The winner of Swedish Celebrity Masterchef, a crypto trader and a resident of French Guiana! As Man United head to the City Ground for the first time in 24 years, what happened to those who played in their famous 8-1 win over Forest in the Treble year?
- Manchester United head to the City Ground for their Carabao Cup semi-final
- Their last visit there to face Nottingham Forest, in 1999, was very memorable
- Here’s what happened to the players from both sides from United’s 8-1 victory
As Manchester United head to the City Ground for the first time in almost 24 years, it won’t take much jogging of the memory to recall their last outing there.
Back in 1999, as Alex Ferguson’s brilliant team battled their way to an improbable Treble, Nottingham Forest found themselves on the wrong end of a brutal beating.
The 8-1 scoreline sent gasps around the nation and was the Premier League’s record away win for two decades until Leicester won 9-0 at Southampton.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (centre) memorably came off the bench to score four times as Manchester United thrashed Nottingham Forest 8-1 in their last visit to the City Ground
The Norwegian scored four goals in a little under 14 minutes as United ran riot that afternoon
The ironic thing is that when Ferguson sent on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Roy Keane in the 71st minute, with United coasting 4-1 thanks to doubles from Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, he told the Norwegian just to keep the ball and preserve energy.
Instead, Solskjaer plundered four goals in the space of 13 minutes and 48 seconds, turning a routine away win for United into a record-breaking one.
The day before, Solskjaer had been spotted buying a new pair of boots in the Trafford Centre, which nicely encapsulated his unassuming nature.
The dramatic scoreline was for some years the biggest away win in Premier League football
Solskjaer rounds hapless Forest keeper Dave Beasant to score United’s seventh goal
The match programme from 1999
Ferguson described him afterwards as ‘the best substitute in the world’, which subsequent events in the Champions League final that season would confirm.
It was a statement scoreline that gave United impetus in their successful pursuit not only of the Premier League title, won by a point from Arsenal, but also the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Unfortunately for Forest, who had ex-United manager Ron Atkinson in charge, it was just another grim milestone en route to relegation.
Atkinson, who famously sat in the wrong dug-out before his first game at the City Ground against Arsenal a few weeks earlier, angered fans by suggesting they’d seen a ‘nine-goal thriller’.
But what became of the players involved that afternoon?
Solskjaer would help Ferguson’s United win an historic Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League that season
The Norwegian scored United’s stoppage time winner against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final
Peter Schmeichel – The giant Danish keeper was one of the big personalities who drove United to the Treble that season, though it’s fair to say this was one of his quieter afternoons. Schmeichel could easily have gone into management after retiring but instead has worked as a television pundit and is an ambassador for United.
Gary Neville – The defender would continue playing for United until 2011 and in retirement has become one of the most respected football pundits in the country for Sky Sports and ITV. He is a co-owner of League Two club Salford City and has business interests in property in Manchester.
Gary Neville (left) and Paul Scholes (right) try to stop Forest striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk
Ronny Johnsen (left) and Dwight Yorke (right) on United’s tour of China back in 2018
Ronny Johnsen – One of the most under-rated players in United’s Treble squad, Johnsen has served as a club ambassador and dabbled in coaching with the Norwegian lower league club Nik Tonsberg. He has also worked as a pundit for Norwegian channel TV2.
David Beckham, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole celebrate one of United’s goals
Jaap Stam – The rock at the centre of United’s Treble-winning defence and one of the most formidable players Old Trafford has seen. Moving into management after playing and has been in charge at Reading, PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord. His last posting was an unsuccessful spell with Major League Soccer club FC Cincinnati.
Phil Neville – Another unsung hero of the Treble year, playing in 44 matches across all competitions. Neville is the head coach of MLS team Inter Miami at present having also coached the England women’s team. He is also a co-owner of Salford along with his Class of 92 colleagues.
David Beckham – His crossing and superb free-kicks were a hallmark of the Treble season as Beckham emphatically answered his critics following that infamous World Cup red card. Beckham owns Inter Miami, has a share in Salford City and is an ambassador for UNICEF and other good causes, as well as a recognisable face for many brands. His son, Romeo, currently plays for Brentford’s B team.
Paul Scholes – Another class act during that season though incredibly modest with it. Scholes is now a pundit for BT Sport and rarely pulls punches with his opinions. Another of the Salford co-owners, he was briefly their caretaker manager in 2020 and also had a short spell in charge of his boyhood club Oldham.
Paul Scholes (right) tries to stop Forest striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk during the game
Roy Keane – Captain fantastic for United at that time, Keane more than anyone else provided the fight and the bite in this successful team. He too has become a pundit, not shirking opinions when on Sky Sports or ITV. Having managed Sunderland and Ipswich, and been an assistant to Martin O’Neill for the Republic of Ireland and Forest, you wouldn’t rule out a return to the dug-out.
