Norman Whiteside is a former international footballer for Manchester United, Everton and Northern Ireland. He achieved legendary status when he became Manchester United’s youngest player since Duncan Edwards. From that moment on he was a cult hero. Whiteside played on the international stage for Northern Ireland. He played in two World Cups and remains the youngest player ever to appear in the tournament.
A kid from the back streets of Belfast to the Theatre of Dreams, Wembley and the World Cup; the football career of Norman Whiteside was not so much a fairy tale as a roller coaster ride of exquisite highs and devastating lows (due chronic injury).
A footballing career that spanned a decade included FA Cup triumphs for Manchester United in 1983 and 1985 when Norman scored in both Wembley cup finals. By the age of 21, he had played in two World Cup tournaments, gaining 38 full international caps for Northern Ireland during his career. In 1989, Norman left Manchester United for Everton, but after only 29 games, his football days were over at the untimely age of 26. Injury forced the retirement of Norman Whiteside the footballer but determination and courage enabled a young man to re-invent himself and be an inspiration to a generation of football fans not only in Manchester and Belfast but also around the world
Today Norman is an accomplished ‘After dinner’ speaker. When his footballing career was cut short by a persistent knee injury (at the age of 26) he obtained a degree in podiatry from Salford University. After working for the Professional Footballers Association as a podiatrist for 8 years he now runs a private practice in Manchester. In addition Norman often works for Manchester United’s commercial department on matchdays as a host.
Norman chronicles his extraordinary story in his autobiography “Determined”.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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