Red Devils Win 13th English Crown
Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were the top dogs in England yet again at the end of the 1999-00 Premier League season, winning the title by a huge 18-point margin. It was the Red Devils’ 13th English title and their sixth since the start of the Premier League. At this time, United had won six of the opening eight Premier League seasons. Arsenal were runners-up, while Leeds United finished above the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea in third.
Watford were the first side to be relegated to the Football League during this campaign, as they picked up a mere 24 points and suffered 26 defeats after winning promotion the season before. Sheffield Wednesday and Wimbledon were the others two teams to drop down to the second tier. Under Paul Jewell, Bradford City pulled off the great escape, winning three of their last four games to hang on against the odds.
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Magnificent Man United Win Another Title
After kicking off their league season with a 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park, Man United went on to win their following six to take an early stronghold on the league. They had a sticky spell in September and October, winning just one of five, but Ferguson’s boys recovered with another six-game winning run.
The Manchester giants were simply irresistible in the latter weeks of the season. After back-to-back draws with Wimbledon and rivals Liverpool in late February and early March, United won all of their remaining 11 games to win the Premier League by a staggering 18 points. Overall, they won 28 times, drew seven and lost just three to end on 91 points. Following on from their Champions League triumph the season earlier this was a remarkable feat and the United team of this time is often cited as being one of the best in EPL history.
Memorable Season for Leeds
Leeds United had an excellent league campaign under David O’Leary in 1999-00. United picked up an impressive 21 wins to finish in third on 69 points. They pipped Liverpool to the final UEFA Champions League place, with the Reds finishing two points behind in fourth. The Whites recovered from a six-game losing run across all competitions to go five league matches unbeaten at the end. Despite winning just two Premier League games from March, Leeds did enough to secure Champions League football.
O’Leary’s men also impressed in Europe this season. Leeds went far in the UEFA Cup, seeing off the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Slavia Prague to reach the last four. Unfortunately, they lost out to Turkish giants Galatasaray in the semi-finals, losing 2-0 in Istanbul, a game sadly memorable for the deaths of two Leeds fans, and drawing 2-2 at Elland Road. Galatasaray went on to beat Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the UEFA Cup final. The 1999-00 season was certainly one to remember for the Leeds faithful and whilst off-field events were tragic, on the pitch the players did the fans proud.
Bradford Pull Off the Great Escape
After winning promotion from the Football League First Division the season before, Leeds’ West Yorkshire rivals Bradford were many people’s tip for an instant return to the second tier. Jewell’s men started with an away victory at Middlesbrough before collecting just two points from the next 18 on offer. After six defeats on the spin from March to April, the Bantams looked to be heading back to the First Division.
Bradford’s revival really kickstarted after a 4-4 draw with Derby County at Valley Parade on 21st April. They were 2-0 down after six minutes but led 4-3 at half time. They went on to win three of their last four to stay up by three points. On the final day, City secured a memorable 1-0 win over Liverpool on home turf, with David Wetherall scoring the only goal of the game. Defeat to the Reds would have sent Bradford down on goal difference but they came up with the goods when it mattered.
Sky Blues Dreadful on the Road
Coventry City had a remarkable season in the Premier League this year. Gordon Strachan’s men were pretty solid on their own patch but were woeful on the road. They went on to seal a 14th-place finish in the Premier League without picking up a single away win. They lost each of their last nine away league matches of the season, failing to score in seven of those. They did manage a 3-1 win at Norwich City in the FA Cup, though. Their 12 home wins was an impressive return though and at least gave their fans plenty to cheer.
Stunning Season for Phillips
Kevin Phillips stunned the Premier League by winning the Golden Boot at a canter at the end of the 1999-00 season. Phillips netted 30 times for Sunderland, who finished in a very respectable seventh spot, aided by the 14 league strikes notched by Phillips’ strike partner Niall Quinn. The Hertfordshire-born striker scored a whopping seven more than runner-up Alan Shearer. Dwight Yorke took bronze, scoring 20 times for the champions.
Michael Bridges and Yorke’s partner in crime at Old Trafford Andy Cole ended on 19 apiece, while Thierry Henry scored a relatively low 17 by his high standards. West Ham United’s Paolo Di Canio bagged 16 to finish in seventh place. Throughout the season, 13 different players scored hat-tricks, including four-goal returns for Cole and teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a magnificent five for Shearer (against Sheffield Wednesday).
Relegations & European Qualifications
Bradford survived by the skin of their teeth, staying up by three points after a win over Liverpool on the last day. Wimbledon were relegated as a result. Watford suffered an instant return to the second tier, while Sheffield Wednesday were the other relegated team.
Man United, Arsenal and Leeds qualified for the Champions League. Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City entered the UEFA Cup. Bradford were almost relegated but were in Europe in the Intertoto Cup in the 2000-01 season. Aston Villa went into the Intertoto Cup third round.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Watford were out of their depth after winning promotion the season before. They stuck with popular manager Graham Taylor all season, but the Hornets managed just six wins and were beaten 26 times. Watford finished 12 points away from safety and really were very poor.
Sheffield Wednesday had spent 15 of the previous 16 years in the top tier, but the Owls were relegated at the end of the 1999-00 season. It was a forgettable campaign for Wednesday, who were beaten 8-0 by Newcastle United along the way. Danny Wilson was sacked in March, with Peter Shreeves taking over as caretaker until the end of the season.
After 14 successive seasons in the top flight, Wimbledon dropped down to the second tier after a miserable Premier League campaign. They still could have survived on the final day, but Bradford’s shock win over Liverpool sent the Dons down. Only bottom side Watford picked up fewer wins and shipped more goals.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man United won their sixth Premier League title and booked their spot in the Champions League first group stage, with Arsenal joining them.
After taking third, Leeds went into the Champions League qualifying rounds, while Liverpool had to settle for a place in the UEFA Cup.
Chelsea qualified for the UEFA Cup by winning the FA Cup, while Leicester’s League Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur put the Foxes into Europe.
Aston Villa and Bradford entered the 2000-01 Intertoto Cup.