Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Wumminator, Feb 23, 2019.
For those who saw him play it has to be George Best at number 1 .
Excellent Thread. Great work, really super stuff.
I wonder if Jesper Olsen makes the 100? He must. I have never seen anyone take a penalty like him.
Depends on how willing you are to overlook his private life really. Stealing, repeated drink driving offences and domestic abuse allegations don't lend themselves to making someone my favourite anything.
We're talking about favourite United 'players' here and even Pele had said that Bestie was the best player in the world.
Yes Christinaa, Georgie was the best. Christiano, Bobby, Denis, Paul , Ryan and Eric ( more or less in that order) are the next best I have seen personally, I was just too young to see 'the babes'.
'Pele was the greatest player on earth, but George was made in heaven', a very true quote from a very famous sports journalist.
Yep, we're talking about "favourite" United players, not "best" United players. Likability matters as much as what they did on the pitch, which is why we've had so many weird picks so far.
Agree with you 100% - Best was the best and is the favourite of many United supporters who had the fortune of watching him play.
I voted for him in my top 10.
Great memories from my childhood days. I use to copy him and have my shirt out when playing for the school team. The P.E teacher use to shout "took your shirt in your shorts lad". And i use to say, "but Jesper Olsen doesn't "
Said already earlier on this thread if you are "old enough" and have had the pleasure of seeing Bestie in his heyday, then there is no other player you can have as no.1
Btw has anyone mentioned Ian Ure on here?
Great thread so far. Looking forward to the rest of the list. Some very odd rankings at play already!
I know it's about favourite players rather than best ones, but Cleverley and Falcao mixing it with the likes of Evans and Butt? Madness!
I voted for Falcao due to his time at Atletico. One of my favourite players ever. Was gutted it didn’t work at United but I still admire the guy. He made my top 10.
I’m really gonna try to update tonight but might struggle as I’ll be at the pub ASAP tonight. Tomorrow I know I won’t be able to do it as it is my mates birthday. Sorry for the delay and I’ll work to update as quick as possible.
This content is good enough for any of the major newspapers or the official United site. Sorry for the constant dickriding but I'm really enjoying this thread.
Six points each
76. Marouane Fellaini (NA)
Premier League Appearances - 72 (47)
Overall Appearances - 106 (71)
Premier League Goals - 12
Overall Goals - 22
Position - Centre Midfield
Few appearances on this list will split opinion like Marouane Fellaini. Despite lasting six seasons at the club and notching up almost 200 appearances for the team, Marouane's unusual style and unorthodox skill set meant he divided the fanbase like almost no other player in United's history. Yet here he is, picking up six points and earning a position on this list.
Arriving as the first big money signing in the post Ferguson era, Fellaini split opinions almost right away, with many questioning the 30 million pound deal. By his own admission his first season wasn't up to his own high standards and yet he managed to win back his position in new managers Louis Van Gaal's first team with a string of great performances against the top teams in the league.
Despite angering some of the fanbase, Fellaini proved invaluable in some of United's success in the post Ferguson era, scoring an important goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 2016 and then playing the full 120 minutes in the final. This would be United's first major trophy after the departure of the Scottish great and Fellaini was instrumental in United achieving this award.
After six years in the first team, incoming coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer let Fellaini leave to Chinese side Shandong Luneng Taishan and his United career was over.
76. Jesper Olsen (N/A)
First Division Appearances -119 (20)
Overall Appearances - 149 (27)
First Division Goals - 21
Overall Goals - 24
Position - Left Winger
Manager Ron Atkinson decided to splash out £350,000 for the Ajax winger in 1984, marking the start of Olsen's five year stint at the club. In his first season at the club his technical ability made him a favourite at Old Trafford and he played over 50 games for the first team.
That first season would also see him pick up his first and only piece of silverware for United as he played the full 90 minutes in the FA Cup final victory over Everton. After a few more years under Atkinson's tutelage, Alex Ferguson took over the red side of Manchester and was impressed with Olsen's ability. He was so impressed with the Danish man's talent that he turned down the chance to sign John Barnes, instead choosing to persist with the skilful winger.
Olsen was unfortunate that he left just before the first great Ferguson United side. In 1989 he moved to the French side Bordeaux and stayed in France for the rest of his footballing career.
And there he is.
I saw Best heaps of times but, skilful as he was, he wasn't in the same class as Duncan Edwards in my opinion. Edwards simply had the lot.
