Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

The Best Managers in Manchester United’s History

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Manchester United Manager

To many, Manchester United is considered the biggest and best team in the history of soccer. Established in 1878, the club has had a total of 28 different managers during its 144-year existence. Today, we’re going to count down the top ten managers in Manchester United’s history, including those who took control of the club before the Second World War. These managers have all had the honor of leading the biggest club in England and have tasted success during their time at the helm.

10. Scott Duncan

Scott Duncan

  • Manager Years: 1932 – 1937

We begin our list with Scott Duncan, a crucial figure in Manchester United’s journey to becoming the soccer giant they are today. Duncan, a former player for Rangers and Newcastle United, took over as manager in 1932. During his five years in charge, he achieved a win rate of 39%. Duncan’s most significant contribution was leading the club back to the old First Division in the 1935-36 season. Although United was relegated again the following year, Duncan’s impact was felt, and he went on to have a successful managerial career at Ipswich Town.

9. David Moyes

David Moyes

  • Manager Years: 2013 – 2014
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David Moyes, a respected manager, took over after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Despite facing heavy criticism, Moyes delivered the Community Shield in one of his first games as manager. Unfortunately, his time at Manchester United was short-lived, and he was sacked less than a year later. However, Moyes has since found success at West Ham United.

8. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

  • Manager Years: 2019 – 2021

The appointment of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was highly anticipated. Although his tenure had its challenges, Solskjaer had a win rate of over 50% during his time at Manchester United. With more time and support, Solskjaer could have achieved even greater success.

7. Louis Van Gaal

Louis Van Gaal

  • Manager Years: 2014 – 2016

Louis Van Gaal was appointed as manager in 2014, with the club looking to move away from former managers’ influence. Van Gaal brought a fresh approach and rejuvenated the team with young talents. Under his leadership, Manchester United won the FA Cup in 2016, their first major trophy since the era of Sir Alex Ferguson.

6. Tommy Docherty

Tommy Docherty

  • Manager Years: 1972 – 1979

Tommy Docherty, also known as ‘The Doc,’ took over as manager in 1972. Despite a period of struggle, Docherty guided the club to an instant promotion back to the First Division and led them to their second successive FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool in 1977. Docherty’s time at Manchester United ended abruptly due to personal issues, but he left a lasting impact on the club.

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5. Ron Atkinson

Ron Atkinson

  • Manager Years: 1980 – 1987

Ron Atkinson took charge of Manchester United in 1981, with the club hoping to revitalize its fortunes. Although he couldn’t secure the league title, Atkinson brought three trophies to Old Trafford, including two FA Cup titles. His time as manager also saw promising performances in European competitions.

4. José Mourinho

José Mourinho

  • Manager Years: 2016 – 2018

José Mourinho, the highly regarded “Special One,” was appointed as manager in 2016. During his tenure, Manchester United enjoyed its best finish since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, securing second place in the Premier League. Mourinho also led the club to victory in the Europa League and League Cup in the 2016-2017 season.

3. Ernest Mangnall

  • Manager Years: 1903 – 1912

Ernest Mangnall, appointed as club secretary in 1903, quickly became the most successful boss in Manchester United’s early history. He delivered a total of five trophies during his time at the club, including their first-ever First Division title in 1908. Mangnall played a significant role in the club’s move to Old Trafford in 1910.

2. Sir Matt Busby

  • Manager Years: 1945 – 1969 and 1970 – 1971

Sir Matt Busby, a Scotsman fondly remembered by older Manchester United fans, took over the club after World War II. Busby’s tenure was marked by tremendous success, including winning 13 trophies and securing the club’s first European Cup in 1968. Despite the tragedy of the Munich air disaster, Busby rebuilt the team and led them to further glory.

1. Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

  • Manager Years: 1986 – 2013
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There is no debate – Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest Manchester United manager of all time. Ferguson’s tenure saw unparalleled success, winning 38 trophies including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs. Knighted for his contributions to soccer, Ferguson’s impact on the club and the sport as a whole cannot be overstated.


Q: Who is the best Manchester United manager of all time?
A: Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as the best Manchester United manager of all time, given his incredible success and long tenure at the club.

Q: Who was the first manager of Manchester United?
A: The first official manager of Manchester United was Ernest Mangnall, appointed in 1903.

Q: Did Manchester United win the European Cup under Matt Busby?
A: Yes, Manchester United won the European Cup under Sir Matt Busby in 1968, becoming the first English team to achieve this feat.

Q: How many trophies did José Mourinho win as Manchester United manager?
A: José Mourinho won a total of three trophies as Manchester United manager: the Europa League, League Cup, and Community Shield.


The history of Manchester United is filled with remarkable managers who have left an indelible mark on the club. Each of these ten managers has played a crucial role in shaping Manchester United’s legacy and achieving success on both national and international stages. From the early years to the modern era, their contributions have made Manchester United one of the most iconic and respected clubs in the world.