David May (footballer)

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David May
May, David.jpg
May in 2013
Personal information
Full name David May
Date of birth (1970-06-24) 24 June 1970 (age 46)
Place of birth Oldham, Lancashire, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Centre-back
Youth career
Blackburn Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1994 Blackburn Rovers 123 (3)
1994–2003 Manchester United 85 (6)
1999–2000 Huddersfield 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.

† Appearances (goals)

David May (born 24 June 1970) is an English former footballer who played as a centre-back, and right-back from 1988 to 2006.

He 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 Bacup Borough.

Club career[edit]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

Born in Oldham, Lancashire, May started his career with Blackburn Rovers as a trainee before graduating to the first team in 1988.[1] He made over 100 appearances for the club[1] and was part of the Blackburn team which was promoted to the Premier League in 1992[2] and finished as runners-up to Manchester United in the 1993–94 season.[3]

Manchester United[edit]

In July 1994, Manchester United bought May for £1.2 million,[4] as he was apparently unhappy at Blackburn in his final months due to the breakdown in contract negotiations.[5] 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 central defender and captain Steve Bruce was approaching the end of his career.[6]

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 Gary Pallister.[6] 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.

Manchester United finished the season in second place in the Premier League, losing out to May's old club Blackburn Rovers.[7]

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 game 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.[7]

Bruce departed to Birmingham City soon after, and May became a regular starter in the 1996–97 season making over 40 appearances. His contributions were important as United retained the league title. The team 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.[citation needed] His form meant that he received a late call-up to the England national football team for a friendly against Mexico, but he never actually won an international cap.[8]

Injuries kept May sidelined for much of the next couple of seasons. The purchases of Henning Berg and Jaap Stam as well as the emergence of Wes Brown limited his chances further and he saw very little action with the first team.[2] However, towards the end of the treble-winning 1998–99 season, May played some games for the first team as Ferguson rotated his squad to cope with the mounting fixture congestion. He was also named in the starting line-up for the 1999 FA Cup Final[9] as Stam was being rested for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. May was named on the bench for that match,[10] and is remembered for the way he led the celebrations after the match,[5][11] despite not playing one single minute in the Champions League that season.[12] 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,[2][3][13] who was one of the finest strikers of his generation but won just one major trophy in a career which lasted nearly 20 years at the highest level.[14]

The following season, May was loaned out to Huddersfield Town, where he played under Steve Bruce. In his first game playing for the Terriers, however, he picked up an injury and had to return for treatment to Old Trafford,[6] 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,[6] 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.[15]

May began life as a Manchester United player with the number 12 shirt, which had been vacated by the departure of club legend Bryan Robson at the end of the 1993–94 season. However, he took the number 4 shirt for the 1996–97 season when it was vacated after the departure of Steve Bruce. He kept this number until it was handed to Juan Sebastian Veron at the start of the 2001–02 season; from then until the end of his time at the club, May wore the number 14 shirt.


At the end of his contract with Manchester United in 2003, May was given a free transfer and snapped up by Burnley manager Stan Ternent,[16] an old friend of Ferguson's,[17] to bolster his leaky defence.[16] In September 2003 he scored in a 2–1 win against Stoke City,[18] while at the end of the month he was sent off against Wimbledon for two yellow cards.[19]

In December 2003, May was headbutted by Ternent following a disagreement at the club training ground,[20][21] although they later settled their differences.[22]

He played 39 times for Burnley during the 2003–04 season,[23] and captained the side on a number of occasions.[19][24][25]

Bacup Borough[edit]

May joined non-league side Bacup Borough in November 2004[26] where he finished his playing career.

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring as a player with Bacup Borough, May was appointed assistant manager at the club.[27] In 2007 he moved to Dubai to coach football at a school.[28]

Personal life[edit]

May was born in Oldham, Lancashire.[29]

Since retiring May has become a wine importer.[29] He is still a keen supporter of former club Manchester United,[5][29] although he grew up supporting Manchester City.[5][30] He is a regular presenter of Thursday Focus on MUTV, his old club's TV station.[5][31]


Manchester United


  1. ^ a b Former Blackburn Rovers defender: It's time for Venky's to splash the cash Lancashire Telegraph, 20 June 2011
  2. ^ a b c David May – Superstar Burnley FC, 17 November 2004
  3. ^ a b Sport.co.uk meets...David May Sport.co.uk, 5 August 2010
  4. ^ David May tells M.E.N. Phil Jones is a perfect player for Manchester United Manchester Evening News, 15 June 2011
  5. ^ a b c d e "David May, what happened next?". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d May's days When Saturday Comes, October 2003
  7. ^ a b FA Cup flashback BBC Sport, 16 February 2006
  8. ^ Moore, Glenn (27 March 1997). "Dark days over as May shines". The Independent. Retrieved 29 March 2008. 
  9. ^ FA Cup 1999 Manchester United F.C., 6 November 2011
  10. ^ Champions League: Where Are They Now? The Bayern Munich And Manchester United Teams Of 1999 Goal.com, 7 April 2010
  11. ^ Bayern Munich v Manchester United: Reds take ‘that night’ and party Metro (UK), 30 March 2010
  12. ^ Party like it's 1999: We reveal the secrets of the night Manchester United made history against Bayern Munich Daily Mail, 30 March 2010
  13. ^ On Second Thoughts: Alan Shearer The Guardian, 26 September 2008
  14. ^ Injury forces Shearer retirement BBC Sport, 22 April 2006
  15. ^ "Man Utd march on". BBC Sport. 3 December 2002. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Burnley capture defender May BBC Sport, 13 August 2003
  17. ^ Stan Ternent cleared of assault Lancashire Telegraph, 7 September 2007
  18. ^ May leads the way as revamped Burnley dig in The Telegraph, 7 September 2003
  19. ^ a b Dean sparks Dons' party Sunday Mirror, 28 September 2003
  20. ^ Boss Ternent butts May The Sun
  21. ^ Boss head-butts May The Mirror, 13 December 2003
  22. ^ Today's footie index The Sun
  23. ^ Team Profiles: David May Burnley FC
  24. ^ Captain's Delight Burnley FC, 17 November 2004
  25. ^ Preston 5–3 Burnley Burnley FC, 20 December 2003
  26. ^ May Day massacre Rossendale Free Press, 5 November 2004
  27. ^ May stays at Boro Rossendale Free Press, 1 July 2005
  28. ^ May heading for a life in the sun Manchester Evening News, 19 November 2007
  29. ^ a b c Man City and Man United will 'dominate football' says David May BBC Sport, 10 May 2012
  30. ^ The Plugger vs... former Blackburn and Man United star David May MirrorFootball, 26 November 2010
  31. ^ MUTV: Get set for Moscow Manchester United F.C., 19 May 2008

External links[edit]