arsenal players were charged and fined accordingly by The Football Association (FA) for instigating the brawl; the club was later fined £175,000, the largest ever given to a club by the FA.[15][16]


Ronaldo - Manchester United vs Chelsea
Cristiano Ronaldo was an absentee for Manchester United.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in his press conference: "The game will be competitive. Prestige comes into it, pride comes into it, so it is always competitive when we play Arsenal."[17] He wanted to use the game as a means of preparing his team for their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round game against Dinamo București the following Wednesday.[18] Ferguson was concerned about the state of his squad, with several first team players injured. He was irked that senior players Cristiano Ronaldo and Gabriel Heinze were absent, on duty for their respective national teams at the Summer Olympics: "Apparently, it's supposed to be for amateurs, and money earned is put in trust, but we will be paying their wages while they are away so I don't know what that's all about."[19]

When asked about Arsenal's unbeaten run and whether it would be repeated in English football, Ferguson replied:

"That was a one-off. Arsenal accumulated most points last season so they won the title fairly enough, but they didn't display championship form. They had too many draws. I think they came to a point around January where they realised they could go through the season undefeated, and that was a great driving force for them, but they had to stay undefeated to compensate for the number of draws. It was still an incredible achievement, though."[19]

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger responded by saying: "Everybody has the freedom to make a judgement. In the last 20 minutes of every game last season, we were never behind. That means we had already done the job before."[19] He insisted the draws did not reflect on his team's negative tactics, but "because of other teams coming back into the game".[19] On the issue of Patrick Vieira's anticipated move to Real Madrid, Wenger told reporters the player would remain at Arsenal.[18] Wenger acknowledged his team were short on experience as a result of selling players and missing Vieira, Sol Campbell and Thierry Henry, who all were injured. He considered this to be a disadvantage, but argued "...the younger ones have to be given a chance. They all have to take some responsibility."[18]

Tickets for the game went on general sale on 28 July 2004. They were advertised on the FA website at a cost of between £15 and £40.[20] Sir Geoff Hurst was named as the event's chief guest.[21]


Team selection

For Arsenal, Thierry Henry was declared fit to start and played alongside Dennis Bergkamp up front. 17-year-old Cesc Fàbregas partnered Gilberto Silva in central midfield, with José Antonio Reyes and Jermaine Pennant providing width on either side.[22] Manchester United were without seven of their first-team players,[23] including Ruud van Nistelrooy, who required surgery on his hernia.[24] Wes Brown and Louis Saha were also ruled out because of injury, so David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba came into the first team.[22]


Arsenal kicked off the match and within the first two minutes forced Manchester United defender Gary Neville to concede a throw-in.[22] In the fifth minute, Manchester United won a free kick, but nothing came out of it as José Antonio Reyes blocked Paul Scholes's shot.[22] Good play by Reyes and Henry fashioned a chance for Bergkamp in the ninth minute, but his strike was off target. Two minutes later a shot by Bergkamp from outside the box was saved by Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard.[22] Before Henry was about to take a corner for Arsenal in the 16th minute, a cigarette lighter was thrown at him from the section occupied by Manchester United supporters – this resulted in police making two arrests during the game.[25] Quinton Fortune used his pace to get the better of Lauren, but his cross into the Arsenal penalty area was cleared by Pascal Cygan.[22] Arsenal continued to threaten – Henry's free kick prompted Howard to make a save and tip the ball over the crossbar, and Bergkamp came close to scoring in the 27th minute after clever play to lose his marker John O'Shea.[26] The football continued to move from one end to the other, with Giggs and Reyes causing problems for their respective defences.[22] In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Henry had his shot saved by Howard, while Scholes was similarly denied by Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.[22]

External images
2004 FA Community Shield
Picture gallary via The Football Association website
Pictures of the match via BBC Sport

