Twenty-five years since Sheringham's debut

Wednesday 03 August 2022 07:00

Eric Cantona's shock retirement left Manchester United on the lookout for a new star striker to fill the Frenchman's boots.

It was always going to be a tall order and many names were mentioned before a surprise deal was wrapped up with Tottenham Hotspur when they lowered their valuation of Teddy Sheringham.

Twenty-five years have passed since the elegant England international traded White Hart Lane for Old Trafford, and he went on to play a key role in the Treble triumph as well as further success with the Reds.

Teddy Sheringham was outstanding in the 1999 FA Cup final win.

The move was wrapped up pretty swiftly once Sheringham returned from holiday in Florida.

"It was half past one yesterday afternoon when I realised the deal was on," said Teddy, at the press conference to unveil the club's new signing.

"I'd only just returned when my mum and dad called saying they'd been trying to get hold of me because United were interested.

"It was the best call I have ever had in my career. It's about time I won something and now I hope I can do it here."

Sheringham had to endure taunts from Arsenal fans, Spurs' great rivals, when his first season in 1997/98 ended trophyless, while the Gunners did the Double. They sang about him failing to win anything at United during the pivotal FA Cup semi-final clashes of the following campaign.

Teddy not only helped the Reds beat Arsene Wenger's men to the title in 1999 but he was Man of the Match in the FA Cup final win over Newcastle United, scoring and setting up Paul Scholes with a typically intelligent pass in a 2-0 win after coming on for the injured Roy Keane. And of course, he did the same, registering a goal and an assist, in the unforgettable Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich a few days later.

No wonder the United faithful corrected the Arsenal song to: 'Oh Teddy, Teddy. Went to Man United and you won the lot.'

Watch some of Teddy Sheringham's best goals.

Although he was aged 31 when he signed for United, Sheringham was one of those strikers who matured and got even better. He also had the confidence to handle being viewed as a replacement for Cantona, the undoubted catalyst to our period of domestic dominance, and managed to achieve something the fabulous Frenchman could not manage in helping Alex Ferguson's side lift Europe's biggest prize.

"I can't think of any better player to replace Cantona," said chairman Martin Edwards at the press conference, refusing to duck the obvious question.

"They are slightly different in style but it is one big name out and one big name in."

Sheringham was also asked about his ability to fill the void left by the fans' idol.

"I'm sure people will start making comparisons between me and Eric," he admitted. "But I can only play my own game and hope it will be good enough for Manchester United."

History tells us that it most certainly was.