The 1998–99 season was the most successful season in the history of Manchester United Football Club. After finishing the previous season without winning any titles, United won a treble of trophies (the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League), the first side in English football to achieve such a feat. During the campaign United lost only five times, including a one-off Charity Shield fixture, in the League Cup against eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur and their only home defeat, a league match against Middlesbrough in December 1998. A run of 33 games unbeaten in all competitions began on 26 December at home to Nottingham Forest.

Veteran players Brian McClair and Gary Pallister, along with a host of younger and less experienced players such as goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington and striker Graeme Tomlinson, had left the club before the season began. The big news of the pre-season was the arrival of Dutch defender Jaap Stam for a club record fee of £10.75 million. Other additions included striker Dwight Yorke and Swedish winger Jesper Blomqvist. Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel announced his intention to leave the club after eight years at Old Trafford, joining Sporting Clube de Portugal at the end of the season.

The team’s never-say-die attitude, instilled in previous seasons, was key to their success as the players often thrived in difficult situations. The highlight was United’s dramatic comeback in the Champions League final, when Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær each scored in injury time to overturn Bayern Munich’s first-half lead. David Beckham was runner up to Rivaldo for 1999’s European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Fans and writers regard the treble haul as manager Alex Ferguson’s finest hour, although he dismissed that assertion in later years. Tens of thousands of fans lined the streets of Manchester to welcome the team as the season drew to a close. In recognition of his achievements Ferguson was awarded a knighthood,and handed the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in November 1999.

By the end of the season Manchester United had become the world’s richest football club, and the most valuable sporting brand worldwide. The club was also at the centre of a takeover bid by BSkyB, which was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in March 1999.

 

Friendlies

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
25 July 1998 Birmingham City A 3–4 Mulryne (3, 1 pen.) 21′, 38′, 56′ 20,708
27 July 1998 Vålerenga IF A 2–2 Scholes 12′, Solskjær 14′ 19,700
31 July 1998 Brøndby A 6–0 Sheringham (2) 33′, 71′, Scholes 44′, Cole (2) 66′, 84′, Cruyff 90′ 27,022
4 August 1998 Brann A 4–0 Irwin (3) 43′, 44′ (pen.), 55′ (pen.), Cole 82′ 16,100
18 August 1998 Eric Cantona European XI H 8–4 P. Neville, Butt, Scholes, Giggs, Cantona, Cruyff, Notman (2) 55,121
18 January 1999 Aberdeen A 1–1
(6–7p)
Johnsen 51′ 21,500

 

FA Charity Shield

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
9 August 1998 Arsenal N 0–3 67,342

FA Premier League

 

