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An A-Z guide to Manchester United Football Club

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Manchester United lift the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League trophy
ANALYST
Modified 08 Sep 2017, 12:45 IST
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A is for Absolute domination(in the league):

As of 14th May 2011, Manchester United have held the record for the most number of English League titles, after surpassing the previous record of 18, set by Liverpool, way back in 1990. The manager at the time - Sir Alex Ferguson later went on to famously say

"My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f**king perch. And you can print that."

Cut to the present, and the tally stands at 20, and it's safe to say it's going to be a while before someone comes close to beating that.

B is for Busby Babes:

Perhaps one of the most historical figures in the history of world football - all of whom graduated from the Manchester United youth academy. The name was coined to represent the internally produced Manchester United squad that won the league championship in the 1955–56 and 1956–57 seasons. Notably, the squad had an astonishing average age of 21 and 22 respectively. Unfortunately, 8 of the players were tragically lost in the Munich air disaster of 1958.

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One of the most iconic photograph of the Busby Babes

C is for (Sir Bobby) Charlton:

One of the only four Manchester United players to have won the Ballon d'Or, Sir Bobby Charlton is widely considered to be, perhaps, the greatest club legend. Plying his trade in midfield, the former World Cup winner made a whopping total of 758 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 249 goals in all competitions. He also captained the side for 5 seasons.

D is for (Red) Devils:

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A nickname initially used to represent Salford's rugby team, 'Red Devils' was adopted by Sir Matt Busby in the early 1960s and well, the rest is history, isn't it? The name seemed to be a perfect fit for an absolutely intimidating Manchester United squad, and has since instilled fear in opponents. In 1970, the devil found its way to the club's badge and has remained thereafter.

E is for Duncan Edwards:

Yet another massive club legend, Duncan Edwards was a member of the Busby Babes and signed for Manchester United as a teenager, under Sir Matt Busby. He shone like a beacon and soon became the youngest ever player to participate in the Football League First Division 

Despite being tragically lost in the Munich air disaster, Edwards has remained in the hearts of the devout fans over the years and has permanently etched his name in the club's history books.

Also read: An A-Z guide to Liverpool Football Club

F is for Fergie's Fledglings:

Sir Alex Ferguson's unparalleled penchant for discovering young talent played a crucial part in shaping Manchester United into what we know it as today. The Scottish manager inducted not one, but two waves of youth players into the first team.

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While the first fledgling wave in the late 1980s saw the inception of the likes of Lee Martin, Tony Gill and David Wilson, the second fledgling wave in the early 1990s witnessed the initiation of superstars like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. Fergie's Fledglings, as they came to be known, went on to achieve great feats for the club.

G is for Glazer Family:

Unlike the club itself, the club's owners - The Glazer Family have consistently been averse of adoration from the fans. Distrusted by most, the American owners have incessantly been credited for drowning Manchester United in debt.

Despite several failed attempts to overthrow the Glazer ownership, the billionaires seem tethered to the club, and continue to be, perhaps, the only disliked facet of the otherwise adored club.

H is for History:

The club has existed for nearly 140 years, witnessed a change in name, won truckloads of trophies, suffered a tragic disaster, and saw great managers and players come and go. Unsurpisingly, Manchester United's history books are as decorated as its trophy room.

I is for Incessant transfer rumors:

'Gareth Bale to move to Manchester United?', 'Cristiano Ronaldo to return this summer?', 'Manchester United to renew interest in Thomas Muller?' and well, the list goes on and on. Transfer windows are rarely ever bereft of talk pertaining to the Red Devils.

No matter how unlikely a move is, the best players are, by default, linked endlessly with the club. Year after year.

J is for Jose Mourinho:

The new man at the helm. The Messiah. The Special One. Disastrous campaign runs from David Moyes and Louis van Gaal paved the way for Mourinho's arrival, and we all know what he's capable of, don't we? The man led Porto to the Champions League trophy, for crying out loud!

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If his past is anything to go by, he could either become one of the club's best managers, or he could crash and burn. Fans will, obviously, pray for the former.

Also read: An A-Z guide to Real Madrid Football Club

K is for Kings of England:

If 20 League titles can't firmly plant Manchester United on the throne, what chance does Daenerys Targaryen have with 3 dragons? Over the years, the trophy cabinets at Old Trafford have become as congested as traffic in a developing nation, making them the undisputed kings of England.

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Manchester United's extensively decorated trophy cabinet

L is for Legends:

There are good players, there are great players and then there are legends. Some of the absolute best in world football have represented Manchester United over the generations.

The likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and sooooo many others have all come, conquered and left, taking with them deep affection for the club that made them.

M is for Munich air disaster:

Ask a Manchester United fan what his or her saddest memory of Manchester United's history is, and 11 out of 10 will name the disaster in Munich.

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A calamitous plane crash, way back in 1958, cruelly stole from Manchester United some of the most promising footballers the world had seen. Deemed to be one of the most influencing incidents that moulded the club, the accident resulted in 23 fatalities, and will always be one of the darkest days in not just the club's history but also in the history of the game.

