|Full name||Manchester United Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Red Devils|
|Founded||1878, as Newton Heath LYR F.C.|
|Co-chairmen||Joel and Avram Glazer|
|Manager||Sir Alex Ferguson|
|2011–12||Premier League, 2nd|
|Website||Club home page|
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.
The 1958 Munich air disaster claimed the lives of eight players. In 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United was the first English football club to win the European Cup. The current manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has won 24 major honours since he took over in November 1986.
Manchester United has won many trophies in English football, including a record 19 league titles, a record 11 FA Cups, four League Cups and a record 19 FA Community Shields. The club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, the club won a Treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, an unprecedented feat for an English club.
Manchester United is one of the wealthiest and most widely supported football teams in the world. As of July 2012, the club is number one in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the world's 50 most valuable sports teams, valued at $2.23 billion. After being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1991, the club was purchased by Malcolm Glazer in May 2005 in a deal valuing the club at almost £800 million. In August 2012, Manchester United made an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
Early years (1878–1945)
Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) depot at Newton Heath. The team initially played games against other departments and rail companies, but on 20 November 1880, they competed in their first recorded match; wearing the colours of the railway company – green and gold – they were defeated 6–0 by Bolton Wanderers' reserve team. By 1888, the club had become a founding member of The Combination, a regional football league. Following the league's dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance, which ran for three seasons before being merged with the Football League. This resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the rail company and dropped the "LYR" from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division.
In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £210,000 as of 2012[nb 1] – the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies (who became club president), each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name; on 24 April 1902, Manchester United was officially born.[nb 2] Under Ernest Mangnall, who assumed managerial duties in 1903, the team finished as Second Division runners-up in 1906 and secured promotion to the First Division, which they won in 1908 – the club's first league title. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield and ended with the club's first FA Cup title. Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City.
In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, where it remained until regaining promotion in 1925. Relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Following the death of the club's principal benefactor, J. H. Davies, in October 1927, the club's finances deteriorated to the extent that Manchester United would likely have gone bankrupt had it not been for James W. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000 and assumed control of the club. In the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division.
Busby years (1945–1969)
In October 1945, the impending resumption of football led to the managerial appointment of Matt Busby, who demanded an unprecedented level of control over team selection, player transfers and training sessions. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947, 1948 and 1949, and to FA Cup victory in 1948. In 1952, the club won the First Division, its first league title for 41 years. With an average age of 22, the media labelled the back-to-back title winning side of 1956 "the Busby Babes", a testament to Busby's faith in his youth players. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season. En route to the semi-final, which they lost to Real Madrid, the team recorded a 10–0 victory over Belgian champions Anderlecht, which remains the club's biggest victory on record.
The following season, on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final victory against Red Star Belgrade, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United players, officials and journalists crashed while attempting to take off after refuelling in Munich, Germany. The Munich air disaster of 6 February 1958 claimed 23 lives, including those of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan – and injured several more.
Reserve team manager Jimmy Murphy took over as manager while Busby recovered from his injuries and the club's makeshift side reached the FA Cup final, which they lost to Bolton Wanderers. In recognition of the team's tragedy, UEFA invited the club to compete in the 1958–59 European Cup alongside eventual League champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite approval from the FA, the Football League determined that the club should not enter the competition, since it had not qualified. Busby rebuilt the team through the 1960s by signing players such as Denis Law and Pat Crerand, who combined with the next generation of youth players – including George Best – to win the FA Cup in 1963. The following season, they finished second in the league, then won the title in 1965 and 1967. In 1968, Manchester United became the first English (and second British) club to win the European Cup, beating Benfica 4–1 in the final with a team that contained three European Footballers of the Year: Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best. Matt Busby resigned as manager in 1969 and was replaced by the reserve team coach, former Manchester United player Wilf McGuinness.
Following an eighth-place finish in the 1969–70 season and a poor start to the 1970–71 season, Busby was persuaded to temporarily resume managerial duties, and McGuinness returned to his position as reserve team coach. In June 1971, Frank O'Farrell was appointed as manager, but lasted less than 18 months before being replaced by Tommy Docherty in December 1972. Docherty saved Manchester United from relegation that season, only to see them relegated in 1974; by that time the trio of Best, Law, and Charlton had left the club. The team won promotion at the first attempt and reached the FA Cup final in 1976, but were beaten by Southampton. They reached the final again in 1977, beating Liverpool 2–1. Docherty was dismissed shortly afterwards, following the revelation of his affair with the club physiotherapist's wife.