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance League
position
15 August 1998 Leicester City H 2–2 Sheringham 79′, Beckham 90′ 55,052 7th
22 August 1998 West Ham United A 0–0 26,039 11th
9 September 1998 Charlton Athletic H 4–1 Solskjær (2) 39′, 63′, Yorke 45′, 48′ 55,147 9th
12 September 1998 Coventry City H 2–0 Yorke 20′, Johnsen 48′ 55,193 5th
20 September 1998 Arsenal A 0–3 38,142 10th
24 September 1998 Liverpool H 2–0 Irwin 19′ (pen.), Scholes 80′ 55,181 5th
3 October 1998 Southampton A 3–0 Yorke 12′, Cole 60′, Cruyff 75′ 15,251 2nd
17 October 1998 Wimbledon H 5–1 Cole (2) 19′, 88′, Giggs 45′, Beckham 47′, Yorke 52′ 55,265 2nd
24 October 1998 Derby County A 1–1 Cruyff 86′ 30,867 2nd
31 October 1998 Everton A 4–1 Yorke 14′, Short 23′ (o.g.), Cole 59′, Blomqvist 64′ 40,079 2nd
8 November 1998 Newcastle United H 0–0 55,174 3rd
14 November 1998 Blackburn Rovers H 3–2 Scholes (2) 31′, 59′, Yorke 43′ 55,198 2nd
21 November 1998 Sheffield Wednesday A 1–3 Cole 29′ 39,475 2nd
29 November 1998 Leeds United H 3–2 Solskjær 45′, Keane 46′, Butt 78′ 55,172 2nd
5 December 1998 Aston Villa A 1–1 Scholes 47′ 39,241 2nd
12 December 1998 Tottenham Hotspur A 2–2 Solskjær (2) 11′, 18′ 36,079 1st
16 December 1998 Chelsea H 1–1 Cole 45′ 55,159 2nd
19 December 1998 Middlesbrough H 2–3 Butt 62′, Scholes 70′ 55,152 3rd
26 December 1998 Nottingham Forest H 3–0 Johnsen (2) 28′, 60′, Giggs 62′ 55,216 4th
29 December 1998 Chelsea A 0–0 34,741 4th
10 January 1999 West Ham United H 4–1 Yorke 10′, Cole (2) 40′, 68′, Solskjær 81′ 55,180 3rd
16 January 1999 Leicester City A 6–2 Yorke (3) 10′, 64′, 86′, Cole (2) 50′, 62′, Stam 90′ 22,091 3rd
31 January 1999 Charlton Athletic A 1–0 Yorke 89′ 20,043 1st
3 February 1999 Derby County H 1–0 Yorke 65′ 55,174 1st
6 February 1999 Nottingham Forest A 8–1 Yorke (2) 2′, 67′, Cole (2) 7′, 50′, Solskjær (4) 80′, 88′, 90′, 90′ 30,025 1st
17 February 1999 Arsenal H 1–1 Cole 61′ 55,171 1st
20 February 1999 Coventry City A 1–0 Giggs 79′ 22,596 1st
27 February 1999 Southampton H 2–1 Keane 80′, Yorke 84′ 55,316 1st
13 March 1999 Newcastle United A 2–1 Cole 25′, 51′ 36,776 1st
21 March 1999 Everton H 3–1 Solskjær 55′, G. Neville 64′, Beckham 67′ 55,182 1st
3 April 1999 Wimbledon A 1–1 Beckham 44′ 26,121 1st
17 April 1999 Sheffield Wednesday H 3–0 Solskjær 34′, Sheringham 45′, Scholes 62′ 55,270 1st
25 April 1999 Leeds United A 1–1 Cole 55′ 40,255 2nd
1 May 1999 Aston Villa H 2–1 Watson 20′ (o.g.), Beckham 47′ 55,189 2nd
5 May 1999 Liverpool A 2–2 Yorke 22′, Irwin 57′ (pen.) 44,702 2nd
9 May 1999 Middlesbrough A 1–0 Yorke 45′ 34,665 1st
12 May 1999 Blackburn Rovers A 0–0 30,436 1st
16 May 1999 Tottenham Hotspur H 2–1 Beckham 43′, Cole 48′ 55,189 1st

Colours: Green = Manchester United win; Yellow = draw; Red = opponents win.

Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 22 13 3 80 37 +43 79
2 Arsenal 38 22 12 4 59 17 +42 78
3 Chelsea 38 20 15 3 57 30 +27 75

Points allocation: Three points awarded for a win; one for a drawn match; none for a loss.

FA Cup

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
3 January 1999 Round 3 Middlesbrough H 3–1 Cole 68′, Irwin 82′ (pen.), Giggs 90′ 52,232
24 January 1999 Round 4 Liverpool H 2–1 Yorke 88′, Solskjær 90′ 54,591
14 February 1999 Round 5 Fulham H 1–0 Cole 26′ 54,798
7 March 1999 Round 6 Chelsea H 0–0 54,587
10 March 1999 Round 6 replay Chelsea A 2–0 Yorke (2) 4′, 59′ 33,075
11 April 1999 Semi-final Arsenal N 0–0 (a.e.t.) 39,217
14 April 1999 Semi-final replay Arsenal N 2–1 (a.e.t.) Beckham 17′, Giggs 109′ 30,223
22 May 1999 Final Newcastle United N 2–0 Sheringham 11′, Scholes 52′ 79,101

Colours: Green = Manchester United win; Yellow = draw; Red = opponents win.

League Cup

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
28 October 1998 Round 3 Bury H 2–0
(a.e.t.)
Solskjær 106′, Nevland 115′ 52,495
11 November 1998 Round 4 Nottingham Forest H 2–1 Solskjær (2) 57′, 60′ 37,337
2 December 1998 Round 5 Tottenham Hotspur A 1–3 Sheringham 70′ 35,702

Colours: Green = Manchester United win; Yellow = draw; Red = opponents win.

UEFA Champions League

Second qualifying round

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
12 August 1998 Second qualifying round
First leg
ŁKS Łódź H 2–0 Giggs 16′, Cole 81′ 50,906
26 August 1998 Second qualifying round
Second leg
ŁKS Łódź A 0–0 8,000

Group stage

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance Group

position

16 September 1998 Barcelona H 3–3 Giggs 17′, Scholes 25′, Beckham 64′ 53,601 3rd
30 September 1998 Bayern Munich A 2–2 Yorke 30′, Scholes 49′ 53,000 3rd
21 October 1998 Brøndby A 6–2 Giggs (2) 2′, 21′, Cole 28′, Keane 55′, Yorke 60′, Solskjær 62′ 40,315 1st
4 November 1998 Brøndby H 5–0 Beckham 7′, Cole 13′, P. Neville 16′, Yorke 28′, Scholes 62′ 53,250 1st
25 November 1998 Barcelona A 3–3 Yorke (2) 25′, 68′, Cole 53′ 67,648 2nd
9 December 1998 Bayern Munich H 1–1 Keane 43′ 54,434 2nd

