5 Most Loyal Players in Manchester United History
On Friday, a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson will be unveiled outside Old Trafford in honour of the Manchester United manager’s 26-year reign at the Theatre of Dreams.
Created by sculptor Philip Jackson, the bronzed figure represents the Scot’s unparalleled commitment to the Reds during an era in football that is seemingly opposed to loyalty.
Of course, United are mostly an exception to that theme, thanks partly to the family values and principles that have provided the club’s foundation since being established in 1886.
Famously, there is a long list of players who have remained faithful to the cause throughout the years. Here, I assess just six of those names who have displayed such commendable dedication.
Ryan Giggs (1991 to Present)
Ryan Giggs is Manchester United’s most decorated player, having won a near uncountable number of trophies over a 23-season career and making a record 919 appearances for the Reds.
The 38-year-old’s most admirable attribute is arguably his longevity in the game, a feat that has been achieved partly thanks to an ability to evolve, changing from a tricky winger as a youngster to the calculated and assured central player you see in the Barclays Premier League today.
Of course, it is easy to remain faithful to a club when that team is the dominant force in English football throughout your time in the game. However, this does not diminish his achievement. Also, the Welshman quite famously turned down the chance to represent England as a boy. What loyalty!
Sir Bobby Charlton (1956 to 1973)
Sir Bobby Charlton, quite simply, is Manchester United. The legendary figure, now an ambassador at the club, made 758 appearances throughout an illustrious career and most notably helped Sir Matt Busby lift the European Cup at Wembley in 1968.
Of course, in 1958, Charlton was fortunate enough to survive the Munich Air Disaster. Following a brief sabbatical from the game, he returned to represent the Reds alongside such figures as George Best, Nobby Stiles and Denis Law until 1973.
Regarded as one of the greatest English midfielders of all time, he also lifted the World Cup in 1966 and holds the respect of every worthwhile figure in global football.
Paul Scholes (1994 to Present)
Widely heralded as the greatest midfielder of his generation, Paul Scholes has become a legend at Manchester United throughout a remarkable career at Old Trafford.
Born and raised in the city, Scholes is a product of the Reds’ youth system and was a member of the infamous "Class of 1992" team, alongside the likes of Gary Neville, David Beckham and Nicky Butt.
Not too long ago, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that no other club had ever made a bid for the Ginger Genius. Quite simply, they knew he would never leave United on his own accord.
Ranked third in the list of all-time team appearances, with 707 matches to date, Scholes’ place in the pantheon of legends is already guaranteed.
Gary Neville (1992 to 2011)
As the chant goes, Gary Neville is a Red, and having made over 600 Manchester United appearances during a 19-season career, the message is undeniable.
With a passionate and partisan manner, Neville quickly adorned himself to supporters during his tenure at Old Trafford and is still highly regarded in M16.
Admittedly not the greatest technical player, the Bury-born star made the most of his abilities thanks to an unquestionable work ethic, covering the hard yards both on the training field and on the pitch at the Theatre of Dreams to cement the right-back berth for both club and country.
Neville is currently coaching the English national team whilst working for Sky Sports, as well as building a fans’ hotel outside of Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1996 to 2007)
Although historically more associated with glory rather than loyalty, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains one of the most dedicated servants of Manchester United.
The Norwegian striker, who most famously secured the 1999 UEFA Champions League with a late winner at the Camp Nou, was once the subject of a transfer bid from Tottenham Hotspurs prior to winning the treble with the Reds.
After much deliberation, the "Baby Faced Assassin" opted to remain at Old Trafford and fight for a starting place alongside forwards Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham. Of course, Solskjaer was often the substitute in that group, but his contribution was unquestionable.
When his playing career came to an unfortunate end, inspired mostly by injury, the United legend took charge of the club’s Reserves before earning the manager’s position at Molde. Having won two Norwegian titles in two season, Ole has already stated his desire to return to M16 as boss.