|Sir Matt Busby the1968 European Cup|
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Manchester United All-Time Team Under Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United All-Time Team
This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Manchester United under Sir Matt Busby. The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.
Sir Matt Busby managed Manchester United between 1945 and 1969 and again for the second half of the 1970–71 season. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time. In a total of 25 years with the club, he won 13 trophies, including the 1968 European Cup. During the 1950's, he built the famous Busby Babes team. Sadly, part of that team was killed in the Munich air disaster.
|Busby Babes 1957|
GK: Alex Stepney (England)
Alex Stepney played with Millwall before joining Chelsea. He only played one game and was sold to Manchester United in 1966 to replace Harry Greg who was injured during the Munich Disaster. Stepney helped the Red Devils to win the 1968 European Cup. He only played once for England, largely because of playing in the same generation as Gordon Banks, Peter Bonetti, Gordon West and Ron Springett. He was the third at the 1970 World Cup.
GK: Harry Gregg (N.Ireland)
Gregg was Matt Busby's goalkeeper from 9 seasons. He survived the Munich Air Disaster. He was called a hero of the incident because he pulled out survivors from the burning plane. He was voted best goalkeeper of the tournament at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where Northern Ireland reached the quarter-finals. He had 25 caps. H also played for Doncaster Rovers and Stoke City.
GK: Jack Crompton (England)
Jack Crompton was in 1921 in Manchester. He was a goalkeeper for Manchester United between 1944 and 1956. He was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 1948. It was Sir Matt Busby's first trophy at Old Trafford. He also won the league title in 1952. During the Second World War, he played as a guest for Stockport County. He was also a long time coach at Manchester United.
RB/LB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland)
In 1949, John Carey was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year and in the same year captained the FAI XI that defeated England, becoming the first non-UK team to beat England at home. He also played and captained IFA XI. He spent most of his career with Manchester United, but also appeared as a guest player for other clubs during the war. He was team captain from 1946 until he retired as a player in 1953.
CB: Jackie Blanchflower (Northern Ireland)
Along with his brother Danny, Jackie Blanchflower helped Northern Ireland to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 1958. He was a member of Manchester United's "Busby Babes". He helped the club win the league title in 1956 and again in 1957. Nicknamed "Twiggy" by his teammates, he was renowned for his versatility. He survived the Munich Air Disaster, but his career was cut short. He retired in 1959 at the age of 24. He only had 12 caps between 1954 and 1958. He missed the 1958 World Cup Finals because of Munich.
CB: Allenby Chilton (England)
Chilton transferred to Manchester United in 1938. He played over 350 games until 1955. However, his early career was cut short by the Second World War although he made guest appearances for Airdrieonians, Cardiff City, Hartlepools United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic who he helped to win the War Cup South Final in 1944. He served in the Durham Light Infantry and saw active service in the Normandy Landings also in 1944.
CB: Bill Foulkes (England)
Bill Foulkes played for Manchester United in the Busby Babes teams of the 1950s, and also in the 1960s. His favoured position was centre-half. For Manchester United, he played 688 games which places him at number 4 on the all-time list of appearances. He was one of the few injured survivor of the Munich Air Disaster. He was a part of the team that won the European Cup in 1968. He and Charlton were the only players left at the club from the time of the disaster. He was capped once for England in 1954.
CB/CM: David Sadler (England)
David Sadler started his career with Maidstone United, but signed a professional contract with Manchester United in 1963, helping the club win the 1965 and 1967 First Division Football League championships as well as the 1968 European Cup. He left United in 1974 after scoring 27 goals for the club to join Preston North End, who were being managed by Sadler's former team-mate Bobby Charlton. Capped 4 times.
LB: Roger Byrne (England)
Roger Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes from the 1955–56 season onwards. He was discovered by Manchester United while playing for Ryder Brow Boys Club. With Manchester United, he won the league title in 1952, 1956 and 1957. He earned 33 caps with England while playing in every England's fixtures in that period, a record for England. This remains a record. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster.
Tommy Dunne played 13 seasons with Manchester United. He was a part of the team that won the European Cup in 1968. He later played for Bolton Wanderers and Detroit Express. At the international level, Dunne won 33 caps for the Republic of Ireland, playing for the national team from 1962 to 1975. He was Irish Footballer of the Year in 1969.
LB: Shay Brennan (Ireland)
Born in Manchester, Shay Brennan was an original Busby Babe. He made his debut on the first game after Munich Air Disaster. Brennan scored twice on an emotionally charged night. He was a member of the 1968 European Cup winning team. He later became a player-manager for Waterford United in Ireland. He was capped 19 times for the Republic of Ireland.
DM: Nobby Stiles (England)
Stiles played for England for five years, winning 28 caps and scoring 1 goal. He played every minute of England's victorious 1966 FIFA World Cup campaign. Stiles played the majority of his club career for Manchester United, spending eleven years at Old Trafford. He won the European Cup in 1968. After retirement, he was famously known for the youth coach for Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholas, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
Duncan Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United. He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He was the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 21. Many people considered him to be England's greatest player. He was a dominating central midfielder of his time. For the English national team, he was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.
