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Review: 99 is what every Manchester United fan needs to see right now

10 days. 3 trophies. 1 impossible dream. 99 is out now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and here's what to expect
99 Prime Video

The world premiere of 99 was screened in Manchester at Printworks’ Vue IMAX cinema on 9 May to an audience including David Beckham, Gary Neville, Teddy Sheringham, Nicky Butt, Dwight York and Andy Cole.

“The double was a thing,” says Paul Scholes, “if you know what I mean? [Arsenal won it in 1998]

“The treble was not a thing.”

This is a limited three-part series about Manchester United’s unprecedented 1998-99 treble winning season. The first football team to win the English Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League in one season.

“Bloody hell, the treble,” says Sir Alex Ferguson. “The three most important games in the history of United – in my time anyway. There was a trepidation about how far we were gonna go…”

Until last year (2023) when Manchester City won it, Man United was the only team in history to win the treble.

“It was fucking incredible,” says Phil Neville.

The opening scene is a side-profile of a present day Sir Alex Ferguson looking through a window to a rainy Manchester skyline with flashbacks of the glory days of an impossible dream.

The first episode is about the league and the manager’s efforts to strengthen the squad to beat the reigning champions, Arsenal, battling against players such as Patrick Viera, Anelka and Dennis Bergkamp. Consequently, the team finds hope in a sensational striking partnership between Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. The bromance and the confidence is knocked by Peter Schmeichel announcing he’s leaving the club at the end of the present season before it all comes down to a nail-biting final match of the season against Tottenham where only a win will do to win the league.

Episode two further documents the young core of Manchester United facing their rival Arsenal and the FA Cup. Yet to prove themselves on the biggest of stages, the team pull together on an extraordinary unbeaten run reaching the FA Cup Final at Wembley and putting them on the brink of history.

Episode three is all about the Champions League. After years of disappointment in Europe, Manchester United finally had the chance to restore the European glory of 1968. And they took it.

Ten days. Three trophies. One love.

99 is an honest insight into the brave young Manchester United team that was managed through an emotional rollercoaster of the most successful season in the football club’s history. 

But it’s not just about the treble. It’s a story of the intermission of the club; the Busby Babes and the Class of ‘92.

Can the club do it without Brian Kidd? Can this team do it without Cantona? Can the line-up do it without Keane? Each facet of the young team needed to show that they could stand up in big moments.

Fear, jeopardy and heartache is weaved through every scene of the series. 

99 gives you a different perspective of the core of the team. All the players speak so honestly – Phil Neville’s language says it all – and you get an understanding of what was at stake for each individual. 

Every player respected the badge and feared for their place in the team.

The dramatic tension of the whole series is how they’ve managed to humanise Sir Alex and capture his strength of vision to emulate the late great Sir Matt Busby – when he’s challenged he doubles down – when it all goes wrong how does he react? 

Did you know that Sir Alex Ferguson resigned as manager of Manchester United in 1998? He later retracted it of course but that’s just one of the shocking facts that that 99 reveals about the football club.

At the end of the world premiere screening, some of the players in attendance were sat on a sofa for a Q&A.

David Beckham said “I think we all came out of there emotionally drained. There were things that we found out about our teammates that we weren’t aware of. My favourite parts is seeing Sir Bobby [Charlton] in the stands with a tear in his eye – seeing the proudness that he had for the club that night was special.”

“It is in many ways very emotional,” said Peter Schmeichel holding the Prime microphone. “I’ve thought a lot about this [treble accomplishment] but I didn’t have a clue how my teammates felt about it [until watching 99] I’m really really touched about the honesty and people opening up. Watching this has given me an extra layer.”

Andy Cole said “I’m tired after watching that. After watching that, I appreciate my teammates even more. It’s very very touching.”

99 is something every Manchester United fan needs to watch and hold on to right now. But it also shows the current Man United set up what can be achieved with the right attitude, discipline and true values.

You can watch 99 on Prime Video now

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