David May (footballer)

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David May
May, David.jpg
May in 2013
Personal information
Full name David May[1]
Date of birth (1970-06-24) 24 June 1970 (age 51)[2]
Place of birth Oldham, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[3]
Position(s) Centre-back / Right-back
Youth career
0000–1988 Blackburn Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1994 Blackburn Rovers 123 (3)
1994–2003 Manchester United 85 (6)
1999–2000Huddersfield Town (loan) 1 (0)
2003–2004 Burnley 35 (4)
2005–2006 Bacup Borough
Total 244 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

David May (born 24 June 1970) is an English football coach and former professional footballer.

As a player he was a centre-back and right-back from 1988 to 2006. May played Premier League football for Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United where he collected numerous trophies in a nine-year spell at Old Trafford. He went on to play in the Football League for Huddersfield Town and Burnley before finishing his career with non-League club Bacup Borough.

Playing career[edit]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

May started his career with Blackburn Rovers as a trainee before graduating to the first team in the 1988–89 season, mostly playing as a right-back but sometimes playing at centre-back.[4] He made over 100 appearances for the club[4] and was a regular player in the Blackburn team which was promoted to the new Premier League in 1992[5] and finished as runners-up to Manchester United in the 1993–94 season, having finished fourth a year earlier. May retained his regular place in the Blackburn team after they reached the Premier League, despite the many millions that manager Kenny Dalglish spend on rebuilding the squad ready for a title challenge.[6]

Manchester United[edit]

In July 1994, Manchester United bought May for £1.2 million,[7] as he was apparently unhappy at Blackburn in his final months due to the breakdown in contract negotiations.[8] Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had been searching for a defender to add to the squad, and specifically needed an Englishman who would not be affected by the restrictions on foreign players in European competition that were in place at the time. He was also thinking about the future, as centre-back and captain Steve Bruce was in his 34th year and Gary Pallister was approaching 30.[9]

Injuries to first-choice right-back Paul Parker meant that May was often used as a right-back in his first season, and rarely played in his preferred centre-back position due to the strong partnership of Bruce and Pallister.[9] As May underperformed, by the end of the season, Gary Neville had emerged to become the new first-choice right-back, while Parker was rarely used the following season and then left the club.[citation needed]

Manchester United finished the season in second place in the Premier League, losing out to May's old club Blackburn Rovers.[10]

May finally managed to establish himself in the team towards the end of the 1995–96 season as an understudy for Bruce, who was struggling with a hamstring injury, and scored the first goal in the final match of the season against Middlesbrough. The 3–0 victory clinched the title for Manchester United. He was also in the starting line-up for the 1996 FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool, while Bruce was not even selected as a substitute.[10]

Bruce departed to Birmingham City soon after, and May became a regular starter in the 1996–97 season, making over 40 appearances and often being paired with Gary Pallister, although a third centre-back, new signing Ronny Johnsen, had been signed in the summer of 1996 and was a regular in the first team. His contributions were important as United retained the league title and also reached the semi-final of the Champions League after a 4–0 victory over Porto in the quarter-final, in which May scored the first goal.[11] His form meant that he received a late call-up to the England national team for a friendly against Mexico, but he never actually won an international cap.[12]

The purchases of Henning Berg and Jaap Stam as well as the emergence of Wes Brown limited his chances further during the late 1990s and he saw very little action with the first team.[5] However, towards the end of the treble-winning 1998–99 season, May enjoyed a brief comeback as Ferguson rotated his squad to cope with the mounting fixture congestion and United were challenging for the league title, FA Cup and European Cup. He was also named in the starting line-up for the 1999 FA Cup Final[13] as Stam was being rested for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. May was named on the bench for that match,[14] and is remembered for the way he led the celebrations after the match,[8][15] despite not playing one single minute in the Champions League that season.[16] A popular chant with the crowd was "David May, superstar! Got more medals than Shearer!" – in reference to the lack of success enjoyed by May's former Blackburn colleague Alan Shearer,[5][17] who was one of the finest strikers of his generation but won just one trophy in a career which lasted nearly 20 years at the highest level.[18]

The following season, May was loaned out to Huddersfield Town, where he played under Steve Bruce. In his first appearance for the Terriers, however, he picked up an injury and had to return for treatment to Old Trafford,[9] where he remained for another three years, but often sidelined by injury and playing mainly in the reserve team. May's last four seasons with United saw him make only 12 appearances in total for the club. Due to his lack of appearances, May collected only two Premier League winner's medals,[9] despite being a squad member for six winning campaigns. May's final competitive appearance for Manchester United came in the League Cup on 3 December 2002 against Burnley.[19]


