How good was Lee Sharpe?

Cockney Phil

Full Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
544
Location
London
A Fergie fledgling before the class of 92.

Lee Martin, Mark Robins, Sharpie and Russell Beardsmore - the class of 88 or thereabouts know as the Fergie’s Fledglings.

Far from being everyone’s favourite but a decent enough player.
 

Red_Aaron

Full Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
3,159
Location
Dig up stupid!
Was my favourite player as a kid, I had a life-sized poster of him on my door. My black viewcam kit with Sharpe 5 on the back is one of my most treasured possessions :drool:

The meningitis really did for him, was never the same after that. That coupled with the emergence of Giggs and his love of the playboy lifestyle meant he faded pretty fast though. Shame because as a left footer he could've nailed down England's left wing for years, they had no one else.

At his best he was brilliant and most importantly he played with a real joy, always smiling, always exciting. Clearly loved playing the game and was very good at it.

I love sharpey
 

Bestietom

Full Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
4,862
Location
Ireland
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.
He could also slot in as a fullback.
 

Nikelesh Reddy

Full Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
1,436
Way before my time,but after reading SAF’s,Keanes and Giggseys autobiographies I always thought that he was a remarkably gifted player who just didn’t have the work ethic or the desire to become a top player.Having said that I was just watching the 2000 PL goals on Mutv,and I was surprised to see how much Sharpe contributed in our 94 double winning season....He looked top class to be fair...
 

RoyH1

Full Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
2,398
Location
DKNY
When he came out he was unstoppable and had pace to burn. He was a kind of Porto-Bale. Then he just stopped growing as a player. Don’t know how much injuries played into it.
 

RamblingRebel

Hitler dead!
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,383
Location
Ireland
Supports
Burnley
From what I remember from him he was better than Giggs when they were both coming through. I think Lee Sharpe was the first to make the breakthrough into the 1st XI and pretty much from the first game he was tearing it up. Very similar player to a young Giggs fast tricky and dribbly. He couuld've (should've) been a Utd great but by all accounts it was his mentality and party lifestyle may have prevented him from becoming a real "worldie", although it was the injuries that really got him. By all accounts a proper good lad too.

Although he played a good number of games his Utd career seemed rather fleeting. But maybe that might be because of how the CO92 stuck around so long.
 

Mal donaghy

Full Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
1,629
Location
Stockport
A 17 yr old Lee Sharpe would cost a fortune today, a 23 yr old Lee Sharpe we are talking mega money on today's market.
 

Mal donaghy

Full Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
1,629
Location
Stockport
A Fergie fledgling before the class of 92.

Lee Martin, Mark Robins, Sharpie and Russell Beardsmore - the class of 88 or thereabouts know as the Fergie’s Fledglings.

Far from being everyone’s favourite but a decent enough player.
We bought him as a 17 yr old of torquay, I think if I recall it was for £50 grand. I think, I havnt googled it , just of top of my head, was 16 at the time.
 

The Cat

Doesn't know his own mobile number
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
4,377
Location
Fighting the good fight in South Wales.
Found a great documentary on him yesterday his team mates loved him. Am out now will post the YouTube link tomorrow. He was the original Beckham really even though he was surpassed. I'll say again the meningitis ushered in the fall from his early level even before the injuries from what I can remember. As much as James has done well so far Sharpe was a different level the first few years
 

Giuliano Maiorana

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 27, 2019
Messages
36
Was a great player, played with him a few times when Sir Alex bought him from Torquay. Partyboy. The Sharpie Shuffle
 

Hughie77

Full Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
847
He was a typical Utd player of the time, very good crosses, great left foot, but he was in and out of the side, picked up a Knee injury and never recovered from it , he went to Leeds I think for a bit, but I think his knee injury came back again there, his career was up and down.
Here at OT he was excellent, but around that time we had some players who were awesome.
 

The Brown Bull

Full Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2014
Messages
1,720
Location
Dublin.
He was pretty damn good.Lightning fast, brave, daring, great left foot and great attitude.A proper United winger.Shame he didn't quite have the career that he looked set to have.
 

