Gary Neville

Gary Alexander Neville[3] (born 18 February 1975) is an English football coach, retired football player and co-owner of Salford City. Since retiring from football in 2011, Neville went into punditry and was a commentator for Sky Sports until he took over the head coach position at Valencia in 2015. After being sacked by the club in 2016, he returned to his position as a pundit for Sky Sports later that year. He was also assistant manager for the England national team from 2012 to 2016.[4]

Neville spent his entire playing career at Old Trafford, making him a one-club man. At the time of his retirement in 2011, he was Manchester United's second longest serving player in the squad, behind long-time teammate Ryan Giggs, and had served as club captain for five years. He is one of the most decorated English and European footballers of all time, having won a total of 20 trophies, including eight Premier League titles and two Champions League titles.[5]

Neville made his international debut in 1995 and was first-choice right-back for England for more than ten years, representing the nation at three European Championships and two World Cups. He is England's most-capped right-back with 85 caps.

Neville is the older brother of twin siblings, former Manchester United and Everton player Phil Neville and sister Tracey Neville, a retired netball international.

Gary Neville
Gary Neville University of Salford
Neville receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford in 2014
Personal information
Full name Gary Alexander Neville
Date of birth 18 February 1975 (age 43)
Place of birth Bury, Greater Manchester, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1][2]
Playing position Right back
Youth career
1991–1992 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–2011 Manchester United 400 (5)
National team
1992 England U16 1 (0)
1992–1993 England U18 8 (0)
1995–2007 England 85 (0)
Teams managed
2012–2016 England (assistant)
2015–2016 Valencia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club career

Manchester United

1994–2004

Neville joined Manchester United as an apprentice upon leaving school in 1991, and captained the youth side to FA Youth Cup glory in his first season. He made his senior debut for United in September 1992 against Torpedo Moscow in the UEFA Cup.[6] Neville emerged as part of Alex Ferguson's youth-oriented side of the 1990s (nicknamed Fergie's Fledglings, an updated take on the 1950s equivalent Busby Babes) that included his brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.[7]

In the 1994–95 season, Neville became United's first-choice right-back when Paul Parker was ruled out by injury, and remained so until his retirement, although in his first season as a regular player he often found himself on the sidelines as Denis Irwin was switched to right-back with Lee Sharpe (normally a winger) filling the left-back role.

Neville scored the first goal of his career in 1997 against Middlesbrough in a 3–3 draw,[8] and he went on to score a total of five league goals for United; against Everton in 1999, Aston Villa in a 2–0 victory on 20 January 2001,[9] the sole goal against Leicester City on 13 April 2004,[10] and his final league goal came a week later when he scored the second in a 2–0 victory over Charlton Athletic on 20 April 2004.[11] Neville also scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League, the first on 12 March 2003, when he scored the equaliser in a 1–1 draw with FC Basel,[12] and his seventh and final ever United goal against Lyon on 23 November 2004 in Alex Ferguson's 1,000th game in charge of the club, a 2–1 victory.[13]

Neville formed a successful partnership with Beckham on the right wing, regularly contributing assists.[15]

2005–2011

Following Roy Keane's departure in November 2005, Neville was appointed the new club captain.[16]

In January 2006, his actions were the subject of some controversy after his celebration in front of the visiting Liverpool fans at Old Trafford, when he was seen to run from the halfway line towards the opposing fans to celebrate the 90th minute injury-time winning headed goal by United defender Rio Ferdinand.[17] His actions were criticised by Liverpool and fellow England defender Jamie Carragher, sections of the media and police who blamed him for disturbances between fans after the game. He was subsequently charged with improper conduct by the FA. Neville contested this, asking if it was preferable for players to act like "robots" and show no emotions. He was fined £5,000 and warned about his future conduct.[18]

Neville recovered from an injury suffered against Bolton Wanderers in March 2007 and in his first match back, a reserve game against Everton in January 2008, he scored a rare goal in the 21st minute of the game which helped Manchester United to a 2–2 draw.[19]

On 9 April 2008, Neville made his long-awaited comeback against Roma in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford, coming on as an 81st-minute substitute for Anderson; Neville was welcomed back to the pitch with a standing ovation, and was promptly given the captain's armband.[20][21] It was Neville's 99th Champions League appearance. However, he was not selected for the European Cup final squad on 21 May, though he did join in with the post-match celebrations after United won on penalties following a 1–1 draw with Chelsea. Instead, Rio Ferdinand and Giggs lifted the trophy together having shared the captaincy during Neville's absence.

Gary Neville
Neville playing for Manchester United in 2006

Neville started his first game in 17 months when he captained Manchester United for the 2008 FA Community Shield against Portsmouth on 10 August 2008. He then made another start against Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup, before making his first start at home since his injury against Villarreal in the opening group game of the 2008–09 Champions League. On 21 September 2008, Neville started his first league game in almost 18 months when he played against Chelsea. Neville extended his stay at Old Trafford until June 2010.[22]

On 27 October 2009, Neville was sent off for a tackle on Adam Hammill in United's 2–0 away win against Barnsley in the League Cup Fourth Round.[23] Neville added another medal to his honours list on 28 February 2010 when he came on as a substitute for Rafael in the 2–1 League Cup final win over Aston Villa.[24] He did feature in enough league games to qualify for what would have been his ninth title medal, but United were beaten to the Premier League title by Chelsea who finished ahead of them by a single point.

