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Could the 94 Team Take On The 09 Team?

Sir Alex Ferguson has created several great teams in just over the two decades he’s been with the club. Whilst he had great players before 1994, that was certainly the start of the great teams. They won the double that year, winning the league by eight points and thrashing Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final. Sadly, they were held back in Europe by the three foreigners rule, allowing them just three players from Schmeichel, Irwin, Keane, Kanchelskis and Cantona.

Ahead of United’s clash with Wigan tonight, the captain of that 1994 team, now the manager of Wigan, has claimed that 94 side could take on the current United team.

“I have always said the ’94 team would have taken on anyone,” said Bruce. “I would still back it now, that was a hell of a team. But after we won the double that season, that team never played together again. Paul Parker left, Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis followed. It was broken up very quickly. But my view is that team, with Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel and the rest would be a match for anyone.”

When comparing squads, there is no doubt that the 2009 team is far supior, with the 94 team having Lee Sharpe and Brian McClair as their best available subs, but when comparing first XIs, it’s harder to pick.

We don’t so much have a set first XI these days but does our most regular starting team compare to Schmeichel, Parker, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin, Kanchelskis, Ince, Keane, Giggs, Cantona, Hughes?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. CHAMP10NS says:

    Tricky one! But I think the 09 team would shade it, i’d go for 2-1. I just feel that the back four of 94 wouldn’t have enough for the strikeforce we have now. Would be a great game though.

    If anyone is in the East Stand on Saturday lets make some noise!!!!! Let’s raise the roof like we did in the Champions Leauge Semi and keep the title where it is, wouldn’t want to have to take it out of the cabinet and motor it down to Hull.

    If you have a Tevez shirt please wear it this could be he’s last home game he needs a great send off should he leave. ‘Fergie. Fergie Sign him up!’

  2. costas says:

    Very tricky one.Let me do the line ups for you(depending on most regular appearances):



    I think that Cantona and Hughes would be contained adequately by our defensive unit.The question is what O’Shea would do with 94′s Giggs.Not too good.The midfield battle would have been one for the ages though.If i were to give it somewhere,i would give it to 09 United.1-0 victory.

  3. DinoTheDog says:

    I’d take the following from the 94 team:
    Parker (not our greatest right back, but this year, this has been a nightmare position)
    Irwin (One of my absolute favorite players)

    From the 09 team:

    Not sure if I’d have Sparky or Tevez/Berbatov as the second striker in a 4-4-2, but Cantona would have to be a central midfielder.

    That means that I’d have more players from the 94 team, which I guess means I think they where the better team. But it is very possible that looking back on this in 5 or 10 years, players from this team have replaced some of the players from 94.

  4. Jig says:

    I gotta go for the ’94 team, could be a degree of the rose tinted glasses but Keane & Ince bullying the midfield in their pomp, Giggs & Kanchelskis tearing strips off either wing, Eric slipping balls through to Hughes, who was a f**king monster in his day. We’ve got a stronger defense now I think but with Schmeichel in goal; poor Wayne could have some trouble hitting the back of the net.

    I just think that team had serious characters and were a team of men, we have fantastic talent now but almost every one of the ’94 team could have been captain & that means a lot.

    One thing I’m sure everyone can agree on is that it would be an absolutely incredible game.

  5. wazza says:

    was unlucky not to see the 94 team, so no comments.
    Giles am waiting for your opinion….

  6. RedTone says:

    I agree with Jig, most of the 94 team could have been captain. However, this team is slightly more skillfull and technical. But what a game. If this team win the Euro and the Prem then they can be said to be the most accomplished…

    Sign Tevez up now Fergie, he’s got heart and passion and not a bad player either.

  7. Marq says:

    Though different era playing different type of game, but still tough to call

    1) Schmeichel vs Van der Sar -> Even contest
    - Like comparing the 2 teams, totally different. Peter was aggressive & dorminating, rarely losing out in 1-on-1 situations. Van der Sar is calm and organised, and not to mention, he is one of, if not the best kicker of the ball as a goalkeeper.
    2) Irwin vs Evra -> Even contest
    - This comparision is the opposite of the above. Irwin was the mark of composure while Evra the rampaging full back
    3) Parker vs O’Shea -> Parker
    - Parker wins it, purely because he is a RB
    4) Bruce & Pallister vs Vidic & Rio -> 09 team wins it
    - Although Bruce’s scoring record will probably never be broken (because we currently have no need for our defenders to score), but the 09 team achieved the improbable clean sheet record.
    5) Kanchelski vs Ronaldo -> No contest
    - Need I say more?
    6) Giggs vs …… -> N.A
    - Epitomised the 09 team. Ronaldo, Rooney, Park, Nani, Giggs have all had a say in this left midfield position
    7) Ince & Keane vs Carrick & Anderson/Giggs/Fletcher/Scholes -> Ince & Keane
    - How do you win a midfield battle against those 2? But our 09 team does provide more guile. But still, if you are playing against United, and you see Ince & Keane, you know you have a rough time ahead
    8) Cantona vs Rooney – Cantona
    - Cantona wins it, but in time, we may be saying Rooney in the same breath. With time on his side, all he needs is to have an explosive season like Ronaldo did last year
    9) Hughes vs Berbatov/Tevez -> Hughes
    - Hughes is more comparable to Tevez, the hustle & bustle type of attacker, not exactly the record breaking scorer material, but does all the dirty work. Man for man, Hughes probably shaves it. But look out for Berbatov next season

  8. Muggaz says:

    it’s harder for me to see 94 putting something past Vidic and Rio, it would have to be something spectacular, but that is why we all love Cantona, because he was capable of the seemingly impossible at times… Whereas all we would need is one free kick in a decent area, no doubt provided with a foul from Keano, and you could almost back Ronaldo to score… whether the great dane is in goal or not!!!

    the 09 team for me.