Sandikan

aka sex on the beach
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
27,194
From what I remember from him he was better than Giggs when they were both coming through. I think Lee Sharpe was the first to make the breakthrough into the 1st XI and pretty much from the first game he was tearing it up. Very similar player to a young Giggs fast tricky and dribbly. He couuld've (should've) been a Utd great but by all accounts it was his mentality and party lifestyle may have prevented him from becoming a real "worldie", although it was the injuries that really got him. By all accounts a proper good lad too.

Although he played a good number of games his Utd career seemed rather fleeting. But maybe that might be because of how the CO92 stuck around so long.
He was probably ready for the first team before Giggsy, as he was older, but I couldn't agree he was ever better as such.

Fergie said his pace reduced when he filled out. That was a major reason he lost a lot of what made him good. Then you add the partying you mention, plus having an all time great in his position, and it was always going to be an ask!

It was interesting that Sharpey said people always say you can do your going out when you retire, but he said that's not really true, as when you're mid 30s the landscape has changed massively.

I'm a bit older than that and I can totally understand that!
 

Rams

aspiring to be like Ryan Giggs
Joined
Apr 20, 2000
Messages
38,872
Location
midtable anonymity
He wasn’t as talented as Giggs or Beckham, but a good player nevertheless. Injuries, illness and a party lifestyle meant he never reached the heights he promised early on in his career.
 
Last edited:

RMD83

Full Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
796
Was a great player, played with him a few times when Sir Alex bought him from Torquay. Partyboy. The Sharpie Shuffle
On his first day of training for Torquay or perhaps his first game he pulled over and asked my grandad for directions as he was lost. Always remember him telling me that story as a kid, I thought it was amazing that a united player had spoke to my grandad.
 

RamblingRebel

Hitler dead!
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,383
Location
Ireland
Supports
Burnley
He was probably ready for the first team before Giggsy, as he was older, but I couldn't agree he was ever better as such.

Fergie said his pace reduced when he filled out. That was a major reason he lost a lot of what made him good. Then you add the partying you mention, plus having an all time great in his position, and it was always going to be an ask!

It was interesting that Sharpey said people always say you can do your going out when you retire, but he said that's not really true, as when you're mid 30s the landscape has changed massively.

I'm a bit older than that and I can totally understand that!
Have to agree with you tbh. Giggs' career proved his class. As a 12 year old though watching Lee Sharpe on that left wing was a truly exciting experience. Same with Giggs too, there just seemed to be a certain carefree joy in the way Shape played. Someone mentioned earlier how he had meningitis...such a shame. That would've took a lot out of him. Love that story where Fergie turned up at the house when they were getting ready to go out. :lol:
 

horsechoker

Sailor vee, this is a right off.
Joined
Apr 16, 2015
Messages
11,888
Location
The stable
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.
One of my favourite Fergie stories :lol:

Just the thought of him slapping everyone on the back of the head as they leave :lol:
 

The Cat

Doesn't know his own mobile number
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
4,377
Location
Fighting the good fight in South Wales.
I think I am the same age so when he broke through I pretty much wanted to be him.

Such an exciting player to see him arrive and torment sides. I know he gets criticism for the lack of longevity but that wasn't all his own fault. I don't thnk SAF could have made much difference it was illness that robbed him first and then the injuries came after.

As much as I didn't want him to go at the time I remember thinking no way did we get a fee like that for him it was robbery.
 

poleglass red

Full Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Messages
1,744
Sharpe at his peak was top class. His crossing was excellent. Remember him absolutely taking to the cleaners the Leeds full back, gonna say Mel Sterland although I stand corrected if wrong. He had pace, crossing and could score. It's a pity it didn't work out for him because he had all the ability just not the application.
 

The Cat

Doesn't know his own mobile number
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
4,377
Location
Fighting the good fight in South Wales.
Sharpe at his peak was top class. His crossing was excellent. Remember him absolutely taking to the cleaners the Leeds full back, gonna say Mel Sterland although I stand corrected if wrong. He had pace, crossing and could score. It's a pity it didn't work out for him because he had all the ability just not the application.
I think he could have got away with the lack of application until maybe 26 27? It was meningitis that made the major impact.

Hang on I've found the documentary I was on about.
 

BeltUp

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2013
Messages
37
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.
I think you're right. I was going to say Ben Thornley or Keith Gillespie but Thornley played later and Gillespie left before Sharpe.
 

