Treble Icons: Paul Scholes
He may have missed the Champions League final due to suspension, perhaps unfairly, yet Paul Scholes was unquestionably an outstanding performer throughout the iconic 1998/99 season and the Ginger Genius contributed so much to the Treble success.
LET'S HEAR FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
“My highlight has got to be those ten days of winning the Treble and, to be honest, the full 1998/99 season as well. But if you’re talking particularly special times: the Tottenham league match, then the Newcastle FA Cup final, and Ryan’s goal in the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal. That whole period was the highlight of the season – even though I’m not sure why he didn’t square it to me against Arsenal! That was definitely the highlight and obviously the lads going on to win the Champions League final in Barcelona. To watch that and to be a part of the squad was so special.”
With Roy Keane and David Beckham the two constants in United’s midfield, and Ryan Giggs supported on the left by Jesper Blomqvist, Scholes and Nicky Butt shared the last remaining midfield spot beside the captain, each playing a similar number of games – Scholes had 38 starts and 13 substitute appearances to Butt’s 34 starts and 13 sub outings.
Alex Ferguson alternated between Scholes’s creativity and Butt’s combativeness, depending on the occasion and opponents, but the no.18’s craft going forward was a huge asset – indeed, he was our fourth-top scorer with 11 goals. In September, he scored three in three games, with goals in the draws with Barcelona and Bayern Munich sandwiching a 79th-minute effort in the 2-0 league win over Liverpool. His late San Siro strike against Inter Milan confirmed our progress into Europe’s last four, and while it was a crying shame Scholes missed the Champions League final through suspension, he scored in the FA Cup final against Newcastle at Wembley to affirm his contribution.
We’ve narrowed it down to two: that header against Inter at the San Siro to seal our progression to the Champions League semi-final, and the decisive goal versus Newcastle in the FA Cup final. What’s your opinion? Visit our Official App to vote in the poll and see what other United fans think.
Former Juventus opponent Zinedine Zidane…
“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester [United]. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.”
Like his fellow Class of ’92 graduates Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, Scholesy spent his entire career at United – although his initial retirement in May 2011 only lasted for seven months: he famously returned in January 2012 as a substitute in the Manchester derby and went on to play for another 18 months, before bowing out for good with a 13th Premier League winners medal around his neck in May 2013.
Paul has since been a coach under the interim management of Ryan Giggs, a pundit on television and manager of Oldham Athletic. He is also a co-owner of Salford City with several ex-Reds.
Thanks to United fan and Old Trafford season-ticket holder Stanley Chow for his portrait of Paul Scholes. To see more of his ‘Treble Winners’ collection, visit www.thestanleychowprintshop.com.