Treble 25th Anniversary – Rainbow Devils Memories

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Manchester United’s Treble winning season, we have collected memories from our Rainbow Devils members of that momentous season for the Reds.


I’ve supported Man United for as long as I can remember, over 30 years now.

I remember the treble winning season vividly even though I was only 11 at the time. Keane’s red card, the Schmeichel penalty save and of course THAT Giggs goal in the FA Cup, Ole’s 4 against Forest in the league and then the Champions League. That night lives rent free in my head!

Weirdly I recall my mum going out that night on a blind date and being babysat by my big sister’s 70-year-old mum in law. She was not a fan of footy but when I explained how much the match meant to me, she let me stay up to watch it. The hair on the back of my neck standing up at the sound of Champions League anthem on ITV. I watched half the game from behind my hands. As a United fan, you just know never to lose hope. Even at 90 minutes, I still believed. When we equalised, I screamed and cheered and by the time we scored the winner, even my ‘nan’ was cheering. I burst into tears. It brings a tear to my eye even now!

I’m still a huge fan and now following the women’s team home and away as well as the men! I was at Wembley yesterday cheering on the girls! I was lucky enough that my wife gave in and let our wedding in 2021 be United themed with legendary players (most from ’99) as our table names. We had to be Solskjaer table of course!

Being a United fan has taught me to never give up and always have belief! 


I don’t have too many memories of that season. However, I specifically remember the Champions League final. My dad celebrated so enthusiastically that he jumped up, went dizzy, hit the TV, and nearly pulled the curtains down. My older brother sat with his arms wrapped around his knees, biting his nails with nerves, whispering “please score” over and over again.

My dad booked us a slot to have a photo taken with the trophies. I didn’t quite understand the significance of that moment, but I am extremely thankful to my dad for taking me along. 


I was 14 in 1999. My Mum and I were Season Ticket holders in the Family Stand at the Stretford End. We were on the very back row, in front of the exec boxes, so if ever there was a goal we could turn around and watch it on the replay.

In 1999 I’d been to every home game of the season, starting with LKS Łódź in the Champions League Qualifiers. I remember being so excited before the Barcelona game in the Champions League stage – such a massive draw, and what a game that was!

Other memories were coming from behind in injury time to beat Liverpool in the FA Cup, and the atmosphere before the Champions League Quarter Final again Inter Milan – probably the most noise and passion I’ve ever witnessed. The semi-finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League were stressful. Schmeichel saving a late penalty against Arsenal and coming back from 2-0 at Juventus. I watched both of them on TV. 

I was at Old Trafford when we won the league, coming back from 1-0 down to beat Spurs. It was a great day, but everyone knew it was just the start – the tension was still super high. Newcastle at Wembley went more or less to plan, although losing Keano early was stressful. I remember my Dad then getting cross with me because he found me up at 2am on the Monday night trying to find flights to Barcelona on Teletext! So we watched the Champions League final at home.

To be honest, we did not play well. But you all know what happened. When Sheringham scored the equaliser my exact words were ‘Lino – don’t give offside you little billy’ (it was 1999 and that was the biggest insult going in West Lancashire at the time!), however I don’t really remember what happened after the winner. I had a massive United flag that said ‘Eric The King’ on it, and I ran up the street waving it. It was the best day in school on the Thursday. I think I wore my MUFC top under my uniform just to wind the teachers up – none of them told me to take it off even though it was obvious – I think they all just knew how big a deal it was. 

I saw the United Women win in the FA Cup, just like the old days alongside my mum, both in the semi at LSV, and the final at Wembley. Even my husband has got involved (his favourite player is Mary Earps!). 

I am so happy that the Rainbow Devils exist. Not only because it validates my 25-year crush on David Beckham, but also as it feels like my two worlds have come back into harmony. 


The Treble meant so much to me, my mum and my dad. United was the thing that brought us together when things were really difficult. My mum was born in Stretford, and her dad (my grandad) was a huge United fan (who apparently was Matt Busby’s mechanic, although it might just be a myth!) .

We lived in Blackpool and couldn’t afford to get to Old Trafford, so we just used to watch United on TV whenever we could. It’s so hard to explain what it was like that season. Just to get to the knockout stages of the Champions League was like the Promised Land. The match against Juventus – we were shouting at the screen, jumping up and down. The semi-final against Arsenaal and then obviously Bayern.

It felt all the way like we’d been ‘found out’ and the dream was over, and then those goals went in. Tears, screaming, shouting! I remember my mum’s favourite bit being Schmeichel doing a cartwheel.   

She passed away this January, but passed on her love of United to me and to my dad (who was born in Casablanca). The Treble was a moment in history for us, and it’s one that I carry with me now. I love you always, Mum, and I know that wherever you are now, you’re probably still daydreaming about marrying Jose Mourinho 🙂


Mark is a life-long red, but during the 1998/1999 season, he took time out of his job as a producer for BBC’s Panorama to travel the world. Catching up on United games via radio and TV, Mark followed the Reds any way he could as he travelled across the world from Africa, to Oceania and South America.

Here is an extract from his diary that was published by BBC’s Match of the Day magazine.

