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Manchester United – The Story of the World’s Most Famous Football Club

Next tour: Saturday 24 February 2018, 11am.
Meet: National Football Museum, Cathedral Gardens.
Booking. Please book here with eventbrite.

Next tour after that, 50 years to the day since winning the European Cup:
Tuesday 29 May, 5.30pm.
Meet: National Football Museum, Cathedral Gardens.
Booking: Please book here with eventbrite.

Once they were Newton Heath: Newton Heath Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway to be exact. A railway team, formed in 1878 in east Manchester, playing in the Lancs and Yorks company colours of green and gold. When their endeavours were first recorded in 1880 it was for a 6-0 defeat to Bolton’s reserves.

Yet they progressed over the next dozen or so years all the way to the top division which now in 2011 they hold the most championships for. Success wasn’t swift in those days and United didn’t last long before they were back in the second tier.

In 1902 Newton Heath’s owner’s began looking for a new name.  There was a meeting of the club at its Clayton ground on 26 April. The two main suggestions were “Manchester Celtic” and “Manchester Central”. Up got the club tea-boy, Louis Rocca. He suggested that Manchester Celtic was “too Scottish” and Manchester central “too industrial”. Why not go for Manchester United?

Good call!

•••

What the tour entails

We will hear how:
• The world’s most famous football team (no, not Real Madrid, you turnip) began as a railway works outfit in north Manchester.
• Both Bobby Charlton and George Best arrived in Manchester at the nearby station, and how their different experiences affected their progression.
• The corrupt newspaper boss Robert Maxwell tried to buy the club, and how lucky they were he didn’t.
• The playful antics of George Best drove Matt Busby to distraction.
• United nearly never became United – Manchester Central and Manchester Celtic were the preferred choices.
• United nearly never became United, saved only by the wandering behaviour of a dog called Major.