Manchester United is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the UK and indeed, the whole world, with fans on every continent thanks to years of success and an incredibly rich and storied club history filled with the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
They are one of the most successful soccer clubs in the history of the game and have been one of the UK’s ‘big 6’, the biggest clubs in the premier league, and arguably the world.
Their popularity and success as a club have made them one of the most recognizable brands in the sport, and their prestige and following put them in a similar internationally revered category as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
However the club has seen many difficult times throughout its history, and since the retirement of talisman and club legend Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most successful soccer managers of all time, Manchester United have spent the last few years struggling to find success and reaching the very high standards that their fans expect of them.
In this piece, we’re going to look into everything to do with the club, from where they play, to their club history and the main honors they’ve won, as well as key players, ownership, and other fun facts to get you up to speed on one of the biggest clubs in soccer.
Manchester United Football Club (MUFC) is a men’s senior professional soccer club that competes in the Premier League, the highest tier of soccer in the British football Pyramid.
The club is often referred to by its nickname ‘The Red Devils’ or ‘Man U’ and are based in the City of Manchester in the North West of England, and have a fierce rivalry with Manchester City, who share the city and compete at the very highest level alongside Man United.
The club wasn’t always known as Man U however, and in its long history, it has gone through many name changes, kits, and changes of fortune that have seen the club deal with immense tragedy on its rise to become one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world.
The home ground of Man U is Old Trafford, where the team play their home games. The stadium, also known as ‘the theatre of dreams’ is the biggest club soccer stadium in the UK, and its overall size is second only to Wembley Stadium which isn’t used by any club in particular and hosts a range of events.
Old Trafford has a capacity of 74,140 and is the 11th largest stadium in Europe. The club has played at this ground since 1910, however, there was a brief interlude during the 2nd world war where Man U and Man City both shared Maine Road as a ground due to bomb damage.
Old Trafford itself has undergone many changes over the decades, seeing several huge expansions that added additional stands, seating, and facilities making it one of the best equipped stadiums in the world.
As a result of this the ground has hosted a range of events outside of soccer, and hosts games for competitions such as the FA cup, as well as concerts, rugby, and cricket matches when it’s not in use by Man United themselves.
While the ground is already massive, additional future expansion and the addition of further tiers to the existing stands could increase the capacity to 88000 a massive increase that could add some 14000 additional seats to the existing capacity making it one of the biggest stadiums in the world.
Man United is one of the most successful clubs in soccer history in the UK and the world and has laid claim to many huge honors and trophies, from League Titles to European Cups and many domestic competitions also such as the FA cup.
In fact, Man United has won more trophies than any other club in English football, with a record 20 League Titles, 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, and 21 FA community shields. They have also won 3 European Cups/Champions Leagues, 1 Europa League, 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup, and 1 UEFA Super Cup. They have also won 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup.
They are also the first club in the history of English football to win ‘the treble’, meaning that they won the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League, and is considered one of the most difficult and challenging feats of skill and leadership in soccer history.
While there are many other incredible feats in the history of Man United, the treble is seen as the pinnacle of their success as a club and is looked upon with great respect and envy by soccer fans around the world.
While the modern game is very far removed from its roots, many British football clubs have a very long history and Man United is no different.
Manchester United was originally founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath.
The team mostly started out by playing games against other departments and railway companies, but in 1880 they played their first recorded match against Bolton Wanderers reserve team and were beaten 6-0.
They played in the green and gold colors of their railway company. Eight years later they were a part of ‘The Combination’ a regional soccer league.
After some time playing in various leagues in the following years the club ran up debts totalling £2670 or £290000 in today’s money, and the club was on the verge of collapse.
However the club captain, Harry Stafford, found several local businessmen to invest in the club, and the name was changed from Newton Heath to the now world-famous Manchester United, the birth of the Red Devils as we know them today.
The club won its first league title shortly after this and prospered for a short time, however various setbacks occurred leading the club to become a yo-yo club that dipped between the first and second division and struggled to deal with the deal of their original benefactor John Henry Davies, as well as the disruption of the first and second world war.