Dave Sexton replaced Docherty as manager in the summer of 1977. Despite major signings, including Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Gary Bailey, and Ray Wilkins, the team failed to achieve any significant results; they finished in the top two in 1979–80 and lost to Arsenal in the 1979 FA Cup Final. Sexton was dismissed in 1981, even though the team won the last seven games under his direction. He was replaced by Ron Atkinson, who immediately broke the British record transfer fee to sign Bryan Robson from West Bromwich Albion. Under Atkinson, Manchester United won the FA Cup twice in three years – in 1983 and 1985. In 1985–86, after 13 wins and two draws in its first 15 matches, the club was favourite to win the league, but finished in fourth place. The following season, with the club in danger of relegation by November, Atkinson was dismissed.
Ferguson years (1986–present)
Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox arrived from Aberdeen on the day of Atkinson's dismissal, and guided the club to an 11th-place finish in the league. Despite a second-place finish in 1987–88, the club was back in 11th place the following season. Reportedly on the verge of being dismissed, victory over Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final replay (after a 3–3 draw) saved Ferguson's career. The following season, Manchester United claimed its first Cup Winners' Cup title and competed in the 1991 UEFA Super Cup, beating European Cup holders Red Star Belgrade 1–0 in the final at Old Trafford. A second consecutive League Cup final appearance followed in 1992, in which the team beat Nottingham Forest 1–0 at Wembley. In 1993, the club won its first league title since 1967, and a year later, for the first time since 1957, it won a second consecutive title – alongside the FA Cup – to complete the first "Double" in the club's history.
In the 1998–99 season, Manchester United became the first team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League – "The Treble" – in the same season. Losing 1–0 going into injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored late goals to claim a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich, in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks of all time. The club also won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 1–0 in Tokyo. Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football.
Manchester United won the league again in the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons. The team finished as runners-up in 2001–02, before regaining the title in 2002–03. They won the 2003–04 FA Cup, beating Millwall 3–0 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In the 2005–06 season, Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over a decade, but recovered to secure a second-place league finish and victory over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 Football League Cup Final. The club regained the Premier League in the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, and completed the European double by beating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Ryan Giggs made a record 759th appearance for the club in this game, overtaking previous record holder Bobby Charlton. In December 2008, the club won the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup and followed this with the 2008–09 Football League Cup, and its third successive Premier League title. That summer, Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80 million. In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2–1 at Wembley to retain the League Cup, its first successful defence of a knockout cup competition.
After finishing as runner-up to Chelsea in the 2009–10 season, United achieved a record 19th league title in 2010–11, securing the championship with a 1–1 away draw against Blackburn Rovers on 14 May 2011.
Crest and colours
The club crest is derived from the Manchester City Council coat of arms, although all that remains of it on the current crest is the ship in full sail. The devil stems from the club's nickname "The Red Devils"; it was included on club programmes and scarves in the 1960s, and incorporated into the club crest in 1970, although the crest was not included on the chest of the shirt until 1971 (unless the team was playing in a Cup Final).
A photograph of the Newton Heath team, taken in 1892, is believed to show the players wearing red-and-white quartered jerseys and blue shorts. Between 1894–96, the players wore distinctive green and gold jerseys which were replaced in 1896 by white shirts, which were worn with blue shorts. After its name change in 1902, the club colours were changed to red shirts, white shorts, and black socks, which has become the standard Manchester United home kit. Very few changes were made to the kit until 1922 when the club adopted white shirts bearing a deep red "V" around the neck, similar to the shirt worn in the 1909 FA Cup Final. They remained part of their home kits until 1927. In 1934, players sported cherry and white hooped shirts, but the following season the red shirt was recalled after the club's lowest ever league placing of 20th in the Second Division. The black socks were changed to white from 1959 to 1965, where they were replaced with red socks up until 1971, when the club reverted to black. The current home kit is a red gingham-pattern shirt with dark red checks and a black v-neck collar, worn with white shorts and black socks.
