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Remembering the Man United XI that famously beat Ipswich 9-0

Manchester United have enjoyed a number of notable victories in the Premier League era, although perhaps none quite so emphatic as their 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town at Old Trafford in March 1995.

Alex Ferguson’s men – who had won the title in the previous two seasons – had actually endured a poor record against the Tractor Boys prior to that meeting, with Ipswich having run out 3-2 winners in the reverse fixture at Portman Road.

United exacted revenge for that defeat, however, in remarkable fashion, racing into a three-goal lead at half-time, before swiftly putting the game out of sight in the second-half, with January arrival Andy Cole netting five.

 

Despite that statement performance, the Red Devils would go on to see Blackburn Rovers pip them to top spot at the end of the season, while for the visitors it proved a sign of things to come as they finished rock-bottom of the table.

Here’s a look at United’s starting XI on that crazy afternoon at the Theatre of Dreams in the 1994/95 season:

Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel

There won’t have been an easier afternoon in a United shirt for Peter Schmeichel, the goalkeeping colossus watching on as his attacking teammates ran riot, in what was the first of two 9-0 wins in the Premier League era for the club – the second coming last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Southampton.

The former Denmark international remains arguably the best ‘keeper that the competition has ever seen and enjoyed eight trophy-laden years at Old Trafford, moving on to Sporting Lisbon in 1999 after clinching the treble at the end of the previous season.

The five-time title winner’s impact was so great that it took almost six years for the club to eventually recover from his loss, with Edwin van der Sar’s arrival in 2005 finally filling the void.

Right-back: Roy Keane

While renowned for his commanding and robust displays in the centre of midfield, the former Republic of Ireland international did fill in at right-back on occasion, memorably netting the opener from that full-back berth with an excellent strike from just outside the area.

An uncompromising and at times brutal figure, Keane expertly led the side as captain for much of his time at the club, winning seven league titles during his stellar 12-year stint before departing acrimoniously in 2005.

Iconic Performances: Roy Keane’s superhuman display v Juventus

Centre-back: Steve Bruce

An at times turbulent managerial career has perhaps overshadowed what was an impressive playing career for Steve Bruce, the centre-back integral to the success enjoyed by the club in the early Premier League era.

Often remembered for his dramatic and decisive brace against Sheffield Wednesday which helped secure United the title in 1992/93, the Englishman scored 51 goals in 414 appearances for the Red Devils, before departing for Birmingham City in 1996.

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Centre-back: Gary Pallister

Partnering Bruce in those early Premier League years was Gary Pallister, the former Middlesbrough man an almost ever-present during his nine-year stint at the club, in which he won four league titles and three FA Cups among his honours to become the Red Devils’ most decorated player at that time.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest sides were built on a bedrock of solidity with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic later forming an iconic centre-back partnership, though the early seasons of the Premier League saw Bruce and Pallister provide their own commanding combination.

Iconic Duos: Bruce and Pallister, Man United’s identical pillars

Left-back: Dennis Irwin

United’s ‘Mr Reliable’, Dennis Irwin has long been recognised as the unsung hero of the club’s success of the 1990s, with Ferguson often commending the Irishman for never dipping below a seven or eight out of ten.

That is high praise indeed considering the versatile full-back spent 12 years at the Theatre of Dreams after being plucked from Oldham Athletic in 1990, before eventually ending his career with a two-year stint at Wolves.

As for the match itself, Irwin teed up Cole for the fourth goal of the match, whipping in a delightful ball – after changing to right-back at half-time – that the striker duly headed in.

Midfield: Paul Ince

Paul Ince made it eight late on with a somewhat controversial strike, the midfielder dinking the ball into an empty net after a quickly-taken free-kick, with opposition ‘keeper Craig Forrest yet to return to his goal after being penalised for handling the ball outside of his area.

