RON ATKINSON was Alex Ferguson’s predecessor as Manchester United manager and few gave his Aston Villa side much chance of glory when the clubs met at Wembley in the League Cup final.
Big Ron pulled off a masterstroke, though, drafting in comedian Stan Boardman to lighten the mood on the team bus, and the ruse worked a treat as Villa produced a swashbuckling performance.
The sadly missed Dalian Atkinson drove Villa into a first-half lead but the game really came to life in the last 15 minutes. Dean Saunders doubled Villa’s lead only for Mark Hughes to pull one back.
Mark Bosnich, who went on to play for United, denied Hughes a second with an astonishing save before Villa struck on the break at the death. Andrei Kanchelskis was sent off for saving Tony Daley’s shot with a hand and Saunders gleefully smashed home the penalty.
Villa turned out to have denied Ferguson an unprecedented domestic Treble as United went on to win the league title and FA Cup — Manchester City become the first club to achieve the feat last season.