Premier League, 1996 (1995-96)

Premier League – Season Review 1995-96

The 1995-96 FA Carling Premiership was the fourth season in the competition’s history and was the first season as a 20-team division.

Manchester United secured their third Premier League title as they overhauled the 12-point lead that Newcastle United held in January. With the finishing line in sight and mind games finding a place in the footballing vocabulary, Toon boss Kevin Keegan blew his top with his infamous “I will love it if we beat them. Love it” rant. Alex Ferguson’s charges also completed the second league and FA Cup double, and were the only club to qualify for the Champions League.

Along with Newcastle, Aston Villa and Arsenal qualified for the UEFA Cup via their league position. Liverpool finished third but went into the European Cup Winners’ Cup as the beaten FA Cup finalists. With manager Kenny Dalglish moved to the role of director of football, reigning champions Blackburn Rovers failed to recover from a slow start and remained in the bottom-half of the table until the turn of the year.

The relegation struggle went down to a dramatic final day. Coventry City and Southampton only finished ahead of relegated Manchester City on the number of goals scored. Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers (in their first top flight season since 1980) followed City in the drop to the Football League.

Alex Ferguson was named Carling Manager of the Season. Eric Cantona of Manchester United was named Carling Player of the Year and won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award. Newcastle United’s Les Ferdinand won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award. Alan Shearer of Blackburn Rovers won the Golden Boot with 31 goals.

The PFA Premier League Team of the Year was:

  • David James (Liverpool)
  • Gary Neville (Manchester United), Tony Adams (Arsenal), Ugo Ehiogu (Aston Villa), Alan Wright (Aston Villa)
  • Steve Stone (Nottingham Forest), Ruud Gullit (Chelsea), Rob Lee (Newcastle United), David Ginola (Newcastle United)
  • Les Ferdinand (Newcastle United), Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)

The average attendance was 27,550. The highest attendance was 53,926 for Nottingham Forest’s visit to Manchester United on 28 April 1996. The lowest attendance of the season was the 6,352 who witnessed the game between Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday on 30 August 1995 at Selhurst Park.