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From tand Manchester United fan, identifies the moments that made the club what they are todayhe stock market flotation of 1991 to a flirtation with third-tier football in 1934 - Bill Edgar, Times football writer

50 Stock Exchange flotation, 1991

United were not the first football club to take this route, but it helped consolidate their position as the wealthiest outfit in the country.

49 Thrashed by Barcelona, 1994

United harboured hopes of becoming European champions but – hampered by the rule that restricted foreign players and classed non-English players from the British Isles as such – they were put firmly in their place by Romario, Stoichkov and Co.
48 Betting scandal, 1915

With United in danger of relegation from the top division, three of their players conspired with four Liverpool players to fix the match. All were banned for life.

47 Playing at home in Plymouth, 1977

Hooliganism followed United during the mid-1970s and, as punishment for their fans' behaviour in the first leg away to St Etienne, they had to play the return at least 200 kilometres from Manchester, and duly progressed after a 2-0 win at Home Park.

46 Louis Edwards scandal, 1980

Granada Television's World in Action programme accused United chairman Louis Edwards of suspect dealing in the meat industry and bribing the parents of schoolboy players. The police and football authorities began investigating but Edwards soon died of a heart attack, leaving the inquires to peter out.

45 Whiteside's winner, 1985

Norman Whiteside had already shown his liking for the big occasion by scoring in the FA Cup and League Cup finals of 1983 and playing in the 1982 World Cup finals. Facing Everton, the league champions, in the 1985 FA Cup Final in a United side down to ten men, he curled a brilliant shot home in extra-time to ensure a 1-0 win.

44 MUTV launched, 1998

To emphasise their ambition and commercial standing, United formed their own television channel, three years before any other English club. Chelsea TV followed in 2001.

43 Signing of Rooney, 2004
Wayne Rooney was English football's hottest property for years so United flexed their financial muscle to prize him from Everton for a transfer fee of up to £29million.

42 Michael Knighton's juggling, 1989

The prospective owner played keepy-uppy in the sunshine before the opening-day hammering of Arsenal but the deal fell through amid claims that he could not find backers.

41 Ray Wood's injury, 1957

United were firm favourites to complete the first League and Cup Double of the 20th century but Peter McFarland's violent foul on Ray Wood after six minutes forced the United goalkeeper off. In the days before substitutes and proper punishment for foul play, United had to play 10 against 11 (instead of 11 against 10) and duly lost 2-1.

40 Holders drop the FA Cup, 2000

Apparently encouraged by the FA to play in the inaugural Club World Championship in Brazil, United withdrew from the FA Cup having won it the previous season. They were criticised for showing a lack of respect to the famous competition.
 

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39 Barcelona blown away, 1984

After losing the first leg of their Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final 2-0 in Spain, United stormed back on a raucous night at Old Trafford to beat Diego Maradona’s side 3-0, with two goals from Bryan Robson and one from Frank Stapleton.

38 Docherty’s affair, 1977

Newspapers revealed that manager Tommy Docherty was having an affair with Mary Brown, wife of United physio Laurie, so United, embarrassed by the scandal, sacked him.

37 Giggs’ weaving run, 1999


United were a man down in extra-time of their FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal when Ryan Giggs intercepted Patrick Vieira’s pass on the halfway line and swayed around several challenges before blasting the winner and baring his chest. The goal gave United the belief that they could achieve the treble.

36 Comeback at Anfield, 1988

The league table showed United were inferior to Liverpool throughout the 1980s yet they raised their game when up against their bitter rivals. Facing one of the great Liverpool sides, they fell 3-1 behind but, with ten men, recovered to draw 3-3, extending their league record against the Merseysiders to one defeat in 17 games. Gordon Strachan celebrated his equaliser provocatively, pretending to smoke a cigar

35 Kung-fu fighting, 1995

Eric Cantona had a unique way of dealing with life’s problems so, when a spectator abused him at Selhurst Park in the match against Crystal Palace, he launched his feet into the man’s chest and was banned for eight months.



34 Agonising collapse, 1992

Nerves and a congested fixture list foiled United’s pursuit of a first league title for 25 years. Defeats in late April at home to Nottingham Forest and away to West Ham United and a draw away to Luton Town, all in the space of five days, left Leeds United in pole position. The failure only added to the sense of exhilaration when the holy grail was finally reached a year later.