The Manchester United away strip has often been a white shirt, black shorts and white socks, but there have been several exceptions. These include the navy blue shirt with silver horizontal pinstripes worn during the 1999–2000 season, and the 2011–12 away kit, which had a royal blue body and sleeves with hoops made of small midnight navy blue and black stripes, with black shorts and blue socks. An all-grey away kit worn during the 1995–96 season was dropped after just five games because players claimed to have trouble finding their team-mates against the crowd. In 2001, to celebrate 100 years as "Manchester United", a reversible white/gold away kit was released, although the actual match day shirts were not reversible.
The club's third kit is often all-blue. This was most recently the case during the 2008–09 season, to celebrate 40 years since it was worn for the club's first European Cup win in 1968. Exceptions include a green-and-gold halved shirt worn between 1992 and 1994, a blue-and-white striped shirt worn during the 1994–95 and 1995–96 seasons, an all-black kit worn during the Treble-winning 1998–99 season, and white shirts with black-and-red horizontal pinstripes worn between 2003 and 2005. In recent seasons, the third kit has usually been the previous season's away kit.
|Theatre of Dreams|
|Location||Sir Matt Busby Way,
|Opened||19 February 1910|
|Construction cost||£90,000 (1909)|
|Architect||Archibald Leitch (1909)|
|Manchester United (1910–present)|
Newton Heath initially played on a field on North Road, close to the railway yard; the original capacity was about 12,000, but club officials deemed the facilities inadequate for a club hoping to join The Football League. Some expansion took place in 1887, and in 1891 Newton Heath used its minimal financial reserves to purchase two grandstands, each able to hold 1,000 spectators. Although attendances were not recorded for many of the earliest matches at North Road, the highest documented attendance was approximately 15,000 for a First Division match against Sunderland on 4 March 1893. A similar attendance was also recorded for a friendly match against Gorton Villa on 5 September 1889.
In June 1893, after the club was evicted from North Road by its owners, Manchester Deans and Canons, who felt it was inappropriate for the club to charge an entry fee to the ground, secretary A. H. Albut procured the use of the Bank Street ground in Clayton. It initially had no stands, by the start of the 1893–94 season, two had been built; one spanning the full length of the pitch on one side and the other behind the goal at the "Bradford end". At the opposite end, the "Clayton end", the ground had been "built up, thousands thus being provided for". Newton Heath's first league match at Bank Street was played against Burnley on 1 September 1893, when 10,000 people saw Alf Farman score a hat-trick, Newton Heath's only goals in a 3–2 win. The remaining stands were completed for the following league game against Nottingham Forest three weeks later. In October 1895, before the visit of Manchester City, the club purchased a 2,000-capacity stand from the Broughton Rangers rugby league club, and put up another stand on the "reserved side" (as distinct from the "popular side"). However, weather restricted the attendance for the Manchester City match to just 12,000.
When the Bank Street ground was temporarily closed by bailiffs in 1902, club captain Harry Stafford raised enough money to pay for the club's next away game at Bristol City and found a temporary ground at Harpurhey for the next reserves game against Padiham. Following financial investment, new club president J.H. Davies paid £500 for the erection of a new 1,000-seat stand at Bank Street. Within four years, the stadium had cover on all four sides, as well as the ability to hold approximately 50,000 spectators, some of whom could watch from the viewing gallery atop the Main Stand.
However, following Manchester United's first league title in 1908 and the FA Cup a year later, it was decided that Bank Street was too restrictive for Davies' ambition; in February 1909, six weeks before the club's first FA Cup title, Old Trafford was named as the home of Manchester United, following the purchase of land for around £60,000. Architect Archibald Leitch was given a budget of £30,000 for construction; original plans called for seating capacity of 100,000, though budget constraints forced a revision to 77,000. The building was constructed by Messrs Brameld and Smith of Manchester. The stadium's record attendance was registered on 25 March 1939, when an FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town drew 76,962 spectators.
Bombing in the Second World War destroyed much of the stadium; the central tunnel in the South Stand was all that remained of that quarter. After the war, the club received compensation from the War Damage Commission in the amount of £22,278. While reconstruction took place, the team played its "home" games at Manchester City's Maine Road ground; Manchester United was charged £5,000 per year, plus a nominal percentage of gate receipts. Later improvements included the addition of roofs, first to the Stretford End and then to the North and East Stands. The roofs were supported by pillars that obstructed many fans' views, and they were eventually replaced with a cantilevered structure. The Stretford End was the last stand to receive a cantilevered roof, completed in time for the 1993–94 season. First used on 25 March 1957 and costing £40,000, four 180-foot (55 m) pylons were erected, each housing 54 individual floodlights. These were dismantled in 1987 and replaced by a lighting system embedded in the roof of each stand, which remains in use today.
