Introducing: Manchester United!
The “Red Devils” may be the nickname of a few football clubs and national teams, but there’s only one team bearing this name and boasting worldwide popularity so big that it cannot in any way remain unspoken of.
This is the club whose trophy cabinet is wide and large. I mean, do 20 domestic league titles, 21 Community Shields, three Champions League titles and many other trophies ring a bell? You should know by now that I’m talking about Manchester United.
Who Are the Red Devils?
Almost one and a half centuries ago, in 1878, the club named Newton Heath appeared on the English horizon. Not so long after, the Red Devils as we know them today became Manchester United. Many fans refer to this club as Manchester Utd and Man Utd.
Before Old Trafford became their home, United used to play on North Road during the first 15 years after their foundation. They switched locations in 1893 and played as a home team on Bank Street.
17 years passed before the Red Devils finally settled and decided to make Old Trafford their lifelong stadium. Old Trafford’s capacity has changed several times since its construction.
The capacity reached its final peak in 2006 as it could seat 76,212 people but was later reduced to its final number of 75,957 seats. In 2007, there were 76,098 visitors at Old Trafford, which set the record for the highest number of spectators.
The inspiration for the first version of the Manchester United crest came from the official coat of arms of the Manchester City Council. The only thing that remained on today’s Man Utd crest is the sailing ship.
The main part of the crest nowadays is the Red Devil, which appeared from the club’s nickname. Manchester Utd picked red as their official colour back in 1902, and it’s still something that symbolises this team up to this day.
First Days and the Mid Twentieth Century
Once the Red Devils appeared on the radar, they became members of the regional football league after playing some unofficial matches in the first couple of years.
However, they achieved full independence by joining the First Division in the 1892/93 season. United barely avoided liquidation in 1902. Luckily, the four businessmen invested in this club changed its name later and saved it from the winding-up order.
The Red Devils became part of the First Division in 1906 after being runners-up in the Second Division the same year. They won this league for the first time in 1908 and 1911 for the second time.
In the early 1930s, the Red Devils once again avoided bankruptcy, as James W. Gibson’s investment saved the day. After World War 2, Manchester Utd got a new manager, Matt Busby.
Busby took control over this club’s transfers and training, which led to this team ending up in the second spot of the First Division table three years in a row (1947, 1948, 1949) and winning the FA Cup in 1948.
United won two consecutive titles in 1956 and 1957 and was the first English team to play in the European Cup at that time. The following season was one of the worst for this club because of the terrible Munich air disaster.
The aeroplane carrying Man Utd players failed to take off and crashed on the runway, resulting in 23 deaths and many injuries. After this accident, Jimmy Murphy arrived at Old Trafford in order to replace Busby.
The signings of some new players, including George Best, meant better results for United. The Red Devils lifted the First Division trophy in 1965 and 1967, as well as won the European Cup the following season.
Late Sixties, Seventies & Mid Eighties
Manchester Utd didn’t really shine during the 1960s and the most part of the 1970s. They ended up in the eighth place in the first division in 1969.
United’s not-so-great performance continued during the 1970s until they reached the FA Cup final in 1976 but lost to Southampton. The Red Devils did the same one year later and once again couldn’t win the FA Cup trophy.
This time, it was Liverpool that beat them. Two years after (1979), another Man Utd attempt at winning the FA Cup ended in failure, as Arsenal got the better of them. Finally, the Red Devils won this cup on two occasions (1983 and 1985) with the major help of their coach, Ron Atkinson.
The Legendary Sir Alex Ferguson Epoch
One of the best football coaches ever, Sir Alex Ferguson, was appointed in 1986. The club didn’t have many great results at first. There were even some rumours that Ferguson would be dismissed then.
Yet, this coach proved that his expertise was second to none during some major events in the 1990s. First, United won the FA Cup in 1990. This club became the European Cup trophy holders the same season.
Manchester United also competed in the League Cup final twice, in 1991 and 1992, losing the first but winning the second final. In the year of 1993, the Red Devils won their first Premier League title, which was their first domestic league title since 1967.
Just a year later, Man Utd was the best team in the Premier League, as well as in the FA Cup. This meant that United won their first “double”. Their glorious performance continued as the Fergusons’ men won the second double in a row.
At the end of the 1996/97 season, the Red Devils added yet another Premier League trophy to their collection. Amazingly, Manchester United became the first Premier League club to win the “treble”. What this meant was that United won the Premier League, along with the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Their victory in the Champions League final over Bayern Munich is considered one of the greatest comebacks in the history of football. This wasn’t the final stop for the Red Devils. The next competition that awaited them was the International Cup, which they also won after defeating Palmeiras by 1:0.
Since the team from Greater Manchester also won the domestic league trophies in 2000 and 2001, they became the fourth club to win the Premier League title three consecutive times.
The Second Champions League Title, Other Trophies & Top Players
After finishing the 2001/2 season as the third-ranking team, United regained the title in the 2002/23 season. The Red Devils went on to bring the FA Cup silverware home in 2003.
One of the most spectacular events in the modern era for this club was winning their second Champions League title as they beat Chelsea by 6-5 after penalties in 2008. This was the most recent Champions League title won by this club.
During this period, United also won the Club World Cup and League Cup. The entire Sir Alex Ferguson era was marked by some amazing players. Some of them are Solskjaer, Giggs, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and many more.
Ferguson’s Retirement & Latest Events
Several years before Ferguson’s retirement, the Red Devils sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80 million. In mid-2013, Manchester United’s legendary coach announced his retirement.
He was replaced by David Moyes, whose not-so-well results got him sacked soon after. Van Gaal took over and led this club to another FA Cup title. The Red Devils dropped the ball in many events that followed.
It was only after Jose Mourinho became the manager in 2016 that this team got back on track and won a couple of trophies. More specifically, Man Utd won the EFL Cup, Community Shield and Europa League.
United did play one FA Cup final after this but lost to Chelsea by 1:0. This is why they brought their ex-player, Solskjaer, to Old Trafford. Since 2018, this team hasn’t won a single major trophy, except for the EFL Cup.
The Red Devils were part of the Europa League finals but couldn’t overpower Villarreal on penalties in 2021. As Solskjaer didn’t turn out to be the best choice for United, he resigned in late 2021.
Micheal Carrick became a short-term manager until Rangnick took command of the team. Less than half a year passed before Erik ten Hag took charge of Manchester United. The Dutch coach has been the official manager of the Red Devils ever since.
It was under ten Hag that United won the EFL Cup trophy in late February 2023. This title still remains one of Man United’s greatest achievements in the last eight years.
Nowadays, the team hopes to find a way to reclaim its old glory and form. The Man Utd officials state that their main focus is on key transfers, which ten Hag and his assistants are looking forward to.