first_img Viv Anderson signed for Man United from Arsenal in 1987 1 With Thomas Vermaelen reportedly set to swap Arsenal for Man United, talkSPORT recalls how Viv Anderson became the last defender to make the switch from the red half of North London to the red side of Manchester…Anderson departed Arsenal for Manchester United shortly after he’d helped the Gunners beat Liverpool in the 1987 League Cup final. Initially, he left a gaping hole in the Gunners’ right-back position, but his successors at Arsenal and United would go on to enjoy more glory in both red shirts.Anderson was notably Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signing as manager of Man United, as the legendary Scot began rebuilding his squad with the aim of winning the club’s first title since 1967. In Anderson he had a player who was used to success.The right-back was a two-time European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, and cost United £250,000 when he moved from Highbury. He boasted pace, power and was comfortable with the ball at his feet. It seemed like the Red Devils had stolen a prized possession from the Gunners’ grasp.Within 12 months, however, Lee Dixon had arrived at Arsenal and George Graham’s famous back four – also including Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn – was in place and set to collect trophies galore.Anderson, meanwhile, was tasked with delivering the same to Old Trafford.“There weren’t many better sights in the game than seeing Viv gliding forward from his right-back position,” his Forest manager Brian Clough said. Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, a right-back during his playing days, claimed “it would have been nice to be as good as Anderson.”Nicknamed ‘Spider’ thanks to his lanky legs, Anderson was 31 and with hindsight probably past his best when he made the move, although he did spend three years at Old Trafford.Unfortunately for him, those years were largely a struggle for the club as Ferguson fought to turn things around amid trophyless seasons and mid-table finishes – a far cry from the glory that would follow over the next two decades.Anderson wasn’t selected for United’s 1990 FA Cup final triumph – their first silverware under Ferguson – and his days at Old Trafford were numbered when Ferguson signed Denis Irwin from Oldham later that year to play right-back.The first black player to selected for England’s senior side when he won his first cap in 1978, Anderson achieved more than most footballers could ever dream of, but his best days were in the red of Forest.last_img

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