Manchester United went in to the 1998/99 season having not picked up any silverware the season before and were determined to make up for it.
They did that in some style by becoming the first English club to ever win the treble of Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League. It propelled United to become the richest football club in the world and the most valuable sporting brand.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember the glorious treble-winning campaign of 1998/99
Having been denied a third consecutive league title in 1997/98 by a single point, United started their 1998/99 challenge at home to Leicester City. This first match of the season was a sign of things to come and gave an example of the never-say-die attitude instilled into the players by Alex Ferguson.
2-0 down with eleven minutes left, they looked like starting the season with a defeat until Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham scored to salvage a draw.
The first defeat of the season came at Arsenal in their fifth match of the campaign, but United bounced back to embark on a run of seven without defeat and just one defeat in the next twelve matches.
Defeat at home to Middlesbrough in December 1998 was their only home defeat of the season in any competition and was also the last time they would lose that season.
After that loss, United won fourteen and drew six of their remaining twenty league games to finish one point ahead of Arsenal to pip them to the title.
Dwight Yorke marked his first season at the club by finishing as the Premier League’s joint top scorer with eighteen league goals and a total of twenty nine in all competitions.
United’s run to the final of the FA Cup in this season was anything but easy, with just Fulham in round 5 being a non-Premier League team.
They started in round three with a home tie against Middlesbrough, who had handed United their only home Premier League defeat just a few weeks before. It wasn’t to be a repeat of the result though, as United comfortably won 3-1 thanks to goals from Andy Cole, Denis Irwin, and Ryan Giggs.
The never-say-die attitude was on show again against Liverpool in the fourth round as two late goals from Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completed a remarkable comeback to win 2-1.
Third-tier side Fulham were next, and they provided a tougher test than many expected, with Cole scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory. A 0-0 draw with Chelsea followed, with Yorke then scoring a brace to win the replay 2-0.
The Semi Final at Wembley pitted United against defending cup holders Arsenal, and they played out a 0-0 draw after extra time in front of almost 40,000 fans at Villa Park. The replay, three days later, was another close encounter that required extra time. Beckham netted during normal time and Giggs hit the winner in extra time as United won 2-1 to book a final at Wembley against Newcastle United.
A domestic double was secured when Sheringham and Paul Scholes found the net in a 2-0 victory, in what was the penultimate FA Cup final to be held at the old Wembley before it was knocked down and rebuilt.
United secured their place in the history books and earned the right to be considered as one of the greatest ever Premier League teams by winning Europe’s biggest club tournament.
Drawn in the ‘group of death’ alongside Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Brondby, United were up against it from the start.
Four draws, in both fixtures against both Barcelona and Bayern came either side after two convincing victories over Brondby to finish second in the group behind the German side and advance to the knockout stages.
Two goals from Yorke gave United a first leg win at home to Inter and Scholes netted in a 1-1 draw in the return fixture. This was followed by a Semi Final against Juventus, where Giggs’ injury time goal salvaged a draw at home before a memorable 3-2 victory in Italy.
Again, United refused to lay down and die despite being 2-0 down (3-1 on aggregate) inside fourteen minutes of the second leg. Roy Keane scored in the 24th minute to get them back in the game and Yorke put United ahead on away goals ten minutes after that. Juventus piled on the pressure, but it was United who found a winner when Cole netted six minutes from time.
The final was held at the Nou Camp in Barcelona against Bayern Munich, the team who had topped United’s group earlier in the tournament.
The German side took the lead early on in the match and still led as the game went into injury time. In injury time, a corner from Beckham wasn’t dealt with by the Bayern defence and a Giggs volley was met by Sheringham, who scuffed his shot into the bottom corner to level things up.
United got another corner straight after the game restarted after the equaliser and another Beckham set-piece was met by Sheringham, who headed it down to Solskjaer and he hit it into the roof of the net to send the United fans into raptures.
A few seconds after the second United goal, the referee blew the final whistle and Manchester United had won the biggest prize in club football and also completed an amazing treble.