CM: Pat Crerand (Scotland)
Pat Crerand started with Celtic in his native Scotland. After six years at Celtic he moved to Manchester United in 1963 where he was a member of teams that won the English League title twice, the FA Cup and European Cup. At the international level, he also gained 16 international caps for Scotland. He was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
RW/WH: Eddie Colman (England)
Colman was one of the eight Manchester United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster. He joined Manchester United's youth team on leaving school in the summer of 1952. He became a first-team member at right-half during the 1955-56 season. He made 108 first-team appearances for United, scoring two goals, the second of which came in the first leg of the fateful European Cup quarter-final tie against Red Star Belgrade.
LW/RW: George Best (Northern Ireland)
George Best was considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game. He was voted #19 as the greatest European player by the UEFA Jublilee Poll. He was known for his "pop star" lifestyle. He was one of the "United's Trinity" that helped Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968. He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.
|George Best with Matt Busby|
LW: Albert Scanlon (England)
Albert Scanlon was one of the "Busby Babes" who survived the Munich air disaster of 1958. Although he sustained severe injuries, he recovered and returned to the field the following season. In 1960, he left Manchester United and continued to play league football for Newcastle United, Lincoln City and Mansfield Town.
AM: Sir Bobby Charlton (England)
Sir Bobby was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time. He was capped 106 times by England and led England to World Cup victory in 1966. He is also England's all-time leading scorer and all-time cap leader at the time of his retirement. He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970). For club career, he almost played his entire career with Manchester United. He was the hero of Manchester United's the first ever European Cup trophy in 1968. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.
|Bobby Charlton with Busby|
FW: Stan Pearson (England)
Stan Pearson was signed by Manchester United as an amateur in December 1935. He stayed with the club until 1953. He retired in 1953 with 148 career goals. His hat-trick against Liverpool in 1946 would be the last hat-trick by a Manchester United player against them until Dimitar Berbatov did it in 2010. He was capped 8 times by England.
FW: David Herd (Scotland)
David Herd played for Arsenal, Manchester United, Stockport County, and Stoke City. He was the 15th leading scorer with Arsenal, where he played from 1954 to 1962. With Manchester United, he won the European Cup in 1968, but he did not play in the Final against Benfica. He was capped 5 times for Scotland. His first cap was in 1958 against Wales.
FW: Denis Law (Scotland)
Denis Law spent 11 years at Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances. His goals tally places him third in the club's history, behind Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney. He partnered George Best and Bobby Charlton at Manchester United, which was known as the "United Trinity". It was considered to be most popular forward line in British history. He was capped 55 times. He managed to play in the 1974 World Cup Finals.
From Manchester United's Academy, he was promoted to first team in 1967. He had the distinction of scoring on his 19th birthday for Manchester United in their 4–1 victory over Benfica in the 1968 European Cup Final. He all in all scored 52 times in 203 league appearances for Manchester United. He later played for Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton, Bolton Wanderers, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Minnesota Strikers. Capped twice.
ST: Jack Rowley (England)
Rowley mainly remembered for a 17-year spell with Manchester United. He was nicknamed "The Gunner" because of his prolific goalscoring and explosive shooting, scoring 211 goals in 424 appearances for United between 1937 and 1954. He is one of only four players in the history of Manchester United to score over 200 goals for the club. Rowley was also capped six times for England scoring six goals, four of which came against Northern Ireland on 16 November 1949.
ST: Dennis Viollet
Dennis Viollet came through the junior ranks at Manchester United and turned professional in 1950. His first game for the club came against arch-rivals Newcastle United on 11 April 1953. He was a striker, along with Tommy Taylor for the Busby Babes of the 1950s. He was a survivor of the Munich air disaster. He played twice for England, debuting in 1960 against Hungary.
ST: Tommy Taylor (England)
Tommy Taylor was one of the eight Manchester United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster. He was 8 days past his 26th birthday. He started with Barnley and moved to Manchester United in 1953. For England, he was seen as the perfect eventual replacement for the ageing Nat Lofthouse in the England side. In all, he played 19 times for England, scoring 16 goals. He managed two hat-tricks for the England team
Reg Allen, Ray Wood, Noel Cantwell, John Fitzpatrick, Willie Morgan.
-- The "Busby Babes" is the name given to the group of footballers, recruited and trained by Manchester United F.C. chief scout Joe Armstrong and assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, who progressed from the club's youth team into the first team under the management of the eponymous Matt Busby from the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. So Busby Babes were not every player who played under Sir Busby.
-- The team is not balanced. I took three left backs. I never selected a team with more than 2 fullbacks on one side.
I tried my best to put the best XI on the field.