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From Coal to Gold
Fra kull til gull. Fotballklubben Manchester United sin 128 år lange historie.
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FROM COAL, the early years (1878-1945)
The Busby Babes – tragedy and success (1945-1969)
The end of a dream
The “Gap” (1969-1986)
Alex Ferguson, leading us TO GOLD (1986-)
First I have to thank you. Thanks for letting me write this, it means quite a lot.
Manchester United has the loveliest and most catching story, you can compare this story to any other, this is the one who makes you cry and then makes you smile, and maybe laugh. You might think that it’s just a football team, what the h**l could be interesting? That’s what I’m going to tell you in this assignment.
I’m going to prove that a football story can be interesting to people who doesn’t love football too. I’m going to prove you wrong; this is not just a football team. And the players of this team… they’re not just anyone; they’re a part of a magnificent story, and a part of the biggest and most successful team ever.
This is literally a story from coal to gold.
This is a story about ups and downs.
This is the story about a magnificent football team.
This is the story of Manchester United Football Club!
I’m really glad you let me do this, and I swear to you…you won’t regret this.
From coal - The early years (1878-1945)
The club was formed as Newton Heath (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) Football Club by a group of Manchester railway workers in 1878. At this time Newton Heath (L&YR) F.C. was just a workers team, and if those men who established the club knew what their team was like now, they wouldn’t believe it.
The workers at Newton Heath
Just two years after the club was established, they were members of the Football Alliance, and three years after that The Heathens joined the Football League (today: Premier League) in 1892. It took five years for the workers to get their team in the league, this was absolutely amazing.
It all started so well for Newton Heath (L&YR) F.C., but in 1902 the club faced bankruptcy. J.H. Davies saved the club, and he re-named it. He wanted the team’s name to be Manchester United Football Club, and it’s been that way in 104 years now. J.H. Davies also changed the club colours from green and white, to red and white.
Was it the new owner?
Was it the new name?
Maybe it was the new colours?
Or maybe it was all of those?
In 1908 J.H. Davies leaded the club to its first success, they won the Football League. And just a year after that, he leaded the club to their first, of many, FA Cup trophies.
There were other changes too. They left Bank Street (their stadium), for a bigger and better stadium – Old Trafford, or The Theatre Of Dreams. This happened in 1910, and I believe it was good luck to move to Old Trafford. In 1911 Manchester United won the Football League again.
But everything seemed to go one way in 1930…both the clubs economic situation and their sport side suffered more than ever. At one point, the faithful and loving supporters started to get angry… What’s going on? We haven’t won anything since the clubs last generation! Four years later, in 1934, the supporters got what they wanted – another trophy.
Manchester United 1930->
And then, when things started to go better, Second World War came… Old Trafford…well…everything that was left when Sir Matt Busby took over in 1945, when the war was finished, was ashes…The Theatre of Dreams were gone…
But Sir Matt, a fantastic person who gave the supporters and the players everything they wanted…he changed everything, gave us a new stadium, and he was the gaffer with a big G, A, F, F, E, and R.
The Busby Babes - Tragedy and success (1945-1969)
Matt Busby, or Matthew William Busby, came to Manchester United at the age of 36. Everyone was shocked…this man did things no one was used to, and he was so young! He gave young players from the academy a chance, and he trusted his young players. No one had ever heard about a manager who used so young players, everyone meant that a team should contain older, more established players but Matt didn’t care…he trusted his young lads and his team were runners up in the league in 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1951 before winning the Football League in 1952.
Sir Matt did have a young team, younger than anyone else. That’s why the team was called ‘The Busby Babes’, a greeting to the gaffer and the young players he signed. One of them was Bobby Charlton, who did great things and earns his legend status in the club. Another one was Duncan Edwards, who’s also a legend in Manchester United, despite the fact that he died only 21 years old and didn’t have time to be that great.
Everyone who’s watched Duncan, either live or on TV said “this lad is the best player I’ve ever had my eyes on!”
In 1956, the team had an average age of 22 years, which was, and still is, quite unmoral.
…And then came Munich
The end of a dream - Munich 1958
In 1958 Manchester United were in the European Cup (today: Champions League), and had an away game 5th of February in Belgrade. On the way back on 6th of February, the plane had to stopped in Munich to refuel.
After a short brake the pilot and captain asked the tower to takeoff. They got yes, and they tried, but they got to little speed. The second time they didn’t get enough speed and there was slush and ice on the runway now, so they stopped the takeoff.
Players, staff and other passengers started to get worried. Sir Matt said that if they could and had time, they would spend the night in Munich.
Third time disaster followed. Now there was so much slush, ice and snow on the runway so the pilot wasn’t able to stop, and the plane crashed into the fence (which goes around the airport) and into a house, which was empty.
After the crash
Geoff Bent (25), Roger Byrne (29), Eddie Colman (21), Mark Jones (24), David Pegg (22), Tommy Taylor (26), and Liam (Billy) Whelan (22) were the players who died that day. And Duncan Edwards (21) died fifteen days later because of the injuries he got.