Manchester United made a slight change before the second half commenced, with Neville and O'Shea switching positions, while Arsenal brought Robin van Persie on in place of Henry.[22] Arsenal began the half more strongly – Reyes sprinted past the Manchester United defence and went past Howard in the 48th minute, but his shot hit the side-netting.[22] A minute later Arsenal scored. Bergkamp's pass put Reyes clear to run down the right-hand side of the pitch. He squared the ball to Gilberto, who side-footed it into the empty goal net.[27] Manchester United responded by making three substitutions – Fortune, Giggs and Roy Keane off for Phil Neville, Diego Forlán and Darren Fletcher.[22] Five minutes after going behind, Alan Smith equalised for Manchester United. A mistake in the Arsenal defence presented him with the chance to hit a half-volley; the ball dipped over Lehmann in goal.[26] Arsenal retook the lead in the 59th minute – a disjointed move that ended with Reyes shooting the ball low in the bottom left hand corner.[27] Phil Neville was shown the game's first yellow card in the 62nd minute, after fouling Reyes.[22] Van Persie's free kick a minute later was deflected for a corner, which came to nothing. Jérémie Aliadière who came on for Bergkamp sustained a knee injury and had to come off after only a few minutes on the field.[22] He was replaced by Gaël Clichy, whose arrival according to journalist Henry Winter "…accelerated Arsenal's drive further, particularly down the left where he kept combining well with Ashley Cole."[27] In the 72nd minute, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Cole were each shown a yellow card for clashing with one another.[22] Arsenal scored their third goal of the match 11 minutes before the end. Cole carried the ball into United's penalty box and his attempted cross hit defender Mikaël Silvestre, who was helpless to prevent the ball going into his own net.[27]


Arsenal3–1Manchester United
Gilberto Goal 50'
Reyes Goal 58'
Silvestre Goal 79' (o.g.)
Report Smith Goal 55'
Manchester United
GK 1 Germany Jens Lehmann
RB 12 Cameroon Lauren
CB 28 Ivory Coast Kolo Touré
CB 18 France Pascal Cygan
LB 3 England Ashley Cole Yellow card
RM 21 England Jermaine Pennant
CM 19 Brazil Gilberto Silva
CM 15 Spain Cesc Fàbregas Substituted off 87'
LM 9 Spain José Antonio Reyes Substituted off 79'
CF 10 Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp (c) Substituted off 62'
CF 14 France Thierry Henry Substituted off 46'
GK 24 Spain Manuel Almunia
DF 20 Switzerland Philippe Senderos
DF 22 France Gaël Clichy Substituted in 69'
DF 31 England Justin Hoyte Substituted in 79'
DF 32 Denmark Sebastian Svärd Substituted in 87'
MF 30 France Jérémie Aliadière Substituted in 62' Substituted off 69'
FW 11 Netherlands Robin van Persie Substituted in 46'
France Arsène Wenger
Arsenal vs Man Utd 2004-08-08
GK 1 United States Tim Howard
RB 2 England Gary Neville
CB 27 France Mikaël Silvestre
CB 22 Republic of Ireland John O'Shea Substituted off 82'
LB 25 South Africa Quinton Fortune Substituted off 51'
RM 12 France David Bellion
CM 16 Republic of Ireland Roy Keane (c) Substituted off 51'
CM 19 Cameroon Eric Djemba-Djemba Yellow card
LM 11 Wales Ryan Giggs Substituted off 51'
SS 18 England Paul Scholes Substituted off 74'
CF 14 England Alan Smith Substituted off 74'
GK 13 Northern Ireland Roy Carroll
DF 3 England Phil Neville Yellow card Substituted in 51'
DF 29 United States Jonathan Spector Substituted in 82'
MF 23 England Kieran Richardson Substituted in 74'
MF 24 Scotland Darren Fletcher Substituted in 51'
MF 33 England Chris Eagles Substituted in 74'
FW 21 Uruguay Diego Forlán Substituted in 51'
Scotland Sir Alex Ferguson
Man of the match
Match officials
Match rules[28]
  • 90 minutes
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores level after 90 minutes
  • Seven named substitutes, of which up to six may be used