However, the Busby years began at the end of the second world war, in October 1945, and thus began one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, as Busby led the team to multiple second-place league finishes in the late 1940’s as well as FA cup victory in ‘48.
The club won the first division in 1952, their first league title for 41 years, and won back-to-back titles in ‘56 and ‘57 and the squad became known as the Busby Babes, a testament to Matt Busby’s trust and reliance on young talented players.
However, it was around this period that one of soccer’s most tragic accidents was to occur, a tragedy well known across the soccer world. After defeating Red Star Belgrade in the quarter-finals of the European Cup, the plane carrying the Manchester United players, officials, and journalists crashed while taking off in Munich, Germany.
The Munich Air Disaster which occurred on February 6th, 1958 killed 23 people, including 8 players; Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, and Billy Whelan, and several more were severely injured.
Busby himself was also injured but led by the assistant manager and makeshift team the club still managed to reach the final of the FA Cup where they lost to Bolton Wanderers.
Busby spent the following years rebuilding the team leading them to success in the ’60s with victories in the FA cup and the League in ‘65 and ‘67.
The years between ‘69 and ‘86 were tumultuous and saw limited success as several managers came and went and the team struggled to find form, even being relegated out of the top flight.
However, in ‘86 Sir Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox arrived and the team’s fortunes were set to change.
Although he got off to a rocky start and was almost dismissed in his second season in charge of the club, Sir Alex Ferguson went on to lead Man United to one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, winning several league titles, FA cups, the treble, and the champions league.
After becoming the most decorated manager in soccer history, Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-2013 season, remaining as a director and club ambassador.
The rest of the 2010s became a period of much uncertainty and difficulty, with the club taking on several coaches including David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and current manager (and former player/club legend) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
This period of inconsistency and poor performance has led United to a four-year trophy drought and has seen the club attempt to rebuild its culture and reinforce the squad to potentially reinvigorate their bid for silverware in the coming seasons.
Club Net Worth
Manchester United has been among the highest value football clubs for several years, and a recent evaluation by Forbes listed Man United as the fourth most valuable club in the world with a value of 3.05 billion pounds, or almost 4.3 billion dollars.
The club has built this value in a range of ways, however, the key to their value is in the immense size of their stadium, which creates a huge gate revenue, as well as merchandise and program sales to the fans lucky enough to set foot inside the theatre of dreams.
However, the club also makes a lot of money in television rights, prize money, and the sale of talented players, as well as shirt sales to the legions of foreign fans who support Man United all over the world.
There are few clubs, aside from Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich who are able to sport such amazing and widespread foreign support, all of which adds enormous value to the club.
Old Trafford is the largest football stadium in the UK and is home to Manchester United Football Club, with a capacity of 74140, however, this could grow even higher in the coming years.
The club has access to some of the best facilities in the world, and their training facility, the Aon Training Complex or Carrington as its commonly referred to, has some of the best quality training facilities for soccer in the world, allowing the team to train to a very high standard and produce excellent homegrown talent as well as allow the senior teams access to world-class facilities whenever they need them.
The current owners of Manchester United are the Glazer Family, who operate the club through Manchester United Plc and have complete ownership of the clubs shared in a campaign that squeezed out all other owners over the course of several years.
Many fans dislike the Glazers and find the means by which they gained ownership and their perceived lack of leadership and financial manipulation to be very distasteful.
Some supporters back the club being fan-owned and several initiatives have been started to try and pressure the Glazers into selling or reducing their ownership, however so far none of these have been successful.
The Glazers themselves landed in hot water at the end of the 2020-21 season when the club’s failed bid to enter the breakaway Super League alongside some of Europe’s biggest clubs ended in huge protests and massive negativity from the footballing world.
Fans even stormed the ground and confronted first-team players and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer directly.
Man United has seen some of the best players in the world through its doors, from George Best and Bobby Charlton to Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Pogba.
The club has a reputation for training its own players in its very successful academy system, however, it has brought in and nurtured foreign talent, the most high profile being Ronaldo, leading the club to obtain a lot of success and doing good business when it comes to signing and growing talent.
