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Condor
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Matt Busby

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:05 am

Matt Busby [hr][/hr]
Matt Busby was born on May 26th, 1909 in the small mining village of Orbiston in Lanarkshire, Scotland. He played half-back for United's bitter rivals Manchester City from 1929 to 1936 winning an FA Cup Winner's medal in 1934 and United's other archrivals Liverpool from 1936 to 1939. His playing career was cut short, making just one Scottish cap, by the second World War, in which he served in the Army Physical Training Corps.

In 1945, at the age of 36, he turned down a job offer to coach Liverpool. Instead, he accepted the post as manager of Manchester United. He accepted a challenge. Manchester United was in turmoil. Old Trafford had been heavily damaged in the air raid blitz from 1940-42 and the team he inherited was ageing and poor, having had no success for 34 years, since 1911, and hovering above the relegation zone in Division One. Manchester United may have been a club with potential, but were notorious under-achievers and had little or no support outside of the city of Manchester.

Matt Busby addressed that. He believed in free-flowing attacking football and wanted his teams to be successful but also to thrill the crowd at the same time. His revolutionary approach formed the basis of United's philosophy and playing style through to the present day.

From 1945 to 48, United played at rival City's Maine Road ground due to the bomb damage at Old Trafford. In 1946, Matt Busby introduced a new policy of youth development, creating a scouting system that attracted some young players with fantastic potential. By combining the early youth players with astute buying, Matt Busby first tasted success with the 1948 FA Cup victory over Blackpool. The basis of that side went on to win the League Championship in 1952 playing flowing football with flair unseen in Britain at that time.

Unlike the office resident, 3-piece suit wearing managers of his era, Matt Busby was a hands-on, modern style of management. He wore track-suits and coached his own players on the training pitch. This enabled him to instill his ideas and methodology directly to the players.

Unwilling to allow his team to stagnate Busby made drastic and ruthless changes to his playing staff following the 1952 championship win. Many of the household names of the past few years were replaced with some exciting but totally unknown young players. It became perhaps one of the milestones in United history as the Busby youth system produced a team of young hungry, homebred players that the world would come to know as the Busby Babes.

With his young talents like Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards, Dennis Viollet, Tommy Taylor and many others, United went on to win back-to-back titles in 1956 and 1957. The dynasty was flourishing, but destiny was yet to play it's cards.

Despite strong FA and Football League objections, with threats of legal action, the visionary Matt Busby took United into European competition in the European Cup.

While returning home from a European Cup game against Red Star Belgrade in 1958, the team airplane crashed at Munich, killing eight of the players and severely injuring others who would not play football at this level again. Matt Busby himself was seriously injured and fought for life in hospital for many weeks; his life expectancy was very low.

The great, youthful, Busby Babes were gone with still so much to achieve and so the entire world became aware of Manchester United.

Matt Busby recovered, yet doubted in his own mind that he had the desire to carry on. Carry on he did and, within 12 months, he set about creating the third great United team.

With Munich survivor Bobby Charlton, signings like Pat Crerand and Denis Law, and new youth players like Kidd and Best amongst others, United returned winning the FA Cup in 1963 and two League titles in 1965 and 1967. They played Busby football as the Babes had before with style, attacking flair and genius and attracted a new legion of fans and the imagination of football fans the world over.

On May 29th 1968, the most successful, but arguable not the most gifted, of his three United sides won the European Cup for the first time. The nation, and most of the TV watching world was behind United that night, with the memories of 1958 willing on United to defeat Benfica 4-1.

Queen Elizabeth II Knighted Matt Busby in 1968 and having achieved his goal, retired from Manchester United as manager in 1969. He 'moved upstairs' and took up the role of General Manager. In 1970, Busby returned the managers seat as a temporary appointment following the sacking of Frank O'Farrell. In 1971, Sir Matt was appointed to the United board. In 1982, Sir Matt Busby was appointed Club President for life and held high positions in the Football League management committee.

