Following Manchester United’s humiliating exit from the Champions League, here TEAMtalk looks at some of the most embarrassing moments in the club’s recent history.
United suffered their heaviest defeat for 56 years as they were thrashed 6-1 at Old Trafford by rivals Manchester City in October 2011. Three of City’s goals came in the closing minutes but it was already a one-sided encounter. Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko each struck twice with Sergio Aguero and David Silva also on target. United, who had Jonny Evans sent off, grabbed a consolation through Darren Fletcher.
HIT FOR SIX BY SAINTS
United also conceded six on a dismal afternoon at Southampton in October 1996. Roy Keane was sent off before Matthew Le Tissier scored with a clever chip and Egil Ostenstad netted a hat-trick.
The Southampton loss came just a week after United were embarrassed 5-0 by Kevin Keegan’s rampant Newcastle at St James’ Park. The Magpies were outstanding with the highlight being Phillipe Albert’s superb lob over Peter Schmeichel.
The October rout was not the only time United toiled at the hands of Southampton in 1996, after the notorious grey kit fiasco of April that year. United were 3-0 down at half-time at The Dell and furious manager Sir Alex Ferguson ordered that they change kit. He complained that players were having trouble seeing each other in grey and they returned for the second half in blue and white. It worked slightly better as the game finished 3-1.
Another heavy defeat was inflicted by Chelsea in October 1999, with the Londoners running out 5-0 winners in a bad-tempered match at Stamford Bridge that ended United’s 29-game unbeaten run. A blunder by United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi gifted Gus Poyet the opener in the first minute and things got progressively worse for the Red Devils.
LIVERPOOL CRUSH MOYES
Liverpool supporters also enjoy few things more than thrashing United and they did just that in March 2014, winning 3-0 at Old Trafford in a result that hastened the end of David Moyes’ ill-fated spell as manager. Liverpool, inspired by goalscorers Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, were starting to mount a serious title charge and they dominated in all facets of the game. Moyes was sacked a month later.
The whole of Moyes’ time in charge represented a disappointing chapter in the club’s history. The Scot was recommended by his predecessor Ferguson in 2013 but he got off to a slow start and momentum never really picked up. The team were not convincing and the club pulled the plug after less than a year. United limped to a dismal seventh-placed finish in the Premier League in 2014, missing out on Europe and failing to win any silverware.
MK DONS SHOCK
Moyes’ permanent successor Louis van Gaal hardly got off to a flying start either, and his side suffered a shock loss to League One MK Dons in the second round of the Capital One Cup. United had been in need of a lift after failing to win either of their opening Premier League games but they were stunned 4-0 by the minnows.
Icidentally, this was the last time a certain Nick Powell featured for United – prior to Tuesday night. He makes our gallery of 10 Premier League players we almost (forgot) about.
Everyone knew about the Ferguson hairdryer but rarely did dressing room goings-on spill out into the public as spectacularly as they did in 2003 when David Beckham had the cut to show it. Beckham, the golden boy of English football, was struck in the face by a boot Ferguson kicked in frustration. Of all people for it to hit, it had to be the player who commanded photographers’ attention like no other.
All clubs have their share of poor signings and Bebe was one of United’s worst. The club had high hopes for the little-known Portuguese winger when they forked out £7.4million to sign him from Guimaraes in 2010 but the player almost disappeared without trace. He made just seven appearances for the club before being loaned out and eventually sold to Benfica last year.
DE GEA NO SALE
United were embarrassed on the transfer front again this summer as the long-proposed move of goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid collapsed at the last moment. Plenty of blame was attached to the Spaniards as, after a summer of speculation linking them with the player, they only made their move on deadline day. Yet neither club came out of the saga well with United having not been picking De Gea in the preceding weeks. The move failed to happen as documents were not processed before the deadline.