Next tour: Fri 26 May 2017.
Meet: Visitor Centre, Piccadilly Gardens, 1.30pm.
Bob Paisley won more trophies, Bill Shankly made more noise, Alf was better spoken. But nobody commanded more respect than Matt.
It may have been the calm air of authority he carried around with him or the fact that he got things done. People looked up to him and did according to his bidding.
He was born in 1909 in a mining village in southern Scotland. As an aspiring young footballer Matt Busby was ignored by Celtic, even though he was a Catholic, because he had spoken to Rangers. So he journeyed south to play not for Manchester United but for the two teams that became their greatest rivals: Manchester City and Liverpool.
After the Second World War Matt Busby became Manchester United manager. There he created not one but three brilliant teams, rebuilding the club after the horrors of Munich and making them the first English winners of the European Cup. He also nurtured the greatest of players: George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. What a trinity, aided and abetted by the remarkable Nobby Stiles, Paddy Crerand, Tony Dunne, Brian Kidd, Shay Brennan…
The Matt Busby tour takes you through the story of the game’s greatest manager visiting haunts he would have known: the Midland Hotel (where Bobby Charlton’s testimonial dinner was held in 1972), Manchester Town Hall (Busby was in the City team that won the Cup in 1934 and celebrated here) and probably even the Brown Bull on Salford’s Chapel Street, haunt of George Best, which Matt refused to name properly, purposely calling it the Green Pig, Black Cow or Brown Horse in admonishing his greatest player.
We will also hear how Manchester United got their name, visit the site where the Football League was founded in 1888 (without any local clubs) and hear why Manchester City were forced to sell all their players in 1905, United gaining the best of their cast-offs. But mostly we will recall the story of the man who made Manchester united.