Fergie at 70: Landmark United matches for long-serving boss
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 70th birthday this weekend.
He is still going strong as manager of Manchester United, after joining the club in 1986.
We look at the landmark matches in Ferguson”s time at Old Trafford.
GAME 1 – Oxford 2 Manchester Utd 0 (November 1986)
It is a measure of how long Ferguson has been in charge that the Manor Ground no longer exists and Oxford have crashed out of the league and come back again.
John Aldridge scored a penalty and Neil Slatter added another in a deserved win for the hosts.
The first of many: Sir Alex Ferguson watches the action at the Manor Ground in 1986
GAME 10 – Manchester Utd 4 Newcastle 1 (January 1987)
Peter Jackson gave the Red Devils a fast start with a flying header – past his own goalkeeper.
NormanWhiteside added a second and though the Magpies pulled one back, Frank Stapleton and Jesper Olsen completed victory in a match notable for Kevin Moran being forced off after swallowing his tongue.
GAME 50 – Manchester Utd 2 Bury 1 (November 1987)
A League Cup fourth-round tie but this was in the days before players were rested. Brian McClair and Norman Whiteside scored in an unconvincing win.
United were knocked out in the next round and despite a second-place finish in the league, Ferguson had already decided major changes were needed.
GAME 100 – Manchester Utd 2 Nottingham Forest 0 (December 1988)
The pre-glory era was in full swing, with Fergie”s Fledglings and Ralph Milne, who scored in this game, added to the mix.
Jim Leighton had been installed as keeper, Mark Hughes had been broughtback from Barcelona and teenager Lee Sharpe was playing at full-back.
Magic moments: Eric Cantona scores against Nottingham Forest
GAME 250 – Manchester Utd 0 Liverpool 0 (October 1991)
Two trophies already bagged, Peter Schmeichel in goal, United”s first title-winning side beginning to take shape, even if there was some nasty pain to experience at the end of this season as Ferguson”s team collected one point from four games in eight days to hand the title to Leeds.
GAME 500 – Manchester Utd 2 Manchester City 1 (February 1996)
Now United are on a roll. Title drought over, a double won, the “Class of 92” about to prove you can win anything with kids and Eric Cantona”s ban served. Sharpe on target in this one after the Frenchman had converted a penalty. Another step towards another double.
GAME 750 – Manchester Utd 5 Anderlecht 1 (September 2000)
Andy Cole bags a hat-trick as United begin another European odyssey, their thrilling triumph over Bayern Munich in the Nou Camp and the treble it sealed as well still only 16 months old.
Landmark game: Ruud Van Nistelrooy heads home against Lyon on 2004
GAME 1,000 – Manchester Utd 2 Lyon 1 (November 2004)
Ferguson”s place amongst the managerial greats is already assured, although arguably the best is still to come.
He did not know it at the time but United are heading for a fall.
Twelve months after Ruud van Nistelrooy headed home the winner in this landmark game, they would be out in the group stages, Roy Keane would besacked and Vodafone would quit as sponsors.
GAME 1,250 – Manchester Utd 1 Everton 0 (January 2009)
Somehow fitting Cristiano Ronaldo, who as much as anyone launched United into their present golden era, should score the only goal from the penalty spot.
United were on their way to completing another hat-trick of titles but they were about to encounter an improving Barcelona team who would go down as one of the greats.