The History of Manchester United
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In the Beginning......
Manchester United began life in 1878 as Newton Heath, formed by workers of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. They nearly went bankrupt in 1902 and were rescued and renamed as Manchester United. The earliest known film of Manchester United is the 20 victory at Burnley on 6 December 1902, filmed by Mitchell and Kenyon.
United have had three successful eras, under J. Ernest Mangnall in the 1900s, in the 50s and 60s under Sir Matt Busby, and in the 90s to present under Sir Alex Ferguson. They have won the FA Cup 11 times, the most of any team, and 15 league championships. They have also won the European Cup (now Champions League) twice. These trophies make them the second-most successful club ever in England, behind Liverpool F.C. who have a record 18 league titles, 4 European Cups and 6 FA Cups, although Manchester United have sustained their successes over far longer periods.
The 1958 Manchester United team was nicknamed the "Busby Babes". On February 6, they were flying home from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade when the plane crashed on takeoff in a snow storm in Munich, Germany (see Munich air disaster). Eight team members were killed, and two players suffered career-ending injuries. Amongst the dead was Duncan Edwards, a 21-year-old who many believe was on his way to establishing himself as one of England's greatest players ever. A survivor, Bobby Charlton would help England to win the Football World Cup in 1966.
1999 was arguably United's best season, in which the Red Devils won the Premier League, The FA Cup (beating Newcastle United) and the Champions League. The Champions League win was especially memorable, as United scored two goals in stoppage time to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the final.
Early Years (1878-1902)
Manchester United began life in 1878 as Newton Heath F.C. a team formed by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway organisation. The club competed in railway competitions until 1889 when it joined the Football Alliance, a league below the Football League. When the Football League expanded in 1892, Newton Heath was elected to the First Division but suffered relegation to the Second Division after just two seasons. Newton Heath's only claim to success was victory in the 1898 Lancashire Cup and by the turn of the 20th century they were in deep financial trouble. The club's financial problems were so severe that by February 1902 they were in receivership with debts of £2,670. The club was saved by a group of four men who each injected £500 into it, leading the consortium was Manchester brewer J.H Davies. Until 1893 Newton Heath played at a spartan ground in Monsall Road, Newton Heath, before relocating to a better-equipped stadium at Bank Street, Clayton.
Manchester United is born
Following the takeover by J.H Davies, the club's finances had been secured and the new owners decided to change Newton Heath's name to Manchester United.
The First Great United Side
Davies appointed Ernest Magnall as team manager in 1903 and the club began to move forward, winning promotion to the First Division in 1906, the league title in 1908 and the FA Cup in 1909. Davies helped pay for a new stadium in 1910, located in the Stretford area. It was named Old Trafford and was capable of holding more than 70,000 supporters as well as having top class facilities for players and spectators alike. United marked their first full season in their new home by lifting another league title in 1911. This was to be their last major honour for many years. Their manager Ernest Magnall joined Manchester City, and from then on the club drifted like a boat without a rudder.
The Interwar Years
Successive managers, including Herbert Bamlett, John Chapman and Scott Duncan, attempted to put Manchester United back on course. But still the club bounced from First to Second Division and back again, perhaps uncertain as to their rightful place. Added to this, money was again a problem.
J.H Davies died in 1927 to be succeeded by James Gibson. He too injected cash into the club and fought off the creditors.
By 1938, Manchester United were back in the Second Division but their debt now amounted to more than £70,000.
Old Trafford is Bombed
First-class football was suspended for the duration of the Second World War (1939-45), but Manchester United continued to compete in part-time regional competitions. Old Trafford was severely damaged during a German air-raid on Manchester in the early hours of 11th March 1941. It took eight years to build and until 1949 United ground-shared with neighbouring Manchester City at Maine Road.
When the war ended in 1945, 36-year-old Matt Busby was named as the club's new manager. He had just finished his playing career which had seen him turn out for Manchester City and Liverpool as well as the Scottish national side. Busby had a limited transfer budget so many of his players were home-grown. The only major signing of the post-war years was Scottish winger Jimmy Delaney from Celtic, while several players remained from the immediate pre-war years.
