Wes Brown reflected on the magical night of 1999: The craziest night of my life

“I was 19 in my first season. We'd just won the Premier League, the FA Cup and were in the final of the Champions League."

by Sead Dedovic
Wes Brown reflected on the magical night of 1999: The craziest night of my life
© Stu Forster / Getty Images Sport

Many remember with nostalgia the former stars of Manchester United, who gave a lot for the club and remained inscribed in the history of this club. Wes Brown was one of those. This great defender was probably one of the most underrated players in the team. However, true fans of Manchester United are well aware of his quality and how much he has always sacrificed for the team. Speaking to TNT Sports, Brown reflected on the great moments in the history of this club. Already after becoming a part of the first team, in 1999, Brown felt that Manchester United had the prospect of making great results and that they were likely to dominate in the future. That year is one of the best in the history of this club. Manchester United won the treble. Although Brown did not get many minutes, he was happy to be a part of such a big club.

“I was 19 in my first season. We'd just won the Premier League, the FA Cup and were in the final of the Champions League.
I didn't play, but it was possibly the craziest night of my life, given we became the first British team to do the treble.
I actually thought it would be like that every year if I'm being honest! But you soon find out that it's not the case.
And as you get older, you really try to think back and remember everything, because it was such a great time and we had a great team as well.
”- Brown said, as quoted by eurosport.com

Over time, Brown gained more and more confidence in Sir Alex Ferguson's side, and over time he became a standard player in the first XI. He knew it was a chance he had to take. A particularly impressive season for him was the 2007/2008 season. Manchester United managed to win the Champions League. They played the final against Chelsea, and Brown assisted Cristiano Ronaldo for a goal. Brown will never forget those moments.

“Obviously, I was very young in 1999, and even though I didn't play in the final, that still tops it a little bit as it was my first experience of winning anything at that sort of level.
But 2008 is still special, and by then I had established myself into the team. And then to get the assist is nice for me, I suppose.”

The very next year, Manchester United played again in the final of the Champions League. However, they failed to beat Barcelona. According to many, the Barcelona team of that time is one of the best in the history of football. The team in which Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Leo Messi and others played caused fear in all opponents. Also, this generation of Manchester United is also one of the best in the history of football.

“When we do get together, we [Brown and his former team-mates] still talk about how we probably should have done even more with that squad we had. But again, those are two phenomenal squads that could possibly beat anyone - even to this day. So, I've got to be happy with that, because I was probably in three or four unbelievable squads that the manager put together.”

Sir Alex Ferguson looked back on the final match against Barcelona at Wembley and shared his thought. He admitted that he made a big mistake by not putting Ji-Sung Park in the game to mark Messi. He realized this mistake just ten minutes into the second half.  Ji-Sung Park was also one of the most underrated players of Manchester United. Just like in the case of Brown, many still remember with nostalgia how much Park always gave his best. His passion, love and motive were something impressive. Park was a player who loved the club and never even thought about whether or not to give his best.

Leo Messi and Ji-Sung Park
Leo Messi and Ji-Sung Park© Clive Mason / Getty Images Sport

Ferguson explained that he had planned to make the change during halftime but changed his mind because his team scored just before halftime. He thought that the game's momentum might have shifted.  It turned out to be a big mistake by the Scottish expert. However, given the large number of right decisions, hardly anyone can blame him for that. Ferguson is a man who knows football.

But when reflecting on the game, Ferguson believed that if Ji-Sung Park had been put in to stop Messi, things might have turned out differently. He put an accent on Messi's skill and impact but thought Park could have stopped him from influencing the game as much.

Leo Messi's impact and Ferguson's decisions

Even then, Leo Messi was the best player in the world, along with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentinian caused fear in opposing defenses. Ferguson and his team had been preparing for such a match long before that and they knew that the greatest danger came from the then young Argentine. However, sometimes it is very difficult to stop such players, according to many, even impossible. 

Ferguson believes that Ji-Sung Park could have been a player who would make a difference and who could have helped the team lift the Champions League trophy. Now it is too late for any major analysis, but the fact is that those two teams were really fantastic in that period. Many expected that the rivalry between Barcelona and Manchester United would continue from year to year. Looking at the situation in which both clubs are now, it is difficult to understand where the biggest problem arose.

Manchester United led by Erik ten Hag-on is trying to change things, but so far, they are not doing very well. United fans still hope for better times for the club in the future.

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