Ahead of Manchester City giving Premier League champions Liverpool a guard of honour at The Etihad this evening, let’s remember one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s most memorable decisions in management.
Tomas Kuszczak, Kieran Lee, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Gabriel Heinze (Captain), Chris Eagles, Alan Smith, Darren Fletcher, Kieran Richardson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dong Fangzhou.
This was the side newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester United fielded against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in 2007, and we still can’t help but applaud the sheer audacity of it all.
The likes of John Terry, Claude Makelele and Paulo Ferreira made an orderly line before-kick off to give Sir Alex Ferguson’s side a guard of honour as captain Gabriel Heinze led his team out.
It was a quite bizarre spectacle.
Plenty of outlets reported that these teams were weakened because of the forthcoming FA Cup final in mind, but it was most likely a ploy by Sir Alex to make a spectacle.
Dong Fangzhou, who’s time at Old Trafford was far from eventful, managed to get some rare minutes of first team action, but was brought off with 18 minutes to go after failing to get the better of Chelsea captain John Terry.
Meanwhile academy products Kieran Lee and Chris Eagles ‘earned’ starts in a forgettable 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
That being said, Sir Alex’s decision to field this side will forever remembered.
The fact that a team like this could earn a point at Stamford Bridge is why Sir Alex is arguably the greatest manager of all time.
So, what did he have to say after the game?
“I’m pleased with the result because we were playing for a bit of honour and pride,” he said.
“Maybe when people saw the team they were expecting we wouldn’t be bothered or that Chelsea were going to roll us over, but that wasn’t the case.
“I have to be happy with a draw and some of our performances. We were good in terms of possession and confidence to play, although we tired markedly in the last 15 minutes and had to hang on a bit.”