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Red Icons: Remi Moses – hard as nails

Long before Manchester United fans associated an afro haircut wearing midfielder with Marouane Fellaini. They associated the afro haircut to none other than Remi Moses. Perhaps a forgotten name to many today, the Manchester-born midfielder’s career is one that many will see as what might have been. Although being forced to retire at the youthful age of 27 due to injuries, the midfielder had done enough at Old Trafford to receive a cult hero status. Moses was brought into United by his former West Bromwich Albion manager Ron Atkinson. Consequentially, Moses became the first ever black player to score a goal for Manchester United.

During an eight-year career with Manchester United, Moses represented the Mancunian giants 188 times and scoring 12 goals. The defensive midfielder made his debut for the club against Swansea City in a 1-0 victory in September 1981. Unfortunately for the man from Miles Platting, his career was cut short at just age 27 due to a long battle with injuries. After a reoccurring ankle injury, Moses decided to call an end on his career in 1989.

Mainly, Moses was known for his midfield enforcer role he played for both West Brom and United. However, he could also dictate play with the best of opponents, most notably against Michel Platini and Juventus in 1984. Although Juventus went on to win the 1984 European Cup Winners’ Cup, in the first leg at Old Trafford Moses put on a tremendous midfield display. Notably, Bryan Robson missed this game however, Moses stepped up to the mark and demonstrated his ability.

Mainly though, Moses was known for his ferocious style of play in the middle of the park for Manchester United. The midfield hardman was given tasks that not many other players would’ve been capable of. Partnering Robson in midfield, Moses was often tasked with winning the ball and passing it off to his teammate. With Sir Alex Ferguson coming into the club in 1986, the Scottish boss wished to have Moses feature at the base of his midfield. Unfortunately, due to injuries, it did not plan out this way.

It wasn’t just his opponents that were on the wrong end of Moses’ brunt. During a game of five-a-side at United’s Cliff training ground in 1986. A clash left United winger Jesper Olsen with a bloody gash above his eye and Moses with bruised knuckles. Standing at only 5-foot-6, Moses was quick to prove to his teammates that he was no pushover. Moses’ reputation put fear into not only his adversaries but also his own teammates.

Referring to the injuries of Moses once more, these problems have cost him from experiencing what should have been landmark moments in his career. Not an injury but a suspension resulted in Moses missing out on United’s successful FA Cup final in 1983. However, Moses missed out again on FA Cup success in 1985, this time due to injury. In the same season, Moses was called up to the senior England national squad for the first time. Unfortunately, Moses missed out on this opportunity, due to yet again injury problems.

After a career riddled with frustration, Moses tends to stay away from the limelight today. Living a quiet life Moses has been involved in property development. He has also coached Manchester Warriors U20 inline skate hockey team. He also helped Old Trafford FC in a coaching role as part of a community development scheme. These are areas that are unknown quantities and add to the cult hero figure of Moses.

Although hugely admired by many United fans who have seen him play, on Remi Moses’ behalf there must be questions of what might have been.

Written by Shane Purcell

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