Cleverly above Butt... I was one of 3 who voted for Butt, feel proud
How old are you to have seen Duncan Edwards? He is a near mythological player on this board. No doubt that people who saw him can rate him as one of the best ever, but since he died so young, we never what he have been. What was his skillsett. Wasn't he mostly a defensive midfielder? Could he dribble like Best? Score wonder goals?
I was born in '45 and my dad started taking me to reserve and Youth Cup games (all played at OT) in about '52/'53. In those days the youngsters got quite good crowds for the youth cup, sometimes around 30,000, and it was usually a good game. United won the first 5 trophies ('52-'53 to '57-'58) and scored an enormous amount of goals in the process. Edwards was a major part of this and was then virtually a man. He was strong as an ox but light on his feet and had great control but hard in the tackle and a very fair player. I saw heaps of good players watching those Youth Cup games, Bobby Charlton, Billy Whelan, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Wilf McGuiness and Gordon Banks to name a few. For this reason I always take an interest in our youth but unfortunately vey rarely get to see them play these days.
As much as I enjoy the thread, and OP's huge efforts,
I'm more impressed with the descriptions given to each of the players -- very positive and neutral, and clearly well written.
Nice way to learn of the many players we had generations ago.
Some shocking entrees so far, nothing wrong with it, mine's probably a lot weirder. That's how this "favourite" goes, we all define/see it differently.
Can't wait to see the full list.
76. Charlie Roberts (N/A)
First Division Appearances -207
Overall Appearances - 302
First Division Goals - 13
Overall Goals - 23
Position - Centre Back
The captain of Manchester United during the first real spell of success for the club is surely deserving of a place on this list. A hard hitting centre back, Roberts led the club to league wins in both 1908 and 1911. His career at the club spanned just under a decade and to this day he still stands 57th on United's all time appearance makers.
However as much as he was admired for his work on the pitch, Roberts place in history has been assured for work taken off the field. Coming from a family of miners, Roberts was instrumental in setting up the first union for football players. In 1907 Roberts watched fellow defender Tommy Blackstock die after heading a football in a match against St Helens. Roberts was frustrated by the response of the footballing world and decided to do something about it. Starting a group he called 'The Outcasts Football Club', Roberts would strike for higher pay and would eventually manage to convince the FA to allow a union to form. A great not just of Manchester United, but the entire footballing world.
76. Chris Smalling (NA)
Premier League Appearances - 169 (29)
Overall Appearances - 269 (42)
Premier League Goals - 12
Overall Goals - 18
Position - Centre Back
On Monday 24th March 2008 a young Chris Smalling rose to head in a cross from Ian Selley to secure the win for Maidstone United against East Thurrock United in a game watched by just under 350 spectators. Just under eleven years later, Chris Smalling has made 311 appearances for Manchester United, won two league titles and an FA Cup.
Signed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson for around ten million pounds, Smalling was a relatively small name in the footballing world before arriving at Manchester United. After being plucked from non-league obscurity by Fulham, he would again move up the footballing ladder a year later arriving at a Manchester United team who were challenging for the biggest honours the game has to offer. Smalling would make 16 appearances in his first year at the club, a year which would see United win the Premier League trophy. Two years later he would again experience the exhilaration of lifting the title.
Since then he has not quite tasted those heights again, but he has still been a backbone of United's defence for almost a decade now. His recent outings have resulted in a glut of clean sheets and he will be hoping to one day see United lift major trophies once more.
By the end of the weekend I should have posted around eight more, meaning that we should be getting away from the “odder” picks.
Still... the next glut of players has some interesting names...
Seven points each
72. Johnny Carey (N/A)
First Division Appearances -288
Overall Appearances - 344
First Division Goals - 13
Overall Goals - 17
Position - Right Back
The winner of one league, one FA Cup and one footballer of the year award, Johnny Carey had a truly legendary career at Manchester United. Born in Dublin in 1919 Carey eventually wound up being the first Irish football player to win a trophy at the Manchester based club and would retire after fifteen years and over 300 league appearances.
United agreed a fee of £200.00 with St James' Gate boys club in 1936 and the following season at just 18 years of age, Carey became a key player in the team that got promoted from the second division. He would thrive throughout his career at United, playing in numerous positions and earning a reputation as a technically gifted player. Nicknamed 'Gentleman John' for his scrupulous fairness, John enters the list a true giant of the club.
