SAF’s titles: part one
In part one of our gallery feature, we recall United’s – and Sir Alex’s – first six league triumphs, from 1993 to 2000…
Glory story: Having missed out on the title a year earlier, the surprise arrival of a certain Frenchman helped the Reds end a 26-year wait for championship glory.
Top gun: Mark Hughes, 15 league goals
Turning point: 10 April 1993. One of the most memorable days at Old Trafford ever as Steve Bruce’s injury-time double edged the Reds ever closer to a first title triumph under Sir Alex, whose memorable on-pitch celebration with Brian Kidd will live long in the memory.
Party time: 2 May 1993. Sir Alex was on the golf course when the Reds were officially confirmed as inaugural FA Premier League champions following Oldham’s 1-0 win over United’s closest challengers Aston Villa at Villa Park. Cue the famous player party at Steve Bruce’s gaff.
Sir Alex said: “The players knew they were the best and for the most part of the season they demonstrated it where it mattered, on the pitch.”
The wait is over: The boss and assistant Brian Kidd celebrate a first title triumph
Glory story: In the season the club mourned Sir Matt Busby’s passing, United not only retained their Championship crown but went one better by completing the domestic double.
Top gun: Eric Cantona, 18 league goals
Turning point: 23 April 1994. Returning from a five-match ban, Cantona made his mark for all the right reasons as he fired the Reds to a crucial derby victory over City with a calmly taken first half brace.
Party time: 1 May 1994. United’s victory at Ipswich coupled with Blackburn’s defeat to Coventry over the same weekend ensured back-to-back titles for the Reds.
Sir Alex said: “Winning the double was a fitting tribute to Sir Matt. We did it by playing the game in a way of which he would have wholeheartedly approved.”
Champions again: Sir Bobby joins in with the celebrations as Reds retain their crown
Glory story: A Cantona-inspired United side proved you CAN win things with kids as the Reds stormed to another double triumph. And didn’t we love it!
Top gun: Eric Cantona, 14 league goals
Turning point: 4 March 1996. Having been 12 points behind leaders Newcastle Newcastle at one stage, the Reds cut the lead to a single point thanks to Cantona’s winner at St James’ Park on a night when Peter Schmeichel was simply unbeatable.
Party time: 5 May 1996. A last-day 3-0 victory, at a canter, away to Middlesbrough confirmed the Reds as champions for a third time in four years.
Sir Alex said: “Some pundits suggested we couldn’t win the title with kids, but they reckoned without the force of a rejuvenated Eric Cantona and the respect and admiration our ‘kids’ have for him as a footballer.”
At the double: Cantona and the kids help Reds claim another league and cup double
Glory story: A season that started with Beckham’s half-way line stunner ended with an even greater shock as King Eric bid farewell to Old Trafford after skippering the Reds to yet another title.
Top gun: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, 18 league goals
Turning point: 19 April 1997. Two Gary Pallister headers and another goal from Andy Cole thanks to some famous ‘Calamity James’ goalkeeping secured a vital win at Anfield.
Party time: 6 May 1997. 24 hours after drawing 3-3 with Middlesbrough, the Reds were confirmed as champions after Newcastle’s goalless draw at West Ham and Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Wimbledon.
Sir Alex said: “Eric Cantona’s contribution to the Manchester United cause can never be underestimated – I doubt that I will ever be able to spend £1,000,000 like that again!”
Party time: Another year, another title for Sir Alex and co.
Glory story: Quite simply the greatest season in United’s history as the Reds realised a Treble dream. The Championship crown was snared first thanks to a memorable last-day win in front of the Old Trafford faithful.
Top gun: Dwight Yorke, 18 league goals
Turning point: 14 April 1999. Leeds’ win over Arsenal in the penultimate game of the season put the title in United’s hands, but the Reds’ epic FA Cup semi-final victory over the Gunners ultimately gave Sir Alex’s men the psychological edge.
Party time: 16 May 1999. Les Ferdinand temporarily threatened to spoil the title party but United were never going to be beaten. Beckham and substitute Andy Cole made sure of that as the Treble Part 1 was wrapped up.
Sir Alex said: “I have a group of players who never cease to surprise me and I’m convinced they are capable of virtually anything. The final weeks of this season will remain with me until the day I die.”
Treble Part 1: A last-day win over Spurs snares the first of three glorious trophies
Glory story: There was no Treble hangover for the Reds who, inspired by Captain Keano, cantered to title glory winning by a record 18-point margin.
Top gun: Dwight Yorke, 20 league goals
Turning point: 20 February 2000. The Reds trailed Leeds by four points at the turn of the year but Andy Cole’s predatory opportunism ensured the Reds left Elland Road with a vital win over their rivals.
Party time: 22 April 2000. Beckham, a Francis Benali o.g and Solskjaer ensured an early end-of-season party at The Dell as a 3-1 win over Southampton confirmed United as top dogs once more.
Sir Alex said: “Some people suggested it could have been difficult to motivate the lads after the Treble. It could, but it hasn’t. They are as keen to succeed today as they have ever been.”
Record-breakers: Reds finish top of the pile again, 18 points ahead of their nearest rivals