Manchester United – A Brief History, Coaches, and Disasters
Manchester United History and Highlights.
Manchester United are, without question, one of the greatest football teams in the entire world. Their nickname is the ‘Red Devils’ as their kit is red.
Now, granted, ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left as manager, the team has struggled to regain their once-dominant form. But even so, they are consistently in the top half of the Premier League table, and are consistently competing for a place in Europe.
Manchester United are not only very popular in England, but they’re also hugely popular in many other countries and continents, including Africa. They play their home matches at Old Trafford, one of the league’s most impressive stadiums.
Widely considered one of the best teams in the game’s history, and has produced some of the greatest footballers on the planet, along with the most outstanding managers in the game’s history.
Newton Heath LYR
Back in the late 1800s, during the Industrial Revolution, Manchester was a prosperous city that grew to become one of the largest in Europe. Consequently, it needed a sports team.
So, in 1878, a football team known as Newton Heath LYR was founded. The club was founded by the carriage and wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot in Newton Heath.
The club would adopt the now famous green and gold kits, which were the same colors as the railway company used.
Made up of players who worked in the railway, initially, they would play matches against other departments within the railway, as well as rival businesses located within Manchester.
The team enjoyed very limited success if any, but despite this, the players enjoyed playing, and spectators enjoyed watching them play. Football began growing in popularity in England, and by 1892, the team would make their debut in the Football League.
The club would ultimately be relegated and find themselves in debt, which is when a group of local businessmen stepped in.
The Birth of Manchester United
In 1902, in debt and having been relegated, Newton Heath LYR found themselves served with a winding up order.
As luck would have it, four local businessmen saw the potential in the team, and each invested £500 to save the club from going under.
On the 24th of April, 1902, they renamed the club ‘Manchester United’ and gave birth to one of the best teams to ever play the beautiful game.
By 1906, Manchester United found themselves in the top flight of English football when they gained promotion back to the First Division. Once there, they played an aggressive and stylish football which their opponents struggled to deal with.
In 1908, the club won their first league title. Then, just one year later, the club secured their very first FA Cup trophy.
For the next several decades, the club enjoyed mixed success. But, of course, two World Wars didn’t help matters, and the club would yo-yo between leagues, ultimately finding themselves in danger of being relegated from the Second Division in 1934.
The Busby Babes
After the Second World War ended, as football in England resumed, Matt Busby was named Manchester United manager. He would lead the squad to another FA Cup trophy, as well as 3 top 2 finishes.
In 1952, the team would win its first First Division title in 41 years. Clearly, Busby had a real vision for the game, and he knew that youth would help win matches. So he focussed on younger players knowing they would be fitter and faster than most of the opposition.
Matt’s squad had an average age of just 22 and became known as the ‘Busby Babes’ because of it. The squad was imposing, and in 1956 and 1957, the Busby Babes won two consecutive league titles.
The Munich Air Disaster
On the 6th of February 1958, disaster struck for the Manchester United team.
While journeying home from playing against Red Star Belgrade, the aircraft that was carrying the squad, as well as officials and journalists, tragically crashed. Sadly, the accident claimed the lives of 8 Man Utd players.
As a mark of respect, the Munich Air Disaster is remembered on the 6th of February each year at Old Trafford.
A Fall from Grace
After Sir Matt Busby departed Manchester United, the club struggled and found themselves relegated in 1974.
While they did get promoted the following year, they still struggled in the First Division. They hired and fired managers until a little-known Scotsman named Alex Ferguson was appointed in 1986.
The Fergie Years
In late 1986, the club was in danger of being relegated, so they brought in Alex Ferguson as manager.
Ferguson had a relatively subdued start, finishing 11th twice and 2nd once in his first 3 years. The owners expected more and were considering firing him. But then Man Utd went on to win the FA Cup against Crystal Palace in 1990, which helped save Alex’s job.
Ferguson won his first title for the club in 1992 and would create one of the most dominant football teams ever to play football for the next two decades.
Huge names in the world of football, including David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, and many more, all played under Ferguson and enjoyed great success with the club.
When Sir Alex retired in 2013, he had won 25 trophies for Manchester United, including 13 League Titles, 3 Champion’s Leagues, and 5 FA Cups. Many consider him to be the greatest football manager to ever live.
Life after Fergie
Unfortunately, since Sir Alex left, Manchester United have never been able to find the form that made them so dominant for two decades.
They have hired multiple managers, including the legendary Jose Mourinho, but so far, they haven’t been able to ever challenge for the title. Their best finish since Ferguson departed was a 3rd place in the 2019/2020 season.