Jesper Blomqvist – The Swedish winger was signed as a back-up to Ryan Giggs but ended up starting the Champions League final in the absence of Keane and Scholes. Blomqvist owns a pizza restaurant in Stockholm and recently won the Swedish edition of Celebrity Masterchef.
Winger Jesper Blomqvist pictured playing for United (left) and at his pizza restaurant (right)
Dwight Yorke – Yorke’s 29 goals that season after signing from Aston Villa were a major factor in the Treble win. Two of them came on that afternoon in Nottingham but he would be upstaged for once by Solskjaer. Yorke also went into management and recently parted ways with Australian A-League club Macarthur FC – his 18 games in charge included a cup win.
Dwight Yorke, United’s top scorer that season, netted twice but was overshadowed in the end
Yorke has recently parted company with A-League club Macarthur after just 18 games
Andy Cole – Scored 24 times that year in a dream-like partnership with Yorke, netting United’s second and third goals at the City Ground. Cole has overcome health issues and underwent a kidney transplant to save his life in 2017. Has worked as a pundit on various channels and linked up with Sol Campbell as an attacking coach at Macclesfield and Southend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – The man who grabbed the headlines that afternoon with his four-goal blitz made plenty more as the season progressed and certainly with his stoppage time winner in the Nou Camp. Solskjaer was United manager between December 2018 and November 2021 but couldn’t recreate the glory years despite signs of promise. He hasn’t taken another job since but has rewatched all of the 168 matches from his tenure while spending time with his family in Norway and Cheshire. He intends to return to management at some point.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still weighing up his next move after his sacking by United in 2021
Nicky Butt – Another player who played a more prominent role in the Treble season than you might remember – combative midfielder Butt featured in 47 games in all. He has in recent years been the head of United’s academy and was head of first-team development during Solskjaer’s time in charge. Since October, Butt has been chief executive officer at Salford City, taking over from Gary Neville.
John Curtis – The name you wouldn’t be able to recall if this was a pub quiz. Curtis played 14 times in the league for United and went on to play for numerous clubs in England, including Forest between 2005 and 2007. He is the founder and technical director of NCE [National Center of Excellence] Soccer based in Fairfield, Connecticut.
John Curtis comes on alongside Solskjaer during the win at Nottingham Forest
Alex Ferguson – This season would be the pinnacle for United’s legendary manager, ending with his uttering the immortal words ‘football, bloody hell’ into an ITV microphone after that dramatic stoppage time turnaround in the Champions League final. Ferguson retired in 2013 after guiding United to 38 trophies. Retirement has allowed Ferguson to indulge other passions, including horse racing and history. He suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2018 but made a recovery following surgery. Regularly seen watching United games home and away.
Incredible success was just around the corner for Alex Ferguson as United won the Treble
Dave Beasant – Not an afternoon keeper Beasant would wish to remember… He’d signed for Forest in 1997, at the age of 38, but spent four seasons at the City Ground. Not content with that, his playing career continued until 2013! Beasant worked as a goalkeeping coach for Fulham, Northern Ireland, Bristol Rovers, Stevenage and Reading after finally hanging up his boots. He is a football consultant for Midas Sports Management.
Forest keeper Dave Beasant (left) can’t prevent Solskjaer tucking home United’s sixth goal
John Harkes – The United States international midfielder was on loan with Forest at the time from DC United and this was one of just three games he played for the club. A prominent soccer figure in the US, Harkes is currently the coach and sporting director of Greenville Triumph Soccer Club in South Carolina, who play in USL League One, the third level of the Stateside game.
American John Harkes played only three matches for Forest – and this was one of them
Craig Armstrong – A graduate of Forest’s academy, defender Armstrong made 40 league appearances for the club before moving to Huddersfield not long after this game. A nomadic playing career came to an end in 2012. Armstrong returned to work at Forest as an elite development coach, has been a regional co-ordinator for Arsenal and is now academy recruitment manager at Crystal Palace.
Jon Olav Hjelde – The Norwegian was a regular in Forest’s defence for six seasons between 1997 and 2003, later returning for a second spell in the 2004-05 season. His son Leo, 19, is also a defender and made his senior debut for Leeds United against West Ham last year. He is currently on loan at Rotherham in the Championship.
Alan Rogers had Forest briefly on level terms
Alan Rogers – Joined Forest for £2million and helped them win promotion back into the Premier League in 1998, ultimately spending four seasons with them and later returning for a second spell. Scored their much-forgotten goal that afternoon. Worked as a coach and caretaker manager for Tranmere Rovers and with Burnley’s academy. His Twitter profile reveals him to be a racehorse owner and crypto currency trader.