The Taylor Report's requirement for an all-seater stadium lowered capacity at Old Trafford to around 44,000 by 1993. In 1995, the North Stand was redeveloped into three tiers, restoring capacity to approximately 55,000. At the end of the 1998–99 season, second tiers were added to the East and West Stands, raising capacity to around 67,000, and between July 2005 and May 2006, 8,000 more seats were added via second tiers in the north-west and north-east quadrants. Part of the new seating was used for the first time on 26 March 2006, when an attendance of 69,070 became a new Premier League record. The record was pushed steadily upwards before reaching its peak on 31 March 2007, when 76,098 spectators saw Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 4–1, with just 114 seats (0.15 percent of the total capacity of 76,212) unoccupied. In 2009, reorganisation of the seating resulted in a reduction of capacity by 255 to 75,957. Manchester United has the third highest average attendance of European football clubs only behind Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona.
Manchester United is reputed to be the most popular football club in the world, with one of the highest average home attendance in Europe. The club states that its worldwide fan base includes more than 200 officially recognised branches of the Manchester United Supporters Club (MUSC), in at least 24 countries. The club takes advantage of this support through its worldwide summer tours. Accountancy firm and sports industry consultants Deloitte estimate that Manchester United has 75 million fans worldwide, while other estimates put this figure closer to 333 million.
Supporters are represented by two independent bodies; the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), which maintains close links to the club through the MUFC Fans Forum, and the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST). After the Glazer family's takeover in 2005, a group of fans formed a splinter club, F.C. United of Manchester. The West Stand of Old Trafford – the "Stretford End" – is the home end and the traditional source of the club's most vocal support.
The "Roses Rivalry" with Leeds stems from the Wars of the Roses, fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, with Manchester United representing Lancashire and Leeds representing Yorkshire.
The rivalry with Arsenal amasses from the countless number of times the two teams as well as the two current managers (Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger) have battled for the Premier League title. With 32 titles between them (19 for Manchester United, 13 for Arsenal) this fixture has become known as one of the finest Premier League match-ups in history.
Manchester United has been described as a global brand; a 2011 report by Brand Finance, valued the club's trademarks and associated intellectual property at £412 million – an increase of £39 million on the previous year, valuing it at £11 million more than the second best brand, Real Madrid – and gave the brand a strength rating of AAA (Extremely Strong). In July 2012, Manchester United was ranked first by Forbes magazine in its list of the ten most valuable sports team brands, valuing the Manchester United brand at $2.23 billion. The club is currently ranked third in the Deloitte Football Money League (behind Real Madrid and Barcelona).
The core strength of Manchester United's global brand is often attributed to Matt Busby's rebuilding of the team and subsequent success following the Munich air disaster, which drew worldwide acclaim. The "iconic" team included Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles (members of England's World Cup winning team), Denis Law and George Best. The attacking style of play adopted by this team (in contrast to the defensive-minded "catenaccio" approach favoured by the leading Italian teams of the era) "captured the imagination of the English footballing public". Busby's team also became associated with the liberalisation of Western society during the 1960s; George Best, known as the "fifth Beatle" for his iconic haircut, was the first footballer to significantly develop an off-the-field media profile.
As the second English football club to float on the London Stock Exchange in 1991, the club raised significant capital, with which it further developed its commercial strategy. The club's focus on commercial and sporting success brought significant profits in an industry often characterised by chronic losses. The strength of the Manchester United brand was bolstered by intense off-the-field media attention to individual players, most notably David Beckham (who quickly developed his own global brand). This attention often generates greater interest in on-the-field activities, and hence generates sponsorship opportunities – the value of which is driven by television exposure. During his time with the club, Beckham's popularity across Asia was integral to the club's commercial success in that part of the world.
