Manchester United’s treble-winning season in 1998-1999 will be remembered for the team’s domination and the exciting Champions League final comeback, but it also helped kickstart one of the club’s most successful eras.
The Manchester United squad that closed out the 1990s created a level that has yet to be surpassed, led by a legendary group of academy products who helped usher in a new era following the sudden departure of former captain and French great Eric Cantona.
That Red Devils side became the first in English history to win the Champions League, Premier League title, and FA Cup all in the same season, and they did so during a year in which Sir Alex Ferguson’s club was continuously dominant, riding a 33-game winning streak.
The seeds for that great season were sown a year before, in the midst of a brutally dismal end to the 1997-1998 season, which saw the Red Devils blow a 12-point lead to eventual winner Arsenal.
During the same season, the team was eliminated from the Champions League and the FA Cup.
That 97-98 season, as forgettable as it was, did help develop the team that would eventually win the treble.
That season, Roy Keane took over as captain, though he missed much of the season due to a knee injury, and Teddy Sheringham came, while the homegrown nucleus of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Nick Butt took on increasingly significant positions in the squad.
In the 1998-1999 season, Keane returned to dominate, while newcomers Jaap Stam and Dwight Yorke bolstered the defence and attack, respectively.
Manchester United’s tendency for late-game heroics became a frequent feature of that season, with no comeback more spectacular than their Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.
Yorke and Andy Cole were the most dangerous strike combo in Europe that season, and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Teddy Sheringham contributed to Manchester United having the most productive attack in England.
Manchester United’s winger duo of David Beckham and Ryan Giggs helped open up any defence, while Scholes and Keane controlled the midfield.
Defensively, Peter Schmeichel had a dominant last season at Old Trafford, aided by Stam’s imposing presence in central defence and Gary Neville’s high level consistency at right back.
Manchester United never came close to matching its 1989-1999 glory, but the next season saw the Red Devils dominate the Premier League, winning by an 18-point margin (compared to its narrow one-point league triumph a year earlier).
Fabian Barthez, a World Cup-winning goalkeeper from France, took Schmeichel’s place in goal and helped the team win the league title in 2000 and 2001.
Three consecutive league titles from 1999 to 2001 is undoubtedly the best period of Manchester United’s modern history and no Premier League team has matched the accomplishments of that 1999 Manchester United squad!