MANCHESTER UNITED may have won the first major prize of 2022-23 when they beat Newcastle United 2-0 to win the EFL Cup, but they have a trophy-laden history. Some of the game’s greats have played for United, including Duncan Edwards, Billy Meredith, Bobby Charlton, George Best, David Beckham and Roy Keane. Here’s five of the best united teams – but there are others that can claim a place in the pantheon of the world’s most popular pastime!
Harry Moger, Hugh Edmonds, Vince Hayes, George Stacey, Alex Bell, Alex Downie, Dick Duckworth, Charlie Roberts, Jimmy Bannister, Harold Halse, Billy Meredith, Jack Picken, Jimmy Turnbull, George Wall, Enoch West, Herbert Burgess, Thomas Homer, Anthony Donnelly, George Livingstone.
Manager: Ernest Magnall
Achievements: Football League champions 1907-08 and 1910-11; FA Cup winners 1908-09.
Five-year record (1907-08-1911-12): 1 – 13 – 5 – 1 – 13
Billy Meredith, Welsh international winger, controversial figure who played with a toothpick in his mouth. Played 300 games for each of the Manchester clubs; Sandy Turnbull, bustling forward who died during WW1. Involved in scandals that led to him being banned from football; Charlie Roberts, strong and skilful centre half who was capped by England. Both he and Meredith were instrumental in establishing the players’ union.
Ray Wood, Harry Gregg, Roger Byrne, Bill Foulkes, Jackie Blanchflower, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, Johnny Berry, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Dennis Viollet, Colin Webster, Billy Whelan, Bobby Charlton, John Doherty.
Manager: Matt Busby
Achievement: Football League Champions 1955-56 and 1956-57; FA Cup finalists 1956-57 and 1957-58. Five-year record (1953-54 – 1957-58): 4 – 5 – 1 – 1 – 9
Duncan Edwards, strong, physical, versatile and high on stamina. A defensive midfielder who could dominate games. Tragically died after the Munich air crash, aged just 21; Roger Byrne, captain of the United team, a defender who became one of the first attacking full backs. Won 33 caps for England but also died in Munich in 1958; Eddie Colman, the youngest of the “Busby Babes” to die in the Munich disaster, his trademark was his body swerve, which earned him the nickname, “Snakehips”; Tommy Taylor, strong centre forward signed from Barnsley for £ 29,999 who scored 137 goals in 237 games for United. Won 19 caps for England, scoring 16 goals. Another player who died in Munich.
Alex Stepney, Tony Dunne, Bobby Noble, David Sadler, Pat Crerard, John Aston, David Herd, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Shay Brennan, Nobby Stiles, George Best, Brian Kidd, Francis Burns, Bill Foulkes.
Manager: Matt Busby
Achievement: Football League champions 1966-67, European Cup winners 1967-68. Five-year record (1964-65 to 1968-69): 1 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 11
George Best, Northern Ireland international winger, 37 caps, who was one of the great players from the late 1960s and early 1970s. A wonderful, flawed genius of a performer, his off-pitch life brought an end to his relatively unfulfilled career. A great dribbler, improviser and goalscorer, he died sadly young at 59. Bobby Charlton, one of England’s greatest players who lived through the Munich air disaster of 1958 and eight years later, won the World Cup with England, for whom he won 106 caps and scored 49 goals. Gave his name to fierce, long-range shooting, the “Bobby Charlton thunderbolt”. Denis Law, won 55 caps for Scotland, scoring 30 goals, and in his club career, scored 303 times in just over 600 games. A legendary figure, acrobatic, competitive and tenacious. He had a short spell with Torino from whom he joined United in 1962. Ended his international career in the 1974 World Cup.
Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Paul Parker, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Lee Sharpe, Andrei Kanchelskis, Ryan Giggs, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Brian McClair, Eric Cantona, Mark Hughes.
Manager: Alex Ferguson
Achievement: Premier League champions 1993-94, FA Cup winners 1993-94, Football League Cup finalists 1993-94. Five-year record (1991-92 to 1995-96): 2 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 1
Peter Schmeichel, Danish goalkeeper who joined United in 1991 from Brøndby for £ 500,000. Won 129 caps for Denmark, including the successful 1992 European Championship. An imposing and very physical keeper, an all-time great. Eric Cantona, French forward, an iconic figure who was as controversial as he was skilful. Joined United in 1992 from Leeds for a bargain £ 1 million. Won 45 caps for France. Retired at 31 in 1997 after scoring 82 goals in 185 games for the club. Ryan Giggs, one of United’s great clubmen, playing 963 games in a career that saw him become one of the most decorated players in English football. Welsh international, he won 64 caps.
Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Philip Neville, Denis Irwin, Ronnie Johnsen, Japp Stam, Nicky Butt, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Jesper Blomquist, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ryan Giggs.
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
Achievement: Premier League champions 1998-99 (and 1999-00 and 2000-01); FA Cup winners 1998-99; UEFA Champions League winners 1998-99. Five-year record (1996-97to 2000-01): 1 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 1
Dwight Yorke, Trinidad & Tobago-born striker who joined United from Aston Villa for £ 12.6 million. A fast and tricky player, he scored 29 goals in 1998-99. Jaap Stam, Dutch central defender who won 67 caps for his country. Joined United from PSV Eindhoven in 1998, he combined strength and spped with an ability to read the game well. Gary Neville, one of England’s great full backs, a tenacious, hard-tackling defender. Born in Bury, he won 85 caps for England. Roy Keane, captain of the treble winning team, a hard man who was very, and occasionally too, competitive. Joined from Nottingham Forest for £ 3.75 million, he won 67 caps for the Republic of Ireland.