Having made only sporadic appearances in the last couple of seasons, Neville stepped down as team captain in September 2010 in preference of a more-regular first-team player, usually Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić or Patrice Evra, although he remained as club captain off the pitch.[25] On 24 October, Neville made his 600th appearance and his penultimate start for United in a 2–1 away victory against Stoke City; after receiving a 34th minute yellow card for a foul against Matthew Etherington, Neville was shown leniency seven minutes later for another reckless tackle on the same player, and was substituted at half-time for Wes Brown.[26][27]

Retirement

On 2 February 2011, Neville announced his retirement from football after almost 20 years playing at Manchester United.[28] Neville's final professional appearance was against West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Day 2011, a 2–1 victory at The Hawthorns.[14][29] Neville later revealed that, during half-time of his last game, he sat on the toilet and knew for certain that it would be his last game.[30][31] By the time of his retirement, Neville had won eight Premier League titles,[14] three FA Cups,[14] two Champions Leagues,[14] an Intercontinental Cup,[32] a FIFA Club World Cup,[33] and two League Cups.[14] The 2006 League Cup was his first trophy as captain.[34]

His testimonial was played at Old Trafford against Juventus on 24 May 2011. Manchester United's starting line-up included members of the "Class of '92": Neville was joined by his brother Phil, Beckham, Butt, Scholes and Giggs. Juventus won the match 2–1.[35][36] He made another appearance in Paul Scholes' testimonial at Old Trafford on 5 August 2011, playing for the New York Cosmos in their first fixture since their re-establishment in 2010.[37]

International career

England team
Neville (wearing No.2) lining up for England against Paraguay at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Neville made his first appearance for England in 1995 when he was picked by Terry Venables for the friendly against Japan. On 23 May 1996, he was joined in the England team by his brother Phil Neville for a match against China; they had also appeared together in the 1996 FA Cup Final two weeks earlier and thus were the first pair of brothers to play together in an FA Cup-winning side and for England in the same season since Hubert and Francis Heron in 1877, 119 years earlier.[38]

He was subsequently selected at right-back for his country by five different coaches. The form of Manchester City's Micah Richards, Liverpool's Glen Johnson and Neville's Manchester United teammate Wes Brown placed his position in the England team under threat in the latter years of his career.

Neville had been the youngest first-choice player in the England first team during his debut tournament, Euro 96, playing in each game until the semi-final, for which he was suspended after receiving a yellow card in two separate games. England were knocked out by the eventual winners, Germany, in a penalty shootout. He also played in the 1998 World Cup under the tenure of Glenn Hoddle as manager. As "a bit of a sceptic", Neville did not see Eileen Drewery, the faith healer Hoddle had brought into the England squad.[39] Neville also played at Euro 2000 during the tenure of Kevin Keegan as manager.

A broken foot ruled Neville out of the 2002 World Cup,[40] but he quickly returned to the side after regaining his fitness, and was once again the first-choice right-back by the time of Euro 2004, with the team now being managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Neville missed the latter stages of the qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup with injury. He returned to the England team in March 2006 for a friendly against Uruguay. Neville was selected for England's 2006 World Cup squad.[41] He played in England's opening Group B game against Paraguay but pulled his calf in training the night before the team's second game and was forced to miss the next three games until playing the full match in England's losing quarter-final against Portugal on 1 July. It was his 81st England cap, bringing him up to ninth in the all-time rankings, ahead of Gary Lineker and teammate Michael Owen, who had briefly drawn level with Neville during the World Cup.

Neville briefly took over the England captaincy during this game after the substitution of David Beckham due to an injury shortly after half-time, despite the previous match's deputy captain John Terry also being on the field.

After the defeat to Portugal, Neville announced that he would continue to be available for selection for his country under new coach Steve McClaren and added that, unlike some former international teammates, he would not ever make the decision to retire from the England set-up, stating, "That decision is not Gary Neville's to make." As one of three club captains (along with Terry and Steven Gerrard) in the first choice England line-up, he was mentioned as a contender for the England captaincy which Beckham vacated after elimination from the World Cup. However, he was clearly an outsider and Terry was given the job and Steven Gerrard made vice-captain.

On 11 October, Neville was involved in a game-changing incident during a Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia when his straightforward backpass took an unfortunate bounce and caused goalkeeper Paul Robinson to miss his kick, which resulted in the ball ending up in the net. Although Robinson was at the centre of the moment, Neville was officially credited with an own goal, the second of his England career; he has scored no goals for England.

On 7 February 2007, Neville won his 85th cap in England's 1–0 friendly defeat to Spain. His appearance took him to within one cap of equalling Sansom's record for an England full back, and eighth in the all-time appearances list for his country. However, an ankle injury suffered on 17 March 2007 while playing for Manchester United robbed him of the chance to equal Sansom's record, as he was forced to miss the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra on 24 March and 28 respectively. Surgery on his ankle ruled him out of two summer matches at the new Wembley Stadium, and then a calf muscle injury delayed his recovery in the autumn. These injury problems together with a perceived decline in ability threatened to put an end to Neville's international playing career.

