Irish Footballer that Played for Man Utd – Norman Whiteside
Norman Whiteside – Introduction
Norman Whiteside was born on 7 March 1933 in Belfast in Northern Ireland. He was discovered as a schoolboy by the famous Manchester United talent scout Bob Bishop. Whiteside was had a powerful physique that was allied to sublime football skills. Not blessed with great pace he was a very quick-witted player with a strong shot and good heading ability. Dave Sexton was the United manager when Whiteside crossed the Irish Sea to Old Trafford.
Norman Whiteside & Manchester United
Norman Whiteside made his Manchester United debut on 24 April 1982 against Brighton & Hove Albion. Whiteside was just 16 years of age when he came on as a substitute as United won 0-1 at the Goldstone Ground through a Ray Wilkins goal.
Norman Whiteside scored his first goal for Manchester United on 15 May 1982, which was also his first start, against Stoke City at Old Trafford.
Whiteside retained his position in the team at the beginning of the 1982/83 season and he went on to play 57 times for United scoring 14 goals. One of those goals was United’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in the League Cup final. He was the youngest ever goal scorer in the League Cup Final at just 17 years of age. He emulated this feat in the FA Cup Final in May 1983. The final had gone to a replay and Norman Whiteside scored the second goal against Brighton & Hove Albion as Manchester United won 4-0. The 1982/83 season was the high water mark in terms of appearances and goals for Whiteside with United. During the 1983/84 Whiteside made 51 appearances and scored 12 goals.
The next season provided the highlight of Norman Whiteside’s career with Manchester United. Although he was beginning to be affected by injuries he still managed 39 appearances one of which was the memorable 1985 FA Cup final against Everton. It was memorable because fellow-Irishman Kevin Moran became the first player ever sent off in a final. It was also memorable for a sublime goal scored by Whiteside in extra time that won the FA Cup for United. Whiteside won the Goal of the Season award for 1984/85 for that goal against Everton.
Recurring knee injuries blighted Norman Whiteside’s career thereafter and he missed a full year of football from April 1988 to April 1989. United Manager Alex Ferguson, who had taken up the reins in November 1986, had decided to ring the changes at the club and decided to let Whiteside go. In August 1989 he was transferred to Everton for a fee of £600,000. Despite the disappointing end to his Manchester United career Norman Whiteside’s bristling aggressive style of play with his knack of scoring important goals made him a big favourite with the Old Trafford crowd.
Norman Whiteside – Northern Ireland Career
Norman Whiteside made his international debut for Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. On the 17th June 1982 when Whiteside took to the field against Yugoslavia in Zaragoza he replaced the legendary Pele in the record books. At the age of 17 years and 41 days Norman Whiteside became the youngest ever footballer to play at the World Cup finals. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Whiteside played in all of the matches that Northern Ireland played at the 82 World Cup including the famous 0-1 victory over hosts Spain.
Norman Whiteside scored his first goal for Northern Ireland on 21 September 1983 against Austria in a 3-1 win at Windsor Park in a 1984 Euro qualifier. He went on to score nine goals in 38 appearances for his country including a goal against Algeria in the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico. His last game for Northern Ireland was a 3-0 loss against the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium) in a 1990 World Cup qualifier.
Due to persistent injuries Norman Whiteside retired from football in 1991 at just 26 years of age. It was personal tragedy for the player and real loss for the wider football world.
Norman Whiteside – Manchester United & Northern Ireland Statistics
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