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On This Day In 1999, The Shortest Premier League Debut In History Took Place

On This Day In 1999, The Shortest Premier League Debut In History Took Place

Exactly 20 years ago today, Nick Culkin had the quickest debut in Premier League history when he came on for Manchester United against Arsenal in his only appearance for the club.

Signed for £100,000 from York City as a youngster, Culkin played his first game for the club in between the sticks during a 4-0 win over SK Brann as part of a tour in Scandinavia.

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He received runners' up medals for both the Charity Shield and UEFA Super Cup in 1999 but his one and only official appearance for the Red Devils saw him enter the fray for a matter of seconds.

In a 2-1 win over Arsenal at Highbury, Martin Keown's sly kick to Raimond van der Gouw's face left the Dutchman in agony. Unable to see out the final moments of stoppage time, rookie 'keeper Culkin was called upon by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Image: PA
Image: PA

He only ended up punting a free-kick up the field before the whistle was blown for full-time but one cannot deny the fact that Culkin, even if only for the briefest of moments, pulled on the Manchester United shirt.

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Recalling his solitary United cameo to Planet Football, Culkin said: "The physio immediately said 'sub' and the manager turned around to me and just said 'Nick, get yourself ready, mate, you're going on'.

"I hadn't warmed up, run up and down the line or anything. I thought 'this is my chance'. I felt I was ready and that was my chance to grab but then I went on to take the free-kick and the whistle blew. That was my Man United career done and dusted."

Despite never playing a single minute, Culkin was there all the way to witness United's memorable 1999 treble-winning season - where they won the league, FA Cup and Champions League days apart.

Image: PA
Image: PA

"I knew I was never going to replace Peter Schmeichel, so I just took it as a young lad going around Europe and having a great time," he added.

"It was great getting on the planes, going to hotels and being part of the biggest club in the world. It was just a great experience and I thought I could take it into a game if I got a chance."

Culkin had loan spells with the likes of Hull City, Bristol Rovers and Livingston before he joined QPR permanently in 2002.

A knee injury forced him to call it quits aged 26, though he did then dabble in Non-League with the likes of Radcliffe Borough, Prescot Cables and FC United Of Manchester.

Still, no-one can take away his five seconds of fame...

Topics: Football News, Football, Manchester United, Premier League, Arsenal

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

 

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