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Manchester United: The Biography: The Complete Story of the World's Greatest Football Club

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Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becomi Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becoming the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968 (with Bobby Charlton and George Best); the dominance of the club in the Premiership; the controversial sale to American tycoon Malcolm Glazer; right up to Moscow 2008. By drawing on the recollections of everyone from players and managers to fans and backroom staff, enough new material as been unearthed to interest fans and casual supporters.


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Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becomi Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becoming the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968 (with Bobby Charlton and George Best); the dominance of the club in the Premiership; the controversial sale to American tycoon Malcolm Glazer; right up to Moscow 2008. By drawing on the recollections of everyone from players and managers to fans and backroom staff, enough new material as been unearthed to interest fans and casual supporters.

30 review for Manchester United: The Biography: The Complete Story of the World's Greatest Football Club

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed Shoaib

    I've been in love with club Since I was a kid, this Book showed me why I loved it in the first place. so many tears dropped off while reading this. I've been in love with club Since I was a kid, this Book showed me why I loved it in the first place. so many tears dropped off while reading this.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reg Bertrand

    Fantastic read, as a newer supporter of the club to read about the history of the club was so beneficial.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonny Parshall

    Review forthcoming.

  4. 4 out of 5

    CJ Janiszewski

    “There should be no despair in defeat and no conceit in victory.” Most people who read this book will probably already have an opinion about Manchester United. If you love the club, then you’ll love this book. If you hate the club, then a well written history of the club, which this book certainly is, will not change your mind. So, I’ll focus on those like me who are coming in with a blank slate. If you’re looking to learn more about football, then this is a great place to start. That is, in fac “There should be no despair in defeat and no conceit in victory.” Most people who read this book will probably already have an opinion about Manchester United. If you love the club, then you’ll love this book. If you hate the club, then a well written history of the club, which this book certainly is, will not change your mind. So, I’ll focus on those like me who are coming in with a blank slate. If you’re looking to learn more about football, then this is a great place to start. That is, in fact, how I came to read the book - I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in learning more about the EPL and he gave me this book (a little craftily, I might add because it’s hard to read about the history of Man U without falling in love with this club.) I also recognize that reviewing Manchester United is entering into dangerous waters - there are a lot of charged emotions about this club, but this review is not about what team someone should support - this review is about the book itself. In the opening pages, White cites a poll commissioned in 2005 which claims that 75 Million people have some affection for the club. I read that and thought through my experience of American sports, "oh, typo." Then read it again and realized - no, that’s right. 75 MILLION. You can argue that perhaps that’s inflated, but still, it shows how broad the reach of football is and particularly that of Manchester United. White sets out to understand and explain what it is that is so loved about this club (and hated, I suppose you could argue). The strength of White’s account of Manchester United is that he puts you THERE. Whether you are there playing in the mud and smog in the early days of the club or chanting with thousands and thousands of fans at some of their most glorious victories, his pacing and suspense is good enough that it could be in a thriller novel. It’s hard not to become fully invested in the outcome as he balances the history of the club itself with the personal stories of some of the club’s heroes (and villains). Even I knew how some of the storylines turned out and yet I found myself completely engaged in the outcome every time. It’s clear that White is not just a journalist or historian but most importantly he is a story teller. Knowing what was going on with a particular player in a particular snapshot of the club’s history as they brought the club to higher levels of greatness or failed and brought it down only added to the delivery of the book. What was surprising to me is that much of the book reads like a well crafted management guide. He readily points out the flaws in some of the approaches the club takes over the years, but even in that you can see the progression of the spirit of Man U There is always a general sense of the club being more important than any one player or coach. For example, there are sections where Ferguson draws attention to himself in the media rather than have the media focus on the issues of his players. Busby early on lectures his players on the DUTY of the players to entertain the people working hard all week and then coming to watch them. Leaders in any walk of life could take their cues from some of the themes focused on in the book. Of course any book about Manchester United’s history has to include the dark cloud of the Munich tragedy. This chapter in particular is so powerful that even I, someone new to the history of the club, had trouble reading it. There is this constant feeling of the manager never being bigger than the club. In the closing chapters, White talks about the manager as a curator - only watching over things until the next person comes along. What a novel idea in the current era of media-driven sports. It would be an absurd claim for a club as well marketed as Man U except that White takes you there through the history of where that philosophy comes from. That’s the feeling you get out of reading this book - you understand what the fuss is all about - why people love this club so much and why others love to hate it. There is the constant theme of us vs. them throughout the book and that shines through in the way the club is perceived today. On page 5, White writes “what is it that all these millions of people love?” Regardless of your feelings on Manchester United, White more than delivers the answer to that question by the time you read the end more than 400 pages later. He’s done his job converting me, at least, but for anyone else, I’d recommend this as a great read about one of the most recognized sports teams in the world, and for good reason.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Russell George

