Football: Composing a team of opposites

Sidelines: the ex-files
Click to follow
The Independent Online
The path Mark Hughes followed from Manchester United to Chelsea is so well worn it is possible to create a credible team from players who have represented both tomorrow's FA Cup opponents in modern times. In goal would be Alex Stepney - one game for the Blues and 433 for the Reds - with a back four of Paul Parker, Stewart Houston, Mal Donaghy and Colin Waldron.

The artistry of Ray Wilkins (an pounds 875,000 United buy from Chelsea), George Graham, Jim McCalliog and Mickey Thomas would compensate for lack of midfield balance. Up front, Tommy Baldwin would be an able foil for Hughes. Tommy Docherty and Dave Sexton, who each managed both clubs, could revive their manager-coach partnership.

Graham Moore, a Welsh striker in Hughes' build whom the Doc made Chelsea's record buy at pounds 35,000 in 1961 was sold on to Matt Busby. One of United's post-Munich recruits, Stan Crowther, made the opposite move, and the freelance amateur goalkeeper, Mike Pinner, listed both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge among his "temping" jobs in the early Sixties.

Seventy-seven years ago, Thomas Meehan, a teetotal half-back, joined Chelsea from United for a then substantial pounds 3,500, only to die of sleeping sickness shortly after his England debut. Maxwell Woosnam, son of a former Canon of Chester and Wimbledon doubles champion in 1921, played for Chelsea before the Great War and United after it. A broken leg ended his career, coincidentally not long after his only cap.

Comments