Brian McClair's later years

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by 2cents, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Oct 11, 2018
    #1

    2cents Full Member

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    According to Wikipedia, following his goal in the 1994 FA Cup Final, McClair made a further 123 appearances for us over four seasons, scoring 11 goals along the way.

    Apart from a couple of jammy assists for iconic goals scored by Beckham and Cantona in 96/97, I can't remember a single thing he did over that time, and this the period when I was probably most intensely obsessed with United.

    Can anybody remember any contribution Choccy made in his last four seasons with us, apart from the two assists?

    (This is not meant to demean the man, who was obviously an important player in Fergie's early years, just genuinely curious)
  2. Oct 11, 2018
    #2

    Andy_Cole Full Member

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    I remember growing up thinking he was useless (a kid in those years) not knowing he was an absolute legend.
  3. Oct 11, 2018
    #3

    711 Full Member Scout

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    He moved back to midfield though. Not great at it, but not fair to expect him to score like he did as as striker.
  4. Oct 11, 2018
    #4

    OldSchoolManc Full Member

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    I must admit, he was my least favourite player in his later years.
    As already said, he had pretty much been moved into midfield, but at that time, I still thought of him as a forward.
    I got frustrated with his ‘attack’ contributions.
    He really was a square peg in a round hole in his later years.
    I never understood why SAF scrimped and saved instead of bringing in specialists in certain positions.
    To be fair, more often than not, he made us gel as a team. That is the main thing that has been missing since SAF retired.
  5. Oct 11, 2018
    #5

    Rory 7 Full Member

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    That’s the key point. He did a job for us in the middle too, always coming on off the bench. Honestly the last thing I really remember of Chiccy is scoring in the cup final v chelsea. I vaguely remember him coming on off the bench in midfield a lot in the CL too. But bear in mind not as many games were televised live as they are now, so my memory brain and everything else aren’t what they used to be.
  6. Oct 11, 2018
    #6

    dwd Saturday Night Spies

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    The last thing I remember him doing in a United shirt is hugging Cantona after his chip vs Sunderland.

    Did he get a testimonial? Not sure I remember one.
  7. Oct 11, 2018
    #7

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    His greatest contribution in the mid-late 90s was writing an amusing Diary in the back of United Magazine.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  8. Oct 11, 2018
    #8

    mykelawrence New Member

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    For some reason, as a 9-11 year old I really, really liked him. I think I was too young to see the issues with him dropping too deep and not contributing a whole lot.

    He scored a couple of goals away at Coventry in 95/96. No idea where that 3rd goal came from that season.
  9. Oct 11, 2018
    #9

    Rory 7 Full Member

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    :lol: Harsh
  10. Oct 11, 2018
    #10

    arthurka Full Member

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    I just remember his 87-88 season were he was great and begining of the 90's 91-94 were he was my favourite player until Cantona came . He was getting on a bit after then , in those days 31-32 old players were done . He turned 32 I think in 94 or 95 that could explain his drop in form .
  11. Oct 11, 2018
    #11

    Gazza Magic Carpet Pilot

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    Against Celtic at OT I think. Think we lost 2-1.
  12. Oct 11, 2018
    #12

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    Remember when we used to play football?
  13. Oct 11, 2018
    #13

    2cents Full Member

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    Ah the magazine, now that brings me back. I always remember after we beat Chelsea 5-3 at the Bridge in January 1998, with us miles ahead of Arsenal in the league, the next magazine ran a cover asking "Why are we so good?", after which of course we blew the entire season, with Arsenal getting the double.

    Weirdly enough, McClair was still making appearances that season somehow.
  14. Oct 11, 2018
    #14

    2cents Full Member

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    Right, the Chelsea one I remember. The other one not so much. I like that he fell on his arse scoring both.
  15. Oct 11, 2018
    #15

    Jeppers7 Full Member

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    Besides his first season where he became the first player since Best to score 20 league goals, he was largely crap
  16. Oct 11, 2018
    #16

    Billy Blaggs Flacco of the Blaggs tribe

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    Chockys diary. I remember that.
  17. Oct 11, 2018
    #17

    2cents Full Member

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    [​IMG]
  18. Oct 11, 2018
    #18

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    :lol:

    And another...


