Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson hold the Premier League trophy aloft in May 1994

Glory Days: How United won the title in 1993/94

Saturday 02 May 2020 15:00

Our series celebrating the anniversaries of when Manchester United won silverware continues with the first part of the 1994 League and FA Cup Double.

The 1993/94 team, the first to do the Double in United's illustrious history, is always regarded as one of the club's greatest of all time. And while that famous XI, the one any fan can reel off - Schmeichel; Parker, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin; Kanchelskis, Keane, Ince, Giggs; Hughes, Cantona - only played together after the turn of the year, those players all made the most appearances individually, although there were also valued contributions from Brian McClair, Lee Sharpe and Bryan Robson.

After the 26-year wait for the title had been ended in glorious fashion the previous season, it was difficult to see how that campaign could be bettered but, now confirmed as the country's top dogs, United were in no mood to relinquish the crown. The British record capture of Roy Keane (from the clutches of closest rivals Blackburn Rovers) was to prove invaluable, as the Irishman scored twice on his home debut and never looked back, gradually replacing the legendary Robson.
One down, one to go... the 1993/94 champions celebrate and look forward to the FA Cup final.
Some of the football played by the champions was simply sublime, with Eric Cantona the creative hub, and wingers Ryan Giggs, Andrei Kanchelskis and Sharpe wreaking havoc. There was a formidable spine to the team as Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister barely missed a game in defence, while Mark Hughes led the line with his customary vigour.

The feeling was that if one of the many stars was stopped on any particular day, another would step up to the plate. And there were goals throughout the side, with Paul Ince netting eight times – including notching key, last-gasp equalisers against Blackburn and West Ham.
Cantona, of course, was the main man, but quality ran through the team, and the manager's perfect blend of pace and power combined to perfection, at times simply blowing the opposition away. The 5-0 slaughter of Sheffield Wednesday was breathtaking, but it was the 3-0 FA Cup win at Wimbledon that arguably set a new benchmark in terms of teamwork at its very best.

United never do things the easy way of course, and there were a couple of wobbles – not least two red cards for Cantona in consecutive games, against Swindon and Arsenal in March. With the Frenchman's temperament called into question as he served out a five-match ban, the critics sneered that the Reds' glory bid was faltering.
Every Premier League Goal: 1993/94 season Video

Every Premier League Goal: 1993/94 season

Watch all 80 of United's Premier League goals from the 1993/94 campaign...

1993/94 PL Goals Video

1993/94 PL Goals

Watch all 80 of United's league goals from the 1993/94 campaign, as we celebrate the club reaching 2,000 recently...

A 2-0 defeat at Blackburn over Easter (an Alan Shearer brace doing the damage) gave eventual runners-up Rovers renewed hope, and after the dramatic FA Cup semi-final win over Oldham, a 1-0 loss at Wimbledon suggested the title was still very much up for grabs. Manchester City and Leeds were inevitably relishing the opportunity to derail their great rivals, but United demonstrated tremendous character to win both keenly-contested clashes 2-0, and set up the trip to Ipswich as a potential title-clincher.

Cantona and Giggs duly grabbed the goals in a 2-1 triumph against the battling hosts, and after a goalless draw with Coventry City on the final day, the Barclays Premier League trophy was paraded around Old Trafford – again – by a team at the peak of its powers.

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