Foundation: 1878 as Newton Heath LYR.
Coach: Louis Van Gaal
Stadium: The Old Trafford
League Titles: 20
Manchester United, one of the most successful football clubs in the world,was founded in 1878 under the name Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways). The club owes its origins to the workers at the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways, who were playing games against other departments within the company or against other companies.
The club joined the Football Alliance, an English football league which lasted only for 3 seasons before being integrated with the Football League, as its second division. Thanks to this, the club played in First Division in the 1892-1893 season and remained there for two seasons, before being relegated to Second Division. Due to financial problems, the club was heading to bankruptcy in early 1902. A local businessman, John Henry Davies, who then became the president of the club, saved the club by investing in it. The club was further named Manchester United, after the owners dismissed other possible names like “Manchester Central” or “Manchester Celtic”.
During the following years the club began building up success, starting with their first Football League Championship title in 1908, and following with their first FA Cup win in 1909. In 1910, Manchester United moved from their Bank Street ground into their new home: The Old Trafford stadium. In 1911, they won the first division for the second time, but the following season ended with them in the 13th place, not being able to climb back up.
After the four-year gap brought about by the First World War, Manchester United returned to the football scene in August 1919, but was relegated to the Second Division, where they remained until their 1925 advancement. During the following years, the club alternated between First and Second Division. The last year before the World War II, they finished 14th in the First Division.
Between 1939 and 1946, football pretty much disappeared from people’s daily life due to the Second World War. Manchester United directly suffered the consequences of the war: The Old Trafford was bombed in March 1941 during a German air raid, destroying the main stand, various offices and dressing rooms. However, in 1945 when Matt Busby joined the club, a fresh air of hope settled in. He was a former football player who showed leadership and made his mark right away. He changed the positions of key players and brought Jimmy Murphy to the team as his right-hand help as a technical director. Together, they led the team to finish second of the League in 1947, 1948 and 1949, and to an FA Cup win in 1948. Finally, after 41 years, the team won the First Division in 1952. Five years later, in 1957 they became the first English team to play in the European Cup.
The following season, in February 1958, tragedy struck: on its way home from playing the second leg match against Red Star Belgrade, which they won, the plane carrying the team crashed after refueling in Munich, killing 22 people, including eight players. After this incredible loss, the team didn’t seem they would to recover. However, Jimmy Murphy took over as technical manager while Busby was recovering from his injuries, and was able to take the team to the FA Cup finals in May 1958, however losing to Bolton Wanderers.
Once recovered, Busby dedicated his time to build a new team during the ‘60s by using players from past seasons, such as Dennis Viollet and Bobby Charlton, and by signing players such as Dennis Law and George Best. The Charlton, Law and Best trio managed to win the League title with Manchester United in 1965 and 1967, and, in 1968, they won their first European Cup. Soon after that, Matt Busby was appointed as knight.
After the European Cup triumph, Matt Busby stepped down and was replaced by Wilf McGuinness, the coach of the reserve team and former player. McGuinness struggled to manage the team, and he lost valuable players to transfers.
Soon after he was appointed, he was fired and Busby was temporarily reinstated. In 1971, Frank O’Farrel was appointed, only to be replaced less than 18 months later by Tommy Docherty, who was able to keep the club in First Division that season. However, the team was relegated again to Second Division in 1974, but climbed back up in 1975 and got to the FA Cup final in 1976, although they didn’t win it. ManU won the FA Cup the following season, while Docherty was being dismissed after being exposed of having an affair with the wife of the club physiotherapist.
He was replaced by Dave Sexton, who failed to keep the club at the top. The team didn’t achieve great results during Sexton’s first two seasons, but in 1980, United finished second in the 1979 FA Cup final. Sexton was replaced by Ron Atkinson, who led United to win the FA Cup in 1983 and 1985, twice in only three years. However, Atkinson was dismissed 18 months after that for not being able to win the English League.
In November 1986, Alex Ferguson, from Aberdeen football club, was appointed to take over for Atkinson. During his first two seasons, the club finished 11th, then finished 2nd behind Liverpool in 1988, only to go back to the 11th place the following season. Ferguson was on the verge of being dismissed when the club won the FA Cup in 1990. This secured Ferguson’s place as the team’s coach. From this moment on, there were only good news for United: they won their first Cup Winner’s Cup in 1991 and they also won the UEFA Super Cup in the same year at the Old Trafford. In 1994, the club achieved its first “Double” ever, winning both the League and the FA Cup in the same season. In 1999, they became the first team in history to achieve a treble: they won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the same season. Another victory was added to that Treble, turning it into a quadruple: ManU also won the World Club Champions title by winning the Inter-Continental Cup. Alex Ferguson was appointed knight afterwards for his service to football.
From that point forward, Manchester United managed to stay at the top: they won the League in 2000 and 2001, and then again in 2003. They won the FA Cup in 2004, year in which the team’s great star Wayne Rooney entered the team, the Premiere League in 2007 and 2008, and in the same year, the FIFA Club World Cup. They also won the Football League cup in 2009 and their third successive Premier League cup. Up to 2013, United gathered 20 league titles, making them one of the biggest football clubs in the world. At the end of that football season, Sir Ferguson retired, but he remained as club director and ambassador.
In 2013, David Moyes replaced Ferguson as head coach, although he was not able to keep the team at the top. He was fired after failing to defend the club’s Premier League title and failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. He was briefly replaced by Ryan Giggs until May 2014 when Louis Van Gaal took over as manager on a three-year contract and Giggs became his assistant.
Official Name: Old Trafford
Nickname: The Theatre of Dreams
Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0RA, United Kingdom
Inauguration: 19 February 1910
Architect: Archibald Leitch
Capacity: 75,731 viewers
Field size: 105 by 68 meters
Owner: Manchester United
Old Trafford stadium has been Manchester United’s home ground since 1910. This is the second-largest football stadium in the United Kingdom and the 9th largest in Europe, with capacity for 75,731 viewers.
The stadium that we know today underwent several major changes over the years, and currently looks very little like the original stadium. In 1941, it was bombed in a German air raid during the Second World War, destroying most of it. As a consequence, the club had to share the Main Road stadium with Manchester City, United’s local rivals, from 1941 to 1949,
After the War, the club played its first home game at the newly rebuilt Old Trafford stadium in August 1949. The stadium continued to be modified, and with every improvement made, its capacity decreased. By the 1980s, the stadium had gone from seating 80,000 viewers to only about 60,000. Further remodeling reduced the capacity even more, to about 44,000. However, in June 1995, United began the construction at the Trafford Park trading estate, which ended by May 1996. This improvement raised the capacity to over 55,000 seats. By 2000, the Old Trafford’s capacity had increased to over 68,000 seats, which made it the largest stadium in England and the entire United Kingdom. The stadium’s most recent expansion took place between July 2005 and May 2006, which added second tiers to the NW and NE quadrants of the ground, resulting in an increase of 8,000 seats.
On the Old Trafford’s 100th anniversary, on February 2010, an art competition was organized for students from three local schools to show their own views of the stadium’s past, present and future. The winning paintings were put on permanent display and the winners received awards by the artist Harold Riley.