    This book is of no interest to anyone who doesn’t support Manchester United. Or, to put it another way, ‘them’. But, despite being a United fan, Jim White takes just the tiniest step back to give a clear-sighted account of the travails and glories of a club that has divided opinion across the decades, and been a pioneer in areas as diverse as player unionisation, European competition and rampant commercialism. It helps that Jim White writes so well. He’s clearly done a lot of desk research, going This book is of no interest to anyone who doesn’t support Manchester United. Or, to put it another way, ‘them’. But, despite being a United fan, Jim White takes just the tiniest step back to give a clear-sighted account of the travails and glories of a club that has divided opinion across the decades, and been a pioneer in areas as diverse as player unionisation, European competition and rampant commercialism. It helps that Jim White writes so well. He’s clearly done a lot of desk research, going through the minutes of board meeting in the early years to give genuine insight into how the club was being run, as well as how it was perceived by players and fans. But what I enjoyed most was White’s ability to summarise the historically important issues and moments in United’s story, and how they related to broader changes in football and society. It was strange to read about games that I’d been to, and players that I’d idolised, as events and characters in the wider narrative. Odd to recall Ferguson’s early antipathy with Wenger, for example, or the significance of Cantona’s kung fu kick. But throughout the book, as any red knows so well, the ethos of Manchester United is the one constant: the never-say-die attitude first born after Munich, the sense of destiny that so irks the ABU’s, the recognition that no player or manager is bigger than the club. These are all qualities that every club can claim, but few have been able to articulate them so dramatically down the years. If there is one weakness, it’s the coverage of the last decade or so, but that’s because it’s so close. The coverage of United’s most successful period somehow doesn’t have the level of historical insight, but White is hamstrung by the fact that it’s still on-going. The seasons seem to blur into one another, and changes in the wider football culture perhaps merit further discussion. But I’m quibbling really. To a United fan, this was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read about the club. White is the voice of the club – articulate, passionate, and very clued-up indeed. You won’t want to read this yourself, but if you have a friend who supports the club, this would be a perfect book to give them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Abhinav

    Summary: Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becoming the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968 (with Bobby Charlton and George Best); the dominance of th Summary: Following the club’s extraordinary journey from its birth in the railway works of Newton Heath to its current status as the biggest club in world soccer, this is a fascinating history of a remarkable team. The key stages in Manchester United’s history are covered: the Munich Air Crash of 1958, which saw the best part of an entire team (the Busby Babes) being killed; becoming the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968 (with Bobby Charlton and George Best); the dominance of the club in the Premiership; the controversial sale to American tycoon Malcolm Glazer; right up to Moscow 2008. By drawing on the recollections of everyone from players and managers to fans and backroom staff, enough new material has been unearthed to interest fans and casual supporters. Review: There are Manchester United fans who take more interest in reading every autobiography of Wayne Rooney but prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the history of the club they support. Jim White does a spectacular retelling of the history of Manchester United Football Club like a fan (yes, a fan) possessed and gives us a book that every Manchester United fan across the globe will cherish for the rest of his life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ming Wei

