Manchester United was founded in the year 1878, and was initially known as Newton Health LYR until the year 1880. In the year 1880, the club changed its name and was called Newton Health until the year 1882. After which the team was officially called Manchester united. The team is quite popularly known by fans and others as THE RED DEVILS. Manchester United’s Team currently plays at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. However, they have changed a few grounds earlier like Monsall on North Road, Clayton on Bank Street. The period from 1945-1969 are known as the Busby years following Matt Busby’s tenure as manager of the Old Trafford club. His tactics paid dividends for Manchester United and the club finished second in the league in 1947, 1948 and 1949. They also won the FA Cup held in 1948. Busby was a fan of using the youth players at his disposal as much as possible and again his policy seemed spot on as evidenced by Manchester United winning the league again in 1956 with an average age of only 22. Busby’s original group of youth players became more commonly referred to as the “Busby Babes”. However, the club suffered a huge tragedy when in 1958, a plane carrying the team home from a European Cup match crashed during a take-off attempt after having stopped to refuel in Munich, Germany. This air disaster resulted in the loss of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan. Twelve passengers and three Manchester United staff members also lost their lives in the plane crash. Manager Matt Busby was not given much hope of survival by the Munich doctors, but he recovered and was released from hospital two months after the incident. The mid-1950s and late-1960s saw some good performance by the team. The team won the FA Cup in 1963. This triumph helped the club to 2nd place in 1964 which was followed by the league win in 1965 and 1967. They became the first English club to win the European Cup competition in 1968. However, they had a disappointing 1969-70 seasons which affected their performance during the 1970-71 as well. With Docherty as manager, the team managed to reach the FA Cup finals in 1976 and 1977 as well.
- Poor Results in 1980’s:
United made a poor start during the 1980’s. Following an early FA Cup exit to Spurs and a First Division hammering at Ipswich, the team recovered to win eight of their last ten league games, and finished just two points behind Liverpool in the title race. United created another intense finish at the end of the following season, 1980/81, when they won their last seven league games in a row. This time, however, they could only finish eighth in the table – a position which the club’s board could not bear. Sexton was dismissed on 30 April 1981, after four seasons. Ron Atkinson appointed Mick Brown as assistant manager and Eric Harrison as youth coach. Even the fans and supporters loved his on-the-field acquisitions. He recruited Bryan Robson from his old club West Bromwich Albion for £1.5m and spent around a third of that to appoint ex-Albion man, Remi Moses, to the United squad. The domestic cups offered United their best chances of silverware, and in 1983, they reached Wembley in both competitions. Liverpool defeated them, 2-1 to win the League Cup, while Brighton and Hove Albion were defeated in two attempts in the FA Cup final. A shock 2-2 draw was followed up by a thumping 4-0 win for United through goals from Robson (2), Arnold Muhren and Norman Whiteside. Whiteside’s habit of rising to the big occasion was never more gratefully received than in 1985, when he curled in the only goal of the FA Cup Final to beat Everton 1-0. United had earlier been reduced to ten men by the dismissal of Kevin Moran, who formed a great defensive partnership in the 1980’s with Paul McGrath. It was Atkinson’s second FA Cup achievement in three seasons, but eighteen months later he was sacked for his inability to break Merseyside’s monopoly of the League Championship. Not even ten straight wins at the start of 1985/86 could lead him to the Holy Grail.
- The 1990’s:
In November 1986, United at last appointed a proven winner. The 1990’s saw Alex Ferguson winning his first silverware as Manchester United manager, and Liverpool winning their last League Championship with an ageing team. Nine years later, it seemed that Lee Martin’s winning goal against Palace was the turning point for the teams’ success. First and foremost, winning the FA Cup in 1990 allowed United to make their return to European competition after an absence of five years. Far from being rusty, they went all the way to the final of the European Cup Winners Cup in Rotterdam where their opponents were Barcelona, the former club of United striker Mark Hughes. Two goals by Hughes sealed the match 2-1 in Fergie’s favor in May 1991, 23 years after the club’s previous triumph in Europe. In the following season 1993/94, the team virtually picked itself en route to an historic League and FA Cup Double, with Eric Cantona sporting the number seven shirt that had been Bryan Robson’s property for so long. Undoubtedly, Peter Schmeichel was the best goalkeeper ever seen at Old Trafford. Cantona’s eight-month absence from January 1995, following his clash with a fan at Crystal Palace, proved to be United’s undoing as they tried to defend their Double crown. They lost the title by one point to Blackburn Rovers and then lost the FA Cup final by one goal to Everton. The former champions were hampered at Wembley by an injury to Steve Bruce, the brave captain who was a defensive rock in the early 1990’s. Bruce also missed the following year’s FA Cup Final, at the end of the 1995/96 season, but this time the result was rather different. Liverpool stood between United and a first-ever ‘Double Double’ and were holding out for extra-time, when Cantona struck home a sublime shot in the 86th minute.
- The Treble – 1998/99:
The 1998/99 season became the most successful season in English club football history as Manchester United became the first and only English team to win The Treble, by winning the Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in the same season. This feat began when Manchester United clinched the Premier League title on the final day of the season by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2–1. The FA Cup came next and Manchester United defeated Newcastle United by 2-0. However, it was the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final which stole the limelight as Manchester defeated Bayern Munich in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed. Facing a 1-0 defeat as the game entered injury time, United scored twice to win 2-1.
- Becoming The Best Football Club of the World:
The Treble became a quadruple later in the year when Sir Alex Ferguson’s men reached Tokyo to compete for the Inter-Continental Cup. United won the World Club Champions title, thanks to the goal scored by Keane. Officially, at the end of the millennium, the biggest football club in the world had also become the best in the world. United started the new decade, century and millennium in typical pioneering fashion. They entered a brand new competition – the FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil – but at the expense of their participation in the FA Cup, of which they were the holders. Goalkeepers such as Mark Bosnich did not succeed to establish themselves during the 1999/2000 season. So it was hardly surprising when World Cup and European Championship winner Fabien Barthez joined United in July 2000. The peculiar but bright French goalkeeper helped United to win their third successive title in 2000/01, a feat that had previously been achieved by only a handful of clubs in England. Liverpool had been the last team to do it, in 1982, 1983 and 1984, but this was under the supervision of two different managers – Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. Sir Alex Ferguson had been at the helm for all three of United’s back-to-back titles, and was the first manager in English football to achieve the hat-trick. Ferguson’s major signing in the summer of 2002 was Rio Ferdinand, one of England’s best performers at the World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea. The £30m acquisition from Leeds added the steel that had arguably been missing from United’s defence since the departure of Jaap Stam to Lazio. For the United, the main aim remained Premiership glory, which was duly snared the following season as United notched a 16th league title, finishing six points clear of former incumbents Chelsea. The whole team played admirably to win the title back from Stamford Bridge, Ronaldo was well-appreciated for his excellent play. He was also declared as the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year.
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