Friday, May 26, 2006

Teddy Sheringham for Manchester United (v Bayern Munich), 26 May 1999



Seven years ago, this very evening, I was experiencing the most incredible moment of my life.

Standing in the top tier of the Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona on the evening of May 26th 1999 I cried my eyes out as I embraced a series of total strangers. This was shortly after Edward Paul Sheringham had scuffed a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of Oliver Kahn's net in the 90th minute of the Champions League final to draw Manchester United level against the superior Bayern Munich side.

Less then three minutes later, super-sub and forever United legend Ole Gunnar Solksjaer poked Sheringham's flick-on into the roof of the net to win the 45th European Cup in the most dramatic of ways.

Walking through Norway, Solksjaer's homeland, on this seventh anniversary today brought all those memories flooding back. I spent that whole day in Barcelona - bumping into Terry Venables, seeing Arsene Wenger having luch with Ruud Gullit, meeting tens of thousands of United fans on the pilgramage to the Final. My first glimpse of the Nou Camp pitch as I walked up the steps to my seat. Looking at my brother several rows in front of me after eighty minutes and him turning round to me and simply shaking his head. The relief as the woodwork saved United twice in the second period of the game.

And then the euphoria of the goals. It was the first goal - Sheringham's equalizer - that created the most emotion. I think that is becuase the distance from "losing" to "not losing" is greater than the distance from "not losing" to "winning", if that makes any sense at all. The fact that we had rescued the game in injury time was at the core of the emotion - the second goal was almost somehow a bonus. We had done enough by scoring the first one.

The celebrations ran long into that night, and it is a day in my life I will never, ever forget. Even though I was there, I can still hear Clive Tyldesley's "...and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has won it for Manchester United....!!!" whenever I see footage or pictures of that game. I paid £500 for my ticket for the match. After ninety minutes I was reconciling this against fact that I had seen my team in the European Cup Final. Today, it seems like the biggest bargain of my life.

Anyone else have any memories of that night?

3 comments:

Flash said...

God I hope the DoJ doesn't read this!

I was working down in Dagenham that week, Ford had demanded 24 quality cover from my firm & I was there 6pm till 6am.
That night when I arrived I told my contact as soon as I got there that I was going to the pub to watch the match. I was so glad as it was also my wife's birthday & I know she'd have pulled it so I couldn't watch the game.

I watched the game in a nearby spit & sawdust pub full of east end rogues. Initially myself & most of the assembled throng were pro Munich. Halfway through the second half though there had been a shift & it seemed that everyone was now willing united.
That final five minutes was unbelievable & utterly euphoric. I was not alone in dancing round & cheering when Solskjaer worked his magic. I was as red as red could be for the next 10 minutes.
I felt priviliged to see such a unique event transpire.

By the time I'd got back to the plant, they were scum again.
That's how it goes, eh?

SwissToni said...

yes. I was bored out of my mind for most of the game, awatched the equaliser go in, and then dashed off for a piss before extra time --- missing the winner.

hey ho.

ST

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Oh what can it mean, to a sad geordie bastard and a shite football team?...