In 1968, the emotion of European success was almost too much to bear; while the Treble's crowning moment gave Sir Bobby Charlton plenty reason to celebrate…
The Champions League final at the Nou Camp must have been poignant for you; how did it contrast with 1968?
They were two very different feelings for me. It was so emotional in ’68 because of everything that had gone before it with the accident. In Barcelona, it was pure joy, and on what would have been Matt’s birthday.
What would Sir Matt have made of that game?
I’m sure he was there in spirit and he’d have been a very happy man. He was always impressed by Alex Ferguson. In board meetings, when Alex said something, Matt used to give that nod of approval. He would have been so pleased because, when you look out at Old Trafford, he started all this and Alex has continued it; 1999 was an incredible season. I’ll never forget the way it finished, ever.
There were so many dramatic victories that season, but few could surpass the final…
Bayern Munich scored early so we still had a chance. But it kept getting later and later. I thought, if we get the ball into the box we have players that can score, but Bayern repelled everything. With a few minutes left, Lennart Johansson, the UEFA president, came past. He was on his way to present the trophy. He said to me, “I’m very sorry, Bobby’. I said, ‘c’est la vie, president, there’ll be other matches.’ By the time he’d gone into the stands and down to the pitch, he emerged to find the winners distraught and the losers celebrating… in the time it took him to get the elevator down to the pitch, he’d missed our goals!
How did you react when those goals went in?
When Teddy Sheringham scored, my first instinct was to look at the linesman to see if he was onside. Then I got caught up in the celebrations and ended up jumping over a few UEFA people in the seats in front. I apologised and they said, ‘we understand, Bobby’. I was just pulling myself together, thinking we had 30 minutes of extra time to win it, then we got a corner. Teddy flicked it on, and if you’d let me pick one player to be on the end of that ball, it’d be one of the great finishers of all time, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And there he was. I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe we’d won.
Late finishes were a common theme that season, and seems in-built into the club; where does that spirit come from?
It’s the United way; you go for 90 minutes because,