Statistic Arsenal Manchester United
Goals scored 3 1
Possession 48% 52%
Shots on target 10 8
Shots off target 6 3
Saves 9 8
Corner kicks 5 7
Offsides 2 8
Yellow cards 1 2
Red cards 0 0

Post-match and aftermath

Wenger clarified Vieira's future after the match: "My intention is clear: to keep him […] The challenge in front of us is hugely difficult and we need a complete focus. I'm not resigned to let the story go on. It has all to be sorted out before the season."[31] He added that if Vieira chose to leave, the club could sufficiently replace him: "We've worked very hard in the last five years to get good young players in and you saw that today."[31] Reyes, who was named man of the match, was frustrated at his missed chance early in the second half, but continued: "I set one up and then scored myself so I was much happier."[1] Bergkamp was impressed with Fàbregas's performance in the match: "Normally at 17, you might be a bit unsure when you step out. But with players like Cesc, the way he has developed in one year is quite amazing."[32]

Ferguson congratulated Arsenal on their win and said of the game: "It was about trying to make sure everyone was fit for Wednesday. I think we have managed to do that. There are no new injuries so far. Hopefully by tomorrow morning it will be a definite."[33] He believed it was important to substitute Giggs and Keane early in the second half in order for them to recuperate in time for the Dinamo București game. Scholes, however, "…needed a game, which is why I left him on that bit longer."[34] Ferguson felt Manchester United's preparations to the new season were hampered because of the injuries: "It's got a lot to do with summer football. It's not down to the European Championship, but you do wonder why the Copa América can't be at the same time. That harmony is never quite right, from Africa to America to Europe. Something should be done about that."[35] Giggs said Manchester United needed to take the positives out of the match and anticipated Arsenal as their main rivals in the league: "[They] know what to do and how to handle the pressure when it comes around."[36]

The two clubs next faced each other in a league fixture at Old Trafford on 23 October 2004, where Arsenal's unbeaten league run of 49 matches came to an end as Manchester United beat them 2–0.[37]

See also


  1. ^ The Premier League replaced the Football League First Division at the top of the English football pyramid after its inception in 1992.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Reyes lights up Shield". The Football Association. 8 August 2004. Archived from the original on 17 August 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Weather history for Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom". Weather Underground. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Abandonment of the Sheriff Shield". The Observer. London. 19 April 1908. p. 11.
  4. ^ "The F.A. Charity Shield". The Times. 7 October 1913. p. 10.
  5. ^ "The Shield: From the beginning". Manchester City F.C. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  6. ^ Fynn, Alex (2 December 2001). "Continental or the full English?". The Observer. London. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b "The FA Community Shield history". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b McNamara, John (7 August 2004). "Multichannel choice; FA Community Shield". The Times. p. 37.
  9. ^ "1893–1896: Liverpool rocking between 2nd and 1st division". LFC History. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Media praise for "Invincibles"". BBC Sport. 17 May 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Man Utd win FA Cup". BBC Sport. 22 May 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  12. ^ Ross, James (15 August 2013). "List of FA Charity/Community Shield Matches". Rec. Sport. Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  13. ^ Rice, Simon; De Menezes, Jack (12 February 2014). "Arsenal v Manchester United: A rivalry like no other". The Independent. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Deadlock at Old Trafford". BBC Sport. 21 September 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Eight charged after bust-up". BBC Sport. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Arsenal players banned". BBC Sport. 30 October 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  17. ^ Askew, Carl (7 August 2004). "Gunners gaffer is in a Vieira bad spot". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  18. ^ a b c Kempson, Russell (7 August 2004). "Wenger plays games and tiresome Vieira charade rolls on". The Times. (subscription required)
  19. ^ a b c d Wilson, David; Rej, Arindam (8 August 2004). "Hostilities resume for the Community". The Observer. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Shield tickets on sale". The Football Association. 28 July 2004. Archived from the original on 5 August 2004. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Hurst's guest appearance". The Football Association. 7 August 2004. Archived from the original on 17 August 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Clockwatch: Arsenal 3–1 Man Utd". BBC Sport. 8 August 2004. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  23. ^ Taylor, Louise (8 August 2004). "Vintage red not to Ferguson's taste". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Van Nistelrooy injury blow". BBC Sport. 5 August 2004. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Arrests during Community Shield". BBC News. 8 August 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014. See also YouTube footage of incident.
  26. ^ a b McCarra, Kevin (9 August 2004). "Arsenal leave United with holes to fill and a score to settle". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  27. ^ a b c d Winter, Henry (9 August 2004). "Arsenal show there is life beyond Vieira". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Rules of the Football Association Community Shield" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  29. ^ "Gamescast: Arsenal v Manchester United – FA Community Shield". ESPN FC. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  30. ^ Dickinson, Matt (9 August 2004). "Arsenal aim for rollover". The Times. Retrieved 27 June 2014. (subscription required)
  31. ^ a b Scott, Matt (9 August 2004). "Wenger sets new D-Day for Vieira". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  32. ^ Lipton, Martin (10 August 2004). "Arsenal will stay on top". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  33. ^ Van Wijk, Jim (9 August 2004). "Ferguson relieved as United are unscathed". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  34. ^ McDonnell, David (9 August 2004). "Fergie's Euro crisis". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  35. ^ Wallace, Sam (9 August 2004). "Wenger issues ultimatum to Vieira". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  36. ^ "Giggs looking ahead". The Football Association. 9 August 2004. Archived from the original on 17 August 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  37. ^ "Man Utd 2–0 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 24 October 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
2004–05 Manchester United F.C. season

