Manchester United: Their 10 Biggest Defeats Under Sir Alex Ferguson

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst INovember 17, 2011

Manchester United: Their 10 Biggest Defeats Under Sir Alex Ferguson

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    After being belted out a 6-1 thrashing by their derby rivals, Manchester United boss Sir Alex described it as the worst day of his career.

    This defeat might have kick-started the change of power in Manchester or it might have been a fluke; only time will tell. But in wake of this huge loss suffered by United, we take a look into Manchester United's 10 biggest defeats during Sir Alex Ferguson's era.

Manchester City 6 Manchester United 1: 23rd October 2011

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    The huge scoreboard showed more than the result.

    It was the mirror reflecting the desperation of a team who had got it all wrong in their match. It reflected the warmth in the heart of the rival fans and players who had at last got their revenge. It reflected maybe the shift of power from one club to another.

    Sir Alex's till-then-all-conquering squad had been shredded by their "star-studded" crosstown rivals. Roberto Mancini's multimillion-valued squad had cut through the United defence and registered their biggest win in a long time.

    City had always been quite a few stairs down from their derby rivals since they started as a club. They had been inflicted shameful drubbings by Manchester United over the years and City's fans never really had got a proper chance to brag. Moreover, they had to face taunts and insults over so many decades.

    The scoreboard at Old Trafford was their win, their revenge, their bragging rights and their chance to avenge the taunts and insults inflicted on them.

    A nearly half-empty "Theater of Dreams" had lived up to its name. The only difference was that it had lived up to its name for the rival fans and not its own fans. Sir Alex derided the loss and will surely avenge it but this one result will hurt Manchester United fans as long their club remains.

Southampton 6 Manchester United 3: 26th October 1996

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    With the memory of his biggest league defeat still fresh on his mind, Sir Alex and the Red Devils arrived in Southampton with the hopes of salvaging their reputation.

    Matt Le Tissier played a stunning game of football to heap further misery on Manchester United, who had a week earlier been humiliated at St. James Park. Goals from Tissier along with a brace from Berkovic and a brilliant hat trick from Egil Ostenstad condemned Sir Alex and his squad to further shame. Southampton, who later that season just survived relegation on goal difference, beat their more superior rival 6-3 with the last four goals scored within the last 10 minutes of the game.

Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0: 20th October 1996

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    Kevin Keegan said after the match, "Undoubtedly the most enjoyable day I've had as a manager."

    Newcastle had squandered away a 12-point lead at the top of the table to hand Manchester United the Premier League in the previous season. The scars of the loss had not yet healed when the Toons faced United in the curtain-raiser Community Shield at Old Wembley to avenge their defeat in the Premier League race. Sir Alex's squad ran riot and humiliated the Magpies 4-0.

    When Manchester United arrived to face the Toons in their home, revenge of the humiliation was on everyone's mind. Newcastle tore apart the Red Devils 5-0 to register a win that is still talked about today. As Darren Peacock, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Philippe Albert went on their rampage, the Magpies fans cried in joy to finally have avenged the humiliation inflicted on them by the United squad.

Chelsea 5 Manchester United 0: October 3rd 1999

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    Chelsea ended Manchester United's impressive 29-match unbeaten streak in ruthless manner as they slaughtered the Red Devils 5-0.

    Manchester United got off to the worst possible start as they conceded within 28 seconds from kickoff and then it went from bad to worse, as Nicky Butt was sent off for a poor tackle on Dennis Wise. Thereafter Chelsea just continued their humiliation of the Red Devils, as Stamford Bridge jumped to the joyful beats of a thumping victory.

    This remains as Manchester United's worst loss to Chelsea in their rivalry history.

Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4: 14th March 2009

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    Liverpool arrived at Old Trafford to face the Red Devils who were on a astonishing 11-match winning run along with with an undefeated home record. The Merseyside club trailed Manchester United, who were at the top of the pile, by seven points and this match was important for Benitez's men to keep their hopes for the title alive.

    Liverpool arrived at Old Trafford clearly the favourites to lose but what they unleashed on the United team was more than breaking some records and statistics. They recorded a stunning 4-1 win with Torres and Gerrard giving United players a harrowing time. The Red Devils' inspiring defender Nemanja Vidic had a horrific day tackling the Reds and it was summed up with him getting marching orders nearing the end of the match.

    Manchester United went on to win the league but this loss will always be in the mind of the United team as well as their fans.

Barcelona 4 Manchester United 0: Champions League Group Stage November 1994

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    A match that proved Manchester United's shallow depth as Johan Cryuff's "dream team," out to prove a point, demolished them at Nou Camp.

    Sir Alex's decision to drop Peter Schmeichel in order to abide by the foreign players rule proved a disaster as Romario ran riot in United's defense and humbled them in tandem with Stoichkov. The earlier fixture had belted out a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, but in the return leg Barcelona were too hot for the Red Devils to handle, resulting in a humiliating 4-0 loss for the English club.

    Even Sir Alex accepted the match was a "humbling" experience for them. Manchester United have avenged their loss, yet they never quite achieved a victory as stunning as this.

Manchester City 5 Manchester United 1: Division One Match 1989

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    Manchester United's local derby rivals had just been back to top division after two years in the lower league and were facing their worst start to a new season in nine years.

    City had registered just one win in their first six fixtures as they hosted the Red Devils at Maine Road. Manchester United too were not so impressive, still struggling under Sir Alex. But still they were the expected to win the match naturally. But what unfolded was unbelievable as City shamed their derby rivals 5-1 with goals from Andy Hinchcliffe, Ian Bishop, Trevor Morley and a brace from David Oldfield.

    The 5-1 win was one of City's biggest wins until the 6-1 demolition of Manchester United a few weeks back.

York City 3 Manchester United 0: English League Cup 1995-96 Second Round

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    This was the day where Andy Gray's famous quote would have failed him as David faced Goliath.

    Third division club York City where playing against a United side boasting players like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and others. The prediction had been made as soon as the fixture was published—it favored Goliath. Even the York City faithfuls might have expected their team to concede no more than half a dozen goals, leave alone chances of a win.

    But David i.e. York City ended the day in historic fashion as Manchester United crumbled 3-0 in unbelievable fashion. Paul Barnes scored twice and Tony Barras completed the rout as York City humiliated the England champions in what might be United's most shameful loss of all time.

Tottenham Hotspurs 4 Manchester United 1: 1st January 1996

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    Manchester United were hit by an injury crisis as Paul Scholes and Peter Schmeichel were out injured.

    Tottenham exploited the crisis to forge out an overwhelming victory over the Red Devils with Teddy Sheringham and Chris Armstrong running riot at White Hart Lane. The young Spurs player scored a brace.

    Manchester United's loss helped Newcastle to steer seven points clear off United at the top of the table which they eventually wasted allowing the Red Devils to take the champions' crown.

Aston Villa 3 Manchester United 1: 19th August 1995

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    "You can't win anything with kids!"

    The legendary quote from football pundit Alan Hansen had created ripples across England. Fergie had fielded a comparatively young, inexperienced but talented squad in the new season consisting of players named Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and David Beckham. His plan had backfired as Manchester United crumbled to a 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa, which led Hansen to make his comment.

    Ferguson made the pundit eat back his words as that young squad of kids went on to win the Premier League and Cup that season. The young kids whom Hansen had derided became footballing legends. Though this loss might not seem convincing enough to be in the top 10 list but its sheer importance forced me to add it.


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