72. Nemanja Matic (NA)
Premier League Appearances - 58 (1)
Overall Appearances - 78 (3)
Premier League Goals - 2
Overall Goals - 3
Position - Central midfield
On the 31st July 2017, Nemanja Matic reunited with former boss Jose Mourinho and joined the Red Devils. We are only two years into the Serbian's fledgling United career, yet he has won over many United fans with his hard work and dedication when playing for the famous Red Army.
His time at the club unfortunately has not yet been rewarded with any silverware, but if United are to push for any trophies as the 2018/2019 season draws to a close, retaining Matic's fitness will be key to their goals. A no nonsense midfielder, Matic is known for his reliable playing style, his holding play being a critical part of allowing Solskjaer's more attack minded players free reign further up the pitch.
The highlight of Matic's career at the club so far is probably his stunning goal against Crystal Palace at the end of the 2018 season which eventually won goal of the season at the club. Hopefully in the future Matic's form will result in our club adding to the already impressive trophy cabinet.
72. Bastian Schweinsteiger (50)
Premier League Appearances - 13 (5)
Overall Appearances - 22 (13)
Premier League Goals - 1
Overall Goals - 2
Position - Central Midfield
A few years ago, I was very surprised to see Bastian arrive on the list of all time favourite Manchester United players. A giant of the game, but unfortunately unable to fully adapt to the Premier League at the late stage of his career. Nevertheless, Schweinsteiger once again picked up enough votes to make his way onto the list, albeit he has dropped since the last vote.
Signed by Louis Van Gaal in the summer of 2015, Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived at Manchester United as a highly decorated midfielder. The majority of his career was spent at Bayern Munich where he developed a reputation for being one of the best midfielders in the world. His variety of passes, his immaculate technique and his willingness to drive the team forward were evident even in his brief spell at the Manchester club, even if his powers were waning. Despite his limited appearances for Manchester United, Bastian picked up an FA Cup winners medal in 2016 although he didn't take part in the Wembley match due to injury.
72. Alan Smith (42)
Premier League Appearances - 43 (18)
Overall Appearances - 61 (32)
Premier League Goals - 7
Overall Goals - 12
Position - Centre Midfield/Striker
Not many players on this list have once promised to never sign for Manchester United. But then again not many players were like Alan Smith. Smith was signed from newly relegated Leeds in 2004 after previously being quoted in the press insinuating his dislike for the Red Devils. Signed primarily to play as a striker, Alex Ferguson had a vision that he could mould Smith into the next Roy Keane. Keane himself said at one point he felt that Smith had a chance to replace him as a starting midfielder, but it didn't quite ever work out. Smith was blessed with high stamina and a work-rate that most managers dream of, but it's safe to say he wasn't as technically gifted as some of the other central midfielders in this list.
However what endeared Smith to the Manchester United faithful was his constant hard work and tough tackling style. A style epitomised in the 2006 FA Cup match against Liverpool in which he suffered one of the worst injuries seen at our club after charging down a free kick. The impact of the ball broke his leg and dislocated his ankle. At the time, Smith thought about retirement but was eventually able to return eight months later. Despite never really establishing himself back in the first team squad after missing so much time, Smith still received a Premier League medal the year afterwards, justifying his decision to move from Leeds.
After three years and almost 100 appearances Smith moved to Newcastle United in 2007, however injuries meant that Smith never really had the career that he seemed destined to have when he was a youngster at Leeds.
Which has very little to do with being someones favourite united player. For example ruud was a great player but i never cared for him.
Sad ro see butt so far down the list. I had him in my draft top 10, can't remember if he actually made it but i've always really liked him. fecking schweinsteiger is higher. Laughable really.
The problem with Butt is that if you have watched from that era of United, you will probably have a great affection for the lad... but ten players who you like more. His career would make him the best all time at 90 clubs in the league, here he almost becomes a footnote.
We also have some fans who obviously have only recently supported united. Hence the recency bias.
It's a question of opinions and after watching Best play many times he's my favourite and greatest all-time footballer.
Eight points each
70. Mick Duxbury (NA)
First Division Appearances - 274 (25)
Overall Appearances - 345 (33)
First Division Goals - 6
Overall Goals - 7
Position - Centre Back/ Right Back
Mick Duxbury would play for Manchester United for a decade after his arrival from Everton as a schoolboy. He would become a fixture of the club up until his departure in 1990 and would become United's most capped player during the turbulent decade of the 1980s. Beloved for his dependability as well as his modest attitude, Duxbury picked up two FA Cup winners medals during his time at the club.
