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1. George Best



George Best was born in Belfast on 22nd May 1946. He died on 25th November 2005, aged 59. Sadly his life was blighted by his own celebrity status and he succumbed to drinking. He made his debut on 14th October 1963 v West Brom at Old Trafford. Overall he played 470 games and scored 179 goals. Many of which were magical solo efforts and equally many very important winners. His best haul was 6 against Northampton in an FA Cup game. In 1968 he was crowned European Footballer of the Year. His solo effort in extra time against Benfica in the 1968 European Cup Final will long be remembered as the goal that set United up for a memorable 4-1 win.

2. Bobby Charlton



Bobby was born in Ashington, Northumberland on 11th October 1937. A member of the world famous Busby Babes, he survived the Munich aircrash to become a leading world footballer for both Manchester United and England. Charlton still holds the goals scoring record for England with 49 goals. His record appearance for United is 757, but, at the time of writing, Ryan Giggs is closing on this formaidable achievement.

His brother Jack played for Leeds United and later managed Eire. The Charlton's are related to the famous Newcastle football family, the Milburns. Bobby signed for United in 1953 (debut in 1956 v Charlton (H)) and officially played as a midfielder.

Bobby scored twice in the European Cup Final of 1968 and both he and his brother Jack played alongside each other in the 1966 World Cup Final. Now a director at the club he has served for over 50 years. The Bobby Chalrton Soccer School takes place every summer and in one such, a 12 year old was awarded for his skills, his name was David Beckham.

3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.



Who can forget that goal! Champions League Final in Barcelona in 1999 cementing a glorious never before achieved, treble of League, FA cup, and Champions League. At the time of writing this he is about to honoured by the King of Norway with a Knighthood. Ole hails from Norway where he was born, in Kristiansand, on 26th February 1973. He made his debut from the bench (and scored) for United in 1996 against Blackburn at Old Trafford. Little did we know what was to unfold before our very eyes. In 216 appearances for United he netted 126 goals. 4 of these came when he appeared as a second half sub away at Notts Forest, getting all 4 in very quick time. Through injury Ole has retired from actively playing and is now working with the backroom staff at United, helping the young strikers prove their own skills.

4. Duncan Edwards.



Duncan was one of the famous Busby Babes and already an England regular. His life was cut short following the Munich air crash. He died in hospital 2 weeks after the crash, aged 21.

Born in Dudley on 1st October 1936. Matt Busby himself knocked on his door and asked him to sign for United although there was enormous interest from elsewhere. He was rated above Law, Charlton and Best which is a fair indication of the huge talent this player had. Fans and foes rated him the best they had ever seen. He made his debut for United on 4th April 1953, aged 16, v Cardiff at Old Trafford. Rated nowadays as a midfielder his defensive work was inspiring. He played only 177 games for United, scoring 21 goals. In his 18 games for England he scored 5 goals. [FONT=Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-1]The great Bobby Charlton said "Duncan Edwards was the only player that made me feel inferior"[/SIZE][/FONT]
 

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5. Martin Buchan



Martin was born on the 6th March 1949 in Aberdeen where he was club captain aged 20. Signed by frank O'Farrell with stern competition coming from clubs like Leeds United and Liverpool. He spent 11 years at Old Trafford, from 1972 - 1983. Officially a central defender, Martin was not shy in coming forward and scored on 4 occasions in a total of 458 appearances. Martin left United for Oldham in August 1983. Scottish International winning 34 caps. He tried his hand at management (Burnley) but gave up and left the game. Always reliable, ever dependable. Had a good turn of speed. Voted the Player of the First Division in 1977 by the managers. Once thumped Gordon Hill for making a mistake!! Manutd.com says this: "In Buchan’s 11 years at Old Trafford he demonstrated excellent positional awareness which, coupled with his pace, made him one of the coolest and classiest defenders of his era."

6. Bryan Robson



Captain Marvel for both Manchester United and England. Signed by Ron Atkinson from his old club, West Bromwich Albion. Born in the breeding ground of football, the North East, Bryan signed for United in 1981 for the then record fee of £1.7m. Bryan was born on 11th January 1957.

In a glittering career he captained England, earning 90 caps and scoring 26 goals. He remains the only club captain to lead a team to three FA Cup wins. In 1993 Robson helped Manchester United finally win the league championship, a long held dream him after 12 long years of trying. Bryan truly wore his heart on his sleeve, always giving 100% for the cause.

Bryan played a total of 437 games for United, scoring 99 goals. Later as manager of Middlesbrough he led them to three Wembley appearances.

7. Eric Cantona



What can anyone say about Eric Cantona? The Master. He had his moments and was his own worst enemy with his constant striving for perfection. Practise was his key, he said to always practice, do not stop, keep striving. Most famous amongst none United fans for his attack on a foul mouthed fan at Palace, he was easily forgiven by the fans who, rightly, adored him. Mon Dieu was born in France, [FONT=Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona, on 24th May 1966. Advertising posters for Nike, across the country, proclaimed that "'66 was a great year for English football. Eric was born".