“Eight men will never play again
Who met destruction there
The Flowers of English Football
The Flowers of Manchester”
(From The Spinners – The Flowers of Manchester (which is about this day, a beautiful song)).
Eight sports journalists died too and seven other passengers.
The last line-up
When the team got back to England, they wanted to finish the season. Sir Matt, who was in the hospital in Munich – recovering from injuries, wanted the team to continue in the League. Manchester United were given players from other clubs, and there was offers to buy players cheap, and offers to borrow. Everyone wanted to help. God knows what Manchester United would be today without those clubs.
In 1968, ten years after the disaster, Manchester United were back in Europe. Sir Matt Busby leaded the team to the final and won. Of course he got some help from players like George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. The year after, in 1969, Sir Matt Busby resigned as manager.
Sir Matt Busby
The "gap" - 1969-1986
I’m calling this the “gap” because this is the time between two great managers who did a lot for Manchester United.
There’s actually not much to say about these years. United had a lot of managers, and most of them didn’t do that well.
But in 1981, a man called Ron Atkinson walked in the door. The first thing he did was to break the British record on transfer fee, when he signed Bryan Robson (who’s now managing West Bromwich Albion).
Bryan Robson as a player
Manager Bryan Robson
Ron Atkinson were sacked in 1986 and Sir Alex Ferguson took his job, coming all the way from Aberdeen in Scotland to manage Manchester United.
Bye, Bye Ron!
Alex Ferguson - Leading us TO GOLD (1986-)
He came from Aberdeen to Manchester on 6th of November 1986.
Alex Ferguson in 1986
He has won more trophies than any other manager in the history of English football with his 26 trophies. And he’s been in charge of Manchester United for more than 1000 matches during almost 20 years.
When he first came, he changed the team. He thought some of the players were drinking too much, and that they didn’t have much discipline. That changed fast, the players listened to him, and when they didn’t…they would regret it when they came to training the next day and had a chat with Alex.
Alex Ferguson signed players whose legends today. Players like Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were all brilliant buys, and (like I said) they’re all legends.
Eric ‘The King’ Cantona Roy Maurice Keane
Teddy Sheringham Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (33) is the only one who’s still a Manchester United player. Cantona (40) gave up football years ago, Keane (34) went to Celtic and Teddy (40) plays for West Ham United.
Alex Ferguson also recruited players like David Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes from the academy. They wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for Alex Ferguson.
And in 1998/1999 he leaded the club to The Treble, the three biggest trophies a British club can get: Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
The supporters still celebrates what happened in Barcelona May 1999 (Champions League);
Manchester United were 0-1 under in the final against Bayern Munich. There was 12 minutes left, and the trophy had Bayern Munich’s colours. United’s supporters were leaving Nou Camp, unaware that Ferguson got supersubs Solskjaer and Sheringam on, and that the match got three minutes added. Three minutes that changed the match. Two corners, both from Beckham, and two goals came. Teddy Sheringham scored the first one and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the second one.
Celebrating their goals
“You know who your friends are when the room goes dark and everybody leaves. When the light comes on and you look around, your friends are the ones still there with you."
- Sir Alex
“Alex Ferguson is the best manager I've ever had at this level. Well, he's the only manager I've actually had at this level. But he's the best manager I've ever had”
- David Beckham
"My greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch. And you can print that."
- Sir Alex
There’s not much to say about this takeover. A number of fans boycotted Manchester United and established FC United of Manchester.
Few, if any, liked this. Why is this man buying our club? He’s never been to see Manchester United play, and he doesn’t know anything about the club (which he proved when he in 2005 put in a bid on 6th of February), so why?
But the fans didn’t reach to Glazer with all the demonstrations and banners.
!Warning! Using M.U.F.C. May Result In Serious Damage To Your Health
(and now he’s had two strokes, he’s paralyzed all over his right side, and have trouble speaking)
A poster used in demonstrations said “You Buy, You Die”, and maybe he takes that serious (which it is) because he’s never had even a toe in Manchester. If he does, he’s a dead man. Supporters don’t like him, and some are mad enough to kill him when he comes to Manchester, if he comes.
28th of June 2005...that was the day Malcom Glazer officially became owner of Manchester United Football Club.
He hasn’t done anything big yet, only raised the ticket prices, but supporters expect him to do other things too.
Malcom Glazer, he looks like a leprechaun!
Thank you, once again, for letting me write this. I really hope I convinced you that the story of Manchester United is interesting for everyone and that you saw that this was literally a story from coal to gold.
If I could, I would write more, especially about Munich and the 1998/1999 season, but you’re the boss… and here are about 10 pages (+ the front page, the contents page, the introduction, the conclusion and sources).
I can’t say that I learned much from this, I knew more or less everything - as you can see on the source-list.
Once again, I hoped you liked this, and that it somehow touched you.
Sir Matt Busby’s statue outside Old Trafford
Sir Matt Busby and George Best
Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane
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