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Norman Whiteside – The Shankill Road Hero

When people hear the mention of the Shankill Road in Belfast, they would in all likelihood think of a place where angels fear to thread. Still, being located next to the city centre the Shankill has now been turned into a busy shopping community. As there are over 100 smaller retail merchants on the road in Shankill, even tourists are a common sight these days.

Brought up on the Shankill Road in Belfast, Norman Whiteside was discovered by none other than Bob Bishop, who previously recommended George Best and Sammy McIlroy to the Old Trafford club. Whiteside achieved legendary status when he became the youngest player ever to score in a FA Cup final as Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-0 in the 1983 replay.

Despite being changed into a midfield player, he also scored the winning goal in the 1985 FA Cup final to give Manchester United victory over Everton. Referee Peter Willis too managed to hit the headlines on this warm London afternoon as Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup final following his sort of clumsy challenge on Everton midfielder Peter Reid.

Even though they were down to ten players, Manchester United nonetheless fancied their chances as the game entered extra time. Moreover, the Manchester United players just went on fighting even harder as they became progressively determined to give the Evertonians the coup de grace.

With 110 minutes on the clock, Norman Whiteside all of a sudden cut in from the right wing and hit a amazing curling shot past a fully stretched Neville Southall from 25 yards. It was a moment of pure and simple magic from Whiteside as he scored the only goal of the match bringing FA Cup glory to the Old Trafford club once again.

Norman Whiteside went on to make 273 appearances for Manchester United scoring a total of 66goals in the process. Troubled by a knee injury, he was finally sold to Everton in 1989 for �600,000. A regular member of the vastly talented Northern Ireland team that travelled to the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, Whiteside made 38 full caps for his country.

When injury ended his playing career at the comparatively young age of 26, Whiteside went to become a foot doctor and he now works at the Professional Footballers’ Association.