On 24 May 2009, Neville was given a surprise recall to the England squad by Fabio Capello for the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra,[42] but did not feature in any of these games.[43]

Neville holds or co-holds a number of England records:

  • When he came on as a substitute against Italy at Leeds in 2002, he earned his 51st cap, breaking the record for a right back held previously by Phil Neal
  • His 11 appearances for England in the European Championship finals (over three tournaments) is a record
  • With his brother Phil, the Nevilles hold the record of England's most capped brothers, with 142 appearances between them. It was Phil's appearance as a substitute against Israel in 2007, a game for which Gary was injured, which broke a record they had jointly held with Jack and Bobby Charlton
  • The Nevilles hold outright the record for the most appearances in the same England team by a pair of brothers with 31, although the 31st in 2007 came a whole seven years after the 30th

Neville wrote in his autobiography that, at times, he had reflected on his international career and thought sometimes that it was "a massive waste of time", and that success with United was "always the most important thing".[44][45]

Style of play

An experienced and dedicated footballer, regarded as one of England's greatest right-backs,[46] and as one of the best Premier League full-backs of his generation, Gary Neville was an aggressive, tenacious, and hard-tackling player, known for his work-rate, professionalism, determination, and consistency as a defender; due to his positional sense, he was also capable of playing as a centre back on occasion.[47][48][49][50][51] Although he was not the quickest, tallest, strongest, most talented or most technically gifted player, he was a reliable, traditional defensive-minded right-back, known in particular for his tactical intelligence and ability to read the game, as well as his stamina, work-ethic and leadership, which enabled him to excel in this role.[47][48][49][50][51][52] During his career, Neville also formed a notable partnership with David Beckham down the right flank at Manchester United:[15][51] he would often carry up the ball, lay it off to his teammate, and subsequently make overlapping runs to advance into more offensive positions, from which he could receive passes and deliver accurate crosses, providing an additional attacking threat to his team when Beckham was heavily marked.[47][53] A vocal presence on the pitch and an opinionated dressing room personality, Neville also drew controversy throughout his career for his outspokenness and tendency to be involved in conflicts with opponents.[51]

Managerial career

England assistant manager

Neville, who holds UEFA Pro Coaching Licences, was appointed to the England senior team coaching staff by newly appointed manager Roy Hodgson on 14 May 2012 along with Ray Lewington and goalkeeping coach Dave Watson, signing a four-year contract with the FA.[54] This saw him on the coaching team for Euro 2012, and was met with the backing of former England and Manchester United teammate David Beckham, who called his appointment a "shrewd move".[55] Neville continued to work as assistant manager of England through the 2014 World Cup and subsequent Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.[56]

Valencia

Neville was appointed as head coach at Valencia in Spain on 2 December 2015. Neville's brother Phil had previously been caretaker manager and continued to work with his brother at the club;[57] Neville also retained his England assistant coaching role while at Valencia.[58] The decision to hire Neville was met with much surprise in Spain, due to his lack of prior experience, and as he was not fluent in Spanish.[59][60][61] On 9 December, Neville managed his first game in charge of Valencia, suffering a 2–0 defeat against Lyon in the Champions League; as a result, Valencia crashed out of the tournament, finishing third in their group, and were relegated to the UEFA Europa League.[62] On 3 February 2016, Valencia lost 7–0 away to Barcelona in the first leg of the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. This came after the team had gone eight games without a victory in La Liga since Neville took over, leading to criticism from the press as well as the club's fans, who called for him to resign.[63] A week later, Valencia were eliminated from the tournament after a 1–1 draw in the return leg.[64]

Having started with a sequence of nine winless league matches, Valencia recorded their first win under Neville in a 2–1 victory at home against Espanyol on 13 February 2016.[65] On 17 March, in the return leg of Valencia's UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie, Neville was sent off for protesting against Athletic Bilbao's goal to the officials; although Valencia won the match 2–1 at home, they were eliminated from the tournament on away goals, following a 2–2 draw on aggregate.[66][67] On 30 March 2016, Neville was sacked by the club.[68] At the time of his sacking, Valencia were 14th in the league, only six points clear of the relegation zone, and had won only three of their 16 league games under Neville, also failing to keep a single clean sheet.[59]

Club ownership

In 2014, it was announced that Neville, along with fellow Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, had agreed a deal to purchase Salford City ahead of the 2014–15 season,[69][70] with plans to get the club to The Football League.[71] The group announced they would take part in a special friendly, with Salford facing a Class of '92 team.[72][73][74] On 22 September, the group agreed to sell a 50% stake in the club to billionaire Peter Lim.[75][76] Salford obtained promotion in their first season, as documented in the Class of 92 television programme for the BBC.[77]

Outside football

Property developments

Gary Neville 2012
Neville in 2012

Ahead of his testimonial in 2011, Neville revealed he would spend the proceeds towards a supporters club and hotel near Old Trafford.[78][79] Despite objections from Manchester United, Neville's plans were approved in 2012.[80] In 2013, Neville and Ryan Giggs launched a hospitality company named GG Hospitality,[81] with plans to build football-themed hotels and cafés around the United Kingdom, initially in Manchester and London.[82][83][84] The first operation was a football-themed restaurant named Café Football in Stratford, London, which opened in November 2013,[85] with Hotel Football, previously under the guise of the supporters club Neville announced in 2011, scheduled to be opened in late 2014.[86]