    Great book for football fans

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Hock

    What a fantasy and well researched book. I am a huge United fan and will be going on vacation with my wife to England next week and wanted to read up to get ready for my first game in person. Reading about the humble beginnings of the club and the Matt Busby era gave me a great reference of the history of the club I wasn't familiar with. A lot of times the problem with this kind of book is the author repeats particular beats that they want to stick and that was not the case with this. White has a What a fantasy and well researched book. I am a huge United fan and will be going on vacation with my wife to England next week and wanted to read up to get ready for my first game in person. Reading about the humble beginnings of the club and the Matt Busby era gave me a great reference of the history of the club I wasn't familiar with. A lot of times the problem with this kind of book is the author repeats particular beats that they want to stick and that was not the case with this. White has a unique and thoughtful way about his writing style. This is a must read for any fan of the Reds and also for any soccer fan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Seán B

    As a lifelong Manchester United fan this is a must. We all know the history but I think Jim White goes in to incredible detail of the Busby era and what he was like as a manager and a man around the club. I learned a lot in the process of reading this too. The book ends at the ending of the 2008-2009 season which is tough to remember given United's current climate of finishing 6th in 2018-2019 a mere 10 years later. Would highly recommend. As a lifelong Manchester United fan this is a must. We all know the history but I think Jim White goes in to incredible detail of the Busby era and what he was like as a manager and a man around the club. I learned a lot in the process of reading this too. The book ends at the ending of the 2008-2009 season which is tough to remember given United's current climate of finishing 6th in 2018-2019 a mere 10 years later. Would highly recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    William

    4+ stars This is a most informative and complete history of the world’s finest soccer club. It is a fitting complement to reading the autobiographies of Charlton and Ferguson, Beckham and Zlatan. It explains many historical and cultural details that supplement a visit to Old Trafford, watching the team play (even if only here in the states), and shaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s hand. Manchester United: We Will Never Die!

  11. 4 out of 5

    EJ Graham

    This is an...odd book to review, because (especially being a book from 13 years ago) it's hard to think of who would want to read this, unless you're a big United fan and/or curious about football history. Even so though, I still enjoyed reading it This is an...odd book to review, because (especially being a book from 13 years ago) it's hard to think of who would want to read this, unless you're a big United fan and/or curious about football history. Even so though, I still enjoyed reading it

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jonny Brick

    Written before the post-Fergie era, Jim documents the rise of little Newton Heath into the biggest sports team on the planet. A Man United fan who is unafraid to be critical, the love for the team pours off every page.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nenda

    Whether you are a casual fans or hardcore one, this book summed up the history of Manchester United.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn Viducic

    This book, Manchester United: The Biography: The Complete Story of the World's Greatest Football Club, is a very informative book. This book made me think of several different things differently. For one thing not all good things start off the best, you have to work for it. Manchester United is one of the most famous soccer clubs in England. Although when first establishing the club, the club had like no supporters and no one came to any games. Another thing I learned from this book is things ha This book, Manchester United: The Biography: The Complete Story of the World's Greatest Football Club, is a very informative book. This book made me think of several different things differently. For one thing not all good things start off the best, you have to work for it. Manchester United is one of the most famous soccer clubs in England. Although when first establishing the club, the club had like no supporters and no one came to any games. Another thing I learned from this book is things happen with trail and error. If you never have any errors in life then you will never learn and never get anywhere in life. Another thing I learned is that Manchester United was a beginning club for many players like for example Cristiano Ronaldo. He joined the club at a very young age and now is one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Not only is this with Ronaldo but many other players. In conclusion I believe that anyone wanting a book to inform about how the soccer clubs are established then I highly recommend this book for them to read and enjoy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    A jauntily written entertaining history of the English football giant. Author hits all the famous highs and lows- '68 and '99 European Cups, the Munich air disaster of '58 and the disintegration of George Best's talent- very capably. He knows the boardroom as well as he does the pitch. Is he perhaps a bit too reliable in taking Alex Ferguson's side in his many disputes with players? Is that why White retains access to the notoriously prickly Scot? Just asking. Well done. Read it in under a week. A jauntily written entertaining history of the English football giant. Author hits all the famous highs and lows- '68 and '99 European Cups, the Munich air disaster of '58 and the disintegration of George Best's talent- very capably. He knows the boardroom as well as he does the pitch. Is he perhaps a bit too reliable in taking Alex Ferguson's side in his many disputes with players? Is that why White retains access to the notoriously prickly Scot? Just asking. Well done. Read it in under a week.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Damon

