1996-97: United win the Premier League
1996-97: Borussia Dortmund end Champions League hopes at the semi-final stage
1996-97: Eric Cantona announces his retirement from professional football
1997-98: Arsenal do The Double to leave United trophyless
1998-99: The Reds overpower the Gunners in an FA Cup classic to emerge as top dogs domestically
1998-99: Bayern Munich are beaten at Camp Nou to clinch an amazing Treble
1998-99: The manager is knighted and has a testimonial
1999-2000: United are pressured into withdrawing from the FA Cup
1999-2000: The Reds become world champions for the first time by beating Palmeiras
1999-2000: United overcome a sticky patch to retain the Premier League title
2000-01: A third successive title is secured when Arsenal lose at home to Middlesbrough
200-01: Sir Alex drops a bombshell by announcing the following season will be his last
Trafford started to build.
The last-ever FA Cup semi-final replay was an all-time classic and provided the springboard for the Treble triumph. Arsenal were beaten in a humdinger at Villa Park as, after Peter Schmeichel saved Dennis Bergkamp's 90th-minute penalty, ten-man United pulled off an unlikely win courtesy of one of the club's greatest-ever goals by Ryan Giggs. Momentum carried the team through and the title was wrestled back from the Gunners on the very last day, the Reds coming from behind to sink Spurs 2-1 thanks to David Beckham and substitute Andy Cole.
Newcastle were ruthlessly dismissed in the FA Cup final but the really big one came in Barcelona a few days later. The late goals by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ensured the most incredible climax at Camp Nou and ended a 31-year wait for Europe's biggest prize. The boss had introduced both substitutes at just the right time, rotating his squad to perfection, and even he was stunned by the drama, blurting out afterwards: "Football, eh? Bloody hell."