Never shy of stoking the eternal rivalry between the two clubs, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has aimed a fresh barb at Liverpool.
But the dig was not related to United needing just a point from their final two Premier League games this season to secure a top-four finish, and with it a place in next season’s Champions League, at Liverpool’s expense.
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Instead, the manager who once made a pledge to “knock Liverpool right off their perch” had a cheeky dig at the Reds over the infamous white suits they chose to wear before the 1996 FA Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to United.
Ferguson was giving a pep talk to rugby union side Sale Sharks at United’s Carrington training ground this week to inspire the players ahead of their Premiership final clash against Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday.
The team representing Sale, a town in the Greater Manchester area, are preparing for their first finals appearance in 17 years. As one of the last parts of their buildup to the championship game, they decided to lean on a man with more big-game experience than almost any other.
During an address to the team, Fergie spoke about the mentality required to emerge victorious from a one-off game. He also took the chance to rib Liverpool over the bespoke Armani suits their players wore prematch on the pitch at Wembley 27 years ago.
That day, Eric Cantona scored the only goal of the game in the 85th minute to claim the trophy for United, and the suits subsequently became a symbol of that talented Liverpool side’s underachievement and the disparaging “Spice Boys” nickname they were given by the tabloid media.
“To lose, you don’t want to lose,” Ferguson said. “I wish you all the best on Saturday.
“The thing is, I’m telling you, don’t wear a white suit for Christ’s sake! Concentration … you’re not there to enjoy it, you’re there to win.”
They may have ended up on the losing side but Liverpool’s notorious white — or more accurately, “ecru” — suits became the stuff of English footballing legend, and one of them has since been put on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester.