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Manchester United FC | Club History From 1878 To Date. A Quick History


Manchester United is located in the southwest central part of the city of Manchester.   Manchester is located in the northwest part  of England in the United Kingdom.


The club currently play in the Premier League and  its home ground is called Old Trafford,   which opened in 1910 and holds 75,643 people. The club began in 1878 when workers from the   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company  formed a soccer club called Newton Heath  LYR after the Newtown Heath neighborhood  of the city of Manchester and LYR was a reference to their company.

In 1892, the club was admitted to the   Football League and changed its name to simply  Newtown Heath. The club almost went bankrupt in 1902 before a local brewery owner John Henry  Davies saved the club.

With his investment, he became chairman of the board and immediately instituted changes to the club’s governing infrastructure. In addition to these changes, he felt a name change was necessary to appeal to the greater  Manchester population after being inspired by Manchester City’s name change 8 years earlier.

Where it all Began

The names of Manchester Central and Manchester Celtic were considered before the club settled  on its existing name of Manchester United in the spring of 1902. The club 3 nicknames. United, the Reds, and the Red Devils, when you hear those names then know they’re actually talking about Manchester United.

United obviously comes from the club’s name. There are many other club’s around the world  with the words united in their name but Manchester United are the most famous and successful English  club in the world.

So chances are that when a   person says United and it’s not obvious which club they are talking about, Manchester United would be your best guess. The reds nickname comes from the club playing in red shirts and white shorts as their main colors  since the early part of the 20th century.

The nickname of Red Devils is slightly more  evolved. In the 1950s, a local rugby club called Salford City Reds, also wore red and  were a dominant squad. The rugby club went on a tour of France and impressed the French  journalists so much that the Rugby club earned the nickname of ‘Les Diables Rouges’  which means the Red Devils in French.

Manchester United Returns.

The club returned to the Manchester area  with that nickname. By the late 1960s,  Manchester’s manager, Sir Matt Busby, thought it would be more intimidating to  opponents to use Red Devils nickname over  the nickname of Busby’s Babes that journalists  at the time preferred.

United have been using   the nickname of Red Devils ever since. The current crest shares many similarities to the crest first used by Manchester  United in the 1960s. The main similarity being the crest’s shape.

The current crest has been in use since 1998, obviously, the words Manchester  and United at the top and bottom of the crest come from the club’s name. The ship is a reference to the city of   Manchester’s famous Shipping Canal and  comes from the city’s coat of arms.

The red devil was added in the 1970s after the  club adopted the nickname at the insistence of Sir Matt Busby, as we’ve already discussed. And the two historic soccer balls on either  side of the crest, are a reference  to the sport the club plays.

There are 4 important events  I want to discuss here:

1.  On February 6, 1958, Manchester United was flying back from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade. The plane stopped in Munich to  refuel and after 2 aborted attempts to take off, the plane crashed on it’s third attempt, eight  players, 3 staff members, 8 journalists, and 4   others died in the crash. It is the darkest day in  the club’s history.

Amazingly, the club’s manager,   Sir Matt Busby, survived the crash and rebuilt  his team over the coming years, which leads us to the 2nd event I want to discuss.

2.  On May 29, 1968 Manchester United played Benfica in the European Cup (now called the  Champions League) at Wembley in London. Benfica had already won the competition twice and had  one of the greatest players in soccer’s history, Eusebio, on their roster.

After regulation  ended 1-1, United was able to score 3 goals in extra time to win the match. Only 10  years after the club had been decimated by the Munich Air Disaster and still with Matt  Busby as manager, the Red Devils became the first English club to win the European Cup.

3.  Exactly 31 years later, on May 29, 1999, Manchester United completed the first and so far only treble in English soccer history. For those   that may not know, a treble is when a club wins  the domestic league, domestic cup competition,  and Champions league in the same season.

The club  had already won the Premier League and FA Cup that   season. On May 29, the club was playing Bayern  Munich in the Champions League final. United   were trailing 1-0 heading into stoppage time.

Bayern basically had one hand on the trophy,  but Teddy Sheringham scored in the 91st minute  before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored in the 93rd   to dramatically win the title for United. It was  one of the most dramatic and thrilling conclusions   to a Champions’ League final in history.

4. On May 14, 2011, Manchester United drew Blackburn Rovers 1-1 to win its 19th ever first division/premier league title. This is special in United’s history because it meant the club  surpassed their arch rivals, Liverpool FC, for most top division titles in English soccer  history.

In 1990, Liverpool held a 18-7 margin in this department, but in only the space of about 20 years, United won12 titles to pass their nemesis. Though the match wasn’t the  greatest, this date lives in United folklore as the date the club surpassed Liverpool.

Manchester United Fans

Manchester United supporters are famous for singing the song Glory Glory Man United. The song was recorded as a motivational tactic to bring players and  fans together for the 1983 FA Cup final between United and Brighton & Hove Albion.

The song was recorded by Frank Renshaw and was  based on the song: The Battle Hymn of Republic  which was popular during the American Civil War. It is a full anthem with lyrics specific to  Manchester United and the club’s history.

It  became one of the most popular club anthems in the world sung by United fans all over.  United has truly had too many great  players in their history to get into details on their accomplishments, so  I’m just going to name them here:

    • George Best
    • Bobby Charlton
    • Eric Cantona
    • Peter Schmeichel
    • David Beckham
    • Ryan Giggs
    • Paul Scholes
    • Roy Keane


    • Cristiano Ronaldo


  • Wayne Rooney

And many more who we just don’t  have the time to get into here.

Manchester United FC Managers

The club has had 2 absolutely legendary managers that I want to discuss in this section.

Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Funny enough, during Sir Matt’s playing career,  he never played for United, but did play for  United’s now 2 biggest rivals of Man City   and Liverpool.

United fans definitely forgive  him for that as he became manager in 1945. He greatly expanded the club’s coaching system  and made a serious commitment to developing  young players. That earned his team the nickname  of Busby Babes due to the first team’s average  age.

He led the club to 5 first division  titles, 2 FA Cups, and 1 European Cup. He survived the plane crash in Munich that we’ve  already discussed and rebuilt the club within 5 years of that tragic event to be competing  at the highest levels again.

He retired after   the 1968-1969 season as United’s greatest manager  in their history at that time and is immortalized  at Old Trafford with a bronze statue. About 20 years later, Sir Alex Ferguson  took over as manager at Manchester United in 1986.

Over the next 27 years, he led the   club to over 30 domestic and international  trophies including 13 Premier League titles,   5 FA Cups, 2 Champions Leagues titles, and the  first ever treble in English soccer history in 1998-1999 season.

Sir Alex is United’s  most successful manager of all-time.   With United being the most successful club in  England, the club naturally has many rivals.   Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal & Chelsea are  the 4 rivals I want to discuss here.

Manchester United FC Rivals

The Liverpool rivalry comes from a natural rivalry  between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool.

That dates back to building of the Manchester  Ship Canal in the 19th century. From a soccer  perspective, Liverpool became the dominant English team in the 1970s and 1980s. When Manchester  United hired Sir Alex Ferguson and he started to build a squad that repeatedly won trophies,  Liverpool was the natural target considering  they had the most major trophies of any English  club.

Combination between cities and the two most successful clubs from those cities. This is  likely the fiercest rivalry in England today.

Manchester City is Manchester United’s  second biggest rival today. The two clubs  play in the same city and the rivalry became  violent in the hooligan days of the 1980s. The 1980s also coincided with United’s rise to  domestic dominance while City really struggled.

The rivalry has settled down from a violence  perspective. But when City got new owners in 2008,   they turned the club into overnight title  contenders. The rivalry has taken on a new angle as both clubs compete for the best players and trophies.

Also, City’s dramatic 2012 Premier   League title at the expense of Manchester United has helped make this a big rivalry.   Manchester United and Arsenal each have a glorious history in English soccer, but it was always one or the other doing  well.

Then, Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal  as manager in 1996 and built the club into  title challengers. Manchester United were the dominant squad at the time and the clubs had some epic battled. Roy Keane, Manchester  United’s combative center midfielder and Patrick Viera, Arsenal’s own combative center midfielder,  were the leaders in these battles.

In the late 90s  and early 2000s, this was the fiercest rivalry in   the Premier League. Nowadays, Man United  manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal manager   Arsene Wenger seem to have their own rivalry,  which helps keep this going even as United has more intense rivalries with other clubs.

Lastly, Chelsea is considered a rival for much the same reason as Man City’s rivalry has increased  in recent years. Chelsea got a new owner in 2003 and built them into title contenders who now  legitimately compete with United.

The rivalry has been helped by incredible managers managing  both sides over the last 2 decades or so. This   rivalry doesn’t feel quite as heated as the  rivalry with the three other clubs mentioned, but the two clubs are definitely rivals.

The stats and records we’re about to discuss  are as of March 2018 when we  are writing this article  United have spent 93 seasons in the  top flight in their history.   The club has 44 major trophies including: 20 1st division/premier league titles- 12 FA Cups – 5 League Cups – 3 UEFA champions leagues/European Cups – 1 UEFA Europa League   – 1 UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup – 1 FIFA Club World Cup and 1 Intercontinental World Cup, which was  the predecessor to the Club World Cup.

Manchester United Records

The club’s record first team appearance  holder is Ryan Giggs with 963 appearances.

The club’s record goal scorer is  Wayne Rooney with 253 goals.

United’s clean sheet record holder is  Peter Schmeichel with 180 clean sheets.

The Red Devils’ record transfer purchase was Paul Pogba from Juventus in Italy on August 8, 2016 for  about £89M.

I also wanted to note that the club  bought Romelu Lukaku from Everton FC on July 10,   2017 for an initial fee of £75M plus potential  £15M in add-ons. So Lukaku could end up being more expensive than Pogba in the future.

And the club’s record transfer sale was  Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid  on July 1, 2009 for about £80M.  One last interesting fact about the club:  Since October 30, 1937 (that’s over 80 years),   Manchester United have had a graduate  from their youth academy in the matchday 18 for every match.

That’s almost 3,900  straight matches at time of writing.  So there you have a bit of history  on Manchester United Football Club.   Let’s continue the discussion in the  comments section below This article.


Manchester United is located in the southwest central part of the city of Manchester.   Manchester is located in the northwest part  of England in the United Kingdom.

History to be updated soon.

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