1995–96 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1995–96 season
Chairman Martin Edwards
Manager Alex Ferguson
Premier League 1st
FA Cup Winners
League Cup Second Round
UEFA Cup Second Round
Top goalscorer League:
Eric Cantona (14)
All:
Eric Cantona (19)
Highest home attendance 53,926 vs Nottingham Forest (28 April 1996)
Lowest home attendance 31,966 vs West Ham United (23 August 1995)
Average home league attendance 40,851
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1995–96 season was Manchester United's fourth season in the Premier League, and their 21st consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1] United finished the season by becoming the first English team to win the Double (league title and FA Cup) twice. Their triumph was made all the more remarkable by the fact that Alex Ferguson had sold experienced players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis before the start of the season, and not made any major signings. Instead, he had drafted in young players like Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, Gary and Phil.

Eric Cantona returned from a nine-month suspension at the beginning of October, and finished the season as the club's top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions, the last one being the winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. He also picked up a Premier League winner's medal and the FWA Player of the Year award. The title had been sealed on the final day of the season with a 3–0 win at Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough.

Veteran defenders Steve Bruce and Paul Parker moved on at the end of the season, as did goalkeeper Tony Coton, who had only joined the club in January and never played a first team game. As the season drew to a close, speculation mounted that United would sign a world-class striker – possibly Alan Shearer – to partner Eric Cantona in the bid to bring the European Cup to Old Trafford.

The season also produced one of the most infamous moments in football shirt history, when United changed their kits at half-time during their away defeat to Southampton, with Alex Ferguson stating that it was because he felt the kit left players unable to spot each other on the pitch, as well as the fact that United had not won a single of their five games played wearing the kit.[2]

Pre-season and friendlies[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
31 July 1995 Selangor A 4–1 Bruce, Butt, Pallister, Sharpe 50,000
2 August 1995 Selangor A 2–0 Bruce, Scholes 20,000
7 August 1995 Birmingham City A 0–1 13,330
9 August 1995 Bradford City A 1–0 Keane 13,457
11 August 1995 Shelbourne A 2–2 Butt, Beckham 12,500
13 August 1995 East Fife A 4–0 Beckham (2), McClair, Sharpe 5,385
15 August 1995 Oldham Athletic A 2–0 Sharpe, Jobson (o.g.) 8,766
5 December 1995 International Select N 1–2 Scholes 22,000
12 December 1995 Celtic A 1–3 Scholes 37,306

FA Premier League[edit]

Manchester United opened the 1995–96 season with a 3–1 defeat away to Aston Villa, after which their young team was written off by all the media, most famously by Alan Hansen who claimed "you'll never win anything with kids". The younger players were partnered with veterans like Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel, and began to look a convincing outfit, particularly after a 2–1 win away to defending champions Blackburn Rovers. A 1-0 defeat at Arsenal was only their second league defeat of the campaign, but in the run-up to Christmas they endured a five-match winless run which left Newcastle United looking uncatchable with a 10-point lead. A 2-0 home win over the Tynesiders on 27 December cut the gap to seven points, but it widened again on New Year's Day when United were crushed 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur.

United then went on a strong run of form which saw the gap between themselves and Newcastle cut to four points by the end of February, and on 4 March they won 1-0 at Newcastle to cut the gap to a single point. They went top of the league soon afterwards and went into the final game of the season at Middlesbrough only needing a point to put the title beyond all doubt. United sealed their third league title in four seasons by beating the Teessiders 3-0.

