Throughout the world, no matter where you find yourself, the name “Manchester” has become synonymous with Manchester United Football Club, “Man-U” or MUFC as it has become internationally known. Great footballing names like George Best and Bobby Charlton have become indelibly linked with the city which they represented in football. The names of manager, Sir Alex Ferguson and England Team Captain and former player, David Beckham have become icons in the history of soccer football and the club invariably appears at the very top of the Premier League. Manchester United is now one of the most profitable companies in Great Britain, and boasts probably the largest fan following of any club in the world.
Brief History of Manchester United
Founded in 1878, United was originally called “Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Newton Heath”, but known irreverently then as “The Heathens”, it became a professional football team in 1885 and adopted its present name in 1902. it came from modest beginnings as a working mens’ social club – in 1886 the team won its first trophy, Manchester Senior Cup. As part of the short-lived Football Alliance, their main opponents were Ardwick (later to become Manchester City F C). The team’s early fortunes, however, did not fare well, and by 1902 they were declared bankrupt. Only the efforts of full back, Harry Stafford, to raise the money to get them out of trouble saved the club. His fortunate meeting with local brewery owner, John Davies, resulted in Davies buying the club, paying off their debts, and initiating a fresh start for Manchester United. It was Davies who introduced the first red and white strips. Later in 1902, at a suggestion by director, Louis Rocca, the club changed its name to become Manchester United. In 1903 United employed their first true manager, Ernest Magnell, who was a fitness fanatic who drove the team on to higher and higher achievements. Soon they became notorious for the outstanding quality of their football. Magnell had been responsible for signing up several ex-Manchester City players, including Billy Meredith, one of the greatest players of his day. Meredith went on to lead the team to victory and the winning of their first League Title, and a year later to win the F A Cup against Bristol City. The club moved from its original ground at Bank Street to Old Trafford in 1910, thanks to the benevolence of John Henry Davies. Hit by disaster when the team plane crashed at Munich Airport in 1958, it had taken Matt Busby, the manager, ten years to rebuild a team after losing eight players in the disaster. It was in 1968 that Busby’s European ambition was realised in their defeat of Benfica by 4-1 at Wembley Stadium. The club led English re-entry into Europe in 1990 after a five year ban resulting from the Heysel Stadium disaster.
The “Busby Babes” and the Munich Air Disaster
On 6th February 1958, the plane carrying the Manchester United football team, crashed on takeoff on a snow covered runway at Munich Airport, West Germany. Seven members of the team died in the crash, and an eighth (Duncan Edwards) was to die later from serious injuries. Eight accompanying journalists and three club officials also perished in the crash. United were returning from a match with Red Star Belgrade after a 3-3 draw, which had earned them a place in the European Cup semi-finals. Matt Busby, the manager, along with Bobby Charlton and defender Bill Foulkes had survived the crash. But it was to take another 10 years before Busby (and Manchester United) could replace his “Babes” with a winning team, and recover from the tragedy. Illustrated (above right) is the “Munich Clock” which displays, above the entrance to Old Trafford, the date and time of the tragedy – the clock stopped permanently at that hour as a mark of respect and a perpetual memorial to those who perished.
VENUE Old Trafford Football Stadium.
LOCAL NICKNAME The Red Devils, Man-U, MUFC.
Sir Matt Busby Way (formerly Warwick Road), Old Trafford Manchester M16 0RA
GENERAL ENQUIRIES Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 0161 868 8000. Ticket Order Line: 0870 442 1999, weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
DISABLED ACCESS South East Lower, 37 Wheelchairs, 37 Helpers.
FACILITIES Executive Boxes, Fast Food, First Aid Station, Licensed Bar, Lift, Soft Drinks, Toilets, International Suite, Licensed Bar, Lifts, Soft Drinks, Toilets.
SPECIAL BOOKINGS Corporate Hospitality & Sponsorship Packages – Contact Commercial Department Tel : 0161-872 3488. Membership Office Tel : 0161-872 5208.
SEASON TICKETS LINE Tel: 0161-868 8010.
MAN UNITED RADIO Tel: 0161-868 8888.
MUTV Tel: 0870-848 6888.
MAN UNITED SOCCER SCHOOLS Tel: 0161-643 5955.
MEGASTORE Tel: 0161-868 7000.
