Welcome to the Manchester United F.C. Team Thread
Team Name: Manchester United
Nickname: The Red Devils
Year Founded: 1878
President: Ed Woodward
Current Manager: Louis van Gaal
Club Captain: Wayne Rooney
Vice Captain: Michael Carrick
League: English Premier League
Media Prediction: 3rd
Fierce Rivals: Liverpool (Local), Manchester City (Local), Leeds United (Historic)
Other Rivals: Arsenal (Competitive), Bolton (Local), Chelsea (Competitive)
Legends: Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, Ryan Giggs, Duncan Edwards, Dennis Law, George Best, Matt Busby
Icons: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Steve Bruce, Gary Neville, Ruud Van Nistelrooij, Peter Schmeichel, David Beckham
Favoured Personnel: Cristiano Ronaldo, Brian McClair, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Rafael
Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) depot at Newton Heath. The team initially played games against other departments and rail companies, but on 20 November 1880, they competed in their first recorded match; wearing the colours of the railway company – green and gold – they were defeated 6–0 by Bolton Wanderers' reserve team. By 1888, the club had become a founding member of The Combination, a regional football league. Following the league's dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance, which ran for three seasons before being merged with the Football League. This resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the rail company and dropped the "LYR" from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division
In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £260,000 in 2015 the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies who became club president, each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name; on 24 April 1902, Manchester United was officially born. Under Ernest Mangnall, who assumed managerial duties in 1903, the team finished as Second Division runners-up in 1906 and secured promotion to the First Division, which they won in 1908 – the club's first league title. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield and ended with the club's first FA Cup title. Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City.
In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, where it remained until regaining promotion in 1925. Relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Following the death of principal benefactor John Henry Davies in October 1927, the club's finances deteriorated to the extent that Manchester United would likely have gone bankrupt had it not been for James W. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000 and assumed control of the club. In the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division.
Busby years (1945–1969)
In October 1945, the impending resumption of football led to the managerial appointment of Matt Busby, who demanded an unprecedented level of control over team selection, player transfers and training sessions. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947, 1948 and 1949, and to FA Cup victory in 1948. In 1952, the club won the First Division, its first league title for 41 years. With an average age of 22, the media labelled the back-to-back title winning side of 1956 "the Busby Babes", a testament to Busby's faith in his youth players. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season. En route to the semi-final, which they lost to Real Madrid, the team recorded a 10–0 victory over Belgian champions Anderlecht, which remains the club's biggest victory on record.
The following season, on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final victory against Red Star Belgrade, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United players, officials and journalists crashed while attempting to take off after refuelling in Munich, Germany. The Munich air disaster of 6 February 1958 claimed 23 lives, including those of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan – and injured several more. Reserve team manager Jimmy Murphy took over as manager while Busby recovered from his injuries and the club's makeshift side reached the FA Cup final, which they lost to Bolton Wanderers. In recognition of the team's tragedy, UEFA invited the club to compete in the 1958–59 European Cup alongside eventual League champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite approval from the FA, the Football League determined that the club should not enter the competition, since it had not qualified. Busby rebuilt the team through the 1960s by signing players such as Denis Law and Pat Crerand, who combined with the next generation of youth players – including George Best – to win the FA Cup in 1963. The following season, they finished second in the league, then won the title in 1965 and 1967. In 1968, Manchester United became the first English (and second British) club to win the European Cup, beating Benfica 4–1 in the final with a team that contained three European Footballers of the Year: Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best. Matt Busby resigned as manager in 1969 and was replaced by
the reserve team coach, former Manchester United player Wilf McGuinness.
Ferguson years (1986–2013)
Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox arrived from Aberdeen on the day of Atkinson's dismissal, and guided the club to an 11th-place finish in the league. Despite a second place finish in 1987–88, the club was back in 11th place the following season. Reportedly on the verge of being dismissed, victory over Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final replay (after a 3–3 draw) saved Ferguson's career. The following season, Manchester United claimed its first Cup Winners' Cup title and competed in the 1991 UEFA Super Cup, beating European Cup holders Red Star Belgrade 1–0 in the final at Old Trafford. A second consecutive League Cup final appearance followed in 1992, in which the team beat Nottingham Forest 1–0 at Wembley. In 1993, the club won its first league title since 1967, and a year later, for the first time since 1957, it won a second consecutive title – alongside the FA Cup – to complete the first "Double" in the club's history.
