The Legendary Football Superstars of Manchester United written by: FingersMalloy Manchester United is the most decorated football club in English football history. Formed in 1878 as the Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the team has a rich and illustrious history of producing great players and heroes of the pitch. With dash and daring, they thrilled the fans of Manchester with the tenacity of champions. Here we celebrate and honour a few of the superstars of Manchester United.
Perhaps the best midfielder ever, Bobby Charlton graced the pitch with his ferocious attacks and uncanny passing from 1956 through 1973. He survived the Munich air disaster that claimed the lives of 23 people including 8 players of Manchester United when a plane carrying the team clipped a fence at the end of a slushy runway in a snowstorm. Cautioned just two times in his entire playing career, Charlton played to honour his fallen team mates.
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England won the World Cup in 1966 and Bobby won the Ballon d’Or as the best European player the same year. To this day he is on Manchester United’s board of directors.
Bobby Charlton called Duncan Edwards “the only player that made me feel inferior.” Known for his size and strength and his dominating presence, Big Dunc is regarded as one of the all-time toughest players. A defensive midfielder, he was a fearsome tackler who kept surging against all comers. In his five-year career with United, his team won two Football League championships and reached the European Cup semi-finals. He was aboard the plane that crashed in Munich in 1958, sustaining multiple fractures of the leg and ribs. He fought hard for his life but his kidneys were too badly damaged. He died on the 21st of February, 1958. A sad day indeed for football fans everywhere.
George Best is known as the greatest footballer ever from Ireland. The top scorer for Manchester United for five straight seasons, his 179 goals came in 470 matches in the 11 years he played for the club. A great dribbler and a genius with the ball, off the field he was a rogue and a scallywag, living up to his nickname “El Beetle.” He shared his name with the fifth Beetle. His drinking and womanizing and his fondness for fast cars and fast living caused many a controversy and financial problems. He received a liver transplant in 2002 and died in 2005 at 59. He squandered much of his talent but, still, the great Pele called him the “greatest player in the world.”
A midfielder with spot-on accuracy of his passes, Paul Scholes won 11 Premier League trophies and 2 Champion League titles. His 718 matches is the third most of players for Manchester United, but his striking red hair couldn’t keep him from scoring 32 yellow cards in the Champions League (most in league history), and 97 in the Premier League (all-time fourth best). Well-respected as a player, his critics nonetheless thought him a bit of a punter for his aggressive style and retaliatory tackling.
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The only Scot to win the Ballon d’Or in 1964, Denis Law scored an incredible 237 goals in 404 matches for United. Rival fans honoured him for his play by calling him Denis the Menace but to his fans he was The Lawman and The King. Law was instrumental in leading the club back after the Munich air disaster decimated its roster. His team won the Football League First Division in the 1964-1965 and 1966-1967 seasons. He missed the European Cup championship match because of a knee injury. United kept him from seeing a doctor’s report recommending knee surgery and the cortisone shots he took eased the pain but masked the damage being done while playing. The last few years of his career was hindered by a bum knee.
Ryan Giggs played all of his pro career for Manchester United and is the most decorated player in the annals of English football history. For 23 years starting in 1991 at the age of 17, he made appearances in 963 matches scoring 168 goals for the club. Among his records are:
34 trophies, most in the history of football.
Most assists in the Premier League.
22 Premier League seasons played consecutively.
21 Premier League seasons having scored.
Most appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
Most starts and appearances by a Manchester United player.
Oldest footballer to score a goal in the Summer Olympics and in the Champions League.
Giggs was a media sensation before David Beckham became famous. His endorsements included Fuji, Reebok, ITV Digital and Givenchy among others. He was a popular cover boy since the ladies liked his rugged good looks and the men wanted to read about his football exploits. He supported opposition to landmines and travelled the world drawing attention to the damage caused when a child stepped on a landmine.
These are a few of the vivid personalities and great athletes who can truly be called the superstars of Manchester United and most assuredly the future has many more in store for the fans of the beautiful game.