Manchester United is the biggest most famous football club not only in England but worldwide. It has the largest fan base in the world with over 50 million supporters. They have had the greatest average attendance in England for 36 out of the last 40 years and their stadium old Trafford located in greater Manchester is consistently full to capacity for every home game which is about 76,000 fans. Man united is the most successful football club over the last 20 years, accumulating 18 major honours. Although Manchester united was not always as successful and wealthy as it is today.
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The club was founded in 1878 but not as Manchester United but as Newton Heath L & YR f.c. Newton Heath was a depot for the Lancashire and Yorkshire railways, and the club was set up as the workers football team. The team played on a small football pitch near Manchester Piccadilly station for 15 years before moving to Bank Street in 1893. During this time the club entered the football league of England and its links with the railways began to diminish they changed their name to Newton Heath F.C removing further links with the railways and appointed a club secretary. During their first few seasons in the football league the club accumulated sizeable debts amounting to over £2500 and were on the brink of bankruptcy until a man named J H Davies the owner of the local breweries invested large amounts of money into the club and became the club chairman. To get a fresh start he changed the name from Newton Heath F.C to Manchester United F.C. The name Manchester United officially came into existence in September 1902.
When Manchester united entered the football leagues for the first time in 1902 their chairman J H Davies changed the clubs colours from green and gold of Newton Heath to the now famous red and white. His next step was to appoint a club secretary that would guide the club from the second division up into the first division. He appointed a man called Ernst Mangnall to do the job. After his first season in charge he helped united to finish in fifth position although it was a good season they failed to get promoted. The new secretary thought that the only way that they could compete at the highest level was if they bought new players. They bought four top class players one of which was a club record of £750 to try and get into the first division. They didn’t have to wait long as they gained promotion two seasons later in the 1905-06 season.
The long list of Manchester united silverware began in 1907 were they won the first division, and in 1908 they won the charity shield and the first of their record number 11 FA cups. As a result of their huge success and all the revenue that followed their moved into their new stadium in old Trafford. With this huge success came trouble when the man who brought the club to the top of the league left and joined bitter rivals Manchester city. This was the start of a dark era in the history of Manchester united the club got relegated back to division two and things got really bad when World war 2 started, their stadium was destroyed in the bombings and Manchester city were kind enough to let them play at their stadium Maine road at an annual fee of £5000 and all gate receipts.
Manchester united moved back to old Trafford in 1945 after the troubles and with this they appointed Sir Matt Busby as there manager. Matt Busby was the first manager that insisted that he pick the team and what players he wanted sign as this was traditionally left to the chairman. The risk of hiring Matt busby paid off as united as United finished second in the league between 1947-49 and they won the FA cup in 1948.
United then won no silverware until 1952 and Busby believed it was because their wasn’t enough young players in the team so he decided to recruit players from their youth academy. The young side with an average age of 22 only took one season to win the league. Manchester united were the first English team to play in the European cup and they reached the semi final that year.
The following season with there second European cup commencing United were very confident of success but disaster was on the horizon as the team plane crashed while returning home from a European match killing 8 players and 15 staff members. The team continued playing with a weak team but Matt Busby set about rebuilding the team in the 1960’s. The new recruits included United legends Denis Law and George Best. The new team became one of the most famous teams ever winning the clubs first European cup in 1968. Sir Matt Busby resigned as manager in 1969. United struggled to replace Busby and there three big players had moved on and they were relegated in 1973. Tommy Docherty was the current manager and they gained promotion the following year. Although Docherty was a successful manager he got involved in off the pitch scandals and was sacked as manager and replaced by Dave Sexton in 1977. Sexton was sacked in 1981 because of his boring style of football and replaced by the hot headed Ron Atkinson. Atkinson signed some of united’s greatest ever players such as Bryan Robson, Gordan Strachan and Mark Hughes. Although a great start to the 1984-85 United collapsed and finished a disappointing fourth place. The bad form continued into the following season and Ron Atkinson was sacked.
Sir Alex Ferguson took over Man Utd in 1986 and was giving the task of taking the club back to its former glory. In his first season they finished in 11th place and the pressure was mounting. Ferguson’s reign as United manager looked over in 1990 as united were not in contention for the league but thanks to Mark Hughes united went on to win the FA cup.
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Manchester United went on to the public stock exchange and were valued at £47million. United brought in new talent including Eric Cantona, Gary Pallister and Denis Irwin. With this United won there first League title since 1967 in the 1992-93 season and they won the double the following season, (league and FA cup).However the following season 1994-95 United were only runners up in the league and FA cup and with this manager Alex Ferguson sold a number of the teams well known players and replaced them with players from their youth academy including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville. The risk paid off as United won the double again in the 1995-96 becoming the first English club ever to do so.The 1998-99 season was most successful season by any English club in history. Manchester United won the treble ( League, FA cup, Champions league). The next few seasons saw United win the league in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007.
Manchester United have recently extended their stadium which is located in Sir Matt Busby way Old Trafford in greater Manchester making the largest premiership stadium at a capacity of 76,212. Sponsorship plays a major role in the success of the club as it allows the club to develop as a team and a business. Some of the clubs main sponsors include AIG as their principle sponsor, Nike as their sportswear provider, Audi as their official car provider and Budweiser as their official beer. The club has only ever had 3 main sponsors being Sharpe electronics 1982-2000, Vodafone 2000-2005 and AIG 2005- present. Like the small number of shirt sponsors the shirt manufacturers is also limited. They have only ever had 4 kit manufacturers. These are Admiral, Addidas, Umbro and a record breaking £303million deal with Nike.
Manchester United’s list of club honours is by far the longest in English football league history. They have accumulated 16 League titles, 11 FA cups, 16 charity shields 2 league cups 2 European cups a cup winners cup and a super cup, not bad for what was once a railway workers team playing on a bad football pitch behind a pub.
Manchester united have the greatest fan base in the world but this was not always the case. In the early days before world war two, people in Manchester were neither man united fans nor man city fans as it was impossible to travel to away games they would just go the home matches and because their was only one home match every two weeks fans would go to either of the Manchester teams home matches. This came to an end after the war as public transport was available and a fierce rivalry developed between the two clubs. Manchester united’s fan base has grown steadily over the last 60 years and after the 1958 Munich air disaster the attendance at United’s home games increased dramatically. Today Manchester united remains the strongest football team in England and the future looks promising.
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