How good was Lee Sharpe?

Can7onA

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I don’t think his love for parties helped him too much...

Sharpe was a class player though, in his teens early 20 at least. Spoilt rotten for about 5 years with Giggs, Kanchelskis and Sharpe.

Strangely enough, after selling Kanchelskis and Sharpe in consecutive seasons, we became even better.

From 96 onwards, Beckham and Giggs were used as the wide players and I’m having a brain freeze as to who the back up players were. Blomqvist signed at the start of the treble season, so who were the reserve wingers from 96-98?

EDIT: didn’t we sign Poborsky and Cruyff in the summer that we sold Sharpe? I guess it was them.
It's 9:30 in the morning, my brain doesn't kick in till about midday. But you're right, I think it was Poborsky after his great Euros :/

I always remember the story about Ferguson turning up to a party looking for Giggs and Sharpe and them hiding in a wardrobe :lol: (I think)
 

Josh 76

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I'm not having that. Sharpey had a lot more in his locker than James, technically. There's no way James is pulling off some of those outrageous finishes in front of goal; most notably a delicious flick vs. Barcelona in the CL!

:D
:lol:That was a pearler
 

Can7onA

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The House Party in 1992
This one has gone down well for Lee Sharpe on the after-dinner circuit. Late spring in 1992 was a very stressful time at Manchester United. They were in the process of throwing away the title to Leeds United and were in the middle of a calamitous losing streak. Lee Sharpe wasn't worried and he brought Giggsy off to a house party a few nights after United played West Ham. Ferguson got wind of this party and shot down there.

The Manchester United manager did not feel he needed a warrant to enter this private premises. Ferguson claims to have found a "full blown party" in progress though Sharpe disputes this. Giggs was reportedly found cowering in a cupboard when Fergie arrived.

Ferguson ordered everyone out of the house, (in spite of the fact only two of those present were Manchester United players) giving everyone a cuff around the back of the head as they went out the door, including possibly the owner of the house.
 

WolfInSharp'sClothing

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He was never a full-back...
With Giggs coming through, he was always going to have to move away from his preferred left-wing. Not sure left-back was the best option.

Predominately left footed, but very comfortable on his right, good finishing, good in the air, in today's game, he would probably play very effectively off the right or down the middle.
 

Reynoldo

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Did folk on here actually watch him? Seems to be the second coming, when in fact he showed flashes of brilliance and then disappeared for weeks.
He is a couple of years older than me but, at the time, his attitude and persona were a bit twatish. Came across as a clown and I suspect that’s why he didn’t really reach the heights. He would be destroyed today with social media had he played in this current team.
That all said - would walk into any United side this last 10 years. He was an old school winger who ‘got chalk on his boots’ and could whip in a good ball.
Yeah he was a bit of a clown and the type of player you would have hated in an opposition team but he was great fun to watch for us. Agree on the inconsistency and also yes I think it was his drive and dedication or lack thereof that made him a good player only when he had all the talent to be a great one. My lasting thoughts of him is that he should have been more than he was. He would actually fit in with the mindset of some of our "stars" today actually(possibly the first player to live the social media life before social media) albeit he did have more talent than most of them.
 

mitchmouse

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My main impression of him looking back is that he lacked the blistering pace which would have made him a truly world class winger, and lacked the commitment to the game which would have helped him compensate and become a more well-rounded footballer. Certainly had his moments though, and played with a swagger which epitomized Fergie’s earliest successes at United.
there was nothing wrong with his commitment
 

Maticmaker

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Apparently Fergie got it right when (so they say) he came to drag Giggs out of a late night party and Giggsy said "Sharpe's here as well" and SAF replied "he's not going anywhere, you have a career in front of you, get home, now"!

Says it all really, on his day Sharp could be great, but the 'days' became fewer and far between. Lee was a fool to himself really, it was all a big joke, but he finished up laughing on his own. Shame really always felt he was committed to the club and with a different professional attitude and willingness to do what it takes, he could have made more of his time at United. Que sera sera!
 

DVG7

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The House Party in 1992
This one has gone down well for Lee Sharpe on the after-dinner circuit. Late spring in 1992 was a very stressful time at Manchester United. They were in the process of throwing away the title to Leeds United and were in the middle of a calamitous losing streak. Lee Sharpe wasn't worried and he brought Giggsy off to a house party a few nights after United played West Ham. Ferguson got wind of this party and shot down there.

The Manchester United manager did not feel he needed a warrant to enter this private premises. Ferguson claims to have found a "full blown party" in progress though Sharpe disputes this. Giggs was reportedly found cowering in a cupboard when Fergie arrived.

Ferguson ordered everyone out of the house, (in spite of the fact only two of those present were Manchester United players) giving everyone a cuff around the back of the head as they went out the door, including possibly the owner of the house.
You have to imagine that the story has been embellished somewhat over the years. The idea that a house full of drunk men would just leave the house one by one with SAF at the door clipping them on the back of the head is hilarious. Just imagine what you would do if it were all your mates, now add in the ego that comes with being associated with football stars.
 