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance League
position
19 August 1995 Aston Villa A 1–3 Beckham 84' 34,655 19th
23 August 1995 West Ham United H 2–1 Scholes 50', Keane 68' 31,966 5th
26 August 1995 Wimbledon H 3–1 Keane (2) 28', 80', Cole 60' 32,226 4th
28 August 1995 Blackburn Rovers A 2–1 Sharpe 46', Beckham 67' 29,843 2nd
9 September 1995 Everton A 3–2 Sharpe (2) 3', 49', Giggs 74' 39,496 2nd
16 September 1995 Bolton Wanderers H 3–0 Scholes (2) 18', 86', Giggs 34' 32,812 1st
23 September 1995 Sheffield Wednesday A 0–0 34,101 3rd
1 October 1995 Liverpool H 2–2 Butt 2', Cantona 71' (pen.) 34,934 3rd
14 October 1995 Manchester City H 1–0 Scholes 5' 35,707 2nd
21 October 1995 Chelsea A 4–1 Scholes (2) 4', 10', Giggs 78', McClair 85' 31,019 2nd
28 October 1995 Middlesbrough H 2–0 Pallister 44', Cole 88' 36,580 2nd
4 November 1995 Arsenal A 0–1 38,317 2nd
18 November 1995 Southampton H 4–1 Giggs (2) 1', 4', Scholes 9', Cole 69' 39,301 2nd
22 November 1995 Coventry City A 4–0 Irwin 28', McClair (2) 48', 76', Beckham 58' 23,400 2nd
27 November 1995 Nottingham Forest A 1–1 Cantona 67' (pen.) 29,263 2nd
2 December 1995 Chelsea H 1–1 Beckham 61' 42,019 2nd
9 December 1995 Sheffield Wednesday H 2–2 Cantona (2) 18', 84' 41,849 2nd
17 December 1995 Liverpool A 0–2 40,546 2nd
24 December 1995 Leeds United A 1–3 Cole 30' 39,801 2nd
27 December 1995 Newcastle United H 2–0 Cole 6', Keane 53' 42,024 2nd
30 December 1995 Queens Park Rangers H 2–1 Cole 45', Giggs 52' 41,890 2nd
1 January 1996 Tottenham Hotspur A 1–4 Cole 36' 32,852 2nd
13 January 1996 Aston Villa H 0–0 42,667 3rd
22 January 1996 West Ham United A 1–0 Cantona 9' 24,197 2nd
3 February 1996 Wimbledon A 4–2 Cole 41', Perry 45' (o.g.), Cantona (2) 71', 81' (pen.) 25,380 2nd
10 February 1996 Blackburn Rovers H 1–0 Sharpe 15' 42,681 2nd
21 February 1996 Everton H 2–0 Keane 30', Giggs 82' 42,459 2nd
25 February 1996 Bolton Wanderers A 6–0 Beckham 5', Bruce 15', Cole 70', Scholes (2) 76', 79', Butt 90' 21,381 2nd
4 March 1996 Newcastle United A 1–0 Cantona 52' 36,584 2nd
16 March 1996 Queens Park Rangers A 1–1 Cantona 90' 18,817 2nd
20 March 1996 Arsenal H 1–0 Cantona 65' 50,028 1st
24 March 1996 Tottenham Hotspur H 1–0 Cantona 51' 50,157 1st
6 April 1996 Manchester City A 3–2 Cantona 7' (pen.), Cole 42', Giggs 78' 29,668 1st
8 April 1996 Coventry City H 1–0 Cantona 47' 50,332 1st
13 April 1996 Southampton A 1–3 Giggs 89' 15,262 1st
17 April 1996 Leeds United H 1–0 Keane 72' 48,382 1st
28 April 1996 Nottingham Forest H 5–0 Scholes 42', Beckham (2) 45', 55', Giggs 70', Cantona 90' 53,926 1st
5 May 1996 Middlesbrough A 3–0 May 14', Cole 54', Giggs 81' 29,921 1st
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 25 7 6 73 35 +38 82
2 Newcastle United 38 24 6 8 66 37 +29 78
3 Liverpool 38 20 11 7 70 34 +36 71

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

FA Cup[edit]

United won the FA Cup in 1996 by beating Liverpool 1–0 in the final at Wembley Stadium, with the only goal coming from Eric Cantona in the 85th minute. On the way to the final, Manchester United defeated Sunderland, Reading, Manchester City, Southampton and Chelsea.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
6 January 1996 Round 3 Sunderland H 2–2 Butt 13', Cantona 80' 41,563
16 January 1996 Round 3
Replay
Sunderland A 2–1 Scholes 70', Cole 90' 21,378
27 January 1996 Round 4 Reading A 3–0 Giggs 37', Parker 57', Cantona 90' 14,780
18 February 1996 Round 5 Manchester City H 2–1 Cantona 39' (pen.), Sharpe 78' 42,692
11 March 1996 Round 6 Southampton H 2–0 Cantona 49', Sharpe 90' 45,446
31 March 1996 Semi-final Chelsea N 2–1 Cole 55', Beckham 59' 38,421
11 May 1996 Final Liverpool N 1–0 Cantona 86' 79,007

League Cup[edit]

As in the previous seasons, United rested many of their first-team players in the League Cup, instead using the competition to provide first team experience to the club's younger players and reserves. This proved to be a bad move, as the Red Devils fell at the first hurdle, losing in the Second Round to York City, 4–3 on aggregate.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
20 September 1995 Round 2
First leg
York City H 0–3 29,049
3 October 1995 Round 2
Second leg
York City A 3–1 Scholes (2) 7', 80', Cooke 14' 9,386

UEFA Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
12 September 1995 Round 2
First leg
Rotor Volgograd A 0–0 33,000
26 September 1995 Round 2
Second leg
Rotor Volgograd H 2–2 Scholes 60', Schmeichel 89' 29,724

Squad statistics[edit]

No. Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1 GK Denmark Peter Schmeichel 36 0 6 0 1 0 2 1 45 1
2 DF England Paul Parker 5(1) 0 1(1) 1 1 0 0(1) 0 7(3) 1
3 DF Republic of Ireland Denis Irwin 31 1 6 0 1 0 1 0 39 1
4 DF England Steve Bruce (c) 30 1 5 0 1(1) 0 2 0 38(1) 1
5 MF England Lee Sharpe 21(10) 4 4(2) 2 2 0 2 0 36 6
6 DF England Gary Pallister 21 1 3 0 2 0 2 0 28 1
7 FW France Eric Cantona 30 14 7 5 1 0 0 0 38 19
9 MF Scotland Brian McClair 12(10) 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 13(10) 3
11 MF Wales Ryan Giggs 30(3) 11 7 1 2 0 2 0 41(3) 12
12 DF England David May 11(5) 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 13(5) 1
13 GK England Tony Coton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 FW England Graeme Tomlinson 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 MF Republic of Ireland Roy Keane 29 6 7 0 0(1) 0 2 0 38(1) 6
17 FW England Andy Cole 32(2) 11 7 2 1 0 1 0 42(2) 13
18 MF England Simon Davies 1(5) 0 0 0 1 0 0(1) 0 2(6) 0
19 MF England Nicky Butt 31(1) 2 7 1 0 0 2 0 40(1) 3
20 DF England Gary Neville 30(1) 0 5(1) 0 1 0 1 0 37(2) 0
21 DF Northern Ireland Pat McGibbon 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
22 MF England Paul Scholes 16(10) 10 0(2) 1 1 2 1(1) 1 18(13) 14
23 DF England Phil Neville 21(3) 0 6(1) 0 1(1) 0 1 0 29(5) 0
24 MF England David Beckham 26(7) 7 3 1 2 0 2 0 33(7) 8
25 GK England Kevin Pilkington 2(1) 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 4(1) 0
26 DF England Chris Casper 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
27 MF England Terry Cooke 1(3) 0 0 0 1(1) 1 0(1) 0 2(5) 1
29 MF England Ben Thornley 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
30 DF England John O'Kane 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1(1) 0
31 DF France William Prunier 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0

Transfers[edit]

United's first departure of the 1995–96 season was Matthew Barrass, who joined San Diego Nomads on 1 July. A day later, David Gardner was released, Paul Heckingbottom joined Sunderland, Patrick Lee joined Middlesbrough, and Paul Lyons joined Rochdale. Richard Irving signed for Nottingham Forest on 19 July, while a week later, Ashley Westwood departed for Crewe Alexandra. Gary Walsh signed for Middlesbrough on 11 August, Andrei Kanchelskis joined Everton, while in late September, Elliott Dickman joined Sunderland, and Stephen Hall was released. John Hudson was released on 5 November.

United's only summer arrival of the 1995–96 season was Nick Culkin, who signed from York City on 25 September.

United's only winter departure was Matthew Wicks, who joined Arsenal on a free transfer on 23 January. Former captain Steve Bruce left for Birmingham City on 22 May, while on 30 June, Dessie Baker, Daniel Hall, Paul Parker, and Phillip Whittam left the club.

United's only winter arrival was Tony Coton, who signed from United's rivals Manchester City on 31 January. Raimond van der Gouw joined United from Vitesse on 25 June 1996.

In[edit]

Date Pos. Name From Fee
25 September 1995 GK England Nick Culkin England York City £250k
31 January 1996 GK England Tony Coton England Manchester City £500k
25 June 1996 GK Netherlands Raimond van der Gouw Netherlands Vitesse Free

Out[edit]

Date Pos. Name To Fee
1 July 1995 MF England Matthew Barrass United States San Diego Nomads Free
2 July 1995 MF England David Gardner Unattached Free
2 July 1995 DF England Paul Heckingbottom England Sunderland Free
2 July 1995 MF Republic of Ireland Patrick Lee England Middlesbrough Free
2 July 1995 MF England Paul Lyons England Rochdale Free
19 July 1995 FW England Richard Irving England Nottingham Forest £75k
26 July 1995 DF England Ashley Westwood England Crewe Alexandra £40k
11 August 1995 GK England Gary Walsh England Middlesbrough £250k
25 August 1995 MF Russia Andrei Kanchelskis England Everton £5m
27 September 1995 DF England Elliott Dickman England Sunderland Free
30 September 1995 FW England Stephen Hall Unattached Free
5 November 1995 MF England John Hudson Unattached Free
23 January 1996 DF England Matt Wicks England Arsenal Free
22 May 1996 DF England Steve Bruce England Birmingham City Free
30 June 1996 FW Republic of Ireland Dessie Baker Unattached Free
30 June 1996 DF England Daniel Hall Unattached Free
30 June 1996 DF England Paul Parker England Derby County Free
30 June 1996 DF England Phillip Whittam Unattached Free

Loan in[edit]

Date from Date to Pos. Name From
29 December 1995 1 March 1996 DF France William Prunier France Bordeaux

Loan out[edit]

Date from Date to Pos. Name To
1 July 1995 1 August 1995 MF England Michael Appleton England Wimbledon
15 September 1995 15 October 1995 MF England Michael Appleton England Lincoln City
6 November 1995 15 February 1996 MF England Ben Thornley England Stockport County
11 January 1996 11 April 1996 DF England Chris Casper England Bournemouth
29 January 1996 29 February 1996 MF England Terry Cooke England Sunderland
2 February 1996 20 March 1996 GK England Kevin Pilkington England Rochdale
22 February 1996 18 May 1997 MF England Ben Thornley England Huddersfield Town
22 March 1996 22 May 1996 FW England Graeme Tomlinson England Luton Town

See also[edit]

References[edit]