Manchester United

Man United are one of the biggest, richest, and most famous clubs in the world, and given their army of fans there are usually loads of brilliant enhanced odds and offers available on them.

The Red Devils’ matches are televised more often than any other British side’s, and these big live clashes almost always attract the bookies’ attention.

If you want to get a bit more bang for your buck next time you bet on United then you can find plenty of free bets and offers at various bookies listed on this site.

In addition, we’ve also got plenty of history and stats/trivia on Manchester’s finest football club. It won’t help you win a bet but it might help you win an argument in the pub, which is just as valuable depending on who you talk to.

Manchester United History, Stats & Trivia

Whatever team you support, there is no denying that Manchester United are high achievers. The Red Devils, as they are affectionately called, have a trophy cabinet most clubs can only dream about and a vast global fan base to match. Old Trafford, nicknamed “The Theatre of Dreams” is their home and it stands as one of the world’s most iconic stadiums.

While boasting a huge following of their own, there are plenty of football fans who consider United to be one of their biggest rivals. Nevertheless, many punters put club allegiances aside when jotting them down as one of their first selections on a weekend accumulator.

Below is some more information about the club so many people love, and many others love to hate.

Early History

Man Utd 1910-11

The club was founded in 1878 although in the early days it was known as Newton Heath LYR Football Club, but before too long the club ran into financial difficulties and a winding-up order was issued in 1902. With debts totalling £2,670, Captain Henry Stafford and four businessmen stepped in to save the club, each investing £500. In return for their money, they were given some say in running the club and one of their first decisions was to rename the side Manchester United.

Just six years later, in 1908, the investment turned out to be a very rewarding one as United lifted the First Division title, and further success would come the following season as United won the FA Cup for the first time. It was during this period when a new home for the club was built – Old trafford. The stadium would host its first game on 19 February 1910, but it could not inspire United to victory as they fell to a 4-3 defeat against Liverpool.

In the years after World War One, the Red Devils turned into somewhat of a yo-yo club. In 1922 they ended up relegated, before returning to the First Division in 1925. In total, the club would be relegated and promoted three times during the inter-war period. Alongside the on-pitch disappointments, the club hit another period of serious financial trouble. Coming to the rescue this time was James W. Gibson, who ensured United survived the Great Depression.

The Busby Years

The Busby Babes

The Busby Babes Last Ever Match, 1958

When football returned after World Two, Matt Busby found himself in charge of United, his first ever managerial job. To begin with, the former Liverpool player guided his side to three consecutive second place finishes plus an FA Cup win in 1948. There would be a little wait for a league title, but eventually, in 1952 Busby ended United’s 41 year spell without a First Division title. By this point though, United had an aging squad and so the manager subsequently (and famously) turned to United’s youth players to answer the call.

By 1956, the United squad had an average of age of just 22 and they became widely known as the Busby Babes. Busby’s faith in youth paid off, and his side lifted back to back league titles in 1956 and 57. Big things were expected for the following season, but disaster struck as a plane carrying the United squad crashed on take off at Munich-Riem Airport. Eight players and 15 other souls died as a result of the Munich disaster, and the club went into mourning.

Along with the tragic loss of life, United had also lost the nucleus of one of the greatest groups of players English football had ever seen. Rebuilding the squad was no easy task, but Busby was determined to restore United’s status as the best team in the country.

Seven years later and this is exactly what happened, as the Red Devils won another First Division trophy. The achievement would soon be overshadowed though, because in 1968 United became the first English side ever to win the European Cup. That side, with George Best, Bobby Charlton, and Nobby Stiles just some of the stars among them, beat Benfica 4-1 after extra time.

The Ferguson Years

Alex Ferguson

Cfredit: Will Flickr

Sir Matt Busby’s achievements as manager have only been surpassed by that of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scotsman moved from Aberdeen to Manchester to swiftly replace Ron Atkinson who had dragged United into a relegation scrap. Although he was able to pull them safely clear and finished second the following season, there were calls for him to quit after a disappointing 1989/90 league campaign. Victory in the FA Cup final replay over Crystal Palace was enough to restore confidence in him though, and from then on he never looked back.

Ferguson had the taste for silverware, and regular trophies began coming his way. A first European title for the Scot came in the form of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991, and a Super Cup victory followed a season later. A first league title came next in 1993 as his talented United side won the inaugural Premier League season. It would be a league he would go on to dominate, winning it 13 times over his career, making him the Premier League’s most successful manager to date.

One of his greatest achievements as United boss came during the 1998-99 season when United became the first side to win the Treble. Premier League and FA Cup success was topped off by an incredible last gasp victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Two goals in injury time handed United the trophy, and given the importance of the game, it’s considered one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.

Greatest Ever XI

Ask 100 United fans to name their dream team first XI United squad and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. For one very strong looking line-up, take a look at the video below which features some of United’s all-time greats:

One notable absentee from the above video that we must give a special mention to is George Best. The mercurial Northern Irishman was part of the European Cup winning squad of 1968, the same year he was voted European Player of the year, edging out teammate Bobby Charlton. In total he amassed 474 appearances from the club, scoring 181 goals.

