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Football News: By The Numbers: Manchester United

By The Numbers: Manchester United
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By The Numbers - Part 6 Manchester United

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1878 Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) were formed in 1878. They were later to become Manchester United. Initially they played against other departments of the LYR and other railway companies.


1892 Initially Newton Heath did not feel they were good enough to join the newly formed Football League and so waited until 1892 before they joined at Divison One level.


1894 After just two seasons in the Football League, Newton Heath were relegated down to Division Two in 1894.


1902 The club suffered financial problems and were on the verge of extinction when, at least according to legend, local brewery owner John Henry Davies found a dog belonging to club captain Harry Stafford. After chatting with Stafford, Davies decided to invest in the club, in return for being able to run the club to a degree. A name change followed when, after a number of alternatives such as Manchester Celtic were rejected, the name Manchester United was chosen in 1902.


1903 In September 1903 the club's first manager, Ernest Mangnall, was appointed. In those days their role was termed secretary, but they performed the role we would now consider that of a manager, to a large degree.


1906 An important year for United as they regained their top flight status and Mangnall moved to sign the 'Welsh Wizard' Billy Meredith from local rivals Manchester City. Meredith was available after a bribery scandal at City, which forced them to move on 17 players, intended to be by auction but Mangnall stepped in early to get Meredith signed before it began.


1908 Meredith was inspirational as United won the Football League title in the 1907/08 season, for the first in their history.


4 The Red Devils quickly added their first Charity Shield, also in 1908, with a 4-0 win over Southern League champions QPR.


3 Trophy number 3 arrived in 1909, when United beat Bristol City 1-0 in the final, thanks to a Sandy Turnbull goal.


1910 United moved to their Old Trafford home in 1910 from their old base of Bank Street. The first visitors were Liverpool on 19th February, who beat Man Utd 4-3 in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000. The move came not a moment too soon as, just two days previously, the old wooden stand at Bank Street had been blown down by strong winds!


6 After Man Utd's second league title triumph, they won the 1911 Charity Shield 8-4 over Swindon Town, in large part due to Harold Halse's 6 goals. He had also grabbed 2 in their final day 5-1 win over Sunderland which clinched the title.


13 The season after winning the title, 1911/12, the defending champion Red Devils finished just 13th in the league. Criticism led secretary-manager Ernest Mangnall to quit and join local rivals City!


2 When Manchester United returned to league football after the First World War, their team contained just 2 players who had taken part in their previous league match.


8 After ageing club legend Billy Meredith left United to join Mangnall at City, the team won just 8 league games in their first season without him and were relegated. Despite his age, Meredith had still been top scorer in his final season and, without his goals United were relegated the following season, 1921/22.


8 The number 8 was this time the number of losses the Red Devils suffered as they returned to the top flight at the end of the 1924/25 season.


2 Just 2 months into the 1926/27 season United's manager, John Chapman, was suspended from "taking part in football or football management for improper conduct in his position as Secretary-Manager of the Manchester United Football Club" by the FA. No more explanation was ever given for the suspension. 2 Days later Clarence 'Lal' Hilditch took caretaker charge as player-manager.


12 The opening of the 1930/31 season could not have gone any worse for the Red Devils, who lost their first 12 league matches in a row! Unsurprisingly they got relegated that season, losing 27 of the 42 league games, conceding 115 goals in the process.


3,507 Following relegation, just 3,507 turned up for the opening match in the 1931/32 season. The rest of the season was no better and United came close to bankruptcy with no money in the pot to pay the players' wages by December.


30,000 A manufacturer of army uniforms called James Gibson stepped in to save the club. He invested £30,000, paid the players and put the club back on a better footing. Though the new manager, Scott Duncan, was given money to spend he still almost took them down to the old 3rd Division for the first time in their history, only a final day win saw their opponents on the day, Millwall, go down instead.


11 On the 11th March 1941, Old Trafford stadium was bombed during an air raid. The main stand, dressing rooms and offices were destroyed.


1945 In 1945 former Manchester City and Liverpool player Matt Busby was appointed as the new manager of the Red Devils. While appointed on a 5 year contract, he ended up managing Man Utd for 25 years.


185 At the age of 16 year and 185 days Duncan Edwards became the youngest ever player in the English top flight in April 1953.


1958 The 6th February 1958 is probably the defining moment in Manchester United's history. The loss of 8 of the great Busby Babes side in the Munich Air Disaster has reverberated down the decades.


32 In one of those moments that makes you think 'What If?', Munich survivor Jack Rowley set a club record by scoring 32 league goals in 1959/60.


115,000 In the early 1960s, Matt Busby looked to reshape his hastily rebuilt side with a fresh look. Among the new players was record signing Dennis Law, who Man Utd paid £115,000 to Torino to sign.


1963 The 1962/63 season was notable for the arrival and debut of George Best, but it was also the season that saw United's rebuild result in a trophy. The 1963 FA Cup was lifted after a 3-1 win over Leicester City at Wembley.


5 It may have been a disappointing one in terms of trophies, but the 1965/66 season saw the emergence of the '5th Beatle' (El Beatle) as George Best became known around the world. The nickname was awarded following a 5-1 away thrashing of Benfica in the European Cup quarter-finals.


10 Just 10 years after the Busby Babes were destroyed at Munich, they won the European Cup in 1968. Once again it was Benfica on the end of a defeat, this time 4-1 after extra-time at Wembley. Matt Busby became Sir Matt Busby soon afterwards as a result.


