George Best.

Have your say on United's coolest player

Tuesday 14 June 2022 14:59

The Debate panel offered up four names as contenders for Manchester United's coolest player this week.

Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Scholes were nominated by David May, Ben Thornley, Charlotte Duncker and Neil Custis on Monday's show.

Well, as we seek a definitive answer on the subject, with your help, we decided to throw our own suggestions into the ring and present a poll of 10 former Reds from which to choose your own view.

We’ve come up with a shortlist, but who do you think is United’s coolest-ever player?poll

We’ve come up with a shortlist, but who do you think is United’s coolest-ever player?

GEORGE BEST (Sam Carney)

There’s an obvious answer to this one, and it’s George Best. One of the most iconic sportsmen of all time, Bestie was up there with The Beatles and Muhammad Ali in terms of 1960s’ cultural touchstones and I’d argue that Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff are the only footballers who come close to the Belfast Boy’s now-mythical status, on and off the field. The playboy lifestyle he enjoyed during his career has largely disappeared from the game over the last 25 years, with increased professionalism, but Rio Ferdinand was quite a cool figure too. He made it fashionable to be a ball-playing centre-back and, since retiring, has launched his own clothes brand and podcast, as well as taking on the more traditional punditry gigs.


Dimitar Berbatov was the epitome of cool on a football pitch. He had an aura about him, and his first touch was a joy to behold. He seemed to stroll about the pitch and then would explode into action with a goal or a piece of brilliance. Despite being 6ft 2in tall, the Bulgarian would glide across the pitch with ease and make defenders look silly. He seemed to have absolutely everything, and it was clear how confident he was in his own game. He may not appear to have worked as hard off the ball as other great United strikers, but his ability on it was unquestionable. He could spot things that others couldn't, and this intelligence and self-assurance on the ball were very cool indeed. Even recently, in our Legends of the North match, the now 41-year-old was just as nonchalant in his play as ever. Berba was - and still remains - very, very cool.


ROY KEANE (Joe Ganley)

‘Cool’ is one of those vague and alluring concepts that no-one can ever really define. I’ve regularly heard Reds describe players like Juan Sebastian Veron, Gordon Hill and Martin Buchan as the epitome of cool, and I know where they’re coming from. Each had something different, something unique. Whether in their playing style or in the way they comported themselves as humans. But, for me, Roy Keane stands apart from everyone (except perhaps Eric). The Irishman was only ever bothered about staying true to what he believed in: being a pure, fierce, unrelenting competitor. And you could see it plainly in his eyes. You can still see it now, when he appears on TV as a pundit! This isn’t a person swayed by trends, new fashions, received opinion and cliches – he simply looks straight at things and very quickly works out whether they are false or trite. He was exactly the same as a footballer. Ronaldo not ready to shake my hand? His loss. Patrick Vieira thinks he can intimidate my team-mates? Not having it. Even if there are TV cameras nearby. Just by looking at Roy the player, and his often gaunt face, that lean body and those piercing eyes, you knew you were dealing with someone who had the meaning of his own life - and football - completely sussed. And, in my opinion, there’s nothing cooler than someone who does things their own way, with conviction. Someone who simply waves away all of the nonsense and surface noise that can complicate life. Roy had his flaws, but he remains a great example to follow.

How cool was the Reds' former skipper?
LEE SHARPE (Adam Marshall)

I can see how our concept of coolness is probably dictated in many respects by our age. Sharpie is only a year older than I am and, at a time when I was worrying about GCSEs, he was already exploding into the first-team picture at Old Trafford, following the shrewdest of raids on the lower divisions by Alex Ferguson. Having moved from the Midlands to begin a professional career at Torquay United, the left-winger with pace to burn was an exciting prospect. The way in which he soon found his feet at the top level, breaking into the side at full-back and showing such fearlessness was very appealing. And, what is more, he soon developed a sense of fun and cheekiness about his play. The goal celebrations are worthy of a discussion in their own right and his hat-trick at Arsenal in the Rumbelows Cup was the moment when everything finally seemed to be clicking into place under the boss. In the early '90s, Sharpe was probably the envy of every teenager and a cool customer living the dream at the biggest club in the country. More recently, he's even appeared on Celebrity Love Island (although I have no idea if that is cool or not?!)
Lee Sharpe made an exciting breakthrough at United.

The final two places on our poll will go to Ferdinand and Buchan.

As defenders do not deserve to be overlooked in this category, both played with panache and a quality that endeared themselves to the United faithful of different generations.

So we have our round 10 of options. The choice now is entirely yours!