Greatest Ever Goals

There are so many goals to choose from but below we describe some of the Manchester United moments which will live long in the memory of all footballing fans. Whether you are a United fan or you were simply backing United to score the next goal, these are strikes that will have definitely got you out of your seat:

  • Ryan Giggs v Arsenal (Apr 1999) – A truly incredible solo effort from the Welshman as he weaved in and out of the Arsenal defence during an FA Cup semi-final replay. After working his way into the box he held his composure to rifle a left footed shot into the roof of the net before taking his shirt off in celebration brimming with ecstasy. And chest hair.
  • Wayne Rooney v Newcastle (Apr 2005) – After giving referee, Neale Barry, an earful, Wayne Rooney turned his attention back to the game to spot a loose headed clearance from Newcastle’s Peter Ramage. The ball looped perfectly into Rooney’s path who decided to hit a devastating first time volley that dipped and swerved past Shay Given into the Newcastle net. Given would have needed a force field to stop that one.
  • Wayne Rooney v Manchester City (Feb 2011) – Rooney would top his effort against Newcastle 6 years later, scoring against rivals Manchester City with one of the most unbelievable goals ever. Nani’s cross into the box looked to be too far behind the English striker to be of any danger to the City goal. Rooney had other ideas. With the cross coming his way, the striker tried an ambitious overhead kick, which flew perfectly into the top corner leaving City keeper Joe Hart completely helpless.

Worst Defeats

 

It’s not too often United find themselves humiliated but there have been some occasions when they’ve been on the receiving end of an embarrassing defeat. Here are some of the most high-profile examples across all three competitions in English football:

  • Bournemouth 2:0 Manchester United (Jan 1984) – This third round FA Cup tie should have been a breeze but United ran into serious difficulty on the south coast. Bournemouth, managed by Harry Redknapp, were plying their trade in the Third Division of English football at the time, and the Cherries boss described the game as the greatest day of his life.
  • MK Dons 4:0 Manchester United (Aug 2014) – The League One outfit were priced at 500/1 to win this League Cup tie 4-0 and it was hard to see the Dons winning at all, yet alone by such an emphatic margin. Louis Van Gaal had given some key players a rest for the game but there was absolutely no excuse for such a woeful display. One lucky punter accidentally bet on the correct score, pocketing herself a rather handsome £1,250.
  • Manchester United 1:6 Manchester City (Oct 2011) – When it comes to a Premier League defeats, you’ll struggle to find many worse than United losing by a five goal margin to their city rivals in front of their own supporters. It was their heaviest home defeat in 56 years and the first time they had conceded six goals at Old Trafford since 1930.

Best Victories

We’ve already mentioned the incredible comeback in the 1999 Champions League final but here are some other results that United fans won’t forget anytime soon:

  • Manchester United 1(p):1 Chelsea (May 2008) – Extra time couldn’t separate the two sides in the Champions League final, and in the penalty shootout Chelsea were just one kick from victory after Ronaldo’s effort was saved. A slip from John Terry saw his shot strike the post and after clinging on by the skin of their teeth, United went on to win the shootout.
  • Manchester United 8:2 Arsenal (Aug 2011) – An astonishing afternoon at Old Trafford as Arsenal suffered their worst defeat since 1896. To beat one of the strongest sides in English football by such a margin is an achievement unlikely to be repeated. Such was the craziness of the scoreline, you’d have struggled to have found it on any bookies’ correct score market.
  • Benfica 1:4(AET) Manchester United (May 1968) – A game of huge significance as it was the culmination of United’s hard work rebuilding after the Munich Air Disaster. Two survivors, Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes, plus manager Matt Busby who had been badly injured, all took part in the final. A wonderful showing in extra time which included goals from Charlton, Best, and Kidd, made all the difference. After the game, Busby declared that it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him.

Manchester United Trivia

Old Trafford Statue

  • Despite their rivalry with Manchester City, the two clubs came to a ground sharing arrangement between 1941 and 1949 due to Old Trafford suffering bomb damage. During this period, Maine Road became the home stadium for both clubs.
  • Sir Matt Busby was responsible for Manchester United being nicknamed the Red Devils. He saw that it was used by Salford Rugby Club and was keen to adopt a new more intimidating nickname than the Busby Babes. Salford themselves got the name after the press described them as playing like devils while on tour in France.
  • Despite being one of United’s most celebrated managers, Sir Matt Busby played for two modern rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, in his younger days.
  • No player has stepped out wearing United colours more times than Ryan Giggs. The Welshman made 963 appearances for the club between 1991 and 2014, spending his entire career at United and setting a record that may never be broken.
  • United’s all-time top goalscorer is Wayne Rooney who sits comfortably on 253 goals. He was the first player to surpass the long-standing record of 249 set by Bobby Charlton and did so despite making 199 fewer appearances.
  • In 2009, Manchester United sold Portuguese star Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m. At the time this was the most expensive transfer ever made in the history of world football. Seven years later and United set the new transfer record when purchasing Paul Pogba from Juventus for £89.3m.