Andrei Kanchelskis

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Andrei Kanchelskis : biography

23 January 1969 –

Andrei Antanasovich Kanchelskis ( ; born 23 January 1969) is a Lithuanian origin Ukrainian-born Russian former professional footballer and an assistant manager of FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod.

As a player from 1988 to 2006, he was a right winger, and is remembered for his spells with English clubs Manchester United and Everton, and in Scotland with Rangers. He is the only player in history to have scored in each of the Glasgow, Merseyside and Manchester local derbies. He also played in the top flight of English football with Southampton and Manchester City, as well as also appearing as a professional for Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk, Fiorentina, Al-Hilal, Saturn Moscow Oblast and Krylia Sovetov. He was capped internationally by the Soviet Union, CIS and Russia. He moved into management in 2010 with FC Torpedo-ZIL Moscow after two years as general director of FC Nosta Novotroitsk.

Club career

Early career

Kanchelskis started his career with Dynamo Kyiv in 1988 and then went to Shakhtar Donetsk in 1990.

Manchester United

Kanchelskis signed for Manchester United in a £650,000 deal on 26 March 1991 and made his debut in the penultimate league game of the 1990–91 season, which United lost 3–0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. At the time of his arrival at Old Trafford, United were in the process of finishing sixth in the Football League First Division and had won the previous season’s FA Cup. They won the European Cup Winners’ Cup on 15 May 1991, but Kanchelskis was not in the squad. It had been 26 years since their last top division title, and manager Alex Ferguson signed Kanchelskis in a bid to find an attacking right sided midfielder to give him a younger and quicker option to the older right sided midfielders like Mike Phelan, Neil Webb and the skilful but lightweight Russell Beardsmore.

While Phelan and Webb would remain at Old Trafford for three seasons and one and a half season respectively, Kanchelskis soon became a regular member of the United team, playing in 34 out of 42 league games in the 1991–92 season as United finished second to Leeds United in a title race that they had led for most of the season before being overhauled during the final few weeks. However, compensation for Kanchelskis and his team mates had come at Wembley Stadium on 12 April 1992 when a 1–0 win over Nottingham Forest gave them their first ever Football League Cup triumph. Kanchelskis managed five league goals that season, finding the net eight times in all competitions. His first United goal was against Sheffield United in a 2–0 league win at Old Trafford on 2 November 1991.

In 1992–93, Kanchelskis established on the right side of midfield for the first half of the season before being replaced for the second half of the season by Lee Sharpe, a hero of the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup season who returned from long term injury and illness. Nevertheless, Kanchelskis was a key part of the team who won the first ever Premier League title, scoring 3 goals in 27 league games appearances albeit 13 of these were as a substitute, as United’s 26-year league title wait came to an end. He was one of only 13 non British or Irish players to play on the opening weekend of the Premier League along with Jan Stejskal, Peter Schmeichel, Robert Warzycha, Roland Nilsson, Eric Cantona, Hans Segers, John Faxe Jensen, Anders Limpar, Gunnar Halle, Craig Forrest, Michel Vonk and Ronnie Rosenthal. The number of "overseas" players in the Premier League would multiply over the next few years.

1993–94 brought more success as United won the Premier League title and the FA Cup, and Kanchelskis was now United’s first choice right-sided midfielder, and their first "proper" right-winger since Steve Coppell in the early 1980s. 1993–94 was also the first season of squad numbers in the Premier League, and Kanchelskis was issued with the number 14 shirt. On the downside, he was sent off in the League Cup final that season for a handball which saw opponents Aston Villa awarded a penalty. United lost that game 3–1, denying them the chance of a unique domestic treble.