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Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:16 am

Schmeichel: The Great Dane

By Tom Adams

Greatness in football can be identified and categorised in any number of ways. Medals, statistics and individual awards all shed light on a player's standing in the game while some achieve recognition via a less tangible appreciation of the magical qualities that made them so memorable. Sometimes, though, a simple quote will suffice.

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Schmeichel celebrates United's 1999 Champions League triumph.

And when a man of the stature of Sir Alex Ferguson says, of Peter Schmeichel, "I don't believe a better goalkeeper played the game. He is a giant figure in the history of Manchester United", you know that the player in question is a very special one indeed.

As well as being a giant in the literal sense - with his bulky 6' 4'' frame, shock of white hair and glowing red nose a formidable facade to wreck the confidence of any opposition forward - Schmeichel was also a metaphorical colossus, his achievements dwarfing those of any other goalkeeper in the Premier League era.

With five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and, of course, one European Cup to his name at United, Schmeichel boasts the kind of silverware that puts the likes of David Seaman, Petr Cech and Shay Given to shame. But it was also his technical expertise, authoritative aura and bellowing voice, cajoling his hen-pecked defence on to greater feats, that left an indelible mark on English football during his eight years at United.

Indeed, after Schmeichel joined United from Brondby for a fee of £550,000 in August 1991, Ferguson described his arrival as the "bargain of the century".

Boasting an impressive reputation in Denmark having won four league titles with Brondby following a move from Hvidovre in 1987, the keeper soon displayed his aptitude for the big occasion when helping his country become the surprise winners of Euro 92, saving a penalty from none other than Marco van Basten in the semi-final shoot-out victory over Holland.

Denmark and Schmeichel's unexpected triumph in Sweden was the precursor to a tremendous second season at United in which he cemented his growing reputation as one of the finest keepers in world football when helping the club secure their first league title for 26 years.

Alongside luminaries such as Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson, Schmeichel was a key driving force for Ferguson's side as he honed an abrasive style of interaction with his own team-mates that would serve the club so well.

Many a game would see Schmeichel give his backline a tongue-lashing for a mistake, critical or otherwise. As Gary Pallister once revealed, no-one was immune from a verbal blast or two: "He can talk a bit, can Peter," the former United defender said. "It doesn't matter who's skipper or how old you are, he'll scream at you."

Along with Roy Keane, who moved to Old Trafford following the club's inaugural Premier League triumph, Schmeichel helped foster a culture of excellence in the United dressing room, constantly demanding high standards from the defence in front of him and frequently, and vocally, making that evidently clear, both on the pitch and off.

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The keeper lifts the Premier League trophy for the fifth time.

Fully immersed in the pursuit of perfection, Schmeichel did not take kindly to being criticised by Ferguson following a 3-3 draw at Anfield in January 1994 as United surrendered a three-goal lead to arch rivals Liverpool. A blazing row ensued and Schmeichel admitted some seven years later that he was told he would be sacked for his disciplinary lapse, before a heartfelt apology to his team-mates earned him a stay of execution.

It was a confrontation that demonstrated Schmeichel's headstrong nature but also proved to be a defining moment in his Old Trafford career as he avoided a premature departure from United and instead built on his early success to become one of the greatest players in the club's history.

The domestic Double was duly delivered in 1994 and although Blackburn claimed the Premier League title in dramatic fashion in 1995, United were back the following year as they memorably reined in Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United and won the double once more.

Ferguson's side trailed Newcastle by ten points at Christmas and visited St James' Park on March 4 with the Magpies four points ahead having played a game less. Defeat could have spelt the end of United's challenge with nine games remaining but Keegan's side were undone by a goalkeeping masterclass from Schmeichel.

Displaying the world-class reactions, one-on-one excellence and sheer shot-stopping brilliance that had served him so well down the years, Schmeichel repelled numerous Newcastle attacks in the first half, with Les Ferdinand, Peter Beardlsey and Faustino Asprilla all failing to break the Dane's resistance. An Eric Cantona strike gave the men from Manchester a 1-0 victory and the momentum to reclaim the title.

That dramatic night on Tyneside encapsulated just why Schmeichel was considered the globe's best keeper during his peak at United. He consistently produced all manner of world-class saves, spreading his frame to block out the goal with his trademark 'star jumps' and denying scores of strikers from close range with his unrivalled reactions - most notably with a Gordon Banks-esque effort when diving low to his right and scooping a header from Rapid Vienna's Rene Wagner over the bar in December 1996.

