Manchester United have confirmed that Sir Alex Ferguson will return to the dugout for a special reunion match to mark the 20th anniversary of the club’s treble-winning campaign.
A United Legends side – managed by their legendary Scotsman – will play Bayern Munich Legends at Old Trafford on May 26 in a repeat of their famous 2-1 Champions League final comeback win that sealed their third major trophy of the 1998-99 season. The funds raised will go towards charity via the Manchester United Foundation.
Ferguson left United at the end of the 2012-13 season, winning the Premier League – a feat the club have failed to achieve since his retirement. The Red Devils remain the only English side to achieve a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble, and did so under the Scotsman’s guidance.
The treble-winning side lost just three times in the 1998-99 Premier League – away to Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday and at home to Middlesborough – and were unbeaten after Boxing Day en route to beating the Gunners to the title by one point.
United’s route to the FA Cup saw them face five Premier League opponents in Middlesborough, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal before beating Newcastle United 2-0 in the final courtesy of goals by Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes.
Fulham were the only lower-league opposition they came across, and they required replays to beat Chelsea and Arsenal, with Ryan Giggs scoring that famous extra-time solo strike to beat the Gunners after Dennis Bergkamp’s penalty was saved by Peter Schmeichel to force the game beyond 90 minutes.
Their Champions League victory remains arguably their most famous final triumph, however, progressing from the ‘group of death’ that included Bayern Munich and Barcelona despite drawing four games, and subsequently beating Italian sides Inter and Juventus to reach the showpiece against Bayern.
There, trailing 1-0 after 90 minutes and with three minutes of stoppage-time awarded, Sheringham and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck in the first and third minutes of injury time to seal a historic comeback and, in the process, the treble.
The only disappointment for United during that famous season was their inability to turn the treble into a quadruple, after being knocked out in the fifth round of the League Cup by eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur, having beaten Bury and Nottingham Forest in the previous two rounds.
The news of Ferguson managing his former players for the one-off game is a huge positive, given the 77-year-old’s health issues in 2018. The one-time Aberdeen boss underwent emergency brain surgery after being admitted to hospital on May 5 but has since made a recovery and, as well as regularly being seen attending matches involving United, he has also been offering advice to Solskjaer during his interim spell in charge.