Monday, July 1, 2019

Manchester United All-Time team for British isles (excluding England)

Denis Law and George Best
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Manchester United All-Time Team
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Alex. 
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Busby

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Manchester United's players from the British Isles(Excluding England).  I have done a blog team for Manchester United All-Time Team for English Players and Manchester United All-Time Team for Foreign PlayersThe number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Even before the arrival Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986, Manchester United was the most popular club in England, despite not being the most successful side.  The Busby Babe created a lot of excitement for English football and then, the Munich air disaster turned the Red Devils into a team that everyone with a heart to follow.  By the late 1960's, the Trinity of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best represented three parts of the United Kingdom.  They appealed to the fans from ScotlandNorthern Ireland and England.  In 1968, Manchester United became the first English side to win the European Cup.  After the formation of the Premiership, they became the most successful club in English domestic football overtaking Liverpool for winning the most number of league titles.
Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs
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: Frank Barrett (Scotland)
Barrett played for Dundee Harp before joining Dundee upon their foundation in 1893. While with the Dark Blues, he won two caps for Scotland in 1894 and 1895. In 1896, he signed for Newton Heath. In 1900, he left Newton Heath for New Brighton Tower. In 1901, he briefly returned to Manchester, making eight appearances for Manchester City. In 1903, he became one of the founding players of Aberdeen. 

GK: Tommy Breen (Ireland/N.Ireland)  
Breen played for Belfast Celtic, Manchester United, Linfield and Shamrock Rovers. During his career, Breen was involved in several controversies; in November 1937, he turned down the chance to play for the FAI XI in a 1938 World Cup qualifier to play for the IFA XI in the 1938 British Home Championship. Then, in 1944, he transferred from Belfast Celtic to their rivals Linfield after a financial dispute.  Breen was a dual international and played for both Ireland teams: the IFA XI and the FAI XI.

RB/LB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland)  
He was also a dual internationalist, playing for and captaining both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI. In 1949, he 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.  As a player Carey spent most of his career at Manchester United, where he was team captain from 1946 until he retired as a player in 1953.
John Carey 
RB: Shay Brenann (Ireland)
Brenann made his debut for Manchester United which was also United's first game after the Munich air disaster.  He scored twice on an emotionally charged night. He helped United to the 1965 and 1967 Division One championships, as well as the European Cup. Born in England, he played internationally for the Republic of Ireland, qualifying through his parentage—the first Irish international to qualify in this way. 

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: Kevin Moran (Ireland)
From 1978 to 1988, Kevin Moran spent over a decade playing for Manchester United, winning two FA Cups.  He joined Sporting de Gijon in 1988. He moved to Blackburn Rovers in 1990 and helped to secure a promotion to the top division.  He was capped 71 times between 1980 and 1994, and he went to Euro 1988 , and the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals. 

CB: Martin Buchan (Scotland)
From 1965 to 1972, he played in Aberdeen, where he won the Scotish FA Cup.  He joined Manchester United from Aberdeen in 1972.  He became the captain of the team after Bobby Charlton retired.  Buchan helped United win the 1977 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, which they won 2–1. This meant that Buchan became the only player to captain both Scottish and English FA Cup-winning sides. He represented Scotland at the 1974 and 1978 WC Finals.
Martin Buchan 

CB/DM: Paul McGrath (Ireland)
Paul McGrath is one of Ireland's greatest players.  He played 83 times for Ireland. He appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals, as well as the Euro 1988.  He played for St Patrick's Athletic and then, joined Manchester United in 1982.  He had a run-in with Sir Alex Ferguson who was the new manager at Manchester United and moved to Aston Villa in 1989 where he won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993. He later played for Derby County and Sheffield United.

LB/RB: Denis Irwin (Ireland) 
Alex Ferguson considered him his greatest ever signing.  He played over 200 games for Manchester United, winning the Champions' League in 1999 and 7 Premiership titles. Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.  He is the joint most successful Irish footballer in history, having won 19 major trophies in his career.

LB: Tommy Dunne (Ireland)
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.

CM/DM: Roy Keane (Ireland)
Roy Keane was the captain of Manchester United from 1997 to 2005, where he won one Champions' League, 7 Preimer League titles and 4 FA Cups.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 2000.  He had 67 caps.  He played for Ireland at the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA, but was sent home 4 years later before the start of the World Cup Finals in 2002. He later played for Celtic in Scotland after leaving Manchester United.
Roy Keane
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.

FW/CM: Sammy McIlroy  (Northern Ireland)
Sammy McIlroy joined Manchester United in 1969, becoming Matt Busby's last signing at the club.  He stayed there until 1982.  At one point, Manchester United dropped to the 2nd divsion, where he helped them to grain promotion. He joined Stoke as their record signing.  He played in both Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986.  He was the captain of the 1986 World Cup side.