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[/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Easily the most influential footballer in English footballer of the 1990s. A player of true vision and creativity, worthy of that now, much over-used word, "genius". His passing, innovation and influence was unrivalled, he could split a defence with the sort of pass that only he could create. Who can forget that lob over the defence for Denis Irwin to run onto and score? Eric had an exhilarating array of skills, back-heels, stylish flicks, turns and lobs combined with immaculate ball control and touch. It was the signing of Eric, from Leeds (who had pipped United to the First div title by 1 point) that proved to be the catalyst for the fantastic run of success Manchester United continue to enjoy today.

His long range shooting caught many a keeper out, the ball whizzing into the net before they had moved! One on one with keepers, he was ice cool and usually won the duel. Eric was a one off, nobody could emulate him, ever. Typical gaullic temperament caused him to enter many a referee's book, in some cases, red! Famously called the French FA "Idiots" to their faces. Eric the Master, mon Dieu, will always be fondly remembered at Old Trafford, truly a giant amongst men, and 1997 was a bad year for English football when he announced his retirment to a stunned, almost mourning Old Trafford. A God had passed into legend.
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8. Roy Keane



Roy Keane was born in Cork, Eire on 10th August 1971. Like many kids, people thought Roy was too small to be a footballer and he took a job lifting beer barrels in order to tone himself up. His hard work paid off and he began his famous career with Cobh Ramblers (Cork). Then a very famous person took a hand in his career and Roy was invited to Nottingham Forest and a meeting with Brian Clough. When Roy and his parents arrived, Brian Clough met them, introduced himself to his parents and said "Call me Brian" - he turned to Roy and said, "You, young man, call me Sir!!" Working under the Master was to prove to be very beneficial to Roy. Cloughie gave him regular airplane tickets to enable him to visit home. This was as much psychological as anything, stopped Roy feeling out of place, or homesick.

In 1993, Manchester United paid Forest a then record of £3.75m. Roy made his debut in the FA Charity Shield on 7th August 1993 against Arsenal (1-1). Always fiery, always totally committed, Roy soon established himself as a "take no prisoners" midfield general. Players became genuinely scared of him and he did nothing to foster any other belief. His own team mates suffered from Roy's perfection, oftern getting rifted on the field as well as off it. He strongly disapproved of the lifestyle of many of the younger players and spoke publically on this towards the end of his career. Roy played 458 times for United in all competitions, and who can forget that goal v Juventus in the 99 semi final? He totalled 51 goals, all of which gave him enormous pleasure.

Roy left under a bit of a cloud due to his comments about non triers and lifestyles but the fans loved him and still call his name today. He is now manager of Sunderland FC. He joined them at the foot of the Championship League and steered them straight to the top, then promotion to the Premier League.

9. Denis Law



Denis was born on the 24th February 1940, another son of Aberdeen, Scotland. Denis played 55 times for his country scoring 31 goals. Denis played 398 times for United scoring 237 goals, an amazing feat.

Denis Law was the perfect goal poacher. Quick, very nimble and tenacious. Could score goals out of seemingly nothing. Denis made his debut for United on 18th August 1962 after being bought for the massive sum of £115,000 from Torino, in Italy. Previously he had been a player at Huddersfield under the great Bill Shankly and Manchester City but that was never held against him ;)

Argueably the most "famous" goal he scored was for Manchester City against United in 1974 which effectively relegated United to the then second division. He actually intended it as a back heel to the keeper. United fans never blamed Denis at all, and Denis refused to celebrate the goal against his beloved United. It actually became his last kick on football, as he retired immediately after the game. Quite controversially, Tommy Docherty had given Denis a free transfer in 1973, and he went across the town to Manchester City. Denis' autobiography is a must read for all Reds.

10. Denis Irwin



Denis was born on 31st October 1965 in Cork, Eire. United paid Oldham £650,000 for Denis in 1990, this has to rank alongside the £1m paid for Cantona as the bargain of the century. Irwin actually started off at right back, but with the arrival of Paul Parker, he successfully moved to left back. Where he ruled the left wing, sending in loads of crosses after devasting runs from the back and the overlap.

Denis Irwin has got to be one of the best ever left backs to grace the playing fields of Old Trafford. Made his debut for United in the Charity Shield of 1990 against Liverpool. Made 511 appearances for United in all competitions and scored 33 goals. One of these is still talked about even today, when Eric Cantona with a seemingly nonchalant flick of the foot, chipped a ball over an entire defence, onto Irwin's boot to score with a thunderous volley, Irwin's trademark.

His only blemish was his outrageous sending off by Referee Elleray at Anfield, which cost him a place at Wembley FA Cup Final with Newcastle because of suspension.
 

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11. Pat Crerand



Pat was born on 11th February 1939 in Glasgow. Pat played 392 games for Manchester United, scoring 15 goals. He also played for his homeland, Scotland gaining 16 caps. A member of the European cup winning team in 1968 he also gained 2 championship medals in 64/65 and 67/68. He previously played for Celtic 1958 - 1963. Tried his hand at managing Northampton but only for one season 76/77 He had previousely been assistant manager under Tommy Docherty for a short time. Now a pundit and match commentator on MUTV.