  9. King Eric says:

    Great comparisons Marq but Mr Dependable just edges Evra for me.

  10. philco says:

    The ’94 team imho would out muscle the present crop of players. Keane and Ince in their pomp with Giggs and Kanchelskis out wide. Do you remember that mans speed. Andre was a true winger. As for the center backs, who would want to be caught between Bruce and Vida. Each corner would be epic. But, and its a big but, Cantona would do the business as always. Any team with him has to be in with a shout. I just wish we still had him now, then all this talk of Ronaldo to rm, Tevez to whoever and is Berba good enough wouldnt matter. The King loved the club and we loved him.

  11. IcelandRed says:

    If I go to my grave admitting that United have fielded a better XI than the ’94 team, that will be some XI. Their record was nothing short of phenomenal, two draws, no losses and something like 13 to 15 wins when that XI started.
    Of course some of it is rose-tinted glasses, but also they played stormin’ football, only some of last years 4-0-6 formation comes close in the beautiful game stakes.
    If I start comparing individuals I might have to admit some things that I really don’t want to :) but would just like to say, as good a keeper as Edwin is and as convinced that I am that if he’d come in when Schmeichel left we’d have a few more League and European trophies, Peter is by far the better keeper, the best I have seen in the world in the last 20-30 years.

  12. bossdem says:

    94 team for me. have to agreee with jig @9.50. and king eric for picking irwin over evra. better defender and attacker imo. had he had evras pace would have been the best full back i ever saw. maybe still is.

  13. bossdem says:

    the rooney cantona one is such a tough one though, as would leaving out sparky!

  14. bossdem says:

    no ones mentioned…. “hes here hes there, hes every fuckin where, brian mcclair!”

  15. dre says:

    common sense. of course its gonna be 09.

    individually on paper 94 and 09 are more on less on par. no one is more a genius than cantona, but no one scores more goals or in so many different ways than ronny. no ones a bigger fighter than keano, but no ones more up for it than rooney.


    fitness wise – 09 hands down
    pace wise – 09 hands down
    tactics wise – 9 hands down
    squad wise – 09 hands down

    the kids of 09 play a much higher tempo game and theyve been dismantling 4-4-2 formations for years.

    credit to 94, they were the greatest in THEIR time, but they would have no idea how to play 09, or match the speed and fitness levels to cope with them for a full game.

    and squad wise, 09 can mix and match it up and still turn a game on its head. 94s resources are far too limited and much too predictable in comparison.

    p/s all this said is considering tevez is playing up front instead of berba for the 09s. with berba playing though, its 94s for sure. common sense tat.

  16. bossdem says:

    dre- very true but i think most of us would have assumed any such fictional match would have been on a level playing field regards fitness and tactics seen as they both had the same manager!
    and were comparing teams not squads!

  17. bossdem says:

    dre- haha. didnt see ur last line b4. u think saf has no common sense then i take it?! ;s

  18. Amo488 says:

    dont forget the Schmeichel factor, IMO that man singlehandedly won trophies for us. he was a god

  19. Quinton_Fortune says:

    reckon the team of 99 would give 94 and 09 both a run for their money, dont think that such a perfectly balanced midfield quartet will ever be assembled againg, they had everything.

  20. steve says:

    This would be a great on going article Scott. Set up some type of bracket style tournament and have the best teams of Manchester United history go head to head by position as Marq did above. Set up polls, have the readers vote or something. It would be very awesome to see who comes out on top.

  21. NicoQB says:

    @ Marq –
    Sorry, but just a few points-

    Schmeichel absolutely owns Van der SAr – no contest. We’re talking about 94′ Schmeichel, when he was still at his peak, not 99′ Scmeichel when he was somewhat on the decline, and he was the hands down the greatest GK of modern football.

    Irwin is a much better defensive LB than Evra, and also a better crosser. Evra does interlap well though.

    Agree about Ronaldo being better than Kanchelskis, but still Andrei for me was about as good as Nedved in his pomp – a 30million ₤ player by today’s price standard.

    Hughes – a much better scoring rate than either Berbatov or Tevez. By today’s price standards he would be valued around 25 – 30 million ₤.

    Other than that spot on observations.

  22. James says:

    In a one-off match, i would have to say the 1994 team. Over the course of a season, the 2009 squad.

  23. Marq says:

    Haha, ok, but Schmeichel did make quite a few howlers too if you remember. But I agree that he has won us more matches than Van der Sar. Especially the match when Giggs scored “that” goal. Quite a even contest for the rest of the team, except centre midfield. Ince & Keane in their prime still looks much more scary than Carrick & Anderson/Giggs/Fletcher

  24. sagar says:

    you forgot that giggs being welsh was classed as johnny foreigner as well.
    so we could only pick 3 from 6 Schmeichel, Irwin, Keane, Kanchelskis, Cantona and Giggs

  25. DinoTheDog says:

    One thing no-one has mentioned yet: The 09 Fergie is much more experienced and wise than the 94 one. That would be a big factor…


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