|Sir Matt Busby the1968 European Cup|
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
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)
Stepney played with Millwall before joining Chelsea. he only played one game and was sold to Manchester United to replace Harry Greg who was injured during the Munich Disaster. Stepney helped the Red Devils to win the 1968 European Cup.
GK: Harry Gregg (N.Ireland)
Matt Busby's goalkeeper from 9 seasons. He survived the Munich Air Disaster. He was voted best goalkeeper of the tournament at the 1958 World Cup, where Northern Ireland reached the quarter-finals.
GK: Jack Crompton (England)
Crompton was a goalkeeper for Manchester United between 1944 and 1956. He was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 1948 and the league title in 1952. During the Second World War, he played as a guest for Stockport County
RB/LB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland)
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.
CB: Jackie Blanchflower (Northern Ireland)
Along with his brother Danny, he helped Northern Ireland to qualify for the World Cup Finals. He was a member of Busby Babes. He survived the Munich Air Disaster, but his career was cut short.
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)
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. Capped once for England.
CB/CM: David Sadler (England)
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)
Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes. 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. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster.
LB: Tommy Dunne (Ireland)
Dunno 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. He won 33 caps for the Republic of Ireland, playing for the national team in 1962–1975. He was Irish Footballer of the Year in 1969.
LB: Shay Brennan (Ireland)
Born in Manchester, Shay was an original Busby Babe. He made his debut on the first game after Munich Air Disaster. Capped 19 times for 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.
CM: Duncan Edwards (England)
Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United. He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster. Many people considered him to be England's greatest player. He was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.
CM: Pat Crerand (Scotland)
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. He also gained 16 international caps for Scotland.
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)
Considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game. He was one of the "United's Trinity". He led 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)
Scanlan was one of the "Busby Babes" who survived the Munich air disaster of 1958. He Although he sustained severe injuries, he recovered and continued to play league football for Newcastle United, Lincoln City and Mansfield Town.
AM: Sir Bobby Charlton (England)
He was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time. He led England to WC victory in 1966 and then, Manchester United to its first European Cup in 1968. He is also England's all-time leading scorer. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.
|Bobby Charlton with Busby|
FW: Stan Pearson (England)
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 thm until Dimitar Berbatov did it in 2010. Capped 8 times.
FW: David Herd (Scotland)
Herd played for Arsenal, Manchester United, Stockport County, and Stoke City. He was the 15th leading scorer with Arsenal. With Manchester United, he won the European Cup in 1968. Capped 5 times for Scotland.
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.
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
He 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.
ST: Tommy Taylor (England)
Taylor was one of the eight Manchester United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster. 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.
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.