How good was Brian McClair?

Lord SInister

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Inspired by Lee's thread by MyOnlySolskjaer.

He was as per wiki, 2 times our POTY, must have been an important player. Anyone from those times give a profile about him, and how important he was to Manchester United during those days.
 

Mainoldo

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As good as Bobby Firmino. Where goalscoring is not important.
 

lysglimt

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There were 2xMcClairs - McClair the goalscorer who was lethal - and then after 2 seasons, McClair the midfielder who was superb. He was hard-working, loyal, extremely intelligent and never injured.

He was the player Ferguson Went to if he wanted to put an opposing player out of the game (Like Koeman in the CWC-final against Barcelona)
 

Lord SInister

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As good as Bobby Firmino. Where goalscoring is not important.
There were 2xMcClairs - McClair the goalscorer who was lethal - and then after 2 seasons, McClair the midfielder who was superb. He was hard-working, loyal, extremely intelligent and never injured.

He was the player Ferguson Went to if he wanted to put an opposing player out of the game (Like Koeman in the CWC-final against Barcelona)
thanks for the replies.
 

RedPed

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He was one of my favourite players was Choccy. Great player for United.
 

golden_blunder

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First player to score 20 league goals since George Best

Apart from being clinical in front of goal I really used to enjoy his ‘Choccys diary’ section in the magazine long before footballers writing blogs etc became a thing
 

The Cat

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Did a decent job at a difficult time in a transitional period. Wouldn't call him a great by any means but an excellent man to have in the ranks
 

Carl

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Named my rabbit after him, so I must have thought he was alright.
 

Josh 76

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In his first season, he was awersome.
He never let the team down. Was a good player. But will never be named in any all time great Utd teams under Fergie. But then again, apart from Bryan Robson, no one would from that era.
 

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Brian McClair was a very good player for United.Lacked that bit of extra pace that would have made him great but still a very good player.
 

Rood

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Must say that I never rated McClair much - always worked hard for the team but otherwise a limited player, he was not particularly important to the team at all from what I remember

That goalscoring season was a one off as well - surprised to hear he was twice POTY
 

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Must say that I never rated McClair much - always worked hard for the team but otherwise a limited player, he was not particularly important to the team at all from what I remember

That goalscoring season was a one off as well - surprised to hear he was twice POTY
I think you’re being very harsh on him.

He was brilliant in “that goal scoring season”, but was unable to replicate it as a result of being shoved to the side to accommodate the returning Mark Hughes. Hughes scored some important (and spectacular!) goals in his second spell at OT but I was never fully convinced that re-signing him was the right thing to do.
 

Rood

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I think you’re being very harsh on him.

He was brilliant in “that goal scoring season”, but was unable to replicate it as a result of being shoved to the side to accommodate the returning Mark Hughes. Hughes scored some important (and spectacular!) goals in his second spell at OT but I was never fully convinced that re-signing him was the right thing to do.
He did have a great debut season, no doubt about that

The returning Hughes was a favourite of mine so we obviously have totally different perspective on it!

I remember Fergie tried to play them together upfront but they didn't work as a partnership at all, so then he had to choose and eventually McClair was switched to midfield where he worked hard but I always felt he was a weak link in the team.
Still he was a major part of the first few Fergie trophies but he was relegated to squad player soon after.
 

momo83

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SAF always has a reason. Rooney got shunted out wide to accommodate Ronaldo. Rooney harder worker defensively, Ronaldo better attacker. Maybe the same can be said for the reason why SAF dropped McClair from striker to CM to accommodate Hughes. I don’t know just posing the question.
 

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There were 2xMcClairs - McClair the goalscorer who was lethal - and then after 2 seasons, McClair the midfielder who was superb. He was hard-working, loyal, extremely intelligent and never injured.

He was the player Ferguson Went to if he wanted to put an opposing player out of the game (Like Koeman in the CWC-final against Barcelona)
I believe Fergie told him before that final that if he did his job we'd win. He did and we won! Seems ahead of it's time to have a pressing forward and of course Fergie deployed Welbeck and Park in similar roles much later. Although Choccy did miss a good chance in that game I seem to remember.
 