Steve Stone – Nine times capped England international who was part of Terry Venables’ Euro 96 squad. Fondly remembered at Forest, where he played 229 times over the better part of a decade. He was the under-23 manager at Burnley and then first-team coach until Sean Dyche was dismissed last season.
Carlton Palmer – Had only a brief stint with Forest and is better known for his time at West Brom, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, as well as 18 caps for England. Palmer now works as a pundit, after-dinner speaker and was manager of non-league Grantham Town a couple of years ago.
Carlton Palmer (left) pictured in the stands at a Sheffield Wednesday match in 2019
Andy Johnson – Wales international midfielder who made 119 league appearances for Forest between 1997 and 2001. Courted controversy among Welsh fans after telling a podcast ‘I don’t class myself as Welsh now. I ain’t Welsh.’ Can be heard commentating on West Bromwich Albion’s games on the club’s TV and radio channels.
Scot Gemmill – Son of legend Archie, the Scot was a fine servant of the City Ground, playing there for almost a decade, though his stay was drawing to a close by this point and Gemmill would join Everton later in 1999. He is now the head coach of the Scotland Under-21 side, a position he has held since 2016.
Scot Gemmill is now coach of the Scotland under-21 side as he looks after the next generation
Pierre van Hooijdonk – This was certainly a turbulent season for the Dutch striker, who went on strike after claiming Forest’s owners had promised he could leave after they secured promotion in 1998. Van Hooijdonk claimed assurances the team would be strengthened to enable them to fight for survival in the Premier League hadn’t been kept. This stand-off lasted until November and he managed only six goals in 22 games thereafter. Van Hooijdonk is now a pundit on Dutch TV.
Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk brings down Paul Scholes right in front of the referee
Jean-Claude Darcheville – The striker was on loan at Forest at the time, managing just two goals in 16 games during his time there. It came just after the tragic death of his wife and children in a car accident just before his move. He later played for Rangers and a Daily Record interview in 2021 revealed Darcheville had returned to his native French Guiana, working in real estate in the city of Cayenne.
Jesper Mattsson – the Swedish centre-back played only six times for Forest and retired from playing after suffering a knee injury not long afterwards. Later worked as a commentator for Canal Plus.
Hugo Porfirio – Portuguese winger who was also on loan with Forest at that time from Benfica. Spent time on loan at West Ham earlier in his career and played for his country at Euro 96. Worked in the scouting department at Sporting Lisbon after retiring from playing.
Dougie Freedman – Had signed for Forest from Wolves in a £900,000 deal at the start of that campaign. He scored nine league goals that season but couldn’t prevent relegation. Played for Forest in the First Division before joining Crystal Palace, the club he is most closely associated with. Indeed, he is currently their sporting director.
Ron Atkinson was not long in the Forest job when he suffered the humiliation by his old club in 1999
Ron Atkinson – This was certainly a chastening afternoon for ‘Big Ron’ against the club he managed between 1981 and 1986. His short spell at Forest had started in inauspicious circumstances a few weeks earlier when he climbed into the away dug-out at the City Ground ahead of his first match in charge against Arsenal. He resigned within hours of Forest’s relegation being confirmed on April 24, 1999 and never managed again. Atkinson was a familiar voice on ITV’s coverage of the Champions League, World Cup and European Championship around this time. That ended when Atkinson made a racist remark about black Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, believing his microphone to be switched off, in April 2004. TV appearances have been fleeting since then, though he did appear on Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Big Brother.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 8
February 6, 1999 – Premier League
The City Ground
Nottingham Forest: Dave Beasant; John Harkes, Craig Armstrong (Hugo Porfirio 74), Jon Olav Hjelde, Alan Rogers; Steve Stone, Carlton Palmer, Andy Johnson, Scot Gemmill (Jesper Mattsson 57); Pierre van Hooijdonk, Jean-Claude Darcheville (Dougie Freddman 26)
Substitutes not used: Mark Crossley (GK); Chris Bart-Williams
Manager: Ron Atkinson
Scorer: Rogers 6
Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel; Gary Neville, Ronny Johnsen, Jaap Stam, Phil Neville; David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane (John Curtis 72), Jesper Blomqvist (Nicky Butt 86); Dwight Yorke (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 72), Andrew Cole
Substitutes not used: Raimond van der Gouw (GK); David May
Manager: Alex Ferguson
Scorers: Yorke 2, 67; Cole 7, 50; Solskjaer 80, 88, 90, 90
Booked: Keane, P. Neville
Referee: Paul Alcock (Kent)
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