Lean years followed with various managers and only a handful of FA cup successes. In 1986, Alex Ferguson re-introduced the Busby philosophy for youth development and with it United won it's first Championship for 26years (the inaugural Premiership), in 1993. Sir Matt took great pleasure in presiding over Ferguson's revival in which United played with the same style and flair he himself loved in his own teams. It was fitting that Sir Matt Busby proudly celebrated that achievement in the director's box as the faithful crowd hailed his name.

Less than a year later, on the 20th January 1994, Busby died aged 85.

The legacy of Sir Matt Busby is that he provided the foundation, the philosophy, the style and the passion that turned an ordinary and local football club, into the most famous, glamorous, and now richest and biggest club in the world.

Written by Condor © UNITEDLOUNGE.COM Reproducing this material, either in whole or in part, without the permission of unitedlounge.com is strictly prohibited



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Re: Matt Busby

Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:22 pm

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Re: Matt Busby

Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:41 am

From the Telegraph
Matt Busby's philosophy the stuff of legend
According to Old Trafford folklore, when the doctor placed her new-born son into Nellie Busby's arms in the family's cramped pitman's cottage, he ran his eyes over the babe's thrashing, stocky legs and prophesised: "A footballer has come into this house this day." (The date, incidentally, was May 26, 1909 and come that day in 1999 Manchester United would celebrate the 90th anniversary of Matt Busby's birth by completing a historic treble with victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Barcelona.)
Like his two great cronies, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein, Busby was raised in an impoverished coal-mining community where boys were expected to leave school before secondary age to begin work 2,000 feet or so underground. Denied any serious education, it befell young Matt to become the sole bread-winner for his mother and three sisters, his father, Private Alexander Busby of the 7th Battalion of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, having been killed by a sniper's bullet on April 23, 1917 during the Battle of Arras.
Life in the Lanarkshire village of Orbiston 100 years ago was harsh, even by the austere standards of the day; the five Busbys lived crammed into two small rooms - kitchen and bedroom/living-room - there was a single outside tap to wash off the coal dust and a shared lavatory a 75-yard sprint away. But as devoted Roman Catholics they had their church for comfort, one another for love and, in young Matt's case, his football for fun as he progressed from the village team to Alpine Villa (with whom he collected a Scottish Under-18 Cup winner's medal) before signing for crack Ayrshire junior side, Denny Hibs.

A stack of clubs north and south of the border dispatched their scouts to compile reports on the talented teenage inside-forward but Busby might have been lost to both British football in general and United in particular except for the intervention of their arch-rivals from Maine Road. Nellie Busby's New Year resolution for 1928 was to seek a better life for herself and her four children in the United States and she had all but booked their passage to New York aboard an immigrant ship sailing from Greenock when Manchester City turned up unannounced in Orbiston to offer her 18-year-old son the relative riches of a professional contract. Busby would have been far happier had it been his beloved Celtic that came courting but with the Great Depression looming, it was no time to stand on the doorstep and prevaricate.

If there had been any heather growing at Maine Road, then it is fair to say that Busby would not have immediately set it on fire and he was made available for transfer for the paltry sum of £150 in 1930 before manager Peter Hodge selected him to play at right-half during an injury crisis. You've either got or you haven't got style, goes the old song and Busby had it in abundance, not only from the tip of the bowler hat to the white spats he favoured on a night out on the town but in the elegant way he played football.

Not for Busby the bone-rattling tackle and beefy clearance. He was the master of the calm interception and 40-yard defence-splitting pass.
He collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1933 when City were soundly beaten 3-0 by Everton but returned to Wembley in triumph 12 months later, inspiring his team to a 2-1 victory over Portsmouth and leading the Manchester Guardian to comment: "In Matt Busby, City have at best a player who has no superior as an attacking half-back." Curiously, after making his Scotland debut against Wales in 1933, Busby fell out of favour with the selectors but his rare talents were recognised in his adopted land when Liverpool paid City £8,000 to instal him as club captain at Anfield.

