In terms of major trophies, they are the most successful side in England while being one of the most popular clubs across the world. Manchester United are a fearsome unit and while, in 2017, they have been subdued, at least in terms of the race for the Premier League title, new manager Jose Mourinho looks like the man to bring the Glory Days back to Old Trafford.
We all watch United regularly as the club is hardly ever away from our TV screens and heavily involved in betting promotions but what do we really know about them? Here then, is a history lesson, starting with the reasons why they are considered the most successful team in the country.
The Records they Hold
As far as English domestic trophies are concerned, Manchester United hold two domestic records while sharing a third. The Red Devils have won the top division in England on 20 separate occasions and no-one can match them for that.
After a barren period from the end of the 1960’s, the formation of the Premier League in 1992 seemed to energise the club and they have won no fewer than 13 titles in 25 years. Their second record comes in the Charity Shield which they have either won or shared on 21 occasions while their tally of 12 FA Cup wins can only be matched by Arsenal.
Add in three European Cups, a Super Cup and a Cup Winners Cup and that record is simply phenomenal.
The club was originally formed way back in 1878 as Newton Heath FC. To begin with, they wore the green and gold colours of the railway company from which they originated – a kit that was later revived by Manchester United in the Premier League years.
Playing as Manchester United from 1902, the club became strong early on and it wasn’t long before they took their first major trophy with the first division title in 1907/08.
It hasn’t all been a story of success at Old Trafford however and there have been some notable lows along the way. In 1902, the club had debts of over £26,000 and was served with a winding up order. This led to new investment which saved the club and directly led to the change of name.
Then, at the end of the 1973/74 season, Manchester United were relegated to the old Second Division – an unthinkable act for a team that had won the European Cup less than ten years previously. Happily for supporters, the side bounced back a year later and following their promotion have played in England’s top flight ever since.
Who was the greatest Manchester United player of all time? For many, that’s an easy question to answer. George Best is perhaps the most gifted footballer ever to have trodden the turf at Old Trafford but interestingly, the Northern Ireland legend generally finishes behind Ryan Giggs in a number of polls such as one carried out by the Daily Telegraph in 2015 and this, from the Manchester Evening News.
This could simply be down to longevity – Giggs was a fantastic player and spent an incredible 24 years at Old Trafford, breaking all records along the way while Best’s career was more fleeting. Others to feature highly in all polls include Denis Law, Duncan Edwards, Eric Cantona, Tommy Taylor, Paul Scholes and more – the list of legends is simply huge.
No round up of Manchester United would be complete without mention of the Munich Air Disaster. A sad diversion but it must be done to honour the likes of Taylor and Edwards, just two men among eight players and 20 overall who were to lose their lives in 1958 when returning from a European tie.
Did you Know?
- We know plenty already about this historic team but here are some facts about Manchester United that may just be a little more obscure.
- The nickname Red Devils was actually coined relatively recently: Legendary manager Sir Matt Busby, who took the team to their European Cup triumph in 1968, took the name from Rugby League side Salford who used it while wearing red shirts themselves.
- United have had a number of mascots over the years including Michael the Canary and Major the Dog, before they settled on Fred the Red Devil.
- There has been a lot of rivalry between United and Manchester City in recent years but during the Second World War, the latter came to help out by lending their Maine Road ground when Old Trafford was rendered unplayable owing to bomb damage.
- Ryan Giggs holds many club records but many will not know that the Welshman scored the fastest goal in Manchester United history – netting after just 15 seconds against Southampton in 1995.
- Louis Van Gaal was the club’s first ever non-British manager.
- Sir Matt Busby did not bring a single new player to the club between 1953 and 1957.
- While they may be struggling for a top four place these days, United never finished lower than 3rd in the Premier League when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Love them or hate them, you have to respect Manchester United for all that they have achieved in the English game. While Chelsea, Manchester City and even Leicester City have beaten them to the Premier League title in recent seasons, there are signs under Jose Mourinho that this legendary club will be adding to its record haul of trophies in the near future while adding to their fascinating history in the process.