Transfers: Alf-Inge Haaland, a mixed legacy at Manchester City: “He was seen as the target of Roy Keane”


Chance often does things well. Erling Haaland officially signed up with Manchester City on June 13, 2022… exactly 22 years after Alf-Inge Haaland. His father, the now ex-Dortmund scorer, made reference to it in the press release published by the Citizens. “I did a little bit for my dadhe confided. I was born in England (note: in Leeds) and I’ve always been a Manchester City fan. I know a lot about the club. So I feel a bit like home here and I think I can give the best of my football.. Alf-Inge Haaland at Manchester City is a whole different era. A time when the Citizens were only a shadow of their United rivals.
June 13, 2000. The Norwegian international midfielder (34 caps), experienced in Premier League games under the colors of Nottingham Forest (1993-97) and Leeds United (1997-2000), arrives at the other Manchester club, then promoted to the elite of English football, against a transfer of 3.75 million euros. “A large sum for the time“, recalls Philippe Auclair, specialist in English football and columnist for Eurosport.

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He is a player who had a certain reputation in Englandhe recalls. He was part of that Leeds United team that was in full swing and qualified for the Champions League (note: in 2000). He was not a star but an important player for David O’Leary. However, if he had to be compared to Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal midfielders of the time, he was in the category below..”

Alf-Inge Haaland was more of a duty and utility player. But no more than that

Arrived during the 2000-01 season from Newcastle United, Laurent Charvet did not forget “the very warm welcome“from the Norwegian.”He’s a good personand simpleconfides to us the winner of the 1998 Cup with Chelsea. He was professional, accessible and did not shy away. In the little games in training, he was always happy and smiling. He took the pressure well. He was a good teammate.”

For his first – and almost only – exercise with Manchester City, Alf-Inge Haaland played 35 league matches. All as owners. “In his position as a defensive midfielder, he recovered a lot of balls. He didn’t let go and was hard on the manremembers the former French player. He was not too fast but had good ground. He was also technical and made good raises.” When he sees Erling Haaland struggling today at the forefront, Laurent Charvet sometimes finds his former teammate.

I recognize him when he finishes the actions with his gnaque or when he tackleshe compares. He didn’t often get the chance to face goal, but he was skilful. Finally, I remember that even if you had to put your leg in opposition and it was dangerous, Alf-Inge did it.”

Despite his impact in midfield, the mark left by the Norwegian at Manchester City remains “limited or almost non-existent“.”We wouldn’t be talking about Alf-Inge Haaland at Manchester City today if his son hadn’t signed with the Citizensemphasizes Philippe Auclair. His only full season ended in relegation. At the time, Shaun Goater or Paulo Wanchope made more of an impression on this team. Alf-Inge Haaland was more of a duty and utility player. But no more than that. If you mention Alf-Inge Haaland to Manchester City supporters, they will relate more to Roy Keane rather than his three Premier League goals in 2000-01.”

Twenty-two years after his father Alf-Inge, Erling Haaland joins Manchester City.

Credit: Quentin Guichard

Indeed, Roy Keane will forever be linked to the career of Erling Haaland’s father. On April 21, 2001, at the end of the Manchester United-Manchester City match (1-1, 35th day of the Premier League), the Irish midfielder planted his crampons in the Norwegian’s right knee. A gesture of great brutality that made the rounds of TVs around the world. “Alf-Inge Haaland was seen as the target of a premeditated attack by Roy Keane“, specifies Philippe Auclair.

Keane’s tackle didn’t end Haaland’s career

Excluded, the former number 16 of Manchester United is suspended … three matches. A year later in his autobiography, Roy Keane writes that the Norwegian, author of insults after the Irishman’s serious knee injury four years earlier, “got what he deserved“Confessions which earned him five suspension matches and a fine of around 175,000 euros (it had been 6,000 euros after his tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland).

Contrary to popular belief, the violent aggression of Roy Keane did not cause the end of Haaland father’s career. “He gets tackled in the right knee. But the knee that was operated on and which caused the end of Alf-Inge Haaland’s career is the left. He finished the game against Manchester United and then the Premier League season. Four days after the match, he even played with Norway in a friendly against Bulgaria (2-1)”, recalls Philippe Auclair.

The following season in the Championship, the midfielder will play the last three matches of his career in England. Twenty years later, a new Haaland arrives. With a completely different expectation.

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