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Saturday, 14 April, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Kings of the Premiership
Manchester United's Premiership dominance
BBC Sport Online looks back at Manchester United's dominance of the Premiership which has seen the club win seven titles out of nine.

Click here for Man Utd's Premiership record

The year was 1986, the date 6 November, when successful Scottish manager Alex Ferguson came down south to take charge of the biggest sleeping giants in Europe.

Manchester United were a shambles, having won just three matches in the 13 games leading up to Ferguson's arrival.

The Old Trafford side were a pale shadow of the team which became the best in Europe less than 20 years previous.

Ferguson's first tasks were taking United out of the relegation mire which they were inhabiting and setting up an academy to find the new George Best, Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton.

Eric Cantona
Cantona was an integral part of Manchester United's success
After four seasons of relative failure, the Scot staved off the threat of a sacking by lifting the FA Cup - the club's first trophy in five years.

European success followed when the likes of Mark Hughes, Brian McClair and Steve Bruce steered the club to the Cup Winners' Cup.

But Ferguson was aiming for the league championship, a treasure which the Old Trafford club had not found since 1967.

After narrowly missing out in winning the very last First Division crown, to Leeds United, Ferguson's men made the following season count by lifting the inaugural Premiership title.

The 1.2m signing of Eric Cantona in November from rivals Leeds raised a few eyebrows, but little did the club and the Premiership know that he was going to be the club's inspiration for many a season.

  Ferguson's record
Premiership titles: 1992/3, 1993/4, 1995/6, 1996/7, 1998/9, 1999/0, 2000/1
FA Cup: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999
League Cup: 1992
European Cup: 1999
European CWC: 1991
European Super Cup: 1991
World Club Cup: 1999
United finished 10 points clear of second place Villa.

The Old Trafford club then achieved the more difficult task of retaining the championship.

Despite losing the League Cup final they clinched the FA Cup and Premiership double in a 1993/4 season which saw the arrival of Roy Keane for a British club record of 3.75m and the departure of Bryan Robson.

Nineties domination was firmly on the cards for Ferguson's team, who were beginning to form a team based on a youth policy.

But United met their match the following season when Blackburn, managed by Kenny Dalglish and led by the goalscoring hero Alan Shearer, soared to a superb Premiership triumph.

Paul Scholes
Scholes was one of Fergie's fledglings
By this stage Ferguson's team had began to take a shape that is recognisable today, with David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs regular first-teamers.

The 1995/6 season will be remembered for Alan Hansen's statement " you can't win anything with kids" following United's opening game defeat at Villa.

Of course the BBC Match of the Day pundit was wrong and United held their nerve as rivals Newcastle squandered a 12-point lead.

Although European success eluded them in 1996/7, a David Beckham goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon and another Premiership championship, proved that every cloud for United had at least one silver lining.

The threat of Arsenal under Arsene Wenger proved to be a thorn in United's side.

With Cantona retiring and Keane missing most of the season due to injury, Ferguson's men failed to find the extra gear to hold on to the substantial lead they had established, as the Gunners charged past in one of the greatest comebacks seen in the Premiership.

Of course, after a lull...

Manchester claimed an unprecedented treble of Premiership, European Cup and FA Cup titles during the 1998/9 season.

Ryan Giggs
Arsenal's Tony Adams could do nothing to prevent Giggs' spectacular

There were many highlights during a year which will go down as one of the most drama-packed in recent history.

Defender Jaap Stam's crucial performances, Giggs' FA Cup semi-final goal against Arsenal, and the Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer strikes in the European Cup final will never be forgotten.

After a shaky opening half of the 1999/2000 season, United sprung out of their traps and went on a 11-match winning streak.

It was also a season where the FA Cup holders opted out of the competition for the World Club Championship.

And this season, it has been all too easy.

With Arsenal, Leeds and Liverpool floundering from the off, Ferguson's men have dominated the Premiership without having to break sweat.

Clinching the league just after the Easter period shows that while others have tried to buy their way to glory, United have nurtured their youth into a force which will, for many years to come, carry on flying the flag for Premiership football.

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Manchester United's Premiership record
Season Pos W D L Pts
1992/3 1 24 12 6 84
1993/4 1 27 11 4 92
1994/5 2 26 10 6 88
1995/6 1 25 7 6 82
1996/7 1 21 12 5 75
1997/8 2 23 8 7 77
1998/9 1 22 13 3 79
1999/0 1 28 7 3 91
2000/1 1 24 7 2 76

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