In the 1998–99 season, Manchester United became the first team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League – "The Treble" – in the same season. Losing 1–0 going into injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored late goals to claim a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich, in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks of all time. The club also won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 1–0 in Tokyo. Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football. Manchester United won the league again in the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons. The team finished third in 2001–02, before regaining the title in 2002–03. They won the 2003–04 FA Cup, beating Millwall 3–0 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In the 2005–06 season, Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over a decade, but recovered to secure a second-place league finish and victory over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 Football League Cup Final. The club regained the Premier League in the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, and completed the European double by beating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Ryan Giggs made a record 759th appearance for the club in this game, overtaking previous record holder Bobby Charlton.In December 2008, the club won the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup and followed this with the 2008–09 Football League Cup, and its third successive Premier League title. That summer, Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80 million. In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2–1 at Wembley to retain the League Cup, its first successful defence of a knockout cup competition. After finishing as runner-up to Chelsea in the 2009–10 season, United achieved a record 19th league title in 2010–11, securing the championship with a 1–1 away draw against Blackburn Rovers on 14 May 2011. After finishing as runner-up to Manchester City in the 2011–12 season, United achieved a record 20th league title in 2012–13, securing the championship with a 3–0 home win against Aston Villa on 22 April 2013.
On 8 May 2013, Ferguson announced that he was to retire as manager at the end of the football season, but would remain at the club as a director and club ambassador. The club announced the next day that Everton manager David Moyes would replace him from 1 July, having signed a six-year contract. Ryan Giggs took over as interim player-manager 10 months later on 22 April 2014, when Moyes was sacked after a poor season in which the club failed to defend their Premier League title and failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995–96. They also failed to qualify for the Europa League, meaning that it was the first time Manchester United hadn't qualified for a European competition since 1990. On 19 May 2014, it was confirmed that Louis van Gaal would replace Moyes as Manchester United manager on a three-year deal, with Giggs as his assistant. Malcolm Glazer, the patriarch of the Glazer family that owns the club, died on 28 May 2014.
Despite the arrival of new boss Louis van Gaal, Manchester United had a difficult start to the season, winning just three of their first ten league games, with the last of that sequence being a 1-0 loss at local rivals and champions Manchester City. During that opening spell Van Gaal also saw his team lose 5-3 to the recently promoted Leicester City, and held to draws by Burnley, Sunderland and West Brom. There was also an embarrassing defeat to League One's MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
A 2-1 win over Crystal Palace was the start of better things to come and United went on a 16 game unbeaten run in the league, which lasted from November until February when Swansea City beat them 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.They exited the FA Cup in March when old boy Danny Welbeck – who’d been labelled surplus to requirements by Van Gaal - scored the winning goal for Arsenal and from February onwards it was hard to predict which United would turn up as they beat long-time rivals Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, before losing 3-0 to Everton at Goodison at the end of April.
Despite their inconsistent nature and a disappointing season for several star players – including British transfer record signing Angel di Maria and highly paid on-loan striker Radamel Falcao - they have finished a respectable fourth, booking a return to the Champions League next season.
Corporate Facilities: Top
Training Facilities: State of the art training facilities
Youth Facilities: Top
Estimated Value: £1.2B (loan debt: £440M)
Transfer Budget: £60M
Manchester United's best work in the transfer window was retaining David De Gea on a new contract, so you will be blessed to have the Spaniard in goal for a long period of time. Selling him is not recommended as there are not many better. You also have Sergio Romero and Victor Valdes as very talented backups who can be called upon in the premier league. If you are looking for a home-grown player you don't have to worry about calling on Sam Johnstone who is very strong as well.