Mr angry

New Member
Newbie
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
52
Supports
Bury
Saw him play once, at Bury, he went to Bradford City at some point, late 90s, and that's when I saw him. Good player but I think he fell foul of Fergie somehow
 

lysglimt

Full Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
9,254
For those who don't remember so far back (I unfortunately do) :)

The expression Fergies Fledglings came in the 88/89 season when United were hit by a horrible injury-crisis mis-season(and in fairness had an injury-plagued squad that Ferguson was replacing bit by bit..


Season 1988/89
In that season we had 4 players who played all matches - all had been signed in the last 18 months (Hughes back from abroad, Steve Bruce, Jim Leighton and Brian McClair) - In addition Bryan Robson played 34, Clayton Blackmore played 28 and another signing Mal Donaghy played 30 matches.

But behind these players it was bad - Paul McGrath played 20, Mike Duxbury 18, Strachan 21, Whiteside 6, Davenport 8, Olsen 10, Ralph Milne 22, Colin Gibson 2, Liam O'Brien 3 and Billy Garton 13

So Lee Martin aged 20 quickly made the left back his. Lee Sharpe aged 17 played about 20 matches both as left-back and winger, 20 year old Russel Beardsmore played about 20 matches as a right-winger, Tony Gill aged 20 played about 10 times in central defense but after a horrible injury against Forest in march 1989 he never played again. 19 year old David Wilson played 4 matches in central midfield. 17 year old Guiliano Maiorana who was signed from non-League Histon for £30.000 played 6 matches as a winger. And finally a 19 year old striker named Mark Robins played about 10 matches as a striker

United started the season with - Leighton - Martin, Bruce, McGrath, Blackmore - Olsen, Strachan, Robson, Davenport - Hughes, McClair

Midway through the season, the injuries had kicked in - and in round 20 against Boro (lost 0-1) - this was the United line-up
Leighton - Gill, Bruce, McGrath, Donaghy - Milne, Robson, Beardsmore, Sharpe - McClair, Hughes
In that games Wilson and Robins came on as subs for Gill and Beardsmore at half-time

Towards the end of the season the injuries cleared up - Whiteside and Robson returned and many of the fledglings never returned.

Season 1989/90
During the summer of 1989 United signed Phelan, Webb, Pallister, Ince, Wallace - and most of the youngsters were phased out.

Tony Gill never played football again because of an injury.

Beardsmore became a more peripheral figure starting only 8 games

Maiorana came on as a sub in 1 game and never played for United after that

David Wilson never played for United again

Three players survived - Lee Sharpe went on to became a star. Mark Robins saved United a lot of times in the 89/90 season but his United-careed was eventually over and he left for Norwich in 1992. Lee Martin had a strong 1989/90 season which finished with him scoring the Winner in the FA-Cup. But after that, a back-injury combined with the signing of Denis Irwin prevented Martin from future success. He left for Celtic in 1994 but only played 19 matches before a broken leg stopped any further success.
 

Lennon7

nipple flasher and door destroyer
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
9,142
Location
M5
Drinks in my local where I’m from in Leeds
 

Counterfactual

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
1
He was electric for a relatively short period of time.

The hat-trick against Arsenal in a 6-2 league cup win at Highbury, though... wow.

Memories! :)
 

ScarleyUtd

Full Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
1,457
I actually thought he was better than Giggs when they both first broke through. Then of course the rest is history.
 

ScarleyUtd

Full Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
1,457
From what I remember from him he was better than Giggs when they were both coming through. I think Lee Sharpe was the first to make the breakthrough into the 1st XI and pretty much from the first game he was tearing it up. Very similar player to a young Giggs fast tricky and dribbly. He couuld've (should've) been a Utd great but by all accounts it was his mentality and party lifestyle may have prevented him from becoming a real "worldie", although it was the injuries that really got him. By all accounts a proper good lad too.

