Looking into the history of Manchester United the majority of the trophies have been lifted by just two managers. Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby are the two most successful managers in the history of Manchester United, and they have a couple of key things in common. The first is that they didn’t start off with the greatest record, but the board stuck with them and they began to be repaid with silverware. The other factor is they were both there for a quarter of a century each which brings me to the conclusion that longevity leads to success. You only need to look at the top of the Premier League right now and you will see the team with the longest serving Premier League manager in charge.
Sir Matt Busby led Manchester United from 1945-1969, but it was a good six years into his tenure before winning the League, although he did lift the FA Cup in his first two seasons. 13 trophies in his almost 25 years of course could have been a lot more had the Munich Air disaster not happened.
Then there was Sir Alex. Ferguson was not just a Manager, he was United. What do I mean by that? Well, before Ferguson took charge in 1986 United had won the title only seven times, the last being in 1967. Six FA Cups had been won, but no League cups whatsoever were in that trophy cabinet before the arrival of Ferguson. Aside from a single European Cup, also back in 1968, in addition to the other three FA Cups (which is sill not shabby) United hadn’t won anything for almost 20 years. All trophies counted up, pre-Ferguson was 23, including nine Charity Shields. That was in just under an already 110 year history. 25 years and one manager later that number now stands at 62.
The fact is that from the end of the war until current day two managers of Manchester United have won all but four of the 57 trophies lifted in post war United history. Other managers lasted five or six years like Ron Atkinson or Tommy Docherty but most were hired and fired in short periods of time. So take those two managers out of United history and in 60 years they won four trophies.
What United do not want to do is repeat what happened after Busby left in 1969 by hiring the replacement, Wilf McGuinness, who was then fired at the season’s end and Busby brought back for a season. After 15 games he had the same amount of wins as Moyes and had tied one game more, but the final finishing position of 8th was considered not good enough and he was replaced. Busby couldn’t recreate the success and his first season back United finished in the same position. In fact they struggled for the next few seasons before being relegated in 1974 and coming back stronger in the 1975-76 season to finish third in the top flight.