Luke Shaw is up there with the highest potential players in the game and he is only going to get better with more playtime. His only downside is that I have found him to be a bit injury prone so you will have to be careful when his condition is low that it might turn serious. Again you have very strong backups in Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo with the likes of Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian able to provide support if needed.
Before last season many were expecting United to sign either Sergio Ramos or Matts Hummels, but now people have seen the ability that Chris (Mike) Smalling posses and there aren't many better right now. Personally I played Daley Blind next to him as a BPD but I would suggest going with Phil Jones if your tactic is more basic. Marcos Rojo is also a starting option but is frequently injured. You can also call on Paddy McNair to help out in games as well.
Previous to the transfer window this was by far United's weakest position after the sale of Rafael but the signing of Matteo Darmian was a master stroke from Van Gaal and he is a terrific player in Football Manager. However the depth is still not great on this side with Antonio Valencia the next best and that is never really trustworthy.
A position where United are blessed with World Class quality and depth, FM has Michael Carrick listed as the strongest defensive midfielder, but you can't look past the quality of new signing Morgan Schniderlin. You can also strongly rely on Bastian Scweinsteiger and Daley Blind to play there as well. If worse comes to worse Paddy McNair, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini can fill the part.
Another United position that is full of strength. I would suggest finding a way to fit in Ander Herrera, as I believe he is one of the most underrated players in all of Football Manager. He can start alongside Bastian or Morgan depending on the formation that you choose to play. This position also allows you to make use of or Marouane Fellaini, Andreas Pereiera (not reccomended) and Nick Powell.
Left Attacking Midfield
Memphis Depay, that is all I have to say for this position. I have not played a save on FM15 or 16 that Memphis has not developed to be one of the greatest in the game, he is a total talent and should be played as often as humanly possible. You are also blessed with Ashley Young who seems to be the best crosser of the ball on the game. When Adnan Januzaj comes back you will also be able to make the most of his potential. If needed, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata can play here as well.
Centre Attacking Midfield
A position that United have not really been utilizing in real life, instead playing the talent of Juan Mata on the right hand side. Mata is one of the best players at the start of the game and he is best utilized while you still have his full talent. Ander Herrera is a strong backup but an interesting option that can make or break a game would be to give Wayne Rooney a run in the position and see what he can do sitting a bit deeper. In this position I also received helpful contributions from Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard.
Right Attacking Midfield
This is United's weakest position on the field depending on what formation you play. If you are playing a 4231 then you will most likely have Mata in the middle, restricting you to Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia, which unfortunately these days aren't players you can rely on week in week out. This is why you will definitely need to strengthen this over the window with either a star or a talent.
Wayne Rooney. Currently struggling in the premier league under Louis van Gaal and at the age of 29 he is not going to get much better. Exactly why you need to make the most of him for the 2-3 seasons that you will have his rich talent for. You could also try and get some cash for Rooney and start Anthony Martial, the wonder kid who has captured the world's heart with his impressive performances in the premier league and finds himself as one of Football Manager's highest potential players. James Wilson is another kid who has been getting some exposure for United however he has just gone on loan to Brighton in real life he won't be available in some transfer updates.
Out on loan
Will Keane Preston North End
Ben Pearson Barnsley
Joe Rothwell Barnsley
Tyler Blackett Celtic
Adnan Januzaj Borussia Dortmund
With an excellent goalkeeper, numerous central midfielders of quality and some mercurial forward talent, Manchester United have some key strengths to build around in terms of choosing a formation and strategy.
There are some excellent passers of the ball in the squad and you can use this to your advantage with a philosophy based around retaining possession, with creative players given the freedom to play through-balls and incisive passes moving forward.
The squad generally has players with a strong first touch and decent technique, which further helps in keeping control of the ball.
With saleable assets, players on the fringe of the squad like Fellaini, Young and Valencia are easy enough to ship out and can add to an already sizeable transfer budget.