Manchester United Stadium & Museum Tours
Telephone: 0161-868 8631. Opening Times: Hourly Tours from 9.30am to 5.00pm. Open Monday through to Sunday 9.30am to 4.00pm. Matchdays from 9.30am to kick-off. Museum closes 30 minutes prior to kick-off on match days. Megastore opens Mon-Sat from 9.30am-5.30pm, Sunday from 10.30am-4.30pm. Please check before setting out – times may have changed. Charges: Museum & Tour : About �8.50 per adult, �5.75 per child, �23.50 per family. Museum only : About �5.50 per adult, �3.75 per child, �15.50 per family. Children under 5 years go free. Educational Visits: School and College student parties at £2.00 per student – teachers go free. Please check before setting out – charges may have changed. Facilities: Coffee Shop, Legends’ Café, the Red Café, Souvenir Kiosk, wheelchair access, ample car parking. On-site Megastore sells souvenirs & memorabilia, as well as football equipment, books, magazines and videos. Getting There: Numerous buses from Central Manchester, and local Metrolink train station at Trafford (400 yards). Advanced telephone booking is strongly recommended. The Tour: The tour includes – the Trophy Room, with cups and honours dating back to 1908; the Roll of Honour, with players names dating back to 1886; The United Years, a stroll through the Club’s history from Newton Heath to the present day; Kits through the Ages, the Legends’ Corridor, The Munich Disaster, Learn how to be a Commentator, Virtual Old Trafford…and much more.
MUFC Supporters & Fans Organisations, Publications, Etc.
Official Supporters Club Membership Office – Tel: 0161-868 8450.
Man United Disabled Supporters’ Association (MUDSA) Contact: PO Box 141, South DO, Manchester M20 5BA. Tel: 0161-434 1989. There are some 104 dedicated spaces at Old Trafford set aside specifically for disabled supporters. Currently, wheelchair users and blind people are not charged for seats.
Independent Man United Supporters’ Association (IMUSA) The political voice and pressure group of Man United fans, set up to protect fans’ interests against big business. To join, contact: IMUSA, PO Box 69, Stretford, Manchester M32 0UZ.. They have a website at www.imusa.org, and can be emailed via: email@example.com.
Fans’ Forum Set up in 2000 is an organisation intended to allow fans a legitimate method of communication between themselves and Man United Management and Directors.
Manchester United Development Association A supporters’ organisation designed to provide fund-raising activities for the Club. They provide the pools, draws, Cash Dash, among other fund-raisers to improve the fabric and facilities at the stadium. Contact – Tel: 0161-868 8600 or via the web at www.manutd.com/trafford/devassociation.sps.
Association of Former Players Raises cash for various charities and publishes “Legends” a magazine about past players (magazine subscription is currently £12 per annum). Currently has around 260 former Man United players in membership. Contact/Subscription: Association of Former Manchester United Players, PO Box 92, Old Trafford, Manchester M16 9XW.
United Magazine “United” the official Club magazine, sells for around £3.00 and sells around 75,000 copies a month.
Man Utd Radio Broadcasting on 1413 AM and receivable for around 5 miles from Old Trafford with live match commentary on matches of the day.
Man Utd Fanzines — “Red News”- – (£1.00). The oldest Man Utd fans magazine. Humorous, detailed and gossipy. — “Red Issue” — (£1.00). Sharp and cutting, particularly about rival teams. Authored by supported, Richard Kurt. — “United We Stand” – (£1.50). Edited by Andy Mitten. — “Joe Royle’s Head”- – (£1.50). Recent newcomer designed specifically for younger Man Utd supporters.
Manchester United Related Websites
There are currently around 750 websites devoted to Man United Football Club – these are just a few of the major ones:
Banners www.cwalton19.fsnet.co.uk/BANNERS.htm Specialising in banners seen at Old Trafford.
IMUSA www.imusa.org – the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association a fans’ pressure group (see above).
Shareholders United www.ShareholdersUnited.org. Pressure group website with latest information on campaigns, general news and gossip.
M-U-F-C www.m-u-f-c.co.uk. Independent website with message/bulletin board and fans forum viewpoints.
Red Café www.redcafe.net/home. Up to date information taken from reliable Press Association sources.
Red Issue www.redissue.co.uk. A very pro-Man United “reds” view. Good local pubs review.
Red News www.rednews.co.uk. Articles and features on Man Utd related issues and culture.
Red Org www.Red11.org. Facts, figures and statistics on Man Utd since its earliest days.
United Online www.UnitedOnline.co.uk. Run by Polar Internet with material accumulated from several other websites. Good source of up to date news and views.
United We Stand www.uwsonline.com. The website of the same named Fanzine (see above). News and opinion, mostly from Press Agencies and local newspapers.
US Suporters’ Club www.muscusa.com. That’s right! There is an American Man Utd supporters club! Lists bars and clubs where Man Utd matches are screened in the States.