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Terry Gibson for Manchester United v Arsenal (1987)

Golden Goal: Terry Gibson for Manchester United v Arsenal (1987)A violent game remembered for a spectacular rampage by Norman Whiteside had a poignant footnote

Not every golden goal has to glister. One of the most euphoric moments of Terry Gibson’s career was a tap-in from eight yards in a match his team would probably have won anyway. After a year of incessant frustration, it was his first goal for Manchester United – and, as it turned out, his last.

Gibson was marginalised almost as soon as he was signed by Ron Atkinson, who was subsequently replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson in November 1986. Two months later, Gibson made one and scored in injury-time to secure a violent 2-0 win over the league leaders Arsenal. Not for the last time, they left Old Trafford bristling with injustice as an unbeaten run – 22 games this time – went up in smoke.

What do you remember about your goal? I have to be honest, it was nerve-racking when Gordon Strachan rolled the ball across the six-yard box. I mean, it was a year since I’d signed and I was making my full home debut. You lose confidence, you lose belief, and when that ball rolls across an open goal on a bumpy pitch [laughs], you’re thinking, ‘Shit, don’t miss this!’

It was relief more than jubilation – relief I didn’t miss the chance, relief we were gonna win the game because we weren’t winning many at the time, and relief that I’d got off the mark. I hoped it would be the start of me finding the form I had at Coventry, when I was scoring goals pretty regularly and confidence was never…

Rob Smyth

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