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Sir Matt Busby 1945-1969, 1970-1971

November 15, 2009

Written by: Robi Prosser
The best-loved and most successful manager in United’s first 100 years, Matt Busby created three great sides, one in each decade of his time at the club. He inherited a stadium ravaged by bombing, and built a club that became an institution. The son of a miner, Busby was born in the village of Orbiston, near  Glasgow. He played local football for Denny Hibs. At 17 he joined Manchester City, then played for Liverpool untill the second world war, when he served in the king’s Liverpool regiment and the Army Physical training Corps.
After the war, Busby accepted the job at Old Trafford and built his first succesful side. In 1948 they won the FA Cup for the first time, beating Blackpool in the final 4-2. In the League his side finished runners-up four times in five seasons, and finally clinched the championship in 1952. Busby’s youth development policy began to pay dividends. United won the FA Youth Cup in its first five seasons, from 1952-1957, with players who formed the nucleus of the senior side that became known as the Busby Babes. United won the championship in 1956 and 1957. They were on course for the first League and FA Cup double of the century in 1957, but lost in the Final to Aston Villa.
Against the will of the Football League, Busby took United into the European Cup in 1956 and reached the semi-final. A year later came the Munich air disaster. Busby was critically injured and on his recovery he was close to quitting football. He was persuaded to continue and began rebuilding his side. In 1963 he saw his side take the FA Cup, beating Leicester City 3-1. The arrival of George Best helped Busby’s third great side to the championship in 1967.
Matt Busby’s fifth championship opened the door to his greatest success. In 1968, United became the first English team to win the European Cup. Busby gave up his job at the end of 1968-69, although he took over again briefly when Wilf McGuiness was sacked in December 1970.
Awarded the CBE in 1958, Busby was knighted in June 1968. In 1972, he was made a Knight Commander of St. Gregory, one of the highest civil awards in the Catholic Curch. Sir Matt became United’s fisrt president after joining the board in 1979. He held the position untill he death on 20th January, 1994.

Matt Busby’s Honours:
League Championship: 1951-52, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1964-65, 1966-67
FA Cup winners: 1948, 1963
Europeaqn Cup: 1968
Charity Shield: 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967

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