Without suspended inspiration Eric Cantona and crippled by the three-foreigners rule, Manchester United lost 4-0 to FC Barcelona on a memorable night in 1994.
Hristo Stocihkov (2), Romario and Albert Ferrer were the executioners of Alex Ferguson’s depleted forces at the packed Nou Camp. But who were the 12 players in black chasing shadows that night and where are they now ?
Gary Walsh — Left United a year later for Middlesbrough after making 50 appearances for the club. Currently goalkeeper coach at Derby County and also formed part of Paul Jewell’s coaching staff at Wigan Athletic for several years.
Paul Parker — Missed most of the 1994-95 season through injury, and despite regaining his fitness the following season, he could not displace Gary Neville and was freed at the end of the campaign. Although United won a (then) unique second double, he did not play in enough Premier League games for a title medal, and did not feature in the FA Cup final squad. Now a live football analyst and pundit on Setanta Sports non-league coverage.
Denis Irwin — Made over 500 senior appearances for the club, culminating in the epic 1999 Champions League final win over Bayern back at the Nou Camp. Now works for MUTV — United’s club TV channel where he is described as a presenter and pundit on ‘Countdown 2 Kickoff’ & ‘Irwin’s Analysis’.
Steve Bruce — Like Parker, he was left out of United’s squad for the 1996 FA Cup final — albeit due to a slight injury. Despite the fact that Bruce was club captain, he insisted that matchwinner Eric Cantona lifted the trophy at Wembley. Shortly after the final, Bruce left to join Birmingham City on a free transfer. Now manager of Wigan Athletic.
Gary Pallister — His nine-year Old Trafford career ended in 1998 and he was succeeded by Jaap Stam for the Treble-winning season. Now works in the local north east and national media as a TV, radio and internet pundit.
Paul Ince — Sold to Internazionale at the end of the season in Alex Ferguson’s most memorable cull of big hitters from the squad. Now manager of Milton Keynes Dons and set to clinch promotion from League Two at the first attempt.
Roy Keane — Eleven years service ended when contract was cancelled by mutual consent in 2005 after delivering a stinging MUTV critique on his team-mates which was pulled from broadcast. Won Champions League medal in 1999 but did not play the final through suspension. Currently manages Premiership outfit Sunderland AFC after clinching Championship title in first year in charge.
Nicky Butt — Champions League winner in 1999 but was already becoming a fringe member of the squad and was sold to Newcastle in 2004. Back playing for Newcastle United after a spell with Birmingham.
Andrei Kanchelskis — Part of the 1995 summer sale, he joined Everton and scored 16 goals in his first season at Goodison before being sold on for a profit midway through the next campaign. Now the sporting director of Russian first division football club FC Nosta Novotroitsk.
Ryan Giggs — Second highest appearance holder for Manchester United and the most decorated player in Premier League and club history. Also came back to Nou Camp to lift Champions League and returns again tonight 13-and a-half years after his first visit. A one-club man.
Mark Hughes — The former FC Barcelona flop left Old Trafford for the second and final time at the end of that season — shocking supporters by joining Chelsea. Retired in 2002 and took the Wales job, but now an established club manager at Blackburn Rovers.
Sub: Paul Scholes — Was making his second Champions League appearance in the 4-0 defeat. Like Keane, returned in 1999 to watch United lift the trophy but took no part because of suspension. Would make his 100th Champions League appearance if involved tonight.