33 BSkyB’s failed takeover, 1998

Fourteen years after Robert Maxwell proved unable to take control of United, Rupert Murdoch tried his luck and seemed to have got his way when the club recommended that shareholders accept BSkyB’s offer. But, after the deal had been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry blocked it.

32 Robson signs, 1981

Ron Atkinson described Robson as “pure gold” when signing the England midfield player from West Bromwich Albion and the player repaid the compliment by helping to ensure United finished in the top four throughout the manager’s five-year reign.

31 Fergie gives Beckham the boot, 2003

Angered by David Beckham’s supposedly failure to mark an opponent when Arsenal scored in their FA Cup win at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a boot that flew at David Beckham, scarring his forehead. It symbolised the manager’s frustration at the celebrity circus surrounding the player and Beckham was sold at the end of the season.

30 United turn on Wembley style, 1948

In what was considered one of the great FA Cup Finals, United beat Blackpool 4-2 to help create their reputation for stylish football that remains today.
 

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29 Nike deal, 2002

The sportswear company agreed to give United £300million over the next 13 years, cementing their position as England's richest club.

28 Giggs swaps sides, 1988

Ryan Giggs played at Manchester City as a schoolboy but he was poached by United, who have been repaid with 15 years of flair, consistency and success.

27 Saints Day, 1976

United reached their first FA Cup Final in 13 years in 1976 when they met Southampton. While the game ended in a surprising defeat, it established United's habit of reaching this fixture – five times in ten years from 1976 to 1985 – just as the game was being shown around the world in more and more countries on television, thereby increasing their worldwide following.

26 United almost third rate, 1934

Only a last-day win away to Millwall saved United from relegation to the third tier. Such was their lowly status in the 1930s that just 3,900 watched the match against Middlesbrough in 1931.

25 Fergie's U-turn, 2002

Sir Alex Ferguson had announced that he would retire at the end of the 2001-02 season and the campaign started badly. The manager decided he couldn't get let go, though, and stayed to engineer further league titles in 2003 and 2007.

24 United raid City, 1906

Manchester City were forced to sell a raft of players after making illegal payments, while Billy Meredith also had to leave them for allegedly bribing an Aston Villa player. An auction was planned where all clubs could attempt to buy them but United courted and signed four in advance in secret, including Meredith, angering their rivals. The new players helped United win their first trophies, the league titles of 1908 and 1911 and the FA Cup of 1909.

23 Denis Law arrives, 1962

The Scotland striker was signed from Torino and became European Footballer of the Year in 1964 and a cult hero at Old Trafford.

222 Busby steps down, 1969

Sir Matt Busby had built up Manchester United almost single-handedly so the decision to maintain his enormous presence in the background, as general manager, seemed to hamper Wilf McGuiness, his successor. A decline set in.

21 Title collapse, 1986

United had begun the season in scintillating style with ten successive victories and seemed likely to end their long search for the league title. But their challenge gradually fell apart and they lost the lead in February on a weekend when they were beaten by West Ham United at Upton Park.

20 Old Trafford is bombed, 1939-1945

The war-time damage inflicted on Old Trafford forced United to play at Manchester City's Maine Road ground until 1949. It reinforced the feeling that the club had to start again from scratch having

19 Cantona signs, 1992

Almost as an after thought, Sir Alex Ferguson asked Leeds United if he might be allowed to have Eric Cantona and he was granted his wish for just £1 million. The France forward inspired four league titles in his five seasons at the club and galvanised the young players with his diligent training.

18 Relegation, 1974

The shock of demotion six years after conquering Europe shook up the club. Tommy Docherty built an exciting team that attracted the highest average attendances in the country despite playing in the second tier and they stormed back to the top flight.

17 Old Trafford expands, 2006

The increase in capacity to 76,000 meant the stadium held 16,000 more seats than any other English club.

16 Robins keeps Fergie bobbing along, 1990

Sir Alex Ferguson was thought to be close to the sack but Mark Robins scored the only goal in the FA Cup third round tie away to Nottingham Forest and United went on to win the manager's first trophy, buying him time that he put to good use.

15 Fergie's Jimmy Hill outburst, 1994


After television highlighted a foul by Eric Cantona in United's FA Cup victory away to Norwich City, Sir Alex Ferguson showed he had little time for perceived unfair media criticism, accusing the BBC's football panel of being Liverpool fans and announcing that “Jimmy Hill is a prat†– a line that was repeated in front-page headlines the following day.

