Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for players sinking their feet in the mud to get what they feel like they deserve, but there is such a thing as ‘going too far’, isn’t there?
Arriving as a lesser known prospect from the then-Soviet Union, Andrei Kanchelskis didn’t take long to establish himself as a manager’s regular at Manchester United from joining in 1991.
In fact, his name and the number ’14’ were about as regular as the manager himself during those times. The man was simply undroppable during his pomp.
With pace being his primary operative on the right-wing, the Ukrainian was gradually able to add his natural flair and skill into his running archetype.
One of the most explosive, direct and forthcoming forward players in the earlier generation of the Premier League era. A player any team would kill to have now.
But something of a phenomenon, looking back.
Not as much as this guy – but still more than worthy of some respect in his own right!
So, if he was so good, then why isn’t he remembered as fondly as he should be?
I mean, think about it: Manchester United have had their fair share of great right-wingers, but most are remembered for their own fond reasons. David Beckham, George Best, Antonio Valencia – all revered and respected in equal measure.
I personally loved Antonio Valencia and can sense some similarities with his game and that of someone like Andrei Kanchelskis. The speed in particular, is what does it for me!
And, especially in Beckham’s case (who would eventually come through to rival him for his right-wing spot), his talents are comparable and sometimes bettered to this guy.
Well, an issue arose when Andrei Kanchelskis, now four years deep into his career at Old Trafford, when he was offered an identical extension to add to his growing reputation with Manchester United.
To be fair, the issue might have been more to do with his agent than the player himself …
Sir Alex Ferguson recalls in his autobiography that he wishes Andrei Kanchelskis didn’t leave when he did, never mind the fashion in which he did.
Apparently, his representatives weren’t as amicable as they could have been when organising his renewal. And even less so when it transpired that it might be best that he left.
Words were said, threats were made and Kanchelskis became an Everton player for around £6.5 million. A fee inflated by about 30% to accommodate for the hidden clauses he wanted in his renewal.
Which included a flat percentage fee paid to him upon his sale to another club in the same league.
Like I said, it was messy … and not Lionel. Hehe.
Nevertheless, Andrei Kanchelskis became an Everton player and has largely regretted it ever since with hindsight taking its toll as it so beautifully does on occasions like these.
That’s not to say he didn’t do well at Everton, and both player and club alike don’t thank their lucky stars for their time together. Speaking openly, I’m sure Everton would take a single lock of his hair given ho w thing have been going recently for them.
No offence, by the way – we’re all friends here!
But to end his time at a club like United in such a fashion will always come back to play on your mind. Not everyone can be as strong as Roy Keane to get on with things, can they?
But still, speaking as a United fan, I hugely admire and respect the talents and endeavour that Andrei Kanchelskis brought to Old Trafford during the years when he was at his most happy.
And I probably always will!