Award-winning football writer Jonathan Wilson selects ten landmark matches from Manchester United’s history, from the first time they lifted the FA Cup, beating Bristol City in 1909, to the Cup victory of 2016 that proved to be Louis van Gaal’s last game in charge. In doing so, he identifies the pivotal moments in the club’s rise to being one of the foremost teams of the twentieth century.
With his trademark tactical acumen, Wilson goes back to the matches themselves and subjects them to forensic examination, re-evaluating and reassessing, and going beyond the white noise of banal player quotes and instant judgements to discover why what happened happened. It is in this way, as far as possible, a football history of a great club.
And because this is Manchester United, there is additional resonance. From the completion of Old Trafford in 1910, United have had a significant financial advantage. Yet their past has not been one of sustained success. As such, their history is also, to an extent, a history of English football, with all of its possibilities and frustrations.