In 2015, Neville and Ryan Giggs gained planning permission for a second Manchester hotel which will not be football themed. The pair will be redeveloping Manchester's former stock exchange building into a boutique hotel. Giggs and Neville bought the 1906-built Northern Stock Exchange Building for £1.5 million in 2013. The Grade II-listed building is on 4 Norfolk Street and will have 35 beds, a gym, spa, roof-top terrace, restaurant and bar. Zerum, Gary Neville's property consultancy, acted as agents for the application for planning permission.[87]

Along with other United players who won the 1992 FA Cup, Neville has proposed a university in Greater Manchester, named University Academy 92 which would offer "broader courses than traditional degrees" and attract students who "otherwise might not go on to higher education".[88]

Media career

Neville writes a weekly full-page column in the Sports section of The Sunday Times of Malta,[89][90] the widest circulating newspaper in the country, which is home to the oldest recognised Manchester United Supporters' Club.[91]

During the months after Neville retired from playing, there were many rumours about whether he would go into media work or coaching. He joined Sky Sports at the start of the 2011–12 season, taking over as match analyst on Monday Night Football from Andy Gray[92] alongside Jamie Redknapp. Neville had previously done some punditry work for ITV Sport during the 2002 World Cup, which he missed due to injury, and for Euro 2008, which England did not qualify for. In 2014, he began presenting Sky Sports' Monday Night Football with broadcaster Ed Chamberlin. Former England teammate and retired Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher joined a year later. Neville and Carragher have been praised for their analysis, with their former on-field rivalry adding to their personalities on-air.[93] His commentary for a Fernando Torres goal for Chelsea against Barcelona in the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League semi-finals second leg garnered notoriety and was dubbed a "Goalgasm".[94][95] On 8 August 2014, The Daily Telegraph announced that Neville would be joining their staff as a columnist.[96]

In taking his managerial job at Valencia in December 2015, Neville quit his position as a regular Sky Sports pundit after four years in the job.[97] After being sacked from the club during the 2015–16 season after only four months, in 2016, Neville returned to his position as a pundit for Sky Sports for the 2016–17 season.[98] Neville participated as a pundit in ITV's coverage of 2018 FIFA World Cup.[99]

Neville has regularly been praised for his well-researched and neutral analysis, and he is now regarded as one of the best football pundits on British television,[100][101][102] with Gary Lineker admitting he would like to work with Neville on Match of the Day,[103] and Des Lynam also praising his switch from player to pundit.[104] Neville, however, has also received criticism from some in the sport for being overly opinionated or excessively harsh in his analyses; in 2011, Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas spoke out against comments Neville had made about Chelsea during a period of poor form, accusing him of being "biased",[105][106][107] while in 2016, Hernán Crespo was critical both of Neville's punditry and his tenure as Valencia's manager, stating, "To watch a game from the TV, it's very different than from the bench. I'm almost happy for Gary Neville's troubles at Valencia. I remember he was too harsh as a TV pundit."[108]

Neville has spoken out publicly against the dominance of foreign players in the English Premier League. In 2013, he was quoted: "We have reached a tipping point. You have Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Lionel Messi at Barcelona but in the Spanish league 63 per cent of their players are still Spanish. That sounds about right. We’ve gone too far in England. We’re maybe 20 per cent off. We need to give chances to our own."[109] In July 2018, Neville was interviewed by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee about the proposed sale of Wembley Stadium. Neville described it as a "short-term plan we'll regret forever". He suggested taking a 25% cut of agents' fees to fund grassroots football instead.[110]

Personal life

Neville's late father, Neville Neville, was a former league cricketer. His mother Jill used to play netball in the local leagues, and is general manager and club secretary for Football League club Bury.[111]

Neville was a talented cricketer as a schoolboy and played alongside future England captain Michael Vaughan at the Bunbury Cricket Festival and younger brother Phil for Lancashire's Under-14 team,[112] and also for Greenmount Cricket Club in the Bolton Cricket League, for whom on Sunday 19 July 1992 he scored 110 not out in an unbroken partnership of 236 with Australian professional Matthew Hayden in a Hamer Cup tie against Astley Bridge.[113]

Neville married Emma Hadfield on 16 June 2007[114] and their first child, daughter Molly, was born on 11 January 2009. Their second daughter, Sophie, was born on 25 March 2010.

In July 2009, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Bolton for his outstanding contributions to football.[115]

In January 2010, it was reported that Neville has applied for planning permission to build an eco-friendly home, which would be the first zero-carbon house in northwest England.[116] Neville's testimonial game was reported to be the most eco-friendly game in English football history.[35]

