Monday 17 June 2019

Why the name of Teddy Sheringham's house is a constant reminder of Man United's greatest night

Teddy Sheringham and team mates celebrate their dramatic Champions League success in 1999
Teddy Sheringham and team mates celebrate their dramatic Champions League success in 1999
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

THE name of Teddy Sheringham’s house in Essex says it all about the night he cherishes more than any other in his career, yet the 1999 Champions League final was so nearly his biggest disappointment.

Sheringham christened his home 'Nou Camp' as a nod to the night that saw him etched into Manchester United folklore, yet he has told the Sunday World that he arrived at the home of Barcelona with frustration bubbling close to the surface after he was left out of the starting line-up by manager Alex Ferguson.

Just four days after his man-of-the-match display had secured the FA Cup for United against Newcastle at Wembley, the England striker believed he had done enough to secure a place in the team for the Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich.

Yet Ferguson put his trust in the Dwight Yorke/Andy Cole combination that had fired his team to Premier League title glory, with the ultimate treble triumph in United’s sights as they took centre stage inside Barcelona’s iconic bowl 20 years ago today.

"I was upset when the manager told me I wasn't playing, of course I was," Sheringham told us. "When you win an FA Cup on the Saturday and get the man-of-the-match award at Wembley, you think you should play the next game, but the manager had other ideas.

"He went with Yorke and Cole and it was hard to take. You might never get a chance to play in another Champions League final and to be part of the first team to win the treble was something you didn’t want to miss out on.

"I remember sitting on the bench thinking I was missing it all and then at half-time the manager told me he would send me on if we didn’t score in the first 15 minutes. Selfishly, you want that to happen, even if that is not what’s best for the team, but you don’t want to miss this.

"You want to be the guy scoring in the Champions League final, scoring the winning goal maybe and it was passing me by, but Ole and I made an impression in the end."

Sheringham is modest when he reflects on his contribution to the greatest 101 seconds in United’s history as after trailing Bayern for 84 minutes of a relatively one-side final that could have been won by the German champions long before injury time, United’s substitutes turned destiny into reality.

First it was Sheringham deflecting a shot past Bayern keeper Oliver Kahn 36 seconds into injury time and then, flicked on a David Beckham corner and Solskjaer won it with a close-range finish that cemented his place as an Old Trafford legend.

"The best deflection of my career, right," says Sheringham with a smile as he remembers his goal. "Giggsy normally whacks them in with pace, but he didn't connect with this one and I just had to try and deflect it in.

"I probably didn’t realise how late it was in the game until I saw big Peter (Schmeichel) coming up to the corner. That’s when you know it’s your last chance and to be honest, it was amazing we were still in it.

"We had ridden our luck to only be a goal behind up to that point and to be level going into extra time was a massive relief, but there was to be no extra-time.

"Our next attack, we get a corner and I’m thinking, I’m scoring again here, you are on such a high at that point. You can’t believe you are playing at the Nou Camp in the Champions League final and you have your moment to win it.

"I look back at it now and I jumped too high on that corner. I kinda hover in the air before I flick it on and Ole stuck a boot out and that was it. We were second away from losing and suddenly we had won the treble. You are like, did that really happen?"

It is a question Bayern Munich players will have been asking for the rest of their careers, as United achieved ultimate a treble that has never been matched in the two decades since.

Two decades on and United fans are pining for glory days of this vintage to return.

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Dublin hurlers come of age, who will stand up for Offaly and Anthony Cunningham's unique record

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport