When Hartlepool beat Manchester United 6-0

Paul Haig in action HUFC V Manchester United Picture by FRANK REID
Paul Haig in action HUFC V Manchester United Picture by FRANK REID

FERGIE may have enjoyed his trip to Hartlepool to meet old friends in 1992.

But he certainly will not have good memories of his previous known visit to town.

In Hartlepool United’s most famous friendly victory of all time, the club demolished Manchester United 6-0 on the eve of the 1988-89 season.

While Ferguson’s team was sprinkled with both reserve and youth team players, it still included internationals Norman Whiteside, Mike Duxbury, Paul McGrath and Viv Anderson.

Teenage prodigies Lee Sharpe and Mark Robins also played on Wednesday, August 24, with future Pools’ manager Chris Turner the unfortunate visitors’ goalkeeper.

As the Hartlepool Mail commented the following day: “Several expensive reputations had a shadow cast over them last night.”

Striker Kevin Dixon helped himself to a hat-trick with John Tinkler, Andy Toman and Russell Doig also on target in front of around 2,000 fans.

A gracious Ferguson, still searching for his first Manchester United trophy after less than two years in charge, praised John Bird’s side while dropping hints about his famed “hair dryer” dressing downs.

“I let my anger show in the right places,” he said.

“We had a number of players who needed the game because they are coming back from injury. But nevertheless we should have done much better.

“We certainly didn’t expect to come here and concede six goals.”

While the victory sparked a decent start to Pools’ league season, normal service was soon resumed with the club finishing a disappointing 19th in Division Four.

Ferguson would have to endure two more full seasons, one relegation battle and countless sacking rumours before finally winning his first of 37 trophies as Manchester United boss.