Career statistics

Club

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other[nb 1] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1992–93 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
1993–94 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
1994–95 18 0 4 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 27 0
1995–96 31 0 6 0 1 0 1 0 39 0
1996–97 31 1 3 0 1 0 10 0 1 0 46 1
1997–98 34 0 3 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 45 0
1998–99 34 1 7 0 0 0 12 0 1 0 54 1
1999–2000 22 0 0 0 9 0 4 0 35 0
2000–01 32 1 2 0 0 0 14 0 1 0 49 1
2001–02 34 0 2 0 0 0 14 0 1 0 51 0
2002–03 26 0 3 0 5 0 10 1 44 1
2003–04 30 2 4 0 1 0 7 0 0 0 42 2
2004–05 22 0 4 0 1 0 7 1 1 0 35 1
2005–06 25 0 3 0 5 0 4 0 37 0
2006–07 24 0 3 0 0 0 6 0 33 0
2007–08 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
2008–09 16 0 2 0 3 0 4 0 4 0 29 0
2009–10 17 0 1 0 4 0 6 0 0 0 28 0
2010–11 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Total 400 5 47 0 25 0 117 2 13 0 602 7

International

Statistics accurate as of match played 1 January 2011[6][117]

England national team
Year Apps Goals
1995 6 0
1996 10 0
1997 7 0
1998 8 0
1999 3 0
2000 7 0
2001 8 0
2002 5 0
2003 7 0
2004 12 0
2005 4 0
2006 7 0
2007 1 0
Total 85 0

Managerial statistics

As of 30 March 2016
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win % GF GA GD
Valencia Spain 2 December 2015 30 March 2016 28 10 7 11 035.71 39 38 +1
Total 28 10 7 11 035.71 39 38 +1

Honours

Manchester United[118]

Individual

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

References

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External links

1992–93 Manchester United F.C. season

The 1992–93 season was Manchester United's first season in the newly formed FA Premier League, and their 18th consecutive season in the top division of English football.The season was marked by the club winning the inaugural Premier League title, ending their 26-year run without an English league title. They ended up winning the title by a 10-point margin over runners-up Aston Villa, but had fought a three-horse race for much of the season with both Villa and Norwich City, not topping the table until January. The arrival of Eric Cantona from Leeds United for £1.2 million in late November helped boost United's title challenge, after they had been as low as 10th in the league shortly before. Cantona's arrival came after new striker Dion Dublin had been ruled out for six months with a broken leg, and Cantona was the catalyst in United's triumph.

Mark Hughes topped the goalscoring charts with 15 league goals, while the brilliant Ryan Giggs was voted PFA Young Player of the Year for the second year in succession. Steve Bruce was United's captain for much of the season, as the veteran Bryan Robson missed many games due to injury. The arrival of Eric Cantona saw former striker Brian McClair switched into midfield, further restricting Robson's first team chances.

In the UEFA Cup, United bowed out on penalties to Torpedo Moscow of Russia, after two goalless draws. Their League Cup campaign ended in the Third Round with defeat at Aston Villa. The FA Cup bid ended in the Fifth Round when they lost 2–1 to Sheffield United in a game where Steve Bruce uncharacteristically missed a penalty.

Making their debuts this season were teenagers David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville.

Before the season began, United were linked with a move for Southampton striker Alan Shearer, who had first been mentioned in the media as a possible transfer target during the autumn of 1991, but the player signed for Blackburn Rovers instead. Dion Dublin was then signed from Cambridge United, but was injured just one month after his arrival, and United struggled to find the net in the weeks that followed, the club was linked with the signature of numerous other strikers. A £3million bid for Sheffield Wednesday's David Hirst was rejected, while Sheffield United striker Brian Deane was also linked with a move to Old Trafford, but no firm offer was made. The hunt for a new striker ended on 26 November, when Eric Cantona was signed from Leeds United for a fee of just over £1million.

By the end of the season, United were being linked with a move for Nottingham Forest's 21-year-old Irish midfielder Roy Keane, who was also a target for Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers. After the player nearly signed for Blackburn, United snapped him up on 19 July 1993 for a British record fee of £3.75million.

It was the last season at Old Trafford for midfielder Neil Webb, who returned to Nottingham Forest in November after losing his place in the Old Trafford first team. Russell Beardsmore, who did not play a game all season, joined AFC Bournemouth on a free transfer at the end of the season.

2004 FA Cup Final

The 2004 FA Cup Final was the 123rd FA Cup Final and the fourth to be played at the Millennium Stadium, the Welsh national stadium in Cardiff, due to the ongoing reconstruction of the usual venue, London's Wembley Stadium. The match took place on 22 May 2004 and it was contested by Manchester United, who had finished third in the Premier League that season, and Millwall, who had finished 10th in the First Division.

Manchester United secured a record 11th FA Cup victory with a headed goal from Cristiano Ronaldo and a brace from Ruud van Nistelrooy, which included a penalty kick. In contrast, it was Millwall's first appearance in a final of either the FA Cup or the Football League Cup. At the trophy presentation after the match, the Manchester United players wore shirts bearing the name and number of midfielder Jimmy Davis, who died in a road accident in August 2003.

The match was refereed by Jeff Winter. Tony Green and Roger East were the assistant referees and Matt Messias was the fourth official.

2005–06 Manchester United F.C. season

The 2005–06 season was Manchester United's 14th season in the Premier League, and their 31st consecutive season in the top division of English football.After having finished in third place in both of the previous two seasons, the Red Devils improved slightly to finish the 2005–06 season in second place, despite finishing 8 points off the lead.

