Sir Alex Ferguson has spent 25 years as the manager of Manchester United and he has won the Premier League 12 times, FA Cup 5 times, League Cup 4 times, the Champions League twice, 10 Community/Charity Shields and one each of the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA World Club Cup and UEFA Super Cup. In his time, he has build and rebuilt at least 4 teams that have contributed in a large part to the trophies he has won and the legacy he has built at Old Trafford. The biggest and the highlight of all his achievements would undoubtedly be the Treble of 1999. Hours away from our big FA Cup tie against our neighbours and current Premier League leaders, Manchester City, let’s look back to understand how special the Treble triumph was. What better way to do that then by assessing the trophies that we missed out on, on a couple of occasions as one of Sir Alex’s great teams went close to winning the Treble before and after 1999.
When Manchester United made the trip to the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day 2007 Sunderland had gone through an up and down experience which would have turned anyone dizzy. Relegated in 1996-97, they were back among the big boys in 1999-2000, down again in 2002-03, back up for just the one season in 2005-06 then finally promoted to stay in season 2007-08. United did not show any Christmas cheer to the Premier League newcomers that day but there’s little doubt that thing will not turn out to be so one sided on Saturday.
One of the saddest things in football is the obsession by some fans to look back at history as a way of replacing a lack of hope for the future. Being mindful not to fall into the same trap, memories of the wonderful season Manchester United enjoyed in 2006-07 following a three year Premier League drought is only brought up in response to a comment made by one of our readers. History alone can never win silverware but it can be help to point the way to the future.