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Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:00 GMT
Schmeichel's MBE honour
Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel was a key figure in United's glory
Denmark's former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has been given an honorary MBE in the New Year's Honours List.

Schmeichel's award is honorary because he is not a British citizen, but he has been recognised for services to football.

The Great Dane, now 37, was a key figure in Manchester United's rise to the summit of European Football in a glittering eight-year career at Old Trafford.

Schmeichel also won a European Championship winners' medal with Denmark in Sweden in 1992.

He was a virtual unknown when he joined United from Brondby in August 1991.

He went on to claim six championship medals, three FA Cup winners' medals and a Champions League win at United.

The outspoken Schmeichel was described as "the bargain of the century" by Sir Alex Ferguson after his 505,000 move.

But he had a chequered relationship with his equally fiery manager.

Ferguson was even contemplating selling Schmeichel following one blazing row after a 3-3 draw at Liverpool.

But he changed his mind when he overheard Schmeichel apologising to his team-mates for losing his temper.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson signed Schmeichel
Ferguson summed up his total admiration when he said: "I don't believe a better goalkeeper played the game.

"He is a giant figure in the history of Manchester United."

Schmeichel's greatest achievement came in 1999 after he announced it would be his final campaign at OId Trafford.

He helped United complete a feat never before achieved by an English side.

Ferguson's all-conquering side claimed the domestic double of the league and FA Cup.

They then made it a unique treble by bringing the European Cup - or Champions League - back to Old Trafford for the first time since 1968.

United were trailing 1-0 to Germans Bayern Munich in Barcelona's Nou Camp Stadium.

They had been kept in contention by an outstanding display from Schmeichel.

In one of the most dramatic climaxes to any player's club career, United scored twice in injury time to win the trophy.

Schmeichel took a special salute from his team mates, along with manager Ferguson, as United were presented with their medals.

He kept his promise to end his United career, but has since enjoyed further success with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.


I don't believe a better goalkeeper played the game. He is a giant figure in the history of Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson

Schmeichel helped Sporting win their first title in 18 years in his opening campaign, and still starred for Denmark in Euro 2000.

He has won more than 100 caps for his country, and even scored his first international goal in a 2-2 against Belgium in Copenhagen in a friendly last June.

Born on November 18, 1963, to a Polish father and Danish mother, Schmeichel was destined for greatness from an early age.

He was playing schoolboy football at the age of nine when a talent scout told him he would go on to play for Denmark.

After laying floors, cleaning old people's homes and working in a textile factory, he turned professional for Brondby in the spring of 1987.

During his four-and-a-half years with the Copenhagen club he won four Danish titles and one Cup.

But it was at United where he became a world football figure - and the whole of Old Trafford will be delighted at his latest recognition.

New Year Honours

Sporting knights

Olympic honours

Football honoured

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19 Jun 00 | Denmark
12 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
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