MANCHESTER UNITED 1996-98

A whopping 26 figures were released for Manchester United in the 1996/97 kit, with the release spanning over 2 seasons. 11 of these figures were previously released in the 95/96 kit, those 11 being Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole, Nicky Butt, Peter Schmeichel, Dennis Irwin, Pallister, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Brian McClair. Released for the first and only time was David May, he was planned to be released in the 95/96 set but was dropped from the range.

 

David Beckham was sculpted and released for the first time, although unless you read the name on the base you will have had a hard time identifying which player it was, thankfully the Beckham figures after this were a vast improvement. Corinthian released a second Becks and used the England 98 Beckham sculpt for the 97/98 season, again though the figure was in the 96/97 kit.

 

This set also featured some new sculpts of existing figures, Roy Keane was re sculpted, minus his goatee beard and assigned a new base number as it was a new sculpt. Danish keeper Schmeichel was also re sculpted and this figure was a spot on likeness of the imposing shot stopper, it was also a huge improvement on the previous release.

 

This Schmeichel was also released in 2 different kits, firstly in the Purple home kit in January 97 which was worn for the 1996/97 season, with the updated sculpt being released later during the same season. The Green kit is actually the home goal keeper shirt was worn for the 1997/98 season, so technically the second sculpt of Schmeichel in Green kit is in 1997/98 home kit. The green kit version of Schemeichel is certainly the rarer of the 2, with a blister pack version proving quite elusive.

 

The ever controversial Frenchman Eric Cantona was also re sculpted into an iconic pose which had him sculpted with his shirt collar up This is one of the most popular figures Corinthian ever released and was sold in huge numbers despite many people believing it to be rare, the reality is it was far from that. It has long been debated by collector's that there are 2 versions, with the conversation revolving around his beard and the thickness of it.

My personal take on it is that yes some do have a much more prominent beard than others, however i feel when something is mass produced and hand finished you need to allow some degree of natural variation, so I do see this as another version, that said I do have both in my collection.

 

Phil Neville was sculpted for the first time and Teddy Sheringham was repainted into the Manchester United kit after previously being released for Tottenham Hotspur, but this new figure was given a new base code. 2 Norwegians were released for the first time, those two being Ronny Johnsen and the 'baby faced assassin' Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, both are great sculpts and the Solskjaer was a much anticipated release.

 

Ronny Johnsen was released with 2 different shirt numbers, something that was not actually discovered until many years after the figure was released. He was first released as a single blister in October 1997 and was assigned the squad number of 19, however during the same season he switched numbers to 5 after Lee Sharpe was sold to Leeds United, so Corinthian released an updated version of Johnsen wearing his new shirt number of 5.

 

To the absolute best of my knowledge both versions (19 & 5) were only done as single blisters and there is nothing to tell them apart without trying to look into the blister to see which shirt version it it. There were 2 blister versions released though, the difference is the collectors leaflet, one versions the standard FAPL version, the other has the Headliners logo on it.

 

In terms of rarity that is an easy one to answer, as he was done for the first time Corinthian will have mass produced him initially, which is the number 19 version, however the updated 5 will have been done in much fewer numbers and it is the number 5 version which is much harder to find.

 

Two first time sculpts were also released and both were never used again, those two being Karel Poborsky and Jodi Cruyff. The Poborsky was very detailed and the Cruyff was unique at the time, as it was sculpted without a football at his feet, the first time Corinthian had done this but not the last.

 

Completing this set are the brains behind this hugely successful side, Alex Ferguson was released for the first time as was his right hand man Brian Kidd. The Ferguson used the same body pose as the other manager figures but as Kidd was an assistant manager Corinthian sculpted him with a more casual feel, painted wearing a tracksuit, complete with whistle and clipboard, making this figure very unique at the time. I was not a Manchester United fan or a fan of Brian Kidd but even I snapped up this figure, just because it was so different.

 

It also has to be mentioned that there are variants of blisters and collector cards in this set, 7 in total. Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Andy Cole, Roy Keane (sculpt 2) Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd were all done as classic blister and with the Headliners logo on, with the collector cards in the Headliner branded blisters also carrying the Headliners logo.

The 7th is something I discovered only very recently, which is that Phil Neville is also done as standard collector card and also with the Headliners logo on. The regular card seems to be far rarer to find, and i have only seena couple of standard blister packs, so it appears Corinthian did a much smaller productionrun on the figure initially when it was released in February 1997.

There was also 3 different 4 figure packs released

  • MU4D - Ryan Giggs, Dennis Irwin, Roy Keane & David May

  • MU4E - Eric Cantona, Brian McClair, Paul Scholes & David Beckham

  • MU4F - Andy Cole, Peter Schmeichel, Gary Pallister & Gary Neville

 

Corinthian also released a 12 figure team pack, the contents of the pack was often mistaken, the official Corinthian line up is Eric Cantona, Brian McClair, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Denis Irwin, Andy Cole, Peter Schmeichel, Gary Pallister, Gary Neville, Roy Keane & David May, however Neville id not feature in the pack, instead it included Nicky Butt, with the pack being released in October 1996.

All figures were released a single blister packs, coming with collector card and collectors information leaflet.

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Ryan Giggs

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Eric Cantona

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Andy Cole

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Peter Schmeichel

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Dennis Irwin

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Gary Pallister

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Roy Keane

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Brian McClair

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Nicky Butt

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Gary Neville

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Paul Scholes

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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David May

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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David Beckham

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Eric Cantona

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Sculpt 2

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Roy Keane

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Sculpt 2

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Yordi Cruyff

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Peter Schmeichel

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Sculpt 2

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Peter Schmeichel

Manchester United

Home 1997/98

Sculpt 2

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Phil Neville

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Karel Poborsky

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Ronny Johnsen

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Squad Number 19

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Ronny Johnsen

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Squad Number 5

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David Beckham

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

Sculpt 2

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Teddy Sheringham

Manchester United

Home 1996/97

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Alex Ferguson

Manchester United

Suit

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Brian Kidd

Manchester United

Tracksuit

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4 Figure Blister Pack - MU4D
 

The Manchester United 4 Figure Blister Pack Contains:

  • 4 Figures

  • 4 Collector Cards

  • Collector's Leaflet

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4 Figure Blister Pack - MU4E
 

The Manchester United 4 Figure Blister Pack Contains:

  • 4 Figures

  • 4 Collector Cards

  • Collector's Leaflet

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4 Figure Blister Pack - MU4F
 

The Manchester United 4 Figure Blister Pack Contains:

  • 4 Figures

  • 4 Collector Cards

  • Collector's Leaflet

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12 Figure Team Pack

The Manchester United 12 Figure Team Pack Contained:

  • 12 Figures

  • 12 Collector Cards

  • 1 Collectors Leaflet

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