Norman Whiteside.

Whiteside jokes about Mason's record chances

Friday 24 September 2021 13:45

Norman Whiteside, the Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend who burst onto the scene as a teenager in the 1980s, has been honoured at a dinner celebrating his illustrious career.

Over 400 people turned up at Old Trafford on Thursday evening to pay tribute to Norman, who played 274 games and scored 67 goals for the Reds over eight seasons between 1982 and 1989.

His ex-captain and good friend Bryan Robson was among numerous former team-mates in attendance at the charity dinner organised by the Association of Former Manchester United Players (AFMUP).

Speaking beforehand, Norman said it was a “massive honour” to be recognised by his former colleagues and other legends of the club.

Watch Norman Whiteside's UTD Podcast episode.
Norman famously scored the winner for United in the 1985 FA Cup final against Everton, curling the ball past Neville Southall in extra-time after Kevin Moran’s sending off had reduced the Reds to 10 men.

Two years earlier, he had become the youngest-ever scorer in an FA Cup final when he headed United’s second goal in a 4-0 replay win over Brighton & Hove Albion – a record which remains to this day.

He also remains the youngest-ever player to participate at the World Cup finals, beating a record previously held by Pele, when he made his debut for Northern Ireland against Yugoslavia in the 1982 finals aged just 17 years and 41 days.

Norman also holds the record for the most goals scored for United as a teenager, with 39, ahead of George Best on 37.

Mason Greenwood has been closing in on the Northern Ireland pair, with his three goals so far this season taking him to a total of 32, but Mason only has until his 20th birthday next Friday to add to that record.

“He would have to score eight goals in the next two games to beat me, so good luck to him if he can do that,” Norman joked.

“I don’t mind him scoring two hat-tricks to overtake Bestie!

“Mason has been doing brilliantly and it’s great to see another teenager coming through from the Academy and scoring lots of goals like we did.”

Norman won 38 caps and scored nine goals for Norther Ireland and went on to play in a second World Cup in 1986.

Yet, despite his stellar record of achievements, he was prevented from achieving even more by a series of injuries towards the end of his career.

He left United in 1989 for Everton, where he played 37 games before retiring due to persistent knee problems at the age of just 26.

“Of course, it was a disappointment to have to retire so early, but I still feel like I had a fantastic career because I started so young,” says Norman.

Norman's 1985 FA Cup-winning medal is on display at the Museum.
A collection of Norman’s medals and shirts, including his 1985 FA Cup Winner’s medal, was recently acquired by Manchester United Museum and can be seen in a special display on his career.

Thursday’s dinner raised thousands of pounds for local charities and marked a welcome return for AFMUP to Old Trafford after the pandemic forced the cancellation of their regular get-togethers for former United players over the past 18 months.

Photo credit: John Gubba.