Glory Days: How we beat Tottenham to win the title
Manchester United dramatically brought the Treble one step closer to glorious reality by sealing the Premier League title, on this day in 1999.
Not until the final whistle of the final game of the season was the destination of the title confirmed, with Arsene Wenger's Arsenal pushing the Reds all the way in the bid for domestic supremacy.
“the best domestic team”he ever faced. Alex Ferguson (no knighthood to his name yet) had added Jaap Stam to bolster his defence and Jesper Blomqvist to ease the reliance on Ryan Giggs. And, three games into the season, Dwight Yorke arrived to add a spark in attack.
A 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Charity Shield hardly augured well for the campaign ahead, and it was a month into the season before the Reds registered a first league victory – but it was a significant win. Yorke scored twice as Charlton Athletic were beaten 4-1, beginning a scoring run – in tandem with Cole – which was to underpin United's quest for glory. The seemingly telepathic pair would end the campaign with 53 goals between them in all competitions: Yorke 29, Cole 24.
Progress in the Champions League and the start of the FA Cup campaign meant the Reds were now battling on three fronts. In round four of the cup, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer foreshadowed his Nou Camp exploits, flooring Liverpool with an injury-time strike. The Norwegian then bagged four in 10 minutes to complete an 8-1 rout of Nottingham Forest, further reining in Arsenal. And David Beckham (crossing) and Yorke (finishing) combined to see off Internazionale in Europe. Momentum was building.
Another incredible semi-final victory, this time against Juventus and inspired by Roy Keane earned United a Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich in Barcelona. But that could wait; first there was the denouement of one of the closest title races in memory, with the Reds and Arsenal rotating top spot almost weekly throughout April and May.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Beckham – scapegoat for England's World Cup exit the previous summer – produced a stunning equaliser to cap a brilliant season's contribution. And when Cole stepped from the bench to seal the game with a delightful lob, the title was confirmed. Champions... again. Relief all round. Stage one – completed.
#Treble99: United 2 Tottenham 1Video
“I remember my goal like it was yesterday. As soon as Nev [Gary Neville] knocked the ball in, it was a bit further than I expected so I knew I had to bring it down with my first touch but, after that, what happened was instinct. It bounced up and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw [Spurs goalkeeper] Ian Walker off his line so I just instinctively tossed a lob up, caught it perfectly on the instep and it just bounced into the back of the net.”
Sir Alex Ferguson:
“It was tense. Very tense. It's the nature of things at United, that we make it hard work for ourselves. We did that by going a goal behind. But I had a feeling Andy would score. I thought we did well in the first half and I fancied our chances in the second half.”
ManUtd.com and our Official App will stream United's 1999 title-sealing triumph over Tottenham in full this evening (Saturday). To watch the 90 minutes for free, head to the homepage or open the app just before 19:00 BST.