Brian McClair booked his place in the annals of Old Trafford history when he became the first player since George Best to score 20 league goals for the Reds.
Numerous strikers had strived but failed to achieve the feat in the intervening 20 years - a plausible explanation, no doubt, for United's failure to win the title in that period. If only the formula were so straightforward - McClair might have scored 24 goals in his debut season but still the league was out of reach. For 1987/88 was also the season when Liverpool went on the rampage, finishing nine points ahead of United.
Like his '70s and '80s predecessors, McClair had to settle for
success in the cup competitions as the quest for the Holy Grail, the elusive league title, continued. As the spearhead in a thriving partnership with Mark Hughes, he more than played his part as the Reds won four trophies between 1990 and 1992.
The honour of scoring the winning goal in the 1990 FA Cup Final may have gone to the left-back Lee Martin but in the three previous rounds against Oldham (semi-final replay), Sheffield United and Newcastle, McClair was there, on the scoresheet. It was a similar story in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1990/91 - McClair scored against every team that United faced until the final, when