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How United were formed

Newton Heath Football clubIf you have sometimes found yourself wondering about the establishment of some of today’s major football clubs, then Poonam's  article is sure to put you straight. With a new chapter looking at a different top club each week stay tuned. This week how Man Utd were formed.

Manchester United Football Club

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

munich clock

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 withBobby 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.


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