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Manchester United

Founded: 1878

Address: Old Trafford, Manchester England

Phone: 01618688000

Fax: 01618688804

Email: enquiries@manutd.co.uk

Official URL: http://www.manutd.com

Chairman: Joel & Avram Glazer

Club Director: Edward Woodward

Stadium: Old Trafford

Club History
In 1878, the dining room committee of the carriage and waggon works of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company formed Newton Heath L&YR Cricket and Football Club. They won the Manchester Cup in 1886 and in 1892 were elected to Division 1 of the Football League as Newton Heath. After North Road the club played at a ground on Bank Street, Clayton. But they struggled, especially after relegation in 1894, and by 1902 attendances had fallen to as low as 500 while debts had risen to £2,000. Just as Ardwick went bust in 1894 to be re-born immediately as Manchester City, Newton Heath went into liquidation in 1902 - only to be rescued by wealthy brewer John H. Davies, who converted the Heathens into Manchester United. The ambitious Davies took the massive risk, at the time, of buying a site five miles from Clayton, close to the Old Trafford cricket ground. Old Trafford officially opened on 19 February 1910. Liverpool were the visitors (and had the poor taste to win 4-3), but the obvious potential of a ground with an 80,000 capacity aroused jealousy of "Moneybags United", as they were quickly labelled. However, between the two world wars, United"s fortunes waned. They were relegated from the first Division in 1931, and only 3,500 turned up for their opening Second Division game. By Christmas 1931 the banks were prepared to pull the plug on United. Bankruptcy was only avoided by the intervention of another wealthy businessman, James Gibson. He paid off United"s £30,000 debts, but the team continued to struggle and in 1934 only narrowly avoided relegation to the Third Division. Although the club"s return to the First Division in 1936 was only brief, bigger problems loomed. The stadium"s proximity to Trafford Park docks made it a prime target for German air raids when War broke out. In March 1941, bombs destroyed the Main Stand, dressing rooms and offices, as well as the United Road terrace and cover. United gratefully accepted City"s offer to share Maine Road, and were exiled from a forlorn-looking Old Trafford for the next eight years. Homeless and debt-ridden by the end of the War, United were saved this time by a run of success on the pitch - masterminded by former City star and now United manager Matt Busby. They returned to Old Trafford in August 1949. The first of Busby"s three great sides won the FA Cup in 1948 and the League championship in 1952, as well as finishing runners-up in the League four times in five seasons. When that ageing team broke up, Busby turned to youth with dazzling success. His Busby Babes might well have become England"s greatest ever club side. They won the League championship in 1956 and retained it in 1957 (when they unluckily lost the FA Cup Final), and in 1956-57 pioneered British entry into the European Cup, against the short-sighted wishes of the Football League. They reached the semi-finals at the first attempt, and had just reached the same stage the following season, by virtue of of 3-3 draw with Red Star Belgrade, when tragedy struck on 6 February 1958. The plane bringing the United party back from Yugoslavia touched down at Munich to refuel. In appalling weather conditions - a blizzard was blowing - the pilots attempted to get the plane home rather than stop over for a night. Attempting to take off from the icy runway for the third time, the plane was unable to get enough height and hit a house. Twenty-three of the passengers were killed, including eight of the legendary Busby Babes: Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, Eddie Colman, Billy Whelan, Tommy Taylor, David Pegg and Geoff Bent. Busby himself was critically injured, while Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower were unable to play again. Four survivors - Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, Harry Gregg and Dennis Viollet - played for United in the FA Cup Final defeat against Bolton three months later, after a makeshift squad had reached the Wembley showpiece on a tide of national emotion. Busby then set about building another great side. By the mid-1960s, he"d succeeded. Charlton and Foulkes were links with the Babes, and with the addition of stars such as Denis Law and George Best, plus Pat Crerand, Nobby Stiles, Tony Dunne and Shay Brennan, United won the League title in 1965 and again in 1967. They were back in the European Cup, and in 1968 - ten years after Munich -Busby"s dream was realised when United beat Benfica 4-1 at Wembley in extra-time. That was the high-point of Busby"s reign, and from then until the early 1970s the club fell into a slow decline, exacerbated when Busby, who stepped down as team manager, proved virtually irreplaceable. The unthinkable happened in 1973-74: United were relegated. Under Tommy Docherty, though, they bounced back within a season. Docherty"s exciting side reached successive FA Cup finals, winning the second, but he was promptly sacked for non-football reasons. With arch-rivals Liverpool now dominating English football, United endured a frusting decade in the 1980s, FA Cup victories failing to compensate for an inability to win the League. Alex Ferguson was appointed manager in succession to Ron Atkinsion in November 1986, and he too struggled to find the right formula at first. But FA Cup success in 1990 was followed by European Cup Winners" Cup victory in 1991, a near-miss in 1992 and then, in the inaugural season of the Premier League, the elusive title. It marked the start of a remarkable hegemony over English football by United that spanned the 1990s and continued into the new century. Ferguson"s sides - inspired and embellished by the likes of Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince, Denis Irwin, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - have won eight of the 12 Premiership titles so far contested. They"ve also won two domestic Doubles and, in 1999, an unprecedented Treble of Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup. Since 1997 Arsenal have emerged as United"s most consistent rivals, the two clubs sharing the title in alternate seasons during the last four campaigns. But while United did not enjoy a particularly good season in 2003-04 by their own lofty standards, they still picked up the FA Cup, and are likely to remain a potent force for the foreseeable future. Indeed, their remarkable success had made them world football"s wealthiest club until Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, a marketing giant with the capacity to generate huge revenue around the world.
Most Discussed
Top Scorers
Player Goals Penalties
Robin van Persie Robin van Persie
Man. United
17 3
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Man. United
17 2
Danny Welbeck Danny Welbeck
Man. United
10 0
Javier Hernández Javier Hernández
Man. United
9 1
Antonio Valencia Antonio Valencia
Man. United
4 0