All-time top Scorer
The all-time top goal scorer for Man United is Wayne Rooney, with 253 goals in 559 appearances. The second place all time top scorer is Sir Bobby Charlton who scored 249 times in 758 appearances. In third is Denis Law who scored 237 times in 404 appearances.
The current captain of Man Utd is Harry Maguire, who plays as a center back in the defensive line and was purchased only a few years ago from Leicester City. Harry Maguire’s leadership style has been described as ‘lead by example’ and while he isn’t the most vocal or influential, he is calm under pressure and capable of cooling tensions and keeping players calm.
Bruno Fernandes also acts as Captain occasionally, who plays as an attacking midfielder and has displayed very good leadership qualities including immense drive to win and passion, as well as a level head in interviews and conferences.
Man United is in a slightly awkward position in the goal-keeping department currently. David De Gea is their first-choice goalkeeper and has been a consistent performer and among the best goalkeepers in the world for many years, however, he is starting to get a little older and the second choice goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, has been pressuring the team to transition him into the first choice goalkeeper position, as a younger player with a lot of talent and a lot to prove.
Man United’s defense is a very curious one, as on paper it should be excellent, however, a string of stinging defeats and some poor performances early in the 2020-21 season showed that United’s back four needs improving.
The first choice right-back is Aaron Wan Bissaka, who is known for his incredibly strong defensive performances, however, he can be a little lackluster in attack and needs to improve in this area.
On the opposite side, Luke Shaw has battled back into form and is one of the best left-backs in the world currently, with solid defensive performance and great link-up play on the attack.
In the middle, Harry Maguire is the main center back and is often paired with Victor Lindelof who has been somewhat inconsistent and lacking in aggression, pace and composure. Other options such as Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly have come in to replace Lindelof but both are prone to injury inconsistency.
However Man United signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid in the 2021 summer transfer market, and as one of the most successful center backs in the world, it seems as if United’s defensive woes may be on the verge of being solved once and for all.
Currently, Man United is in a strange place in the striking department. The club has had many natural-born strikers over the years and has prospered being led by Rooney, Teves, Van Nistelrooy, Van Persie, and a whole host of very high-quality finishers. However currently Man United lacks a long-term option in the position, and while Cavani has proved a lethal option here, he is on a short contract and at the end of his career.
Options are available in Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood, however, none of them are yet quite reaching their full potential, and while Greenwood is very young and looks set to be a great choice, he’s more of a winger than a true striker. The same goes for Rashford, and Martial simply hasn’t lived up to his potential, struggling with confidence and injuries.
The current manager is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is currently looking to rebuild United’s culture and make an assault on the title in the coming season. However the most successful and famous Man United manager is Sir Alex Ferguson, and since his retirement the team has struggled to find its identity and gain confidence.
There are a range of coaches, among them many former Man United players including Michael Carrick and Nicky Butt.
The main assistant coach under Solskjaer is Kieran McKenna, who is also assisted by Mike Phelan and other longtime Man Utd coaches.
Man United’s current home kit is a red shirt, white shorts, and black socks, all of which have white and red trim.
Man United’s away kit changes fairly often, however for the current season it is a light blue shirt, with darker royal blue shorts and white socks.
The famous club logo features the Manchester United banners in yellow and red above and below the crest which features a red devil (hence the nickname of the club) below a three masted ship.
Man Utd’s academy is one of the best in the world and has youth players all the way up to under 23’s awaiting a chance to break out into the main squad.
Recent academy graduates who have graduated into the first team are Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford as well as Diallo and Elanga who have just joined the senior squad.
Man Utd won the league title in; 1907-08, 1910-11, 1951-52, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1964-65, 1966-67, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2012-13 season.
They also won the second division title in; 1935-36 and 1975-75.
Man Utd have also won the FA cup 12 times, the Football League Cup 5 times, and the FA community Shield 21 times, as well as 3 European Cup wins and a host of other honors.
Since the inception of the Premier League, Man United have accumulated 1503 points from wins, winning 86 more games than their nearest rivals, Arsenal.
United’s main derby rivals are Manchester City, Liverpool and Leeds United.
The club was formed by a group of local railway workers when it was known as Newton Heath!