Because higher league placement results in a greater share of television rights, success on the field generates greater income for the club. Since the inception of the Premier League, Manchester United has received the largest share of the revenue generated from the BSkyB broadcasting deal. Manchester United has also consistently enjoyed the highest commercial income of any English club; in 2005–06, the club's commercial arm generated £51 million, compared to £42.5 million at Chelsea, £39.3 million at Liverpool, £34 million at Arsenal and £27.9 million at Newcastle United. A key sponsorship relationship is with sportswear company Nike, who manage the club's merchandising operation as part of a £303 million 13-year partnership established in 2002. Through Manchester United Finance and the club's membership scheme, One United, those with an affinity for the club can purchase a range of branded goods and services. Additionally, Manchester United-branded media services – such as the club's dedicated television channel, MUTV – have allowed the club to expand its fan base to those beyond the reach of its Old Trafford stadium.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
In an initial five-year deal worth £500,000, Sharp Electronics became the club's first shirt sponsor at the beginning of the 1982–83 season, a relationship that lasted until the end of the 1999–2000 season, when Vodafone agreed a four-year, £30 million deal. Vodafone agreed to pay £36 million to extend the deal by four years, but after two seasons triggered a break clause in order to concentrate on its sponsorship of the Champions League.
To commence at the start of the 2006–07 season, American insurance corporation AIG agreed a four-year £56.5 million deal which in September 2006 became the most valuable in the world. At the beginning of the 2010–11 season, American reinsurance company Aon became the club's principal sponsor in a four-year deal reputed to be worth approximately £80 million, making it the most lucrative shirt sponsorship deal in football history. Manchester United announced their first training kit sponsor in August 2011, agreeing a four-year deal with DHL reported to be worth £40 million; it is believed to be the first instance of training kit sponsorship in English football.
The club's first kit manufacturer was Umbro, until a five-year deal was agreed with Admiral Sportswear in 1975. Adidas received the contract in 1980, before Umbro started a second spell in 1992. Umbro's sponsorship lasted for ten years, followed by Nike's record-breaking £302.9 million deal that will last until 2015; 3.8 million replica shirts were sold in the first 22 months with the company. In addition to Nike and Aon, the club also has several lower-level "platinum" sponsors, including Chevrolet and Budweiser.
On 30 July 2012, United signed a seven-year deal with the American automotive corporation General Motors, which will replace Aon as the shirt sponsor from the 2014–15 season. The new shirt will feature the logo of General Motors brand Chevrolet.
Ownership and finances
Originally funded by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, the club became a limited company in 1892 and sold shares to local supporters for £1 via an application form. In 1902, majority ownership passed to the four local businessmen who invested £500 to save the club from bankruptcy, including future club president J.H Davies. After his death in 1927, the club faced bankruptcy yet again, but was saved in December 1931 by James W. Gibson, who assumed control of the club after investing £2,000. Gibson promoted his son, Alan, to the board in 1948, but died three years later; the Gibson family retained ownership of the club, but the position of chairman passed to former player Harold Hardman.
Promoted to the board a few days after the Munich air disaster, Louis Edwards, a friend of Matt Busby, began acquiring shares in the club; for an investment of approximately £40,000, he accumulated a 54 percent shareholding and took control in January 1964. When Lillian Gibson died in January 1971, her shares passed to Alan Gibson who sold a percentage of his shares to Louis Edwards' son, Martin in 1978; Martin Edwards went on to become chairman upon his father's death in 1980. Media tycoon Robert Maxwell attempted to buy the club in 1984, but did not meet Edwards' asking price. In 1989, chairman Martin Edwards attempted to sell the club to Michael Knighton for £20 million, but the sale fell through and Knighton joined the Board of Directors instead.
Manchester United was floated on the stock market in June 1991 (raising £6.7 million), and received yet another takeover bid in 1998, this time from Rupert Murdoch's British Sky Broadcasting Corporation. This resulted in the formation of Shareholders United Against Murdoch – now the Manchester United Supporters' Trust – who encouraged supporters to buy shares in the club in an attempt to block any hostile takeover. The Manchester United board accepted a £623 million offer, but the takeover was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission at the final hurdle in April 1999. A few years later, a power struggle emerged between the club's manager, Alex Ferguson, and his horse-racing partners, John Magnier and J. P. McManus, who had gradually become the majority shareholders. In a dispute that stemmed from contested ownership of the horse Rock of Gibraltar, Magnier and McManus attempted to have Ferguson removed from his position as manager, and the board responded by approaching investors to attempt to reduce the Irishmen's majority.
