Football News

Players you totally forgot won trophies for Manchester United

By Ben Green

Published: 9:15, 22 August 2023

After five seasons without silverware, Manchester United ended their trophy drought on Sunday by beating Newcastle United 2-0 in the 2022/23 League Cup final.

Once habitual medal hoarders, The Red Devils have been starved of titles in recent years, collecting just three non-Community Shield trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down a decade ago now — but the future looks bright under serial winner Erik ten Hag.

The names of Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Antony will now be forever consecrated in Old Trafford lore after their Wembley triumph at the weekend. That particular quartet will join a list as long as your arm of past winners in Man Utd colours, some of whom you may not actually remember.

For every Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney, there’s Ben Amos, Jonathan Greening and Richard Eckersley. Below we look back at the latter category. So, here are several forgotten names who won silverware for Man Utd in the Premier League era.

Jonathan Greening

Trophies: Champions League (1998/99)

Man Utd appearances: 27

In 1997/98 Jonathan Greening was turning out for York City in the second division. A season later, he was sitting on the bench at the Camp Nou as Man Utd scored twice at the death to beat Bayern Munich in the 1998/99 Champions League final. The midfielder hadn’t featured at all during Man Utd’s European campaign and made the bench just once: the final. He later admitted he “felt a bit of a fraud” for collecting a winner’s medal having not contributed to the success, but it probably doesn’t look too bad on his mantlepiece. Beats an IKEA candle holder in any case.

Danny Higginbotham

Trophies: Intercontinental Cup (1999)

Man Utd appearances: 7

Before the days of the Club World Cup, there was the Intercontinental Cup, otherwise known as the European/South American Cup, typically contested between the Champions League and Copa Libertadores winners. In 1999, Ferguson’s men travelled to the National Stadium in Tokyo to face Palmeiras, where Roy Keane’s 35th-minute goal put Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side to the sword. A young Danny Higginbotham was on the bench for Man Utd, and he subsequently earned a winner’s medal.

Massimo Taibi

Trophies: Intercontinental Cup (1999)

Man Utd appearances: 4

Massimo Taibi played four games for Man Utd between the sticks and conceded 11 goals. In his debut match at Anfield — quite the baptism of fire — the Italian fluffed a routine catch to allow Sami Hyypia to score, before making a number of high-profile saves to receive a Man of the Match award. That helter-skelter bow was an indicator of things to come, as he allowed a weak Matthew Le Tissier shot slip through his legs later on, leading to one publication branding him “The Blind Venetian”, while he conceded five to Chelsea in what would prove his final appearance. Still, like Higginbotham, he made the bench in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup and won a medal.


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Andy Goram

Trophies: Premier League (2000/01)

Man Utd appearances: 2

Towards the twilight years of his career, Andy Goram made a brief loan move to Old Trafford to help Ferguson’s men in the 2000/01 title run-in. The veteran shot-stopper was drafted in as an emergency loan as Man Utd were hit by a wicked twist of fate, with Ferguson, at one stage, having no fit ‘keepers. Fabien Barthez and Raimond van der Gouw were both sidelined, while Mark Bosnich had left for Chelsea two months prior. Step up, Andy Goram. The seasoned Scot came in and made two appearances where, on both occasions, he was substituted for Van der Gouw late on. It was utterly bizarre, but still, Goram claimed a Premier League title.

Luke Chadwick

Trophies: Premier League (2000/01)

Man Utd appearances: 38

A promising attacker when rising through the ranks at Old Trafford, Luke Chadwick featured quite heavily in Man Utd’s 2000/01 Premier League triumph. He started six games, and made a further 10 appearances from the bench, where he netted twice. His first came in a 3-0 away win at Bradford City, where he was set up by David Beckham, before coming on as a half-time substitute at Elland Road and bagging in a 1-1 draw against Leeds United.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

Trophies: FA Cup (2003/04)

Man Utd appearances: 39

He was criticised by Arsene Wenger during his debut against Arsenal in the 2003 Community Shield after he made, what was described as, an “obscene” tackle on Sol Campbell. Ferguson probably loved him from day one. However, the Cameroonian wasn’t quite able to establish a consistent starting berth at Old Trafford and prove himself a competent successor to an ageing Keane. His only medal came in the 2003/04 FA Cup, though he was an unused substitute as Dennis Wise’s Millwall lost 3-0 to Fergie’s men at the Millennium Stadium.

Kleberson

Trophies: FA Cup (2003/04)

Man Utd appearances: 30

After starring for Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, where he played the full 90 minutes in the nation’s 2-0 win over Germany in the final, Ferguson must have thought he was getting the next Samba sensation. Unfortunately, he was unable to translate his international form to club level in England, and he eventually left after two years, a handful of appearances, oh, and an FA Cup winner’s medal.


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Henrik Larsson

Trophies: Premier League (2006/07)

Man Utd appearances: 13

Having already torn up Europe with Feyenoord, Celtic and Barcelona, Larsson returned to his former club Helsingborg in his native Sweden to wind down his career. However, in January 2007, Man Utd signed the goalscoring legend on a three-month loan deal to coincide with the Swedish top-flight’s off-season. During that period, Larsson flourished, with Ferguson so impressed by the veteran’s form that he wanted to extend his loan until the end of the season.

