Manchester United’s Treble

Manchester United's Treble by Artyom

By Artyom Tonoyan

This season, the whole of Manchester is once again tense in anticipation. Manchester United strengthened a lot in the summer. By signing Raphael Varane, they solved the issue of defense, and Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo in particular made the attack very powerful. Solskjaer’s team looks like a serious contender for the Premier League and Champions League. Manchester City will try to defend their title. 

Guardiola’s team has been seriously claiming the treble for many years, but something is constantly bothering them. Meanwhile, Manchester United remains the only team in England to win 3 trophies in a season. While other teams in England are trying to replicate this achievement, we will remember the legendary team of Alex Ferguson and its great season.

Manchester United fans continue to live on that huge success 22 years ago. Their team is the first in the history of the country to take three major trophies in a season (Champions League, EPL and FA Cup).

In the 1997/1998 season, the red devils were left without trophies. The championship was lost to Arsenal two rounds before the finish. The Mancunians were eliminated from the national cups in the early stages. And hopes of competing for the Champions League were dashed in the quarterfinals about Monaco.

Manchester United spent a lot of money in the offseason. At that time, few teams could spend 50 million pounds. The main acquisitions were three. Forward from Aston Villa, Dwight Yorke, defender Yap Stam from PSV and Swedish winger from Parma – Jesper Blomqvist.  

Satisfied Ferguson did not hide his satisfaction from such infusions.  As for the rest, the backbone of the team remained the same. The Neville brothers in defense, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes in midfield, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham on the flanks. Plus Roy Keane and Andy Cole, whose experience you could rely on.

However, the beginning of the new season was not happy.  First, Manchester United got in the teeth in the August match for the FA Super Cup at Wembley, losing 0: 3 to the sworn Arsenal. And secondly, at the start of the Premier League United scored two gray draws with Leicester and West Ham.  

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Well, in the fifth round, Ferguson’s team again received three unanswered goals from Arsene Wenger’s brigade, at Highbury. After that United ranked 10th in the table. Did anyone believe at that moment that by the end of the season this team would win everything?

The more wonderful the story turned out. After all, this is not the whole negative of September 1998. At the start of the Champions League group stage, Manchester United grabbed a first half lead 2-0 against Barcelona at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Giggs and Scholes. But in the end, the scoreboard was a draw 3: 3. On the road against Bayern, Ferguson’s team again failed to keep the winning score.

Forward Teddy Sheringham comes in to help the defense at the last minute and throws the ball into his own net after Peter Schmeichel’s exit error. Who knew then that the future finalists of the tournament had come together in the group and Sheringham’s revenge in the spring would be deafening.

Against the background of September failures, a confident victory over another principal rival Liverpool arrived just in time. United is back on the winning path. Very soon the team climbed to second place in the Premier League, in the Champions League the “reds” took second place in the group, leaving Barça behind. 

But in the winter, Manchester United stalled again. A complex calendar affected. So out of 8 December matches, Ferguson’s team won only one, having played 5 draws. Also, the team was eliminated from the English League Cup. However, not a trophy to grieve. But as soon as the new year comes, United becomes a real monster. West Ham gets 4, Leicester 6 and Nottingham Forrest all 8.

It was a match when Solskjaer set his unique record by scoring 4 goals in 11 minutes as a substitute. And what match was won against Liverpool in the FA Cup. Until the 88th minute Manchester United was losing, but York and Solskjaer decided the outcome of the meeting. This victory at Old Trafford is also remembered to this day, because in the script it was similar to the upcoming Champions League final.

Having already become the leaders of the Premier League, the mankunians broke off the winning streak. Against Arsenal, Ferguson and company are tied at home. And in March, the “reds” faced difficult cup trials. The first home match of the Champions League quarterfinals with Inter was pretty smooth. Dwight Yorke scored a double before the break. After 4 days, Ferguson has to shuffle the squad for the FA Cup home match with Chelsea. 

The main forwards were resting in the reserve, and Solskjaer did not take out at the start. It is much easier for a Norwegian to get off the bench. But in the match at Stamford Bridge, the ubiquitous York reigns again, scoring another double. The return match against Inter was not easy. At the end of the hour of the game, the Nerazzurriscored 1 goal.

