goalscoring touch and in July 1988 Alex Ferguson spent £1.5m on bringing him home. It proved to be a masterstroke. Hughes was named PFA Player of the Year in his first season back and rescued the Reds in the 1990 FA Cup final with two goals against Crystal Palace to force a replay that gave Ferguson his first trophy.
He was again named Player of the Year in 1991 and experienced glorious retribution with a man-of-the-match display in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in Rotterdam, scoring twice in the 2-1 victory over old club Barcelona.
1992 saw another medal, this time the Reds’ first ever League Cup, and the next
season saw him complete the domestic set with United’s first league title in 26 years.
Hughes’ new partnership with Eric Cantona lit the touchpaper for United’s title charge and later Sparky was moved to say, “I know the Frenchman changed my footballing life.” And while Cantona grabbed the headlines, it was Hughes’ 100th league goal against Crystal Palace that helped clinch the first ever Premiership crown.
Sir Alex once said: “Hughes was the best big game player I have known,”, never more so than in the 1994 FA Cup semi-final against Oldham when his injury time volley saved United from a shock Wembley defeat.