Today Manchester United is one of the most successful clubs on the planet, in 2015 it is third most valuable football club, valued at $1,90 billion and is one of the most widely supported football teams in the world. Although, in the late nineteenth century they were a very unremarkable club.
The club was formed by railway workers, tand they were originally known as Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway) and wore a uniform strip of cashmere jerseys in green and gold, the colours of the parent company. The club's reputation grew and in 1889, the Heathens had joined the Football Alliance, formed as rivals to the Football League. Recent research by Paul Nagel indicates that the club switched from green and gold to red and white shirts sometime around 1888 or 1889 (the old jerseys were retained as change colours) while Brian Landamore has found a reference in the Manchester and District rule book from the 1887-88 season that gives their colours as red and white.
In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £260,000 in 2015 – the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies (who became club president), each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name. There was a meeting of the club at its Clayton ground on 26 April. The two main suggestions were “Manchester Celtic” and “Manchester Central”. Up got the club tea-boy, Louis Rocca. He suggested that Manchester Celtic was “too Scottish” and Manchester central “too industrial”. Why not go for Manchester United?
On 24 April 1902, Manchester United was officially born.
The club moved into their new Old Trafford home in 1909, built on land purchased by Davies. The new club won their first league championships under Ernest Mangnall in 1908 and 1911, adding their first FA Cup in 1909. Mangnall left to join Manchester City in 1911, however, and there would be no more major honours until after the Second World War.