Like the rest of his football generation, Busby's career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he appeared as a guest for Hibernian and Chelsea among others in compliance with Winston Churchill's wishes that the game continue as a boost to the nation's morale. Having decided that the 36-year-old Scot was the man to restore Manchester United to their former glory, chairman James W Gibson made the most important signing in the club's history by announcing Busby's arrival as manager as peace descended upon Europe.

Crucially, Jimmy Murphy joined Busby at Old Trafford as assistant-manager. Murphy would be at Busby's side for the next quarter of a century except for the ill-fated trip to Belgrade which he missed while on international duty as manager of Wales, whom he would subsequently lead to the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden where only a single goal by Pele stood between the Welsh and a place in the semi-finals. Such was Murphy's reputation in the game as a master tactician that Brazil, Juventus and Arsenal all made vain attempts to lure him away from his beloved Old Trafford before his retirement in 1971.

Another vital recruit was United wing-half Bert Whalley, who was asked to fill the role of third in command when his playing career was ended by injury at the age of 32.
With United heavily in debt and little money available for new players, Busby would make only one signing before the 1946-47 season, paying £4,000 for Celtic's outside-right Jimmy Delaney. The new manager put a huge team of part-time scouts into place under the expert eye of Joe Armstrong.

Also in place was Busby's lifelong philosophy about how he believed football should be played.

"Winning matches at all costs is not the test of true achievement; there is no dishonour in defeat as long as you play to the limit of your strength and skill. What matters above all things is that the game should be played in the right spirit, with fair play and no favour, with every man playing as a member of his team and the result accepted without bitterness and conceit. Played at its best between two first-class teams, football is a wonderful spectacle. I love its drama, its smooth playing skills, its carelessly laid rhythms, and the added flavour of contrasting styles. Its great occasions are, for me at any rate, unequalled in the world of sport. I feel a sense of romance, wonder and mystery, a sense of beauty and a sense of poetry. On such occasions, the game has the timeless, magical qualities of legend."

Busby had one other mission; to build not just a team but a club, a close-knit brotherhood founded upon the warm camaraderie he had shared with his fellow miners down that bleak Lanarkshire pit-face. To join Manchester United in any capacity was to become one of Matt Busby's extended family.

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Re: Matt Busby

Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:13 am

I wonder what he'd think if he was around today? He'd certainly put a stop to a lot of the chants that come out of Old Trafford, that's for sure

I can remember the day it was announced he was stepping down, it was about a month after the World Club Championship against Estudiantes, it came literally like a bolt out of the blue, nobody was expecting it - even then the papers weren't sure, they reported United had called a press conference and that rumours were sweeping the city he was going to call it a day, back then clubs only called a press conference when something major happened - there was none of the weekly ones we have now

I was numb - I kept asking Dad, "What about Matt leaving" his answer was always "What about it?" I couldn't believe it, Dad idolised him, he even said once, we should have our name changed to Busby United

The good thing was he stayed in the background, if he hadn't it's quite possible we could have gone into the Second Division as early as 1970, Wilfs season in charge turned into a disaster, Matt stepped back in at Christmas and pulled us back from the brink and we ended up finishing 8th - The same thing happened again with O'Farrell, Matt got Martin Buchan in, O'Farrell bought a cartload of Donkeys


I feel for the younger fans, the one's who have only known Sir Alex - we were lost when Matt went, he had always been there and it seemed like he always would be there - United would go in trailing at half time, we never worried because we knew he would be able to talk them into playing better in the second half

We always knew that as long as he was there United were safe, nothing could ever hurt us or harm us, I remember coming home from the Real Madrid match with only a 1-0 win, very nervous about the trip out there with only a one goal lead, then Matt said next day in the paper "It's enough" I knew then we were through to the final, if Matt said so, it would be so

When the new managers started coming in, we all kept gazing wistfully at his seat in the stand, I can remember us playing Southampton at home and just after they scored their fourth goal someone shouted out "For fornicate sake Busby, get down there and sort the many birth canals out" Didn't matter that WIlf was now in charge, Matt would still fix it

