|Born :||18 Nov 1963|
|Signed :||01 Jul 1991|
|Debut :||17 August 1991 v Notts County [H] League|
|Goals total :||1|
|Appearances total :||398|
|Left United :||30 Jun 1999|
One of the great sporting photographs shows Peter Schmeichel at full stretch in mid-air, eyes fixed intently on the ball zooming towards his goal, clawing it, seemingly impossibly, away with his huge palm.
This hulking figure – one who was seemingly forever barking out orders at his defence – is arguably the best transfer deal Sir Alex Ferguson ever struck. The boss paid just £550,000 to Brondby for the 27 year-old Danish international in August 1991. It was football’s equivalent of daylight robbery: within a year Schmeichel and his compatriots had struck gold in the 1992 European Championships, given a tournament wild card as a last-minute replacement for civil war-torn Yugoslavia. Success on the international stage – Schmeichel made two corking saves in the final – was clearly no flash in the pan. Any great team starts from solid foundations, and it was immediately obvious that none were more solid than Schmeichel. His eight seasons at Old Trafford were dripping in gold: the European Cup and Super Cup, five Premiership titles, three FA Cups and the League Cup, as well as four Charity Shield successes. Quite simply, Schmeichel was often unbeatable. With astonishing agility for his 6ft 4in frame he could stop shots from all angles, staying on his toes until the last moment. He was equally confident claiming crosses and could set up wave after wave of attacks with his remarkable distribution, often bowling the ball 50 yards to a team-mate’s feet. And he was a threat up front, too! He holds the distinction of a European goal for the Reds to his credit, heading home against Rotor Volgograd in the UEFA Cup in 1995/96 to preserve the club’s then unbeaten home European record. Schmeichel left United on the ultimate high. Captain in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane, he led the side to glory at the Nou Camp in the 1999 Champions League final. A truly inspirational figure, he remains a familiar face in Manchester – and his son Kasper is a goalkeeper on City’s books.