Manchester United Football Club Profile

Manchester United Football Club Facts

The wildly successful Manchester United F.C. had humble origins as Newton Heath L&YR F.C., formed in 1878 as the works team of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath.

After joining the Football League in 1892, the club broke away from the rail depot to become an independent company and dropped the “L&YR” from their name to become Newton Heath F.C. On the verge of bankruptcy, the club was rescued by a substantial investment from J. H. Davies, the managing director of Manchester Breweries.

To reflect their fresh start, they adopted the name Manchester United on 26 April 1902 and changed their colours from the green and gold of Newton Heath F.C. to red and white. The years prior to WW1 were successful for United, but the years between the two wars saw United drifting between the 1st and 2nd division and they avoided relegation to the 3rd division by a mere one point in 1934.

The appointment of Matt Busby, an ex Liverpool and Manchester City player, after the war revived Manchester United’s fortunes. United won the League championship five times and the F.A cup twice, and came second nine times in those competitions. United was the first British team to enter European competitions in 1956/7, but the Munich air crash of February 1958 devastated this club; eight team players, including Duncan Edwards, lost their lives.

It took United until 1963 to recover sufficiently to win again – an F.A cup final victory over Leicester city. After the retirement of Matt Busby in 1971, United went through various managers but had only limited success in the form of a second division championship and F.A cup victories.

The appointment of Alex Ferguson as Man United’s manager in 1986 was a turning point for this club, and under his leadership they have won the Premiership title three times and the F.A cup three times including the F.A and League double twice, a feat not yet equaled by any other club.

Old Trafford Stadium

Old Trafford in Greater Manchester was named as the new home of Manchester United just 6 weeks before United’s first FA Cup title in April 1909. The land was purchased for £60,000 and the football architect Archibald Leitch was hired by United chairman John Henry Davies and given a budget of £30,000 for construction.

The stadium was originally planned to hold approximately 100,000 people, but was scaled back to its current capacity of 76,212. Man United played their inaugural game at this stadium on 19 February 1910, losing 4-3 to Liverpool F.C.

Much of the stadium was destroyed by bombing during WWII, and was only rebuilt in 1949, forcing Man United to lease Manchester City’s ground, Maine Road. Floodlights were installed in the mid 1950s, to be replaced by a new lighting system with lights embedded in the roof of the stands in 1987 which is in use to this day.

Supporters and Rivalries

United have had the highest league attendances in English football for almost every season since the Munich air disaster in 1958. Supporters of Man United have been very active in the club; the supporters’ group Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association vociferously opposed the proposed takeover by Rupert Murdoch in 1998.

Another active supporter’s group, Shareholders United Against Murdoch (now the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust) was also formed around this time to encourage supporters to buy shares in the club so as to enable them to have a greater voice concerning issues like ticket prices and allocation.

The closest and oldest traditional rivals of Man United are Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leeds, although Arsenal is also now considered a rival as a result of direct competition for several trophies since the late 1990s. Most fans see Liverpool as their biggest rivals due to the success of this club and its proximity, though other fans rate intra-city rivals Manchester City as their most serious opponents.