Alex Stepney earned Old Trafford immortality the night Manchester United became European champions in 1968.
On that balmy May evening at Wembley, with United and Benfica drawing 1-1, Stepney held on to a ferocious shot from Eusebio to ensure the game would go into extra-time. The additional half-hour was illuminated by goals from George Best, Bobby Charlton and Brian Kidd, as the Reds run out 4-1 winners, but the importance of Stepney’s save was lost on no-one.
Stepney began his career as a trainee at Millwall, before moving to Chelsea for £52,000 in June 1966. After only three months at Stamford Bridge he made the switch
to Old Trafford, Sir Matt paying a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper of £55,000.
On his debut against Manchester City, he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory and by the end of the season had won a League Championship medal to cap a wonderful first season. In fact, such was his contribution that Sir Matt Busby described signing him as “the single most important factor behind our championship in 1967.”
The highlight of Stepney's long career came a year later, when he starred in the European Cup final. That save from Eusebio is still judged as important, if not more so, than any of the goals scored by United in the