Two years after winning an All-Ireland with Derry, Anthony Tohill spent a fortnight on trial with Man Utd.
Tohill had been spotted by a scout while playing for Derry City. Speaking on Eamon Dunphy's podcast, 'The Stand', Joe Brolly recalled the scout being impressed by Tohill's physical presence.
"A Manchester United scout came over and said, 'This guy is a beast.' He persuaded Alex Ferguson that he should be brought over for a trial," said Brolly.
"The scout was so impressed that they fast-tracked him. Tohill was wrecking and tearing for Derry City, busting boys and he would n't even have realised he was doing it, pure physical strength."
Ferguson met Tohill, shook hands with him and said, ‘You’re a fine big lad. I’m going to throw you in with the first team.’
‘Brilliant,’ Tohill said. ‘Brilliant. That’s what I’m talking about.’
Andrei Kanchelskis was one of the players involved in the trial game. According to Brolly, Tohill would leave an impression on the winger - both mental and physical.
So Tohill goes out anyway, and the first ball that comes in Kanchelskis is coming across at the diagonal to gather it and Tohill just ploughs straight into him. Bang, puts him up in the air and Kanchelskis rolls over three or four times. Tohill comes through and belts the ball upfield. It’s sort of like, ‘Jesus.’ It’s a trial game.
So the next ball that comes in and he scatters another fella. Kanchelskis meanwhile has gone over to the sideline and apparently said to Ferguson, ‘Get this fucker off before he kills somebody.’
Tohill was around 23 at the time of the trial. His brief time on show in front of Ferguson left the Man Utd manager feeling that though Tohill was physically gifted, he was a bit too rough around the edges.
"After about 10 minutes Ferguson has seen enough and he calls bit Anthony over. He says to him, ‘Ah, I think we’ve got you a bit late, son. We’ve just a wee bit too much to do with you,'" revealed Brolly.