No English Team will win The Treble again

Image credit: City Til I Die
Image credit: City Til I Die

On the eve of the 2022-23 Carabao Cup Final, we take a look at why winning all three of England’s major trophies in the same season won’t happen again.

The Treble is up there with the biggest and most impressive of achievements that an English side can accomplish, but here’s why no team will attain this again.

Quality and quantity

There’s no getting away from it, the Premier League is football’s money league. The finances of Premier League clubs are unmatched by any league in world football, as illustrated by the English top flight’s ludicrous spending spree in the January 2023 transfer window.

While you can financially draw parallels between the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the teams outside of the “top six” (or seven) are light years ahead in the Premier League.

Two Uniteds go head-to-head on Sunday, as Newcastle join the top teams in England again. Image: Newcastle United

The Premier League TV money that is distributed to all of the twenty clubs dwarfs its European counterparts. Mid-table clubs such as Leicester City, West Ham United and Brentford can afford to spend ten times the budgets of mid-table European clubs like Nice in France or Werder Bremen in Germany.

You can see why clubs like Barcelona and Juventus are desperate to create a European “Superleague”, because even they can’t compete with the English clubs.

Trebles are rare anyway

Somewhat surprisingly to me, there’s only ever been one club that has won all three major English trophies in the same season. Manchester City won the Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup in 2018-19. If you widen the criteria a little to include the Community Shield in that as well, some more teams pop up.

City actually won a quadruple in 2018-19, as they won the FA Community Shield at the beginning of the campaign. Liverpool also won two trebles in their glory days in 1982-83 and 1989-90.

Manchester City could be the first and last club to complete a domestic treble in England. Image credit: City Til I Die

Chelsea are another club in the treble bracket, with a trio of trophies achieved in 2009-10.

We think that even this kind of treble is extremely unlikely to be repeated. The top teams in the Premier League have steadily grown over the years. In the late 90s, there were only two – Arsenal and Manchester United.

When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea though, that changed, as the Blues were bankrolled like no club ever before. Liverpool steadily rejoined the elite around this time, to make a defined top four.

Manchester City’s takeover in 2009 saw them propelled to the very top, with Tottenham eventually joining under Harry Redknapp. That’s six, but now there are seven as Newcastle United have risen faster than anybody expected with their new Saudi owners.

Seven into three (or four) just doesn’t go, there really isn’t enough to go around in terms of silverware. There is another treble that’s open to English clubs, though.

Money isn’t everything

There’s another kind of treble open to English clubs, a European treble. Only the UEFA Champions League will be counted for this, so the Europa League and Europa Conference League aren’t considered.

Only Manchester United have achieved this, as they won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1998-99. That was a special squad of players and it was managed by arguably the best ever in Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United’s 1999 European Treble may never be repeated. Credit: The Mirror

Surely though, with how stacked of a squad the likes of Manchester City have and with top managers like Pep Guardiola at the helm this can be repeated? Well, even though the Premier League has the most money to play with, that isn’t everything.

Take the first leg results of this season’s Champions League, for example. Out of the four English clubs in the competition, none won, and only Manchester City managed to avoid defeat. That doesn’t tell the whole story of course, as City’s away draw isn’t a bad result and both Chelsea and Tottenham’s narrow defeats weren’t disasters either.

It’s more likely that an English club will win a European treble, as there are two undisputed top competitions there, with huge financial prizes to be had. However, with no such as an easy Premier League match, perhaps the league is becoming a victim of its own success.

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