14 League title, 1952

In the season when the phrase “Busby Babes†was first mentioned, United won their first league championship under Sir Matt Busby.

13 Keane joins United, 1993

Roy Keane had told Blackburn Rovers he would sign for them from Nottingham Forest but United intervened and the Irishman changed his mind. He was their driving force from midfield for 12 years.

12 American nightmare, 2005

A club with no debt was plunged deeply into the red via the takeover by Malcolm Glazer and his family. Many United fans were so aghast that they formed their own club, FC United.

11 Perfect ten, 1956

United shrugged off the opposition of English football authorities to become European pioneers. They won their first home match 10-0 against Anderlecht.

10 Entertainment, please, 1981

Jose Mourinho's recent dismissal by Chelsea was far from the first case of a manager losing his job because his team's football was too dull. Dave Sexton had just finished the season with seven successive league wins but he was ditched in favour of the extrovert Ron Atkinson, who brought a flamboyancy to United's play.

9 George Best emerges, 1963

The swaggering Northern Irishman is widely considered to have been the greatest British player and his presence helped swell interest in United during the 1960s.

8 Keane's prawn sandwich blast, 2000

Roy Keane was so angered by the criticism from the corporate areas of Old Trafford during the Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev that he dismissed their occupants as prawn sandwich eaters who had little knowledge of the game.

7 Bruce's header, 1993

United had trailed at home to Sheffield Wednesday until late in the game in the league run-in but, after conjuring up the equaliser, Steve Bruce added the winning goal deep into stoppage time to leave Brian Kidd, the assistant manager, on his knees on the pitch in delight and United ahead of Aston Villa in the table. Three weeks later they wrapped up their first league title in 26 years.

6 Bobby Charlton's debut, 1956

As perhaps the most famous English player of all time, his presence in the team for 17 years helped to make United famous around the world.

5 The Nou Camp, 1999

United's first European Cup for 31 years and the first such League-FA Cup-European Cup treble by an English team were achieved through two goals in stoppage time against Bayern Munich in the final.

4 European champions at last, 1968

Ten years after the destruction in a plane crash of the United team that had seemed destined to win the European Cup, Sir Matt Busby guided a rebuilt side to glory against Benfica on an emotional night at Wembley.

3 Fergie's appointment, 1986

Sir Alex Ferguson became manager, kicked out the drinkers, overhauled the youth system and achieved his stated aim of knocking Liverpool off their perch.

2 Munich air crash, 1958

Eight United players were killed when their plane crashed in Munich after a refuelling stop on the return from a European Cup tie in Belgrade. The wiping out of the standard bearers of English football brought world-wide sympathy for the club and fired imaginations as to what they might have achieved.

1 Busby's arrival, 1945

United were just another medium-sized club when Sir Matt Busby became manager after the war and he, more than anyone, was responsible for turning them into giants of the world game, building three great teams and laying down a philosophy of attacking football.
 

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my top 5 greatest moments:

5) JUVE VS UNITED CHMPS LGE SEMI FINAL 2ND LEG 1999

2-0 down keano gets us right back in it cole books our place in the nou camp

4) UNITED VS LPOOL FA CUP 5 RND 1999

1-0 down 2 goals at the death from yorke and ole sends scousers crashing out

3) UNITED VS ARSNL FA CUP SEMI FNL RPLY 1999

1-1 down to 10 men treble hopes fading step up welsh wizard treble back on

2) UNITED VS LPOOL FA CUP FINAL 1996

0-0 85th minute step up the king

1) UNITED VS BAYERN MUNICH CHMPNS LGE FINAL 1999

need i say anymore
 

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giggs fa cup semi-final at number 37. what a load of footballs

it was one of the most entertaining games i have ever seen, it had it all. Beckham's goal was pure class, bergkamp reply was typical of the bloke in that it was annoyingly genius. dissalowed goal from anelka. keane sent off. penalty last minute. saved by schmeichel. extra-time and arsenal happy for it to go to penalties. schmeichel save and injured in process. one of the greatest goals of all time and the last to grace a semi-final replay. and NUMBER 37.

"He's cut Arsenal to ribbons!!!!!!!"
 

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Great read. My favourites are Ryan Giggs's goal and Norman Whiteside's goal. Everton had could won the treble but they lost against us. :D
I miss one thing! 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool also had could won the treble but they lost against us.
And we became the first English football club who won the treble :D :D :D
 
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