Strip Club–Champagne Room Edition

Manchester United came into the 2008/09 campaign as the two time defending English Champions and the reigning European Champions, but Ferguson changed up the squad in an attempt to win a massive five trophies.  He brought in Brazilian twins Fábio and Rafael to add youth to the defense and Dimitar Berbatov to deepen an already strong front line.  Out went Mikaël Silvestre and Louis Saha.

The Red Devils retained the Premiership, using an unbeaten run in the middle of the season, during which they kept 14 straight clean sheets.  Back to back defeats to Liverpool (their main rival for the title that season) and Fulham saw the Champions’ lead evaporate but Fergie’s Army responded by winning eight of their last nine games, including Macheda’s amazing injury time goal against Aston Villa and a rousing comeback against Tottenham Hotspur.  In the end the club secured their 18th First Division title by four points.

In the domestic cup competitions, the Reds almost won both, beating Spurs on penalties in the League Cup before falling in penalties to Everton in the FA Cup Semis.  Defeat meant that it had been five years since the club won this storied competition.

Success the previous season saw the Red Devils play in the European Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.  Zenit St. Petersburg upended the Reds 2-1 in the Super Cup while later in the year, the club travelled to Japan for the gathering of continental champions.  The Reds defeated Gamba Osaka of the host country in the semis and LDU Quito of Ecuador 1-0 in the Final.

In Europe, the club drew their way through a group stage of Villarreal, Aalborg and Celtic.  Their reward for winning the group was a tilt against Mourinho’s Inter.  A 2-0 win at Old Trafford set up a clash with Porto and the tie was on a knife edge as Porto had drawn at Old Trafford 2-2, but a stunning goal by Ronaldo settled matters, with domestic rivals Arsenal drawn in the Semis.  United took care of the first leg and then overran the Gunners in the second leg, going up 2-0 in the opening quarter of hour.  Next up was FC Barcelona in Rome and a chance at history.

The Blaugrana withstood a furious start by the English Champions and opened the scoring after only nine minutes as E’too stepped inside of Vidic to poke home past Van der Sar.  Eventually the Spanish club found their footing and took the game to United in a reversal of the first half.  United rode their luck, creating chances of their own, but a Messi goal with 20 minutes to go ended United’s hope of retaining their European crown.  With the victory FCB won the Treble and ushered in a cycle of dominance.

After the season, Ronaldo went to Real Madrid and Tevez crossed town to City, causing Ferguson to rebuild the squad yet again.  The following season, Chelsea would claim the Double.

Based on research done by Historical Kits, United wore blue and white vertical stripes as their away shirt starting in 1902, when the club changed their name from Newton Heath to Manchester United.  Starting in 1939, the club used an all blue shirt and white shorts until 1957 as their away kit.  From there they switched to a white shirt and shorts, with the blue shirt used as a third jersey on occasion (hard to imagine a third jersey used that long ago).  For the magical 1968 European Cup Final, Manchester United wore an all blue strip when the club defeated Benfica 4-1 (aet) at Wembley.  In my research I found this highlights package of the game, which was in color, the first time I had ever seen the match not in black and white.  For the next several decades, the club used the blue shirt as an away and third option.

MUFC

The 2008-09 version is an homage to the 1968 European Cup triumph with the date of May 29th, 1968 and a note about the 40th Anniversary circling the team crest.

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The full kit is as follows (via Colours of Football):

eng_mu_3_0809

My wife gave me the long sleeved version of this shirt for Christmas one year and I love it.  She even personalized with JUNIOR #7, which is my go to for personalized kits.  Although the shirt is only a replica and not the authentic version, it fits nicely and I enjoy wearing it for game days and pick up games whenever possible.  One of my favorite shirts and I love the historical reference wrapped up in the kit.

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