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Party like it's 1999: We reveal secrets of the night Man United made history

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30 Mar 2010 00:10:48

Party like it's 1999: We reveal secrets of the night Man United made history

To many people, it was the most dramatic three minutes in the history of the game. Manchester United's incredible injury-time comeback to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League Final, or Barcelona '99 as it simply became known. As the clubs prepare to meet again in Germany tonight, some of the key figures involved in the drama relive their memories of that night... Comeback kings: Fergie celebrates with his stars as they lift the European Cup. DAVID BECKHAM I'll never forget what the gaffer said to us just before we went up the tunnel to play in the biggest game of our lives. 'Trust me, you don't want to have to walk past the European Cup at the end of the game. Not being able to pick it up would be the most painful thing you'll ever feel in football. Make sure you don't end up having to just look at the trophy, not able to touch it, knowing you had the chance to win the thing, but then let that chance pass you by.' I don't know how much the boss's warning helped to focus us on what we had to do. What I know for sure is every word he said about the pain and disappointment was true. We didn't have to endure it - we just looked at the Bayern players when they went to get their losers' medals. Some of them glanced at the trophy, sitting there, waiting for United, and you could see in their eyes that they were devastated. Most of them couldn't even bring themselves to lift their heads and look. MARIO BASLERBayern Munich scorer We had two players in the wall for my free-kick and Peter Schmeichel couldn't see very well. He guessed the wrong way and I spotted that he was moving to his right so I put it the other way and he saw the ball too late. At half-time manager Ottmar Hitzfeld spoke to us quietly. We knew were better than United in the first half and I said to Stefan Effenberg that if we played the same in the second 45 minutes then we'd win. It was a very different atmosphere to our dressing-room after the game when no-one said a word for at least 15 minutes. We had four or five big chances, a lot more than United. I saw Schmeichel off his line and shot just over, and then my 60-yard solo run set up Mehmet Scholl who chipped the keeper and hit a post. Carsten Jancker hit the bar as well. We could have won by two or three but instead we went to sleep in the last few minutes. It was the biggest game of my career and the biggest disappointment - I really hope Bayern take revenge.  1-0: Mario Basler fires his free-kick past the United wall to put Bayern in front. CLIVE TYLDESLEYITV commentator I don't know why I said the words: 'Can Manchester United score? They always score'. Hopefully, it captured everything that United had done that season - that somehow it was meant to be. It's really flattering that some consider my commentary to be in some small way part of their enjoyment of that night, and yet 80 per cent of the criticism that comes my way concerns my calling of that game. United's ultimate triumph is the ultimate defeat for fans of their greatest rivals, that's the tribal nature of football. I'm aware some viewers will be holding a party because I'm not involved in this one. About 20 million was the audience for the climax and up to that point there'd only been one goal and I'd called it wrong. I said Basler's free-kick was deflected but it wasn't. Five minutes before the equaliser there were the first signs of United coming to life and Ron Atkinson said: 'If they get one here, they'll go on to win it'. If I did anything well, I managed to shut up between the ball going in the net and the next thing I said - a couple of seconds to come up with a phrase to capture the moment. Sir Alex Ferguson has my match notes framed on his wall at Carrington. They're terribly neat and in three different colours. If a psychiatrist saw them, he'd take me away and put me in a cell next to Motty. TEDDY SHERINGHAM Scored the equaliser I was upset when the manager told me I wouldn't start. I wanted to play a part and I wanted to be the hero. I remember Sir Alex coming up to me at half-time and saying, 'I'm going to keep it the same but make sure you're ready because, if it stays like this for 10 or 15 minutes, you're going to be coming on'. I didn't want our team to score. I wanted the team to stay 1-0 down so I'd have a chance to play in the final. I didn't realise it was so near the end until I saw Peter Schmeichel coming up for the corner, then I knew there could not be long left. [Three minutes of added time had just been shown]. The ball went to Giggsy, he scuffed his shot and it came my way. I knew I was onside because they had a fella on the line. He ran out, so when the ball came to me it looked like I was offside but I knew I wasn't - but I still checked with the linesman. DAVE FEVRE United physio Steve McClaren spoke to the gaffer about subs for extra-time but the gaffer wasn't thinking about that. He thought we could get a winner. You never underestimate him. We were going through the team, getting the drinks ready and working out who needed a massage, when we scored the second. I'll never experience it again. The trophy was next to us with Bayern ribbons on it and we didn't think anything would change that. OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER Scored the winner I couldn't sleep in the afternoon because Jaap Stam was snoring so loudly in the next bed. I phoned my best friend who worked in a hospital in Norway to check if he would be watching on TV. He said he had to leave 15 minutes before the end because he was working nights, but I told him to get someone to fill in, to watch right to the end. I had this feeling something big was going to happen to me. It's hard to explain. I just had a premonition I was going to do something that night. At half-time, the manager had a little chat with Teddy Sheringham. I was hoping he'd come over to me, but he didn't. In the second half, I was just waiting for the nod. I was warming up, waiting to catch his eye. I was thinking: 'Why don't you put me on?' When Teddy scored everyone ran over to him to celebrate except for me. I ran straight back to the halfway line because I was concentrating on playing half an hour of extra-time in a Champions League Final. I thought, 'this is going to be something I'm going to savour'. But I ruined that! Ninety-nine times out of 100, my goal would have gone into the hands of Oliver Kahn or on the head of the guy on the line. I can't remember what I was thinking when it went in. I was just sliding, celebrating. Afterwards, I couldn't understand the impact of it all. You never think about the consequences it will have for so many people.  2-1: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer diverts Sheringham's flick-on into the roof of the net to win the trophy for United PIERLUIGI COLLINAReferee It was the most dramatic three minutes of my career. Unbelievable. I still watch the DVD . The atmosphere was fantastic. If you looked at the stands, it was just one black wave of 90,000 people moving on three floors. I will always remember it for different reasons: first, the reaction of the United fans when they scored the second goal - it was an incredible noise, like a lion's roar. Then there was the reaction of the Bayern players - their disappointment as they fell down on the pitch after conceding that goal. The contrasting reactions of happiness and sadness, and the sad eyes of Lothar Matthaus when he looked at the trophy. Unforgettable. LOTHAR MATTHAUS It was a spectacular game and we had chances to win it but that's football. I don't like to look back because it was a very bad experience. English people like to speak about the past, they like to talk about 1966 and they're still discussing it after 40-odd years, but in Germany we speak about the future. You can't change anything. I'll be there on Tuesday and it will be an open game between two very good teams. Bayern are top in Germany and United are top in England. I'm ex-Bayern, and I'm German so I want them to win but it will not change 1999. DAVID MAY I saw the trophy on a chair and thought, 'I'm having that'. So I picked it up, and the rest is history. I ended up in half the pictures. Although I didn't play in the final, I was proud of my contribution to the Treble. I've been criticised for getting in the trophy photos and part of me regrets doing it. But then another part of me thinks, 'f*** 'em'. What would people do in the same circumstances? The lads joked about it. I didn't kick a ball in Europe all season, so the medal doesn't mean anything to me. The party afterwards was a brilliant night. Simon Le Bon couldn't get in and Ryan Giggs had a fight with Martin Edwards' son and sparked him. I could relive that night every other night for the rest of my life.  Wayne Rooney won't hurt us! Bayern Munich claim they're not scared about the Manchester United striker MARTIN SAMUEL: Why Wayne Rooney will be doing a job for England in Munich on Tuesday nightBayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal tries mind games to rouse Arjen Robben ahead of Manchester United showdown Ferguson is relishing Bayern showdown in United's week of destinyMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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