Our latest Premier League rewind takes us back to the turn of the millennium, a period which saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United enjoy arguably their strongest hold on England’s top tier.
Elsewhere the 1999/2000 campaign saw the arrival of a certain Thierry Henry in north London and local hero Sir Bobby Robson take charge at Newcastle, whilst Wimbledon’s rags-to-riches journey to the upper echelons of English football came to an end with relegation to the second tier.
We’re continuing our look back at the greatest goalscorers from Premier League seasons gone by, here are the five leading scorers from the 1999/2000 season:
Andy Cole – Manchester United (19 goals)
One half of a devastating partnership alongside Dwight Yorke, Cole had helped fire Manchester United to treble success the previous season before a dominant domestic campaign the following year.
United defended their league title and secured a sixth Premier League crown in just eight seasons, finishing the season with a then record 18-point winning margin over runners-up Arsenal and a huge 97 goals scored.
Cole enjoyed the most prolific league campaign of his seven season spell at Old Trafford, scoring 19 goals – including a four-goal haul against former club Newcastle in August – to be included in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time.
Michael Bridges – Leeds (19 goals)
Leeds took a gamble on the promising Michael Bridges after leading scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s defection to Atletico Madrid, and it would prove one that would pay off spectacularly if only for a brief period.
Bridges had helped Sunderland to promotion but had played a largely back-up role to Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn, before signing for Leeds in a £5m deal and being instantly thrust into the forward line of arguably the division’s most exciting young side.
The 21-year-old scored a hat-trick on his second appearance in a 3-0 win at Southampton, before scoring prolifically throughout the campaign to help David O’Leary’s side to a third-placed finish.
Bridges scored 19 league goals and was named amongst the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year – an award won by teammate Harry Kewell – but it proved to be the highlight of a career that was sadly decimated by injuries.
The forward was seriously injured in a Champions League match against Besiktas the following season and made just 10 goalless appearances for Leeds over the next four seasons, never recapturing the form of a stunning 1999/2000 campaign during a journeyman career that included spells at the likes of Newcastle, Bolton and Hull City.
Dwight Yorke – Manchester United (20 goals)
Yorke was once again amongst the Premier League’s leading goalscorers during a memorable season at Manchester United, enjoying the most prolific league campaign of his career in English football to help the Red Devils to yet another league title.
The Trinidad and Tobago international scored in the opening day draw at Everton before registering five goals in his first five appearances of the season, whilst he also enjoyed a purple patch in March to claim the division’s Player of the Month award.
That run saw Yorke score six times in four appearances – included a hat-trick in victory over Derby County at Old Trafford – and began a run of results that saw United finish the season with 11 consecutive victories to establish their record winning margin over runners-up Arsenal.
Alan Shearer – Newcastle (23 goals)
Shearer’s season began in disastrous fashion amid a sending off on the opening day against Aston Villa, whilst his strained relationship with manager Ruud Gullit reached boiling point as he was dropped to the bench for a disastrous derby defeat to Sunderland at St James’ Park.
Newcastle’s poor start to the season saw Gullit resign, however, and Shearer – under the guidance of the newly-appointed Sir Bobby Robson – resumed his mantle as arguably the Premier League’s best forward.
Shearer scored five times in an 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday in Robson’s first game in charge at St James’ Park, and finished the season with 23 league goals to finish as runner-up for the Golden Boot.
His highlights included a brace in a memorable victory over eventual champions Manchester United, Shearer finishing the season with 30 goals in all competitions as Newcastle moved away from relegation worries to secure a mid-table finish.
Kevin Phillips – Sunderland (30 goals)
Newly-promoted Sunderland headed into the new Premier League season with modest ambitions of retaining top-flight status, and an opening day thrashing at Chelsea only served as a reminder of the gulf in quality between England’s top two tiers.
Peter Reid’s side, however, bounced back and continued their momentum from their promotion-winning campaign, backed by the goals of the prolific Kevin Phillips who enjoyed a season to saviour.
Phillips opened his account with two goals in a win over former club Watford, before continuing to fire throughout the campaign to win an unlikely Golden Boot.
Working brilliantly in a ‘little and large’ partnership with Irishman Niall Quinn, Phillips made a mockery of pundit Rodney Marsh’s predictions that he would flop in the top flight, finishing the season with 30 league goals to become the first – and so far only – Englishman to win the European Golden Shoe.
Phillips’ goals helped Sunderland to an impressive seventh-placed finish, a position which remains the club’s highest ever in the Premier League era.