Treble Icons: Andy Cole
His strike partner Dwight Yorke may have top scored but Andy Cole had a huge part to play himself in the success of our iconic Treble season.
It was another prolific campaign for the former no.9, who will be hoping to roll back the years when pulling on the famous red shirt once again on Sunday for the Treble Reunion match.
Tickets are still available for the 15:00 BST kick-off at Old Trafford, with all proceeds going towards supporting the important work done by Manchester United Foundation to help children in the local area.
LET'S HEAR FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
“I would be very surprised if another team could ever repeat the camaraderie among our Treble-winning squad. For some reason, the team spirit among those lads was absolutely ridiculous.
"Every man was out there fighting for their team-mates, and if you weren’t involved on the field on a given day, the other boys came in and did exactly the same thing.
THE STORY OF COLE IN 1998/99
Coley undoubtedly faced stiff competition for a starting place in attack but ended up developing a formidable partnership with new signing Yorke during the historic campaign.
The England international chipped in with 24 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions - only his strike partner Yorke, with 29, contributed more.
One of his many highlights in the league, aside from the obvious on the last day, was scoring his 100th Premier League goal in the home draw with Arsenal.
Coley bagged five vital goals during our Champions League campaign, from the very first game against LKS Lodz in the second qualifying round to the penultimate match against Juventus in Turin in the semi-finals, slipping the ball home to confirm the Reds' route to the Nou Camp.
He also netted twice on the road to FA Cup glory - the first goal in our cup run in the 3-1 third-round win at home to Middlesbrough and the winner in the 1-0 victory over Fulham at Old Trafford in round five.
COLEY'S OUTSTANDING MOMENT
Despite the Champions League semi-final winner at Juventus, his sublime lob against Tottenham, soon after coming off the bench at half-time, which proved decisive in clinching the league title at Old Trafford, will always live long in the memory of every fan.
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Highlights: Juventus 2 United 3 in 1999Video
EXPERT INSIGHT AND OPINION
His former United strike-partner Yorke:
“When he had the opportunity to play, he came in and we just clicked. We’re two different individuals but we complemented each other. He was an out-and-out goalscorer, I was more of the link man, then, when he didn’t score, I’d step in. It was just the perfect match.”
His United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
“Andy Cole was fantastic from day one.”
Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson:
“Andy Cole was brilliant. He wanted to be in the team straight away.”
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE TREBLE SEASON?
Cole finished the following campaign as United’s top scorer, netting more than 20 goals in all competitions for the third successive season and collecting his fourth Premier League winners' medal in five seasons.
Injury restricted Coley’s appearances in 2000/01 but he still contributed 13 goals, including four in the Champions League which, at the time, made him United’s all-time leading scorer in Europe. That record has since been surpassed by Wayne Rooney.
But following Ruud van Nistelrooy’s arrival, our no.9 fell down the pecking order and moved to Blackburn Rovers midway through the 2001/02 campaign. He made an instant impact at Ewood Park, netting 13 goals in just 20 outings in the second half of the season - including a League Cup final winner against Tottenham.
Coley also went on to have short stints at Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Sunderland, as well as loan spells at Birmingham City and Burnley. He eventually brought his 19-year playing career to an end in November 2008, after spending a brief period at Nottingham Forest.
Since then, he has embarked on a coaching career, working with the forwards at MK Dons, Huddersfield Town and Macclesfield Town. He has also supported a number of charities, worked as a television pundit and is currently a club ambassador at United.
A LEGENDARY ILLUSTRATION
Thanks to United fan and Old Trafford season-ticket holder Stanley Chow for his portrait of Andy Cole. To see more of his ‘Treble Winners’ collection, visit www.thestanleychowprintshop.com.