The 2004–05 season was Manchester United's 13th season in the Premier League, and their 30th consecutive season in the top division of English football.The season finished trophyless (only their fourth trophyless season in 17 seasons) for United, who finished third in the Premier League with 77 points. The title went to Chelsea, who finished the season with a record 95 points and lost just one game all season, with the previous season's champions Arsenal finishing runners-up.

Their Champions League campaign ended in the Second Round at Milan, while they were eliminated from the League Cup by Chelsea in the semi-finals. The last chance of silverware was blown by a Paul Scholes penalty miss against Arsenal in a shoot-out after a goalless draw in the 2005 FA Cup Final.

On a more positive note for the club, newly signed 19-year-old striker and leading club goalscorer Wayne Rooney was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

United also ended Arsenal's record-breaking 49-game unbeaten league run with a 2–0 home win in late October.

Arsenal F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry

Although Arsenal and Manchester United have frequently been in the same division in English football since 1919, the rivalry between the two clubs only became a fierce one in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the teams regularly competed against each other for the Premier League title and FA Cup. There was also an enmity between the managers, Arsenal's Arsène Wenger (1996–2018) and United's Sir Alex Ferguson (1986–2013), and club captains Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, and their contests often involved on-field trouble – seven red cards were shown in matches from February 1997 to February 2005. The league fixture in September 2003, known as the "Battle of Old Trafford", was marred by a mêlée instigated by Arsenal players, who felt striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had cheated to get Vieira sent off. A season later, Manchester United ended Arsenal's unbeaten run in controversial circumstances, which led to more disorder, this time in the tunnel.

The rivalry between Ferguson and Wenger ended at the 2005 FA Cup Final, and by 2008 former Arsenal player Lee Dixon noted that the rivalry had diminished. Ferguson also stated that the two teams' meetings had cooled from their previous "heated" exchanges. Other factors for the diminishing importance of the rivalry in the 2010s were the ascendancy of other clubs, including local rivals of both (Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City).Arsenal and Manchester United first played a competitive match in October 1894; as of March 2019, the two clubs have faced each other 231 times in total. United have won 97 to Arsenal's 83, and 51 matches have ended in a draw. Wayne Rooney has scored the most goals in the fixture with 12, while Ryan Giggs has made the highest number of appearances with 50. Several players have featured for both clubs at different stages of their career, including Brian Kidd, Andy Cole, David Platt, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and former manager George Graham.

