Manchester United completed the seemingly impossible in 1998/99, becoming the first and still only English club to win a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.
The squad was flush with top quality players, beyond the starting XI. And even though only 19 players started at least five games in all competitions, Alex Ferguson could always call on individuals he could rely on give a performance when it mattered.
Here’s a look back at United’s top six goalscorers that season.
David Beckham - 9
David Beckham was a better goalscorer than people often give him credit for, regularly and consistently chipping in goals for United in each season he was a first-team regular. The 1998/99 campaign was no different, resulting in nine goals in addition to his 17 assists.
It was a late trademark Beckham free-kick that spared United from a home defeat to Leicester on the opening day of the Premier League season. He also scored a winner over Aston Villa during the run-in and the equaliser against Tottenham on the final day to help secure the title.
Beckham also scored a pearl in the FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal that quickly became overshadowed (more on that very soon), while a free-kick against Barcelona at Old Trafford in the Champions League group stage was perhaps his standout goal.
Ryan Giggs - 10
Although injuries limited him to just three goals and 24 appearances in the Premier League, leading to a significant contribution from summer signing Jesper Blomqvist, Ryan Giggs still reached double figures in all competitions – his first time since 1995/96.
Giggs scored half of those goals in the Champions League and was actually United’s joint second highest scorer in the competition. He netted twice in an important 6-2 group stage win over Brondby and got a later equaliser in the semi-final first leg against Juventus.
Most famously, the flying winger put United into the FA Cup final when he scored an iconic solo goal against Arsenal in extra-time of the tense semi-final replay. Without that strike, many still speculate the Gunners would have won a double at the expense of United’s treble.
Paul Scholes - 11
It wasn’t until he later reached his thirties that Paul Scholes became a revered deep-lying play-maker, with 1998/99 one of eight different seasons in his career when he reached double figures in front of goal, getting 11 in this particular campaign.
Scholes netted six times in the Premier League, including one in a win over Liverpool and a brace as United beat Blackburn 3-2. In the Champions League, he scored a late away goal against Inter in the quarter-final second leg that killed late Italian hope of forcing extra-time.
Along with Roy Keane, he was suspended for the Champions League final, which arguably contributed to a relatively poor performance from United overall. They were, after all, missing half their first choice midfield, with the other half also reshuffled to compensate.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - 18
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the ultimate squad rotation player in 1998/99, an effective relief player who appeared as a substitute more often than he started but still scored 18 goals in competitions, the last of which ensured legendary status for eternity.
It was of course Solskjaer’s outstretched boot that won the 1999 Champions League final deep into stoppage time, having only come off the bench around 10 minutes earlier. Even without 16 years and counting of service as a player, coach and now manager, his legacy was assured.
Earlier in the campaign, Solskjaer had saved United from a potential FA Cup replay at Anfield when he hit a late fourth round winner, while aside from that goal at Camp Nou, his other most memorable contribution was the four-goal haul against Nottingham Forest.
Andrew Cole - 24
After struggling to justify his British record price tag in 1995/96 and missing much of the following season as a result of two broken legs, Andrew Cole found his feet at Old Trafford in 1997/98 and carried that form through to the treble season in 1998/99.
His Champions League goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou after exchanging a one-two with Dwight Yorke remains one of the lasting memories of the campaign. It was also Cole’s goal against Juventus in the semi-final second leg that sealed United’s comeback.
Cole got 24 goals in all competitions, including 17 in the Premier League. The most famous of those came on the very last day of the season when he superbly netted against Tottenham at Old Trafford to seal the 2-1 comeback win that gave United the title, the first leg of the treble.
Dwight Yorke – 29
Cole’s partnership with £12.6m club record summer signing Yorke in many ways defined the season and gave an already talented United side even more cutting edge quality.
Yorke netted 29 times in all competitions, with his Premier League tally of 18 earning him a share of the Golden Boot. He also scored other crucial goals in the Champions League against Barcelona, Inter and Juventus, as well as in the FA Cup against Liverpool and Chelsea.
Ex-teammate Gary Neville recently admitted his arrival from Aston Villa had taken some United players by surprise, as did his quality and the scale of his impact.
“We knew Yorke was a good player from Aston Villa, but you didn't think he would be the one to come into United. I don't think anybody realised how good a player he was - I never realised how good he was,” the former United defender said on Sky Sports MNF Retro last month.
“Yorke was an unbelievable player. He could do all things; he could score, set up play, run in behind, dribble, bring other players into play - he was the all-round centre-forward.”
Source : 90min