Manchester United- A Club That Battled The Misfortunes

Manchester United, popularly called “The Red Devils” happen to be the biggest club in England.Though, the name Red Devils is thought to have come from the jersey of their club that has Red Tees and white shorts. But, it was given by Sir Matt Busby(taken after the Stalford city Rugby team). This name sounded more powerful than Busby Babe. The popularity of this magnificent club stands at top amongst all the English football clubs! However, the heights that this football club has reached, has totally been a tell a tale.

The Beginning

Manchester United came into existence on 24th April 1902. However, the team existed before that too. But, with a different name. It was under the Railway of Lancashire and Yorkshire and was called Newton Heath LYR(Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways) FC. This club was established in 1878. 

Why was the name changed?

Though the club had been a little successful in the early years, still the club went into great debts around January of 1902. In 1892 the funding from LYR had ended and in 1902, it was taken over by four businessmen including John Henry Davies, by the efforts of the then captain of the team Harry Stanford.

Glory came their way after they got their first Championship title in 1908 which was the First Division League. Later, they also went on to win the first ever Charity Shield, the same year. 

Busby Babes and The flowers of Manchester- the Tragic Tale

The first world war had stopped all the events from taking place. While also destroying the prestigious Old Trafford stadium- the homeground of Manchester United. The following years weren’t too fruitful for the club. Tables turned when Matt Busby was appointed as the team manager in 1945. Wise team selection and important strategy changes won them the FA cup in 1948. Busby led the team to great heights and the club won its League title back after 41 yrs in 1952. They also won the league titles consecutively in 1956 and 1957. It was a squad with an average age of just 22. This criteria led them to be called the Busby Babes. These young men seemed unstoppable before the tragic fate hit.

The Unfortunate Incidence

It was the 6th of February 1958. The Busby Babes along with Staff, Manager, Journalists and other officials were returning to Manchester from Yorkshire after getting a victory in the European Cup Quarter Final Match against Red Star Belgrade. The British European Airways Flight 609 stopped at the Munich airport for a refueling. It made two unsuccessful attempts of take-off. Before the third attempt heavy snowfall had begun. James Thain the pilot of the plane did not consider an overnight stay as it would delay the schedule.  Many players in the team were not confident fliers. Few players moved to the back of the plane as they considered it safer. In the third attempt, James was informed of a clear runway at 3:02 pm GMT. Further, he reverted back to the control tower at 3:03 and attempted the flight at 3:04 pm GMT.

Within seconds, the pilots lost control and the plane crashed into a fence. At the time 44 people were onboard the plane. Of which 23 were killed, which included eight players from the club. The 21 survivors included Matt Busby(badly injured), and Bobby Charlton(future English International). The captain of the team, Roger Byrne died at the scene while the great Duncan Edwards succumbed to his injuries 15 days later. These young men have been adorned with the title of the Flowers of Manchester.

The Events that Followed

This Clock remains stopped after the crash to give tribute to the Manchester United Players

In a tributary stance, the clock at the club’s home ground Old Trafford, has since been stopped. Therefore, the date on the clock is 6th February, 1958, and the time is- 3:04 pm GMT- the time when the flight took off!

Initially, James Thain was charged responsible for the crash, but in 1968 he was cleared of charges. Later, the snow was mentioned to have been responsible for the accident.

10 years later, Busby rebuilt a new team, called the new generation of Babes, which went on to win the European Cup (now Champions League) in 1968.

The Manchester United Story- Glory through Perseverance

Manchester United Glorious
Credit- Bleacher Report

The Club has won 3 UEFA Champions League Trophies. This club has won more trophies than any other club in English Football. It has a Record of 20 League Title Victories. United’s are the first English club to have won the European Cup(now called Champions League), in 1968. Also, the club has one UEFA Europa League Trophy. United won its only UEFA Super Cup in 1991. In 1999, they had their only Intercontinental Cup Victory. In 2008, Manchester Utd went on to win the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time. They have won 12 FA cups as well. 

Rivalries of Manchester United

The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United has been one of the oldest and fiercest. Both the clubs are the most successful English clubs. Liverpool against United is considered as one of the most anticipated football fixtures in England. One of the biggest rivalries surrounding the Red Devils is the Manchester Derby, played against Manchester City. Others include the ‘Roses Rivalry’ against Leeds United FC and the age-old rivalry against Arsenal FC. Arsenal has been the club to have defeated Manchester United the most.

Short and Crisp Factopedia

  • Though Old Trafford has been the homeground of the club since 1910, before that it had the North Ground, Manchester(1878-1893) and Bank Street Football ground(1893-1910) as its home grounds. 
  • United’s crest was included on their jersey in the 1971 season.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson has the longest tenure as United’s manager for 27 years from 1986 to 2013.
  • They are one of the only Five teams to have won all three main European Trophies.
  • Including all the social media stats, the Red Devils are the third most followed and liked team after Barcelona and Real Madrid. In 2017, it was also announced the richest club in world football with an annual income of $700 millions.
  • Presently, the club is under the ownership of the six children of the late Malcolm Glazer(the largest shareholder). In 2015, Adidas had to spend a record of 750 million euros for getting the rights to manufacture United’s kit for a 10 year period.
  • Marcus Rashford happens to be the player with the highest transfer value for Manchester United at approx. 166 million Euros. Not far behind is Bruno Fernandes with 151 million Euros transfer amount and Mason Greenwood with 102.3 million Euros.
  • Ryan Giggs has the record number of appearances, having played 963 games for the club.
  • An estimate tells that the total number of fans of the club might be around 75 millions. They go on social media with the hashtag ILoveUnited.
  • Motto of this club is a Latin Phrase Concilio et Labore, which means Wisdom and Effort in English.

Author- Apexa Rai

Also Read- प्रोनिंग – ऑक्सीजन का निवारण


This is Apexa Rai! Student- B.A. Honors(Journalism) Intern at Akashbaani Loves to write! An optimistic Wildflower!

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