Eric Cantona’s 85th minute winner for Manchester United saw Alex Ferguson’s men get the better of their arch nemesis Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup final.
Understandably morale was low in the Liverpool dressing room after the game, but at least skipper John Barnes had the consolation prize of having Cantona’s matchworn shirt – or so he thought.
The pair swapped jerseys at the end of the Wembley showdown as Barnes trudged down the tunnel pondering what might have been.
After Roy Evans addressed the Liverpool team in his post-match team talk, the winger put down the shirt and recharged his batteries with a shower.
Barnes arrived back at his spot in the dressing room shortly after with Clayton Blackmore’s shirt in his spot, but thought nothing of it.
The England international’s brain was going into overdrive at the time, so he just presumed he’d swapped shirts with the United midfielder, as opposed to the French genius.
That was until three years ago, when he discovered what really happened with Cantona’s shirt.
Discussing the hilarious tale on Monday’s Drivetime, he said: “At the end we swapped shirts, of course. I was captain and he was captain.
“I’m not a real keeper of shirts though, I don’t even know where my shirts are now. But I certainly have a fair few of them!
“So about three years ago, myself, Jan Molby and Neil Ruddock went on a speaking tour together.
“Neil Ruddock is telling this story about the 1996 cup final and then goes on to reveal that he’d encountered tough times and had to sold Cantona’s shirt to a charity auction and got £9,000 for it.
“He was saying in his talk ‘Barnesy you gave me Cantona’s shirt and I sold it’ and I was thinking to myself ‘No, I have that shirt’.
“He then went on and explained how Manchester United wanted to sue him, because they said it wasn’t Cantona’s shirt they he’d sold as he had a short sleeve shirt on that day.
“Razo had a picture of Cantona with a long sleeved shirt on though, so essentially the talk he was giving was to prove the shirt he once had was his.
“I went to him: ‘Razor, I didn’t give you Cantona’s shirt’.
“He then proceeded to tell me what had really happened after the game! I was so disappointed I had put Cantona’s shirt down – we were all arguing about the game afterwards.
“I went to have a shower and then he thought to himself I’ll have that and swapped Cantona’s shirt with Clayton Blackmore’s!
“When I came out I just thought I must have swapped with Clayton in the end, so nothing was ever said until then!”
Reports at the time of the auction back in 2013 claimed the shirt sold for £15,000, rather than the £9,000 which Barnes quoted. You do wonder if that was another fib from Ruddock!
Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock always has loved a practical joke… You must question whether John Barnes is the only victim of his outrageous shirt swapping antics!