However, despite the improvement in their league form, United's European form took a massive blow, with the club failing to reach the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1994–95. The club fared better in the FA Cup, reaching the Fifth Round, but their real success came in the League Cup, in which they beat Wigan Athletic 4–0 in the final. United became the first club in Premier League history to score 1,000 goals, a milestone reached on 29 October in the 4–1 defeat to Middlesbrough at the Riverside, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the goal.The 2005–06 season also saw the departure of club captain Roy Keane, who had been at Old Trafford since 1993. Keane played his last game for the club on 18 September 2005 in a goalless draw with Liverpool, but was forced to withdraw from the match only a couple of minutes before full-time. It was later revealed that Keane had picked up a foot injury and he eventually left the club for his boyhood team Celtic on 18 November 2005. Keane was subsequently replaced as captain by his deputy, Gary Neville. On 25 November 2005, just seven days after Keane left the club, United fans were plunged into mourning by the death of legendary former player George Best, who died at age 59.

David de Gea

David de Gea Quintana (Spanish pronunciation: [daˈβið ðe ˈxea kinˈtana]; born 7 November 1990) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Manchester United and the Spain national team.

Born in Madrid, De Gea began his career aged 13 with Atlético Madrid and rose through the academy system at the club before making his senior debut in 2009. After being made Atlético's first-choice goalkeeper, he helped the team win both the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup in 2010. His performances attracted the attention of Manchester United, which he joined in June 2011 for £18.9 million, a British record for a goalkeeper at the time.

Since joining United, De Gea has made over 300 appearances and won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a League Cup, three Community Shields and the UEFA Europa League. For three consecutive seasons from 2013–14 to 2015–16, he was elected as United's Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, the first player in the award's history to win on three successive occasions (four in total), as well as being included in four consecutive (five in total) PFA Team of the Year sides from 2015 to 2018. In 2018 he was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI.De Gea was the captain for the Spain under-21 national team that won the European Championship in 2011 and 2013, and also competed in the 2012 Olympics. He made his debut for the senior team in 2014 and was selected for that year's World Cup. He was tipped by many to become the successor to Iker Casillas as Spain's long-term goalkeeper and also is regarded to be one of the best goalkeeper in the world.

FA Youth Cup

The Football Association Youth Challenge Cup is an English football competition run by The Football Association for under–18 sides. Only those players between the age of 15 and 18 on 31 August of the current season are eligible to take part. It is dominated by the youth sides of professional teams, mostly from the Premier League, but attracts over 400 entrants from throughout the country.

At the end of the Second World War the FA had decided to organise a Youth Championship for County Associations considering it the best way to stimulate the game among those youngsters not yet old enough to play senior football. The matches did not attract large crowds but outstanding players were selected for Youth Internationals and thousands were given the chance to play in a national contest for the first time. In 1951 it was realised that a competition for clubs would probably have a wider appeal. The FA Youth Challenge Cup (1952–53 season) was restricted to the youth teams of clubs, both professional and amateur, who were members of the FA.The notion of a youth cup was thought of by Sir Joe Richards, the late President of the Football League. He initially put forward the idea to the league clubs but they were not enthused, Richards then took the idea to the Football Association, who liked the idea and created the competition in the same year. The Youth Cup trophy itself was purchased by the Football League during World War II. However, they never found a use for it. Football League secretary Fred Howarth found the trophy in a cupboard at the Starkie Street office and handed it over to the Football Association.Manchester United are the competition's most successful club, winning it ten times. The current holders are Chelsea.

The tournament has served as a springboard into the professional game for many top British players. The likes of George Best, John Barnes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere, and Gareth Bale had all won the tournament or played in the final. The 1991–92 FA Youth Cup famously spawned the rise of Fergie's Fledglings.

Fergie's Fledglings

Fergie's Fledglings were a group of football players recruited by Manchester United under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson (often nicknamed "Fergie") and trained by assistant coaches Brian Kidd and Eric Harrison, before eventually progressing to the first team during the 1990s.

The alliteration in the term is a clear homage to the Busby Babes, the famously youthful Manchester United team assembled by the club's other legendary manager Sir Matt Busby and his assistant coach Jimmy Murphy during the 1950s.

Hotel Football

Hotel Football is an upscale football-themed hotel overlooking Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United F.C.. Owned by former players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Gary Neville as well as the GG Hospitality Management Company; the hotel was built at a cost of £24m and features 133 rooms, a restaurant called Cafe Football and a five-a-side football pitch on the roof. Opened in 2015, the hotel is the first in a planned chain of football-themed hotels to be located near football grounds around the world.

Jamie Carragher

James Lee Duncan Carragher (; born 28 January 1978) is an English retired footballer who played as a defender for Premier League club Liverpool during a career which spanned 17 years.

A one-club man, he was Liverpool's vice-captain for 10 years, and is the club's second-longest ever serving player, making his 737th appearance for Liverpool in all competitions on 19 May 2013. Carragher also holds the record for the most appearances in European competition for Liverpool with 150.

Carragher grew up as an Everton football fan before deciding to play for Liverpool, starting his footballing career at the Liverpool Academy, making his professional debut in the 1996–97 season, and becoming a first team regular the following season.

Having initially played as a full-back, the arrival of manager Rafael Benítez in 2004 saw Carragher move to become a centre-back, where he found his best form. His honours with Liverpool total two FA Cups, three League Cups, two Community Shields, one Champions League, one UEFA Cup, and two Super Cups.