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SAF always has a reason. Rooney got shunted out wide to accommodate Ronaldo. Rooney harder worker defensively, Ronaldo better attacker. Maybe the same can be said for the reason why SAF dropped McClair from striker to CM to accommodate Hughes. I don’t know just posing the question.
He was a fighter and a popular player in the dressing room, served Fergie well.

Hughes was the better player and was righlty leading the line, McClair played a lot of games playing just off Hughes - then when Cantona came, McClair was out and reduced to picking up the odd game in midfield.
 

lysglimt

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I believe Fergie told him before that final that if he did his job we'd win. He did and we won! Seems ahead of it's time to have a pressing forward and of course Fergie deployed Welbeck and Park in similar roles much later. Although Choccy did miss a good chance in that game I seem to remember.
I remember Ferguson writing in his book how underrated McClair was. He was ordered to prevent Koeman from going forward and that no-one saw Koeman until he took that freekick where he scored. And he felt most journalists and fans never really understood the great job he did for the club.
 

buckooo1978

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he was a very decent player - wasnt what you would have ever called top quality though

had a fantastic first season but was ok after that- reliable was the word I would use to describe him from about 1991/92 onwards
 

Jeppers7

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Had a great first season, I loved him that season. After that he was pretty ordinary.
 

lysglimt

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Had a great first season, I loved him that season. After that he was pretty ordinary.
No he wasn't. In the 91/92 he was perhaps our best player, scoring 18 goals in 42 matches.

When Cantona arrived - he moved into central midfield and formed a solid duo with Paul Ince when we won the League. He then had a poor season in 93/94 due to Keane's arrival, but the season after he was once again one of our most reliable players and played 40 League matches as a central midfielder.

With the emergence of Beckham, Butt and Scholes - he was phased out more and more. But the guy did play 471 matches for us - scoring 127 goals.
 

Josh 76

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I think you’re being very harsh on him.

He was brilliant in “that goal scoring season”, but was unable to replicate it as a result of being shoved to the side to accommodate the returning Mark Hughes. Hughes scored some important (and spectacular!) goals in his second spell at OT but I was never fully convinced that re-signing him was the right thing to do.
Were you fully convinced that the resigning of Mark Hughes was a awersome signing when he scored 2 goals in the finals of the FA cup in 1990 and 2 goals in the CWC in 1991.

And became a vital player in wining the league in 1993 and double in 1994?
 

Jeppers7

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No he wasn't. In the 91/92 he was perhaps our best player, scoring 18 goals in 42 matches.

When Cantona arrived - he moved into central midfield and formed a solid duo with Paul Ince when we won the League. He then had a poor season in 93/94 due to Keane's arrival, but the season after he was once again one of our most reliable players and played 40 League matches as a central midfielder.

With the emergence of Beckham, Butt and Scholes - he was phased out more and more. But the guy did play 471 matches for us - scoring 127 goals.
I don't remember McClair at all in 92-93. Remember Cantona being the catalyst Giggs and Kanchelskis tearing teams apart. Hughes providing a compliment to Cantona and forming a brilliant partnership. I remember the back four Parker Irwin Bruce pallister. Ince becoming the best midfielder in the league. Robson finally looking like he was on the way out. Schmeichel being sensational. Darren Ferguson looking quite cultured but lacking in pace. I don't remember McClair at all. I've no recollection of him that season.
 

Zed 101

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He was a very good player in his pomp with Hughes and co. played on too long though, for me his Utd career was in two parts, the first bit which he was excellent, and the last 3 years or so where he was a bang average to poor midfielder, for me though this was where SAF was at fault.

Brian McClair (well just before) was my Utd era, when I first came into watching football (from about 8 years old on, I was around 12 when we won the cup winners cup), I remember liking and rating him as a player all through the first part of his Utd career, but he was never my favourite player, there were other flashier players to catch the eye, I also remember resenting his presence in the midfield as being uninspiring and like a shadow of his former self, unlike Scholes, Carrick and others who managed to drop deeper as they aged and reinvent their game, McClair didn't for me, not slating the guy, he was a player from my golden era and I will always remember him fondly, but I would rather give an honest opinion that look back through rose tinted glasses.
 

