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Man Utd managers and memorable milestones – part 2

In this article we look at the history of Manchester United managers over the past 50 years including Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

In the previous article we looked at the early years of Manchester United are learned about the ups and downs the club went through after changing their name from Newton Heath. In this article we will continue to follow their journey to become one of the top teams in England and Europe.

In the Premier League season this year, United are currently second, 11 points behind leaders Man City with seven games to go. The Old Trafford team has also reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League (against Granada) and are favourites to win the tournament. You can see the latest odds at Kubet and back Man Utd to win the 2020/21 Europa League.

Life after Sir Matt Busby

After Sir Matt Busby’s success at the club, another dark period evolved at Manchester United and at times the club were close to relegation. However, perhaps these periods of struggle were the stepping stone to further success in the future…

Wilf Mcguinness (1969-1970) and Frank O’Farrell (1971–1972)

After Sir Matt helped Manchester United become the first English team to win the European Cup, he went on to coach the club for another year and left his role as coach to his student Wilf McGuinness. As a member of “The Children of Busby”, McGuiness’s career as a player was very short due to a serious injury. He also struggled to make an impression as manager as he failed to gain the support of the players and was eventually sacked inside a year. Busby returned to see-out the second half of the 1970-1971 season, however, he retired from football permanently that summer.

The permanent successor to Wilf McGuinness was Frank O’Farrell (1971-1972). The Irishman arrived from Leicester City and enjoyed a superb start – winning 18 out of the first 20 games – but the success didn’t last long and he lasted only a year in the job.

Tommy Docherty (1972-1977)

O’Farrell was replaced by Scottish coach Tommy Docherty (1972-1977). Docherty brought a new lease of life to Old Trafford and although he got the club relegated in 1974, they played great football and won the second division the following year before lifting the FA Cup in 1977. Unfortunately, Docherty’s involvement with the wife of a club fitness coach got him fired that summer.

Dave Sexton (1977-1981)

In the four years managing United, the most notable achievement of Dave Sexton was to bring the team to the 1979 FA Cup final and come second in the league (behind Liverpool).

Ron Atkinson: (1981-1986)

After Dave Sexton left, Ron Atkinson joined Manchester United in 1981 and brought in a new ear of big signings at Old Trafford. Atkinson won the FA Cup in 1983 and 1985 but failed to mount a serious title challenge before leaving in 1986.

Sir Alex Ferguson: (1986-2013)

After several years of struggling to compete for the league title, United finally found the manager they had been looking for to usher in a period od dominance over English football.

Sir Alex Ferguson became the most successful coach in English football history during his lengthy spell at Old Trafford. After surviving a rocky first few years that almost saw him sacked, Fergie won the FA Cup in 1990 to keep his job and the rest, as they say, is history. Ferguson made Man Utd the most dominant team in English football history, winning 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and 2 Champions League’s.

Arguably his greatest achievement came in 1999 when he led the club to an historic treble, winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. Under Ferguson’s guidance, Man Utd become one of the biggest and most popular clubs in the world.

Post-Sir Alex coaches

Sir Alex Ferguson finally left United in 2013 and understandably, it’s proven extremely difficult to replace the living legend.

David Moyes (2013–2014)

David Moyes was the first permanent successor to Fergie but it turned out to be a disappointing appointment. The former Everton coach struggled in the shadow of Ferguson and was sacked inside nine months.

Louis van Gaal (2014–2016)

Dutchamn Louis Van Gaal replaced Moyes in the summer of 2014. He won the FA Cup in 2016 and won the hearts of many Manchester United fans with his personality. However, the club struggled to compete for titles and van Gaal was eventually sacked.

José Mourinho (2016-2018)

The so-called ‘Special One’ arrived as Van Gaal’s replacement. Mourinho got the club competing again and managed to win the League Cup and the Europa League during his time at Old Trafford but he failed to win over the fans. The former Chelsea coach failed to live up to his ‘Special One’ tag and was sacked in December 2018 after a poor start to the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær – the current manager

Solskjær was initially brought in as a temporary replacement for Mourinho but after impressing the clubs hierarchy, he was handed the job full-time in the summer of 2019. The former United striker has been given time to overhaul the club but has failed to win any silverware to date.

United have reached semi-finals on three occasions under Solskjaer but have lost them all and there is now growing pressure to end their trophy drought. Despite his lack of silverware, Solskjaer is still expected to lead United next season and they are favourites to win the Europa League this campaign.

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