The Great Post-War United side
Matt Busby helped end Manchester United's 37-year wait for a major trophy when his side defeated Blackpool (then a big club containing world class players like Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen) 4-2 in the 1948 FA Cup final. Busby had unearthed new stars in the shape of captain Johnny Carey and the forward-line of John Downie, John Aston, Jack Rowley and Stan Pearson. The side's good progress continued into the 1950's and they won the league title in 1952the club's first league championship in 41 years.
By 1952, the side captained by Johnny Carey was beginning to show its age and a new set of players had to be found.
The Busby Babes
Matt Busby took a radically different direction to other clubs when rebuilding his ageing team. Rather than splash out huge sums of money on world-renown players, he recruited teenage players who had just left school. In the space of five years, he only made two major signings - winger John Berry from Birmingham and striker Tommy Taylor from Barnsley. Home-grown youngsters like Bobby Charlton, Dennis Viollet, Duncan Edwards, Albert Scanlon, Mark Jones and Bill Foulkes established themselves as regular first team players at a very early age and the policy paid off as United maintained their reputation as a strong team.
Manchester United won the league championship in 1955-56 thanks to the efforts of a team whose average age was just 22 years. They were England's first representatives in the European Cup, and reached the quarter finals where they were knocked out by the great Spaniards of Real Madrid. United retained the league title in 1956-57 but lost out on a domestic double by losing 2-1 to Aston Villa in the F.A Cup final.
The Munich Air Disaster
On 6th February 1958, Manchester United were flying home from Yugoslavia where they had beaten Red Star Belgrade to reach the European Cup semi finals. The plane stopped to refuel at Munich, West Germany, and on take-off it overshot the runway and crashed into the snow. Seven players (Roger Byrne, Geoff Bent, Mark Jones, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Bill Whelan) and three club officials (secretary Walter Crickmer and coaches Tom Curry and Bert Whalley) were killed instantly. Eight journalists (including the former Manchester City goalkeeper Frank Swift), a friend of Matt Busby named Willie Satinoff, a member of the crew and a travel agent also died at the scene. 21 people lost their lives that day. An eighth player, the great 21-year-old wing-half Duncan Edwards, died in hospital from his injuries two weeks later, as did co-pilot Ken Rayment, bringing the death toll to 23. Jackie Blanchflower and John Berry were injured to such an extent that their playing careers were over. Matt Busby himself was in hospital for two months recovering from multiple injuries.
While Busby recovered in hospital, his assistant Jimmy Murphy took temporary charge of team affairs and guided United to the FA Cup final, where a side made up of Munich survivors and youth team players lost to Bolton Wanderers.
The Great 1960's Team
Matt Busby spent heavily on new players in the five years that followed the Munich Air Disaster, as well as retaining some players from the pre-Munich era. The likes of David Herd, Denis Law, Albert Quixall and Paddy Crerand helped United beat Leicester City 2-1 in the F.A Cup final in 1963. Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes and Harry Gregg were the only three pre-Munich players left in the side by that date. In the 1963-64 season a 17-year-old Northern Irish forward called George Best broke into the first time and quickly became one of the most exciting talents in the footballing world.
United won the league championship in 1965 and regained it two years later, but the pinnacle of Matt Busby's reign came in 1968 when United hammered Benfica 4-1 in the European Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Busby received a knighthood while star player George Best was voted European Footballer of the Year.
Busby retired in 1969 and became a director. He handed over the reins to reserve team manager Wilf McGuinness, whose playing career had been ended a decade earlier by a broken leg.
The Early 1970's Decline
Wilf McGuinness was sacked in December 1970 after just 18 months in charge of a Manchester United team whose league fortunes had plummeted. Bobby Charlton and Denis Law were approaching the end of their careers while George Best was constantly missing training and sometimes even matches after heavy drinking sessions in nightclubs.
