Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League Team: Where Are They NowPosted: December 2, 2015
This article was first published on May 26th 2015
The 1999 treble-winning Manchester United team is one that will long live in the memory, a team whose tale will be told in folklore for generations to come. Not only were the team one of the best that Sir Alex Ferguson reigned over, but the dramatic circumstances surrounding their late comeback victory in the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich capture the hearts and minds of any football fan. It gives all fans hope that even if the game looks beyond reach, it is still somehow, some way, possible to pull the result out of the bag.
Teddy Sheringham got the unlikely equaliser in the 91st minute, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bagged the winner in the 93rd. You can relive the drama below, and read up on what the 13 players that took to the field for United that day are doing with their days now!
1 – Peter Schmeichel played for Manchester United between 1991 and the year of this famous treble – 1999. After his stint at the Red Devils he went to Portugal for two seasons, before finishing his playing career out at Aston Villa and Manchester City. In his first season at Sporting Portugal, he helped the team win their first league title in 18 years.
Since hanging up his gloves, Schmeichel has done a lot of work as a TV pundit. He has made many appearances on the BBC, and was a regular on Match of the Day up until 2005. The former net-minder then focussed on Danish television, hosting Champions League matches for TV3+. His television talents went beyond football too, and Schmeichel hosted the Danish quiz show 1 mod 100, a Danish version of 1 vs 100, as well as hosting Dirty Jobs on Europe’s Discovery Channel.
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2 – Gary Neville is one of the most well-known of this team, not least because he was one of the last of United’s ’99 team to retire from professional football, but because he is now one of the biggest names in football punditry in the UK, as a regular commentator and analyst for Sky Sports. Gary Neville’s banterings with former Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football is now one of the most looked-forward to things in the Premier League’s weekend, and a lot more recently Neville has even started his own podcast with Sky.
5 – Ronny Johnsen was one of the biggest bargain buys in United’s history, ice cool at the back while also being able to play in a defensive midfield role. Johnsen had stints at Aston Villa and Newcastle before heading back to his native Norway to finish off his playing days. Three seasons were spent at Vålerenga, after Johnsen repeatedly tried to retire but was convinced otherwise. The defender then went on to earn his coaching badges at United, and has gone on to work for the club as an ambassador, while also working as an ambassador for betting company Unibet.
6 – Jaap Stam never stayed too long at any club, and his three-year stint at United was as long as his spell at any other club. After leaving the Red Devils in 2001, he went to Italy where a total of five years were spent at Lazio and AC Milan, before finishing off his playing days at Ajax. After his retirement, he patched things up with Alex Ferguson after heavily criticising the manager and many former United teammates, and worked at the club as a scout in charge of spotting talent in South America. He then made his first steps in the direction of coaching with PEC Zwolle, before taking up a coaching position at Ajax in 2013, where he was essentially a defensive coordinator. He now also works as assistant coach in Ajax’s youth setup. Stam has said before that he wants to be a manager in the future and has admitted it’s no secret that English football attracts him.
3 – Denis Irwin was often referred to as Mr Dependable during his time at United. Alex Ferguson knew he found a special player when he brought Irwin to Old Trafford in 1990, and even went as far as saying Irwin would get in his all-time United XI. Upon leaving Manchester, Irwin played two seasons with Wolves, where he helped them earn promotion to the Premier League. After retirement, Irwin found employment with MUTV, where he presented, analysed, and discussed anything and everything to do with United.
11 – Ryan Giggs only hung up his boots last year, but in more recent seasons his style of play had become a lot slower but every bit as controlled as when he was in his prime. Giggs continued playing professional football at the highest level until the age of 40, winning many plaudits for his longevity, having spent 24 years (the majority of his life) as a professional footballer. He took over the managerial duties at the club once David Moyes was sacked in April 2014, and held the reigns for the end of the season. When Louis Van Gaal was hired as his replacement last summer, Giggs was given the role of assistant manager to the club’s new Dutch coach.
7 – David Beckham left the club to become one of Real Madrid’s latest galacticos back in 2003, after 11 years at Old Trafford. The ex England captain had ups and downs in Spain, but left on a high note when he was recalled back to the team after being dropped, and resurging the side to a spectacular comeback to take the title (Beckham’s first and only La Liga title) after trailing Barcelona for most of the year. Beckham then had spells at Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain. Most recently, Beckham has been working on football in an administrative role in the United States. Last year he took up his option to buy a MLS expansion team, an option which was in the first contract he signed with LA Galaxy back in 2007. He bought the Miami franchise for $25 million, who will be looking to enter the MLS in 2016 or 2017, depending on a number of factors including the need for a new stadium to be built.
8 – Nicky Butt joined Newcastle after leaving United in 2004. Butt even had a stint in Hong Kong, playing a handful of games for South China Athletic Association, before coming back to Manchester. He, along with other United legends Beckham, Neville and Scholes decided to buy Salford City ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. Butt now works as an interim coach at United, and looks after the reserve team.
15 – Jesper Blomqvist started the 1999 Champions League final because Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were both suspended, leaving a hole in the middle of the park, and inadvertently writing Blomqvist’s name into the history books at United. The Swede suffered with injury which kept him out of football for the entirity of the two seasons following this famous final. A few unsuccessful spells at Everton, Charlton, Djurgården, Enköping, before eventually retiring after a year with Hammarby in 2010. He became a pundit on Sweden’s TV4, and now owns a nightclub in Stockholm. Blomqvist tried his hand at coaching, and was an assistant manager at Hammarby, but without much success. In the final against Bayern, Blomqvist was substituted for Teddy Sheringham.
19 – Dwight Yorke had a few spells around the Premier League but failed to hit the heights he reached with United ever again. Not a particularly prolific player, his spells at Blackburn, Sunderland, and Sydney were useful to the teams but without huge goalscoring numbers. Yorke worked at Sky for a while following his retirement, and is said to be involved in a potential project which could see a new league set up in India. Along with Yorke, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, Robert Pires, and a host of other Premier League legends are also involved in the IMG-backed project.
9 – Andy Cole became something of a Premier League journeyman following his six-year spell at Manchester United. Spells were enjoyed at Newcastle and Blackburn, but like Yorke, Cole never reached the heights achieved at the Red Devils again. Cole has ambitions to join the coaching game now too, and in 2009 agreed to coach Milton Keynes Dons forwards, teaming up with Paul Ince again. He has since returned to Manchester United to finish working on his coaching badges.
20 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left the club as a player in 2007 but stayed to coach United’s reserve team for a few years following his retirement. The “baby-faced assassin” then got the chance to manage his own team, his former team Molde, in Norway. His spell at the helm of Molde was hugely successful, as he guided the club to their first ever (and second!) league titles, in 2011 and 2012. He left the club to try his hand at management in the Premier League with Cardiff City following the sacking of Malky Mackay, but couldn’t help the team avoid relegation. When Liverpool defeated his Cardiff side 6-3, he was asked if the Reds were true title contenders, to which he simply replied “Couldn’t care less,” before walking off without any more words. Spoken like a true Red Devil!
10 – Teddy Sheringham came on in the final in the 67th minute enjoyed successful spells around the Premier League following his departure from Manchester United, including stints at Tottenham, Portsmouth, and West Ham. Upon retirement, Sheringham became quite a successful poker player, even pocketing himself €93,000+ at in the €5,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event in the EPT Vilamoura, finishing 5th out of a field of 384 players. Sheringham is now a forwards coach at West Ham, and was credited widely for West Ham’s excellent start to this season, which for a number of months saw them hold their own in and around the top four, before eventually losing form.