The 17th of May 1990 was a momentous day in English football history. Manchester United won the first trophy of the Ferguson era. With his job in the balance at the mid season point, Fergie was saved by an eventually victorious cup run, or so legend goes. After an epic final with Crystal Palace finished 3-3 United won the replay 1-0 courtesy of a Lee Martin goal. So where are they now? These men who helped shape the course of the future, United’s Cup winners of 1990?
Les Sealey – Leslie Jesse Sealey was unexpectedly promoted to the first team after a poor performance from regular stopper Jim Leighton in the original game. The man put in a fine manly performance but gallantly gave his winners medal to Leighton out of respect. The FA, presumably moved to tears by this epic act of man love decided eventually to award both men medals. Only on loan at the time Les was signed on a permanent basis after that, holding down the No.1 spot the following season before leaving for Villa after he wasn’t offered a longer contract. He remained a cult hero at Old Trafford, returning in 1993 to play understudy to shouty red nosed Danish manc, and G.O.A.T, Peter Schmeichel. He only made 2 appearances in this spell however, one of which was the League Cup Final, meaning that out of his final 4 appearances for the club, 3 where in Finals. Two League Cups and a Cup Winners Cup. He moved to Blackburn then West Ham, where he bizarrely made his debut as a striker due to a desperate injury crisis. After a brief spell as fist choice at Leyton Orient he moved back to the ‘Ammers within the year and stayed registered until 2001 during which time he began working as their goalkeeping coach. He died of a heart attack at the beginning of the 2001-02 season at the age of 43. His last professional appearance was, fittingly, against United at Old Trafford, where he was, as always, welcomed as a cult hero.
Paul Ince – After years of sporting an ill advised Lionel Richie moustache, Ince went on to become a crucial component of United’s first title winning side under Fergie. One of the big names jettisoned in 1995 to make way for the kids you don’t win anything with, Ince went to Inter, then Liverpool, ensuring his former idol status at Old Trafford was lost forever, much like it had been at West Ham. Now managing the ghost of Wimbledon in League One.
Lee Martin – The match winner that day with one of his only 2 goals for the club. After a strong run in the side the following season he slipped down the pecking order before being sold to Celtic in 1994 and promptly broke his leg less than 2 months in. He retired in 1998 after never fully recovering. He now helps young people get qualifications and occasionally talks rubbish along with everyone else on muTV.
Steve Bruce – The man of a thousand nose breaks enjoyed a glorious career at United, replacing Bryan Robson as club captain and leading the them to their first title in 26 years. Now possibly Ferguson’s brightest pupil in management, currently doing a sterling job making Sunderland seem half decent.
Mike Phelan – Contrary to reports, Phelan is currently very active in his role as Manchester United assistant manager, and not just employed to speak to the BBC on Ferguson’s behalf.
Gary Pallister – Dolly to Bruce’s Daisy, or perhaps that was the other way round, Pally now spends his time lounging about in tight trousers on United’s in house TV station muTV. The bedrock of United’s early Fergie era success, along with Bruce, he moved back to Middlesbrough in 1998 where he finished his career.
Bryan Robson – Captain Marvel’s willingness, and fantastically successful ability to injure himself for the cause finally caught up with him in 1996 when he moved into management at Boro. Has endured an almost unanimously awful career in top flight management, relegating every club he’s managed in the Premier League. He has enjoyed success lower down however and is now, bizarrely, the national coach of Thailand after replacing, even more bizarrely, chirpy scouser Peter Reid. He also holds the loftily irrelevant title of Ambassador at United.
Neil Webb – The architect of United’s winner, Webb left the club at the end of the following season to move back to previous employers Nottingham Forest. He later moved even further back to his first employers Reading and ended his career at Weymouth in 1997. Bereft of any footballing riches, Webb continued his career regression by working as a postman and programme seller after retiring and is currently working for a transport company. He’s also occasionally on Talksport, though being a postman is possibly more admirable.
Brian McClair – Brian “Choccy Éclair” McClair continued at United as a sometime back up striker and sometime witty diary writer and is currently the Director of the clubs Youth Academy. He remains a cult hero for his propensity to score in finals and kick Arsenal players.
Mark Hughes – Sparky went on to form a dynamic partnership with Eric Cantona before leaving the club, along with Ince, when the kids had grown up. He moved to Chelsea where he enjoyed a successful career before ending his days (playing wise obviously, though he does always seem alarmingly depressed) at Blackburn whom he later went on to manage 2 years later. Is recently unemployed after being sacked by Gary Cook for not being a big enough Global Franchise Entity at Man City.
Danny Wallace – Being a left winger, Wallace’s career was never going to be a happy one as the 90s rolled round. A certain Welshman made sure of that, though his name temporarily escapes me. After moving to Birmingham in 1993 however his career was tragically cut short by multiple sclerosis which had been affecting him, undiagnosed for his last couple of seasons at United. He completed the London Marathon in 2006 to raise money for the disease through the Danny Wallace foundation.