Chris Eagles

Christopher Mark Eagles (born 19 November 1985) is an English footballer who plays as a winger; he is without a club after leaving Ross County in April 2018.

A technically skilled attacker, he has good awareness and distribution skills. After coming through the youth system at Watford, he began his professional career with Manchester United, but was unable to break into the first-team on a regular basis. He played 17 times for United, including in the 2004 and 2007 FA Community Shield matches. He had two loan spells back at Watford, as well as with Sheffield Wednesday and Dutch club N.E.C., before a permanent move to Burnley for a £1.2 million fee in July 2008. He spent three seasons with the club, helping them to win promotion out of the Championship in 2009. He was sold on to Premier League side Bolton Wanderers in July 2011, where he stayed for another three seasons. He went on to have brief spells with Blackpool, Charlton Athletic, Bury, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale and Ross County.

Diego Forlán

Diego Forlán Corazo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo foɾˈlan]; born 19 May 1979) is a Uruguayan former professional footballer who played as a forward. A prolific goal scorer, he is regarded as one of the greatest Uruguayan players of all time. At club level, Forlán is a two-time winner of both the Pichichi Trophy and the European Golden Shoe. With Uruguay, he had huge individual success at the 2010 World Cup receiving the Golden Ball, the joint Top Scorer award, the Goal of the Tournament award and being named in the Dream Team.

Forlán joined Argentine club Independiente after rising through their youth team, and after a successful four-year spell, he signed for Manchester United of England. His form for United was not as successful as at Independiente, although he won the Premier League in 2002–03 and the FA Cup in 2003–04. In the summer of 2004, he moved on to Spanish side Villarreal. In his first season in Spanish football with Villarreal, Forlán scored 25 league goals and won the Pichichi Trophy. After two more successful seasons with Villarreal, Forlán joined Atlético Madrid, where he once again became the league's top scorer, and became the first player to win the Pichichi Trophy twice since Ronaldo achieved this feat in the 2003–04 season. Forlán scored in Atlético's 2010 Europa League final victory against Fulham. In 2011, he joined Inter Milan of Italy before moving to Internacional in 2012.

Forlán also had a successful international career, scoring 36 times for his country since his 2002 debut to his retirement on 11 March 2015, including one at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He was the joint top scorer by scoring five times as Uruguay came fourth at the 2010 World Cup, being recognised with the Golden Ball award for the best player at the tournament. On 12 July 2011, at the 2011 Copa América in Argentina, which Uruguay won, Forlán earned his 79th international cap, against Mexico, breaking the record held by former goalkeeper Rodolfo Rodríguez since 1986. On 20 June 2013, in a match against Nigeria at the 2013 Confederations Cup, he became the first Uruguayan to win 100 caps. Forlán was Uruguay's all-time leading top scorer from 2011 until Luis Suárez overtook him two years later.

Justin Hoyte

Justin Raymond Hoyte (born 20 November 1984) is a professional footballer who plays for FC Cincinnati in Major League Soccer. Primarily a right back, Hoyte previously played for English clubs Arsenal, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Dagenham & Redbridge. As an international, he represented England up to under-21 level and Trinidad and Tobago at senior level.

Mike Dean (referee)

Michael Dean (born 2 June 1968) is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League. He is based in Heswall, Wirral, and is a member of the Cheshire County Football Association.

Since his appointment as a Select Group referee in 2000, Dean has officiated a number of notable matches, including the FA Community Shield and the finals of the FA Cup, Football League Cup and FA Trophy.

Nicky Butt

Nicholas Butt (born 21 January 1975) is an English football coach and former player who is the head of coaching at the Manchester United youth academy. He is also a co-owner of Salford City.

He played professional football as a midfielder from 1992 to 2011. He began his career with Manchester United and spent 12 years in their first-team, winning six Premier League titles, three FA Cups, four FA Community Shields, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, before moving to Newcastle United in 2004. He spent one season on loan to Birmingham City in 2005–06. He finished his career abroad, playing for South China where he won the Hong Kong League Cup.

Butt earned 39 caps for England between 1997 and 2004. He was chosen for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2004.

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔbɪn vɑn ˈpɛrsi] (listen); born 6 August 1983) is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a forward. He is regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation. He is the record goal scorer of all time for the Netherlands national team.

He made his senior debut during the 2001–02 season, which culminated with victory in the 2002 UEFA Cup Final; he was also named as the Dutch Football Talent of the Year. After five years with Feyenoord, he fell out with manager Bert van Marwijk, and he joined English club Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75 million as a long-term replacement for compatriot Dennis Bergkamp. At Arsenal, Van Persie won the 2004 FA Community Shield and the 2004–05 FA Cup. He scored a club record of 35 goals in 2011 and was club captain for the 2011–12 season, prior to joining rivals Manchester United in July 2012. In his first season, he won the 2012–13 Premier League and finished as the league's top scorer with 26 goals, winning his second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot award. After two injury-hit seasons followed, Van Persie fell out of favour at Manchester United and he was allowed to leave for Fenerbahçe in July 2015. During his spell in Turkey, Van Persie featured regularly in his first season, but saw limitations in playing time in the following two campaigns after suffering with injuries, with both club and player agreeing to a buyout in January 2018, after which he rejoined Feyenoord on a free transfer. By the end of the season he had helped his boyhood team win the Dutch Cup, his first trophy since the 2013 FA Community Shield.After representing the Netherlands at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, Van Persie made his senior international debut in 2005 in a friendly match against Romania. A month later, he scored his first senior international goal in a 4–0 win over Finland. Van Persie has over 100 caps and has scored 50 goals for the Netherlands, making him their top scorer of all time. He has represented his country at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships.

Sol Campbell

Sulzeer Jeremiah Campbell (born 18 September 1974) is an English professional football manager and former player who is the manager of League Two club Macclesfield Town. A centre back, he had a 20-year career playing in the Premier League and an 11-year international career with the England national team.

Born in east London to Jamaican parents, Campbell began his career with Tottenham Hotspur in December 1992. He spent nine years at Spurs, scoring 10 goals in 255 appearances, and captaining the team to victory in the 1999 Football League Cup Final against Leicester City. In 2001, he joined Tottenham's North London rivals Arsenal on a free transfer, and as a result has remained a deeply unpopular figure amongst Spurs supporters. In his five years and 195 appearances at Arsenal, he won two Premier League winners medals and two FA Cup winners medals, encompassing the 2001–02 league and FA Cup double, and being part of the team that became known as The Invincibles for their undefeated 2003–04 Premier League campaign. He scored Arsenal's only goal in their 2–1 defeat to Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. In August 2006, he joined Portsmouth on a free transfer. His three years with the club included captaining them to victory in the 2008 FA Cup Final. At the end of the 2008–09 season, he made the surprise move of dropping down three levels of the English football pyramid to join League Two side Notts County on a free transfer. He left the club by mutual consent in September 2009, having played just one match for the club. The next year, he made a brief return to Arsenal before ending his career with Newcastle United.

Having already won caps for the England under-21s and England B team, Campbell gained his first of 73 full caps for England aged 21. In May 1998, Campbell became what was then England's second-youngest captain, after Bobby Moore, aged 23 years 248 days. In 2006, he became the only player to have represented England in six consecutive major tournaments, playing in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 UEFA European Championships; and the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. He was named in the Teams of the Tournament for the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2004. Other honours in the game include being in the PFA Team of the Year three times, in 1999, 2003 and 2004.

In February 2015, Campbell announced his intention to run for the Conservative Party nomination for Mayor of London in the 2016 election. He was not selected as the Conservative candidate.

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