RMD83

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Named my rabbit after him, so I must have thought he was alright.
Nice one. I went one step further and named my hamster Pallihughes (Pallister Hughes). Looking back it didn’t really roll off the tongue.
 

buckooo1978

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Fergie was sentimental towards him I felt

he lasted a lot longer than he was really useful
 

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I believe Fergie told him before that final that if he did his job we'd win. He did and we won! Seems ahead of it's time to have a pressing forward and of course Fergie deployed Welbeck and Park in similar roles much later. Although Choccy did miss a good chance in that game I seem to remember.
In fairness it did bobble sideways.
 

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I thought McClair was a key part of SAF's transitioning of Manchester United.

A good rather than a great striker, however, our first twenty goal player since Best. He dropped back to midfield when Hughes returned and, with Robson increasingly injury prone, played a major part in the 92/93 season. I've not checked the stats, but I'm fairly confident he played or featured in almost every match in the league and played maybe 50 games that season.

The following season, we signed Keane and his game time was much restricted.

Strong, robust and almost never injured he was a 'Ferguson' type player - he never backed down. The team wouldn't be bullied.

I guess I especially like McClair for his treatment of that Arsenal fud Winterburn whom I particularly disliked. After Choccy missed a pen in the FA Cup QF in 88, Winterburn was right in his face. McClair gave him a look of stone cold Scottish 'you're getting it right up ye pal' fury. In a subsequent game v Arsenal, Winterburn went to foul McClair who turned his shoulder, bodychecked him and Winterburn went down like a sack of spuds. McClair reached down, picked him up by his shirt and set him on his feet. And of course he kicked Winterburn at OT in 1990 which sparked the brawl and brought the simmering bad blood between the sides to a head that lasted another 15 years or so.
 

Josh 76

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I don't remember McClair at all in 92-93. Remember Cantona being the catalyst Giggs and Kanchelskis tearing teams apart. Hughes providing a compliment to Cantona and forming a brilliant partnership. I remember the back four Parker Irwin Bruce pallister. Ince becoming the best midfielder in the league. Robson finally looking like he was on the way out. Schmeichel being sensational. Darren Ferguson looking quite cultured but lacking in pace. I don't remember McClair at all. I've no recollection of him that season.
Mclair actually scored the 4th goal in the cup final in 1994 to win the first double. True fact of football which seems is not true.

And scored the equaliser at Upton park on the final day of the 1995 season. When Andy Cole missed a couple of chances and Blackburn won the title.(Rednapp last min free-kick at Anfield and all that)

Bloody hell, he's definitely been around longer than I thought.
 

padzilla

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He was outstanding in his first season especially, first United player since Bestie to score more than 20 league goals in a season, helping us finish second to a superb Liverpool side. After that we signed Sparky Hughes and his game changed but he was still a key member of the squad over the years. Put it this way, if the worst players in our squad these days were on same level as McClair we would be top 4 every season.
 

FOR5

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What I sometimes forget about Choccy is, that like Pallister, those two were still around the season before we won the Treble, yet it's hard to fathom that now, in fact Choccy played 20 games in 97-98, and even enough to pick up a PL medal had we not collapsed and let Arsenal sneak in to take the title.
 
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GazTheLegend

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Class footballer and man. Underrated player on here apparently, Alex Ferguson rated him extremely highly.

Sounds stupid but the 3 foreigner and then later the 5 foreigner rule meant we missed him in Europe because he was Scottish - we couldn’t play Kanchelskis, Giggs, Schmeichel, Cantona, Irwin, McLair and Hughes all in the same team! Which meant our fantastic early 90’s side never really got going in Europe and a big reason nobody on various forums rates many of these guys at quite the levels they were actually capable of.

Good article on that here, worthy of a discussion in and of itself, but between 92-95 Britain based footballers were affected badly by the rule

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/relief-at-end-of-foreigner-rule-1526032.html