At the end of his contract with Manchester United in the summer of 2003, May was given a free transfer[20] and snapped up by Burnley manager Stan Ternent,[21] an old friend of Ferguson's,[22] to bolster his leaky defence.[21] In September 2003 he scored in a 2–1 win against Stoke City,[23] while at the end of the month he was sent off against Wimbledon for two yellow cards.[24]

In December 2003, May was headbutted by Ternent following a disagreement at the club training ground.[25] They later settled their differences.[25]

He played 39 times for Burnley during the 2003–04 season,[26] and captained the team on a number of occasions.[27][28]

Bacup Borough[edit]

May joined non-League club Bacup Borough in November 2004[29] where he finished his playing career.[30]

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring as a player with Bacup Borough, May was appointed assistant manager at the club.[31] In 2007, he moved to Dubai to coach football at a school.[32]

Personal life[edit]

May was born in Oldham, Lancashire.[33]

Since retiring May has become a wine importer.[34] He is still a keen supporter of former club Manchester United,[8][34] although he grew up supporting Manchester City.[8] As of 2007, he was a regular presenter of Thursday Focus on MUTV, his old club's TV station.[8] May is also co-host of the Official Manchester United Podcast.[35]


Blackburn Rovers

Manchester United


  1. ^ "David May". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  2. ^ "David May: Overview". ESPN. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b "David May: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b Former Blackburn Rovers defender: It's time for Venky's to splash the cash Lancashire Telegraph, 20 June 2011
  5. ^ a b c David May – Superstar[permanent dead link] Burnley FC, 17 November 2004
  6. ^ Sport.co.uk meets...David May Archived 31 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Sport.co.uk, 5 August 2010
  7. ^ David May tells M.E.N. Phil Jones is a perfect player for Manchester United Manchester Evening News, 15 June 2011
  8. ^ a b c d e "David May, what happened next?". FourFourTwo. 1 July 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d May's days Archived 25 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine When Saturday Comes, October 2003
  10. ^ a b FA Cup flashback BBC Sport, 16 February 2006
  11. ^ "Games played by David May in 1996/1997". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  12. ^ Moore, Glenn (27 March 1997). "Dark days over as May shines". The Independent. London. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  13. ^ FA Cup 1999 Archived 10 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine Manchester United F.C., 6 November 2011
  14. ^ Champions League: Where Are They Now? The Bayern Munich And Manchester United Teams Of 1999 Goal.com, 7 April 2010
  15. ^ Bayern Munich v Manchester United: Reds take 'that night' and party Metro (UK), 30 March 2010
  16. ^ "Games played by David May in 1998/1999". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  17. ^ On Second Thoughts: Alan Shearer The Guardian, 26 September 2008
  18. ^ Injury forces Shearer retirement BBC Sport, 22 April 2006
  19. ^ "Man Utd march on". BBC Sport. 3 December 2002. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  20. ^ Davies, Simon (3 June 2003). "Roche released". Manchester United F.C. Archived from the original on 17 December 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  21. ^ a b Burnley capture defender May BBC Sport, 13 August 2003
  22. ^ Stan Ternent cleared of assault Lancashire Telegraph, 7 September 2007
  23. ^ May leads the way as revamped Burnley dig in The Daily Telegraph, 7 September 2003
  24. ^ "Games played by David May in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Burnley's history of player-manager brawls". ESPN. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  26. ^ Team Profiles: David May Burnley FC
  27. ^ Captain's Delight Burnley FC, 17 November 2004
  28. ^ Preston 5–3 Burnley Archived 30 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Burnley FC, 20 December 2003
  29. ^ May Day massacre Rossendale Free Press, 5 November 2004
  30. ^ "Manchester United 1999 Champions League winners – where are they now?". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  31. ^ May stays at Boro Rossendale Free Press, 1 July 2005
  32. ^ May heading for a life in the sun Manchester Evening News, 19 November 2007
  33. ^ "David May". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  34. ^ a b Man City and Man United will 'dominate football' says David May BBC Sport, 10 May 2012
  35. ^ "UTD Podcast | The Official Manchester United Podcasts". www.manutd.com. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  36. ^ "Blackburn Rovers v Leicester City, 25 May 1992". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  37. ^ "Manchester United v Liverpool, 11 May 1996". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  38. ^ "Man Utd 2–0 Newcastle". The Guardian. London. 22 May 1999. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  39. ^ "Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United, 14 August 1994". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Manchester United v Newcastle United, 11 August 1996". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  41. ^ "United crowned kings of Europe". BBC News. 26 May 1999. Retrieved 17 May 2020.

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