Matt Busby: Reds Must Thank Blues

Published: Feb 11, 2014 06:27am EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 11, 2014 @ 06:27am EST


In soccer, there are always patterns if you look hard enough and the current plight of Manchester United is no different. Although to call it a plight with only six teams in England bettering them is a little over the top, but such is the expectation surrounding the club now. 

In 1969 Manchester United had just seen their long serving, very successful Scottish born manager, Matt Busby, leave the side after over 2 decades of success. His successor, Wilf McGuinness, lasted until the December of his second season before being fired. Heads up David Moyes as a Manchester United replaced a long serving, successful Scottish Manager, with another Scottish Manager, who also hadn’t won a trophy before taking the United reigns. The replaced went upstairs in the club while the replacement struggled and was then let go after 18 months in charge. 

I have written about Sir Matt Busby before with the recent remembrances of the Munich Air Disaster. But before he was a red and he was a blue. If it wasn’t for Manchester City the Busby era at Manchester United may never have happened. It is true to say the whole Busby family were thought to be looking at a move to Canada before the Manchester City board intervened.

Yes, he did go on to manage Manchester United for more than 1,000 games and won them 5 titles, 2 FA Cups and the European Cup and for that he will, and should, be most remembered. Also the Munich Air Disaster was something that almost took his life, and he was read his last rites twice, and so the fact he continued on for 11 years more before his first retirement is quite amazing.

Back to City though and the over 200 appearances and 14 goals in blue, 2 FA Cup Finals appearances, including the 2-1 Cup victory in 1934 against Portsmouth. It all started at Maine Road eighty six years ago as on this day in 1928 a 17 year old, Canadian bound Matt Busby, signed for Manchester City. 

During his eight years before the World War II, he found affection with the City fans so much so that his initial success at United actually came at the City home, Maine Road. Such was the love for the young man who graced their pitch that, when the home of Manchester United was bombed by the Germans and was unfit for games, City allowed United to play their games at Maine Road. City supporters also attended the games managed by the man they still considered a blue hero and may have actually been glad for the man when he found success, which would be unheard of in todays climate. What he went on to do at Manchester United is in the record books for all to see, admire and talk about. 

Although he died before he saw his red side win the treble, their success in that year would have been the year of his 90th birthday. He managed his side to their first European trophy 10 years after the Munich disaster, and another Scottish Manager did the same 40 years after that, and 50 years after the air disaster.

On the Jan. 20, 1994, he died in the Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, Manchester, and was buried next to his wife, who had passed just more than 5 years earlier.

That meant the young Scot, who was so close to being on his way to North America, found his final resting place in the city he adopted and influenced, both clubs in various, and positive ways.


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Jason Bardwell
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