Larsson, though, had already given his word to his family that he would return to Sweden in mid-March, and he ultimately did. Two months after he left England, Man Utd won the Premier League, and the club requested an extra medal for Larsson, who wasn’t eligible as he hadn’t played the required 10 matches to qualify. Ultimately, though, he was granted special dispensation by the division, and Larsson is now the proud owner of a Premier League winner’s medal.

Gerard Pique

Trophies: League Cup (2005/06), Premier League (2007/08), Champions League (2007/08)

Man Utd appearances: 23

Pique actually has quite an extensive collection of medals during his four years at Man Utd. Given his near 15-year prominence for Barcelona during their glittering Lionel Messi era, it is sometimes forgotten that the former Spanish centre-back was actually once a Premier League player. During his formative years, Pique made only 23 appearances for the club from 2004 to 2008, but in that time of fleeting cameos, he won the League Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League.

Richard Eckersley

Trophies: League Cup (2008/09)

Man Utd appearances: 4

Nowadays you will find Richard Eckersley in Devon running a zero-waste shop, and the 34-year-old probably doesn’t get tired of telling people he is a Man Utd medal holder and a former Premier League player. In total, he made two top-flight appearances for Man Utd and was also on the bench as Ferguson’s men won the 2008/09 League Cup final. That appearance on the touchline earned him a winner’s medal, which was the apotheosis of a relatively short career turning out for Burnley, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls and Oldham Athletic among others.

Ben Amos

Trophies: Club World Cup (2008), League Cup (2008/09)

Man Utd appearances: 7

The now-Wigan shot-stopper was a late call-up to Man Utd’s 2008 Club World Cup squad following an injury to Ben Foster. He didn’t feature as Ferguson’s side won out in Japan, but being in the squad was enough to earn him a gong. Amos would also claim a 2008/09 League Cup medal, after making one appearance in the third round against Middlesbrough. He made a matchday squad just once after that in the competition: in the semi-final first leg against Derby.

Mame Biram Diouf

Trophies: League Cup (2009/10)

Man Utd appearances: 9

The Senegalese inherited the No. 32 shirt from Carlos Tevez and moved to England with a burgeoning reputation as a prolific goal-getter in Norway. Diouf, though, would only net once, coming on his debut against Burnley late into the game, before he back-flipped in front of the Stretford End and pointed to the back of his shirt. His gravity-defying celebration, though, would be a one-off before he left for Hannover 96 in 2012. Still, he has a League Cup medal to his name, where he was an unused substitute in Man Utd’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa in 2010.

Federico Macheda

Trophies: League Cup (2009/10)

Man Utd appearances: 36

He will always be remembered fondly for that goal against Aston Villa. The Italian was a precocious marksman who was expected to follow in the footsteps of past academy stars. However, his world-class strike versus the Villans would remain the zenith of his Old Trafford career, and he would eventually leave for Cardiff City in 2014 after a string of loan moves. His one trophy, like Diouf, came in the 2009/10 League Cup.

Alexander Buttner

Trophies: Premier League (2012/13)

Man Utd appearances: 28

One of Ferguson’s last-ever signings, Alexander Buttner scored and assisted in his first Premier League game on matchday three of the 2012/13 season, a 4-0 win over Wigan. The Dutchman wouldn’t feature again until mid-March and started successive games as the club picked up 1-0 wins over Reading and Sunderland. Again though, Buttner would be dropped, and his next start would eventually come on the final game of the season, in that famous 5-5 draw with West Brom, where he bagged Man Utd’s third on the half-hour mark. Five appearances and two goals, enough to pick up a medal that term after a request from Ferguson to the Premier League.

Anders Lindegaard

Trophies: Premier League (2012/13)

Man Utd appearances: 29

Lindegaard, like Buttner, played in that final 5-5 game against West Brom, Ferguson’s last. Having featured sporadically across the campaign when David de Gea was injured, the legendary Ferguson handed Lindegaard the starting berth at the Hawthorns as that would have been his 10th Premier League appearance, allowing him to pick up a Premier League medal in the process.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Trophies: FA Cup (2015/16), Europa League (2016/17)

Man Utd appearances: 30

At one point, Fosu-Mensah looked like the greatest thing to emerge from Man Utd’s esteemed academy; he was strong, versatile, tenacious and skilful. Injuries and problems with consistency ultimately blighted his time at Old Trafford, and the three-capped Netherlands international is now trying to resurrect his career at Bayer Leverkusen. But, no matter what happens in his career, he will always have an FA Cup and a Europa League medal.

Community Shield forgotten winners

  • Keith Gillespie (1994)
  • Chris Casper (1994)
  • Ben Thornley (1997)
  • David Bellion (2003)
  • Phil Bardsley (2007)
  • Chris Eagles (2007)
  • Fraizer Campbell (2008)
  • Wilfried Zaha (2013)

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