Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Blackburn and Manchester United cult hero became Premier League winner thanks to Arsenal legend Ian Wright

Premier League cult hero Henning Berg revealed the bizarre story of how he actually ended up in English football.

The defender is remembered for winning Premier League titles with Blackburn and Manchester United, the first player to do so with different clubs.

Berg became a Premier League champion for the first time at BlackburnGetty

Berg caught Dalglish’s eye while playing for NorwayGetty

The defender played 275 top flight games in England over more than a decade.

Manager Kenny Dalglish brought him to Blackburn in 1993, but it was a good deal of fortune that saw Berg end up there.

Dalglish went to watch Norway vs England at Wembley in 1992 to scout Tore Pederson, with Berg on the bench.

However, an injury to Pederson, caused by Arsenal legend Ian Wright, saw a change made.

“This is a crazy story,” Berg told FourFourTwo. “I’d just gotten into the Norway team, so I was on the bench. Our centre-back, Tore Pedersen, got an elbow to the head from Ian Wright. Our doctor ran on and asked Tore what the score was. Because England had been dominating, the doctor thought England were leading 1-0. 

“But the score was actually 0-0. Tore said it was 0-0, so the doctor thought he had concussion and made him go off. I came on and Dalglish saw me playing.

“A month later, I was invited to train with Blackburn and they offered me a contract. It was pretty good for me that the doctor didn’t know much about football.” 

Blackburn paid £400,000 to sign Berg and he played 42 times in their 1994/95 title winning campaign.

Berg was part of Man United’s historic treble winners who won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1999Getty

His performances at the club saw manager Sir Alex Ferguson pay £5m to bring him to Manchester United in 1997, a joint-record fee a British club paid for a defender at the time.

Ferguson had reportedly wanted to sign him nine years earlier, when he was a teenager at Valerenga, but work permit issues put a stop to that.

Berg won back-to-back Premier League titles with the club, in the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 campaigns.

In the 1999 season, he missed both the FA Cup and Champions League finals through injury, but still picked up medals.

Berg returned to Blackburn before then finishing his playing career at Rangers in Scotland.

The 53-year-old played 100 times for Norway and appeared at two World Cups as well as Euro 2000

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