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My Favourite Three: Sir Alex Ferguson signings; Schmeichel, Keane, Cantona

Sir Alex Ferguson signed around 105 players during his time as Manchester United manager. Some were good, some were bad and some were that good they named him twice (Eric Djemba-Djemba). Over the last few days, some of the writers have talked about their favourite three Manchester United signings which were brought in by Ferguson. I am a little old school with my choices as these were the players I grew up watching, the ones who I feel made United the dominating club they were in the 1990’s. Ferguson signed some true stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney (the old one not the new one) and many, many more. but these three are my favourites…

Peter Schmeichel

The Danish goalkeeper signed for Manchester United from Brøndby on the 6th August 1991 for a fee of only £505,000, which considering the player he became at United, it was a true bargain. Schmeichel did it all with United, becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, if not the best, which could still be the case today. His son, Kasper Schmeichel plays for Leicester City, winning the Premier League himself during the 2015/16 season. Schmeichel played a total of 393 matches for United, scoring one goal, which is not something you would expect from a goalkeeper. The Danish giant won the Premier League five times, lifted three FA Cup trophies, won the League Cup once, four FA Charity Shields, one UEFA Super Cup and a UEFA Champions League title, after winning the treble with United in his final season, which was such a fairytale ending. After United, Schmeichel played for Sporting CP, Aston Villa and Manchester City before hanging up his gloves. He was an ambassador for United until recently, vacating that position. Schmeichel will also be considered one of the players who made Manchester United the team they were in the 1990’s.

Roy Keane

Roy Keane, his relationship with Ferguson may have been bittersweet, but there is no taking away what the player achieved for Manchester United. Keane was Mr Manchester United in the midfield, a player who brought the fear into the opposition, a player not scared by anyone, especially Patrick Vieira – ‘I’ll see you out there’. Keane was signed by Ferguson from Nottingham Forest for just £3.75 million, a British record transfer at the time. The Irishman was a tough tackler, a player which never gave up and dug deep to achieve what he helped United achieve. In the treble-winning season, Keane suffered the unimaginable – he missed the UEFA Champions League final due to suspension along with Paul Scholes, which was a big blow for United, but something they gon on with and overcame, going 1-0 down in the first six minutes, but scoring two goals through Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, both from corners taken by David Beckham. Keane left United in December 2005 after an interview he did with MUTV, playing his first match for Celtic in January 2006. Keane had a testimonial with United, against Celtic with United winning 1-0, Keane playing a half for each of the clubs. Keane was a problem to replace for United with Michael Carrick taking his old number, being the best replacement for him, despite not being in any way similar to the Irishman, filling in the void in his own way.

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is my favourite Manchester United player. He just had it all and it was a shame United did not keep him for longer. He could have been one of the best players of his time, which he probably was, but his legendary status could have been much better. Signed from Leeds United for just £1.2 million with the chairman of the club, Bill Fotherby telephoning United chairman Martin Edwards to see if he could sign left-back Denis Irwin. Ferguson was in a meeting with Edwards at the time, both being in the same room. They both agreed that Irwin was not for sale but Ferguson needed a striker and Cantona’s availability tested with Fotherby having to ask manager Howard Wilkinson and the transfer was concluded a few days later. The prolific Frenchman spent just five seasons at United before retiring from the game. A kung-fu kick against Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons saw him being banned from the game. The same Eric Cantona never returned. He famously said the following at a press conference; “When the seagulls follow the trawler, they expect sardines to be thrown into the sea.” That puzzled many and the man left the game standing still, never to return to the pitch as a player again. Cantona made 185 appearances for United, scoring 82 goals. Not the most prolific, but Cantona was a genius, one which Leeds United missed out on, which makes it so much better.

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