Manchester United’s famous Treble winning XI only played one Premier League game together, in possibly the most mind blowing stat ever.
It’s been 24 years since United won the league, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season and no other English side has managed it.
That looks like it could all change this year with rivals Manchester City just four wins away from winning the trio of titles. That could actually be three if Arsenal lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, following their loss to Brighton last weekend.
United do have their own chance to derail Pep Guardiola’s bid for a second career treble when they meet at Wembley in the FA Cup final on June 3rd.
On Monday night, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were discussing the merits of the two Manchester teams who could soon share their amazing achievement.
The pair were tasked with picking a combined XI of Guardiola’s current side and the one that Sir Alex Ferguson led to glory nearly a quarter of a century ago.
Neville, who was a member of that team, initially refused to pick anything but Fergie’s XI. The former right back argued that until City’s side actually achieved it the discussion was a non-contest.
The Sky Sports pundit selected Peter Schmeichel in goal, with a back four of himself, Jaap Stam, Ronny Johnson and Dennis Irwin.
In midfield he selected the ‘greatest midfield in Premier League history’ of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes.
Then up front the duo of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole who formed an incredible pairing were picked, however that exact XI only ever played once together.
Gary Neville’s combined Man United 99′ and Man City 23′ team.
Not a Manchester City player in sight 😅❌ pic.twitter.com/cOKpOZZ3cZ
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 15, 2023
That match came against Coventry City in February 1999, with Giggs scoring the only goal of a 1-0 win, leading Ferguson to say, “Sometimes you have to grind out a result!”
What makes the stat even more amazing is the fact that the team only played together for 45 minutes as Stam was subbed off at half time and made way for Henning Berg.
Neville recently argued with Carragher about the fact that Ferguson was a manager who changed football, claiming the Scotsman’s use of rotating his squad was his legacy.
Whilst that may or may not be the case, it was certainly the reason that his strongest team only played together once in the league.
Johnson had his injury problems leading to Berg and David May getting plenty of time in defence, whilst Nicky Butt and Jesper Blomqvist played an integral part over the whole campaign in midfield.
Upfront was where the manager was able to do most of his reputation, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham available as well as Yorke and Cole.
The two other options were the two goal scorers in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, which secured the Treble.
The pair both came off the bench and scored in right at the end of the game to secure the most dramatic of comebacks, showing how much depth Fergie had to work with. It’s no wonder the XI only played once.