18th May – Submit my diary to MOTD who tell me they have a spare pass for the European Cup Final! Foaming at the mouth, I inform my incredulous trucking chums that they’ll have a spare seat on the trip to the Ecuadorean Amazon.

21st May – Bogota airport. My relief at getting a ticket on Avianca Airlines (Cuenca-Quito- Bogota-Madrid-Barcelona) is soon countered by an incident of match-threatening proportions en route to Spain. Having spent a six-hour stopover looking round the Colombian capital, a traffic jam on the way back leaves me a mere 15 minutes before take- off when the taxi pulls up outside Departures.

An overpowering desire to have a pee has me waddling uncomfortably towards the gents near the baggage scanner. Then, disaster. As I lock the cubicle door behind me, a paltry screw comes loose and falls on the floor, leaving the door firmly closed with no way of prising the latch out of the fitting. “Final call for Avianca 080 to Madrid.”

I stupidly panic and try to lever myself out under the door with my 25-litre mini backpack. Half-way out, my body becomes firmly wedged twixt door and floor and the next thing I know there’s a bloke pulling me by the legs, dragging my palpitating frame along the grey tiles. Almost immediately, my rescuer and I are apprehended in the lavatory by a dutiful security officer, who marches us off and moments later we’re being accused of drug trafficking.

“Will the final passenger please go urgently…” Fifteen minutes of questioning. I babble away unconvincingly, the thought of that empty seat in the Nou Camp making my heart pound even more. “Yes I know all about the drugs problem here, you see Panorama did this programme in ’93…”

But it’s only when I point to my United shirt and mention the European Cup Final that we start to understand one another. I am released and head off to confront more than 180 faces staring at me as the lose screw in the toilet makes flight 080 half-an- hour late for departure.

22nd May – Madrid. Arrive 2pm local time. Jump in a cab and head for the Gran Via. Guess what? My hotel doesn’t have the requisite Via Digital channel for the FA Cup Final v Newcastle. A smart hotel porter tells me he knows a good Irish bar called The Quiet Man and when I get there two minutes before kick-off you can’t think for the noise of Reds and Geordies. Five pints of Guinness, my first since January, help wash down the sweet taste of victory. Pity that exquisite chip from Teddy didn’t go in, but two down, now for the big one!

26th May – Barcelona. The city is awash with Red. I’m so excited I feel sick. Thirty-one years I’ve waited for this and on a bright, sunny day, surely it’s all going to be a piece of cake?

Meet the MOTD team and collect our tickets at 2.30. We guard them with our lives and wash down an agreeable paella with some wine before heading back to the Nou Camp for kick-off.

When Mario Basler scores I remain calm. There are 85 minutes to go, they scored first against us in September in Munich and we still scored twice and, of course, after Turin all things are possible. But as the game goes on, I get more and more nervous. A half-time glance at my UEFA handbook fills me with dread. It tells me that at 2.70 goals per game, United are streets ahead of any other team in scoring proficiency. But a glance across the page tells me that at a measly 0.90 goals conceded per game, Bayern have had the best defence in the Champions’ League by far.

On 89 minutes I am feeling doomed. I think of my Mum and Dad watching in Salford, those Aussies in Sydney and, of course, my chums huddled around the radio in the mosquito-ridden swamps of the Amazon. I don’t mind admitting it, I start to pray like I’ve never prayed before.

Then the Sheringham goal. Unbelievable relief. We’ll edge it in extra-time. Then another corner, Teddy’s flick and the rest is glorious, explosive, magical history. An Italian journalist behind me asks me what I had been doing on my knees on 89 minutes. When I tell him, he replies, “You’re either a very stupid or very profound man.”

My year of following United around disparate parts of the globe is ending with surely the most extraordinary 104 seconds ever of a football match. I stay up all night in the Distrito Maritimo, where Robbo and Viv Anderson are spotted buying huge rounds and singing “You Are My Solskjaer!”.

27th May – The headline on the front of Marca states ‘DIOS SALVO AL MANCHESTER’ (God saved Manchester). Is that a reference to the deity or a certain baby-faced Norwegian striker?

I head back to Ecuador reading all the match reports and discussing the finer details of the game with an Avianca airline stewardess who insists that Bayern deserved to win. Every three minutes for the next nine hours I ceremoniously pinch myself.

Within days, of returning to Ecuador in late May, I found myself in prison. Steve Murphy, a 41-year- old United fan from Stockport, had served four years of a six-year term for drug handling. I’d heard about his case from a friend in Quito, so on Saturday 12th June, I arranged a surprise visit.

As we sat in his cell, I held out a plastic bag with a mysterious object inside it. “Go on, open it,” I said. And out came my match scarf from Barcelona. I will never forget that look on his face before he ran round the prison showing it to his mates.

As the season opens and United face the awesome task of following on from 1998/99, that scarf is now hanging proudly in Pavillion D Room Cell 22 in Quito prison, a powerful reminder of a simple truth: there is no other team with United’s pulling power anywhere in the world. And after my 1998/99 season, I should know.

The full article from Match of the Day Magazine can be found here.