    I’m literally just finding goals where we played nice football now, ‘cos, well, it’s nice isn’t it? I remember that feeling.
  19. Oct 11, 2018
    #19

    mykelawrence New Member

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    I loved Choccy's diary!
  20. Oct 11, 2018
    #20

    Class of 63 Full Member

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    Great pro was our Choccy, a lot of his best work went unnoticed to the casual observer, but he took indefatigability to a different level when he moved to midfield, but he didn't score many goals, or assist a lot so he was obviously crap....
  21. Oct 11, 2018
    #21

    Tarrou Full Member

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    Choccy's diary is back isn't it?

    I love Choccy back in the day, but he was a bit pointless in his last few seasons. I always find it a bit weird seeing him in clips from the 96-98 period cos in my mind he wasn't really a part of that side, as great as he was in his early days.
  22. Oct 11, 2018
    #22

    Shane88 Actually Nostradamus

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    Gorgeous goal. Wonder what media reaction was to goals like that then. City or Liverpool score that and we get a month of Pep or Klopp fellating.
  23. Oct 11, 2018
    #23

    FujiVice Full Member

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    You needed to keep a player like McClair around back then. With no Robson, Ince, Hughes, Bruce etc. you needed to keep ahold of some big characters in the dressing room with such a youthful squad. He was very funny by all accounts, and the players liked and respected him. Was one of those players who was pals with the manager and Kiddo as well, so he was essentially a player coach from the early 90s onwards. He was a great bridge between staff and players. He was a great servant.

    And the Diary was hilarious. My mother used to read it every month and laugh at it. He was quite hilarious. I recall one story as late as 2006, when he told a tale of the reserves going on a team bonding session to the zoo and Sylvian Ebanks Blake shoving a banana in an elephants trunk because he thought it was its mouth.
  24. Oct 11, 2018
    #24

    SirMattlives New Member

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    I remember seeing him in the 89(?) era, scoring a few, and generally being well-impressed with him. Remember some silly Daily Mirror back story about him and Sparky not being able to play together was doing the rounds and I took ridiculously over the top pleasure when some a-hole down the pub insisted on this 'fact', as if he'd divined it himself while arguing with me about the woes of United in general. An away game was on the TV, and both players then scored for us as we came back from 1 down to win the game. Obviously, the quality of DM reporting and analysis has not improved, my patience with dickheads might not have either. McClair was a serious contributor, even when not a striker, often doing the thankless stuff that kept us in the game. I'd have the likes in our squad anyday.
  25. Oct 11, 2018
    #25

    padzilla Hipster

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    Ah Brian McClair a prime example of the modern mindset that if you are not scoring loads of goals you must be rubbish school of thought. Yes he slowed down in his later years but very few players do not, he was a key squad player in his later years but was used sparingly which is exactly how the likes of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young should be used these days, instead of being forced to turn out on a weekly basis, not to mention as captain of the club in Valencia's case. McClair also started 41 of our 42 league games in 92/93 when we first won the Premier League, this guy has done more for the club than 90 per cent of the players we have ever had.
  26. Oct 11, 2018
    #26

    Raees Fairweather Fan

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    Well said. Very intelligent player from any footage I have managed to rewatch of him.
  27. Oct 11, 2018
    #27

    Red_Ramirez New Member

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    Ahh the days when we had proper men in the squad who never shirked in the red shirt

    Unlike the snowflake clowns we have in the team today who needs mollycoddling 24/7
  28. Oct 11, 2018
    #28

    17Larsson Not a malefactor just a lagomorph

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    @padzilla that is the post this thread deserved. Well said
  29. Oct 11, 2018
    #29

    Darkhorsez Full Member

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    That’s exactly how I remember him. Used to really like him a lot.
  30. Oct 11, 2018
    #30

    padzilla Hipster

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    His book is one of the best football tomes I have ever read. Given his role with our coaching set-up a few years back and his time as technical director with Scotland would he be a viable choice as a director of football?
  31. Oct 11, 2018
    #31

    PeteManic Full Member

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    I remember the volley against Chelsea.