But Schmeichel was not merely one of the finest shot-stoppers of his generation, he was also a keeper in a very modern mould and his excellent distribution from the back, particularly when utilising his mammoth throws, helped provoke many a United counter-attack.

On occasion, Schmeichel even found himself at the sharp end of those attacks. He netted in a European tie against Rotor Volgograd in 1995 and, in a later incarnation at Aston Villa, scored a sumptuous volley against Everton when making a familiar run forward for a late corner.

The sight of Schmeichel steaming down the pitch in desperation also occurred on his finest night in football. At Camp Nou, with United losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, Schmeichel was still in the opposition penalty area when, from a late David Beckham corner, Teddy Sheringham turned the ball home to equalise.

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Schmeichel comes up for a corner durnig his time at Villa.

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then famously scored an injury-time winner to ensure one of the most dramatic conclusions to any European tie, cameras captured Schmeichel performing an ecstatic cartwheel. As captain for the night in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane, it meant everything to the boy from Gladsaxe.

The 1999 Treble proved to be Schmeichel's last contribution for United as he joined Sporting Lisbon for two seasons but Aston Villa tempted him back to English football and he made 29 league starts in one year for the Midlanders before a surprise move to Manchester City.

Even in the twilight of his career, he maintained his proud record of having never lost a Manchester derby when contributing to a 3-1 victory for City over United in November 2002.

But Schmeichel could be forgiven that, and much more. In his eight years at Old Trafford, during which he was twice named the world's best goalkeeper by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, he carved out an unrivalled reputation thanks to his numerous feats between the sticks and crucial contributions to one of the most successful periods of the club's history

Indeed, it could be argued that it took Ferguson almost six years to find anything approaching a reliable successor in Edwin van der Sar.

But how could could The Great Dane, the 'giant figure' of Old Trafford, ever be properly replaced?


"Beckham... into Sheringham... and Solskjær has won it!"

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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:19 am

Full name: Peter Bolesław Schmeichel

Date of birth: 18 November 1963 (1963-11-18) (age 45)

Place of birth: Gladsaxe, Denmark

Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)

Honours

Brøndby

* Danish Superliga: 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991
* Danish Cup: 1989

Manchester United

* Premier League: 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99
* FA Cup: 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99
* FA Charity Shield: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
* Football League Cup: 1991–92
* UEFA Super Cup: 1991
* UEFA Champions League: 1998–99

Sporting CP

* Portuguese Superliga: 2000

Aston Villa

* UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2001

International

* UEFA European Championship: 1992
Individual

* UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year: 1992, 1993, 1998
* IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper: 1992, 1993
* UEFA Club Football Awards: 1997–98
* Danish Football Player of the Year: 1990, 1993, 1999
* English Football Hall of Fame: 2003
* Det Gyldne Bur (Danish Goalkeeper of the Year): 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:24 pm

Ah that bring back the memory...Not only is he the perfect material of a keeper but he has that leadership in him that really can be look up to. I love how he do his somersault celebration. That image will forever be in my mind. His character fits him so perfectly as what he is as a footballer and for that he will be remembered for such a long time along with Harry Greg. Cheers matt for this..certainly a great look back.. (Y)



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:23 pm

never did get the full story of why he moved to sporting after the treble......anyone remember?
and i still don't understand his decision to go to shitty

one of the best keepers i've ever seen between the posts though and until edwin never felt like we had adequately replaced him really



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:53 pm

liz jomaa wrote:never did get the full story of why he moved to sporting after the treble......anyone remember?
and i still don't understand his decision to go to shitty

one of the best keepers i've ever seen between the posts though and until edwin never felt like we had adequately replaced him really
Basically his reasons were that playing for United in the Premiership was too demanding, a keeper had to be at peak fitness at all times, plus he was gettingto the point where diving around getting bruised week in week out was taking a toll on his body.

Rumour has it that when he was approached by Villa he rang Fergie to ask if it was OK.
He (as far as i know) has never explained his reason to join city, one can only guess iit had something to do with his son signing for them on schoolboy forms.



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:41 pm

Legend.

Favorite moment was HIS GOAL closely followed by that penalty save vs. Dennis Bird-crap.


