sport news 'Fergie threw a fork at Nicky Butt': The inside story of how ...

Having cruised past Newcastle in a painfully one-sided FA Cup final, left Wembley with words to live by from Sir Alex Ferguson.

'Put your medals away, there is more to do,' Ferguson told his players, that message resonating as the squad's coach pulled up at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where families waited to celebrate the second trophy of a Treble during an 11 days that came to define United's history.

Barely a drop of alcohol was touched in merriment that night. They'd already had a proper party after lifting the title the weekend before. Bayern Munich, and that Champions League final, were in sight. They would not see their loved ones until after full-time at the Nou Camp.

Manchester United celebrating their win against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp in 1999, and completing the Treble

celebrating their win against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp in 1999, and completing the Treble

Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to their magnificent and unprecedented Treble 20 years ago

Sir Alex Ferguson led to their magnificent and unprecedented Treble 20 years ago

United's most famous academy graduates (left-right) Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Eric Harrison, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham - The Class of 92 - pose with the Champions League trophy in Barcelona after the final

United's most famous academy graduates (left-right) Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Eric Harrison, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham - The Class of 92 - pose with the Champions League trophy in Barcelona after the final

By the next morning, United were travelling to Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire, before Concorde flew them to Barcelona on the Monday. A little bit of light training, nothing taxing.

'Everything went smoothly in that run-in - apart from practising penalties,' assistant manager Steve McClaren recalled. 'We lined everybody up on the halfway line, make it as realistic as possible. Good practice for Peter Schmeichel.'

A grinning Dwight Yorke strolled up, told by the coaching staff to take the penalty he envisaged if the final were to end in a shootout. Nonchalantly, Yorke decided to Panenka the goalkeeper, chipping down the middle. Yorke's grin widened; Schmeichel's face reddened.

Steve McClaren (top right) revealed the high jinks of Dwight Yorke (centre) chipping Peter Schmeichel in training

Steve McClaren (top right) revealed the high jinks of Dwight Yorke (centre) chipping Peter Schmeichel in training

Ferguson celebrates after winning the Premiership title with a comeback against Tottenham on the final day of the season

Ferguson celebrates after winning the Premiership title with a comeback against Tottenham on the final day of the season

The squad celebrate on the pitch having been presented with the trophy after winning the first leg of their Treble

The squad celebrate on the pitch having been presented with the trophy after winning the first leg of their Treble

'You just cannot do that to Schmeichel,' McClaren said. 'Peter picked the ball out of the net, tried to volley at Yorke but missed him. So he chased him. 

'When they finally came together Peter went absolutely mad but Yorkey promised he would Panenka the Bayern goalkeeper too.

'Some moments are there to just diffuse the tension. Watching that incident, them running around, kind of relaxed us. It epitomised what the squad was about.'

Twenty-four hours prior, McClaren had asked kit man Albert Morgan to don goalkeeper gloves after the warm-up so he could realise a dream of scoring at Wembley.

Andy Cole, who scored the title-winning goal, shows no sign of tension during training ahead of the FA Cup final

Andy Cole, who scored the title-winning goal, shows no sign of tension during training ahead of the FA Cup final

Paul Scholes smashes home against Newcastle in the FA Cup final just six days after winning the league title

Paul Scholes smashes home against Newcastle in the FA Cup final just six days after winning the league title

Captain Roy Keane holds the FA Cup aloft as the team cheer after United beat Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley

Captain Roy Keane holds the FA Cup aloft as the team cheer after United beat Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley

David Beckham holds the FA Cup in the dressing room - but United barely celebrated as they had another final within days

David Beckham holds the FA Cup in the dressing room - but United barely celebrated as they had another final within days

United had been preparing for these 11 days for some time. Many put the extra-time FA Cup semi-final replay win over Arsenal - sealed by Ryan Giggs's miracle goal after Roy Keane's red card and Schmeichel's last-minute penalty save – as the moment the Treble became real. Yet Yorke had been talking that prospect up a good while longer.

Physio Dave Fevre, who resigned for family reasons immediately after the season, said: 'Yorkey came in after one game: "Come on, 22 more wins and we can win the Treble." Everyone started laughing. We'd start counting it down; 21, 20… then it suddenly dawned on everyone that this might happen.'

It did, of course, and etched each name into the club's pantheon of greats. Gary Neville felt the victory parade was when 'Manchester became my heaven'.

United started to believe they could win the Treble after their dramatic FA Cup semi-final replay victory over rivals Arsenal

United started to believe they could win the Treble after their dramatic FA Cup semi-final replay victory over rivals Arsenal 

Ferguson enjoys some champagne on the flight home after beating Juventus in the Champions League semi-final in Turin

Ferguson enjoys some champagne on the flight home after beating Juventus in the Champions League semi-final in Turin

The atmosphere behind the scenes was positive and was fostered during activities such as players versus staff quizzes

The atmosphere behind the scenes was positive and was fostered during activities such as players versus staff quizzes

'Turning into Deansgate and seeing a few hundred thousand people in the city centre,' Neville wrote. 'I can still see the face of one United fan among the many thousands who lined the road. This guy was screaming so hard that the veins were popping out of his neck.'

Hairs, rather than veins, popped when Ferguson delivered his final few team talks in front of the entire squad. McClaren fetched those not involved from the player lounge so all could listen.

'He always knew which buttons to press,' the former assistant said. 'His team talks were based on emotion rather than tactical details. In Barcelona, why it was the greatest game of their lives.

'He said it was like flying to moon, not many people get the chance, not many people even want to do it, but tonight they could fly to the moon. Were the players ready after that? Damn right, they were ready.

'At half-time he said to think how bad you'd feel walking past that trophy which Bayern were about the lift. That was my abiding memory.

'Once Teddy Sheringham had equalised I was talking about extra-time but the gaffer said: "Sit down, Steve. This game ain't over yet".' Coincidentally, the evening would see United's players singing 'Sit Down' by James. McClaren soaked it in, stopping during the lap of honour to gaze at stands decorated in red. 

United preparing to fly out to Barcelona on Concorde with British Airways ahead of the Champions League final

United preparing to

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV sport news Louis van Gaal slams Lionel Messi for being too much of an individual
NEXT sport news Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury II - the rematch is ON as heavyweight duo agree ...