Sunday, August 09, 2009

Operation FC (Manchester United)

An English Football heavy-weight, Manchester United, is a force to reckon with. Founded in 1872 as a meagre work-team of a railway depot, Man U, went through all the ups and down in its history to emerge, perched on the highest cloud of fame. May it be the 1958 Munich Air Disaster in which United lost nine of their first-team players [Winger Johnny Berry survived, but the sustained injuries brought his football career to a premature close] or the yo-yo years (1911-1939) during which the club had the taste of almost every type of position in the First Division [except the top-three!], not to mention the constant relegation.

The appointment of Matt Busby as manager in 1945 finally revived the club, and his infrequent approach of giving new-found-talent a chance in the 'A' team payed off quite well when Man U won 5 First Division titles and 2 FA Cups during his term as manager. Busby's uncommon tactics blessed United with rare talents like Bobby Charlton [leading goal-scorer, 249], Denis Law [2nd leading goal-scorer, 237] and George Best [known as Quick Feet with the capability of giving passes through the narrowest of gaps].

No one managed to fill the gap Busby's departure left until the 1986 appointment of Scotsman Alex Ferguson, under whose guidance Man U finally won their first League title in 26 years. There was no looking back afterwards as United went on to win eleven Premier League titles and five FA Cups including two Doubles and a sparkling Treble [1998-1999]. Star signings like Eric Cantona, Robby Keane, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Bekham ensured the flourish of Man U from 1993 onwards.

Manchester United's trophy cabinet seems rather full with eighteen English League Championships, eleven FA Cups, three League Cups, three European Cups and seventeen Community Shields being the most prominent.

Popularly known as the "Red Devils" which led to the popular Man U crest which comprises of a devil holding a trident in a shield in the centre and the words Manchester and United are vividly represented above and below the shield respectively.

The traditional home-kit of the club remained from 1902 onwards [with the exception of 1909 UEFA Cup final and early 1920s] as red shirts, white shorts and black socks. AIG, an insurance company, is the chief shirt sponsor of United until the 2009-2010 season. Aon, an American reinsurance firm, will take over from AIG at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season with the most lucrative sponsorship deal in football history, i.e, £ 20 million-a-year! The lengthiest shirt sponsorship deal in English Football also has to do with Man U [Sharp Electronics, 1982-2000].

Manchester United had played in shabby grounds until 1902 when tycoon J. H. Davies bought the club. Subsequently, in 1910 the 76,000+ capacity Old Trafford was opened which remains the official stadium of the club ever since. The stadium was also partially rebuilt after bombings during WW II destroyed much of its Major Stand.

The most prominent rivalries of Man U are with Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United. Rivalries, to a lesser extent, also exist with Chelsea and Arsenal.


  • Founded: 1878
  • Ground: Old Trafford (Capacity: 76, 212)
  • Owner: Malcolm Glazer (USA)
  • Co-chairmen: Joel and Avram Glazer (both from USA)
  • Manager: Alex Ferguson (Scotland)
  • League: Barclay's Premier League
  • Last Season Position: 1st
  • Captain: Gary Neville (UK)
  • V. Captain: Ryan Giggs (Wales)
  • Did You Know: Manchester United is involved in one of the greatest comebacks ever-witnessed in football history. Going 1-0 down in the injury time of the 1999 UEFA Champions League's final against Bayern Munich, Man U went on to score two goals that helped them win a Treble and the European Cup!
  • Official Site:
  • Current Squad:
    • Edwin van der Saar (Netherland)
    • Ben Foster (UK)
    • Tomasz Kuszczak (Poland)
    • Ron-Robert Zieler (Germany)
    • Ben Amos (UK)
    • Tom Heaton (UK)
    • Gary Neville (UK)
    • Patrice Evra (France)
    • Rio Ferdinand (UK)
    • Wes Brown (UK)
    • Nemanja Vidic (Serbia)
    • Fabio (Brazil)
    • Rafael (Brazil)
    • John O'Shea (Ireland)
    • Jonny Evans (UK)
    • Danny Simpson (UK)
    • Craig Cathcart (Northern Ireland)
    • James Chester (UK)
    • Ritchie De Laet (Belgium)
    • Owen Hargreaves (UK)
    • Anderson (Brazil)
    • Ryan Giggs (Wales)
    • Park Ji-Sung (South Korea)
    • Zoran Tosic (Serbia)
    • Michael Carrick (UK)
    • Nani (Portugal)
    • Paul Scholes (UK)
    • Darren Fletcher (Scotland)
    • Daron Gibson (Ireland)
    • Sam Hewson (UK)
    • Tom Cleverley (UK)
    • David Gray (Scotland)
    • Davide Petrucci (Italy)
    • Cory Evans (Northern Ireland)
    • Daniel Drinkwater (UK)
    • Matthew James (UK)
    • Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)
    • Michael Owen (UK)
    • Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria)
    • Wayne Rooney (UK)
    • Danny Welbeck (UK)
    • Federico Macheda (Italy)
    • Fabian Brandy (UK)
    • Gabriel Obertan (France)

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