He initially made his debut under manager Tommy Docherty and after filling in for injuries in United's defence eventually managed to make the right back position his own. In 1982/83 (his first full season as a regular in the team), Duxbury managed to make sixty first team appearances for the Red Devils and played the full match in the FA Cup Final against Brighton & Hove Albion. He would then continue to play right up until the start of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, where he had slipped down the pecking order somewhat. Nevertheless he departed in 1990 as a veritable legend of the club, having entertained fans for just over a decade.
Nowadays Duxbury works for a school in Bolton, helping teach the next generation of footballing stars in his role as a PE teacher. His autobiography 'It's Mick not Mike' was released last year and is a fantastic read.
70. Joe Spence (NA)
First Division Appearances - 312
Overall Appearances - 510
First Division Goals - 106
Overall Goals - 168
Position - Right Winger/Centre Forward
Joe Spence has scored exactly 168 goals for Manchester United, putting him level with the slightly more famous Ryan Giggs. This feat has only ever been beaten by six other players to wear the famous red shirt, so it is great to see him added to this list.
Arriving in 1919 from Scotswood, Spence made his debut in the first official league after the first world war. He scored fourteen goals in his first season at the club and became an instant hit with the fans. Any reference to Spence wouldn't be complete without mentioning the famous 'Give it to Joe' chant that dominated Old Trafford throughout his fourteen year tenure at the club.
His time at United did not result in any significant silverware, which is odd for a player who made so many appearances for the club, but the team would struggle after the events of WW1. Despite this Spence was a consistent source of entertainment for fans of United in the 1920s and was a great servant to the club, later returning as a scout.
Roughly a third of the way through the list now. Great to research and write up about so many fantastic legends of the club. After the next two updates, everyone else seems to have got around 3/4 votes so it means we get into some proper legends.
69. Nobby Stiles (NA)
First Division Appearances -311
Overall Appearances - 395
First Division Goals - 17
Overall Goals - 19
Position - Defensive Midfield
Nobby Stiles certainly didn't look like your average footballer. Removing his dentures before every game gave Nobby an iconic gap toothed look. His hair was balding very early on in his career. He was incredibly short sighted, wearing strong contact lenses whenever he entered the field. Despite these physical shortcomings, Stiles went on to have the footballing career few can only dream of, with incredible success at club level and also winning the World Cup with his national side.
Born in Manchester, Stiles would sign a contract with his beloved club 1959. One year later he would be a fixture in the team at age 17 he would make his debut for the club as Matt Busby saw something in the youngster. He would go on to be a fixture in the team for eleven years making almost 400 appearances for the club.
Whereas Best, Charlton and Law would take all the attacking plaudits, it was Stiles' job to nullify opposition attackers that was equally as instrumental to Busby's team. Busby was rebuilding his United side after the tragedy of Munich and the youthful exuberance of Stiles and others like him meant that United reached the promised land when they won the Champions League in 1968. He would also raise the league trophy twice while playing for Manchester United. A fantastic career and a genuine legend of the game who had his most famous club years at the Red Devils.
Ten points each
65. Daley Blind (N/A)
Premier League Appearances - 84 (6)
Overall Appearances - 132 (9)
Premier League Goals - 4
Overall Goals - 6
Position - Centre Back/Left Back
At the end of the 2013/2014 season, Daley Blind had just been voted the Dutch Player of the Year award and had just won his fourth Eredivisie title. As such Louis Van Gaal saw fit to spend roughly 14 million pounds to bring Blind into Old Trafford. Louis Van Gaal was struggling with injuries and needed someone to fill in for a number of positions during his early tenure, Blind was a perfect fit as his technical ability meant he could play a variety of roles on the field. His arrival was met with a lot less fanfare than more exotic names like Falcao and Di Maria who joined at the same time as the Dutch footballer, yet Blind would go onto outlast them all in his United career.
Overall Blind would represent United for four years, making roughly 150 appearances for the side. Much like other utility men before him, Blind would guarantee a steady game anywhere on the pitch, often slotting into various positions in the back four or occasionally being deployed further forward. Blind was not the most physically gifted footballer of all time, but his reading of the game was excellent and he was able to make the most of his lack of pace with exceptional positioning.