Internationally, Carragher held the national record for most caps at under-21 level and earned his senior debut in 1999. He represented England at the 2004 European Championship and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, before announcing his retirement from international football in 2007. He did, however, temporarily come out of retirement in order to represent England at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, before retiring again with 38 senior England caps.

Following his retirement in 2013, Carragher joined Sky Sports where he appears as a pundit alongside Graeme Souness, Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp.

List of Manchester United F.C. players

Manchester United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester. The club was formed in Newton Heath in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR F.C., and played their first competitive match in October 1886, when they entered the First Round of the 1886–87 FA Cup. The club was renamed Manchester United F.C. in 1902, and moved to Old Trafford in 1910. Since playing their first competitive match, 914 players have made a competitive first-team appearance for the club, of whom 212 players have made at least 100 appearances (including substitute appearances).

Manchester United's record appearance-maker is Ryan Giggs, who made a total of 963 appearances over a 23-year playing career; he broke Bobby Charlton's previous appearance record in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. Giggs also holds the record for the most starts, having started in 797 matches. Charlton was also the club's top goalscorer with 249 goals in his 17 years with the club. He held the mark for 45 years, until Charlton's mark was overtaken by Wayne Rooney scoring his 250th goal during the 2016–17 season; Rooney finished his 13-year tenure with Manchester United with 253 goals in 559 appearances. Other than Charlton, Giggs and Rooney, only seven players have made more than 500 appearances for the club, including three members of the 1968 European Cup-winning team (Tony Dunne, Alex Stepney and Bill Foulkes as well as Charlton) and three members of the 1999 Treble-winning team (Denis Irwin, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes as well as Giggs). Other than Charlton and Rooney, only two players (Denis Law and Jack Rowley) have scored more than 200 goals for the club.

Neville Neville

Neville Neville (26 September 1949 – 7 August 2015) was a British league cricketer, football agent and director. His sons are the former professional association football players Gary Neville and Phil Neville and his daughter is the netball player and coach Tracey Neville.

Phil Neville

Philip John Neville (born 21 January 1977) is an English football coach and former player who is currently the head coach of the England women's team. He is also the co-owner of Salford City along with several of his former Manchester United teammates.

After 10 years as a professional with Manchester United, during which time he won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups, three FA Charity Shields, the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League, he joined Everton in 2005, where he spent the final eight years of his playing career. Neville also played for England 59 times between 1996 and 2007, representing the nation at three European Championships. He could play in defence or midfield; due to this versatility, he operated in a number of different positions throughout his career, but was most often used as a full-back.

After earning his UEFA B Coaching Licence, Neville began his coaching career in 2012, filling in for Stuart Pearce with the England under-21s. When David Moyes, Neville's manager at Everton, left to join Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement in May 2013, Neville was considered for the Everton job, but he ultimately followed Moyes to Manchester United as the club's first-team coach. Neville retained his position under caretaker manager Ryan Giggs after Moyes was sacked in April 2014, but left the club when Louis van Gaal took over as permanent manager in July 2014.

Neville is the younger brother of former Manchester United player Gary Neville, and the twin brother of retired netball international Tracey Neville.

Ryan Giggs

Ryan Joseph Giggs, (né Wilson; born 29 November 1973) is a Welsh football coach and former player. He is the manager of the Wales national team and a co-owner of Salford City. He played his entire professional career for Manchester United.

The son of rugby union, and Wales international rugby league footballer Danny Wilson, Giggs was born in Cardiff but moved to Manchester at the age of six when his father joined Swinton RLFC. Predominantly a left winger, he began his career with Manchester City, but joined Manchester United on his 14th birthday in 1987. He made his professional debut for the club in 1991 and spent the next 23 years in the Manchester United first team. At the end of the 2013–14 season, he was named as Manchester United's interim player-manager following the sacking of David Moyes. He was named as assistant manager under Moyes' permanent replacement, Louis van Gaal, on 19 May 2014; he retired from playing the same day. He holds the club record for competitive appearances. At international level, Giggs played for the Wales national team 64 times between 1991 and 2007, and was named as the captain of the Great Britain team that competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He is one of only 25 players to have made over 1,000 career appearances.Giggs is the most decorated player in football history. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals, two UEFA Champions League winner's medals, a FIFA Club World Cup winners medal, an Intercontinental Cup winner's medal, a UEFA Super Cup winner's medal and nine FA Community Shield winner's medals. Manchester United and Liverpool are the only clubs in English football history to have won more league championships than Giggs. Giggs captained United on numerous occasions, particularly in the 2007–08 season when regular captain Gary Neville was ruled out with various injuries.

Giggs also has a number of personal achievements. He was the first player in history to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards (1992 and 1993), though he did not win the PFA Player of the Year award until 2009. He was the only player to play in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League, as well as the only player to score in each of the first 21 seasons. He was elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007, the Premier League Team of the Decade in 2003, as well as the FA Cup Team of the Century. Giggs holds the record for the most assists in Premier League history, with 271. He was named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009. In addition to the many honours Giggs has received within football, he was appointed an OBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours List for his services to football.

Salford City F.C.

