United memories for Queensland legend
Queensland football icon Gary Wilkins recalls what it's like to play against the might of Manchester United and tells Foxtel A-League All Stars to enjoy the experience.
While four Brisbane Roar players are in the midst of preparations for Saturday-s Foxtel A-League All Stars blockbuster against Manchester United, there-s one other individual at the club that knows how Thomas Broich, Besart Berisha, Liam Miller and Michael Theo are feeling.
Queensland football icon Gary Wilkins, the namesake of the Roar-s annual Player of the Year award, made his debut for the state 46 years ago at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground against United, who were fresh from their victorious 1966/67 season.
The fresh-faced 21-year-old started at right-back and despite going on to lose 7-0 to the English champions, Wilkins can still recall details of the match on June 4, 1967 clearly.
“I-ll never forget it,” he said.
“Especially running out in front of 32,000 people - it was something I-d never done before, play in front of that many people.
“Playing against Manchester United was such a thrill because a lot of the stars of the England side were also in that team.”
Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best were just some of the iconic names in Manchester United-s 1966/67 squad and the Brisbane contingent in the All Stars team will have different superstars - the likes of Robin van Persie, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand - to contend with on Saturday night.
Two of the Roar four have been recipients of Wilkins- prestigious club medal in the past (Broich in both 2011 and 2013 and Berisha in 2012) and the former Socceroo was confident all four were up for the challenge.
“It-s great that four of our boys have made it, they-ll get a big kick out of playing one of the best teams in the world,” said Wilkins, who went on to play 36 times for Queensland - 35 times as captain.
“No advice for them, I-ll say just enjoy it!
“I was nervous but once the whistle went, you forget about all of that.”
The Foxtel A-League All Stars will debut against Manchester United at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on 20 July with the match to be broadcast live and exclusive on the Seven Network nationally.