Those last few hours before a match are always nerve wracking ones as the kick off is anxiously awaited. So here’s a piece put together by the Manchester Evening News which could help sooth those nerves. It has selected the ultimate Manchester United starting eleven based on legends who have made the most appearances for the club. A total of 6,500 were made between them and a flexible 4-4-2 formation – with a touch of journalistic license here and there, was used to come up with this star studded, long service line up.
539 APPEARANCES – United’s undisputed number one in terms of appearances. Stepney played for the Reds for 12 seasons after his 1966 move from Chelsea to Old Trafford. He dominated the role up to the late 70s and won a title medal and the European Cup with Matt Busby’s side.
601 APPS – Nailed down the right-back berth in the 1995-96 season and held it solidly for more than a decade. Unfussy, vocal grafter that few wingers got the better of.
535 APPS – A bargain £5,000 buy from Shelbourne in 1960 and a consistent performer for 13 years before moving onto Bolton. Small and powerful, he was an excellent tackler and had speed to go with it. Just edges out other left-back luminaries like Denis Irwin and Arthur Albiston.
688 APPS – The granite-hard former miner. Bill survived the Munich disaster and was the rock on which Busby built his post-Babes era.
456 APPS – Calm and classy he led United during a difficult time when they suffered relegation in 1974. In a different Old Trafford era he’d have had a large medal collection.
758 APPS – Mr Manchester United. A Busby Babe who survived Munich and with Foulkes was the spine of the rebuilt Reds. Remarkable mainstay for 17 years.
461 APPS – Bravery probably cost Captain Marvel an even higher place in United’s all-time appearance list. A driving force who didn’t win his first League title medal until his penultimate campaign. Deserved more.
653 APPS – The Ginger Magician won a 3-2 vote in his favour when United’s youth team staff decided whether he was too small to make it. Thank goodness for that. United’s best midfield creator of the modern era.
847 APPS – Raced past Charlton as United’s top appearance-maker at the Champions League final in 2008. Lightening-quick dribbler and has reinvented himself in various guises but still frightens full-backs at 36.
467 APPS – Two spells at United and a huge Old Trafford favourite. Extraordinary goals and fire and brimstone style fans worship.
470 APPS – With apologies to Brian McClair who played one match more than Bestie the Irishman’s place as United’s most skilful entertainer ever allied to 179 goals meant you just had to squeeze him into the XI even as a joint striker.
With 50 years of managing the club between them, the side would obviously be co managed by Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson. Before anyone starts lamenting the fact that former greats like Duncan Edwards, Denis Law, Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin and many others are not included, remember that the team was solely based on the most appearances made for the club.
Would you have selected a different starting line up?