Posted on Wednesday, 30th January 2013 by Jon Wilmot
Consensus declared it could never be done, an unattainable feat,
The double remains the ultimate dream, a triumph fully complete.
United avowed the treble a hope too far, a simple trick of the mind,
As was their want, they refuted the talk, took one game at a time.
Yet a deluge of points were accrued, a torrent of goals were scored,
Thorny cup games overcome, to a backdrop of deafening roars.
Excitement spread as the thought grew tantalisingly hard to ignore,
The treble seemed within their grasp, beginning to prise open its door.
Two semi-finals that defined the season, first a replay at Villa Park,
The initial encounter in the FA cup had proved lacklustre and stark.
Now on a night that was cold and crisp, Beckham swerved in the first,
Bergkamp equalised, Keane dismissed, an illusion United were cursed.
No change to the score as extra time began to invade the mind,
Then a penalty awarded to Arsenal in the final minute of normal time.
The dream crumpled to sand, as Bergkamp burst forward to strike,
But Schmeichel beat it out, pounded his chest in defiance and fight.
Now was the turn of the genius, a slalom through gunners confused,
Giggs tore them apart; fluently swerved, swayed and cruised.
Dixon and Keown flailing behind, tight angle remained for the boy,
The ball exploded from Giggs’s left, the net shook and rippled in joy.
Exultant display of chest hair, his shirt twirled around his head,
A goal to cherish and treasure, bemused players left for dead.
The result never in doubt from the moment the reds once again led,
But celebrations were muted; clash with the old lady still lay ahead.
The first CL leg called even, but disaster was soon to unfold,
Two down in the first ten, and Keane’s final ban dispensed cold.
Delving into oceans of spirit, rose a red warrior drenched in desire,
Dragged his team forward with every fibre, eyes gleaned from fire.
Soared at a corner to nod in, soon Yorke had levelled the score,
The match spun on its head as United smelled blood once more.
Juventus shell-shocked and shattered, Cole slid in number three,
Full steam ahead Barcelona! Clive Tyldseley bellowed with glee.
Back to the league, where Arsenal threatened hard on the final day,
United one down to Spurs, and were in danger of it slipping away.
Beckham levelled and then Cole’s juggling act meant United led,
Soon the premier trophy was once more gloriously bathed in red.
The FA Cup final proved a simpler feat, with Newcastle to face,
Black and white swiftly drained from Shearer as United scored at pace.
Sheringham drove in soon after Jerusalem, Scholes also obliged,
The double achieved with some ease, eyes switched to the ultimate prize.
The Nou Camp was awash with untold anticipation and belief,
But Munich stole an early lead like an opportunistic thief.
A simple free kick rightly incited Schmeichal’s rage,
But his wrath failed to ignite the team, eleven men lost in a daze.
The team’s heart ripped out, Scholes and Keane in their Sunday best,
The re-jigged engine room malfunctioning, struggling to impress.
Munich pressed fervently, and threatened to secure the result,
But ninety minutes emerged on the clock with the reds still in the hunt.
A corner as Schmeichal headed upfield, the crowd dared to roar,
Nerves froze as Clive Tyldesley gabbled that United always score.
Prescient words, as the corner prompted wild frenzy around the goal,
Giggs swung a hopeful right boot and Sheringham funnelled it home.
The stadium erupted, belief swarmed, the team belatedly came alive,
Mattheaus stared, incredulous, his high-fives now appearing unwise.
Germans now fearing extra-time, all their momentum propelled away,
The clock still boasted two minutes and fate had its last card to play.
Another corner acquired, tension mounted to a level unheard,
Beckham steadied the ball and then inwards it arced and swerved.
Sheringham strained to head it on, Solskjaer flung out his right boot,
The net undulated in disbelief, for a moment the world turned mute.
Then pandemonium; a riotous eruption of elation and bliss,
Kuffour banged the ground in despair, Mattheaus sunk low on the pitch.
Beckham and Butt ran without purpose, Sir Alex hugged all his staff,
Fans jumped and danced and screamed and yelled and sung and cried and laughed.
Soon ‘99 was a year etched forever in our football folklore,
The impossible treble now a concept that could be considered no more.
The elusive trophy finally lifted high, amid a mass player swell,
While Sir Alex struggled to absorb it all: football bloody hell!
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