Manchester United History Football Club is among the most popular and most successful clubs in the world. With the most league titles (20) and the most trophies compiled out of any other English club (66), many argue that Manchester United are the biggest club in England, if not the entire planet.
Name: Manchester United
Nickname: The Red Devils
Club Origin Date: 1878
Stadium: Old Trafford (74,000)
League: English Premier League
Trophy Count: 66 Trophies (As of 2022)
Last Trophy: 2017 Europa League (May, 2017)
All-Time Leading Goalscorer: Wayne Rooney (253)
Manchester United History
The origins of Manchester United date back to 1878, when workers at a railway in the Newton Heath area of Manchester formed a football club to compete against other railway and rail company football teams. Named after their railway company, Newton Heath LYR Football Club would take part in a number of regional football leagues in the late 1880’s, including The Combination league in 1888 and the Football Alliance from 1889 to 1892.
Following 1892, the club would join the First Division of English football, and would no longer be affiliated with the railroad company. The club that was now known as Newton Heath Football Club had a tumultuous first few years that saw no success. After 10 seasons, the club was in the Second Division, and had amassed significant debt that was restraining any growth or progression of the club. In 1902, action was taken as what would now be equivalent to a £220,000 total investment was made by four separate businessmen who had a vision to take the club forward in the future. It was at this time that the name of the club was changed from Newton Heath Football Club to the infamous Manchester United.
Manchester United History – United’s First Trophy
Soon after this financial injection, Manchester United would find their first taste of success. Manchester United’s first ever trophy was the 1908 First Division league title, and they followed this up the next season by winning the 1909 FA Cup, their first FA Cup ever. In 1910, the club would move to a new playing ground called Old Trafford. The club would go on to win the First Division again in 1911, but this would be their last trophy for a number of decades. In 1922, the club was relegated to the Second Division, and soon descended back into financial problems. The club was relegated and promoted a number of times throughout the 20’s and 30’s, and was in need of yet another financial boost in order to stay afloat. In 1931, this financial assistance came in the form of a massive investment from businessman James W. Gibson, allowing the club to remain intact.
Manchester United History – A Return to Trophies
The 1940s and 50s saw the flow of trophies return to Manchester United. Under the manager Matt Busby, United was able to capture the 1948 FA Cup, representing the first trophy since 1911. Just years later in 1952, Manchester United would win the First Division. The club would go on to win the First Division in back-to-back seasons in 1956 and 1957, marking a new era of success at the club.
Manchester United History – Munich Air Disaster
Tragedy struck the club during the 1959 season, when an airplane accident involving the Manchester United squad resulted in injuries to many as well as the death of 8 players. This tragic event is a major event in the history of the club, as it represents the resilience and strength of the Manchester United Football club and community. The rebuilding process took years, and the devastating event will forever be tied with the history of the football club.
Manchester United History – First European Cup Win
Manchester United would go on to win the First Division again in 1965, the fourth league title under manager Matt Busby. By the late 1960’s, Manchester United was consistently finishing near the top of the First Division table. As a result, they often qualified for a position in the European Cup, the most coveted European trophy to play for at the time. In 1968, Manchester United defeated Benfica in the final of the European Cup Final, becoming the first English team to ever win the competition. This massive feat was a huge step for Manchester United in challenging Liverpool for the title of the biggest club in England, as this was an accomplishment that had never been achieved by an English side before.
Manchester United History – The Alex Ferguson Era
Manchester United underwent an underwhelming period between the 1970s until the1990s that saw the club add just a few FA Cup trophies to their collection. This somewhat dull period in club history was followed up by what many consider the Golden Era in Manchester led by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United in 1986 after club expectations were not met by former manager Ron Atkinson. The club had created such a high standard for themselves after massive success in the 60’s that had bred an expectation for trophies, especially in the Premier League. When Ferguson took over United in November of the 1986-87 season, it had been just over 20 years since United had won the league, and he was the man expected to end this drought. Ferguson’s first few years were not without struggle though, as the Scotsman was said to be on the verge of being sacked after the 1989-90 season after failing to challenge for the league in his first few seasons. Ferguson would extend his stay at the club by winning the 1990 FA Cup that same season, his first trophy for the club and the accomplishment that would jumpstart an era.
Manchester United and Ferguson would follow up their FA Cup victory with two more trophies the next season, including the 1991 European Cup Winners Cup and the 1991 European Super Cup. It was the first time the club had won either of these competitions, and the success had boosted United into a significant club in European football. The next season, United would go on to win the 1992 League Cup, another first in the club’s history.
