(I thought before the FM 2012 came out, I would fire up a save with a big gun, I choose Manchester United. Here is my story)
Shock news reverberates around the footballing world, 1st July 2010 Sir Alex Ferguson has finally called it a day. Having achieved everything in football and unable to compete with Barcelona in recent times, he's decided to step down and let another manager continue the succession of this great footballing club. Though he would have liked to have knocked Liverpool of their "perch", he has equalled their number of titles which back in 1992 seemed an impossible task.
David Gill, paid tribute to the best manager that we have ever seen in the footballing world and someone who is unlikely to be matched in the future. David reassured fans through the press, stating "We have planned for this event, though we didn't think it would happen so soon. We will release information later on today at our press conference at 12."
A Brief Club History...
Manchester United are one of the most famous names in world football and have been the most successful in England since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. After a barren spell of 26 years without a league championship United finally topped the table in 1992-93 and have since won another 10 titles under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson to equal Liverpool's record of 18 titles.
However, the fame, glamour and success of the modern day heroes is a far cry from the club's humble origins as Newton Heath. Founded by railway workers in 1878, Newton Heath eventually joined the Football League in 1892 and their name was changed to Manchester United a decade later. Under this new guise the club celebrated its first league championship in 1908.
Despite some early successes, the club spent many seasons in the old 2nd Division and it is not until after the Second World War that United's modern day reputation began to find solid foundations. Matt Busby arrived at a time when United were playing home matches at Maine Road due to bomb damage to Old Trafford but soon developed a young team capable of challenging the best in the country. After winning three league titles in the 50s, the 'Busby Babes' were tragically decimated by the Munich air crash of February 1958 where 23 people lost their lives, among them some of the most talented footballers of their generation such as Duncan Edwards, Liam Whelan and Tommy Taylor.
Busby recovered from serious injuries to build another great team, featuring the dynamic triumvirate of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and the mercurial genius from Belfast, George Best. A decade on from Munich, United won their first European Cup by beating Benfica 4-1 at an emotionally charged Wembley Stadium. This was the pinnacle though and decline set in rapidly for an aging United, culminating in relegation from Division 1 in 1974. FA Cup successes aside, United were a sleeping giant in the 1970s and 80s, watching painfully on as arch rivals Liverpool swept all before them at home and in Europe.
The seeds for a new era of success were sown in 1986 when Alex Ferguson succeeded Ron Atkinson as manager. Ferguson initially struggled to exert his disciplinary style on Big Ron's team and flirted with the sack before FA Cup success in 1990 and Cup Winners Cup glory in 1991 set the wheels in motion for a remarkable era of dominance. Inspired by the flair of Eric Cantona, the never-say-die attitude of Roy Keane, the remarkable goalkeeping of Peter Schmeichel and a crop of young stars such as Giggs, Scholes and Beckham, United dominated the English game in the 90s in a manner similar to Liverpool in the 80s. The crowning glory was victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final in 1999, United incredibly clawing victory from the jaws of defeat by scoring twice in injury time to win 2-1.
United have continued their successes into the new millenium and a further Champions League crown was secured in Moscow in 2008. Old Trafford has been treated to the talents of many modern superstars such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand while Alex Ferguson, now Sir Alex, continues going strong almost a quarter century into his tenure. Recent years have seen turmoil off the pitch however following the sale of the club to the Glazer family. This has seen the club being plunged into debt and the long term future of Manchester United is far from certain.
Sir Alex's current starting XI
GK – Edwin van der Sar - joined United from Fulham at the beginning of the 2005/06 season. The experienced Dutchman started his career at Ajax, winning a Champions League winners medal in 1995. He has proven to be a top class goalkeeper for United who had been desperately searching for an able replacement for Peter Schmeichel following his departure in 1999.
DR – Rafael da Silva - Rafael and his twin brother Fábio first came to the attention of United scouts in 2005 and both eventually signed for the club in January 2008. An attacking full-back, Rafael impressed greatly in his 1st season, immediately staking a claim for a regular first team spot. Despite a sticky 2nd season, Rafael remains an excellent long term prospect for United and received his first call up to the senior Brazil squad in July 2010.