The guests were rescued by Scholes, who equalized the score in the end.  And in the first semifinal match against Juventus, another Ferguson’s favorite, Ryan Giggs, came to the aid of Manchester United, who scored the return goal in 91 minutes. Captain Roy Keane later said that this match was one of the most difficult for him in his career. In the first half, they scored 1 goal for us, although they could have 2 or 3. “We were lucky to equalize in the end” (C) Roy Keane.

And here are the memories of Nicky Butt, who went to the return match in Turin with a personal assignment – to neutralize Zinedine Zidane: “Sir Alex said before the game that he was soon 30 and he is not the same. I’ve played against many incredible players in my life, but Zidane was unstoppable. It feels like he is covering his boots with glue.  I admire Zizu’s game”.  (C) – Nicky Butt.

By the 11th minute of the return game, Manchester United missed two from Inzaghi. And when everyone began to estimate the chances of Juventus in the final, the captain of the guests Keane revived hope. Soon, York equalizes the score and is already 2: 2 at half-time. 

Such a result was in the hands of Manchester United, and the Old Lady did not get away from the shock. Towards the end of the match, York and Cole finally beat Juventus. 3-2 and United in the Champions League final with Bayern Munich.

Between the matches against Juventus there was a semi-final match in the FA Cup against Arsenal. Wenger was Fergie’s main rival at that time, and after two games the Scot outplayed the Frenchman. Schmeichel’s save after Bergkamp’s penalty kick, as well as the legendary race and goal of Ryan Giggs, lead Manchester United to the FA Cup final. 

By the 33rd round of the championship, United is losing the lead, drawing with Leeds. Arsenal was also not stable, so the teams were constantly losing leadership positions to each other. Manchester was one point ahead of the final round. 

In the last round against Tottenham, Manchester United missed first, which made his fans nervous. But just before the break, Beckham evens the score, and in the second half, Cole scored the championship goal.

Newcastle was in the Cup final. At the start of the match, the Manchester United captain is injured. Sheringham took his place. This replacement worked brilliantly. Within a couple of minutes, Teddy opened the scoring. At the beginning of the second half, Sheringham made an assist to Scholes. 2-0 and Manchester United takes their 10th FA Cup.

Manchester United Close In On The Treble

On May 26 at Camp Nou, the mankunians cannot count on the main link in the center of the field.  Keane and Scholes miss the meeting due to suspensions. They were replaced by Beckham and Butt. Giggs Ferguson sends right, and Swede Blomqvist comes out on the left. Well, in the attack, Sir Alex trusted the Cole-York duo. 

Everyone knows the course of that great game. Even those fans who were born in the 21st century. But all the same, it is fashionable to revise this miracle endlessly. Manchester United conceded a free-kick by Mario Basler already on the 6th minute. The reds did not succeed. Bayern were calmly in control of the match. They still had chances for goals, but the ball flies into the post, then into the crossbar. But here three fateful changes take place. 

Ferguson first releases Sheringham instead of Blomqvist, then Solskjaer instead of Cole, and at the same time the Munich coach removes Lothar Matheus from the game. The main time expires, the judge shows the added minutes. The Germans are already counting down and preparing glasses for the holiday.  And then two corners, which turned the world upside down. 

Sheringham corrects a shot from Giggs, who unsuccessfully struck with his right foot, and while Bayern tried to recover, United earned a new corner. Beckham routinely serves to the near, where Sheringham wins the top, and the Norwegian ferries the ball into the net. By the way, at this time, ribbons in the colors of the German club were hung on the Champions League trophy, and the president of UEFA went downstairs to present the award to Bayern.

It seems that in 100 years such a victory will not lose its colors. Ferguson has created a truly great team. There were also individual successes. Dwight Yorke became the top scorer of the season with 29 goals in all competitions. Andy Cole scored 24 times. The 1999 championship line-up will collect many more trophies, but that’s another story.

It was the story of how Alex Ferguson, along with his phenomenal team, won the treble and at the same time earned himself the title “Sir”. 

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