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Speakers

The Manchester United speakers are available for; Q&As, presentations (handing out awards), dinners, tours, video messages and meet and greet/signings.

Denis Irwin

"Signed for a bargain £625,000 from Oldham Athletic in 1990, Denis Irwin is regarded by Sir Alex Ferguson as one of his shrewdest signings. The Irish international full-back was a cornerstone of United’s defense during the Reds’ dominance of the 1990s, regularly scoring free-kicks and penalties. A near-flawless defender on either flank, Irwin made over 500 appearances for United in an epic playing career, snaring silverware aplenty. The Irishman was a virtual ever-present in the Reds’ infamous Treble season, and he continued as a first-team fixture until 2002, when he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers. Irwin’s return to Old Trafford the following year as a visiting player provoked a mass outpouring of applause and admiration from the home support, in recognition of a player who contributed as much as anyone to one of the most successful periods in the club’s history."

United honours

Premier League (7): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, FA Cup (3): 1994, 1996, 1999, League Cup (1): 1992, Charity Shield (4): 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, UEFA Champions League (1): 1999, European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1991, European Super Cup (1): 1991, Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999

Gary Pallister

"As a coltish youngster, Gary Pallister’s displays with Second Division Middlesbrough brought him senior caps for England, so it was little surprise that United had to beat off strong competition for his signature in 1989. Although the then-British record new signing took a season to fully integrate to life at Old Trafford, he struck up a central defensive partnership with Steve Bruce which remains a part of club folklore. A possessor of surprising speed, aerial dominance and intelligent reading of the game, Pallister was a key component in the United side which repeatedly garnered silverware in the early 1990s and ended the hoodoo of 26 years without a domestic league title. In 1998, with four title wins under his belt, Gary ended his distinguished United career and returned to Middlesbrough, and he remains a cult hero among supporters of both clubs."

United honours

Premier League (4): 1992–93, 1993–94,1995–96, 1996–97, FA Cup (2): 1994, 1996, League Cup (1): 1992, Charity Shield (4): 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1991, European Super Cup (1): 1991

Norman Whiteside

"Norman Whiteside was snapped up by United as a Belfast schoolboy in 1978, and quickly set about demonstrating that he was built for a man’s game. The youngster, who could play in midfield or upfront, broke into United’s first team at the age of 16, and even appeared in all five Northern Ireland matches at the 1982 World Cup, beating Pele’s record to become the youngest ever World Cup player at the time. His first full season yielded an FA Cup winner’s medal and a League Cup runners-up medal, plus goals in both finals. He also scored the infamous extra-time winner in the 1985 FA Cup final against Everton; the club whom he later joined from United. Norman’s brief Goodison Park career was curtailed by injury, and he was forced into retirement at just 26, but the memories live on of his incredible talent and penchant for the big occasion."

United honours

FA Cup (2): 1983, 1985, FA Charity Shield (1): 1983

Wilf McGuiness

"Wilf McGuinness is Manchester United, through and through. The Mancunian wing-half captained Manchester, Lancashire and England schoolboys en route to the Reds’ first team, where he debuted as a 17-year-old. An original Busby Babe, McGuinness faced tough competition for places in a talented side, but he still made enough appearances to pick up a First Division winner’s medal in 1955/56 and was also capped by England. Sadly, Wilf’s cause was hindered by injury, and a badly broken leg prompted his retirement at the painfully early age of 22. Hequickly turned his attentions to coaching and became, in turn, United’s youth team manager, assistant trainer and chief coach, before he was chosen by the club’s board as the man to replace Matt Busby as manager. McGuinness was given little time to succeed, however, and 18 months later he stepped aside as Busby was reinstated. Nevertheless, Wilf remains an integral part of United folklore."

United honours

FA Cup (1): 1977

Stuart Pearson

"Stuart Pearson joined United from Hull City for £222,222 in May 1974, and in his first full season at Old Trafford he supplied key goals as the Reds were immediately promoted back to the First Division. An exciting, invigorating striker blessed with a subtle touch and honed predatory instincts, ‘Pancho’ became a firm fans’ favourite among the Red Army. The relationship was galvanised by Pearson’s knack for key goals; most notably the winner in the 1976 FA Cup quarterfinal win at Derby, which preceded United’s shock defeat against Southampton at Wembley, and the equaliser against Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup final. Quite aside from the schadenfreude derived from ending the Merseysiders’ hopes of winning the Treble, the England international’s role in bringing major silverware to Old Trafford ensured him of a legend which lives on to this day, long after his 1980 sale to West Ham United."

