2003-04 Manchester United Track Jacket Size Large
Team: Manchester United
Era: 2003-04 (Used for the 2003-04 Barclays Premiership season)
This classic jacket comes to you in excellent condition – further exacerbated given that this piece is now 20 years old! The material and embroidered applications are in fine standing, meanwhile, all of the zippers are in fine working order as well!
Pit to Pit Measurement: 23.5 inches
Shirt Length: 29.5 inches
Made by Nike in the pre-Total 90 era between 2003-04; the dimensions of this jacket suggest that it may be a relaxed size large fitting jacket, and could provide also a tighter fit for a size extra-large.
After their mostly black and red series of training apparel that Nike released for Manchester United in their debut season as kit supplier; the choice for the latest additions which debuted in the 2003-04 season would make grey the main colour with black taking a backseat as the support act during this iteration. This application of the colour scheme was no more prominent than in this training jacket in what was arguably the most iconic variation of the whole set used between 2002-04! The 2003-04 season would see Manchester United to have to adjust to life without David Beckham as he left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in the legendary summer of 2003; it mattered not however, as a teenager called Cristiano Ronaldo came into to take the number 7 jersey and make it his own! While this season saw United win both the Community Shield – their first since 1997, and the FA Cup – their first FA Cup victory since 1999; however, their 3rd place league finish which saw them relinquish the Premiership title and a Last 16 exit from the UEFA Champions League would ultimately render the season a disappointment by the club’s very high standards.
An incredible 2003 would see Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win 15 of their 18 games as they went unbeaten in the second half of the season to pip Arsenal to the Premiership title in what was an incredible tour de force for a team that was being heavily written off as being finished in 2002! Throw in a Worthington Cup runners-up finish and exiting the Champions League in the quarter final after a legendary tie against Real Madrid and optimism was huge going into the 2003-04 season!
The David Beckham/Sir Alex Ferguson rift would culminate in the England captain moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2003, while Juan Sebastian Veron joined Chelsea as part of their revolutionary makeover following their takeover by Roman Abramovich. Laurent Blanc would retire after his two seasons with the club, while long-term servant – David May was also released. To plug in the vacated spaces, raw, but talented youth would be recruited in the form of: Tim Howard, Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion, Kleberson and of course – Cristiano Ronaldo.
United put their 19 match unbeaten streak in the league on the line against Bolton Wanderers on the opening weekend of the season, and would put 4 goals past a side who had claimed wins at Old Trafford in each of the last two seasons. They would extend the run to 22 games before visiting Southampton on 31st August and would fall 1-0 at St Mary’s. Although they would only drop further points against London opposition – Arsenal, Fulham and Chelsea in 2003 (the former, the infamous heated clash at Old Trafford that saw Ruud van Nistelrooy missing a stoppage time penalty and the game end 0-0), 12 wins from 13th September to 28th December would see the champions lead the way as the year of 2003 drew to a close.
After winning all 5 games in December 2003 to take the initiative in the league, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side completed the double over Bolton on 7th January 2004, however, with Rio Ferdinand now out for the rest of the season following his punishment for missing a drugs test; ‘the Red Devils’ season would fall apart in 2004 as they claimed just 29 points from an available 57 (in contrast to the 46 collected from the previous 57 points). Furthermore, there were embarrassing defeats to: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City, Portsmouth and there would also be a loss at home to Liverpool. In the end, they would have to settle for a 3rd place finish – 15 points behind Arsenal, who reclaimed the title without losing.
The domestic cups would be the primary source of joy for the club in 2003-04, beginning with the FA Community Shield in what was the first of 4 meetings with Arsenal that season. They would draw first blood by winning the Community Shield for the first time since 1997! After their run to the final to the League Cup in 2002-03, they would exit the competition in the Fourth Round when they were eliminated by West Bromwich Albion.
The quest for a first FA Cup since winning the treble in 1999 began away against Aston Villa when they won 2-0, before a romance tie against Northampton Town ended with the Premiership side winning 3-0. The Fifth Round yielded a Manchester Derby where United won 4-2 to set up a tie against Fulham, whom United had failed to beat both home and away that season. A Ruud van Nistelrooy brace helped United to a 2-1 win where in the semi-final awaited Arsenal in what was a rematch of the 1999 semi-final. United would inflict Arsenal’s first defeat in an FA Cup tie since the 2001 Final with Paul Scholes scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win at Villa Park. Their opponents in the final would be Milwall, and United would win the FA for a record 11th time after putting the Division 1 side away 3-0 on 22nd May!
The two time European Champions would take their place in Group E alongside: VFB Stuttgart, Panathinaikos and Rangers where United were expected to qualify handily. After beating PAO 5-0, they would be upset 2-1 away against Stuttgart; however, they would rally to win each of their remaining 4 games to finish top of the table. Their opponents in the Last 16 would be FC Porto – the UEFA Cup champions managed by Jose Mourinho, The unfavoured Portuguese side masterminded a come from behind 2-1 win at the brand-new, state of the art Estadio do Dragao in 1st Leg. United would take the lead in the 2nd Leg, and had just minutes to hold out to reach the quarter final for an 8th season in a row; however, 90th minute equaliser would condemn United to an exit from Europe!
The notable players that season were:
Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Bellion, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Forlan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Louis Saha, Diego Forlan, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson, Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Darren Fletcher, Phil Neville, Quinton Fortune, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre, Tim Howard, Roy Carroll, Fabien Barthez
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