In May 2005, Malcolm Glazer purchased the 28.7 percent stake held by McManus and Magnier, thus acquiring a controlling interest through his investment vehicle Red Football Ltd in a highly leveraged takeover valuing the club at approximately £800 million (then approx. $1.5 billion). In July 2006, the club announced a £660 million debt refinancing package, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in annual interest payments to £62 million a year. In January 2010, with debts of £716.5 million ($1.17 billion), Manchester United further refinanced through a bond issue worth £504 million, enabling them to pay off most of the £509 million owed to international banks. The annual interest payable on the bonds – which mature on 1 February 2017 – is approximately £45 million per annum. Despite restructuring, the club's debt prompted protests from fans on 23 January 2010, at Old Trafford and the club's Trafford Training Centre. Supporter groups encouraged match-going fans to wear green and gold, the colours of Newton Heath. On 30 January, reports emerged that the Manchester United Supporters' Trust had held meetings with a group of wealthy fans, dubbed the "Red Knights", with plans to buying out the Glazers' controlling interest.
In August 2011, the Glazers were believed to have approached Credit Suisse in preparation for a $1 billion (approx. £600 million) initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore stock exchange that would value the club at more than £2 billion. However, in July 2012, the club announced plans to list its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange instead. Shares were originally set to go on sale for between $16 and $20 each, but the price was cut to $14 by the launch of the IPO on 10 August, following negative comments from Wall Street analysts and Facebook's disappointing stock market debut in May. Even after the cut, Manchester United was valued at $2.3 billion, making it the most valuable football club in the world.
- As of 31 August 2012.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserves and academy
- Owner: Glazer family via Red Football Shareholder Limited
- Honorary president: Martin Edwards
- Manchester United Limited
- Co-chairmen: Joel Glazer & Avram Glazer
- Chief executive: David Gill
- Chief operating officer: Michael Bolingbroke
- Commercial director: Richard Arnold
- Chief of Staff: Ed Woodward
- Non-executive directors: Bryan Glazer, Kevin Glazer, Edward Glazer & Darcie Glazer
- Manchester United Football Club
- Directors: David Gill, Michael Edelson, Sir Bobby Charlton
- Club secretary: John Alexander
- Global ambassador: Bryan Robson
- Coaching and medical staff
- Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
- Assistant manager: Mike Phelan
- First team coach: René Meulensteen
- Goalkeeping coach: Eric Steele
- Fitness coach: Tony Strudwick
- Reserve team manager: Warren Joyce
|1892–1900||A. H. Albut|
|1922–1926||John Chapman||First manager from outside England|
|1971–1972||Frank O'Farrell||First manager from outside the United Kingdom|
|1986–present||Alex Ferguson||Most honours won and longest-serving manager in club history.|
Manchester United's first trophy was the Manchester Cup, which it won as Newton Heath in 1886. In 1908, the club won its first league title, and won the FA Cup for the first time the following year. Manchester United won the most trophies in the 1990s; five league titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup, five Charity Shields (one shared), one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and one Intercontinental Cup.
The club currently holds the record for most top-division titles (19), the most FA Cups (11), and the most FA Cup Final appearances (18). Manchester United holds the record for the most Premier League titles (12), and was the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968. The club's most recent trophy came in August 2011 with the 2011 FA Community Shield title.
The only major honour that Manchester United has never won is the UEFA Europa League, although the team reached the quarter-finals in 1984–85 and the semi-finals of the competition's precursor tournament, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, in 1964–65.
- First Division[nb 3] (until 1992) and Premier League:[nb 3] 19
- Second Division:[nb 3] 2
- FA Cup: 11
- League Cup: 4
- FA Charity/Community Shield: 19 (15 outright, 4 shared)
- European Cup/UEFA Champions League: 3
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1
- UEFA Super Cup: 1
Doubles and Trebles
- "The Treble" (League, FA Cup and European Cup): 1
Especially short competitions such as the Charity/Community Shield, Intercontinental Cup (now defunct), FIFA Club World Cup or UEFA Super Cup are not generally considered to contribute towards a Double or Treble.
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.
The January jaunt to South America didn't result in any silverware but it gave the Reds valuable relaxation time in the sun. Rejuvenated by this, they raced ahead of their rivals in the title race when they returned to England. They achieved their sixth Premiership title early, in April, and still without a convincing replacement for Peter Schmeichel.
