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Former Russian wing-wizard Andrei Kanchelskis is best remembered for his time at Old Trafford, where he 48 goals in 175 appearances. But his abrupt departure in the summer of 1995 raised many eyebrows, and the reason behind the move has gone years unanswered. Liam Apicella tries to make sense of it all…

  Report By: Liam Apicella, 11:40pm

The summer of 1995 was one of confusion for all connected with Manchester United. Manager Alex Ferguson (pre-knighthood) had decided that the club no longer required the services of Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis. While many were baffled by such a verdict, some argued that an ageing Hughes would have
played second fiddle to Andy Cole and Eric Cantona whereas reports suggested that Ince was becoming too big for his boots. There was however, very little reasoning made for the departure of Kanchelskis…

The previous season had been a trophy-less one for United, with Blackburn Rovers and Everton claiming the domestic league and The FA Cup ahead of The Red Devils. Rumours surfaced that a row had broken out between the flying winger and Ferguson, although on a personal level the 1994/1995 campaign had been a positive one for Kanchelskis – a year which included a hat-trick against rivals Manchester City.

It all began for the midfielder almost 20 years ago, in March 1991, when a 22-year-old Kanchelskis joined a United squad destined for European Cup Winners’ Cup success although the new acquisition would not feature in the squad that defeated Barcelona in Rotterdam. The next season is where Kanchelskis began to show why Ferguson opted to part with £650,000 to bring him to English shores.

The now Russian international played 34 league matches, as United surrendered what seemed to be a certain league title to Leeds United. Ferguson’s men did manage to collect one winners medal that season, defeating Nottingham
Forest 1-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley – a encounter which Kanchelskis played in for 75 minutes before being replaced by Lee Sharpe. United would finally end a 26-year wait for the league title during the 1992/1993 campaign.

This was a season in which a maturing Kanchelskis made 27 appearances. It was this season that Division One was now under the guise of the Premier League and Kanchelskis was just one of 13 non-British or Irish players to appear on the opening day. It was a day to forget for United, slumping to a 2-1 defeat against a Brian Deane inspired Sheffield United. 
Andrei Kanchelskis helped Manchester United to the first-ever ‘Premier League’ title in 1992/1993

With Kanchelskis now established as the first choice right sided midfielder, more success followed United during the 1993/1994 season. The Red Devils claimed a league and FA Cup double, becoming only the fifth side in the history of the game to do so. United’s number 14 was part of a midfield quartet which also included Ryan Giggs, Roy
Keane and Paul Ince – a side which many supporters believe is strongest during Ferguson’s reign at the club.

They couldn’t however add the League Cup to their trophy haul, losing 3-1 to Aston Villa in the final, a game in which Kanchelskis was red carded for a handball on the goal-line. As a United fan there were few better sights than witnessing Kanchelskis and co tear apart their opposition with slick movement and pace that season. Those in attendance at Loftus Road and Carrow Road in particular will smile in recollection at that statement.

Kanchelskis’ final year in a red shirt was his most clinical, the winger claiming 14 league goals and 15 in all competitions. With Cantona already missing as a result of his Selhurst Park suspension, United would also have to do without their Russian influence for the final few weeks due to a hernia problem. During that time period the club surrendered both their crowns from the previous season.

It was during the pre-season of 1995 that Ferguson decided to cash in on his asset, allowing him to transfer to Everton for £5 Million. The manager would later claim in his autobiography that he was offered a £40,000 bribe from an agent to part company with Kanchelskis, while stories also began to emanate about mafia connections. Whatever the reasoning, United had lost the first out and out right winger since Steve Coppell.

Incidentally his first fixture for Everton against United would end sourly, suffering a dislocated shoulder following a challenge from Lee Sharpe. United moved on in the form of a young David Beckham, while Kanchelskis made a big
impression on Merseyside before globe-trotting around Italy, Scotland, a return to England and Saudi Arabia before returning back to his homeland.

Today a 42-year-old Kanchelskis is trying his hand at management, currently guiding FC Ufa in the Russian League…

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Sean 123 Mufc

Fri, 20 May 2011 12:10:50 am

man united sign David De Gea according to the Mirror and are playing a 60 million summer spree and Wesley Sneijder is top of there wanted listed any truth in this


Chris m

Fri, 20 May 2011 9:48:08 am

Sky sports news app say united are on the brink of sighning da gea not a done deal yeat id b suprised if its not sketlenbrg we buy but u have to trust saf


Fri, 20 May 2011 5:09:03 pm

@ ‘Sean 123 Mufc’

There’s more truth in it than you may think. David De Gear is near-certain now !


Sean 123 Mufc

Fri, 20 May 2011 10:49:03 pm

if Man united win the Champions league final we will get 70 million get in there



Tue, 24 May 2011 3:06:54 am

Disappointing… nothing new and no real conclusions about why he was sold/left – as the title suggests.


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