United honours

FA Cup (1): 1977

Lee Martin

"Lee Martin’s place in United’s history was assured by his famous FA Cup final replay winning goal against Crystal Palace in May 1990. When Neil Webb’s raking pass dropped into Nigel Martyn’s area, few anticipated that the rampaging fullback, with only one previous goal to his name, would be on the other end of the pass. Fewer still foresaw the cobra-like finish into the top corner from the 22-year-old. Martin had previously made his name as a steady, versatile full-back before his Wembley winner thrust him into the limelight. Capped by England at under-21 level, Lee operated as a versatile full-back on either flank, and also moonlighted in central defense when required. The bulk of his 109 United appearances came during the 1988/89 and 1989/90 seasons, although he made a single Premier League cameo in the Reds’ 1993/94 Double-winning season before leaving to join Celtic in January 1994."

United honours

FA Cup (1): 1990

Clayton Blackmore

"Signed and given his debut by Ron Atkinson, it was only under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson that Clayton Blackmore truly rose to prominence at Old Trafford. The Welshman had the unique distinction of sporting every outfield shirt number between 2-11 for the Reds, (prior to the modern advent of squad numbers) so ranging was his versatility. Used primarily as a full-back or a midfielder, Clayton developed a reputation for his fearsome shooting, especially from dead-ball situations, and was an integral part of Sir Alex’s side as the Reds began picking up silverware. A key player in the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs of the early 1990s, Blackmore also picked up a richlydeserved Premier League winner’s medal in 1993 before injury curtailed his United career, and he followed former team-mate Bryan Robson to Middlesbrough in 1994."

United honours

Premier League (1): 1992/93, FA Cup (1): 1990, League Cup (1): 1991/92, European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1990/91

Alex Stepney

"Alex Stepney is far and away the longest-serving goalkeeper in Manchester United’s history.Having racked up 539 appearances for the club, he eclipses two stoppers recognised as history’s greatest; mustering almost 150 more than Peter Schmeichel and more than doubling the total of Edwin van der Sar. Having arrived at Old Trafford in 1966 for £55,000 – a world record for a goalkeeper at the time – Stepney’s impact was immediate. Sir Matt Busby described signing him as “the single most important factor behind our championship in 1967,” and a year later Alex made his outstanding contribution to United’s history; a superb last-gasp save from Eusebio in the European Cup final, laying the foundations for the Reds’ extra-time triumph. In addition to his winner’s medals in the First Division and European Cup, Stepney also won the FA Cup and Second Division title, before leaving Old Trafford in 1978."

United honours

Football League First Division (1): 1966–67, Second Division (1): 1974–75, FA Cup (1): 1977, European Cup (1): 1968, Charity Shield (1): 1978

Mickey Thomas

"Best known as one of football’s loveable rogues, Mickey Thomas was a skilful, rapid winger who gained over 50 caps for Wales in a long, eventful career. As a youngster, Mickey shone for Wrexham and played a major role in the Red Dragons’ senior team throughout the 1970s, most notably in their giant-killing European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign of 1976. His displays caught United’s attention and he was whisked away to Old Trafford in 1978. Across three seasons with the Reds, Thomas made 110 appearances and bagged 15 goals before departing for Everton, and subsequently clocking up a string of clubs including Stoke, Chelsea and Leeds. Mickey represented United in the legendary 1979 FA Cup final, but was agonisingly denied a first winner’s medal with the club by Arsenal’s last-gasp victory. Nevertheless, Thomas remains a highly popular figure among supporters, not least for his staunchly pro-United views during his work with local media."

Andy Ritchie

"Andy Ritchie emerged from the United youth system to make his senior debut on Boxing Day 1977, just six weeks after his 17th birthday, stepping up after an injury to Stuart ‘Pancho’ Pearson. A powerful, confident young striker, Ritchie made four appearances in his maiden season and was again shunted out of the team until midway through the 1978/79 campaign, when Joe Jordan suffered a long-term injury. Now just past his 18th birthday, Ritchie stepped up to the plate with a brace at Derby - his first senior goals for the club - and went on to endear himself to the fans with a season haul of 10 goals from 21 appearances, including a strike at Manchester City’s Maine Road and a hat-trick against Leeds United. Ritchie only managed to make 11 appearances during the course of the following campaign, however, as Jordan and Lou Macari cemented themselves as Dave Sexton’s preferred front pairing. Andy’s final United appearance came in September 1980 at Tottenham, before he joined Brighton & Hove Albion and latterly Leeds United. His most prolific spell came at Oldham Athletic, however, where he made over 200 appearances in two spells at Boundary Park and ultimately became the Latics’ manager."

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