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:02 pm

Takhar7 wrote:Legend.

Favorite moment was HIS GOAL closely followed by that penalty save vs. Dennis Bird-crap.

not a legend for me.

remember his celebration against us when he played for city ? ever since then hes tried to act a top red. dont think anyone i know has forgiven him for that.

i think he was unreal for us. i liked him alot but hes not a legend in my eyes



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:39 am

Trust jcl to come up with sth like that.

He, Schmeichel not jcl, was probably the best goalkeeper that played in the premier league. The absolute best of his time in the world. He was a great shot stopper and could intimidate strikers when one on one too. His distribution and comfort with the ball at his feet was a huge advantage for united with the likes to cantona, giggsy, cole et al ready to pounce on a counter strike the moment he got the ball. As a keeper in school n college myself, he's a huge hero and definitely a united legend.


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:15 pm

kingcantona wrote:Trust jcl to come up with sth like that.

He, Schmeichel not jcl, was probably the best goalkeeper that played in the premier league. The absolute best of his time in the world. He was a great shot stopper and could intimidate strikers when one on one too. His distribution and comfort with the ball at his feet was a huge advantage for united with the likes to cantona, giggsy, cole et al ready to pounce on a counter strike the moment he got the ball. As a keeper in school n college myself, he's a huge hero and definitely a united legend.

did i say he was shit? he was my idol when i was younger. him and pally

but when you run around kissing the city badge and and jumping infront of united fans aftter city score against us. then you tend lose abit of respect

did you even know that that happened ?



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:27 am

That was his prerogative. No i didn't like it. Yes i do remember he did that. But that doesn't take away the fact that he was the best goal keeper we've had. Well at least since i started following united. Now his influence on the defense of that time and from there on the whole team.


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:22 am

He was THE reason I started following United in the mid 90s. As a young aspiring goalkeeper at the time I was amazed at his performances for Denmark so naturally when I found out he was playing for Man Utd I started watching their games.

Brilliant keeper. Kinda pissed me off when he joined City and put his kid in their academy.



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:10 am

i'm sorry but i agree with jcl. that pissed me right off. i loved the guy until then but he disrespected united that day


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:16 pm


good old gary.


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:20 am

Ste Farrow wrote:i'm sorry but i agree with jcl. that pissed me right off. i loved the guy until then but he disrespected united that day

I get what you and jcl mean but for me its a bit different. I respect him for the many years he has contributed to united. Why should I bother how he celebrate when he is not playing for us anymore. Thats just him being proffesional the same with Gary neville in the video christy posted above. He is a legend in my eye for what he does during his time with us. I know what he did was out of order and during that time, even i was disappointed but its hard to let that one particular incident to overshadow the amount of glory he was part in. :oops:



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:28 am

I respect what he did at United, he was one of the greatest keepers the world has ever seen, but he was a birth canal, you cant defend kissing the badge of any other team after so many successful years here, Ronaldo wouldn't do it with Madrid, we know that for a fact, neither would Saha with Everton. So for someone from our most successful team to do it with City, makes me think he's nothing but a birth canal


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:03 pm

he was the best keeper ive seen as a manchester united fan he saved us in so many games great saves one of the best in one on one situations, hope his son gets to his standards


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kingcantona
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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:24 am

Ronaldo might kiss Madrid's badge u never know.


"I play to fight.....the idea of losing" - Le King Eric Cantona

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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:34 pm

he didnt kiss uniteds badge when he scored against sporting and i know he wouldn't kiss madrids against us, he might be petulant at times, but he's respectful


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kingcantona
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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:56 am

oh i didnt' mean while playing against us.


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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:31 am

Ste Farrow wrote:he didnt kiss uniteds badge when he scored against sporting and i know he wouldn't kiss madrids against us, he might be petulant at times, but he's respectful

Wait for it i say...its way way too early to judge.. :P



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:47 am



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Re: Peter Schmeichel : The great Dane

Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:15 pm

to win trophies,you need solidity, and could you get any more solid than The Great Dane? 8 years service,and in all that time i can only remember one mistake he made.One! when i think of him now,i think of his cartwheel on the 26th May, 1999.winning the Treble was pretty damn special for every Red,but to clinch it in the dying minutes of your final game for the club is perfection.Perfection that the greatest goalkeeper of all time richly deserved.



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