Several goalkeepers including Mark Bosnich tried and failed 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 eccentric but brilliant 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. On the back of this latest trophy, he announced his impending retirement, only to backtrack and decide to stay.
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.
Ferdinand helped the Reds to recapture their Premiership title in May 2003 but the calendar year ended on a low note for the defender - he was punished by the FA for failing to attend a mandatory drugs test at Carrington and was suspended for eight months.
In the period without Rio, the Reds lost their title - to Arsenal again - but won the FA Cup for a record eleventh time, beating Millwall 3-0 in the 2004 final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. A year later United were back in Wales to face Arsenal for the trophy. Chelsea had taken the Premiership and Carling Cup, and it was the Gunners who triumphed on penalties despite a dominant display from United - for whom Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were outstanding. The following season brought maiden silverware for the pair as the Reds beat Wigan Athletic in the Carling Cup final.
For Sir Alex and his players, 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. While the whole squad performed admirably to snatch the title back from Stamford Bridge, the man who took most of the plaudits was Ronaldo, who collected 13 personal honours during the campaign - including the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year award.
While it seemed improbable that the winger could top his 2006/07 heroics, he did just that the following season. Ronaldo played a major part - scoring 42 goals - as the Reds saw off the challenge of Chelsea to notch the Double. Strengthened by the summer signings of Owen Hargreaves, Carlos Tevez, Anderson and Nani, United recovered from a slow start to the season to head the table for almost the entire campaign. Despite a late charge from Chelsea, a final-day victory at Wigan (in which Ryan Giggs scored the clinching goal on the day he equalled United's all-time appearances record) secured a 17th league title for United.
Ten days later, in Moscow, the Reds and Blues duked it out for silverware again. Ronaldo's opener was cancelled out by Frank Lampard and, after 120 excruciating minutes, the match went to penalties. Ronaldo's miss gave John Terry the chance to take the trophy, but the Chelsea skipper slipped and smacked his effort against the post. Reprieved, United went on to win the shootout when Edwin van der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka's effort, ensuring that Europe's biggest competition had been won by the men from Manchester for a third time.
How do you top a season like 2007/08? Well, Sir Alex's men did their very best and only defeat at the very last hurdle - against Barcelona in the Champions League final - prevented the Reds from a historic trophy haul. Despite ultimate disappointment in Europe, United dominated almost every other competition. In December, the Reds flew to Japan to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup and a solitary Wayne Rooney goal against Ecuador's Liga de Quito in the final was enough to crown United world champions.
But what sort of effect would a gruelling mid-season trip to the Far East have on the Reds' domestic aspirations? As it turned out, it only made United stronger: Sir Alex's men reeled in Liverpool (seven points clear when the Reds returned from Japan) before going on to win a record-equalling 18th league title. But even before Gary Neville lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy the Reds had tasted success against Tottenhan Hotspur in the Carling Cup. On that occason, goalkeeper Ben Foster was the penalty shootout hero after scores remained level after 120 minutes.
Foster wasn't the only youngster who impressed that day, or indeed over the course of the season. Federico Macheda burst onto the scene with a stunning debut goal (an injury-time winner, no less) against Aston Villa, while Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson also announced their arrivals on the biggest stage with spectacular strikes. So even though Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez left Old Trafford in the summer, the future appears to be in very good hands.
The dawn of the 1990's saw Alex Ferguson collecting his first silverware as Manchester United manager, and Liverpool winning their last League Championship with an ageing team. The tide was turning…
Fergie's first FA Cup, achieved after a replay against Crystal Palace, seemed at the time to be a stand-alone success, one that possibly saved his job after another poor season in the League. But nine years later, it seemed that Lee Martin's winning goal against Palace lit the fuse for an explosion of unprecedented 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 favour in May 1991, 23 years after the club's previous triumph in Europe.
The other long wait, for that elusive League Championship, very nearly ended in April 1992. The Reds had already won Fergie's third trophy in March, the League Cup, and were in a two-horse race with Leeds. Liverpool were out of the running, but they still had a say in the destiny of the title, beating United 2-0 at Anfield to ruin their challenge.
The 1991/92 title would be remembered in Manchester as the title that United lost, rather than the one that Leeds actually won. Leeds, after all, were not the greatest of football powers in the 1990's and their star quality was further reduced when they allowed one of their best players to join Manchester United in December 1992.
