It is now time for one of the weeks always most anticipated moments. This weeks Memory Lane sent us into the depths of our chest of treasures, but the search paid off, as we found a matchworn Manchester United goalkeepers shirt from the 1998/1999-season, where the Red Devils won the fabled treble. The shirt was used by Peter Schmeichel in the game against Brøndby IF, who at the time, were the undisputed biggest team in Denmark.
An achievement like the treble doesn't come along too often, but sometimes everything comes together at the right time. Many had to suffer an ill fate at the hands of Manchester United, among them their fellow Champions League finalists, Bayern Munich. United had, at the time, one of the most complete teams in European football and this was also apparent in the season, that saw the legendary team, win the 1998/1999 Champions League, FA Cup and Division title. On the team sheet, they could boast prolific players like David Beckham, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and last, but certainly not least; The Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.
We have been fortunate enough, to get our hands on one of his matchworn goalkeepers shirt from the fantastic season and we will take a closer look at it now. The 191 cm tall keeper made the switch from Brøndby IF to Manchester United in 1991 and from that day forward he never looked back. With 292 games, 1 goal and a sea of trophies and records later, he's still celebrated as the greatest goalkeeper United have ever had. He can today look back at a career, that among other records, includes the most clean sheets per game ratio, with an impressive 42%.
There's however one achievement that overshadows them all, when Peter Schmeichel reflects on his admireable career. It was in 1999, when the season culminated, with the one triumph after the other. Manchester United won the English Premier League by just one point, ahead of rivals Arsenal, as well as the FA Cup being collected in a Wembley clash with Newcastle. The crowning jewel was however still; the 1999 UEFA Champions League. In the final they faced the might of Bayern Munich, a game that saw the Reds trailing for the majority of the 90 minutes, but with two legendary injury time goals the result changed drastically.
Two goals in added time, would give birth to the now renowned and feared Fergie Time, when Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Teddy Sheringham struck after two corners. Bayern were shellshocked, but Manchester United were ecstatic, because they knew, that they had just won the Champions League. It was with The Great Dane in goal, who was also wearing the captains armband, that the success was brought in and to this day it's still remembered as one of the most dramatic finals ever.
Their road to the final was very convincing, as Manchester United didn't loose a single game and this was only more impressive seeing as though they played FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Danish Brøndby in the group stages. Especially the last mentioned of the three had an impact, as they are the reason, that we today can bring you, this weeks Memory Lane. It was in their game against United, at Parken that this shirt was used and also why we can sit here today and examine this smart goalkeepers shirt from Umbro. The shirt is pure quality and has some thoroughly unique details, that are also apparent in today's trends.
On the chest, as well as the underside of the sleeve, the material is covered in a rubber texture, but this is not only for aesthetics; they serve a very specific purpose. As most of you probably have noted from looking at the picture, the shirt is fitted with some very broad sleeves and their function is, in conjunction with rubber, to create friction, so the ball sticks to the shirt. The big sleeves also give the goalkeeper a bigger frame, thus filling out more of the goal.
The sleeve is not the only large part of the shirt. As most of you probably remember, the former Danish national goalkeeper was a fairly large gentleman, but with a height of just 191 cm, the XXXL tag seems a bit extreme. Three times extra large is quite a bunch and it's therefore no wonder, so many strikers were intimidated by the presence of the man mountain. Worthy of mention is also, that the print is the same quality, as what you would expect today, in fact it's only the design of the shirt, that differs from today's shirts.
The design has changed a lot in the last decade and a half and this is for the better if you ask us. As the pictures show, it takes more than a creative background to comprehend, what was running through the design teams mind, when they concocted this. Maybe they thought the wild design would have a distracting effect on the attackers, which would really be the only appropriate excuse. To its defence, it should be said, that this is far from the worst shirt from the crazy nineties, but we will leave that for you to decide, in one of the coming weeks of Memory Lane.
Manchester United have since Schmeichel made the acquisition of another Danish goalkeeper, who represents his club in the green shirt. Anders Lindegaards size XL does pale a bit in comparison with his compatriots massive outfit. Schmeichel may be the largest Danish goalkeeper ever, but there are plenty who believe, that the young Mr. Lindegaard can fill out the big boots of Peter Schmeichel.
Much has changed since the days of Peter Schmeichels grandeur, but his name is still remembered with fondness by all. How do you remember the big number one? Is he the greatest keeper ever?What are your thoughts on Anders Lindegaard? Does he stand a chance of continuing the trend of Danish United legends? Finally what's your opinion of the shirt? Share your comments in the box down below.