Colours: Green = Manchester United win; Yellow = draw; Red = opponents win.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Germany Bayern Munich 6 3 2 1 9 6 +3 11
England Manchester United 6 2 4 0 20 11 +9 10
Spain Barcelona 6 2 2 2 11 9 +2 8
Denmark Brøndby 6 1 0 5 4 18 −14 3

Points allocation: Three points awarded for a win; one for a drawn match; none for a loss.

Knockout phase

 

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
3 March 1999 Quarter-final
First leg
Internazionale H 2–0 Yorke (2) 6′, 45′ 54,430
17 March 1999 Quarter-final
Second leg
Internazionale A 1–1 Scholes 88′ 79,528
7 April 1999 Semi-final
First leg
Juventus H 1–1 Giggs 90+2′ 54,487
21 April 1999 Semi-final
Second leg
Juventus A 3–2 Keane 24′, Yorke 34′, Cole 84′ 60,806
26 May 1999 Final Bayern Munich N 2–1 Sheringham 90+1′, Solskjær 90+3′ 91,000

 

 

Squad statistics

No. CL no. Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1 1 GK Denmark Peter Schmeichel 34 0 8 0 0 0 13 0 1 0 56 0
2 2 DF England Gary Neville 34 1 7 0 0 0 12 0 1 0 54 1
3 3 DF Republic of Ireland Denis Irwin 26(3) 2 6 1 0 0 12 0 1 0 45(3) 3
4 4 DF England David May 4(2) 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 7(2) 0
5 5 DF Norway Ronny Johnsen 19(3) 3 3(2) 0 1 0 6(2) 0 1 0 30(7) 3
6 6 DF Netherlands Jaap Stam 30 1 6(1) 0 0 0 13 0 1 0 50(1) 1
7 7 MF England David Beckham 33(1) 6 7 1 0(1) 0 12 2 1 0 53(2) 9
8 8 MF England Nicky Butt 22(9) 2 5 0 2 0 4(4) 0 1 0 34(13) 2
9 9 FW England Andy Cole 26(6) 17 6(1) 2 0 0 10 5 1 0 43(7) 24
10 10 FW England Teddy Sheringham 7(10) 2 1(3) 1 1 1 2(2) 1 0(1) 0 11(16) 5
11 11 MF Wales Ryan Giggs 20(4) 3 5(1) 2 1 0 9 5 1 0 36(5) 10
12 12 DF England Phil Neville 19(9) 0 4(3) 0 2 0 4(2) 1 0(1) 0 29(15) 1
13 29 DF England John Curtis 1(3) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4(3) 0
14 14 MF Netherlands Jordi Cruyff 0(5) 2 0 0 2 0 0(3) 0 0(1) 0 2(9) 2
15 15 MF Sweden Jesper Blomqvist 20(5) 1 3(2) 0 0(1) 0 6(1) 0 0 0 29(9) 1
16 16 MF Republic of Ireland Roy Keane (c) 33(2) 2 7 0 0 0 12 3 1 0 53(2) 5
17 17 GK Netherlands Raimond van der Gouw 4(1) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 7(1) 0
18 18 MF England Paul Scholes 24(7) 6 3(3) 1 0(1) 0 10(2) 4 1 0 38(13) 11
19 19 FW Trinidad and Tobago Dwight Yorke 32 18 5(3) 3 0 0 11 8 0 0 48(3) 29
20 20 FW Norway Ole Gunnar Solskjær 9(10) 12 4(4) 1 3 3 1(5) 2 0(1) 0 17(20) 18
21 21 DF Norway Henning Berg 10(6) 0 5 0 3 0 3(1) 0 0(1) 0 21(8) 0
22 22 FW Norway Erik Nevland 0 0 0 0 0(1) 1 0 0 0 0 0(1) 1
23 23 DF England Michael Clegg 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
24 30 DF England Wes Brown 11(3) 0 2 0 0(1) 0 3(1) 0 0 0 16(5) 0
28 28 MF Northern Ireland Philip Mulryne 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
29 FW Scotland Alex Notman 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
30 DF England Ronnie Wallwork 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
31 31 GK England Nick Culkin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
33 33 MF England Mark Wilson 0 0 0 0 2 0 0(1) 0 0 0 2(1) 0
34 34 MF England Jonathan Greening 0(3) 0 0(1) 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3(4) 0
38 DF England Danny Higginbotham 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0