Pat was a footballer who tried to learn all he could about the opposition. In the 1963 cup final he knew that Banks, in the Leicester goal, was apt to threw the ball out to fellow Scot Dave Gibson. During the game he noted that Gibson was free and Banks had the ball, so whilst others waited, he sprinted forward and took possession of the ball from Gibson, threading it through to Denis Law, who duly scored.
 

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12. Paul Scholes




Birthdate:16 Nov 1974
Birthplace:Salford, England
Position:Midfielder
Appearances:568+
Goals:139
Joined United:08 Jul 1991
United Debut:21 Sep 1994 v Port Vale (A)
International: England
+ still playing

Paul is one of those few players currently still playing in the Premier League that every manager would love in his own side. Bobby Charlton said, "He’s always so in control and pinpoint accurate with his passing – a beautiful player to watch." Affectionately known as "the ginja ninja". Paul was part of the new wave of talent that ushered in Beckham, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers in the mid-1990s, Salford-born Scholes scored twice on his debut in the League Cup at Port Vale in 1994/95 – and on his first league outing against Ipswich – and hasn't looked back. Now in the top seven highest ever appearance makers and the top twelve highest goalscorers at the club, Scholes is, indisputably, one of the finest talents in United's history.
 

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13. Ryan Giggs



Birthdate:29 Nov 1973
Birthplace:Cardiff, Wales
Position:Midfielder
Appearances:758+
Goals:144+
Joined United:09 Jul 1990
United Debut:02 Mar 1991 v Everton (H)
International Wales
+ still playing

Ryan Giggs is the club’s most decorated player with 18 major honours, yet he might never have graced Old Trafford had it not been for Sir Alex Ferguson’s intervention. Cardiff-born Giggs was attending Manchester City's School of Excellence in his early teens, but Sir Alex made a personal visit to his house on his 14th birthday and Ryan jumped at the chance to sign for his boyhood club. He turned professional at United in November 1990. He made his League debut in the old Division One against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991 as a substitute for Denis Irwin. The following season his first league start proved a memorable occasion, scoring his first ever United goal (albeit via a deflection) in a 1-0 win over Manchester City. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GxhYklM_3M - goals link.

On 11th May 2008 he came on as substitute at Wigan Athletic in the final game of the season and scored the second goal in a 2-0 win clinching the championship for United. This is particularly memorable as he equalled Sir Bobby Charlton's playing record of 758. He passed this record against Chelski in the Champions League final on May 21st, in Moscow, when he came on as sub and scored one of the penalties in the shootout.
 

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14. Peter Schmeichel



Date of Birth:18 Nov 1963
Birth Place: Gladsaxe, Denmark
Height:194 cm

Manchester United 1991 - 1999
Denmark 129 appearances (record)

Few critics would argue that Danish legend Peter Schmeichel was during his prime the best goalkeeper in the world.

Schmeichel made his name at Manchester United where he was a pillar at Old Trafford during a trophy-laden 8-year spell, but he first came to international prominence at the 1992 European Championships when Denmark stunned the footballing world with an unlikely victory after stepping in for the expelled Yugoslavs.

Affectionately known as the ‘Great Dane’, Peter Schmeichel is so popular in England that even opposition fans admit to a soft spot for him. This is in large part due to the respect the Denmark native commands, with a long and glorious career playing in clubs around Europe and winning cups, solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport.

In England though, Schmeichel is best known as the keystone of a Manchester United squad that topped the league again and again in the 1990s. Schmeichel is considered by many pundits to be one of the finest foreign players in the English league, and was certainly the most remarkable goalkeeper of his generation, with his great height, white-blond hair and occasionally red nose(!) ensuring he soon became a recognisable figure both on and off the pitch. His personal accolades attest to his individual prestige, even picking up consecutive titles for World and European Goalkeeper of the Year in 1992 and 1993.

The success kept coming in club football as well, with Schmeichel spending the greater part his career with United, becoming a much-loved figure amongst fans. During his eight years at Manchester United, Schmeichel was the stalwart of the team, rarely substituted and eventually made captain, and he reached the top of the Premier League no fewer than five times alongside his teammates. United also won three FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League.

There were few lows in this most successful of partnerships, although Schmeichel did fall out with Alex Ferguson and left the club briefly during the 1993-4 season. Ferguson reputedly forgave Schmeichel’s outburst when he heard him giving a humble apology to his team-mates in the changing rooms. More seriously though, Schmeichel was accused by Ian Wright of racism in 1997, a charge which was investigated but eventually dropped in the same year.
Schmeichel’s last season for United was perhaps his career high, as the 1998-1999 season saw the team capture the treble of the Premiership, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

As well as being an integral member of the team, he was even captain during the Champions League final in the place of the suspended Roy Keane, lifting the trophy after a dramatic 2-1 victory in Barcelona. It was truly a perfect way to round off his career at United.
 
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