In 1999, Manchester United played Liverpool at Old Trafford in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Liverpool took the lead in the third minute through Michael Owen, who went on to win the league with United years later.
“It was a terrible start,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “God almighty, you wouldn’t think a five foot, six inch striker would score with a header in the first minutes at Old Trafford. I wasn’t too pleased about that.”
With nine minutes left to play, Fergie brought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Denis Irwin. In the 88th minute, Dwight Yorke equalised for United. In injury time, Solskjaer won it for us. He ran to the Stretford End, grabbing on to the United badge and holding it up to the fans, fully appreciating the occasion.
Gary Neville later credited Solskjaer’s goal as the catalyst to what would unfold that season, with us winning the Treble a few months later.
“The season really started with the Liverpool game,” he said. “Coming back against them in the last minute in the FA Cup was massive. You can forget about the first half of the season – you always do at United, you never remember anything – but that was the game that started everything. From then on, everybody was right and everybody was at it.”
On Saturday afternoon, after we beat Manchester City at the Etihad, Solskjaer went to the away end to applaud on travelling fans. Just as he did 20 years ago, he pointed to the United badge.
Incredible to think that a man who has done so much for our club is the manager. We are the only team to take points off Liverpool this season and have beaten all the other teams at the top, Leicester, City, Chelsea and Spurs.