Goal of the Day: Q is for Quinton Fortune
Some poetic licence had to be taken with Q in our Goal of the Day countdown... we've decided that it should stand for former midfielder and current Academy coach Quinton Fortune!
The first African player to feature for Manchester United, Quinton was signed from Atletico Madrid in 1999 and went on to make 126 appearances for the Reds over the following seven years.
Fortune, who featured for the Bafana Bafana at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, could play at full-back or in midfield and was a versatile squad member who played his part in three of our title successes in the early 2000s. He scored 11 goals in total for the club, one of which - a strike against Panathinaikos in the Champions League - is our Goal of the Day...
Quinton moved to England after United's Treble-winning season, in 1999, in a deal worth £1.5million. The Capetonian had been a member of the South African squad which had finished runners-up at the African Cup of Nations in 1998, and also featured for the Bafana Bafana in their first-ever World Cup appearance, in France, later that year.
Although he was an infrequent goalscorer, Fortune twice netted braces for the Reds, against South Melbourne and Bradford City. However, his most important goal came in an FA Cup fifth-round tie versus Everton at Goodison Park in 2005. Quinton's effort opened the scoring as United won 2-0, and he played every game in the competition that season as Sir Alex Ferguson's side reached the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where we eventually lost to Arsenal on penalties.
Never quite a first-choice player at United, due to a combination of injury problems and some stellar competition in the squad, Quinton nevertheless played a part in our 2000, 2001 and 2003 Premier League successes. The 2003/04 campaign saw Fortune get his best run of games, as he made 35 appearances in all competitions, primarily in the left-back and left-midfield positions. A knee injury suffered in March 2004, however, denied the South African a place in the FA Cup final against Millwall. More time spent on the sidelines meant he only started a handful more matches for the Reds before departing on a free transfer in 2006.
Fortune played seven games for Sam Allardyce's Bolton Wanderers in 2006/07 and then spent time at Brescia, Tubize and Doncaster Rovers before retiring in 2010. He returned to United in 2012 to work towards his coaching badges and he is currently assistant coach to Neil Wood for our Under-23s.
WHAT THEY SAID
“South Africa can be proud of Quinton. He is a great ambassador for the country and a true professional. When I told him I was coming to Cape Town, he asked if he could come along with me!” (Sir Alex Ferguson, in 2002)