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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 15:21 GMT
Fergie's 15 years
From the dark days of December 1989 to the glory of the Nou Camp 10 years later, Sir Alex Ferguson turned Manchester United from English football's underachievers to one of Europe's most feared sides.
On the 15th anniversary of his arrival at Old Trafford from Aberdeen, BBC Sport Online's Piers Newbery takes a look back at Ferguson's time in charge.
Ferguson arrived with United in the bottom four and lost his first match in charge 2-0 at Oxford United. Relegation threatened but he steadied the ship while taking a good look at his squad. Despite making no signings, the new boss guided United to 11th at the end of the season.
Frank Stapleton left the club, while McClair became the first United player to score more than 20 goals in a season since George Best, finishing with 24.
Russell Beardsmore, Mark Robins and Lee Sharpe all progressed from the youth system, but the season still proved disappointing as United slipped back to 11th.
Big money had been spent bringing in Neil Webb, Mike Phelan, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince and Danny Wallace but after a poor start United could only finish 13th in the table.
By Christmas the fans were vocal in their disapproval of the manager.
Ferguson's position was saved by an FA Cup run that began with a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest and ended in May with victory in the final replay over Crystal Palace.
The FA Cup holders lost their grip on the trophy with a fifth-round defeat to Norwich, but finished runners-up in the Rumbelows Cup to Sheffield Wednesday.
As well as considerable activity in the various cup competitions, United improved to sixth in the league.
Three defeats in the final four games handed the title to Leeds, and Rumbelows Cup success was scant consolation.
Hope for the future lay with Ryan Giggs, who won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award and led a victorious FA Youth Cup team.
The signing of Eric Cantona from Leeds United for £1.2m in November completed the team that took the title, finishing 10 points clear of Aston Villa.
United went out on penalties against Torpedo Moscow in the Uefa Cup first round, and a Steve Bruce miss from the spot ended their FA Cup run in the fifth round at Sheffield United.
They completed a League and Cup double with victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup final, and almost sealed the treble before losing to Aston Villa in the Coca-Cola Cup final.
The club's return to the European Cup was less successful and they lost on away goals to Galatasaray.
Eric Cantona's attack on a fan at Crystal Palace led to him being banned for eight months and even the £7m signing of Andy Cole from Newcastle could not stop the title going to Blackburn on the last day of the season.
There was another shock at Wembley as United went down 1-0 to Everton in the FA Cup final.
But following an opening day 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa, the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville helped United to the "double double".
Victory in the FA Cup final against Liverpool was particularly sweet, with the rejuvenated Cantona grabbing a late winner.
With their Premiership superiority re-established, it was time for United to make a bigger impact in Europe.
A 4-0 thrashing of Porto in the European Cup quarter-final suggested it could be their year, but uncharacteristic misses from Cantona saw United lose to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund in the last four.
The season proved to be something of a let-down, with surprise exits to Monaco and Barnsley in the European Cup and FA Cup.
A run of only five wins in the last 10 Premiership games let Arsenal come from behind to complete the double.
If the previous season was a let-down, this campaign was anything but.
Ferguson added Jaap Stam, Jesper Blomqvist and Dwight Yorke to an already powerful squad that went on to win an unprecedented treble.
Regaining the Premiership and FA Cup was impressive, but claiming the club's second European Cup with a dramatic win over Bayern Munich made it the season that Ferguson will always be remembered for.
United reached the high of taking the Inter Continental Cup against Palmeiras in Tokyo and retained the Premiership title.
But pulling out of the FA Cup to take part in the inaugural World Club Championship in Brazil was widely unpopular, and defeat to Real Madrid saw the European Cup disappear.
Another quarter-final defeat in the European Cup, this time to Bayern Munich, led Ferguson to make some big signings in preparation for his final year in charge.
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Fergie's 15 years in charge at Man Utd - in pictures
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