“So that was my first competitive game and my first trophy for Man United. I mean, I always knew how big Manchester United were and how big the rivalry was, but it was my first big one. experience – even at Wembley – and a glimpse of what was to come.Barnesy, John Barnes, would have been on the left side of the midfielder [against me]. It’s still kind of a weird kind of deal, the Charity Shield / Community Shield, but it was competitive, as you would expect against Liverpool.
“I was ambitious,” recalls Irwin, when he spoke to Inside United for a special interview to commemorate the anniversary of his first appearance. “I would let my contract expire at Oldham. I don’t disrespect Oldham, but wanted to move to a bigger club and a higher division.
“I had spent four excellent years at Oldham. We had some great cup races. In 1989/90 we arrived at [FA Cup] semi-final against Manchester United which was replayed. We drew 3-3 at Maine Road and then we were beaten 2-1 on the restart, but that obviously put me even more in the spotlight. But I had decided before that, that I wanted to move on.
“It wasn’t the Internet era or anything like that. The only place you could read or see speculation was in the Sunday papers, so everyone was reading them all the time. When a club like United calls you, you don’t have to think about anything else. I was delighted to have signed in June before my contract expired. But it was a huge step forward for me.