In 1999 Manchester United became the first English team to win a continental treble – and they remain the only English team to have achieved this feat. Winning the Champions League final 2-1 vs Bayern Munich with an unbelievable last gasp comeback, 1-0 down after 90 minutes.
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We’re looking back at the Champions League final from what was an iconic campaign by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd and exploring the legacy of the treble win.
Manchester United in 1998/1999 were one of the best sides in English football history. They had astonishing depth, a crop of world class academy graduates, played exhilarating football and supplied some of the most iconic moments the game has ever seen.
Manchester United were set-up by the great Sir Alex Ferguson in a 4-4-2 formation, but Dwight Yorke’s eagerness to get on the ball meant that this would often look more like a 4-4-1-1 or could vary further depending on which flank Man Utd were attacking down, Ryan Giggs over on the left was the direct, vertical option whereas David Beckham was situated out on the right but liked to drift inwards and supply a quality of delivery that we arguably haven’t seen replicated in the Premier League since the iconic midfielder departed. Elite ball-winner and leader Roy Keane usually partnered the more technical Paul Scholes in the centre of midfield. Jaap Stam, Ronny Johnsen, Denis Irwin and Gary Neville were the go-to back four with Peter Schmeichel between the sticks. Manchester United had excellent depth up top in 1998/1999, with the famous Dwight Yorke-Andy Cole partnership being Sir Alex Ferguson’s first choice pairing with Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offering excellent back-up, often coming off the bench to win games.
Arguably what was most impressive about Manchester United’s treble win so impressive was the quality of opposition that they were up against. Domestically, they had to compete with a historic Arsenal side that was lead by the great Arsene Wenger and featured world class talent like Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp – and still came out on top in both the Premier League and of course that famous FA Cup run. In the European Cup, Man Utd had to overcome Bayern Munich on two separate occasions and beat Barcelona.
Having secured the Premier League, FA Cup and the Champions League with a squad formed largely of academy graduates – the likes of Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs – surely Man Utd’s 1998/1999 season has to go down as one of the most impressive campaigns in history.
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