With still more than 2 months to go until the end of the 2008-09 season, there’s already talk of Manchester United and the quadruple of League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, as early as more than a month ago, and even by Manchester United’s assistant manager, Mike Phelan.
For me, it’s still too early to talk about winning anything (apart from the League Cup, with the final against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday).
Up to the first season of the Premier League (1992-93), the League and FA Cup double alone was considered a great achievement, having only been realised five times since the League came into existence in 1888:
- 1888-89: Preston
- 1896-97: Aston Villa
- 1960-61: Tottenham Hotspur
- 1970-71: Arsenal
- 1985-86: Liverpool
The League and FA Cup double has been achieved as many times in the 15 seasons since 1993 as it had in the 94 seasons between 1888 and 1993 (11 years without regular football due to World Wars 1 and 2):
- 1993-94: Manchester United
- 1995-96: Manchester United
- 1997-98: Arsenal
- 1998-99: Manchester United (as part of a treble, including the European Cup)
- 2001-02: Arsenal
Chelsea are still in with a shot at a league and FA Cup double this season.
The “double” of League and European Cup or Champions League has only been achieved three times by an English club – Liverpool in 1977 and again in 1984, and Manchester United last season. Liverpool and Chelsea are still in the running for such a “double” this season, although Chelsea’s chances of winning the league are now slim.
Liverpool have also achieved the League and UEFA Cup double twice – 1973 and 1976. Everton did a League and Cup Winners’ Cup double in 1985.
The less coveted League and League Cup double has been achieved five times:
- 1977-78: Nottingham Forest
- 1981-82: Liverpool
- 1982-83: Liverpool
- 1983-84: Liverpool (as part of a treble, including the European Cup)
- 2004-05: Chelsea
The more exotic but even lesser FA Cup and League Cup double has been achieved three times:
- 1992-93: Arsenal
- 2000-01: Liverpool (as part of a “treble”, including the UEFA Cup)
- 2006-07: Chelsea
The most highly-regarded treble of League title, European champions and FA Cup has only been achieved once by an English club – Manchester United in 1999. It is ironic that 22 years earlier, Manchester United prevented Liverpool from becoming the first English club to do this treble, when they beat them in the FA Cup Final. Chelsea are still in the running for such a treble this season.