Boasting a young squad, with an average age of 24, Manchester United start with some young players who can easily turn into true greats. Martial can become an incredibly prolific striker, Shaw keeps on getting better and Adnan Januzaj can turn into a skilful creative force.
Jones, Smalling, Rojo and Darmian are all good players, but they lack a standout leader in the defence on par with the best in the world. Their defence is lacking in back-up too (Paddy McNair isn't good enough and Blind is too small).
The midfield has two issues - their lack of pace coupled with average wide players. The temptation is to play a very narrow formation that makes good use of their central midfield talent. However, playing against a team that utilises pacey wingers alongside overlapping full-backs, it becomes very difficult to contain them.
Up front, your main issue is the lack of a truly high quality goalscorer. Rooney is excellent in deeper roles, Depay works best out wide and Martial isn't quite ready to take on the burden of being the main source of goals. This combines with a slight issue in fitting your best players in the same side working in concert with each other.
Defence: Buying younger players who can fit straight in and surpass your current line-up is a recommendation. Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid) and John Stones (Everton) are all excellent and will only improve.
Midfield: Koke (Atletico Madrid), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain), and Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund) all possess more mobility than players like Carrick, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger. To buy a top-class midfielder, expect to pay big money.
Forward: If you can get a hold of Lucas Moura from (PSG), he complements Depay perfectly on the right flank as an inside forward. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) can be the complete striker you need as a focal point for your attacks.
4-3-3 DM Wide
This formation plays to the strengths of your playing squad - namely lots of good central midfielders. Using a Deep Lying Playmaker/Regista and two central midfielders allows you to dictate the game with a possession style. Use Schneiderlin as the ball winner in the centre of the pitch and Herrera as an Advanced Playmaker, with Schweinsteiger either as the Regista or Deep Lying Playmaker.
Up Front it is best to use Rooney as your striker, flanked by Mata in a creative role on the right and Memphis as an attacking winger or inside forward from the left. You'll also want your team to have the freedom to swap positions with a fluid formation, Rooney and Mata are at their best when allowed to float into pockets of space around the box.
This formation uses three central defenders and relies on wing-backs for its width, with two central midfielders, two central attacking midfielders and a striker.
Shaw makes a great wing-back with his pace although Darmian may struggle to get up and down the pitch. A combination of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger makes for a solid midfield base. That frees Mata to occupy an advanced playermaker role, with Rooney as a shadow striker and either Martial or Depay up front.
4-1-2-3 DM Narrow
Another narrow option, this is similar to the 4-3-3 set-up but instead of using wide forward players, it tucks two players in behind the striker. Again you'll want to use Rooney and Mata behind either Depay or Martial.
This is an interesting formation from the Football Manager community that uses inverted wing-backs drifting inside. Combine that with two playmakers out wide, two false nines dropping deep into space and an incredible passer sitting in the deep DM position alongside a traditional defensive midfielder. The strategy hinges on the deep-lying playmaker. Fortunately, with Schweinsteiger, Manchester United are in a good place to play into the strengths of this strategy. Your team will tend to sit outside the opposition box, controlling the play with unpredictable movement and incisive passing. This tactic can be a joy to watch, although it doesn't really play to the strengths of Depay or Martial.
U21S AND U18S
The under-21 side has a lot of players that will make it at a lower level, but some of these players have the potential to make it at Old Trafford. Look to blood youngsters such as Vanja Milinkovic-Savic (5* potential), Axel Tuanzebe (3 1/2* potential), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (3* potential), Sean Goss (3 1/2* potential), Demetri Mitchell (3 1/2* potential) and Marcus Rashford (3 1/2* potential).
The under-18s also have a couple of highly-rated youngsters that you should look into blooding, such as Ilias Moutha Sebtaoui (4* potential), Tyrell Warren (3 1/2* potential) and Ro-Shaun Williams (3* potential), but one player you must bring through is Callum Gribbin (5* potential), who can become one of the best players in the world if nurtured correctly. He has the attributes to play a sporadic role in first-team football at the tender age of 16, so look to play him in cup competitions if given the chance.