UnrelatedPsuedo

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Lee Sharpe was far better than most are giving him credit for. Compared to Giggs, Beckham, Kanchelskis, he’s light in enough areas to probably finish fourth behind them.

But in today’s market? He’s a world class wide man. Strong, quick, bags of stamina, good in the air, two good feet with a wand of a left foot.

He’d be worth an absolute fortune.
 

Steven-UK

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Lee Sharpe was far better than most are giving him credit for. Compared to Giggs, Beckham, Kanchelskis, he’s light in enough areas to probably finish fourth behind them.

But in today’s market? He’s a world class wide man. Strong, quick, bags of stamina, good in the air, two good feet with a wand of a left foot.

He’d be worth an absolute fortune.
He really wouldn't be :lol:

He was nothing special. He could be decent some games, but most games he didn't turn up.
 

UnrelatedPsuedo

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He really wouldn't be :lol:

He was nothing special. He could be decent some games, but most games he didn't turn up.
That’s just not true. He was very consistent. He had periods during his career that he was undroppable in a very good United side.

It would be fair to say his peak was pretty short, but that peak was very very high.

People are acting as if he was left footed Aaron Lennon.
 

FireballXL5

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I loved him. He was exciting, and his goal celebrations were top notch.
 

The Cat

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This might be old age but I seem to remember him playing against Leeds in a cup semi final or possibly a quater final.

He knoked it past the full back and absolutely rinsed him it looked amazing. Have not been able to find it using Google.

Of course it might not even be Leeds but I only remember seeing it live never seen it again.

Anyone else put me out of my misery by correcting me or finding the game?
 

Can7onA

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You have to imagine that the story has been embellished somewhat over the years. The idea that a house full of drunk men would just leave the house one by one with SAF at the door clipping them on the back of the head is hilarious. Just imagine what you would do if it were all your mates, now add in the ego that comes with being associated with football stars.
Of course, it's still funny though :D
 

Sylar

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He was more consistent than people are saying. He would chip in with goals too. Loved his celebrations.

Always thought him and Giggs down the wings were the best but it was normally one or the other (with kanchelskis taking the other spot).

Do think the stuff outside of Football took over his actual football. But funny thing is, in this era, he would probably be a superstar.
 

Rooney24

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This always gives me a giggle.

Sharpey was great. Loved him.

 

Spoony

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Great for two seasons and then wasn't half the player.
 

Deery

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Remember him as a good winger that could put in a cross, didn’t seem the fastest mind, long time ago now but.
 

thesharpeyshuffle

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He was my absolute favourite player growing up. A young Lee Sharpe was a mix of Spurs era Gareth Bale and Becks. Not as good as either, but on his day he was untouchable.

Shame about all the injuries, and having read his autobiography he also seemed to be struggling with confidence issues, in part due to his meteoric rise from Torquay to Old Trafford within the space of a year. He argues that the likes of Giggs, Becks, Scholes and so on were given proper education through the Man United ranks, whereas he basically went from playing in lower league football to the very top overnight.

It's also telling that Ferguson wrote that how he dealt with Lee Sharpe was one of his greatest regrets in management. Tells you something about how good a career Sharpe could have had with us, if only things had panned out differently. And we could definitely have use for a 20 year old Lee Sharpe in our team now. He would walk straight into the XI, no question.
 
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Uniquim

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He certainly didn’t lack pace as a teenager. Rapid. Better crosser of a ball than Giggs. In a game against Sunderland at Old Trafford he produced the best 45 minute display I’ve ever seen at a professional level. Shame it’s not on YouTube.

Always thought he’d have made a cracking fullback behind Giggs once he got into his 20s. I don't think he’d have bought into that idea though! Lost his pace very early (for whatever reason) and was never the same player.
Ferguson writes about that in his book, 'Managing My Life' (2000).

This is one of the excerpts that follows on after he writes about barging into a party at Sharpe's house that Ryan Giggs also attended.

I think this excerpt should be short enough to be okay to post.

Alex Ferguson - Managing My Life (2000) said:
My anger was directed more at Lee than Ryan because there had been other signs of waywardness in Lee’s off-field behaviour. I may have contributed to such tendencies by allowing him to have his own house when he was far too young (at the time of the escapade he was still only twenty).

I look back on my dealings with Lee Sharpe as a disappointing episode in my years at United. My experiences with him trouble me more than those with Paul McGrath. Here was a boy who had a chance of making it big. He possessed just about everything a wide attacking player needs to be successful in top-flight football other than the ability to beat a man by dribbling. His pace, crossing, goalscoring and passing were all of a high standard and so were his physique and stamina. His rise in the game was swift but I soon concluded that his lifestyle was accelerating even more spectacularly. Little titbits about his conduct had been fed back to me from different sources.

