Originally posted on 19 Times And That’s A Fact.
For any United fan, 1999 is ‘it’. It is the year that every dream any Red had came true, and the season that no fan will ever forget. A Premier League win pushed right to the end of the season, an FA Cup that had all the thrills of any good cup run, and a Champions League trophy to celebrate Sir Matt’s 90th birthday.
But can that wonderful season ever be bettered?
The simple answer is yes, of course it can – nothing is unbeatable. There are a wealth of opportunities available to European clubs to bask in the glory of a Quadruple, or even win a ‘Clean Sweep’ – still yet to be achieved. How many English clubs do you know that could win a Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Super Cup?! Currently, only Barcelona look close enough to achieving the feat, but even then, it’d be a massive struggle.
The 1999 win is judged by many to be the most glorious moment in an illustrious history. After all the heartache and despair that followed the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, and the ‘Rising of the Phoenix’ that culminated in a first European Cup in 1968, ’99 was one of those seasons that EVERYTHING fell into place.
Ryan Giggs’ 70-yard dribble and goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. Roy Keane’s inspirational performance against Juventus. The Golden Generation of Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, and Phil Neville all hitting peak performance at the same time. There aren’t many bad thoughts that followed 1999.
However, 1999 will always be remembered by United fans as the best season in the history of not just English football, but European football. It wasn’t what happened on that May evening in Barcelona, but what it meant to so many. United are estimated to have 330m fans worldwide, and I can guarantee that the majority will automatically think of the Treble when 1999 is mentioned. Sod the Millennium Bug, or Cliff Richard’s new Number One – it was the Red Mist at the Nou Camp that we all take away.
But there is no way that it will ever be duplicated. We may win another Treble again, or we may even complete a ‘Clean Sweep’, but the sentimental value of 1999 wont ever be beaten. That season was just majestic.
Who can forget the brute force of our midfield?! Roy Keane with a crunching tackle, before the ball was played to Scholesy, who played an inch-perfect ball across to Beckham, who would himself then cross into the box. Teddy Sheringham up front with Andy Cole, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer read to pounce from the bench whenever a quick goal was required.
Compare that to 2011. Michael Carrick with a tackle, before the ball was played to Darren Fletcher, who played a ball to Nani, who would cross into the box. Doesn’t sound quite as effective when Lady Luck isn’t on your side.
Solskjaer is similar to Chicharito, in that they both loved to score goals, and they both adored running from the sideline in the 85th minute in search of a late winner. Wayne Rooney’s had a few ‘hairy moments’, let’s say, but he is still one of the greatest signings Fergie has made.
Our defence can, of course, occasionally be shambolic. Nemanja would leave Rio exposed, and seeing as he’s crocked 90% of the time, we do see flaws. Especially if Jonny Evans has to play. A far cry from the super-partnership that was Ronnie Johnson and Jaap Stam. You’d be lucky to make it past the big Dutchmen, and then you’d be faced by the Great Dane that was Peter Schmeichel.
So, in reality, no, 1999 can’t be duplicated. In terms of footballing capabilities, all you have to do is look at the Champions League Quarter-Final against Chelsea last season, and you’ll see we haven’t lost it. But it won’t ever be quite as special as that completed Treble in May 1999.
I used to have an alarm clock in the shape of Old Trafford, and I woke up every morning to this…
‘Beckham, into Sheringham, and Solskjaer has done it! Manchester United have reached the Promised Land!’