Our boss’s route to title glory in maiden United seasonThe 1998/99 season was a successful one for Manchester United – in Jaap Stam’s first season at Old Trafford, the Red Devils picked up three pieces of silverware!
As well as the Premiership title and a dramatic Champions League win, they lifted the FA Cup too that summer.
And with our own Emirates FA Cup campaign starting this weekend at Old Trafford against his former side, we look back over Jaap’s route to cup glory 18 seasons ago!
Third round: Manchester United 3-1 Middlesbrough
Stam’s first involvement in the competition required the Red Devils to come from behind on their own patch against Boro – Andy Townsend had squeezed an opener between Jaap and goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel early in the second half. But a thumping strike from Andy Cole levelled the scores, before Nicky Butt drew a penalty which Denis Irwin converted. Ryan Giggs extended the advantage in the final minute, sealing a trip to round four.
Fourth round: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
Jaap’s first taste of the North West derby with neighbours Liverpool had come earlier in the season and ended in a 2-0 success in the league; it was a similar outcome with a different narrative in the FA Cup. Vegard Heggem picked out the run of an unmarked Michael Owen for a third-minute lead… an advantage that the visitors held until three minutes of time remained. But Dwight Yorke equalised in the 88th minute, before Stam’s forward ball found Paul Scholes in stoppage-time, who laid off for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to hit in a winner and prevent a replay!
Fifth round: Manchester United 1-0 Fulham
A first clean-sheet in the competition for Jaap’s United came against the Cottagers, as United were again handed a home tie. It wasn’t an easy win by any stretch, with Stam and centre-half partner Henning Berg being tested with aerial bombardment in the direction of German striker Dirk Lehmann, but Andy Cole grabbed the game’s sole goal after 25 minutes when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer squared for him to side-foot past Maik Taylor. The quarter-final awaited!
Quarter-final: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
Quarter-final replay: Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United
Jaap Stam already had 41 Manchester United appearances under his belt when they hosted Chelsea in the quarter-final of the competition – and the decision was taken to give him a breather, following a 2-0 win in the week against Internazionale in the Champions League. As it happened, neither team could find the net (though both had a man sent off, in Paul Scholes and Roberto Di Matteo), meaning a Stamford Bridge replay. Three days later, Stam returned to the starting XI to help the Red Devils keep the likes of Gianfranco Zola quiet – a brace from Dwight Yorke gave United a place in the final four.
Semi-final: Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal AET
Semi-final replay: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United AET
Four hours of football were needed to separate old rivals United and Arsenal – and Jaap played the entirety. The game ended goalless after extra time as they met on neutral soil at Villa Park – even in spite of Nelson Vivas picking up a red card five minutes into the additional 30. They met again just three days later at the same venue; David Beckham opened the scoring with a cracking strike from distance, but Stam was the unlucky party for the equaliser as his countryman Dennis Bergkamp had a shot deflected in via the United defender. It was the Red Devils who ended a man light when captain Roy Keane earned a second yellow. But in extra time, one of the most famous goals in the long history of the competition – Ryan Giggs’ incredible solo run – gave the Red Devils the right to compete in the final at Wembley.
Final: Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United
With the Champions League final just four days away, Jaap began on the bench against Newcastle – but played his part from the bench to ensure a clean sheet was kept against the Magpies and that United would win their 10th FA Cup. Paul Scholes laid in Teddy Sheringham for an early opener, before netting one for himself early after the interval. Stam replaced Scholes in the closing stages, as the Red Devils closed the second chapter in what would become an historic treble-winning campaign just a few days later!