A pacy defender with excellent aerial ability and terrific ball control given his towering 6ft 4in frame, Gary Pallister formed half of arguably the greatest central defensive partnership the club has known.
With Steve Bruce by his side ‘Dolly and Daisy’, as they were affectionately dubbed, saw off all comers to United’s 18-yard box in a glorious seven-season stint together.
Their rock-like presence yielded three Premiership titles (1993, 1994, 1996), two runners-up spots, the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup, three FA Cups (1990, 1994, 1996) and the League Cup of 1992.
Born on the Kent coast in Ramsgate in June 1965, Pallister started his career with non-league Billingham Town and joined the Reds from his boyhood heroes Middlesbrough for £2.3 million in August 1989 – then a record fee for a British defender.
Given a weight-training regime to bulk up his skinny body, the 13th-placed finish of his first season was followed by a remarkable run in which United finished outside the top two just once in the next eight campaigns.
An imposing backline, in which Pallister was a permanent fixture (he missed just one league game between 1992 and 1995), proved a cornerstone of this success. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1992 and was unlucky not to win more than 22 England caps.
After nine years at Old Trafford and 317 league appearances – and a further title success in 1996/97 following Bruce’s departure – Pallister’s career went full circle, leaving United to return to the north-east with Premiership new boys Boro for £2.5 million in the summer of 1998. All that success, and a £200,000 profit!
Pallister is still a regular face at Old Trafford, occasionally popping up on MUTV as a pundit. And though stopping goals is the thing he will be largely remembered for, his brace of headers against Liverpool at Anfield, to all but clinch the 1997 title, burns brightly in any self-suspecting Red’s memory bank.