UTD Podcast: 1999 Treble winners - Part 2
We continue our look back at which Manchester United 1998/99 squad members have been on the UTD Podcast, after it was shortlisted in the sports category at the British Podcast Awards.
After compiling episodes with the Treble-winning goalkeepers and defenders, now it is the turn of the midfielders and attackers, whose goals and incisive play cut open opposition back-fours and fired us towards our historic triumph.
You can read quotes from them below and listen to their recordings by clicking the players' names.
Swedish left-winger Jesper Blomqvist helped United to win the Treble in his debut season at the club, after signing in the summer of 1998. However, he revealed on the UTD Podcast in March 2020 that he could have joined the Reds at an earlier juncture.
“[Sir Alex] doesn’t just pick a player, he was after me for four years. I felt he wasn’t just looking for a left-midfielder, he wanted me. It was hard to leave Italy, but, in the end, it was the best decision I ever made!”
Jonathan Greening was one of the youngest members of United’s 1998/99 Treble-winning squad, and he made his senior debut that season. The attacking midfielder appeared on the UTD Podcast in May 2021 and told a brilliant story about how Sir Alex selected his substitutes for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
“Sir Alex Ferguson said to me, ‘I’ll give you a game of snooker. If you beat me, you’re going to be on the bench.’ And I was thinking ‘I’m a decent snooker player, I used to play with my dad.’ I was thinking I’m going to smash him all over. I didn’t know he had his own snooker room at home, did I?”
Famously a member of the Class of '92, Paul Scholes was a Rolls Royce of a player who served Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad with distinction from his debut in 1994 to the end of the 2012/13 season. Scholesy’s UTD Podcast episode was released in January 2020, and he shared a funny story about how the manager wanted to keep his surprise comeback from retirement a secret from the rest of the squad, the night before he returned against Manchester City.
“The manager just said, ‘come to the hotel and act as if you are a coach.’ I don’t know why he didn’t want to tell anyone; I don’t know why it was a big secret. I had to go to the retail park in Oldham to buy a pair of boots because we couldn’t tell Nike and the coaches’ boots they gave us weren’t great. So I had to go and buy a pair for £50 or £60. Everybody knows then. I get to the ground and then my shirt was hanging up. Danny Welbeck was saying ‘I knew it, I knew you were coming back.’”
‘I enjoy that Barcelona goal more and more!’
Andy Cole explains the celebration after his famous strike in the Nou Camp and has a guess at how many he’d score now…
One half of a potent strike partnership with Dwight Yorke which accumulated a haul of 53 goals in all competitions in 1998/99, Andy Cole came on the UTD Podcast in October 2020, and recalled the moment he first stepped out at the Theatre of Dreams after his transfer.
“My first training session was at Old Trafford. I had no boots, I had nothing. I walked into the dressing room to see people like Sparky [Mark Hughes], Eric [Cantona], Pete [Peter Schmeichel], Incey [Paul Ince] and Brucey [Steve Bruce]. I was saying to myself 'oh my god, two years ago, I watched these guys.' That’s how rapid my rise was. I couldn’t comprehend it at that time.”
Why Cole and Yorke might never have happened
Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole formed one of our best-ever strike partnerships, but history could have been so different...
The Trinidad and Tobago international arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 1998 and went on to fire us to the Treble and two more Premier League titles. In July 2020, Yorke told the UTD Podcast why he lives every day to the full after being run over by a car during his childhood.
“I was told that there was a doctor in the car behind [the one that hit me] and somehow he was a Chinese doctor. What was he doing in the Caribbean at the time? So I had my guardian angel looking over me and that’s how I was saved by this doctor. I literally should not have been here. I was given a second chance in life.”
The scorer of the final, decisive goal in the Treble-winning season appeared on the UTD Podcast in December 2019, when he was the Reds' current manager. The Norwegian talked about how daunting it was to meet Sir Alex for the first time, upon signing for the club in 1996.
“I was nervous because you're afraid that you're going to say something daft and he's going to have a wrong first impression. I knew he'd not seen me play a game, so it was an important meeting for me. It was just me. We had fish and chips at Old Trafford, in the restaurant back there, and it was maybe half an hour or 45 minutes. He said: 'Spend the first six months in the Reserves, then after Christmas maybe we can integrate you into the first-team squad.'”