Norman Whiteside to sell FA Cup winner's medals and huge collection of memorabilia at auction

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Norman Whiteside to sell FA Cup winner's medals and huge collection of memorabilia at auction
NI Spain world cup 82 (first match) shirt. Estimate £5000-8000. Photo: Courtesy of Ewbank’s Auctions.

LONDON.- He was the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup, the youngest player to score in a League Cup Final and FA Cup Final, he made his debut for Manchester United at 16 (having signed at 13) and was in the FA Cup winning side twice – oh, and he was also Manchester United’s youngest captain at the age of 20.

Now former midfielder and Northern Ireland international Norman Whiteside is set to sell his collection of football memorabilia – including his FA Cup winner’s medals from 1983 and 1985 – at Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey on July 29.

The exclusive auction will feature medals, United shirts from both the 1983 League Cup Final and 1985 FA Cup Final, World Cup shirts, international caps and a multitude of awards, among many other pieces of memorabilia directly linked to Whiteside, who won 38 caps for Northern Ireland and scored 68 goals in 278 league appearances, ending his career through injury at Everton in 1991.

His decision to sell his extraordinary collection of memorabilia comes just after the legendary player’s 55th birthday.

“No one’s pressurised me to do it, but now I’m turning 55 I want to make sure that all my pension provisions are in place,” says Norman. “I get a small pension from my footballing days, but we didn’t earn much in those days before the Premiership, so I want to put that together with what the auction will raise to secure the future.”

The chasm between football salaries then and the millions earned by Premiership players today as a result of TV rights is clear from Whiteside’s Manchester United contracts, also up for sale. From 1982 to 1984 as their star player, his basic wage was just £250 a week, rising to £400 from 1986 to 1987. By the time he left the club for Everton at the end of the 1980s, his annual salary had risen to £60,000. That’s the equivalent of about £125,000 today, compared with an annual salary of £15 million – or 120 times what Whiteside earned – for Paul Pogba, who plays in similar positions for the club.

Another document setting out showed FA Cup bonuses went from £300 for a second round win to £2000 for the final.

Some of the lots that will be on offer have been in the Manchester United in the museum for 30-odd years. “I thought it would be nice for the fans to have a chance to bid for something,” says Norman.

Looking back on his career, Whiteside declares it “a bit surreal” when he thinks of all the firsts he achieved, but says his most cherished memories are his winning goal against Everton in extra time in the 1985 FA Cup Final and the spectacular winning goal against Arsenal at Villa Park in the 1983 FA Cup Semi-Final.

Arguably his greatest regret was the knee operation he underwent at the age of 16.

“They removed the cartilage, so I was playing bone on bone for ten years. Around six months after I had the operation keyhole surgery started to be more widely used. If I’d had that instead, I would probably have been able to play for longer instead of having to retire through my knee injury at just 26 in June 1991 – and then I would have had the chance to play in the Premiership, which started in 1992.”

Like Northern Ireland’s other Manchester United star, George Best, to whom he was constantly – and justifiably – compared, Norman was born and raised in Belfast, the son of working class parents.

“My mum and dad were very proud of what I did, but they were quite modest. Football is as popular as it is because it a working class game. The best Christmas present you could get was a football or a pair of boots.

“My mother bought my first pair of boots from the shoe club and was paying them off for years. Me and my friends would play up against the chalked up goal on the gable end wall near our home, or we’d go to the park, a couple of miles away. It was the cheapest form of entertainment you could have.”

By 15, Norman was leaving school early on a Friday to fly to Manchester United for weekend training.

“I’d get to my digs and at the weekend after training or playing a match with the juniors I’d go to Old Trafford to watch the first team play before going home. It was a great experience and taught me a lot about independence.”

Training as a podiatrist after retiring from playing, Norman has also worked in the corporate hospitality department at Manchester United since 1994.

“I’ll go there in the evening and after the match I’ll usually get the odd round of applause and a bit of attention, but then I can go home on the train and no one will recognise me. I’m very proud of what I have achieved but I’m also rather shy, so this gives me the best of both worlds.”

Back to the auction and other highlights include a match ball and pair of boots from the 1985 FA Cup final, a Home International winner’s medal from 1984, a signed ball commemorating his FA Cup quarter final hattrick against West Ham in 1985, Norman’s youngest ever World Cup player shirt from 1982 and a number of Northern Ireland World Cup shirts.

Items associated with other players include England shirts (No 6) belonging to Ray Wilkins and (No 7) Bryan Robson, Michel Platini’s No 10 shirt for Juventus and a Brazil shirt.

“It’s the most extraordinary and historic collection that ticks so many boxes,” said Ewbank’s specialist Alastair McCrea. “Manchester United are the most iconic football team in the world and Norman Whiteside was the player of his generation, as well as being the youngest to score in a League Cup and FA Cup Final.

“The list of superlatives continues with his international role. Having the chance to bid for any number of pieces in this consignment must be the ultimate dream for football fans and it’s an honour – especially as a football-playing Northern Irishman myself – to handle this auction.”

Live online bidding is available via the Ewbank’s website at

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