At this point, Ferguson had won a trophy in 3 consecutive seasons, but none of them had been a league title. That changed in 1993, when Manchester United won the Premier League, their first league title in 27 years. The Red Devils would go back-to-back, winning the Premier League again in 1994. In the same season, United was able to capture the 94’ FA Cup as well, confirming the first “Double” in club history. After a season without any trophies in 1995, United would make up for lost time in 96’, as they would go on to win the Double again, winning the Premier League and the FA Cup that year. They would go back-to-back again the next season by winning the 1997 Premier League title.
This incredible run of success was just the tip of the iceberg for Manchester United. In 1999, Manchester United made history by becoming the first club to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in the same season. It was just the second time United had won the Champions League. ManchesterUnited would follow up their historical Treble season by winning the Premier League the next two seasons in 2000 and 2001, capping off back-to-back-to-back title winning seasons. The 2001 Premier League title marked the seventh league title in nine seasons for United, a true display of dominance over the league at the time, as well as the best period of success for Manchester United as a club.
The Red Devils would continue to collect trophies in the following seasons, including another Premier League title in 2003, an FA Cup in 2004, and a League Cup in 2006. United would capture back-to-back Premier League titles in 2007 and 2008, and would achieve the Double again by winning their third ever Champions League trophy in 2008. In 2009, United was able to win the league again, making it the second time in 10 years that they pulled off 3 Premier League titles in a row. United would go on to win two more titles under Sir Alex Ferguson, one in 2011, and one in 2013. It could have even been one more, but Sergio Aguero’s late winner against QPR on the final day boosted City above United in the last seconds of the season, depriving United of yet another Premier League title in 2012. Nonetheless, Sir Alex Ferguson would announce that he would step down following the 2013 season in which his side won the Premier League. By the end of his run, Ferguson had led United to a total of 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 2 Champions Leagues, and 10 Community Shields. Ferguson was named Premier League Manager of the Year 11 times, and is often regarded as the best manager of all time. His importance to the history of Manchester United cannot be understated, as he brought the club over 50% of their overall trophy collection.
Manchester United History – Life After Ferguson
Manchester United has not been the same club since the departure of the great Sir Alex Ferguson. United immediately saw a decline in performance on the pitch and in the standings, finishing in 7th place in the league in the first season without Ferguson in charge. United would win the 2014 FA Cup, but in the same season, the club finished in 5th in the league, failing to qualify for the Champions League.
In 2016, accomplished manager Jose Mourinho took over as manager for Manchester United. Mourinho sparked hope in his first season, as he was able to capture three trophies in his first season, including the Community Shield, EFL Cup, and Europa League. These would be the only pieces of hardware he would earn during his time at the club, as he failed to bring any success in the league. Mourinho would be sacked in December of 2018, midway through the season, and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Manchester United has not won any trophies since Mourinho’s haul in 206-17. Manchester United has regressed as a club since the departure of Ferguson, and they are in need of another golden era. In August 2021, it was announced that Manchester United had secured the services of Cristiano Ronaldo. The move was massive, and shows United’s ambition to return to being a powerhouse in both England and Europe.
Manchester United History – Top 5 Club Legends
Cristiano Ronaldo – (2003-2009)-(2021-present)
Forward Cristiano Ronaldo is a massive player in the history of Manchester United. The Portuguese international and world superstar was signed at the age of 18 by Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Cristiano would build the foundation of his beautiful career at Manchester United, where he won nine trophies with the club, including three Premier League titles and a Champions League. In addition to the team’s success, Ronaldo thrived individually for United, scoring 112 goals in 292 appearances for the club, and winning the Ballon d”Or in 2008.
Denis Law – (1962-1973)
Striker Denis Law is another player who left an unforgettable legacy with the club. Law was a big part of the success that United produced in the 1960’s, including the two First Division titles and a European Cup. Law won the Ballon d’Or in 1964, the first Manchester United player to ever win the award. Law ended his United career with 237 goals in just 404 appearances.
Sir Bobby Charlton – (1956-1973)
Striker Sir Bobby Charlton is the definition of a club legend. With the second most appearances and the second most goals for Manchester United, Charlton represents a loyal Red Devil that was a consistent goal scorer throughout his career. As one of the survivors of the Munich Air Disaster, Charlton was a part of the rebuilding process at United throughout the late 1950’s. Charlton was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1966, and would retire with 249 goals from 758 appearances.
Ryan Giggs – (1991-2014)
The most decorated player in Premier League history, midfielder Ryan Giggs was a key player during Ferguson’s golden era at Manchester United. Giggs won 34 trophies during his time with the club, including a staggering 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and two Champions Leagues. With 963 appearances for the club, Giggs has the most appearances of all-time.
Wayne Rooney – (2004-2017)
Striker Wayne Rooney could not be left off this list. With 253 goals, Rooney is the top scorer all-time for Manchester United. Rooney was a deadly striker who elevated his side to one of the most potent teams in all of Europe during their prime. Rooney would finish his United career with 16 trophies won with the club, along with a number of personal accolades.