Blind had a variety of highlights throughout his career at the club. A Man of the Match performance against Liverpool at Old Trafford (capped with a goal against United's fiercest rivals), playing the full match against former club Ajax in the Europa League Final win and playing all 120 minutes at Wembley in the successful 2016 FA Cup final. He made the most of his time at the club before returning to boyhood club Ajax in 2018 after falling down the pecking order at the club under Jose Mourinho.
65. Mark Robins (NA)
First Division Appearances - 19 (29)
Overall Appearances - 27 (43)
First Division Goals - 11
Overall Goals - 17
Position - Striker
Mark Robins could very well be one of the most important players in Manchester United's long and fabled history. In January 1990, United were sat in fifteenth place in the First Division and many supporters had grown tired with the poor performances under Alex Ferguson. Defeat to an in form Nottingham Forest team in the FA Cup was heavily rumoured to spell the end of the Scottish manager's reign at the club. It didn't matter however as Robins arrived and scored a late goal that sent United through. They would eventually win the FA Cup that year and Ferguson would go on to be the most successful manager in the English game. Many people involved at the club have since denied that Ferguson was going to be sacked, but the rumours still live on.
Coming through the youth system at Manchester United, Robins would go onto represent United for four seasons. He never really established himself as a starter at the club, with his best season at the club being the aforementioned 1989/90 season in which he played 23 games representing the reds. He also hit double figures that season, scoring ten in all competitions including the winner in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Oldham.
After he left Old Trafford, Robins made appearances for another nine teams in the English footballing league and even spent time representing Copenhagen and Ourense during an eclectic career. He is still involved in football management to this day and currently resides over Coventry City in League One.
65. Frank Stapleton (56)
First Division Appearances - 204 (19)
Overall Appearances - 267 (21)
First Division Goals - 60
Overall Goals - 78
Position - Striker
The first man in history to score for two different sides in an FA Cup final, Stapleton was Ron Atkinson's first major signing. He wound up costing about £900,000 after a tribunal suggested this was a fair fee for the out of contract striker. This was a a significant outlay for the time period. It would have been considerably cheaper if United hadn't originally turned him down in his teenage years, but as such Stapleton began his career at Arsenal, before deciding the club couldn't match his ambitions. He would move to United where he would spend six successful years with the cub.
He would go on to win two FA Cup finals with Manchester United across those six years. He scored in the 1983 FA Cup Final against Brighton, securing his place in the folklore of this great club. Frank was known for his aerial prowess and his tough tackling ability meaning he could lead from the front lines. However, once Alex Ferguson took over, Stapleton was one of the first players to be shown the door, moving to Ajax in 1987. His time at Old Trafford will be fondly remembered and as such he makes the list once more.
65. Sandy Turnbull (NA)
First Division Appearances - 220
Overall Appearances - 267 (21)
First Division Goals - 247
Overall Goals - 101
Position - Striker
Lance Sergeant 28427 Alexander (Sandy) Turnbull of the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment sadly passed away during World War One. On the 3rd of May 1917 at roughly 4:00 in the morning he ventured out into a battle that would unfortunately see the talented striker lose his life. His passing was noted by Captain C.J Lonergan, 'He was one of the finest fellows I have ever met. A great sportsman and as keen a soldier as he was a footballer.' When thinking of true legends of the club Turnbull hits every box that needs ticking.
Before his unfortunate passing he had catapulted United to their first ever league win in 1908. The following year he would score the only goal in an FA Cup Final against Bristol City to capture United's first ever win in the fabled competition. In his nine seasons at the club he would notch just over 100 league goals and help United recapture the league trophy in 1911.
Turnbull's body was never recovered. Like millions of other men he sacrificed his life for his belief in his country and as such is owed a gratitude that we can never repay.
Really worth reading up on Sandy Turnbull. A true hero.
We are now 38 names into the list and at the point where one person couldn't get someone onto the list. From here on in it will get pretty controversial. The next three to appear are all Ferguson signings.
Annoyed I never posted my list but enjoying the show.
Captain Marvel better be high up though
Just wait another three years.
what was the minimum number of votes to make the list ? or did you just include anyone that was mentioned?
Anyone who was mentioned. We get some odd people but also some legends.
I was going to say you should ignore those who only get 1 vote but then I suppose there is the likes of Crerand and Brown there who deserve a mention!
Plus there are genuine favourites people have who are naff for United. I think it’s fun to do the “out there” players.
Separate names with a comma.