That season proved to be his last at Old Trafford, as the self-proclaimed ‘Guv’nor’ was moved on to Inter Milan that summer in a shock move after six seasons at the club, before eventually returning to England two years later to join bitter rivals, Liverpool.

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What is Paul Ince’s legacy? Why England’s first black captain is football’s forgotten man

Midfield: Brian McClair

An at times forgotten part of a hugely successful era for the club, the Scotsman spent 11 years at Manchester United, joining the club from Celtic in 1987 after a prolific stint in Glasgow.

The goals dried up during the early Premier League years as McClair transitioned into a deeperi midfield role, before he eventually departed in 1998 to move to Motherwell.

Following his retirement, he returned to the club in 2006 and spent nine years working in the youth academy.

Right-wing: Andrei Kanchelskis

Ipswich simply couldn’t cope with the dazzling speed of the rapid Russian on one flank and Ryan Giggs on the other, as United relentlessly bombed forward against their relegation-threatened opponents.

Alongside both Ince and Mark Hughes, Kanchelskis was moved on at the end of the season after a falling out with Ferguson, the legendary manager eventually ushering in the famed ‘Class of 92’ to replace those high profile departure.

The winger had spent four years at United, before joining Everton in the summer of 1995.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs

While five-goal hero Cole stole the headlines for his lethal haul, arguably United’s most impressive performer on the day was Giggs, the Welsh wing wizard tormenting the visiting defence.

The academy graduate burst down the left-flank to set-up the hosts’ second of the match, while also jinking his way past a succession of bodies to tee-up Hughes at the back post to make it 5-0.

A rampaging winger in his youth, Giggs effectively transitioned into a creative midfielder in his latter career, eventually calling it quits in 2014 after 24 years in the United first-team. With 13 Premier League titles, he is the most successful player in the competition’s history and the club’s record appearance maker (963).

Forward: Mark Hughes

A brace for the Welshman capped what was an outstanding display, the striker first setting up Keane’s opener, before getting in on the act himself with an excellent, sliding strike from the angle and a well-taken header on the rebound.

He could have perhaps had a hat-trick but saw a volleyed over-head kick strike the crossbar prior to United’s third of the match, Hughes having been notorious for his ball-striking ability on the volley.

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He spent 13 years with the club across two spells, while also turning out for the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Forward: Andy Cole

What an afternoon it proved to be for Andy Cole, who became the first Premier League player to score five goals in a single fixture in a showcase of his remarkable finishing ability.

Cole has signed for the Red Devils in January in a shock deal from Newcastle, with the club breaking the British transfer record to prise the exciting star from St James’ Park.

He had announced himself in the top-flight during the 1993/94 campaign in which he scored 34 league goals for the Magpies – the joint-record for goals scored in a Premier League season, alongside Alan Shearer.

Cole is perhaps best remembered at United for his partnership with Dwight Yorke, the two men helping fire the club to the treble in the 1998/99 season.

Iconic Duos: Striking synergy perfected, Cole and Yorke

Substitutes

Lee Sharpe

Lee Sharpe entered the fray at half-time in place of Roy Keane, slotting in at left-back with Dennis Irwin switching over to the right-flank.

The Englishman spent eight years at the club after joining as a teenager from Torquay in 1988, although after a promising first few seasons in Manchester, he found himself in-and-out of the side following the rise of Giggs and the form of Kanchelskis.

Nicky Butt

The academy graduate was another product of the famed ‘Class of 92’ and one of the earliest of those to break into the side, making his debut during the 1992/93 title-winning season.

The combative midfielder spent 12 years at the club, but despite some notable performances – including in the 1999 Champions League final triumph – he found game time hard to come in his later years due to the form of Keane and Paul Scholes.

As for the win over Ipswich, he replaced Bruce late on with United already 8-0 up.

Read – Remembering the Man United XI who triumphed over Chelsea to win the Champions League in Russia

Read Also – Midfield Magicians: A footballing and celebrity icon, David Beckham

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