AM/SS: Lou Macari (Scotland)
Macari began his playing career at Celtic where he was one of the Quality Street Gang that also included Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain. He also played over 400 games for Manchester United, where he played over 400 games. He then finished his playing career at Swindon Town.  He went to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

FW/CM Norman Whiteside  (North Ireland)
In 1982, Norman Whiteside  became the youngest player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he made his debut with Manchester United as a 16 years old in 1982.  He became a starter in the 1982-1983 season as a teenager.  However, his career was marked with injury problems. He moved to Everton in 1989, which was then a more successful club than Manchester United at the time.  He retired in 1991.

RW:  Billy Meredith (Wales)
Billy Meredith was a legendary player for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was probably the greatest right winger in Manchester United's history, where he played between 1906 and 1921.  He was the oldest ever Manchester United player ever played. He gained 48 caps for Wales, for whom he scored 11 goals and won two British Home Championship titles.

LW: Ryan Giggs (Wales)
Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014.  He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales.  He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.
Ryan Giggs
LW/RW: George Best (N.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
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: Sandy Turnbull (Scotland)
Turnbull started his football career with Hurlford Thistle. He joined Manchester City, but the entire squad was suspended from playing football. He moved to City's crosstown rivals Manchester United, along with Billy Meredith, etc. He helped the club to their first championship in 1908 and the 1909 FA Cup, scoring the only goal in the final.  On 19 February 1909, Turnbull scored the first ever goal at Old Trafford,
Sandy Turnbull 
FW: Brian McClair (Scotland)
McAllen played for Celtic and Motherwell in Scotland.  He was Scottish Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year: 1987.  He was better known for his 11-year spell at Manchester United where he won 14 trophies including four Premier League titles. , as well as important tenures at Scottish clubs Celtic and Motherwell.  From 1986 to 1993, he played 30 times for Scotland.  He played in Euro 1992.

FW: Denis Law  (Scotland)
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 considered to be most popular forward line in British history.  He was capped 55 times.  He managed to play in the 1974 WC Finals.
Denis Law

ST: Frank Stapleton (Ireland) 
Frank Stapleton was Ireland's all-time leading scorer for a decade.  He had 71 caps and captained Ireland at the Euro 1988, Ireland's first major tournament. He is best remembered for his time at Arsenal and Manchester United, where he won a single FA Cup for both clubs. He also played in Holland, Belgium and France after he left Manchester United.

ST: Mark Hughes (Wales)
Mark Hughes was best remembered for his spells with Manchester United.   He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991. Hughes also played for  Barcelona, Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.  He had 72 caps for Wales. 
Mark Hughes 
Honorable Mention
Bill McKay (Scotland), Gordon Strachan (Scotland), Darren Fletcher (Scotland), Joe Jordan (Scotland), Noel Cantwell (Ireland), Joe Cassidy (Scotland), John O'Shea (Ireland), Liam "Billy" Whelan (Ireland).

Squad Explanation
-- George Best, Denis Law, Mark Hughes, John Carey, Martin Buchan, Denis Irvin, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Billy Meredith are on my Manchester United All-Time Team.
-- Jim Leighton suffered a horrible second season.  So he was not considered. 
-- GK Frank Barrett played Newton Heath, which is now Manchester United.
-- There are not too many choices.  Most of the keepers were backups.   Frank Barrett and Tommy Breen were chosen.
-- Denis Irvin is a lock on the leftback.  Tony Dunne played over 500 games for Manchester United. He edged out Arthur Albiston.
-- On the right side, I took John Carey and Shay Brennan.  Brennan edged out Noel Cantwell (Ireland) because the newspaper Telegraph ranked Brennan as the number 43rd Greatest Manchester United player while Cantwell was unranked. He helped the club win the 1965 and 1967 league titles and captained United when winning the 1963 FA Cup Final.
-- Shay Brennan was born in England.  He qualified to play for Ireland through his parentage—the first Irish international to qualify in this way.
-- Sir Alex is from Scotland, but not many good Scottish players played under him. Darren Fletcher and Brian McClair were the only player of note who played for him. He brough Jim Leighton to England, but he failed to live up to expectation.
-- Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Dennis Irvin were some of Sir Alex's most important players.  Keane had a fallout with him at the end of his career.
-- Brian McClair became the first United player since George Best to score more than 20 league goals in a season.
-- Although the peak of Paul McGrath's career came after Sir Alex sent him to Aston Villa, he is still rated among the greatest ever for the Red Devils.
-- Sandy Turnbull was one of the earliest players.  He won the first FA Cup For the united.
-- I have too many forwards on my team.  However, the selection  of Denis Law, Mark Hughes, Frank Stapleton and Brian McClair were obvious.
-- David Herd helped the club to the 1962–63 FA Cup, by scoring two gaols in the Final against Leicester.

Matt Buchan, John Carey, Roy Keane, Denis Law, Ryan Giggs and George Best are considered among the greatest ever players who played for Manchester United.

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