The A to Z of 90’s Premiership Footballers: C is for …

Posted on November 15, 2013


They say you can’t win anything with kids, and Alex Ferguson sure proved Alan Hansen wrong with that notion. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, the Nevilles and David Beckham made up the core of a United side that ended defeated every side put in front of them in the late 90s. The name missing from that great youth era however is the one that questionably made the greatest impact out of them all. The man who gave up his own glittering career in order to ensure the success of the club. Every great team needs a martyr, and much like that homeless drunk in Independence Day, Manchester United had one. His name was Terry Cooke.

Cooke made his United debut in 1995 and made an immediate impact, graciously providing an assist for a Ryan Giggs goal. A wildly creative right sided midfielder, Cooke vied for that position with then little-known celebrity, David Beckham. Where as Beckham had only a fraction of the Maradona-esque talent that Tezza possessed, he had an arranged marriage from youth with Victoria Adams, herself the least talented of up and coming pop beatniks ‘The Spice Girls’. In order for the stars to align and for England to have a Royal Couple that actually did things, Beckham needed to become a footballing superstar. The fact was however, that Terry Cooke was the superior footballer. The club pressured Cooke into stepping aside so that Calvin Klein could eventually have a poster boy, and despite the protestations of ‘The Most Loyal Man in Football’ Bryan Kidd, Cooke agreed. Much like Aladdin when he gives Jafar that shiny thing or whatever it was in the Disney film of the same name (‘Aladdin’, not ‘That Shiny Thing of Whatever It Was’), Cooke gave up his talent to Becks in order for Britain to successfully claim the Olympics in 2012.

After this, Terry Cooke was a broken man. He wandered the footballing world, taking in such exotic lands as Grimsby, Colorado and Azerbaijan, but you could see in his eyes that his sacrifice weighed heavy on his precociously talented shoulders. Today Cooke can be found in footballing limbo, putting in crosses so good that no human striker can get their head on them. When England are knocked out in the quarter finals of World Cup 2014 by Belgium, take a moment to think. Footballing glory was given up in favour posters on the walls of children and a bloke who looks decent in a suit.

Posted in: A to Z, Sport