N is for Newton Heath:

Manchester United haven't always been known as Manchester United. Before they adopted the name in 1902 and transitioned into one of the biggest names in world football, the club, upon its inception, was first called Newton Heath LYR Football Club for nearly 24 years.

O is for Old Trafford:

'The Theatre of Dreams' is what Sir Bobby Charlton nicknamed the arena his gladiators fought in. Old Trafford is widely regarded as one of the finest stadiums in the world, with a staggering capacity of 75,643 - usually consisting devout fans.

Hate it when someone laughs at you when you do something wrong? Imagine what it's like to botch a play against Manchester United and have many thousands of their fans mock you. Intimidated? That's what Old Trafford does to touring opponents.

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The Theatre of Dreams, and rightly so

P is for Paul Pogba:

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Touted to be the club's next best product, Paul Pogba is, perhaps, one of the most exciting footballers in the world today and is also regarded as the flagbearer for young talent at the club. At the age of 16, he joined the Manchester United youth academy, and there's just been no turning back ever since.

Many hearts were broken when he left the club in favor of Juventus in 2012, but far more were pumped at a terrifying rate, when he returned in 2016 as a far, far better player than the one that left. At 24, he's got at least a decade left, and we all know what he's capable of.

Q is for Questionable Successors:

Great managerial campaigns at Manchester United are seemingly punctuated by far less successful ones. Sir Matt Busby annihilated his foes for over 2 decades. His successors, however, were far less prominent and won pretty much nothing in comparison.

Until of course, Sir Alex Ferguson stepped up. For 27-years he dominated England and launched Manchester United to its peak. His departure, too, was followed by calamitous campaigns by David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. At Old Trafford, periods of excellence are often followed by periods of absolute mediocrity. Yin and Yang?

R is for (Bryan) Robson:

Ever heard the saying - 'A team is a reflection of its leadership'? Nobody validates that better than Bryan Robson. As Manchester United's longest serving captain, Robson led the club to laurel after laurel in his 12 years as club captain.

He made 461 appearances during this periods and is widely believed to be one of the best things that has ever happened to the club.

Also read: An A-Z guide to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

S is for Sir Alex Ferguson:

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The one and only Sir Alex Ferguson. Where does one even begin? SAF was undeniably one of the best managers of all time, to have served Manchester United, and the game in general.

His 26-year-long career with the Red Devils ensured a constant influx of sliverware. Under Sir Alex, Manchester United ran riot and filled up their trophy room quicker than you can say trophy room. He was appointed in 1986 and retired in 2003, with a staggering total of 38 trophies to show for his efforts during his time at Old Trafford.

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Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to the treble

T is for The Class of '92:

In 1992, a bunch of starry-eyed youngsters broke into the Manchester United first team, after graduating from the youth academy. These lads then went on to conquer England and introduced us to an inspiring story about 6 friends that embarked on a journey together. OH BOY! Some journey that was.

Wondering how six childhood friends tore it up together for the Red Devils? Well, these six Englishmen were none other than David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Gary Neville. That should put a swift end to your wonderment, eh?

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Sir Alex Ferguson with The Class of '92

U is for Undying desire for victory:

Manchester United have always ensured that their fans require just the edge of their seats. Under Sir Alex Ferguson they developed a penchant for astonishing come-backs. They'd concede a goal or two, almost as if to challenge the opponents, and then wait till the dying minutes of the game to stun the other team by often pulling off miraculous come-backs.

The saying: 'It's not over until it's over' has never been more accurate than it is with Manchester United.

V is for (Club) Value:

Manchester United are one of the most profitable clubs in the world, and understandably so. Backed by one of the biggest fan followings at a club level, the club's value has multiplied at a dizzying rate over the last few years.

In May 2017, Manchester United was valued at a cosmic €3.09 billion, comfortably ahead of La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, who stand at €2.97 billion and €2.76 billion, respectively.

W is for Winning trophies:

Ever since the inception of the club, Manchester United have dominated England and have gone on to lift 20 League titles, 5 League Cups, 12 FA Cups and 21 FA Community Shields so far.

Success followed them in Europe as well, as the club has also won three UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

'Glory Glory Man United', indeed.

X is for X-men Mascots:

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Manchester United walked out onto the field to face Bournemouth in their last English Premier League fixture of the 2015-16 season. Notably, they were accompanied by children cosplaying as X-Men characters.

This was a part of the club's promotional activities for the X-Men: Apocalypse movie that came out that year.

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Manchester United mascots promoting an X-men movie

Y is for Youth Academy:

Some of the club's finest talents have emerged through the ranks of the youth academy. Having generated a plethora of excellent individuals, the academy feeds the club promising talent at a surprising frequency.

Managers like Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Bubsy tapped into and made full use of the academy during their campaigns at the club.

Z is for Zipping up critics:

Time and again, critics have always found a reason to rant against the club, and time and again, the club has found a way to shut them up. Regardless of whether its on the pitch or off of it, Manchester United have always responded emphatically to silence their critics.

Published 08 Sep 2017, 12:45 IST
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