GLORY MAN UTD

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Man Utd

GLORY MAN UTD

History by Decade : 2000-2009

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2010 may have been viewed as a season of frustration but the manager's annual aim of bringing home a trophy was still fulfilled thanks to the Carling Cup triumph at Wembley.

The Reds challenged for the title until the final day of the campaign with Wayne Rooney displaying a clinical streak in front of goal and deservedly earning the Player of the Year gongs.

Fittingly, it was Rooney who headed the cup final winner against Aston Villa even though his nod past Shay Given in the semi-final against emerging rivals Manchester City was probably just as important.

Chelsea pipped United by a solitary point, thanks largely to a controversial winner from an offside Didier Drogba at Old Trafford, but the trophy was only to have a temporary stay in the capital.

The media were underwhelmed by the close season captures of Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling and few gave the Reds too much hope of winning a record 19th title, particularly after Chelsea won their opening two games 6-0.

Yet the team gelled to upset the odds with Mexican marksman Hernandez a revelation in attack and Smalling quickly proving to be an adequate stand-in for the best centre-half pairing in the business in Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. From the retiring Edwin van der Sar through to a revitalised Rooney, who put a poor spell of form and dramatic transfer U-turn well behind him, to score the penalty that clinched the title at Blackburn, this was a genuine squad effort.

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History by Decade : 1990-1999

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Man Utd 1990-1999The dawn of the 1990's saw Alex Ferguson collecting his first silverware as Manchester United manager, and Liverpool winning their last League Championship with an ageing team. The tide was turning…

Fergie's first FA Cup, achieved after a replay against Crystal Palace, seemed at the time to be a stand-alone success, one that possibly saved his job after another poor season in the League. But nine years later, it seemed that Lee Martin's winning goal against Palace lit the fuse for an explosion of unprecedented success.

First and foremost, winning the FA Cup in 1990 allowed United to make their return to European competition after an absence of five years. Far from being rusty, they went all the way to the final of the European Cup Winners Cup in Rotterdam where their opponents were Barcelona, the former club of United striker Mark Hughes. Two goals by Hughes sealed the match 2-1 in Fergie's favour in May 1991, 23 years after the club's previous triumph in Europe.

The other long wait, for that elusive League Championship, very nearly ended in April 1992. The Reds had already won Fergie's third trophy in March, the League Cup, and were in a two-horse race with Leeds. Liverpool were out of the running, but they still had a say in the destiny of the title, beating United 2-0 at Anfield to ruin their challenge.

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History by Decade : 1980-1989

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Man Utd 1980-1989United made a poor start to the 1980's. Following an early FA Cup exit to Spurs and a First Division hammering at Ipswich, however, Dave Sexton and his team recovered to win eight of their last ten league games, and finish just two points behind Liverpool in the title race.

United produced another blistering finish at the end of the following season, 1980/81, when they won their last seven league games in a row. This time, however, they could only finish eighth in the table – a position which the club's board could not tolerate. Sexton was sacked on 30 April 1981, after four seasons in the hotseat.

Sexton’s replacement Ron Atkinson brought in Mick Brown as assistant manager and Eric Harrison as youth coach. But it was his on-the-field acquisitions that really excited the fans. He broke the British transfer record to recruit Bryan Robson from his old club West Bromwich Albion for £1.5m and he spent around a third of that again to add another ex-Albion man, Remi Moses, to the United squad.

In midfield the new arrivals wonderfully complemented the finesse of Ray Wilkins, the ball-playing England star. But still there was something missing. United needed a forward who could match the strike rate of Ian Rush at Liverpool, who again won the Championship in 1982, 1983 and 1984. Atkinson’s men were never far behind, finishing third or fourth in every season of his reign. But they were never that close either.

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