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A look back in time: Port Vale vs Manchester United

16 August 2019

Port Vale meet Salford City for the first time in their history tomorrow afternoon, but this isn’t the first time Vale fans have come across some of their owners, as Paul Scholes and David Beckham made their first Manchester United starts at Vale Park.

In September 1994, Port Vale hosted Manchester United in the League Cup, then known as the Coca-Cola Cup, in the first leg game of a second round game, which saw United win 2-1 with Paul Scholes the star of the show.

18,605 fans piled into Vale Park to see the footballing giants and there star players such as Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeical, Mark Hughes and Paul Ince, but were left angry and disappointed when Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a side made up of youth players.

In that starting line-up, the list of unknown names included Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Keith Gillespie and making his first start and just second appearance for the club, David Beckham.   

The biggest star to start the match was Roy Keane who played as a centre-half rather than his usual spot in the centre of midfield, alongside David May.

However, all the following day’s headlines were talking about a 19-year debutant named Paul Scholes, who would go on to make 718 appearances for the Red Devils in his illustrious career.  

Vale got off to a strong start against the inexperienced United team, taking the lead after just seven minutes thanks to forward Lee Glover.

The goal came when a Vale corner was headed clear, but only as far as Bradley Sandeman who rifled a shot towards goal which Glover diverted past Gary Walsh with a skilfully placed header to give the Valiants the lead.

Vale could not hold onto their lead however, as after 36 minutes Paul Scholes stole the ball off Dean Glover on the edge of the Vale box and dinked the ball over Paul Musselwhite and into the bottom corner to equalise with his first of 155 goals for the club.

Soon after the break, the young Scholes, who wore the number 10 shirt rather than his iconic number 22 for the game, doubled his Manchester United account to put them into the lead, scoring his first of many trademark headers from a Simon Davies cross.

The game played an important role in future cup ties, setting the precedent of fielding a weakened or younger side for games, something that remains visible in cup clashes today.

The 1,400 Vale fans travelling to Salford’s Peninsula Stadium will be hoping that Scholes and his fellow members of the ‘Class of 92’ will not be celebrating like they did 25 years ago come five O’clock tomorrow evening.


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