Inside United’s Red Idols: Man Utd winger Jesper Olsen


There was a much-publicised training ground bust-up with Remi Moses, my dad’s favourite player, which I guess was difficult to cover up due to the whopping great shiner on the Dane’s eye. He remained with the club until 1988, when joining Bordeaux, but had, in truth, been something of an enigmatic and perhaps inconsistent performer.

Yet he had left a real impression on me, particularly at a time when I was starting to play proper league football myself. It is probably no coincidence that I was also greatly enamoured by his ultimate replacement, Lee Sharpe, and also the incredible Ryan Giggs. So maybe it was largely because Olsen was a left-winger that he resonated most with me.

I am convinced there is more to it than that, though. A continental signing appeared to elevate our status, in my eyes, and open up new horizons in terms of what football means. I recall sitting on a beach in France and hearing a couple of teenagers pointing to my United shirt and having a conversation about it. The only words I understood were ‘Jesper Olsen’ and, for some reason, this filled with me a sense of wonderment of how popular the sport was across the world.

This article first appeared in Inside United, the official club magazine.

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