Probably one of the most annoying questions that you get asked as a Mancunian is ‘Do you support United or City. When you live in the home of probably the most famous football club in the world, it’s no surprise that everyone has the beautiful game on their minds.
We’re not going to pick sides, but we’ve summed up the key moments in the history of Manchester United to create a little crib sheet to help visitors to fit in. Let’s exploce A Brief History of Manchester United Football Club below.
A Brief History of Manchester United Football Club
Manchester United, in full Manchester United Football Club, also called Manchester United FC, bynames Man U and the Red Devils, English professional football (soccer) team based in Manchester, England. Nicknamed “the Red Devils” for its distinctive red jerseys, it is one of the richest and best supported football clubs not only in England but in the entire world.
The club has won the English top-division league championship a record 20 times and the Football Association (FA) Cup 12 times.The club was formed as Newton Heath LYR in 1878 by workers from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Renamed Manchester United in 1902, the club won its first English league championship in 1907 to 08. In 1910 the club moved from its old Bank Street ground into Old Trafford stadium, which has served as the team’s home ever since. Manchester United’s history since World War II has been dominated by two long serving managers. Sir Matthew Busby was appointed manager in 1945 and over the next 24 years steered the club to five English league and two FA Cup victories. The club had to contend with tragedy in 1958 when an aircraft carrying the team crashed in Munich, killing 23 of the 44 onboard.
The Early Years
Founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club, Manchester United’s first ever official match resulted in a 6-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderer’s reserve team, something that fans would struggle to believe possible today. The team entered the First Division (the leading division of the time) of the Football League in 1892, before being relegated after just two seasons. In 1902, suffering debts of £2,670 (equivalent nowadays to around £260,000), team captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen who were willing to invest £500 each in the club.
This signalled a turn-around for the team, who officially changed their name to Manchester United and went on to be promoted back into the First Division, where they won the league title for the first time in 1908. The following season they won the first ever Charity Shield and their first FA Cup title, securing their place in the history books. Between 1922 and 1939, the club yo yoed between the First and Second Divisions, dipping as low as the 20th place in the Second Division at one point.
The Busby Years and Beyond
After the Second World War, Matt Busby took over the manager’s role at the club, one again turning everything around. For three years in a row, Manchester United finished second in the league, finishing top in 1952. Five years later, they became the first team to play in the European Cup, achieving an astonishing 10-0 win over Anderlecht during the tournament, a win which remains their biggest victory to date. Perhaps the most famous moment in the football club’s history is also the most tragic. In 1958, returning from a European Cup victory against Red Star Belgrade, the plane carrying the football team and officials crashed during take-off from Munich, killing 23 passengers including eight players.
Busby recovered from his injuries and rebuilt the team through the 1960’s with the addition of iconic players such as Bobby Charlton and George Best, leading his new team to victory in the FA Cup in 1963. Five years later, after a string of league wins, Manchester United won the European Cup, the first English team to do so. Busby resigned as manager in 1969, replaced by former player Will McGuinness.
The Alex Ferguson Years
The next decade saw a fairly non-descript period in the clubs history, with mediocre results yet a steady place in the First Division. It wasn’t until Alex Ferguson took over the manager’s role in 1987 that Manchester United began to edge their way towards the glory that they now hold. In the first two seasons under Ferguson, the club only managed to secure 11th place in the league. In 1990, however, Manchester United celebrated a win in the FA Cup, shortly followed by winning their first Cup Winner’s Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
Then, it 1993, the team finally won the league for the first time since 1967, following their success the next season. Continuing their string of victories, the club became the first to win ‘The Treble’ (the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League) in 1999. Subsequently, Alex Ferguson was knighted and lauded as the greatest football manager in the world by many.