Although he played a good number of games his Utd career seemed rather fleeting. But maybe that might be because of how the CO92 stuck around so long.
Yes, this is how I remember it too.
 

starman

Full Member
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
5,567
Location
Under a tree.
He was so talented, left foot, right foot, good in the air, very quick, good crosser and had a trick.
He would be a absolute goldmine into today's market and majority used front 3 systems.
Shame he didn't go onto have the career his talent suggested he would. Nevertheless, he still managed to cram in lots of trophies before he was 25, as well a PFA award
 

Chipper

Full Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
2,033
So Lee Martin aged 20 quickly made the left back his. Lee Sharpe aged 17 played about 20 matches both as left-back and winger, 20 year old Russel Beardsmore played about 20 matches as a right-winger, Tony Gill aged 20 played about 10 times in central defense but after a horrible injury against Forest in march 1989 he never played again. 19 year old David Wilson played 4 matches in central midfield. 17 year old Guiliano Maiorana who was signed from non-League Histon for £30.000 played 6 matches as a winger. And finally a 19 year old striker named Mark Robins played about 10 matches as a striker
I was at Forest when Gill broke his leg, bad do. Might actually have been my first ever away, not sure off the top of my head but could probably work it out if I looked through the fixtures around that time.

Honourable mentions to Deiniol Graham and Derek Brazil too!

I still remember jumping up and down on my bed listening to the commentary of QPR v United in the FA Cup 3rd round replay on Piccadilly Radio when Graham scored his one and only goal for us in extra time. Finally finished them off in the 2nd replay.
 

iammemphis

iwillnotaskforanamechangeagain
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
Messages
4,562
Location
Hertfordshire
As a young kid first discovering United and embarking upon my love affair with United, Lee Sharpe was a huge part of that initial attraction. His elvis presely style corner flag dance, his aura on the pitch skinning player after player, him and young Giggsy tearing teams apart. I was in awe of them at that time. He really was a superb and devastatingly brilliant player at his best.
 

lysglimt

Full Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
9,254
I was at Forest when Gill broke his leg, bad do. Might actually have been my first ever away, not sure off the top of my head but could probably work it out if I looked through the fixtures around that time.

Honourable mentions to Deiniol Graham and Derek Brazil too!

I still remember jumping up and down on my bed listening to the commentary of QPR v United in the FA Cup 3rd round replay on Piccadilly Radio when Graham scored his one and only goal for us in extra time. Finally finished them off in the 2nd replay.
That was the 2-2 game when we had like 5-6 of these youngsters playing ? My first away-game was Southampton at the Dell in 1993 ? Won 3-1. Cantona chipped Flowers from outside the box, Sharpe volleyed home one goal, and Irwin made it 3-1 in the 2nd half.
 

Mr. MUJAC

Talent spotter
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
5,475
Location
Walter Crickmer started it all...
Time is a funny thing.

Lee Sharpe in his prime was the real deal.

He had blistering pace and was quicker than Kanchelskis is a straight race...very direct, an eye for goal and a brilliant crosser of the ball.

1989/90 - 20 games
1990/91 - 45 games
1991/92 - 19 games (injured)
1992/93 - 30 games
1993/94 - 41 games
1994/95 - 41 games
1995/96 - 41 games

As you can see he played in a lot more games than people realised with Ferguson rotating Sharpe, Giggs and Kanchelskis throughout the season.

He would walk into today's team.
 

Josh 76

Full Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
1,274
I was at Forest when Gill broke his leg, bad do. Might actually have been my first ever away, not sure off the top of my head but could probably work it out if I looked through the fixtures around that time.

Honourable mentions to Deiniol Graham and Derek Brazil too!

I still remember jumping up and down on my bed listening to the commentary of QPR v United in the FA Cup 3rd round replay on Piccadilly Radio when Graham scored his one and only goal for us in extra time. Finally finished them off in the 2nd replay.
Oh yes. Great memories.
Think we were leading and QPR scored in the last min to make it 2-2. Wasn't this the game Bryan Robson swallowed his tongue and was stretched off ?
 

andycolegangstainnit

Full Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Messages
211
Location
Leicester
My opinion of him was that he was very fast, exciting and could score goals. However, he was very inconsistent - probably because of his youth. He burnt out relatively quickly (left us whe he was 25, maybe injuries hampered him).He did play LW (left of a four) and also LB. I'm not so sure he would walk into our team now as someone as said. Not as good as James nor Rashford. He'd do well as LB and especially LWB but is he better than Shaw or Williams. He came in just before the Prem was flooded with foreign players so the competition wasn't as fierce but he had some great games for us the highlight bein 2-6 at Highbury in that awful kit