Norman Whiteside will always be remembered for being the youngest at everything. At 17 he was the youngest United player to play for the first team since Duncan Edwards, the youngest player to score in an FA Cup Final and the youngest player ever to appear in the World Cup Finals, for Northern Ireland in 1982. Big Norman was pure class, powerful and strong, he was lethal in the air and could shoot with both power and accuracy. He was also never afraid to try something different or unexpected, making him a constant threat to opposing defences.
His strength frequently allowed him to turn defenders and steal a yard of space, for his only flaw was a lack of pace. Alex Ferguson said "If Norman had a yard more pace he would have been one of the greatest players ever produced in British football".
The Press called him "The Shankill Skinhead" for he was often a physical player who loved to get stuck in, although never overly malicious or dirty. In fact the fans loved him all the more for it, as it showed his drive and commitment. Alex Ferguson remembering a game against Arsenal in 1986, laughed "Big Norman Whiteside kicked everybody up and down the pitch for 90 minutes and didn't even get booked!" Norman made up for that though, he was a player capable of scoring goals that only the most gifted of players could score. His 1985 Cup Final winner and 1982 League Cup Final goals are prime examples of his goal scoring ability.
Born in North Belfast, Norman was spotted by United's legendary Ulster scout Bob Bishop, the man also responsible for bringing George Best and Sammy McILroy to Old Trafford. He made his United debut in the Spring of 1982 against Brighton before making history in the World Cup with Northern Ireland. It was during those finals in which Norman first became famous, as he helped the Ulstermen surprise and delight everyone by reaching the Quarter-finals. The following season United reached the 1983 League Cup final, in which he scored another "youngest ever" goal and then again month later when he scored in the FA Cup Final replay 4-0 win against Brighton.
The next few years were the high point of his career both for United and Northern Ireland. His most famous moment came in 1985 when United played the then champions Everton in the FA Cup Final. At 0-0 in extra time, reduced to ten men, United were up against it and an Everton winner seemed likely. Then, Big Norman went on a run down the right wing and curled in a superb bending shot from 20 yards to beat Everton keeper Southall. It won goal of the season and sealed undoubtedly United's greatest FA Cup Final win.
The following seasons saw Whiteside adopt a more deeper position in midfield, he would captain both United (in Robson's absence) and Northern Ireland. Sadly, injuries and suspensions saw his career take a down-turn around 1988 and Alex Ferguson began reshaping his team. An unhappy Norman did not seem to figure in the managers plans, hampered by a recurring knee injury he was sold to Everton in 1989 for £600,000. After two years with the blues the knee trouble got worse and he was forced to retire at 27. Not the sort of man for self-pity he went back to University were he built a career as a specialist in sports injuries to the feet.
Norman Whiteside still remains an all-time United hero to this day. A beacon of hope in what was a decade of under-achievement, a highly gifted player who captured the hearts and imaginations of the United fans, he is fondly remembered and appreciated for what he did at Manchester United.
Wayne McCullough was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in July 1970. He grew up on the Shankill Road in a family with six brothers and sisters.
His two older brothers boxed (even though neither brother made a name for himself in boxing) and Wayne followed them to the Albert Foundry Boxing gym at the age of 8. At first, boxing was not his favourite sport, preferring to play football but, after a while, he realised he enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of boxing and decided to take it to the next level.
Wayne became one of the top fighters in the history of boxing in Ireland, North & South. He fought over 50 International tournaments for Ireland fighting a total of 319 contests, losing only 11.
He left the amateur ranks after winning a Bronze medal in the World Cup, a Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games and a Silver medal at the Olympics Games.
After deciding to turn professional in America, under the guidance on the late, great Eddie Futch, Wayne went on to win the North American Boxing within a year of his move. Just 2 years, 5 months & 7 days after turning pro, Wayne won the WBC Bantam weight title by beating the Japanese Champion, Yaseui Yakushiji, in his hometown of Nagoya, Japan.
Wayne made two successful defences of his title before vacating the belt to move up in weight. He has since challenged for four more title belts, losing gallantly in each fight.
Even though Wayne fought Prince Naseem Hamed and Erik Morales, who are regarded as the best fighters in their divisions, he was able to take both boxers the distance in a Championship fight, giving performances of his life and living up to his Ring Magazine title of "Best Chin in Boxing" as neither boxer was able to dent his toughness.
Wayne fought a brave fight against Scott Harrison in March, 2003 but lost the fight on points. Harrison visibly outweighed Wayne in the ring but still could not put him down or stop him - like Harrison and his camp had predicted. Harrison lost in his next defence of his title against veteran Manuel Medina. Medina won the fight easily on points.
In May 2004, Wayne legally changed his name to include his ring name. He is now known as Wayne Pocket Rocket McCullough.
Wayne challenged Oscar Larios for the WBC Super Bantamweight title on February 10 under the guidance of his new trainer, Freddie Roach. According to the judges, Wayne lost the fight on a wide points decision. Everyone else thought Wayne did enough to get a draw or to win the fight. A protest has been filed and we are waiting to see if Larios will be the first fighter to give Wayne a rematch.