Irish Footballer that Played for Man Utd - Keith Gillespie
Keith Gillespie - Introduction
Keith Gillespie was born on 18 February 1975 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. A swashbuckling winger, Alex Ferguson brought him to Old Trafford as a teenager in 1991. He was yet another young Northern Ireland attacker to attract comparisons with United legend George Best. He played in the same youth team as David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and much was expected of the young Irishman.
Keith Gillespie & Manchester United
Keith Gillespie made his
Manchester United debut on 5 January 1993 against Bury in the third round
of the FA Cup. He announced his arrival by scoring the opening goal in
Gillespie did not make his next first team appearance for United until September in the 1994/95 season. This led to an intermittent run of 14 appearances, half as substitute, to the end of the year. He scored his one and only Premier League goal in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford against Newcastle United on 29 October 1994.
In a surprise move Alex Ferguson used Keith Gillespie as a makeweight part of a £7m transfer deal that saw Gillespie transfer to Newcastle United and Andy Cole come to Old Trafford in January 1995. It was a surprising transaction in that 1) Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan, let Cole go to United and 2) Alex Ferguson let the very promising Keith Gillespie leave United. It was speculated at the time that Ferguson let the Northern Irishman go because of the UEFA restrictions on 'foreigners' in the Champions League.
It has been subsequently speculated that wily Ferguson was aware of Gillespie's gambling problems and wanted to pass that problem on to someone else. Whatever the reason was, the upshot was that Gillespie's Old Trafford career was over before it really began. Keith Gillespie played his last match for Manchester United on 3 January 1995 against Coventry City in a 2-0 home win.
Keith Gillespie was declared a bankrupt in October 2010. An order was made against the player following a petition by HM Revenue and Customs lodged at Belfast High Court.
Keith Gillespie - Northern Ireland Career
Keith Gillespie made his international debut for Northern Ireland on 7 September 1994 against Portugal in a European Championship qualifier. Northern Ireland lost 1-2 at Windsor Park. Gillespie scored his first goal for Northern Ireland in his next match for his country in a 1-2 away win to Austria in October 1994. It would be another ten years before he claimed his second, and last, goal for Ireland in a 2-3 home loss to Wales in a World Cup qualifier. Keith Gillespie has won 86 caps for Northern Ireland and he has two international red cards to match his two goals.
Keith Gillespie - Manchester United & Northern Ireland Statistics
Last Updated: Oct 2010
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