Salford City Football Club is a professional association football club based in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. It currently competes in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1940. In 2014 it was taken over by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, who each own 10% of the club, with businessman Peter Lim owning the remaining 50%. Since 2014, the club has had three promotions in four years.

The Class of '92

The Class of '92 is a 2013 British documentary film, released on 1 December 2013. The film centres on the rise of six young Manchester United footballers – David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes – and details their careers for Manchester United starting in 1992.

The New Lawn

The New Lawn is a football stadium in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. It has been the home stadium of League Two club Forest Green Rovers since 2006. During the 2007–08 season the stadium was shared with Gloucester City. The stadium has a capacity of 5,140, of which 2,000 is seated. It replaced The Lawn Ground as Forest Green Rovers' home stadium and is expected to be replaced by a new stadium development located near the M5 motorway.

Tony Dunne

Anthony Peter Dunne (born 24 July 1941) is an Irish former footballer who regularly appeared at left-back for Manchester United. He won 33 caps for the Republic of Ireland, playing for the national team during 1962–1975. He was Irish Footballer of the Year in 1969.

Born in Dublin, Dunne played for Stella Maris as a schoolboy Shelbourne from 1958–1960. Having helped Shels win the FAI Youth Cup in 1959, he won the FAI Cup with them the following year, beating Cork Hibernians 2–0 in the final.

A week after the final, he was signed by Manchester United for £5,000. His debut for United came on 15 October 1960 against Burnley. He helped the club win the 1963 FA Cup, the 1965 and 1967 English Football League First Division championships, and the 1968 European Cup. In his United career, he scored two goals and appeared in 530 games, a number bettered only by Ryan Giggs, Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Alex Stepney.

He remained at Old Trafford until the start of the 1973–74 season. He then signed for Bolton Wanderers, helping them win the Football League Second Division in 1977–78. At the time, Bolton were being managed by former Manchester United player Ian Greaves.

He joined Detroit Express in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1979.

After retiring from professional football, Dunne returned to Bolton as an assistant manager from 1979–1981. He then replaced Bill Foulkes as manager of Steinkjer FK in 1982–1983.

He made his full international debut in the 3–2 home defeat by Austria on 8 April 1962. Over 13 years he took his tally to 33 caps, appearing in both full-back positions and at centre-half. He is not related to goalkeeper Pat Dunne, who also played for Manchester United in the 1960s. He captained his country on four occasions.

Currently, Dunne lives in Sale and runs a driving range in Altrincham.In October 2011, his former club, Manchester United, paid approximately £44,000 at auction for four medals won by Dunne, including a European Cup medal, an FA Cup medal and two League medals.

UEFA Euro 2004 Group B

Group B of UEFA Euro 2004 was one of four groups in the final tournament's initial group stage. It began on 13 June and was completed on 21 June. The group consisted of defending champions France, England, Croatia and Switzerland.

France won the group and advanced to the quarter-finals, along with England. Croatia and Switzerland failed to advance.

United Trinity

In association football, the United Trinity or the Holy Trinity refers to the Manchester United trio of George Best, Denis Law, and Sir Bobby Charlton, who helped United become the first ever English club team to win the European Cup in 1968.

Charlton was a member of the Busby Babes, a group of talented young players brought through the club's academy by the eponymous manager Matt Busby and his assistant Jimmy Murphy, as well as club scout Joe Armstrong, who discovered Charlton in 1953, and Best in 1961, amongst others. Law arrived at the club from Italian team Torino for a club record £115,000 in 1962, having previously played for Huddersfield Town and rivals Manchester City.

Charlton made his debut on 6 October 1956, scoring twice in a 4–2 win against Charlton Athletic. Law made his debut on 18 August 1962, scoring in a 2–2 with West Bromwich Albion. Although Best made his debut against West Bromwich Albion on 14 September 1963, it wouldn't be until the reverse fixture on 18 January 1964 when all three would feature in the same starting line-up; a 4–1 victory in which all three scored, with Law scoring two of them.Throughout the 1960s all three would be voted as the winner of the Ballon d'Or, the trophy awarded to the world's best player. Law won in 1964, Charlton in 1966, and Best in 1968. Since then, only Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award while playing for United, winning in 2008. Combined, the players scored 665 goals in 1633 games. Manager Bill Shankly regaled how he once psychologically built up his Liverpool team ahead of a game against United; "I took the models of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best off the model pitch and put them in my left-hand pocket. Then I told our players: 'Don't worry about them, they can't play at all.' It was psychology, of course. Charlton, Best and Law were three of the best players in the world".

Best died on 25 November 2005, with Law and Charlton amongst the last to visit him in hospital. A year later, it was announced that a statue of the trio would be erected outside Old Trafford, which was eventually unveiled in 2008.In subsequent years, various triumvirates have been dubbed the new trinity, including academy graduates and one-club men Ryan Giggs–Paul Scholes–Gary Neville, who played in the senior team together between 1992 and 2011 and Cristiano Ronaldo–Wayne Rooney–Carlos Tevez, who played together at United when the team won the Premier League and reached the UEFA Champions League Final in two successive seasons between 2007 and 2009.

The Trinity featured in the design of Manchester United's 2017–18 third shirt.

University Academy 92

University Academy 92 (UA92) is a higher education institution / university in Greater Manchester. It will be located in Stretford in Trafford, England.

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