DL - Patrice Evra – the jet-propelled French left back has been a firm favourite with the Old Trafford faithful since his arrival from Monaco in 2006. After recovering from a troublesome start, Evra has since made the left back berth his own and has proven to be a bargain at £5.5m. Although nominally a defender, Evra plays an important part in United's attacking play with his tireless bursts on the left flank.
DC – Nemanja Vidic – signed in the same transfer window as Evra, Vidic is a no nonsense defender in the mould of former United captain Steve Bruce. Signed from Spartak Moscow, Vidic has established himself as one of the leading centre backs in the European game and has been named as United captain for the 2010/11 campaign.
DC – Rio Ferdinand – despite costing in the region of £30m from Leeds United, Rio has proved his worth to United time and again and has been pivotal in the club's success over the past 8 years. A classy and composed defender, Rio is the perfect partner to Vidic's more abrasive style. Increasingly troubled by injury, Rio's fitness remains crucial to United's hopes for further silverware.
MR - Nani – following the unfortunate injury to Antonio Valencia, Nani now has the perfect opportunity to showcase his exceptional talent in his favourite position on a regular basis. Signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2007, Nani spent his early days in the shadow of compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo. His performances in 2010 have shown that he is ready to become a key member in United's attack for years to come.
ML – Ryan Giggs – the most decorated player in English football history, Giggs is a credit to Manchester United and the game of football itself. Almost 20 years on from his United debut, Giggs has since surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's club appearance record and is still an important member of the 1st team squad. No longer the flying winger of yester-year, Giggs has adapted his game to cope with his loss of pace and can still unlock a tight defence with an astute pace, cross or flick.
MC – Paul Scholes – another unassuming United legend, Scholes is surely the greatest midfielder United have produced since Charlton. A fixture in the United team since 1995, Scholes continues to be United's chief source of inspiration in the centre of the park with his exceptional range of passing and has started the 2010/11 season in vintage style.
MC – Darren Fletcher – another product of United's academy, Fletcher has become the heartbeat of the United midfield. Fletcher has been a part of the United 1st team squad since 2003/04 and has blossomed in recent years to become a key player for the club. Now Scotland captain, his combative nature and non-stop workrate on the pitch, combined with a level headed maturity off it, mark him out as a future United skipper also.
ST – Wayne Rooney – a phenomenal talent from the age of 16 in Everton's 1st team, Rooney signed for United following his remarkable performance at Euro 2004 when still only 18. Still only in his mid-20s, Rooney has potentially another decade at the top of his profession and has already notched over 150 goals for United. Injury and off the field troubles have caused a dip in his fine 2009/10 performance, but a return to form is surely only a matter of time for such a gifted footballer.
ST – Dimitar Berbatov – signed for a club record fee from Tottenham in 2008 the Bulgarian star is one of Europe's most gifted strikers on his day and is starting to show his best form for United at the begininning of the 2010/11 season. Criticised for his lackadaisical demeanour by some, his natural talent and flair is unquestionable.
Nation - England
Year Founded - 1878
Status - Professional
Reputation - Worldwide
Chairman Status - Loves the club
Legends – Sir Alex Ferguson, Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Duncan Edwards, Denis Law, Sir Matt Busby, George Best
Icons – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes,Steve Bruce, Gary Neville, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Peter Schmeichel, David Beckham
Favoured Personnel – Brian Kidd, Wayne Rooney, Brian McClair, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mark Hughes
Derbies – Manchester Derby (vs Man City), Roses Derby (vs Leeds), North-West Derby (vs Liverpool)
Fierce Rivals – Liverpool, Man City, Leeds
Other Rivals – Arsenal, Bolton, Chelsea
Finances - Rich
Average Ticket Price – £39.00
Average Season Ticket Price - £730
Estimated Value - £344M (Loan Debt: £664M)
Continental Competition -European Champions Cup
Stadium – Old Trafford, 75797 all seater
Training Facilities - Top Training Facilities
Youth Facilities – Good youth Facilities + Youth Academy
Youth Recruitment – Well established youth recruitment
Captain = Nemanja Vidic - Vice-captain = Gary Neville
Expections – Minimum expectation is a title challenge
Transfer Budget – Winner - £21.5m/£1.8m per week in wages or Title Challenge - £17.5m in transfers/£1.6m in wages