When I challenged him he was quick with denials but they did not have much credibility once I had learned about the outing to Blackpool and then charged in on his party. I had tried to warn him about how fast living would slow him down. ‘Sharpie, to make it to the top in football you need to sacrifice,’ I told him. ‘If you lose that great speed of yours, you will end up an ordinary player. It is your biggest asset and it is mainly responsible for your success. But please don’t take it for granted.’ Lee is with Bradford now and I hope their promotion to the Premiership helps him to revive his career. I found him a lovely lad, with a wonderful smile, and his failure to make the best of his immense potential while he was with us filled me with sadness. He should have developed into a footballer of real significance at Old Trafford, instead of rather losing his way with us before being transferred to Leeds for £4.5 million in 1996.

Cases like his make me want to exert an influence on young players that goes far beyond their football. I have no desire to run their private lives but I am keen to educate them about the dangers they encounter as their careers progress, especially about how damaging a freewheeling attitude to drink can be. I believe that some day soon we will be able to test them each morning and if they have been drinking they will simply be sent home. Future contracts may be constructed to counter the kind of behaviour that reduces a player’s capacity to fulfil his obligations. There is too much money in football now for it to accommodate the laxity that prevailed in the past.
 

sammsky1

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Great for two seasons and then wasn't half the player.
I had a season ticket in those days as Iwas at Manchester University.

We used to see him @ Hacienda and Home nightclubs on Wednesdays and saturday nights, after a home game.

If he scored, he’d buy everyone drinks !
 

norm87cro

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He was f... brilliant and my favorite player as a kid. I wanted to make an appreciation thread once I hit 10 likes but I guess you beat me to it. Out of the Class 92, in my opinion, only Scholes was surley the better footballer. I'd rate him equal to Giggs and Beckham.

Ps: I know he was older than them so no need for nitpicking
 

Un4givableB

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Used to love Sharpey!

Only Giggy turning up stopped him becoming a great at Man Utd.
Never good enough to become a Utd IMHO, if he had buckled down and stayed at Utd we would regard him in the same way as we regard Wes Brown, Nicky Butt & The Nevilles, very good players for us but not great's.
But l think he liked the party life too much and wanted to be treated like a star.
 

fps

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He was very good at the beginning of his career, while really needing to be bang on it to influence matches, then didn’t work hard enough and was easily surpassed by many, many other players. Seemed to believe his own hype.
 

The Cat

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Never good enough to become a Utd IMHO, if he had buckled down and stayed at Utd we would regard him in the same way as we regard Wes Brown, Nicky Butt & The Nevilles, very good players for us but not great's.
But l think he liked the party life too much and wanted to be treated like a star.
What the hell does this mean? Doesn't make sense. He was also brilliant for 3 years at least.
 

Art Vandelay

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Ferguson writes about that in his book, 'Managing My Life' (2000).

This is one of the excerpts that follows on after he writes about barging into a party at Sharpe's house that Ryan Giggs also attended.

I think this excerpt should be short enough to be okay to post.
Great read, cheers for posting.

I loved Sharpe as a player. It's a shame he didn't fulfil his potential and maintain his top level for longer, but he was still a very exciting player that played a big part in winning trophies at United and seems to be for the most part very fondly remembered. A young Lee Sharpe could have answered a lot of our problems on the wings the last couple of years.
 

Camilo

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He was never that good. A decent player, but was always one of the lesser ones at the time. Enjoyed watching him, but never a great.
 

Stretfordender

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Great player Lee Sharpe always remember him scoring two great goals against Aston Villa away live on Monday night football back in 93/94. United in the black kit under the lights on a barmy summers evening In Birmingham. Great times how we need them back now.


 

RedAsh

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Absolutely loved Sharpey as a player - a real throwback when football was fun and players looked like they enjoyed being footballers. Hat trick v Arsenal in League Cup 1990 is one of the best United away days I've had.
 
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Bobski

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Very good at his peak but rather one dimensional, very much a kick and rush old style winger. Lovely left foot, crossed the ball beautifully on the run(a very difficult skill to master) but didn't have the vision or natural dribbling style that Giggs possessed.
 

Speako

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In the early part of ‘91 a great deal of our play came from Robson winning the ball in the middle and immediately belting it down the left wing for Sharpe. I was a regular when he joined in ‘88 and he played a big part - forgotten really - in the rebuilding of United as a force. He was no Giggs but no shame in that. Cracking player.
 

Rood

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he and Hughes were my first idols

Sharpe didnt have the dribbing ability of Giggs but his crossing and shooting was actually far better

never was quite sure whether it was injury or lack of professionalism that sent his career downward
 

lysglimt

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My main impression of him looking back is that he lacked the blistering pace which would have made him a truly world class winger, and lacked the commitment to the game which would have helped him compensate and become a more well-rounded footballer. Certainly had his moments though, and played with a swagger which epitomized Fergie’s earliest successes at United.
Oh no - Lee Sharpe in his early days was really fast.
 

lysglimt

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Negative. He played LB quite a few times.
He made his breakthrough at United as a left-back. The legendary 1-0 match against Forest (which according to some - saved Fergusons job) for instance - he was a left-back in that one.