In the English Premier League, Manchester United is one of the best clubs that’s revered in the football world. Their unforgettable wins and defeats have been some of the most remarkable moments in the history of football.
Since the club was formed in 1878, Manchester United has grown into one of the leading and prestigious football clubs and produced some of the best players the world has ever seen. If you’re a football fan and you want to know more, read this article.
Manchester United: Early beginnings
Before Manchester United was known by its name, it was formerly known as the Heath LYR F.C. However, in 1902, it was changed to Manchester United. In 1908, they won at least 20 English titles and moved to Old Trafford as their main stadium. Nicknamed as the ‘Red Devils’ the team has won some of the most prestigious titles in football such as 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 21 FA Community Shields, three European Cups and UEFA Champions leagues.
In the late 1940s, the club won the 1948 FA Cups and finished as the top four in the league rankings. Before World War 2, the team won each of the first 4 seasons. This success continued in the 1950s under the management of Matt Busby who created the team and honed the young players as the ‘Busby Babes’.
Misfortune struck the team in 1958 during a plane crash that claimed the lives of eight team members. This disaster resulted in tributes to the players and with Busby training players such as George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law who became some of the earliest legendary players of the club.
At the time, Busby focused on reestablishing the team which ended in success when they won the 1968 European Cup Final and was named as the first English club to win the prestigious title.
The golden years of Sir Alex Ferguson
When Ron Atkinson was sacked, he was replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson. Before he managed the Red Devils, Ferguson led the Scottish football team, the Aberdeen who won several matches under his tutelage.
Sir Alex’s presence in the team introduced a lot of changes, especially when it came to the disciplinary requirements. At the time, some of the team’s key players such as Norman Whiteside, Paul Mcgrath and Bryan Robson were drinking too much and weren’t mindful of their fitness. Sir Alex changed this and implemented hardcore rules and became tough with his players.
The first game Sir Alex coached was the 2-0 match against Oxford. His first season lasted from 1987-88 where he made Manchester United a more robust team. He also signed players such as Viv Anderson, Brian McClair and Jim Leighton.
During Sir Alex’s time as manager, his most famous transfer was Steve Bruce, who was heralded as the best player in the English Premier League. He had to ask him three times before he agreed to join the team. On the 18th of December, Bruce said yes and was signed from Norwich City for 900,000 pounds.
The effects of Sir Alex’s management was felt right away because, from a mere 11th position in the rankings, the club soared to second place. They also experienced success during the FA cup and were in 5th place after being knocked out by Arsenal.
In 1986, United’s legendary player, Mark Hughes was persuaded to come back to the team after playing briefly for Barcelona and Bayern Munchen. He was signed for a whopping 1.8 million. The amount spent for his transfer wasn’t wasted because he won the PFA Player of the Year soon after.
The 1990-1991 season was Ferguson’s best season when he guided Manchester United to its European success. The club faced Barcelona at the finals of the European Cup Winners Cup by 2 goals. It was the club’s first Euro trophy in 23 years.
During the match, Mark Hughes scored the goals and he was also voted as a PFA player of the year. Ryan Giggs also debuted in the match. However, the season saw tension with Arsenal players, which ended in a brawl. Both teams got sanctioned and received deductions. Nonetheless, this season was considered a success that propelled Sir Alex’s triumph as manager.
In the 1991-92 season, Sir Alex made a lot of signings which included legends such as Peter Schmeichel and right-winger Paul Parker. It was also the year Gary Pallister took home the PFA Player of the Year Award. Prodigal player Ryan Giggs also debuted during this season.
The club won their first-ever League Cup this season, which cemented Sir Alex’s success. However, their success was punctuated when they lost to Leeds United.
1992-93 league success
In this league season, Ryan Giggs won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award for the second time. It was also the moment Manchester United won their Premier League title. The team won 1-0 against Nottingham Forest during the finals.
The team won another league title in the 1993-94 season and Ferguson had blooded some of the most popular players we know today such as Phil Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Sir Alex’s career peaked during the 1998-99 season where he led the team to win the treble. The club was the only team in football history to have won this match. Despite the slow season, Manchester United won the league which is remembered as one of the most emotional matches for the club. This season is also known as the moment that really established Ferguson as a manager.
Best players in Manchester United you should know about
Over the years, Manchester United has produced some of the best players in the world of football. Here are some of them:
Major achievements: Premier League (x3), FA Cup, League Cup (x2), Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, Ballon d’Or, PFA Player of the Year (x2), Premier League Golden Boot, European Golden Shoe
When Ronaldo was transferred to United from Real Madrid, many fans weren’t happy. However, the right-winger showed his talent and made a name for himself. During 2006-2009, Ronaldo established his career as a footballer and became one of the most iconic players of his time. In the 2007-08 season alone, he was able to score 42 goals and several assists.
Major achievements: Premier League (x2), FA Cup (x4), European Cup Winners’ Cup
Bryan Robson is one of the most popular football luminaries in the world. With his midfielding talents, he was able to establish a career in Manchester United and lovingly called by fans as ‘Captain Marvel’. The midfielder was known for his magnificent assists during matches.
Major achievements: Premier League (x7), FA Cup (x4), Champions League, Intercontinental Cup, PFA Player of the Year
Roy Keane was one of the most popular players of Manchester United who became famous for his ‘never say die’ attitude. As the team’s club captain for eight years, he was able to lead the team to success.
What made Keane shine during his time as a red devil was his performance against Juventus during the Champions League semi-final second leg.
Major Achievements: Premier League (x5), FA Cup, League Cup (x3), Champions League, Europa League, FIFA Club World Cup, PFA Player of the Year
Wayne Rooney became a popular United player when he became a consistent top scorer during matches. Throughout his career, Rooney won 253 goals during his 13 years playing in the team. When he scored a goal during a major match, it cemented his career in the Premier League. However, some fans didn’t see Rooney as the talented player he was due to the instances he wanted to leave the club.
Major Achievements: Premier League (x11), FA Cup (x3), League Cup (x2), Champions League (x2), Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
Paul Scholes is one of the legendary players produced in Manchester United. As the team’s lead scorer, he was able to assist in some of the team’s major matches. According to Scholes, some of his favourite players are Xavi and Zinedine Zidane.
Major Achievements: Premier League (x4), FA Cup (x2), PFA Player of the Year
Transferred from Leeds for 1.2 million pounds, Eric Cantona was one of the most important players of Manchester United. With his talent in the field, Eric Cantona had major contributions that propelled the team’s career even further in the Premier League. Additionally, he mentored some talents and helped the club source promising players.
Major Achievements: Premier League (x13), FA Cup (x4), League Cup (x4), Champions League (x2), Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, PFA Player of the Year
Ryan Riggs’ career lasted from 1991-2014 and was only 17 when he made his debut for Manchester United. He was trained under Sir Alex Ferguson and broke an all-time record of 963 goals during his career.