    Fast pace and enjoyable, written with a sports writer's eye for action and the story. I enjoyed the tone, and pacing of the book, but I would like to have more statistics from year to year, along with more player biographies and pictures. Also, I felt that the writter kind of passed over the later period of Manchester United's history, in favor of focusing on the earlier struggles of the club. Fast pace and enjoyable, written with a sports writer's eye for action and the story. I enjoyed the tone, and pacing of the book, but I would like to have more statistics from year to year, along with more player biographies and pictures. Also, I felt that the writter kind of passed over the later period of Manchester United's history, in favor of focusing on the earlier struggles of the club.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    History of the soccer team. Decent history and overview. Best fact is that no one can really say what 'United' means in this context. Makes all the teams that chose this name look a bit more than the normal, "me,too." History of the soccer team. Decent history and overview. Best fact is that no one can really say what 'United' means in this context. Makes all the teams that chose this name look a bit more than the normal, "me,too."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erfa Tahir

    My favourite United book. The preface was enough to convince me. United's fairytale has been narrated in an extraordinary way by White. Most emotional moment: The Flowers of Manchester, when Sir Busby asks about his dead players. :'( My favourite United book. The preface was enough to convince me. United's fairytale has been narrated in an extraordinary way by White. Most emotional moment: The Flowers of Manchester, when Sir Busby asks about his dead players. :'(

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ravi

    A die hard follower with just about no knowledge of Newton Heath and Duncan Edwards? This is it. A brilliant read about how it all came together, fell apart and came together again. "The most romantic club in history" Hats off to White for the captivating portrayal, never had a dull moment. A die hard follower with just about no knowledge of Newton Heath and Duncan Edwards? This is it. A brilliant read about how it all came together, fell apart and came together again. "The most romantic club in history" Hats off to White for the captivating portrayal, never had a dull moment.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pauletto

    -fascinating history of one of the world's most successful clubs. From Meredith to Edwards to Best and Law, up until Rooney and Ronaldo to 2009. Interesting and often very funny. -fascinating history of one of the world's most successful clubs. From Meredith to Edwards to Best and Law, up until Rooney and Ronaldo to 2009. Interesting and often very funny.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam Jones

    Excellent history of the club, and a must read for any United supporter.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Phil Duckworth

    Good times! Remembered some great stuff and found out all sorts, loved it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Well written book giving an overview of the history of Manchester United.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fadhli

    History of the Red Devils. From the babes to the fledgings, and everything in between.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike Bygrave

    The best history of United book I've read. I wish he'd update it to cover the period since the first edition. The best history of United book I've read. I wish he'd update it to cover the period since the first edition.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    An engaging and interesting read for anyone interested in the history of English football, not just Manchester United.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Occasionally the writing is tabloid newspaper level, but overall a thorough, admirable summary of the club's history. Occasionally the writing is tabloid newspaper level, but overall a thorough, admirable summary of the club's history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Dipiazza

    A must read for every Red Devil fan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Fantastic read about the greatest football club in the world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ows Thomas

    The best history of United book that I've read. Covers everything from Newton Heath - 2008 Champions League Final. The best history of United book that I've read. Covers everything from Newton Heath - 2008 Champions League Final.

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