1969 The end of an era came in 1969 as Busby decided it was time to hand over the reins and retired.


1970 It was not long before Busby was back in charge, this time on a temporary basis, after his successor, Wilf McGuinness failed to impose his authority. In part his failing was down to being in Busby's shadow, but his decision to transfer list the likes of Denis Law certainly did not help and George Best's behaviour was a major problem.


125,000 Frank O'Farrell, who was the second man to attempt to succeed the legendary Busby, did not last long either. Just over a year in fact. But he did spend a record fee of £125,000 to sign Martin Buchan from Aberdeen, who went on to be a key player for the Red Devils.


1974 Denis Law, who had been given a free transfer in the previous summer, came back to haunt his former club while playing for 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City. His goal at Old Trafford confirmed United's relegation to the old Division 2, the last time Man Utd were relegated.


44 Just 44 days after winning the FA Cup final to stop bitter rivals Liverpool winning a treble, Tommy Docherty was given the boot by Man Utd following revelations about his private life and thanks to pressure from the club's WAGs. Docherty had been having an affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist Laurie Brown and had announced two weeks before that he was leaving his wife for her. A few days later Docherty was spotted sporting a black eye courtesy of the jilted Brown.


1,500,000 Ron Atkinson broke the British transfer record by paying £1.5m to his former club West Bromwich Albion for England midfielder Bryan Robson in 1981.


10 The 1985 FA Cup was won by 10 man Manchester United after Kevin Moran was sent off against Everton. Norman Whiteside scored the only goal to give Ron Atkinson his 2nd FA Cup in 3 years.


10 The number 10 was not always lucky for Atkinson as a run of 10 straight wins at the start of the 1985/86 season was still not enough for him to lead United to the league title they craved so badly.


1986 It was November 1986 when Alex Ferguson arrived in Manchester, fresh from winning everything in Scottish football with Aberdeen and a shock European Cup Winners Cup with a final victory over Real Madrid. It took him time, but he eventually led the Red Devils back to the pinnacle of English football.


11 Ferguson finished just 11th in the league in both 1986/87 and 1988/89, either side of a 2nd-place finish. Despite that the United hierarchy stood by the Scot as he looked to change the drinking culture within the club.


1990 Ferguson's first trophy, the FA Cup, arrived in 1990 after a replay against Crystal Palace, in a moment that is believed to have saved his job after another league season of struggle. It was to be the turning point that led to a spell of unprecedented success under the Scotsman.


26 The league title eventually arrived under Ferguson in the 1992/93 season, 26 years after their last title. It was in large part thanks to the previous season's winners, Leeds United, selling Man Utd their best player in December, in one of the most ridiculous transfer decisions ever made.


8 Eric Cantona was out for 8-months after his 'kung-fu' kick on a Crystal Palace fan following his sending off in January 1995. Just as he had been a key figure in winning the league and FA Cup double the previous season and finally ending the club's league title wait, his absence was just as key as they lost the title by a single point to Blackburn Rovers.


1997 Never shy of hogging the headlines, almost immediately after helping United to a 4th League title during his time at the club, maverick Frenchman Eric Cantona announced his retirement in 1997.


1999 I doubt I need to tell any Manchester United fan what 1999 means to the club! Man Utd won their first ever treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1999. There were some magical moments on the way, such as Ryan Giggs' solo run through a tiring Arsenal defence in the semi-final replay of the FA Cup and coming back from 2-0 down in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Juventus to make it to the final. But most people will remember the season for the Champions League final when 2 United goals in injury-time from substitutes rescued United first from defeat and then won the treble for them.


2000 It was 2000 that saw United arguably begin the decline of the FA Cup by skipping it to take part in the brand new FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil.


3 Alex Ferguson became the first manager in English football to win 3 league titles in succession when he added the 2000/01 title. It also saw him announce his impending retirement on the back of the success, only to later change his mind.


30,000,000 In the summer of 2002 bitter rivals Leeds United's financial problems saw them forced into selling star centre-back Rio Ferdinand to the Red Devils for a club-record fee of £30,000,000. A price that at the time seemed huge but, in hindsight, was a bargain basement deal.


2013 Alex Ferguson's time at the helm of Man Utd finally came to an end in 2013, just after winning a final Premier League title under his command, the last the club has managed to lift.


2014 After David Moyes' less than stellar spell in charge, Manchester United appointed their first manager from outside the British Isles in the shape of the Netherlands' Louis van Gaal.


59,700,000 Van Gaal wasted no time in splashing the cash and, in addition to the arrivals of Radamel Falcoa (on loan), Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, a new club record fee of 59,700,000 was spent on Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid.


94,500,000 How much does it cost to bring back a player who left on a free? If that player is Paul Pogba returning to Man Utd, then it was a brand new British transfer fee record of 94,500,000.


20 Manchester United have won the English league title 20 times in total more than any other team, the first one way back in 1907/08 and the last in 2012/13.


3 The European Cup and its successor the European Champions League has made its home in the red half of Manchester 3 times in total.


12 United have lifted the world's oldest cup competition, the English FA Cup, 12 times, despite once withdrawing to take part in the inaugural FIFA Club World Cup in Brazil.


941 The club's record appearance holder is Ryan Giggs with 941 appearances in total for the only club he played for. Paul Scholes is second with 711.


253 The top scorer of all time is Wayne Rooney with 253 goals for the Red Devils. Dennis Law is second highest with 183.

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Written by Tris Burke December 12 2021 02:33:36


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