Busby returned to the manager's seat on a temporary basis until the appointment of Frank O'Farrell, who had been sacked by December 1972 as United hovered just above the First Division relegation zone. His successor was the Scottish national coach Tommy Docherty, who was unable to save United from relegation at the end of the 1973-74 season. Their fate was ironically sealed by a 1-0 defeat at home to neighbours Manchester City, with the only goal of the game coming from former United striker Dennis Law - who retired days afterwards. By this stage, long-serving legendary players like Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes had retired and troublesome striker George Best had been sacked.
The 1977 FA Cup victory
Tommy Docherty got Manchester United back into the First Division at the first time of
asking, as they won the Second Division championship at the end of the 1974-75 season.
They lost the 1976 F.A. Cup final to Southampton but overcame Liverpool the following year
to secure their first major trophy in the post-Busby era. The new-look Manchester United
side contained impressive young players like Steve Coppell, Brian Greenhoff, Jimmy
Greenhoff, Arthur Albiston and Stewart Pearson.
The Dave Sexton Era
Q.P.R manager Dave Sexton was the Manchester United director's choice for Docherty's replacement, and spent four years trying to mount a title challenge - coming agonisingly close in 1980 by finishing runners-up to Liverpool. But he was finally sacked in the summer of 1981 after four seasons at the helm had failed to deliver a major trophy.
The Ron Atkinson Era
Dave Sexton's replacement was the colourful West Bromwich Albion manager Ron Atkinson. Atkinson spent heavily in his quest to bring success to United, paying large sums of money for players like Bryan Robson, Remi Moses, Frank Stapleton and Gordon Strachan. This impressive set of players gave United FA Cup success over Brighton in 1983 and Everton in 1985, but failed to gain a league title. Atkinson was finally sacked in November 1986 as United were struggling near the foot of the First Division.
The Alex Ferguson Era
Division One Champions: 1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967.
Premiership: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
European Cup: 1968,1999, 2008
European Cup-Winner's Cup: 1991
European Super Cup: 1991
FIFA Club World Cup: 2008
FA Cup Winners: 1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004,
League Cup Winners: 1992
Toyota Inter-continental Cup Winners: 1999
|David Moyes||19-05-2013 -|
|Alex Ferguson||06-11-1986 - 19-05-2013|
|Ron Atkinson||01-06-1981 - 06-11-1986|
|Dave Sexton||14-07-1977 - 01-04-1981|
|Tommy Docherty||22-12-1972 - 03-07-1977|
|Frank O'Farrell||08-06-1971 - 19-12-1972|
|Matt Busby||28-12-1970 - 02-06-1971|
|Wilf McGuinness||10-08-1970 - 28-12-1970|
|Matt Busby||01-02-1945 - 08-06-1969|
|Walter Crickmer||01-08-1944 - 01-02-1945|
|Jimmy Porter||01-08-1938 - 31-05-1944|
|Scott Duncan||01-06-1932 - 01-09-1937|
|Walter Crickmer||01-04-1931 - 01-06-1932|
|Herbert Bamlett||01-04-1927 - 01-04-1931|
|Clarence Hildrith||01-10-1926 - 01-04-1927|
|John Chapman||01-10-1921 - 01-10-1926|
|John Robson||01-12-1914 - 01-10-1921|
|Ernest Magnall||01-09-1900 - 01-09-1912|
||83,260 for United v Arsenal at Maine Road in
76,098 vs Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford 31/03/2007
|Record league Win:
||10-1 v Wolves 15/10/1892 Division 1
|Record league defeat:
||0-7 v Blackburn 10/4/1926 Division 1
|Record league appearances:
||606 Sir Bobby Charlton 1956/73
669 Ryan Giggs 1991/2013
|Record league goal scorer:
||199 Sir Bobby Charlton 1956/73
|Record transfer fee received:
||£80, 000 000 for Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid July 2009|
|Record transfer fee paid:
||£30.750 000 for Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur United September 2008|