In selling Eric Cantona to Old Trafford, the Yorkshire club practically handed over the keys to the League Championship. The Frenchman brought that little extra bit of magic that had been missing from United's previous campaigns and was an instant hit with the Mancunian faithful, scoring nine goals to help the Reds win their first title in 26 years.
In the following season 1993/94, the team virtually picked itself en route to an historic League and FA Cup Double, with Cantona sporting the number seven shirt that had been Bryan Robson’s property for so long. The number one, meanwhile, was undoubtedly Peter Schmeichel, arguably 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. 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 French skipper had throughout the season been an inspiration to the talented young players in the team, including David Beckham and Gary Neville.
In May 1997, Cantona helped the club to its fourth League Championship of the decade. It was to be his last, as he surprisingly retired from football later that same month. The shock waves of Eric’s decision seemed to last for a whole year, as the Reds went empty-handed in 1997/98 while Arsenal won the Double. Again, injuries to key players, especially Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane were cited for United’s downfall.
The influence that Giggs could have on results was never more apparent than in the 1998/99 FA Cup semi-final replay, when he scored perhaps the goal of the decade – a solo run and finish that left Arsenal's defenders grasping at thin air. It booked United's place in their fifth FA Cup final of the 1990's, and this time they won it, beating Newcastle United 2-0 with goals by Paul Scholes and substitute Teddy Sheringham.
That result clinched United's third Double, six days after the Premiership title had been wrapped by Andy Cole's goal against Tottenham at Old Trafford. But still there was more to come from a remarkable campaign.
After an epic Champions League semi-final against Juventus, when Keane inspired the team to fight back from 2-0 down in the second leg, United marched into an epic final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.
United's attempts to win the European Cup for the first time since 1968 looked to be doomed when Bayern took an early lead through Mario Basler and defended it with typical German resilience. But then, in injury time, the Reds produced one of the most stunning revivals in sporting history – Sheringham equalised, and moments later his fellow substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired in the winner to make the score 2-1. United had won the Treble; their manager Alex Ferguson was subsequently knighted as his fans around the globe basked in the glory.
The Treble became a quadruple later in the year when Sir Alex Ferguson's men travelled to Tokyo to compete for the Inter-Continental Cup. Keane's goal against Palmeiras of Brazil bestowed upon United the title of World Club Champions. Officially, at the end of the millennium, the biggest football club in the world had also become the best in the world!
United made a poor start to the 1980's. Following an early FA Cup exit to Spurs and a First Division hammering at Ipswich, however, Dave Sexton and his team recovered to win eight of their last ten league games, and finish just two points behind Liverpool in the title race.
United produced another blistering 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 tolerate. Sexton was sacked on 30 April 1981, after four seasons in the hotseat.
Sexton’s replacement Ron Atkinson brought in Mick Brown as assistant manager and Eric Harrison as youth coach. But it was his on-the-field acquisitions that really excited the fans. He broke the British transfer record to recruit Bryan Robson from his old club West Bromwich Albion for £1.5m and he spent around a third of that again to add another ex-Albion man, Remi Moses, to the United squad.
In midfield the new arrivals wonderfully complemented the finesse of Ray Wilkins, the ball-playing England star. But still there was something missing. United needed a forward who could match the strike rate of Ian Rush at Liverpool, who again won the Championship in 1982, 1983 and 1984. Atkinson’s men were never far behind, finishing third or fourth in every season of his reign. But they were never that close either.
The domestic cups offered United their best chances of silverware, and in 1983, they reached Wembley in both competitions. Liverpool beat them 2-1 after extra-time to win the Milk (League) Cup, while little-fancied Brighton and Hove Albion were beaten 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 success 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.
In November 1986, United at last appointed a proven winner. At Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson had claimed every prize that Scotland had to offer, not to mention the added bonus of the European Cup Winners Cup when his team defied the odds to beat Real Madrid!
Fergie clearly had the talent for the job, but he also needed time to turn United round. The club remained patient as
the Reds finished eleventh in 1986/87 and again in 1988/89. After all, the season in between, 1987/88, had offered encouraging signs as United finished second to Liverpool by winning eight and drawing two of their last ten games.
The promise of that season, and some of the signings made, would soon be fulfilled.