Manchester United, the most successful English football club ever
Manchester United was founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club, changing its name to Manchester United Football Club in 1902. The club currently competes in the English football highest level, the Premier League, and is commonly known as Man U, Man United, Red Devils or simply United.
Manchester United F.C. is one of the most popular and successful football clubs in England and the World having won over 60 titles, including a record 20 English top tier League's and 11 FA Cups. In 2012, United was considered the most valuable sports club in the world, valued at £1.4 billion and is currently the 2nd richest football club in the world, generating over £433 million in 2014. Manchester United was also distinguished by FIFA as the 2nd greatest football club of the 20th century and the best from England.
Up until the Second World War, Man United was a club of average dimension and success, alternating between the first and second tiers of English Football. Their success and global growth in popularity came during the tenures of two historical Scottish managers, Sir Matt Busby (between 1945 and 1969) and Sir Alex Ferguson (between 1986 and 2013). During Sir Matt Busby's tenure, United built a highly successful and famous team based on players who had progressed from their own academy and youth teams, nicknamed the "Busby Babes". In 1958, the club was hit by tragedy when eight of the Busby Babes lost their lives in a plane crash, in Munich, when the team was returning from a European Cup clash. Ten years later, Sir Matt Busby would lead United to become the first English club ever to win a European Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson would later overtake Busby as the longest serving manager at the club with a tenure of 26 years during which he won 38 titles, including two European Cup's and 13 Premier Leagues.
Manchester United's popularity is also linked to the development of the 'superstar footballer' during the liberalisation of Western society in the 1960s. The phenomenon started with George Best who would be nicknamed 'the fifth Beatle' for his off-the-field 'superstar status' and later followed by other Man United players and global off-the-field celebrities like David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Red Devils have historic rivalries with Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds United and most famously Manchester City, with the matches between both being known as the Manchester Derby.