As the lineup was announced ahead of United’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich, groans will have echoed out around Manchester. We of course knew Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were suspended for the match, but seeing the team list really brought home the fact we were about to play in the European Cup final without two of our most influential players. Giggs on the right, Blomqvist on the left, with Beckham and Butt in the centre. Nightmare. We of course all know what happened there though, managing to get the desired result in injury time.
Sir Alex Ferguson has today said that despite not naturally being a sentimental man, he will certainly be starting Paul Scholes if United make it to the Champions League final again this season. “Hopefully we can get to the final again and this time Paul will get his opportunity,” he said. “I’m not a sentimentalist by any means. My one aim has always been to manage the club in the right way. But if we got to the Champions League final again then I’m telling you that I would have to be sentimental when it came to choosing my team for that one. I’d have to pick Paul to play because he deserves it. Paul doesn’t say much about missing out in 1999, but it must have hurt him. He will still feel it because players like that always do. Players with his calibre and with his record of being a winner will have felt bad about missing out. It would have hurt Paul just as much as it hurt Roy Keane. To miss the biggest club game in the world must have an impact. Paul won’t talk about things like that because he is not the kind of man to let disappointment destroy him. You only have to see what he has won in the game to realise that.”