    And, of course, Choccy's Diary.

    Always loved the comments about Schmeichel and Van Der Gouw's training just being two hours of standing around and pointing. I'm sure he played up Fergie telling him he had to take the No.13 shirt in the summer of 96 as well
  32. Oct 11, 2018
    #32

    PaulRich Full Member

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    In terms of the early Ferguson era his contribution was immense. Granted, we turned some absolute shite out in the mid-late 80's but in the 87-88 season he was the first Utd player since Law to break the 20 league goals in a season barrier and just seemed an all-round 'club man'. He did fade in later years but many of a certain age will remember him fondly.
  33. Oct 11, 2018
    #33

    youngrell Full Member

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    I was only a kid at the start of the PL era, but it always seemed he got stick from fans for keeping Robson out of the team rather than his actual ability or contribution. This was a very ageing Robson of course but he was such a fan favourite that seeing him sit out for McClair, a converted forward was tough for some.

    It is mad to see that he stayed on so long, though. In my mind, he was gone around 95.
  34. Oct 11, 2018
    #34

    Al-T Full Member

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    Very much this. I remember when Mcclair missed a penalty in the FA Cup QF v Arsenal. That gobshite Winterburn was in his face giving him plenty. Mcclair just looked at him with stone cold fury..
    Next time we played Arsenal, Mcclair thundered into Winterburn then picked him off the deck one handed by his shirt front.

    He understood what it meant to play for this club and got on with his job - effectively - even when not playing in his natural role. Damn right SAF understood his value to the squad.
  35. Oct 11, 2018
    #35

    Cutch Shit stirrer (Literally)

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    He was really shite in his later years from what i can recall
  36. Oct 11, 2018
    #36

    Robbo's Shoulder Full Member

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    Very good pro was Choccy, scored goals as a centre forward and did a job in midfield in his later years. Never heard him moaning in the media about lack of game time or other nonsense. Type of player every team needs to bind the squad together.
    I met him at a friendly/testimonial back in the early 90's for a long time servant of Barrow and he spent ages before and after the game chatting to the kids, signing memorabilia etc. Great guy.
  37. Oct 11, 2018
    #37

    golden_blunder Site admin. Manchester United fan Staff

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    Haha I remember that mass ‘brawl’ well. Loved choccy
  38. Oct 11, 2018
    #38

    Revaulx Full Member

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    87-88 was an excellent season, and we went into 88-89 with high hopes of closing the nine point gap on champions Liverpool. Instead we were horribly inconsistent and finished 11th; two points behind Millwall!

    Part of the optimism was down to the re-signing of Mark Hughes. While there’s no denying that Sparky was immense for us, he and Choccy never really gelled as a partnership; they both needed to be top dog, I suppose. The latter was never again a goal machine, but he certainly never sulked and managed to be both good-humoured and ultra professional.
  39. Oct 11, 2018
    #39

    André Dominguez Full Member

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    We cannot judge a player contribution just for goals and assists. There are so many other aspects that could make a player a great asset to the team.

    A good example would be João Moutinho. He never gets many assists / goals per season, but a lot of goals start with his recovery + passing vision.
  40. Oct 11, 2018
    #40

    lysglimt Full Member

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    He was one of Fergusons favourites for the job he did for the team - mostly unnoticed by fans and the media. As I recall - Ferguson used the CWC-final against Barcelona as the best example, where McClair made sure that Koeman didn't make a single attacking contribution apart from the freekick he scored with. Every time Koeman got the ball, McClair closed him down and Barcelona couldn't start the attacks the want they wanted