Champions: Manchester United
Champions League places: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea
UEFA Cup places: Leeds United, West Ham United (Intertoto cup), Newcastle United (FA Cup finalists), Tottenham Hotspur (League Cup)
Promoted (from 1997/98): Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic
Relegated: Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers, Charlton Athletic
Leading Scorer: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United), Michael Owen (Liverpool), and Dwight Yorke (Manchester United) – 18 goals
Premier League Table 1998 – 1999
|5||West Ham United||38||16||9||13||46||53||-7||57|
1998/99 Season Review
The last season of the 20th Century was full of twists, turns, and breathless excitement. Oh, and Manchester United won the ‘treble.’
Having lost the Premiership (then sponsored by Carling) and FA Cup crowns to Arsenal the previous season, Manchester United was desperate to win them back.
However, early signs did not bode well. New signings Dwight Yorke and Jaap Stam took a while to settle. Two 3-0 defeats to Arsenal (the Charity Shield and League) seemed to indicate the title would remain at Highbury.
Gone On Strike
At the other end of the table, Nottingham Forest never looked like beating the drop. On the contrary, the season started severely poorly as Pierre Van Hooijdonk – leading scorer in their Division One victory – went on strike, claiming he felt betrayed by the club.
He eventually returned in November but continued to be disliked by fans and teammates. Ron Atkinson took over in January but could not save a club that only won seven matches all season and finished bottom of the 1998/99 premier league table.
In his first match in charge against Arsenal, he infamously walked into the wrong dugout – laughing afterward that he wondered why a team with those substitutes was heading for relegation.
Blackburn Rovers was a big shock. Barclays Premier League champions just four seasons ago, and many were expecting them to be title contenders. But they never got close to that. Then, with just three victories by November, manager Roy Hodgson was sacked.
Replacement Brian Kidd didn’t fare much better, and Rovers became the first former Barclays Premier League champions to be relegated.
Back in the top flight after an eight-year exile, Charlton Athletic could consider themselves unlucky to go straight back down. Southampton had occupied that position until a late resurgence in April secured their safety.
The end of the season was all United, United, United as fans around the globe watched to see if the Reds could snare an impossible treble. Before United’s injury-time equalizer in the Champions League final, television commentator Clive Tyldesley said: “Can United score? They always score.” That extraordinary comeback summed up their season. Trailing in so many matches, they always managed to turn it around – often with late goals.
Neck And Neck To The End
Arsenal and Manchester United were neck-and-neck throughout the season, with the Gunners favorites to retain their title. However, it went to the wire, with Arsenal praying that rivals Tottenham could win at Old Trafford on the last day of the season. Though they conceded the first goal again, the Reds came back to win the match and took the trophy by one point as they finished on top of the 1998/99 Premier League table.
This was double misery for the Gunners, who United had also trumped in the FA Cup. Their semi-final victory – where Ryan Giggs scored the Goal of the Season – is widely regarded as one of the classic matches of all time. The Reds went on to win their tenth FA Cup (a record) and completed their hat-trick of trophies with a memorable last-gasp European Cup victory over Bayern Munich.
1998/99 Cup Results
1998/99 FA Cup Winners: Manchester United [Final – Man. Utd 2 v 0 Newcastle]
1998/99 League Cup Winners: Tottenham Hotspur [Final – Spurs 1 v 0 Leicester City]
1998/99 Champions League Winners: Manchester United [Final – Man. Utd. 2 v 1 Bayern Munich]
1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners: Parma [Final – Parma 3 v 0 Marseille]
1998/99 Managerial Changes
Blackburn Rovers: Roy Hodgson out, Brian Kidd in
Everton: Howard Kendall out, Walter Smith in
Leeds United: George Graham out, David O’Leary in
Liverpool: Roy Evans out, Gerard Houllier in
Newcastle United: Kenny Dalglish out, Ruud Gullit in
Nottingham Forest: Dave Bassett out, Ron Atkinson in
Tottenham Hotspur: Christian Gross out, George Graham in
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!