Dwight Yorke Talks Glory Days, Globetrotting With Manchester United – Forbes

Manchester United’s Dwight Yorke celebrates his first goal with teammate David Beckham, November 18, … [+] 2000 (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
Dwight Yorke spent 18 full seasons as a forward in the English Premier League. While much of it was spent with Aston Villa and two other teams, he may be most remembered for his four seasons at the world-renowned powerhouse Manchester United.
“I went to England at a very young age, age 16, and spent 10 years at Aston Villa, developing my skills. Then the opportunity to join Man United presented itself,” Yorke said in an interview last week via Zoom.
Yorke first joined Manchester United in 1998 and played there until the end of the 2001-2002 season. During that time, he would end up netting a total of 65 goals in 152 appearances for the club as a feared lethal weapon in a striker partnership that also contained Andy Cole. During his four years at Old Trafford, Yorke helped United win the Premier three times in a row, from 1999 to 2001.
“Man United was always the team you wanted to beat—just dominating figures in the Premier League,” he said.
Now 51-year-old ex-Red Devil keeps busy as the manager of Australian A-League club Macarthur FC, which plays just outside Sydney, New South Wales. But Yorke has stayed very closely connected to United over the years and still plays a role as an ambassador for Manchester United in some of its off-the-pitch ventures.
Most recently, Yorke has partnered with the club in a promotion with hospitality firm Marriott Bonvoy, the official hotel loyalty partner of the Manchester United Football Club. Last week the club and hotelier announced for 2023 new “once-in-a-lifetime packages” that will grant members behind-the-scenes access to MUFC for the remainder of the season.
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“Like United, Marriott is one of the iconic global brands, and one that United’s been involved with for a long time now,” Yorke said.
Some highlights include overnight stays at suited inside Old Trafford Stadium, United’s home ground. There is also special access to visit the pitch and the club’s Ambassador’s Lounge as well as opportunities to travel with the team to Barcelona, all through the Marriott Bonvoy Moments platform.
Also talking up the partnership and the opportunities for fans to travel with their favorite club is Wes Brown, a defender and England international who played for United from 1997 to 2011.
Manchester United celebrate with the European Cup. ( l-r) Paul Scholes, Jesper Blomqvist, Jonathan … [+] Greening, Raimond van der Gouw, Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Peter Schmeichel, Nicky Butt, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Denis Irwin (partially hidden), David May, Teddy Sheringham, Ronny Johnsen, David Beckham, Phil Neville, Dwight Yorke, Jaap Stam, Ryan Giggs and Andy Cole.
Brown, a local boy from Manchester was part of seven English Premier League champion squads and played alongside Yorke in 1998-1999 as a part of the legendary “ treble-winning side” that won the Premier, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League all in one season.
To bid on exclusive experiences such as the Marriott Hotels Suite of Dreams and the Ultimate European Away trip, fans can find out more through the Marriott Bonvoy x Manchester United Partnership.
Despite his accolades with the club, Yorke is quick to point out that he was not “the number one guy” upon his transfer to United, and that it was “game on” once he fully suited up for United.
“As a player, you aspire to be the best. I loved my time at Aston Villa, but felt I wanted to take my game to the next level.”
Yorke points out that even in 1998, at the very beginning of a long run of league championships that stretched onto 2013, the club had what he called “the best players, and the best football manager of all time in British Football,” in Sir Alex Ferguson.
A football Crown Jewel: A look at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, from the stadium’s … [+] East Stand. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Yorke explains, however, that lacing up his boots to play really opened his eyes.
“You know what the club is like, but until you play there, you don’t quite understand the magnitude of the club, the fan base, and how big it really is. And, of course, winning big competitions and trophies, as a part of the best team in the history of the game.”
He added that playing under “taskmaster” Ferguson and an outspoken team captain in Roy Keane, Yorke knew to demand more of himself as a player. Then there were many other big profile greats alongside him at the club during that time, such as Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, and of course David Beckham.
“Playing with those guys, the expectation was high—I don’t call it pressure, because this is what I do,” Yorke said. “Pressure is when you can’t pay the mortgage. Obviously, I was getting paid, and handsomely as well, so it wasn’t pressure to me.”
Moreover, he said that it wasn’t just the 11 players on the field that made him better, but rather. “I had a squad of 22 players, and the players who weren’t playing were equally as good.”
Yet, Yorke points to his striker partner up front, Andy Cole, as the driver of so much success.
“He was the number one striker, not me,” Yorke said of Cole. “He was the best there was, and we scored many goals together, even if I did get more (goals) once or twice.”
In their first season together (1998-1999), the pair combined for 35 Premier League goals—17 from Cole and 18 from Yorke. Then the next season, the pair put up 39 goals, with Yorke netting 20 of them.
While Manchester United has since had much tougher competition in the EPL, especially with the rise of crosstown rival and six-time league champs Manchester City, Yorke contends that the club’s global brand is intact and that United still commands the biggest support across the world.
“When you come out of it, and participate as a global ambassador (for Manchester United), then you see how many fans there are all over the world. And there’s nothing like it.”

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