Come On, Red Devils
Manchester United are probably England's most famous club. The seeds for their future success were sown when workers with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway decided to form a team of their own in 1878.
It was run by the Dining Room Committee of the Carriage and Wagon Works, and was known as the Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Cricket and Football Club.
Only after Newton Heath went bankrupt did Manchester United emerge from the ashes in 1902. Having joined the Football League in 1892, the club has played in one or other of the top two divisions ever since.
With winger Billy Meredith a powerful influence, and Ernest Mangnall as manager, Manchester United earned their first major honour in 1908 when the club won the championship. It followed up its league success the next year with an FA Cup victory. Although it won the league again in 1911, there followed a notably barren spell lasting until after the Second World War.
During the war, heavy bomb damage meant Manchester United had to temporarily abandon its Old Trafford ground and play matches at their Manchester rivals' Maine Road stadium.
With the end of hositilities, Matt Busby took over as manager and - with the help of captain Johnny Carey - set the club on the path to phenomenal post-war success.
While players such Jack Rowley and Stan Pearson helped them to win the 1948 FA Cup and the 1952 league championship, the club increasingly became renowned for nurturing youthful talent. And so were born the 'Busby Babes': Roger Byrne, Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, and many more.
Quickly dominating English football, the new team won the First Division in successive seasons before the 1958 Munich air crash claimed the lives of eight players.
From the wreckage, Busby set about building another magnificent team, using the skills of Charlton and Denis Law, and harnessing the teenage talents of George Best. At the height of its power in the mid-Sixties, every Manchester United player was an international.
FA Cup winners in 1963, First Division champions in 1965 and 1967, the pinnacle of the team's achievements was the 4-1 win over Benfica at Wembley in the 1968 European Cup Final.
Managers found it difficult to emulate Busby's success, despite the efforts of men such as Tommy Docherty, Dave Sexton and Ron Atkinson. Only under Alex Ferguson, have star players managed to combine to live up to the memory of their heroic predecessors.
Scot Alex Ferguson was appointed in 1986 and to begin with, it looked as though he would go the same way as his predecessors. However, the FA Cup win of 1990 heralded the start of good times which were continued with
the European Cup Winners Cup success a year later, with a 2-1 win over Barcelona. In 1992, Utd grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory as their late slip-up handed Leeds Utd the title but the advent of the Premier League finally saw them triumph 26 years after their previous title win.
The following season saw United better this by winning the double (beating Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final). Since then United won two more championships, including a second unprecedented double in 1996.
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[ 10 Memorable Nights ] [ 1968 European Champions Cup ] [ 1991 European Cup Winners Cup ]
[ Ernest Mangnall ] [ Matt Busby ] [ Alex Ferguson ] [ Eric Cantona ]
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