Even when Docherty stuffed up, Matt wasn't angry about what he did, he was the most non-judgemental person ever, what made him angry was the press got hold of the story. Docherty said Matt came to him with "For heavens sake Tommy, why didn't you come and see me, we could have sorted this out within the Club"

And that was Matt all over, to him the good name of Manchester United came first

We got a lot of fairly reasonable treatment when we finally collapsed, that was because he had treated the press with dignity and respect, he never got angry with them or was rude or abusive, so when the fall came, for the most part United got shown a great deal of sympathy, probably more than we deserved


But after he went there were two schools of thought, one school made the claim that no manager would ever make a job of it as long "as the Big Feller is still upstairs" a lot of people did blame him, one being O'Farrell

The second school said that it's a bloody good job he did stay, otherwise between them O'Farrell and Docherty would have bankrupted the club, in retrospect, and with all the stuff that came out at Willie Morgans trial - that was probably the right version

Even from a distance he saved United ............ again

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Re: Matt Busby

Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:17 pm

Thanks for the insight Condor and Lawman. What a great man. United have been truly blessed with his presence....

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Re: Matt Busby

Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:33 pm

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Re: Matt Busby

Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:42 pm

I would like to add a few pics of Sir Matt Busby to this thread

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Re: Matt Busby

Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:17 pm

There just was something about Munich on the dutch television. They showed the footage
of Matt Busby speaking to the crowd at old trafford when lying in the hospital in Munich. That was very
touching to hear.

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Re: Matt Busby

Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:25 am

From manutd.com Sir Alex Fergurson's thoughts about Sir Matt Busby

Boss: My respect for Sir Matt
Sir Alex Ferguson admires the qualities which enabled Sir Matt Busby to rebuild United after the Munich air crash decimated his talented young team...

Obviously the crash had a huge impact on everyone - and Scottish people particularly, with Matt Busby being such a respected figure. Matt had gathered a great affection for the way his United side were playing, but the esteem in which he was held up there wasn’t just down to that alone - it was also because of how he’d built his teams. I’d gone to see them as a teenager in 1953 play in the Coronation Cup against Rangers and Celtic - but United were the main attraction.

What we see at United today has its foundations back in that era - in particular, the way it was done with young players. And that’s really the saddest part of all; that these young men lost their lives almost before they’d started to really enjoy their football: Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, just young lads at the start of their careers; such a terrible tragedy. I was lucky enough to see Duncan play for England U23s against Scotland - he scored a hat-trick. I trust Bobby Charlton’s opinion without question, and when he says Duncan, at just 21, was the best he ever played with, that tells you everything.

I recall reading that it took Matt a long time to deal with how he would face the players again, of how he’d lain there in hospital knowing he’d lost all these young lads, but had to go back to those that had survived. He felt commitment to do something about it, which gave him the drive and purpose to rebuild. But it takes special people to do what he did, to come through that and carry on. I think if he’d retired there and then, people would have understood.

It tells you something about the man’s character and the
steel he had. It’s about having a foundation you can rely on - and I think Matt had that: the concept of loyalty, a work ethic and the trust of and in those around him. I think you bring these things to your job; be it sport, business, or whatever - and I think it’s an asset, because you’ve got something to fall back on during trying times. And that’s what ultimately saw him through. If I’d have been there that day, I’d have had a bet on him doing it, because he had the will.

Of course, Matt lovingly rebuilt his team to win the European Cup in 1968 - again in all the right ways - with all but a handful of that side homegrown. It was a staggering achievement: one that, in part, has helped to create the romance associated with United today; an affection across the world engendered by playing the game in the right way, with entertaining and attacking footballers.

Manchester United was the perfect club for me (to join in 1986), particularly as Bobby Charlton was desperately keen to have a rebirth in developing the young players. He, along with (former chairman) Martin Edwards, saw the right way in terms of rebuilding, and I needed that support because, like them, I felt this wasn’t so much a football team as a football club.

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